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<<November 2014>>
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: skype, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 46
1. Skype Visit with children's author, Margot Finke

I enjoyed a delightful visit with the children's author, Margot Finke today via Skype. We had a wonderful time catching up "in-person" both personally and professionally… and picked each others brains on book promotion. Thanks Margot, I had a grand time! 

Margot keeps giving me that good old slap upside the head to branch out to Skype author visits and I'm delighted to share illustrator, Julie Hammond and I will be conducting a Skype library visit September 20th! Julie will be in-person at the Kirkwood Public Library in St. Louis, MO and I will be Skyped in. Yippee! 


Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading! 

Connect with

A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Reader's Farvorite Five Star Review

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

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2. Website Down, The Mouse, and School Visits

Hello all! It's another dreary day here in the Sunshine State. I like to tell people we have only two seasons: hot, and hot and rainy. Do not visit THE MOUSE in summer! You'll likely be drenched to the bone, then frozen by the AC. (That's when they swap you out for an aminatron, ala Stepford Wives). And when it's not raining, the heat and the humidity will press you right down to a smear on the concrete, which The Mouse's minions will wipe up and dispose of before anyone notices you're missing.

Now to the subject at hand: My website is down. This is a problem for me because I wanted to update my school visit schedule. Because I don't know how soon the site will be back up, I wanted to let you know I have begun to book visits for next school year. Twenty-minute Skype visits are free to groups who've read my work. If you'd like me to visit in person, I have a variety of presentations and I also provide writing workshops for students who want to polish or publish their work.

If you're interested in having me visit, send me a message! My email address is dhaworthbooks at yahoo dot com.

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3. Thank You, Erin Soderberg for an Amazing Skype Visit!!

Last week, we had the opportunity to Skype with author Erin Soderberg. Erin is the author of The Quirks: Welcome to Normal and The Quirks in Circus Quirkus--the first two books in a series that is quite popular in our classroom this year!  

The kids were VERY excited about this Skype visit. Our last Skype (another highlight of the year!) was with author Barbara O'Connor. We had read her book How to Steal a Dog aloud so everyone in the class had read the book together. But The Quirks was different. I read the first book in the series over winter break and knew immediately that my students would love it. I handed it to a student who handed it to another student. Within a week, there were so many kids that wanted to read the book that we asked our librarian to order more. He ordered 5 and a group of kids had their first book club around the book. I bought 2 copies of the 2nd book in the series and that began to circulate.   By the time we had the Skype visit, almost all of the students had read at least one of the books.  

This book took on a life of its own in the classroom. Usually, when I find a book like this, I decide to read it aloud. And I may have, had it been earlier in the school year. But this series was one that my kids LOVED to read on their own. They loved the story and the characters. They loved that it was the buzz in the room. And they loved that they could read something independently that seemed a little bit harder and longer than the books they were comfortable with. For many of my students, this book gave them confidence to stretch themselves as readers. It helped them see how much they'd grown.  This book didn't make its way around the classroom because I shared it. Instead, the students owned this one--that's what makes it such a perfect book for 8 and 9 year olds.

In February, I wrote about this series as a MUST HAVE for 3rd and 4th grades. If you don't know The Quirks books, there are 2 in the series. Both focus on a family, called The Quirks.  The Quirks are anything but normal.  They are quite..quirky. Each family member has some kind of quirk or power but they try to hide these from the rest of the world as they often get them into trouble.  Such a perfect mix of real life and fantasy--no wonder kids love it.

There is also a lot of fun in the books--fun magic. Two of my favorite shows growing up were I Dream of Jeanie and Bewitched and the magic in these books reminded me a bit of those shows--very fun magic that I so wished I could do when I was younger!  

Author Erin Soderberg was amazing during our Skype visit. She had the kids engaged in the first 30 seconds with her enthusiasm and personality. She talked to us a bit and let us in on a few secrets about the Quirks. That was fun! Then we asked questions.

Before the Skype, we brainstormed questions for Erin.  I loved listening to their questions.  The thoughtfulness of each question made me happy and it became clear how well the kids knew the story and the characters. I also loved how clear it was that they understood authors. During the creation of the list, they kept talking and saying things like "I wonder why she decided to..." . They so understand authors as decision-makers and many of their questions focused on that part of the process.

