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To 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:
- Read THE MONSTORE
- 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
- 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!
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!)
Sarah AlbeeR.J. AndersonHannah BarnabyDale BasyeJulie BerryHelene BoudreauLarry Dane BrimnerChristine Brodien-JonesSusan Taylor BrownLeslie BulionStephanie BurgisDori Hillestad ButlerJennifer CervantesKatie DavisKenneth C. DavisJulia DeVillersErin DionneBonnie DoerrGail DonovanKathleen DubleKathleen DueySarah Beth DurstDeva FaganGreg FishboneD. Dina FriedmanDee GarretsonDonna GephartMike GrafDanette HaworthBridget HeosTess Hilmo
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)
Sara Lewis HolmesJacqueline HoutmanLynda Mullaly HuntMark JeffreyLynne KellyDerek Taylor KentRose KentMorgan KeyesJo KnowlesJane KurtzR.L. LaFeversIrene LathamJessica LeaderLindsey LeavittDebbie LevyCynthea LiuC. Alexander LondonDayna LorentzEric LuperJoAnn Early MackenTorrey MaldonadoLeslie MargolisNan MarinoKate MessnerRita MurphyRichard NewsomeJennifer NielsenBarbara O’ConnorWendy OrrMitali PerkinsErica PerlSarah PrineasOlugbemisola Rhuday-PerkovichYolanda RidgeKaren Romano YoungKurtis Scaletta
Laura SchaeferLisa SchroederAdam SelzerLaurel SnyderMargo SorensonTricia SpringtubbAnna StaniszewskiCatherine StineMelissa ThomsonJennifer TraftonAnne UrsuGreg van EekhoutCynthia WillisBarry WolvertonTracie Vaughn Zimmer
For Teen Book Clubs
R.J. AndersonAnn AngelHeidi AyarbeKim BaccelliaPam BachorzCyn BalogTracey BaptisteLauren BjorkmanAmy Brecount WhiteSarah Rees BrennanLarry Dane BrimnerJessica BurkhartKay CassidyAngela CerritoCrissa-Jean ChappellEllen Dee DavidsonKenneth C. DavisJaclyn DolamoreKathleen DubleKathleen DueySarah Beth DurstDebby Dahl EdwardsonBeth FehlbaumMegan FrazerD. Dina FriedmanMargie GelbwasserDavid Macinnis GillCarla GunnTeri HallBrendan HalpinS.A. HarazinSue HarrisonCheryl Renee HerbsmanJim C. HinesJennifer HubbardJennifer JabaleyDenise JadenChristine JohnsonTara KellyJames KennedyJo KnowlesDaniel KrausNina LaCourMarie LambaKristen LandonAnita LibertySarah Darer LittmanCynthea LiuDayna LorentzElisa LudwigEric LuperSarah MacleanTorrey MaldonadoLeslie MargolisPeter MarinoNeesha MemingerMarissa MeyerLynn Miller-LachmanMegan MirandaSaundra MitchellMike MullinGreg NeriPatricia NewmanCaragh O’BrienMicol OstowJackson PearceMitali PerkinsErica PerlAmy PlumGae PolisnerBeth RevisOlugbemisola Rhuday-PerkovichLena RoyCarrie RyanPeter SalomonSydney SalterLisa SchroederInara ScottAdam SelzerKristina SpringerCatherine StineLaurie StolarzTiffany TrentMelissa WalkerElaine WolfMary Rose Wood
(Also check out the list of adult authors below; many also work with teens.)
Christa AllanCharlene Ann BaumbichSandra GullandCarla GunnSue HarrisonSarah MacleanMaryann McFaddenKitty MorseOlugbemisola Rhuday-PerkovichKelly SimmonsGarth SteinGwendolyn Zepeda
For Adult Book Clubs
(Also check out the authors listed above; middle grade & teen novels can be great book club selections!)
Picture Book Clubs for Younger Readers (4-8)
Marsha Diane ArnoldMike ArtellLouise BordenLarry Dane BrimnerSusan Taylor BrownLeslie BulionKatie DavisElizabeth DulembaKathy DuvalSonia Clark FosterLaurie JacobsJane KohuthJane KurtzKara LareauDeb LundJoAnn Early MackenWendy MartinKate MessnerJamie MichalakWendy OrrErica PerlJean ReidyBarb RosenstockMichael ShouldersMargo SorensonJennifer WardNatasha 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!
