Speakers

BRUCE ADELSON

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Author: 301-762-7996
E-mail: badelson1@comcast.net
Books: Author of 14 children's and adult nonfiction multi-cultural, history and sports books, including: the nationally acclaimed, Brushing Back Jim Crow - The Integration of Minor League Baseball in the American South; Grand Slam Trivia; Touchdown Trivia; and biographies of Baron von Steuben and David Farragut, titles in the Famous Fighters of the Civil Ward Era and Revolutionary War Leaders series. Upcoming book - a young adult biography of President Benjamin Harrison.
Fee: $250 for a one hour presentation. $700 for a full school day presentation, including assemblies and small group discussions. $400 for a half-day presentation. For a mock trial, courtroom presentation or a writing workshop lasting more than one full school period, please contact me for details. I prefer schools in the greater Baltimore-Washington area but will travel outside the area. Mileage charged for schools outside the Washington Beltway and reasonable travel expenses charged for any overnight stays.
Availability: Grades 1-7; Teacher, librarian and other school groups as well as professional organizations
Features: While an Arlington County (VA) Elementary School Substitute Teacher for seven years, I developed numerous writer's workshops and mock courtroom presentations at Zachary Taylor Elementary School in Arlington. I am an experienced classroom, Author's Day, and large group presenter. My presentations focus on multi-cultural themes, sports, American history and writing techniques. I have been a Black History Month presenter at, for example, the Birmingham (Alabama) Civil Rights Institute and Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary Schools Black History Celebration in Flint, Michigan. I have also been an NPR and CBS Radio commentator.

JENNIFER ALLISON

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Author: Chicago, IL    
E-mail: Jennifer@gildajoyce.com
Website: http://www.gildajoyce.com and http://www.iggyloomis.com
Books: Popular as a classroom read-aloud, Iggy Loomis: Superkid in Training (www.iggyloomis.com) is a humorous science-fiction chapter book for elementary-school readers. The Illinois Reading Council selected Iggy Loomis as a title for the 2015 €œIllinois Reads€ state reading list.

The popular Gilda Joyce mystery series for young readers features a teenage novelist and sleuth who travels to fascinating settings to investigate the unknown. Gilda Joyce: The Dead Drop is set in Washington, DC’s International Spy Museum.

Fee: Negotiable; please contact me to discuss.
Availability: School assemblies, awards ceremonies, and writing workshops for K-12 students. Also available to speak at book clubs and for groups of homeschoolers.
Features: Writing workshops: Young writers will see that writing a short story or novel is a process that happens through smaller, manageable (and even fun) steps.  I will lead them through a series of prompts to create vibrant fictional characters and intriguing settings.  If time allows, we’ll work on dialogue, conflict, and the completion of a short story.

Presentations -- Using PowerPoint slides, drafts of real manuscripts, and other props, I’ll give students a highly visual tour of the world of publishing and the writer’s craft. Presentations can be offered as assemblies for your whole school or grade level or combined with writing workshops for smaller groups.
Awards: Iggy Loomis: Superkid in Training: 2015 €œIllinois Reads€ State Reading List Selection by the Illinois Reading Council

Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator: A School Library Journal 2005 Best Book of the Year, Featured in Booklist’s “Top Ten Mysteries of 2005,”  Sunshine State Young Readers Award Selection 2006-2007.

Gilda Joyce: The Ladies of the Lake: 2006 VOYA Top Shelf Fiction Selection for Middle School Readers, 2007 Edgar Award Nominee.

MARY AMATO

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Author of Children’s and YA Books, Poetry & Songs
E-mail: info@maryamato.com
Websites: www.maryamato.com (all books)
www.thrumsociety.com (YA books & music)
Twitter: @maryamato