It was a great day and we can't WAIT until the 3rd book in the series comes out in January 2015.  My students are already begging to read it first even though they will be in 4th grade next year.  They are VERY excited about this upcoming book!

Again, this book is one of my favorite new series for middle grade readers.  I'm so glad that there are more books coming! 

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4. Things I Love Thursday

I love Skype days.

With students at Gwin Oaks Elementary in Gwinnett, GA

More Gwin Oaks students. Thank you, Ms. Amolo!

A teacher at Fort Worth Academy showed me her dog, Plato, posing like the cover of How to Steal a Dog. Go, Plato!

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5. Two Things on Tuesday

Thing One

Look what I got!
Paperback edition of On the Road to Mr. Mineo's

Thing Two
Skyping with students in Ecuador.
Don't you love how Skype makes a big world smaller?

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6. An Author's Guide To Skype School Visits With Guest Iza Trapani!!!

Happy St. Patrick's Day, Everyone!

I have a present for you!

It's not green.  And it's not Irish.  But it's still a great present :)

Remember on Friday I promised a guest post on a very interesting topic?


Allow me to introduce the multi-talented and delightful Iza Trapani!

Author/Illustrator Iza Trapani
Hi Iza!

Thank you so much for joining us today!

I personally am very interested in the topic of Skype school visits.  I think they're a wonderful alternative to in-person visits for many schools, allowing authors and illustrators to visit classrooms without the expense associated with in-person visits.  Having never done one myself, I was curious to know the details of how one goes about it, and I thought you guys might like to know too!  So I asked Iza (who is a pro :)) to elucidate, and she very kindly did (VERY kindly because not only did I ask her for a guest post, it was on short notice!)

Take it away, Iza!

While an in-person school visit is always better, a Skype session is a nice alternative for schools  struggling with tight budgets and/or for schools wanting to invite an out-of-state author. Most authors charge travel expenses  in addition to their presentation fees, so it can get expensive. Skype visits are a convenient and affordable option. They are also great for authors and illustrators who are often up against deadlines.  Cutting out the travel leaves more time for the works in progress.

I’ve been doing skype visits for a couple of years now, and I’m glad to share my experience.

Getting Skype Visits

Advertising for Skype visits is no different than for in-person visits. On my website I have a link with information on my school visits. It includes a description of my presentation, a short video of me presenting to a class, my fees, list of my titles, short bio,  feedback on my presentations and more. When a school contacts me, I also have a school visit PDF that includes all the relevant info plus references. A few years ago we added a blurb that I am now available for Skype visits as well. When I started doing Skype, I sent out an e-mail announcement to all my school contacts, teacher friends, and fans. A few years ago I’d also sent out a flyer to numerous schools within a 50 mile radius. The flyer had a brief bio, description of my presentation and contact info. I am also listed in Arts in Ed directories in several counties. Mostly, the schools find me either via my website or by word of mouth. Because my writing and illustrations (especially) are so time consuming, I can not do too many school visits. But that is a personal choice. Some authors do lots of school visits and I am sure they promote much more aggressively than I do.

Setting up the Session

I set up right in my studio which has good, glare-free northern light and overhead track lights.  My laptop will rest on a small table. I’ll have a stool to sit on and my materials (illustration samples, books I’ll be using etc.) will be within reach on top of my flat file cabinets on the left. To my right will be an easel with an 18x24 pad on which I’ll do drawing demonstrations. Behind me, a low bookshelf will showcase some of my books face out. It makes a nice backdrop.

Before doing my first school visit I did a test with my sister (in Poland!)  to make sure the light was good, that the books behind me were well arranged and that the easel was at the right height. When I first started I was worried that the class wouldn’t see me well, but I soon learned that the image I see of me in the little window on the bottom right in Skype is what they are seeing. I can tilt the computer screen to adjust the view as needed.

Makeup? Attire?

One of the advantages of a Skype visit is that I don’t have to fuss over my appearance. First of all, it’s never a crystal clear image-at least not on my end. I rarely wear make-up but I  will wash my hair and wear a nice, casual top for the session. It doesn’t matter what’s on my bottom half- clown pants or a tutu- they won’t see it :-)


I turn off the phone and leave a note on the front door. If it’s UPS or FedEx, they can drop off in our front foyer.  My big Mastiff, Jambo, might stay in my husband’s shop- but I have had requests from some schools that the kids wanted to see my pets, so in those cases I will leave him with me. Part of the attraction of Skype is seeing the author at home.