By: Anastasia Goodstein,
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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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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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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
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.
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, last added: 5/17/2011
…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.
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 Williams, Martha Brockenbrough, Dia Calhoun, Janet Lee Carey, Mary Casanova, Lorie Ann Grover, Joan Holub, Deb Lund, Claire Rudolf Murphy, Lisa 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?
AINT NEW TECHNOLOGY AWESOME.
If your school is a bit off the beaten track, or unable
to come up with big fees, Try a SKYPE-WEBCAM
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 . . .
An author who loves to get reluctant readers
HOOKED on READING.
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.
HERE'S MY PLAN
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.
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!
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!!
Coming soon . . .
At my writing desk, holding "Taconi and Claude,"
my latest mid-grade adventure or boys - and tomboys!
VIRTUAL SCHOOL VISITS –
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
RELUCTANT READERS READING.
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
VIRTUAL SCHOOL VISIT
Go here for ALL the details
Margot’s Magic Carpet
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:
Tips for Skype Author Visit: Be Prepared
Before I did my first Skype Author Visit today, with a school in Arlington, VA, I went through several fine-tunings of my setup. These are all small tweaks, but I felt like they were important to let me relax and enjoy the presentation.
Turn Your Office into a Video Studio
Lighting. My office is a dark attic, perfect for writing, but not good at all for a video studio. Looking around for tutorials on lighting for video shoots, I saw that it was important to have three types of lights.
Main light at about 2 o’clock to light one side of the face. It needs to be strong enough to light up your face without glare. Because I have an attic office, I just use a shop light and bounce it off the nearby ceiling.
The main light is about 2 o'clock from my face, bouncing off the ceiling.
Second, you need a bounce lighting
or a smaller light that adds shadows and depth to the opposite cheek. I just used a piece of foam core.
The secondary light just bounced light onto the opposite cheek.
My normal overhead lighting is pretty high because of the attic space, so it worked as a great back-light
on the top of my head; this light is important because it will separate you from the background better. Some tutorials recommended 3x or 4 x the normal lighting.
Camera. With the lights in place check the camera settings.
- Tilt. Is it capturing your full face? I also position the screen showing small shot of myself as near the camera as possible, so I am mostly looking at the camera.
- Reverse Image. I also found it better to reverse or flip the image that I’m seeing of myself. That way, if I reach up to touch my hair, it looks right to me.
- Zoom. Zoom in or out until you get a shoulder shot. I like it zoomed out enough so you can easily see my gestures, because I talk a lot with my hands. It also gives a small window into my office and sometimes, I got questions about my unabridged dictionary which is on a book shelf behind me.
- Color balance.
- Set the white balance first.
Click on Auto-focus on the white balance. Hold your foam core or other white object about where you’ll be seated. Let the auto-settings work. Then, click OFF the auto-focus, forcing it to stay at that setting. My office has windows, so I do this check each time I do a video, to allow for differences in light coming from the windows.
- Then set brightness, contrast and color balance to your liking. I like to balance the color closer to the b/w side, so it’s not glaring.
Turn Yourself into a Movie Star
Make-up. With 3-4x the light, you’ll need makeup. I’m a m
Author, Darcy Pattison has posted a list of 24 Tips & Settings for Skype Author Visits at her blog, Fiction Notes. Most districts have this capability now.
Her tips are WELL WORTH your time. She is so smart to consider lighting, appearance, props and the setting in general. Especially important... is her tip to LOOK AT THE CAMERA not the computer screen.
These tips are excellent for anyone making use of this technology in any capacity. Go read it now.
By: Anastasia Goodstein,
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I'm offering a free Skype with any classroom who wants to learn more about my new book, How to Raise a Dinosaur, and talk with me, the author! So if you're a teacher, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or pass this post onto a teacher who might be interested.