Books:
  • Mary specializes in fiction with humor, heart, and grit.
  • Over 15 books, from picture books to YA and everything in between.
  • Her books for K-2 include The Chicken of the Family (winner of the Buckeye Children’s Award) and Please Write in this Book (winner of the Maud Hart Lovelace Award).
  • Her books for grades 3-6 include The Word Eater (winner of the Arizona Young Readers Award) and The Naked Mole-Rat Letters.
  • Her new YA books, Guitar Notes and Get Happy, include original songs that readers can hear when finished reading.
  • For more information about Mary’s books, please visit www.maryamato.com.
Fee: Varies, but usually $575 half day and $975 full day for MD/DC/VA area. For information about appearances that require travel and for Skype workshops, please contact Mary.
Availability:
  • All-school Assemblies, Grades K-12
  • Classroom Workshops, Grades K-12
  • Intergenerational Library Programs
  • Skype Presentations and Workshops
  • Workshops for Teachers
  • Inspirational and Informative Speeches for Education and Media Conferences
  • Songwriting and Music Workshops, Retreats, Festivals
Features: Mary’s interactive presentations and workshops are highly recommended.
  • "I had more positive comments from teachers in my buildings that stated that Ms Amato was the ‘Best Ever’ author! Amato kept student’s attention by involving them in some short interactive skits, as well as displaying her authentic notebooks from when she was a child, telling her story of how she got started writing. All of Amato’s enthusiasm for reading and writing left a mark on all who attended! Students’ enthusiasm after the visit was so high, they were using her suggested writing techniques immediately in the classroom!"–Kathy Lewin, Media Specialist, Elk River, MN
  • "I had teachers coming up to me all day thanking me for inviting you. They said it was one of the best, most engaging presentations they had seen. Our English teachers were happy that you talked about the value of constructive criticism. The boys said they really liked your presentation, especially how you got them involved in the performance."–Librarian Ann Liu, Landon School for Boys (MD)
  • "The kids are still talking about Mary Amato’s visit. It seems that everyone is reading her books! Another wonderful thing….she inspired them to write in their own little mini books. It’s really been very special.  Kids are saying that hers was the best author visit we’ve ever had.  They loved her humor, openness, the fun games, and that she really taught them something about writing."–Regina Ziffer, Friends’ Central Lower School, PA

Interactive, dynamic presentations include:

  • Author Visit (Grades 3-12)
    Mary takes students on a journey through the writing process. Where do ideas come from? How do journals, webs, and outlines help? Why is revising so important? How does a book get published? Mary concludes with an improvisational “revision” game.
  • Story-Inventing Workshop (Kindergarten-Grade 3)
    Students learn the three-part trajectory of the classic story. Using a theater game, they learn how to construct a story—often with hilarious results. Especially helpful for young, reluctant writers.
  • The Writer’s Notebook (Grades 3-8)
    The writer’s notebook is an important writing tool. Mary explains the difference between diaries and writers’ notebooks, shares material from her childhood diaries as well as writer’s notebooks, shows how to this tool in the writing process, and concludes with a humorous game.
  • Creating Characters (Grades 3-8)
    How does a novelist create and develop characters? Mary shows students her strategies for developing characters and uses improvisational games to help students create and give voice to a character. Literary elements that are covered: voice, point of view, character traits, pre-writing, webbing, and self-questioning.
  • Songwriting Workshops (Grades 5-12)
    Mary shares her process for songwriting. She takes participants through the process of brainstorming a topic, crafting a chorus, and considering various angles for verses. Please see www.thrumsociety.com for more information about songwriting.
Experience and Awards:
Mary’s books have won numerous awards, including The Buckeye Children’s Book Award, The Maud Hart Lovelace Award, The Arizona Young Reader Award. For more information on awards and honors, see full list.

PAIGE BILLIN-FRYE

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Author: 216 Walnut St. NW Washington, DC 20012 202/352-6225
E-mail: paige@paigebillinfrye.com
Website: www.paigebillinfrye.com
Books: The Halloween Book of Facts and Fun, What Columbus Found, It Was Orange, It Was Round, The Man Who Named the Clouds, The House in the Meadow, The Way We Do it in Japan, The Groundhog Day Book of Facts and Fun.
Fee: $275 for one or two 50-minute sessions back-to-back, $75 for each additional session, up to 4 in one day. Travel expenses charged for visits outside the Washington metropolitan area.
Availability: Grades 2 and up
Features:
I talk about the process of illustrating a book, including how the pictures complement and add to the text as well as how I do research and how important research skills are for picture-making. For older kids I'll also talk about the training of artists and the possibilities of careers in the arts. I love to take questions and answers from the kids.

