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Invite Laurence Pringle to Your School!

School librarians and teachers usually do a great job of preparing students for an author visit.

School librarians and teachers usually do a great job of preparing students for an author visit.
One of the joys of school author visits is receiving letters (often illustrated) from students, sometimes on the day of my visit, sometimes in the mail.
A FUNNY THING HAPPENED: When photographer Tim Holmstrom took pictures for my autobiography, Nature! Wild and Wonderful, I challenged Tyranosaurus to a scary face contest. In case you can't tell, the dinosaur is on the left.
Students produce a wonderful variety of welcoming signs and banners! school author visits

School-friendly information on arranging an author visit, with details about programs (and references)! Help your students grow as writers! A world pandemic dramatically affected schools and the lives of students, teachers, and parents. Hurray, that ordeal is over! Opportunities for authors and artists to be in a school all day, interacting with hundreds of kids, have revived. I look forward to in-person author visits. I'm delighted that some are signed up for spring 2023. There are still many open dates on my calendar.


I treasure memories of many school visits, for example, in spring 2016 I visited OKLAHOMA for the first time (see a "review" of my school visit there, by scrolling down to REFERENCES, directly below). And another unusual happening: the PTA of a Long Island (New York) district bought a book for every student in three schools, which left me with the happy task of autographing over 800 copies of several titles!


So many sweet memories of great kids (and librarians)! Meanwhile, lots of information below:

Do School Author Visits Make a Difference?

Based on comments from educators, the answer is "YES!" Here's one example from a reading teacher of a northern New Jersey school: "I am writing to thank you for the wonderful day you gave our students. Enclosed are two books written by a second grader named Vincent. I am very grateful to you because you inspired this student to write. Vincent is one of my basic skills readers who has worked extremely hard all year to learn to read and write. Although he still reads on a first grade level, he believes in himself as he continues to learn. You are a huge part of his learning and I can't thank you enough. You never know, someday Vincent may become an author and will teach through his writing. I wanted you to know how important you are to our students."

After a recent school visit, a staff member wrote, "You gave me a great deal of teachable topics to follow up on, for which I am extremely grateful."

Another wrote, "The teachers made many positive comments about how you exposed the kids to the revision process and your candidness in answering their questions." And another: "All of the kids, teachers, and the staff had wonderful things to say about your presentations. You related to all of the age groups very well."

These are some of the goals I aim for in school visits. The students may feel they are being entertained, but they are also being gently reminded of some basic skills and knowledge about writing, and more.

Some are probably startled to learn that I--with more than a hundred books published--don't find the writing process easy, and still strive to be a better writer.
A Funny Thing Happened: Arriving at a school, I am often greeted by hallways decorated with art, posters, signs, and other kid-creations. This is always a treat. I also receive letters written by the kids. One second grade girl wrote her thanks to me, and meant to add "I hope you enjoyed our signs." However, she left the letter "g" out, and wrote "I hope you enjoyed our sins."

Increasing numbers of educators recognize the wisdom of focusing more attention on nonfiction literature. One good result is that many teachers and children are discovering nonfiction's diverse wonders (including gripping stories). Another result is that schools across the country (and sometimes overseas) invite me to meet with their students.

Besides offering help for young writers, my school programs stimulate interest in reading, especially nonfiction literature. My books in print--about 22 in number--include both picture book fiction and many high-interest nonfiction subjects, so programs can be tailored for all elementary grades and middle school students. Of course I also give programs at conferences and other gatherings that celebrate children's literature.
A FUNNY THING HAPPENED: During or after a school visit, whole classrooms of students sometimes write letters to me. Sometimes teachers urge them to thank me, and to tell about one thing they had learned. One kid wrote, "I learned that you are not very young." True, and very tactful of her. She wrote carefully to avoid using the dreaded "O" word (OLD)!


After attending all of my 5 or 6 programs one day, a library media specialist praised their diversity. She recalled other author visits, where each presentation was exactly the same as the others. In mine, she kept hearing new things. One reason: I've had more than a hundred books published. That's a wonderful wealth of experience, as a growing writer and also simply from interacting with many experts, editors, artists in the creation of those books. This diversity is one reason that I don't describe my programs down to fine details, as some authors do. However, for information about programs and fees, write to me octopushug@aol.com, or at Quick Links, below to the left. Also, information about programs, plus reviews of many titles now in print, are at Quick Links: "reviews and school visit information"

The Skype or Zoom option: There is no substitute for a full day of author-student interaction in a school, but sometimes a smaller scale program is desired. Get in touch if you want to arrange sessions via Skype (or Zoom, or similar programs).

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED: At schools I love the Q&A time in programs, but kindergarteners are a challenge. They want to share their experiences. Teachers urge them to ask questions, but the K-kids want to tell their own stories. At one school, a teacher announced, loud and clear, that she wanted only questions. Instantly, one boy waved his arm. I called on him, and he did ask a question: "Did you know that I found some dinosaur bones?"


Plenty of references are available. Here's one from out West: "I invited Laurence Pringle to journey from New York to Oklahoma to talk to students of Whitebead School in Pauls Valley. He met with all ages of our Pre-K through 8th grade school, spending 30-45 minutes with each group. He shared valuable information about the writing and publishing process, inspiration for writing, and the importance of fact-gathering, tailored to fit the interest and maturity level of each group. Sprinkled with a bit of timely humor here and there, Mr. Pringle's presentations were a perfect mix of intelligent, entertaining, and informative. Each session ended with a time for questions and answers. Mr. Pringle even held a Writer's Luncheon with selected students, which is something they still talk about and will likely never forget. Almost two months have passed and we are into our testing season. It was nice to hear a fifth grade student share this writing tip with another: "Remember what Mr. Pringle said, you have to hook'em with your first sentence." To me, that speaks volumes about the success of Mr. Pringle's program."

Here's another, from a Long Island, NY school librarian: "Your visit was so successful and so wonderful. Even today, one kindergartner said, as she walked into the school, "I loved Laurence Pringle!" Our principal commented that your presentations were great. Specifically, she liked the way you varied the program for each grade level. The teachers' comments were all (100 percent) positive as well. Many said that your presence was 'grandfatherly,' meaning that you spoke with insight and wisdom and warmth."

For many other references, go to Quick Links: "school programs and references"