I make school visits
both to discuss any of the subjects I have researched (including mummies) and to
encourage children to read and write more. I am happy to tailor a presentation
for any group of students, adults, or educators. My talks are appropriate for children
in third grade and older.
I am located in
the United States, but I make international visits as well. I charge a daily
honorarium and travel expenses from my home in Arizona. If you are
interested in exploring this possibility, please e-mail me.
Goals of my
To encourage children to be interested in the past
and to motivate them to research, read, and write about subjects that interest
them. To show that research is fascinating and that writing is fun. To
encourage children to write their own stories. To motivate children to research
topics that interest them.
My presentations include:
I introduce students to the Iceman, showing them how
he was discovered in the remains of a melting glacier and the
fascinating objects and clothing that accompanied him. I explain
how scientists eventually uncovered the cause of his death. I
compare the archaeological discovery of the Iceman to other
finds in melting glaciers. My PowerPoint includes many rare
images that I located when researching my book, Bodies
from the Ice.
mummies. I take the audience on a 3000-year tour
of mummification, showing how mummies (and their coffins and
their canopic jars) changed over that period of time. I have
approximately 70 images from museums around the world that
illustrate this evolution.
people. I define what
a bog is, explain its "birth" and development, and
discusses how and why early European people placed objects and
bodies in bogs (and other watery places). I show about 40
images, including many rare images that I
discovered during his research for Bodies
from the Bog.
what life was like in Pompeii before the famous eruption of AD
79. I describe the eruption of Vesuvius and its effect on the
towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. I explain what happened to
Pompeii afterwards and why it remained buried for 1700 years. I
describe how Pompeii was accidentally uncovered and the types of
objects and remains that were found there. I explain how the
rediscovery of Pompeii has enabled scientists and historians to
understand better what life was like in ancient Rome times. My
PowerPoint presentation includes many rare images that I
discovered in the photographic archive at Pompeii during my
research for the award-winning Bodies
from the Ash.
As children's author, I give a variety of
other talks. These include:
briefly introduce some of the books I've written and discuss how I get my ideas.
I tell children the story of how I became a writer in the fifth grade. Using
PowerPoint (if a projector is available), I talk about the research I do in
writing a book. Sometimes I use images related to my books How
to Make a Mummy Talk, Bodies
from the Bog, or Bodies
from the Ash to help students understand the work involved (and the
pleasures of research). I conclude by discussing the art of writing. If there is
time, I may read a small portion of my novel The
Very Real Ghost Book of Christina Rose or The
Mystery Club of Luna Drive. I always allow time for children to ask
questions at the end of my presentation.
Any of the
topics I've written about. These range from
the Revolutionary War, the
Mexican-American War, the
Vikings, Zachary Taylor,
Millard Fillmore to UFOs,
ESP, and buried
treasure. This type of presentation works well with interested students of
publication process. I describe the formation of an idea through
research, writing, revision, manuscript preparation, galleys, dummies, etc. I
bring examples of each step. This presentation is best for smaller groups.
Presentations: A full day visit includes
up to four presentations. Each presentation can be different depending upon your
needs. I am also happy to give an extra presentation to teachers or parents,
before or after school.
And I am always willing to eat
lunch (or share a snack) with students (sometimes this is a select group of
student writers or simply students who are interested in meeting an author and
sometimes students who have won some type of contest). Use your imagination and
dream up an activity; I have done "Donuts with Deem," pizza
parties...whatever it takes to give kids a memorable day.
I do not schedule half day visits
(one or two presentations) except in my local area (Tucson, Arizona).
Audience: As a former
college professor who taught reading, writing, and study skills, I am
comfortable speaking to any size group. However, smaller groups will
probably benefit a little more from a presentation.
Preparation: Children who know about me
or my books ahead of time will get much more out of the presentation. Students
who have read one of my books will benefit the most.
To help prepare students for a
visit, I have posted two scavenger hunts. One is a website
hunt; the other is a catalog
hunt. Both may be used as is, or revised to better suit your purposes. At
Lounsberry Hollow Middle School, students who had the most correct answers were given an
autographed copy of one of my books.
guides to help teachers introduce my nonfiction books are available. I'm
happy to provide any other information that will help teachers or students get
to know me in advance; just let me know what you need.
the end of my presentation, I share my website address with children and ask
them to visit it and, if they wish, write me.
As you can see, my website has
many things for children to read and think about, to reinforce my message about
reading and writing. I also take a camera to my presentations. If possible, I
post a few photos to my website (hopefully by the next day) as well as a letter
to the children. This, I hope, keeps the experience fresh in children's minds.
I charge a set fee for a
full-day's visit, plus travel expenses. I always reduce the
fee for multiple day visits and share travel expenses among schools. If you have
a tight budget or other special circumstances, don't hesitate to ask.
E-mail me for information about rates and availability.