FRED BOWEN

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Author
E-mail: fred@fredbowen.com
Website: www.fredbowen.com
Books: 16 books of sports fiction that weave in real sports history and include a bonus history chapter at the back (Peachtree Publishers). First picture book biography released in 2010: No Easy Way, The Story of Ted Williams and the Last .400 Season (Dutton Children’s Books).
Fee: For presentations to adult groups  (librarians, reading specialists, etc), contact Peggy Jackson; Phone: 301.585.0288; Email: peggy@fredbowen.com.For school presentations, contact Janet Zade; Phone: 781.749.2733. Email: news4jaz@aol.com
Availability: Children in grades 2-7, and adult groups (librarians, reading specialists and parents).
Features: It's not often that a sports-loving guy comes to school to talk about reading and writing. I want kids to look at me and say, "Hey, I can do what he does." I show them my original (messy) notebooks so they can see that I start out writing just as they do: with pen, paper, and imagination. Nothing else. I talk about the whole writing process. It's a very lively and interactive talk. With adult groups, I talk about how to get sports-crazy kids to love reading. I challenge the perception that sports is a narrow interest and talk about the great dramas found in sports, and the power of good sports writing (fiction and nonfiction) to capture young readers.

MARY BOWMAN-KRUHM

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Author/Educator: 1028 Lindfield Drive, Frederick, MD 21702, Cell phone: 301-712-6828
E-mail: writer@marybk.com
Web site: www.marybk.com
Blog: http://marybk.blogspot.com
Books: Author of over 30 books (mostly nonfiction) for children and young adults. Books for middle schoolers and YAs include Coping with Discrimination & Prejudice; Careers in Child Care; Are You My Type? Or Why Aren't You More Like Me?; Money: Save It, Manage It, Spend It; Margaret Mead: A Biography (2003).

Books for young children include a series of nine beginning readers on community helpers, and Busy Toes, a multiethnic picture book for ages 3-7 written with Claudine Wirths and Wendie Old under pen name C. W. Bowie. Busy Fingers is in press.

Fee: Metro MD-DC-VA: Single presentation, $300. Negotiable, depending on book sales. Willing to travel outside local area.
Availability: All ages, especially teachers, librarians and other adult groups.
Features: Topics include: For older adults, "Connecting with Your Grandchild through Books"; for teachers, "Quick and Dirty Ideas for Using Trade Books in Any Classroom"; and, for high school students, parents, teachers, and guidance counselors, "Temperament Type: Understanding Yourself, Understanding Others." Anticipating publication of Margaret Mead: A Biography, I am eagerly preparing talks on researching and writing about the fascinating life of the 20th century's most famous female anthropologist. Specialize in interactive sessions (for example, Readers Theatre) and provide handouts, including follow-up curriculum ideas, as appropriate to topic.
Awards and Experience: Faculty member, Department of Special Education, Johns Hopkins University, School of Professional Studies in Business and Education. Doctorate in Education. Selected as one of "Distinguished Alumni" by College of Education, University of Maryland. I Hate School (Harper): Named by American Library Association on its lists "Best Books for Young Adults-1986" and "Recommended Books for Reluctant Young Adult Readers-1987" and by National Council of Teachers of English in Books for You (recommended under "Self-Help" and "Easy Reading" categories).

ELLEN R. BUTTS

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4523 Dorset Ave., Chevy Chase, MD 20815; 301-652-2454;
E-mail:ellenbutts@gmail.com
Books: Biographies written for grades 3 and up: Fidel Castro, Eugenie Clark: Adventures of a Shark Scientist; Carl Sagan, May Chinn: The Best Medicine.
Other Published Works: Several articles, on subjects such as glaciers and forensic science, for Odyssey a science magazine for grades 4 to 9.
Fee: $300 for one session; fee negotiable for multiple sessions on a single day. For visits outside the Washington, DC metropolitan area, $600 per day plus expenses. (Fee will be shared with co-author Joyce Schwartz.)
Availability: Programs for grades 3 and up, arranged at least 2 weeks in advance.
Features: Joint program with co-author Joyce Schwartz: How does a biography evolve? Joyce and I talk about how we choose and research a subject, then craft the information into a finished manuscript. We use our notes, audio recordings, outlines and drafts to illustrate the writing process. Throughout the presentation, we encourage students to participate and ask questions.