 Technical Problems

Sometimes there are technical problems - usually no sound. So far, the problems  were on the school’s end and were quickly fixed. A quick test Skype with the teacher ahead of time is always a good idea. I also do a test Skype with a friend or relative beforehand.

Sound can be a bit problematic. When the children join me in singing there is a slight delay. Also, I don’t always hear the children when they ask me questions; the teachers usually have to repeat them, and I can hear the teachers just fine. They say they can hear me very clearly, so I am glad about that.

My Presentation

My Skype presentations are the same as my in-person visits. I start off with a short intro, telling a little bit about me- how I was born in Poland and came to the U.S. when I was seven and went right into first grade not speaking any English, and then how my dream of making books for children came true. Then I sing/read one of my nursery rhyme books, and I’ll have the kids sing at least the first verse along with me. Then I will discuss the bookmaking process, talk a bit about getting ideas and turning them into stories, and then the many revisions that are needed. I will show samples of my storyboards, dummy sketches, color studies and final art. I will also show some of my rejected works- paintings I had started but wasn’t happy with. And I have some press sheets to show them so they can understand the printing process. After that I will do Q+A then go on to a drawing demonstration. I’ll choose a character from one of my books and have the kids think of some ideas of what the character could be doing and I will draw it for them. Then I’ll ask the kids to help me add details to the drawing and I will put them in. A typical scene might be a bear riding on a skateboard and juggling. For details they will ask me to put in the sun, birds, bunnies, flowers, ladybugs, etc. I love that! There are so many edgy books out there and it’s reassuring to me to know that kids are still charmed by the beauty and wonder of nature.

My books are ideal for preK to 1st grade, but I will also present to older kids. I will adjust my presentations- doing more singing and reading with the little ones and more bookmaking discussions with the older kids.


I charge $150 for a 45 minute to 1 hr session. My in-person visits are $250 per session plus travel expenses beyond 50 miles. I will do up to 4 presentations in one day. In both cases, the school will send me a check after the visit.

And that’s all there is to it! :-)

Thank you, Susanna, for featuring me. I hope this info is helpful to your many wonderful readers!

Thank YOU, Iza!  I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say it was very interesting and enlightening!

Iza is the author and illustrator of 20 lovely picture books for children, including Itsy Bitsy Spider (a favorite in our house), Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, The Bear Went Over The Mountain, Little Miss Muffet and many more. She is also the illustrator of 4 books written by other authors.

Teachers, you can learn all about Iza's school visits here:

and everyone - teachers, parents, readers, writers, homeschoolers, librarians, kids etc. - you can find Iza around the web here:

Like me on Facebook
Follow me on twitter

I hope you enjoyed learning about Skype visits (I know I did! :)) and if you have any questions, I think Iza will be happy to answer in the comments!

Have a marvelous Monday, everyone, and once again, Happy St. Patrick's Day! :)

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7. Halloween Skype Contest Finalists! Please Vote!

Wow, I was blown away by the creativity of the kids who entered my Halloween Skype monster contest! I asked them to draw the monster they’d like to purchase at The Monstore, and they came through with some very useful companions, just right for doing tricky things around the house. In fact, I’d like to borrow all of them!

It was tough to pick just five finalists, but here they are, in no particular order.

Please leave a comment voting for your favorite entry #. The monster with the most votes will win a Skype classroom visit with me on Halloween! 




I like how Ms. Go Eyes can dance with Julia whenever she pleases, plus this monster can reach high to get the most coveted snacks in the cabinet. Of course, Ms. Go Eyes loves THE MONSTORE book, too! Congratulations, Julia!




Well, Trash Monster can certainly find a welcomed place in my home. I like how neat and environmentally conscientious he is. And he’s so brightly colored, he’ll fit right in with my decor. Congratulations, Sierra!




Considering that October is National Bullying Prevention Month, I think everyone could use a friend like Bulleye right now. He’s so fierce-looking, he just has to stand there and bullies will steer clear. Congratulations, Nathan!




As Sparkles is already aware, we could all use a little more sparkle in our lives. Everything she touches glitters and shines. What a happy-making monster! Congratulations, Katie!