I love doing Skype visits - they're so easy, and free! And I'm excited about my new book, so I'd be happy to chat with students about where I got the idea for the book, and the writing of it. I'm open to answering their questions, too.
So pass it on!
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Slowpoke has gotten a couple more positive reviews, from Booklist :
“Pearce’s succinct text will amuse emerging readers with her only slightly exaggerated references to the hectic pace of modern life. Ritchie’s fluid, cartoon-style illustrations are equally adept at conveying the story’s speedy absurdities…and its more relaxing moments”
and from School Library Journal (scroll down after clicking on the link).
Also, I just found out that Slowpoke now has an Accelerated Reader test (you have to enter the title into the search feature to see it).
Last week, I did a Skype author chat with Carver Elementary School in Florence, SC. It was really fun. The students are third-graders and had all read Slowpoke ahead of time. Their teachers helped them compile questions about the writing process. I missed being able to interact in person with the kids, but it was a good experience. The learning goes both ways with these kinds of things, and it’s always great to hear from readers. I’d like to do more of them in the future. For tips on hosting a Skype author chat, check out this article. If your school wants to host me, please contact bettyasmith (at) bellsouth (dot) net and put “author visit” in the subject line.
The picture above is me on the big screen in Carver’s library. Special thanks to librarian Debra Heimbrook for working with me on this inaugural Skype chat.
My Skype visit with the terrific students of Martin J. Gottlieb Day School in Jacksonville, Florida.
Barbara O'Connor Skypes With 4th Grade from MJGDS Classrooms on Vimeo.
Welcome to the last day of Teens & Tech. I hope you enjoyed it. Sorry for the delay in getting this last post up. I was having, of all things, technology issues. Today’s topic was suggested by the Tech Integrator at my school, Allison Lundquist.
Thank you for all of the great suggestions. Here’s my problem. I’m totally blocked. I want to share awesome YouTube videos with my teachers, but YouTube is blocked. I want to create a Facebook page for my library, but Facebook is banned, too. Skype-An-Author? I’d love to, but Skype is verboten. How do I get around these filtering issues?
All Blocked Up
I feel your pain, I really do. Nothing is worse than seeing that SonicWall come up to stop you in your tracks.
Really this is an issue of intellectual freedom, the same as a book challenge. If we feel that a site has merit, we need to fight for it. The ALA office of Intellectual Freedom has a very useful page about filters and filtering.
Getting access to these sites may be a long, uphill battle. In the meantime, there are work-arounds. For example, at my school we’ve convinced the tech folks and administration of the educational value of Skype. So, if a teacher wants to Skype an author or another expert, the service can be unblocked from a given computer for a set period of time.
Richard Byrne of Free Technology for Teachers recently offered 47 Alternatives to Using YouTube in the Classroom. This is a list of 47 other sites for free online video content: a really great resource.
For Social Networking, Edmodo is a “free and secure social learning network for teachers, students and schools.” The challenge is getting students to use it.
So, YALSA readers, one last time, share your expertise and let us all know how you work around restrictive filtering.
Julie and Henry have taken off to visit Ottawa for a week leaving me here to wallow in loneliness and despair. OK, I'm totally exaggerating. I have a lot of work to do as well as a pile of books to read. I saved the Everyman's Library collection of Ray Bradbury short stories
as well as the Hammer Story
for when their gone.I'm actually kind of envious. Ottawa is an amazing city and along with New York, Quebec City and Florence it's one of my favorite cities, of the ones I've been to. It's a beautiful city, drop by if you ever have the opportunity. I love cities situated on a river.I'm desperate to get the wireless working in my studio again so I can talk to them on skype. My studio is like the furthest tower in a rickety old castle and my connection fades in and out, mostly out.
My wife says this picture looks more like me than any other self portrait I've done. I think she's right.
Teachers, in case you're looking for ways to introduce your students to authors, but your school doesn't have the budget, why not Skpye one for free?
Here's a blog that list authors who will present for up to 20 minutes free to various age groups, in exchange for reading their books. (I'm the very last author listed, so keep on scrollin'.) For my Skype visits I can also offer signed books delivered to your school for free shipping. Such a deal!
So please pass this valuable list on to your fellow teachers, and then give an author a call.
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
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