I enjoy talking with students, teachers, librarians, and parents
on a wide variety of subjects related to reading and writing.
I’m flexible and feel comfortable working in many different
meets a young student
If I’m in a classroom or working in an auditorium with
under fifty students, I will usually begin my presentation by
taking questions. I find that this quickly tells me what students
have on their minds and where their most sincere interests lie,
and it leads to a more lively interaction than if I hold forth
and then take questions at the end of the presentation.
My emphasis, when I speak to students about books, reading,
and writing, is upon why we read and write, what meaning does
reading and writing have to us personally and what value does
it have in the world. Sometimes the conversation is specific,
about particular books and their effect upon our lives. Sometimes
it is more general and philosophical. I am very comfortable
letting students guide these conversations and participate as
much as they can, and I am always very happy if I can leave
a group more curious, engaged, and animated than I found it.
However, if a group cannot be engaged in this way, I will take
over and teach in a more traditional manner.
If students have been writing, then the sessions may turn more
upon writing, how to think about writing and how to actually
go about doing it.
receives a present from students
When I speak to groups of educators and parents, I present a
prepared talk on a particular subject of general and timely
educational and/or social interest, depending upon the age group
of greatest concern to those parents and educators, and agreed
upon in advance. Most recently, as the author of The Cello of
Mr. O, I’ve been invited most often to speak to adult
audiences on the subject “Can Books Help?” or “How
Can Books Help?”, topics of particular concern to parents
and educators since the events of 9/11.
I started out as an educator and a textbook writer, my books seem
to fit readily into school curriculae, and they prove useful in
classrooms, comfortably supporting such diverse units as “Snails”
“Sibling Relationships” “Slavery” “World
War II” “Endangered Species” and “The
Family”, among others. When I visit a school, I enjoy having
time to speak with teachers about the ways my books can best be
used in classrooms and how they might fit into an established
curriculum at particular grade levels.
I live in Northern California, but I don’t mind traveling.
I like to make arrangements, financial and otherwise, with each
group individually. Sometimes several schools in the same area
can arrange for visits during the same day, for example, so they
can pool financial resources. Usually something can be worked
|University of Chicago Laboratory School
I’m especially interested in speaking to groups of adults,
educators and parents about current issues of common interest
I’m happy to autograph any books sold at school visits,
• At schools, well-prepared students
Clip-on lapel mike (first choice)
Lectern to lean on
Someone to feed me books when I’m
To find out more, or to arrange a visit to your school or conference,
here to see an example of a particularly memorable
invitation to speak!
here to see a list of some of Jane's awards and media