Ms. Brown’s class got very creative and used shapes to create their monsters. They even counted up all the shapes. I’m impressed! This monster’s needed in my house because my daughter does not like to eat meat. It merely touches her tongue and she spits it out.  What’s a mom to do? Maybe she will follow Daga’s example. Congratulations, Doanh! (And wow, what neat handwriting!)


Thank you to everyone who participated in the Skype monster contest. It was so difficult to choose the finalists because all the creations were terrific. I’m sincerely blown away by the creativity expressed in this exercise!

Kindly comment below with your # monster choice by SUNDAY, OCTOBER 27th and I will announce the winner on the 28th!


12 Comments on Halloween Skype Contest Finalists! Please Vote!, last added: 10/23/2013
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8. Win a Halloween Skype Author Visit! What Kind of Monster Would YOU Buy at THE MONSTORE?


In THE MONSTORE, Zack just wants to buy a monster to spook his pesky little sister, Gracie. (As you may know, things don’t work to plan.)


But when I do school visits, I’ve found that kids have all kinds of things they’d like a monster to do for them.

  • Shoot cupcakes from their feet.
  • Hide under their bed and scare away OTHER monsters.
  • Walk their pet pot-belly pig.
  • Eat clouds so it stops raining.
  • Reach the shelf where Mom keeps HER chocolate.

And even more outrageously clever tasks.

So here’s your child’s chance! What would THEIR monster do? What would it look like?

Print out this MONSTORE coloring page (courtesy of illustrator Wendy Martin) and then email me a pic of your child’s monsterly creation by October 7th. (My email button is in the top left column of this blog.)

I’ll pick 5 finalists and post them here, then you’ll have a week to vote for the winner.

Monstore-Draw-your-own-monster (1)

(Click on the image for larger version, mouse over for a + magnifying glass, click, then you can then print 8 1/2 x 11. Or, click here for a PDF: Monstore Draw Your Own Monster.)

The winner will earn their class a signed book and a SKYPE VISIT from me on HALLOWEEN(And if the child is homeschooled, I’ll Skype with them at home or anywhere they choose.)

The contest is open to kids through age 12. Whole classes can enter. If I had a lawyer, you might expect a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo to appear here. But I don’t. So there isn’t. (PHEW!)

Any questions? Ask away below.

Happy creating and I’ll hope to SEE YOU on HALLOWEEN!

6 Comments on Win a Halloween Skype Author Visit! What Kind of Monster Would YOU Buy at THE MONSTORE?, last added: 9/25/2013
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9. Rdio Brings Animation and Music Talent Together with “New Music Weekly”

New York-based production studio Blacklist has partnered with Rdio, Skype’s new music streaming service in a year-long campaign called New Music Weekly. Each Tuesday, the site will release a specially commissioned 15-second clip that brings together new music and original animation from emerging visual artists, designers and animators. At its best, particularly with the traditional work, the combination is refreshingly compelling, albiet annoyingly brief.

The first installment of the project, Gauntlet Hair’s track Human Nature visualized by UK design studio, ilovedust debuted at Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival. This was followed by pieces for Gogol Bordello (Lost Innocent World) and Michael Franti (I Don’t Wanna Go), designed by Blacklist directors, Holbrooks and Tendril, respectively.

While Rdio is responsible for the music selections, Blacklist is allowed input to ensure “a great audio visual sync,” says Adina Sales, Blacklist’s managing director, in an article on Creative Review. “The process has been very free and exciting, [and has allowed] directors and animators the chance to work largely unencumbered. They produce work that is indicative not only of their style but of their unique point of view.”

Other participating artists include the Paris-based design house Wizz and an upcoming contribution by Swedish production collective Upper First. The spots will appear on Rdio’s YouTube channel, digital banners and at music festivals.

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10. Free Skype Visits for Elementary School Classes!

monstorefrontcoverTo celebrate the release of my debut picture book THE MONSTORE on June 4th, I am offering free Skype visits with your class the week of June 10th. (Yes, I know school will be out for a lot of you, but I live in Jersey, where school drags on into summer.)