An interview is one of the best ways to get information about the subject of a biography. During the second part of our presentation we challenge students to come up with probing interview questions. Then we pair them off and allow time for them to practice interviewing one another. Afterward, volunteers demonstrate their interviewing skills for the group.

If time allows, we discuss possible ways to begin a biography (for example, with an anecdote). Afterward, we encourage the students to practice writing an opening paragraph and to read their work aloud.

If requested, we will consult with teachers to adapt our presentation to their curriculum needs.

PRISCILLA CUMMINGS

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Author: 3026 Aberdeen Road, Annapolis, Md. 21403; 410-269-7591
E-mail: priscummings@gmail.com

Books: Chadwick the Crab; Chadwick and the Garplegrungen; Chadwick's Wedding; Chadwick Forever; Meet Chadwick;The Chadwick Coloring Book; Toulouse, The Story of a Canada Goose; Chesapeake A,B,C, Chesapeake 1,2,3 and Chesapeake Rainbow; Beetle Boddiker, Santa Claws The Christmas Crab; and Beddy Bye in the Bay. Also, eight novels: Autumn Journey: A Face First; Saving Grace; Red Kayak; What Mr. Mattero Did; Blindsided; The Journey Back; and Cheating for the Chicken Man.
Fee: Elementary Schools: Fees start at $350 for one local (Annapolis) presentation. Generally, $800 for two 45-minute, back-to-back talks; and $1250 for a full day with three talks and a story to Pre-K and/or K.  For out-of-state visits, please contact the author.

Middle Schools: Fees start at $975 for two one-hour talks; $1400 for a full day at school with three talks. For visits beyond an hour’s drive, mileage may be added and some visits may require lodging for one night. For out-of-state visits, please contact the author.

Availability: Pre-K and K through Grade 5 or 6: Picture book talk. Using Chadwick the Crab, the author takes her audience through the making of a picture book: coming up with the idea, naming characters, the writing - and rewriting, the art work, the dummy - and submission to publishers.

Middle School (and sometimes grade 5): The author tells her story of how she became a writer and then takes her young audiences through the research and writing of a novel, using examples from all her chapter books.

For more information, please visit the author’s web site:
www.priscillacummings.com

Features: The Chadwick the Crab series and three other books weave together fact and fiction and take place in and around the Chesapeake Bay. In The Chadwick Talk, the author takes her audience through the process of bookmaking - from the inception of an idea to the writing (and rewriting) to the finished product. The author can do a different talk for older children on researching, writing and creating characters for her novels.

KALLI DAKOS

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Author
E-mail: Edstark2@aol.com & kallidakospoetry@aol.com
Phone: (800) 310-9495
Website: www.KalliDakos.com

Books: Kalli Dakos has been celebrating the school world since the release of her best-selling book If You’re Not Here, Please Raise Your Hand: Poems About School. Jim Trelease writes in his Read-Aloud Handbook, “I know of no single book that captures the pulse of the elementary school world the way this collection does.”

She has written many collections of school poems.  These include six IRA-CBC Children’s Choice selections -- A Funeral  in the Bathroom, Our Principal Promised to Kiss a Pig, The Goof Who Invented Homework, The Bug in Teacher’s Coffee, Don’t Read This Book, Whatever You Do! and If You’re Not Here, Please Raise Your Hand.

Her newest book, A Funeral in the Bathroom, is built around the idea that “There should be a place/kids can go/when life has dealt/another blow.”  From “Blabbermouth” to “Flushophobic” to “There’s a Sock in the Toilet,” Kalli’s poems reveal the funny -- and sometimes poignant -- stories that take place in an elementary school bathroom.  Marc Beech’s zany illustrations perfectly express the ups and downs of school life
Fee: Kalli can work with 200 children or more per session. These fees include all expenses.  Kalli no longer lives in the area, but travels back and forth often, throughout the school year.

