Here are guidelines for making our author day enjoyable and effective in promoting reading.
GENERAL. Please send any tickets or ticket info, travel instructions, and lodging details well in advance. An advance copy of my schedule would also be appreciated. I do not require a contract or signed agreement. If paperwork is required by your school, please fill out all forms before asking me to sign.
PRESENTATIONS. I normally present to grades K–6, and can present to higher grades on request. Audiences can be any size—as large as the space will fit!—but I prefer a range of not more than four grades at a time. For instance, I can cover an entire student body with one assembly for K–3 and a second for 4–6. Assembly time is around 45 minutes. In general, my presentations are a mix of dramatic storytelling, dialoguing with the students, and lively question and answer. Besides assemblies, I can present to individual classes, young authors, students engaged in reader’s theater or storytelling, or other small groups.
SETUP. For assemblies, I need one or two six-foot tables in front. A P.A. system is essential for large rooms. Please check the system before my visit. I cannot hold a mike while reading a book, so the mike must be attachable or on a stand—a boom mike stand, if available. A long cord or wireless mike is helpful. I do not need projection equipment. For all elementary grades, please seat students on the floor, not on chairs or benches, and never at tables.
TAPING. Fine with me, as long as the recording isn’t sold and I get a copy.
SCHEDULE. I can give a maximum of three presentations during a full-day visit. For a “half-day” visit, I give two presentations. (“Half days” must start in late morning.) Allow at least 15 minutes of unscheduled time between my presentations, and a half hour before the first one for me to check the room and set up. Extra time in the day can be used for autographing, presentations by students, and so on. For a lunch break, please allow at least one hour, not including any travel time.
ESCORT. I would appreciate an escort from place to place in your school.
STUDENT PREPARATION. To help me provide maximum benefit from my visit, I recommend that the students be made familiar with my books ahead of time. Ideally, each student should (1) hear or read one or more of my books and (2) complete an individual or class project based on them. You might also introduce students to my Web site.
BOOK SALES. I recommend that my books be offered for sale to the students. I cannot handle sales myself or directly supply books (except possibly some paperbacks and out-of-print picture books for local visits). Often sales can be handled by a local bookseller. Schools handling their own sales should send an order form home to parents before my visit. For details on selling, see my Web site info on Book Sales and Ordering.
AUTOGRAPHING. I will autograph books only—but to leave no one out, you can download a sheet of autographed bookmarks from my Web site to copy and pass out to the students. If my travel schedule allows, I will gladly remain after school to finish signing books. For books that cannot be signed during my visit, I can autograph adhesive labels sent to me with a self-addressed, stamped envelope for return.
ADULT PRESENTATIONS. For an additional fee, I can present to teachers, librarians, and/or parents. Please inquire about possible topics, or see my Web site info on Talks and Workshops. My books should be made available for sale at such times.
PUBLICITY. I encourage you to publicize my visit through local media, and I’m happy to grant interviews. You might also consider recommending one or more of my books for your state or regional reading award.
MATERIALS. You will find a variety of supporting materials on my Web site at www.aaronshep.com. See especially the sections About Aaron’s Author Visits, About Aaron’s Kid Books, About Aaron, and Aaron’s Extras.
MEALS. Meals should be vegetarian, and preferably dairyless as well. I appreciate natural, “whole” foods when available. I’m content to eat on site, in a home, in a restaurant, with or without company, but only in a totally smoke-free environment.
LODGING. On an overnight stay, I can be lodged in a hotel, motel, bed-and-breakfast, or private home, but I ask a bedroom and a bathroom to myself. Accommodations must be nonsmoking. Please pay any lodging bill directly.
TRANSPORTATION. Please purchase any advance tickets directly. For Washington state or Oregon, please consult for my preferred mode of travel. Reservations should specify “nonsmoking” and “vegan” or “vegetarian” where applicable. My air travel preferences are: budget airline; “ticketless” travel; and an aisle seat. Nearest major airport is Seattle-Tacoma, “SeaTac.” Departures from that airport should be scheduled on mid-week afternoons.
FINANCIAL. For current charges, please inquire, or refer to my Web site info on Fees and Expenses. I expect to be paid by the end of my visit. An invoice is available on request.
Nov. 4, 2005
For more info, treats, and resources,
visit Aaron Shepard at