For the Skype visit I will:

  • Wear the pajamas of your class’s choice (Scottie Dog, Hot Cocoa, Conversation Hearts, Figure Skates)
  • Answer questions about the book/writing/spending the day in jammies
  • Play a trick on the class (with your help and a red delicious apple)
  • Saw a lady in half
  • Send your class a signed bookplate with limited edition “Grand Opening” MONSTORE sticker
  • Accomodate your ideas to fulfill a classroom initiative

Skype visits will take place from June 10th to June 14th and last 30 minutes.

Whoops, and I will not saw a lady in half. Sorry ’bout that one. I got carried away.

To set up the Skype visit, please email me at tarawrites (at) yahoo (dot) com with “Free Skype Visit” in the subject line. Please include the following details:

  • Class grade
  • Location
  • Three available days/times, listed in order of preference
  • Contact info

I will try my best to schedule everyone who requests a Skype visit, but please note if I cannot, you will be selected on a first come/first served basis. Also, for reading purposes it’s best if you have a copy of THE MONSTORE in your classroom, but it is not a requirement.

Let the Skyping begin!

9 Comments on Free Skype Visits for Elementary School Classes!, last added: 5/9/2013
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11. Authors Who Skype with Classes &#038; Book Clubs (for free!)


best tracker

Welcome to the Authors Who Skype with Classes & Book Clubs List!  I’m Kate Messner, the children’s author and educator who maintains this site.  I started it because I’ve found that virtual author visits are a great way to connect authors and readers, and I realize that many schools facing budget troubles don’t have the option of paid author visits. With that in mind, this is a list of authors who offer free 15-20-minute Q and A sessions with classes and book clubs that have finished reading one of their books. As an author, I offer free Skype chats for the following titles:

(Please check book release dates! Upcoming titles are also listed; Skype visits available upon book’s release!)

If you’re interested in booking a “virtual visit” with me, please visit my website or drop me an email (kmessner at katemessner dot com). 

How does a Skype virtual visit work?  Click here to read a blog entry about my students’ virtual visit with the fantastic Laurie Halse Anderson. It includes an overview of how a Skype chat with an author might work, as well as tips for teachers, librarians, & book club organizers to help your virtual visit run smoothly.  You can click here to read my first School Library Journal technology feature on Skype author visits, called “Met Any Good Authors Lately? Classroom Visits Can  Happen Via Skype” and this follow-up SLJ feature, “An Author in Every Classroom: Kids Connecting with Authors via Skype. It’s the next best thing to being there.”  There’s also an ever-growing list of authors who offer both free and paid Skype visits at the Skype An Author Network.

Important note for teachers & librarians: Please check with the author via email to be sure he or she still offers free Skype chats before you purchase books or make plans. (Some authors offer only a limited number of free Skype visits, and some who start out offering free visits begin to charge later on.  I don’t always get those updates right away.)  And authors…if you’re on this list but no longer offer free Skype visits, please let me know.

Authors Who Skype With Classes & Book Clubs (for free!)

The following authors offer free 15-20-minute Skype chats with book clubs and classes that have read one of their books! (Many also offer more in-depth virtual visits for a fee.) To arrange a virtual visit, check out the authors’ websites for book choices and contact information.  Then ask for their books at your favorite bookstore or visit IndieBound to find a store near you!

For Middle Grade Book Clubs (Ages 8-12)

Sarah Albee
R.J. Anderson
Hannah Barnaby
Dale Basye
Julie Berry
Helene Boudreau
Larry Dane Brimner
Christine Brodien-Jones
Susan Taylor Brown
Leslie Bulion
Stephanie Burgis
Dori Hillestad Butler
Jennifer Cervantes
Katie Davis
Kenneth C. Davis
Julia DeVillers
Erin Dionne
Bonnie Doerr
Gail Donovan
Kathleen Duble
Kathleen Duey
Sarah Beth Durst
Deva Fagan
Greg Fishbone
D. Dina Friedman
Dee Garretson
Donna Gephart
Mike Graf
Danette Haworth
Bridget Heos
Tess Hilmo
Sara Lewis Holmes
Jacqueline Houtman
Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Mark Jeffrey
Lynne Kelly
Derek Taylor Kent
Rose Kent
Morgan Keyes
Jo Knowles
Jane Kurtz
R.L. LaFevers
Irene Latham
Jessica Leader
Lindsey Leavitt
Debbie Levy
Cynthea Liu
C. Alexander London
Dayna Lorentz
Eric Luper
JoAnn Early Macken
Torrey Maldonado
Leslie Margolis
Nan Marino
Kate Messner
Rita Murphy
Richard Newsome
Jennifer Nielsen
Barbara O’Connor
Wendy Orr
Mitali Perkins
Erica Perl
Sarah Prineas
Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Yolanda Ridge
Karen Romano Young
Kurtis Scaletta