Two assemblies - $1200.00

Three assemblies - $1500.00

Writing Workshops - negotiable
Availability: Grades K-6
(has worked with middle school and high school as well)
Teacher
Librarian
All school groups
Professional organizations
Features: *Kalli uses her knowledge as a reading specialist to design programs that provide sound reinforcement for standards of learning, disguised as high-energy fun and filled with audience participation

*Her assemblies and writing workshops enrich reading and writing programs and boost teachers’ and students’ spirits by celebrating the most important stories of all – the stories they live in their own school

*Kalli uses a fast-paced, interactive approach, delightful toys and props and a cast of performers from each school to keep children involved and learning while celebrating the drama of the school world

*She will have teachers and students bopping to poetry, chanting Shakespearean verse, facing “goodbyes” with courage, and sharing incredible stories from their school

*These fun-filled assemblies will pull in even your most reluctant students and inspire everyone (teachers included) to write poetry and stories about their school lives

Awards: Six Children’s Choice Selections
A Funeral in the Bathroom – Children’s Book Award Finalist

Comments from the 2014-15 School Year

It was amazing to watch the stories of our school lives come to life.

Very engaging!  Thanks for the reminder that poetry needs to be read everyday, and not just as a unit. Also, the best stories are the ones we LIVE.

I loved the energy -- students, teachers and the author (very positive) all came to life.  My students learned that they can write about anything. They all have ideas now.  I can’t wait to start a classroom journal.

Thank you for the reminder to have FUN!

Awesome!  Sharing your experiences was great – especially failure, rejections, and the sad poems.

Loved the involvement of kids and teachers --- engaging and fun with the props and toys.

Very upbeat positive vibe.  Kept the kids’ attention the entire time.

It was great!  I loved the idea of telling the kids that anything that happens to them can be turned into a story or a poem.  What a wonderful experience!

SALLY J.K. DAVIES

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Illustrator/Author: 8517 - 60th Avenue, Berwyn Heights, MD 20740; 301-441-1645;
E-mail: sallyjkdavies@hotmail.com
Books: Anthills and Apartments, Making a House a Home; Why Did We Have to Move Here?; When William Went Away; The Block Party; People Say Hello; Stan Packs; Bubsy; Jeremy and the Aunties; Jeremy and the Air Pirates; Folk Rhymes from Around the World; The Big Carrot Cookbook; The Lucy Waverman Cookbook; Ezzie's Emerald; Inside-Out; Wheniwasalittlegirl; and Corey's Story
Fee: Writing and Illustrating a Picture Book (program for children K-6): $350 for one talk, plus $100 for each additional back to back classroom presentations, up to a day of five presentations at the same school. I donate autographed copies of my latest books to your school, library, or organization when I visit. For programs outside the Baltimore/Washington, DC area, an additional travel allowance may be charged. This program works best with a group of 30-50 students, a maximum of 90.
Availability: All ages, anywhere; (children or adult programs).
Features: I always tell students that ideas for my stories are based on personal experience and that I use my imagination to shape and mold the story. After reading my picture book, Why Did We Have to Move Here?, I ask the students to think about which events in the story might have happened to me. They usually guess correctly that many of the humorous and awkward situations experienced by the child in the story, actually happened to me each time my family moved when I was young. Then I talk about the editorial process and share some of the changes that were made to the story. I explain some of the concepts behind successful book design and show the students the "thumbnail sketches" on my page layouts. I show the students how I prepare the paper and apply the pencil, ink, and finally the watercolor layers to each illustrations. I have the original color proofs with the color separations on individual transparencies. This clearly and dramatically shows the students the concept of full color printing. Finally, I display the printer's signature, unfolded, just as it would come off the press. I welcome any questions from students throughout my program and conclude by allowing them to have a close-up look at the original sketches and illustrations.
Awards and Experience: For the picture book, Why Did We Have To Move Here? (Carolrhoda Books, 1997) Selected for the Children's Literature Choice List for 1998 and awarded the American Booksellers Association Pick of the List for Fall 1997; honored with the Early Literacy and Reading Award in 2002 from ACEI (Association of Childhood Education International)

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