Kayla Hicks - Author Kayla Hicks - Author

How to Successfully Present at a School as a Children’s Author

4 min read

In an author's efforts to promote a children’s picture book, making an effort to schedule and gain appearances is a must.

This means that contacting childcare centers, schools, and libraries is the best place to begin. And when doing so, you want to explain the following aspects of yourself and your book. Such as:

  • What your book is about

  • What age your book is for

  • What you could offer during your visit (activities, reading, and more)

  • How appreciative you would be to be able to visit

  • Offer a free copy of the book to the library

By doing so, you are solidifying what value you would bring/ add to the experience of your visit.

Here is mine for an example:

Once you manage to book an appearance, it is crucial that you come up with a plan.

At my most recent visit to Adamstown Elementary School, I was in contact with the school Librarian who gave me a schedule of which classes I would meet with and how many students I would present to.

This allowed me to properly prepare my materials and ensure that I could plan an adequate amount of activities. Because as it turned out, I would be reading and facilitating activities for 87 children to 95 children total for a half hour during each group. Meaning I would need to plan activities that would teach them and span a half hour, as well as keep my cost down on materials.

Seeing as my book is about plants and STEM concepts, this is what I planned:

  • Reading the book (asking questions as I read about Dandelion's emotions and the tools used in a garden as I went)

  • I created posters that showed the parts of a flower with a Dandelion as the example and about what plants needed to grow and explained them to the children

  • Creating pipe cleaner flowers: For this, I provided easier adaptations for the younger children where they colored coffee filters and used pipe cleaners as the stems. And for the older children, they bent the pipe cleaners into flowers.

  • Drawing a garden with crayons and markers

  • Dandelion group game where children guess who is hiding Dandelion

Once you plan what activities you are going to facilitate, you need to determine what else will help your visit go well.

When I found out that I would be presenting to so many children, I enlisted some help.

At larger events and appearances, it can be useful to bring a helper or aid to assist you with the activities. When I brought an assistant for my event, I provided instructions on the activities and they walked around to help the children with the activities as they worked. And having someone to help me made everything run more smoothly.

It is also important to remember to thank your venue for allowing you to present there.

Writing a simple thank you note and giving it to the venue when you arrive can go a long way. Something along the lines of:

Dear (Venue), I wanted to thank you for allowing me to be here today and for allowing me to read to your students. Sincerely, Your name.

And also be sure to tuck your business card inside the note.

A very important thing to remember is that you need to ask before taking photos.

If you are doing a school or library event, many children sign photo release forms to either allow or deny their photo to be seen by the public. You could be liable for a lawsuit if you share their photos on the internet, so being sure who can and can’t have their photos taken is important. Talking with the venue beforehand on this matter should be a natural courtesy, and even offering for your assistant to take a photo of you reading from the back of the group so that the photo only shows the back of the children’s heads.

Being welcomed as a presenter at a school or a library is a huge honor, and should be treated as such.

Plan accordingly to accommodate the children so you can provide the best experience possible. Thank your venue with a note and offer them a free copy of the book. And you could turn one visit into a recurring visit.