Augusta Scattergood


Laura Schaefer
Lisa Schroeder
Adam Selzer
Laurel Snyder
Margo Sorenson
Tricia Springtubb
Anna Staniszewski
Catherine Stine
Melissa Thomson
Jennifer Trafton
Anne Ursu
Greg van Eekhout
Cynthia Willis
Barry Wolverton
Tracie Vaughn Zimmer

For Teen Book Clubs
(Also check out the list of adult authors below; many also work with teens.)

R.J. Anderson
Ann Angel
Heidi Ayarbe
Kim Baccellia
Pam Bachorz
Cyn Balog
Tracey Baptiste
Lauren Bjorkman
Amy Brecount White
Sarah Rees Brennan
Larry Dane Brimner
Jessica Burkhart
Kay Cassidy
Angela Cerrito
Crissa-Jean Chappell
Ellen Dee Davidson
Kenneth C. Davis
Jaclyn Dolamore
Kathleen Duble
Kathleen Duey
Sarah Beth Durst
Debby Dahl Edwardson
Beth Fehlbaum
Megan Frazer
D. Dina Friedman
Margie Gelbwasser
David Macinnis Gill
Carla Gunn
Teri Hall
Brendan Halpin
S.A. Harazin
Sue Harrison
Cheryl Renee Herbsman
Jim C. Hines
Jennifer Hubbard
Jennifer Jabaley
Denise Jaden
Christine Johnson
Tara Kelly
James Kennedy
Jo Knowles
Daniel Kraus
Nina LaCour
Marie Lamba
Kristen Landon
Anita Liberty
Sarah Darer Littman
Cynthea Liu
Dayna Lorentz
Elisa Ludwig
Eric Luper
Sarah Maclean
Torrey Maldonado
Leslie Margolis
Peter Marino
Neesha Meminger
Marissa Meyer
Lynn Miller-Lachman
Megan Miranda
Saundra Mitchell
Mike Mullin
Greg Neri
Patricia Newman
Caragh O’Brien
Micol Ostow
Jackson Pearce
Mitali Perkins
Erica Perl
Amy Plum
Gae Polisner
Beth Revis
Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Lena Roy
Carrie Ryan
Peter Salomon
Sydney Salter
Lisa Schroeder
Inara Scott
Adam Selzer
Kristina Springer
Catherine Stine
Laurie Stolarz
Tiffany Trent
Melissa Walker
Elaine Wolf
Mary Rose Wood

For Adult Book Clubs
(Also check out the authors listed above; middle grade & teen novels can be great book club selections!)

Christa Allan
Charlene Ann Baumbich
Sandra Gulland
Carla Gunn
Sue Harrison
Sarah Maclean
Maryann McFadden
Kitty Morse
Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Kelly Simmons
Garth Stein
Gwendolyn Zepeda

Picture Book Clubs for Younger Readers  (4-8)

Marsha Diane Arnold
Mike Artell
Louise Borden
Larry Dane Brimner
Susan Taylor Brown
Leslie Bulion
Katie Davis
Elizabeth Dulemba
Kathy Duval
Sonia Clark Foster
Laurie Jacobs
Jane Kohuth
Jane Kurtz
Kara Lareau
Deb Lund
JoAnn Early Macken
Wendy Martin
Kate Messner
Jamie Michalak
Wendy Orr
Erica Perl
Jean Reidy
Barb Rosenstock
Michael Shoulders
Margo Sorenson
Jennifer Ward
Natasha Wing

If you’re an author of a traditionally published book who would like to be added, please email me (kmessner at katemessner dot com).  If you’re a publicist and would like to send a list of all your authors who Skype with book clubs, that’s fabulous, too.  Again…this is a list of authors who offer FREE 20-minute Skype chats with classrooms & book clubs that have read one of their books.

If you’re a bookseller or book club member, teacher, or librarian, thanks for stopping by – and feel free to comment with any questions!


