One of the reasons I enjoy visiting schools is the fun I have reading aloud my books and getting the audience interact with the story. I equally enjoy talking with students about the process of making a book. I can bring along a display of the publishing process as well as talk about the writing process. I show examples of my rough drafts and revisions and talk about my writing style. I can tie it together with the process the students use. This helps teachers in the classroom to refer back to long after the visit is over.
Many of my stories came out of collaborating with my students in library lessons at ISU, before I retired. My hope is that long after my visit to a school, the students see that writing can be a joy to share. To publish, it takes hard work, not giving up, sharing writing, being a risk-taker, writing alone and being able to take criticism. It also involves collaborating with an illustrator and a graphic artist, and I talk about the contribution each of these professions make to a picture book.
I enjoy working with students of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. I also enjoy speaking to teachers and parents about my journey into publishing.
Three of my books: Mzee, Tendo and Amina are part of a series only in that the Mzee is a character in each book but each story is a stand-alone story. I have used the same illustrator, Mukiza, for all three. The forth book Rolex is a new illustrator, AJ Obol, and I will do 2 more books with him!
About the publishing effort: All books published, printed and bound in Uganda.
SESSIONS I OFFER
Youngest children 3yrs to 5yrs: Joy of Storytelling: 30 minutes.
Reading aloud one of my stories: Mzee, Tendo or Rolex.
Teach the children actions and they interact with the book-
Talk about meaning, show students rough drafts of illustrations.
No equipment needed for small group. For large group a
projector and/or a document camera needed to show book on
wall or screen.
Older children 5yrs-13yrs: Writing/Publishing: 45 minutes.
Reading aloud one of my stories: Mzee, Tendo or Rolex
Teach the children actions and they interact with the book- show students
a rough draft of book read. Talk about the writing
process and the evolution of ideas through sharing writing.
Discuss the collaboration with illustrator and graphic artist.
Discuss the ‘moral of the story’. No equipment needed for small group.
For large group a projector and/or a document camera needed
to show book on wall or screen.
Older Children 9yrs-16yrs: Amina’s Choice: 50 minutes or
Story read dramatically as a ‘One Act Play’ and takes 30 minutes.
I introduce the 6 characters, 3 objects, African names.
Discuss moral of the story, Cinderella motif, story development,
Show drafts, edits, word limits, picture book v/s chapter book.
I can share about how to write beginnings, and have a document
That compares my first beginning to my final – written 3 years apart!
Needed: projector and laptop for showing PowerPoint as I read.
Older Art students: Creation and Collaboration: 30 minutes.
I have talked to IB art students about the creation of ideas and
the process/development of the illustrations. Difference of illustration
verses individual pieces.
Adult Staff Development: Solve a Problem or Following
Without Thinking: 30 minutes.
Using the Mzee book, we read it and then talk about the moral:
Solve a problem when its small before it gets worse. The staff room is a
great place to illustrate this – examples of how we gossip
And how problem gets larger.
Using the Rolex book we read it and then discuss the moral:
Think before you follow, the one in front may not know where
they are going either. Using the Staff room again to show how
we jump to conclusions with out thinking first and believing in
each other first.
Adult Reading workshop: Reading Acquisition/Picture books: 1 hour.
Discuss the process of learning to read and language acquisition from 0-4 yrs. The role of picture books and role of phonics. Model how to read aloud a picture book
Ideas for classroom management of reading groups and manipulatives. 1 hour.