Michelle brings along her inspirational children’s books:
- “Sister For Sale
- Conversations On the Ark
- Memories of the Manger
- The Sparrow’s Easter Song
- Little Colt’s Palm Sunday
- Why I Trust You, God
- Why I Praise You, God
- Why I Thank You, God
- Why I Love You, God
She challenges students to follow their dreams and shares how God has allowed her to walk in her dreams. Michelle talks about the calling of being a writer for the Lord, encouraging kids to be creative for Christ.
She talks to the k-3 students in a separate convocation than the older children. With the younger kiddos, she talks about becoming a writer in a fun and upbeat way. Then, she allows time for the children to ask questions. And, if it’s OK with the teachers and the “powers that be,” she chooses 10 to 15 children from the audience to help her act out her picture book, “Conversations On the Ark “(which is a retelling of Noah’s Ark from the animals’ point of view). The children always get a kick out of that portion of the program.
In this talk, Michelle likes to address intermediate elementary students and older. She briefly talks about some of her neat experiences being a writer (meeting Shaq, interviewing former IU Coach Bob Knight, getting to go to concerts and movies free because she is there to review them, etc.) and then she leads into the meat of the program which is—many magazines and publishers today are looking for kids to write for kids.
She talks about ways they, as children, can become published authors and earn a little cash right now! Then, she reads a book written by a fifth grade class in Wisconsin that was published through Scholastic and she shows other books written by kids, for kids. She also shows magazines that publish articles by children, and she presents opportunities to write for their local newspaper. (Michelle has a handout to go along with this talk, giving students websites and magazines that want to hear from writers their age.)
In this presentation, Michelle discusses how to brainstorm ideas and come up with clever story lines. This talk includes specifics about the writing process. She can be as detailed as teachers would like her to be. (This one usually works best for older students.)
Michelle does “book give-aways” with each talk when she conducts a “mini quiz” at the end of the talks—that keeps the students listening—because they have to answer the question right in order to get the free books.
If you’d rather just have one gathering, she can do any of the above presentations and adjust them a bit to fit all ages.
What she likes to do is send schools a flier that describes each of her books, has a price for each, and then an order form on the back. (She even includes a few lines for the parents to write to whom they’d like her to autograph each book, and she’ll do that before she leaves your school on the day of her presentation.) By sending home the order form before she arrives, it wards off some of the confusion the day of. She always feels badly when a little boy or girl comes up to her and says, “I forgot my money today… will you be here tomorrow?” And, of course, she won’t be. So, it just seems to work best to plan ahead.
Teachers Make Great Authors. Another workshop Michelle can offer your school system. She teaches “Writing for Children” at writers’ conferences and colleges across the United States, and you know what she often discovers? Teachers are some of the best children’s writers around! So, if you’d like, Michelle could teach an after-school workshop for the teachers who are interested in becoming published children’s writers. This session incurs an additional fee, but she’d provide them with many handouts and practical information to make their dreams of becoming published come true. (She also has some writing courses that she has taught at past conferences on CD, so she could offer those, too.)
In this jungle-themed talk, Michelle shows a PowerPoint presentation of various animals, sharing how writers have to get WILD and learn from the animal kingdom in order to be successful in the publishing world. With fun footage and jungle-themed goodies, Michelle inspires students to go WILD in their own world and accomplish their dreams one by one.
In this encouraging talk, Michelle plays off of her latest book, “Dinosaur Devotions”—sharing how good writers have a lot in common with dinosaurs and how they can pursue their dreams by implementing a few “Dino Do’s” every single day.
In this talk, aimed at elementary students, Michelle briefly talks about some of her adventures of being a writer (meeting Shaq, interviewing celebrities, getting a bit part in a movie while covering it for the Associated Press, etc.,) and how being a good writer has opened up many doors for her. Then she shares the importance of being a good writer no matter what career path the children choose and how writing can be a part-time passion for those kids who are leaning toward a different profession. She closes with a Q & A time and asks for a few volunteers to help her act out one of her picture books.
Bonus Teachers' Workshop
After teaching “Writing for Children” at conferences and colleges across the United States, Michelle has discovered that teachers make great children’s writers. Not only do they know how kids think and talk, but also teachers are able to identify holes in children’s publishing and curriculum and often write to fill those holes. So, if you’d like, Michelle could teach an after-school workshop for teachers who are interested in becoming published children’s writers. This session requires an additional fee, but Michelle will be happy to stay after and provide interested teachers with several handouts and practical information to put them on the pathway to publication.