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12. Ypulse Essentials: Teens And Video Chat, Bieber’s ‘Boyfriend’ Video Premieres Tonight, Advertising On Draw Something

We shouldn’t be surprised that 37% of teens video chat (with friends and family using Skype, iChat, and Googletalk, according to a new study. It seems like a lot of kids using the Jetson-age technology, but it makes sense with the ubiquity of... Read the rest of this post

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13. Happy April Fool’s Day: Recap Of The Web’s Best Jokes & Pranks

If you open up most calendars, you’re not likely to find April 1st listed as an official holiday, but that doesn’t stop most of the western world from celebrating it in one way or another. Though the true origins of the day remain... Read the rest of this post

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14. Coast to coast and back again

One day this week, I was visiting a school on the opposite coast. (They are on the West Coast. I am on the East Coast.)

Then I was at a school here in New England that made me feel so welcome. They posted this sign on every door and up and down the halls.

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15. Ypulse Essentials: Amazon’s Cloud, YouTube And Skype Go To School, Gaga Gets A Writing Gig

Amazon’s Cloud Player (attempts to solve an age-old problem digital music collectors have encountered — scattered files on various computers and digital devices — by allowing them to store their collections online. And of course, buying... Read the rest of this post

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16. Ypulse Essentials: GagaVille, 7.5 Million Tweens On Facebook, Microsoft Snags Skype

Zynga partners with Lady Gaga (for GagaVille, a neighboring farm to FarmVille. Is this also possibly the source of meat for her meat dress? The “farm” debuts on May 17 and features unicorns and sheep on motorcycles. Oh Gaga, now... Read the rest of this post

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17. Skype Tips

Tips for skype success

1. Determine your goal. Is it to try the new technology? Is it to have the children learn something specific?

2. Visit www.skype.com to download the software. Step-by-step help is available at www.skype.com/help/guides. Make sure your Skyping partner school does the same.

3. Locate or purchase the microphone, speakers (so the whole class can hear) or headset (if only one person needs to hear) and webcam (if desired). The Skype Web site has some for sale and offers guidelines on using your own equipment.

4. If available, consider using an interactive whiteboard, which allows the whole class to see the video conversation.

5. Practice grade-appropriate presentations, listening and etiquette skills with your students before your first session.

6. Prepare the children ahead of time. Ask them to come up with thoughtful questions.

7. Don’t Skype randomly. Start with something you are passionate about and find someone you can connect with through Skype. Your enthusiasm will inspire your students.

8. Visit your school’s librarian or technology person for resources, such as listings of people and schools interested in Skyping. Many school librarians have access to these.

9. Check out social networking sites such as Ning.com and classroom20.com. If you are pen pals with another school, ask them to consider Skyping with you.

10. Be sure to have parental permission to put students on camera.

11. Coordinate the best time to Skype, and take time differences into account.

12. Be patient. You will need to get used to the time lapse when a question is asked of someone thousands of miles away who must hear it, process it and then answer it.

Filed under: authors and illustrators, demystify, How to, Tips Tagged: Skype, Technology, Tips 1 Comments on Skype Tips, last added: 5/17/2011
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18. Tim Green…

is on Facebook!  Go over there and “like” him!

Interested in having Tim visit your school or library?  You can also stop by Tim’s website for information about Skype visits and in-person visits.  And check out our website for Tim where you can get discussion guides to use in your classroom.

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19. rgz Newsflash: Skype Authors announced on Cynsations

Shout out to Cynthia Leitich Smith for sharing about Skype Authors on Cynsations. You can read the full article here. I'm happy to be a part of this esteemed group making a difference to CAMFED and literacy in schools. Feel free to spread the news to all who might benefit. Thanks!

Here's a snippet from Cynsations:

Skype Authors connects noted children’s book authors to schools and book clubs while benefiting Camfed in 2011-2012.

Noted authors Suzanne WilliamsMartha BrockenbroughDia CalhounJanet Lee CareyMary CasanovaLorie Ann GroverJoan HolubDeb LundClaire Rudolf MurphyLisa L. Owens, and Trudi Trueit have launched Skype Authors, an author-visit-booking site that will aid schools, book clubs, and educational charities.
Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from each visit will benefit Camfed, an organization that educates girls in Africa.

I just love the children's book community. Don't you?

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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20. SCHOOL VISITS via Skype and a Webcam - Are they a GO?


