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School Visits and Speaking Events

Author visits have loads of benefits!

When I visit a school, my goals are to:

  • motivate students to read widely.
  • encourage kids to write their own stories
  • provide insights into how an author works,
  • highlight the value of research (and communicate my love doing it, even when writing fiction),

I emphasize the value of keeping a journal or diary. It will not only help their future biographers, but they'll love looking back as adults to see what they were doing and thinking as kids. Writing, like playing an instrument takes practice!


Q & A

Every visit includes time for questions. Questions allow me to form a personal bond with students, which I hope builds their enthusiasm for reading and writing. I'm often amazed by the questions students ask: how do you avoid "writer's block"? where do ideas come from? what do you plan to write next? what should I do if I want to be a writer? One first grader baffled me by asking how I get the pictures to stay on the pages of my picture books. (I later learned that the glue the first grade was using for their stories had lost its stickum.) The question gave me a chance to talk about book illustration and publishing in first grade terms.


I've included a few possible programs below. 

[Note: with over 150 published books, I can create

programs designed to support your current curriculum needs.]

A Kidnapping in Kentucky, 1776

Grades 3-6: This presentation delves into regional history: The story of the kidnapping of Jemima Boone and two friends provides insight into what was happening on the Kentucky/Tennessee frontier at the time of the Revolutionary War. I discuss what life was like for white settlers and its impact upon native people. I emphasize the importance of considering history in the context of the times. It's also an opportunity to explain the differences between fiction and nonfiction portrayals of an event. Students learn how I came to write the book and about the research behind this middle-grade novel. 


Watch the book trailer here.


Click here to watch a brief video introduction, in which I tell readers a bit about myself, the writing of the book, and the book itself.



The Big, Bold, Adventurous Life of Lavinia Warren


Grades 6-8: This presentation provides the opportunity to discuss how an author discovers a topic, does research, and uses the research to write a biography. Lavinia Warren never grew taller than 36 inches, but she did not let her size keep her from living life large. She traveled the world and entertained thousands at a time when few people ever left home. It's a great opportunity to consider the ways we are all alike despite our apparent differences. Q & A provides a great opportunity for student involvement.



Cedric and the Dragon


Grades Pre-K-2: This gentle picture about a young boy who chooses kindness over violence, makes a great read for younger children. I read the story (showing the pictures on the screen), and then ask students how they can show kindness to others. They can help name the dragon, who is not named in the book. I supply a coloring page for use in the classroom or at home. 

Comments from Teachers and Kids

"Having Elizabeth at our school definitely inspired our students to be young authors and love books!" -- Kristi Ammerman, Reading Specialist Moorhead, MN. 


"When our student hear from an expert, it is so much better than just hearing us say the same thing." -- Joy Patton, ELA teacher, Franklin, TN.


"It would be nice if you would come again!" - Eli, grade 3


"Thank you for showing us how to write a story and for showing us how to know what a setting is." - Karma, grade 2


 "Thank you for your wonderful presentation.  Our reading students are very excited to read your books."  - Kristi Heupel, Reading Specialist, West Fargo, North Dakota