I have several presentations tailored to the age level and size of a group. I’ve found that no two school visits are quite the same, and I try to accommodate the teachers’ preferences. I’ve conducted one-day workshops about the writing process to smaller groups of kids ranging from fourth-fifth graders all the way to high school seniors. I also speak with younger audiences, focusing on my preschool and early-reader titles. My larger-group presentations include:
- The life of a writer. A PowerPoint presentation showing my early childhood, college and post-college years and how I came to do what I do. I talk about my first writing job, at Sesame Street, and my very first books to be published, as well as my work as an illustrator. I show kids the different phases of creating a book, from initial idea to finished book, and show pages of early drafts and emphasize the importance of the revision process.
- The Poop talk. This is a large-group presentation in which I talk more specifically about my most recent book, Poop Happened: A History of the World from the Bottom Up. Using intriguing images (a knight in armor, a lady in a hoop skirt, a sedan chair) and real props (a chamber pot, special shoes for walking in dirty streets, Victorian pantaloons) I get kids to think about aspects of social history that may not have occurred to them (such as how a knight goes to the bathroom while wearing his armor, how a lady in a hoop dress manages to “answer the call of nature,” and what the Ancient Romans used as toilet paper). By engaging them with fun and funny anecdotes about how people managed before the appearance of flushing toilets, I try to inspire them to learn more history. Some of the major historical periods I touch on include Ancient Rome, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and the Industrial Revolution.
I also talk about the research process, checking facts, synthesizing multiple sources, and constructing a bibliography, how to distinguish a reliable source of information from an unreliable one, and how a writer has to make choices about what to include and what to leave out. I also stress that it is just as important to have a “hook” and a “story” for a nonfiction book as it is for a fiction book.
I speak with audiences from kindergarten through high school. My honorarium is $750 per day for a maximum of three presentations, plus travel expenses if it involves more than an hour drive from my home. Please contact me to arrange a visit.
Free Skype Visits
I offer free Skype visits (thirty minutes or less) and especially enjoy talking about Poop Happened. My only requirements are that kids be somewhat familiar with the book and that they prepare questions in advance. My Skype account name is sarahalbee. Please contact me to arrange a visit.
Some teacher testimonials:
“I highly recommend Sarah Albee as a presenter for your school. Sarah came to speak with our Lower School, kindergarten through grade 5, last school year. In two sessions, grades k-2 then 3-5, our students enjoyed their time learning about her books and sharing in her many work and life experiences. Sarah is a captivating speaker and a true professional who will tailor her programs to your needs.”
“Sarah Albee visited [our middle school]. She addressed 6th, 7th and 8th grade students identified as gifted. The topic of Ms. Albee’s presentation was writing non-fiction. She then led the class in a number of lively activities about the process of writing, including choosing topics, research, the editing process and a lively activity about famous first lines that had all the students actively engaged. She is an excellent, inspiring speaker and I would highly recommend her to any program.”
“Several positives emerged from our classroom discussion via Skype with author Sarah Albee. First, and foremost, the experience brought a mentor into classroom who spoke passionately about writing and valued originality and diversity. What emerged from the conversation was a great lesson in research, having high standards, the value of inquiry, and the fact that we can write about anything.
Second, my experience one on one with Sarah was friendly and comfortable–she was very willing to mold her talk around the needs and interests of my students and fielded many questions for over twenty minutes. She answered each of my kids thoughtfully and left them all feeling valued and happy that an author listened to them and shared what they know.
Finally, Sarah demonstrated a love and respect for writing by asking my kids about what they wrote or were writing. Our conversation sometimes drifted all over the place, but that just speaks to the intuitive sensibility Sarah had with her audience that day.”
“My kids were initially wowed by the topic of her book, but then they were charmed by the friendly, accessible love of writing (and the work which goes into it) which Sarah very clearly articulated. After our talk with Sarah, our talk was referenced by my students on several occasions. In many cases they felt that they finally got a real sense of the (almost daily) fluctuating combination of talent, hard work, and inspiration needed to write something and see it all the way through to the end.I would absolutely welcome Sarah back into my classroom to speak to my students, and I hope to be able to schedule her this year!”
“Sarah generously offered her time and expertise to my senior writing elective called, ‘Experiments in Writing.’ We were working on writing children’s books, and Sarah came on board as our professional author in residence for a week. She helped the students shape their stories and troubleshoot potential problems. Throughout the entire process, Sarah offered useful advice and tips. The students valued her wisdom and eagerly sought her constructive criticism. Due to Sarah’s guidance, my students produced some terrific children’s books that they were very proud of!”
“What an amazing connection our kindergarten students had! The kids were on the edge of their seats the entire time and could hardly wait to ask their questions! Sarah was highly engaging and the experience will allow us to connect the interaction to the writing process for many weeks to come!”