If your school is a bit off the beaten track, or unable
to come up with big fees,
visit to meet the author.

I write books for kids (11pub so far), and I'm looking for
teachers or schools that would like a Skype/Webcam
visit from an author like me . . .

Margot Finke

An author who loves to get r
eluctant readers

With the economy in the dumps, and many schools feeling a definite pinch, I think author visits via Skype and a Webcam will fill a very definite need in an economical, as well as fun and informational way.


Just like my in-person school visits, I would talk about writing books, illustrating them, read one of my latest, and maybe run a short lesson on writing or rhyme.  I am happy to provide whatever the class curriculum needs. I will encourage the use of active and powerful words - of kids exercising and playing with their imagination. The idea is to paint instant word pictures in your reader's head. This brings the plot and the characters alive. 

Reading is a Magic Carpet Ride
to fun, adventure, and a chance for great educational
opportunities – all from the safety of your comfy chair. 
My collection of Australian aboriginal artifacts  – boomerangs, message sticks and bark paintings etc,  show well, and would be a hit with any class. And answering children’s questions is always a highlight of any school visit of mine.

I would also love to give the class, or any child that wants one, a FREE copy of my short time-travel (PDF) adventure. Synopsis:  When a magical Boab tree sends Taconi spinning into the 21st century, Ruthie and Horatio (characters from 2 other books of mine) help Taconi and Claude find their way back to the 1950s where they belong. 

My two latest books are:

Taconi and Claude – Double Trouble.
2 Comments on SCHOOL VISITS via Skype and a Webcam - Are they a GO?, last added: 9/21/2011
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21. Chat with me!

There's a 15 minute chat with me up for grabs! Click here for deets! :)

Last time, I talked to Team Canterwood member Lauren for half an hour because we were having so much fun. I'd LOVE to talk to another TC member!


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22. Making a big world smaller

Tonight I am Skyping with the International School in Bangkok, Thailand.

Isn't it amazing to be talking to students in another part of the world while sitting at home in my jammies? (Okay, I might not have my jammies on.)

Here is the librarian's blog.

And this is what the teacher wrote to me:

Here is some background info about our class and our reading of Greetings From Nowhere:

Our class of 21 fifth graders represents 8 nationalities. Eight children are new to our school this year in Bangkok. I chose to read Greetings From Nowhere aloud to the class as it is such a great lead-in to our reading unit on "Characters", where we ask the question, "How can the people in stories be like me?"

We are discovering that characters, like real people, are complex and can change. As readers, we are talking about how we develop empathy for and connections to the characters in the story.

The class LOVED the story, start to finish, and they were quite disappointed to find out that it was NOT part of a series!
I am continually amazed at how my groups of internationally diverse students relate to the small world of the Sleepy Time Motel.

I think they have discovered big life lessons in that small world. One boy said last week, "I can make a connection with Aggie, because I know that it is painful to leave a home that is familiar."

I love that!!

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23. Introducing VIRTUAL SCHOOL VISITS - Skyping to promote READING

Coming soon . . .
Margot Finke 
At my writing desk, holding "Taconi and Claude,"
my latest mid-grade adventure or boys - and tomboys!

Skype Makes it Happen!
This is for the teachers - or those who know teachers:
I am looking for teachers, or schools, that would like a
from a children's author who loves to get
With the economy in the dumps, and many schools feeling a definite pinch, Skype and a Webcam make sense.  And I promise your class AFFORDABLE and INFORMATIVE fun.

I am also more than happy to plan my presentation
so that it fits the needs of YOUR class's curriculum.

Let’s negotiate a

 Go here for ALL the details


Margot’s Magic Carpet

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24. Travelling in my slippers

I've been doing quite a few Skype visits with schools recently.

It still seems amazing to me that I can chat with kids in faraway places right from my home.

I didn't even have to change out of my slippers to visit Georgia:

Or Texas:

Or Thailand:

2 Comments on Travelling in my slippers, last added: 10/18/2011
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25. Ypulse Essentials: McTV, Hispanic Millennials Are Important To Advertisers, Facebook Vs. Google+ (Again)

Do you want TV, er, fries with that? (McDonald’s is launching an in-store channel that will feature local news, movie trailers, music news, personal interest stories, and more. With families congregating around TVs even at dinner time, we... Read the rest of this post

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