Kids are my boss!

So, it’s important to know what they’re thinking and stay in touch with them. Visiting them in their natural habitat is my favorite way of staying in touch with kids. And may I make a confession here? I actually like school lunches.

I save a couple of weeks each year to visit schools and look forward to these with great excitement. There’s nothing better than getting kids excited about the process of writing and illustrating a story and sharing the love of what I do each day. I want kids to understand that there are stories around us each day if we just take the time to find them.

In my presentation, I draw and show a lot of pictures while I talk. I share how I write my stories and where my ideas and characters come from. I take kids into my home and my studio, they see my family, our farm animals, and the newest books. I also want them to know that I make mistakes when I write and illustrate. I want them to understand that making books is real work but it’s a job I love and feel very fortunate to have.

I’ll need a sturdy easel and large pad of paper (I’ll bring my own markers), a large screen or light wall, projector that I can hook my laptop to and a microphone. I am very comfortable with large groups. All my drawings are given to the school. Logistically, if we have a large wall or flat surface that all kids can see, I like to take two 10′ long strips of art paper taped one above the other to create a huge drawing space and ask the kids to help me create a giant zoo creature. I hope they leave the presentation wanting to create their own version of a zoo creature and maybe write a story about it.

If your school would like to offer books for sale, Little, Brown and Random House provide books for author signings at a savings of about 50%. All unsold books may be returned. Schools can sell books at full price as a fundraiser or pass along the savings.

I’m based in New York City and travel all over the United States. I hope I’ll visit your school soon!

Danielle Yadao 
or Lisa McClatchy