In tight economic times, raising funds for an author visit can be a daunting task. It could take years of Book Fairs to save enough money to have a really popular and well-known author. This is where technology can really come to our rescue. The web offers a couple of options for cash-strapped librarians who want to connect kids with authors.
Skype an Author Network – If you’ve watched The Oprah Winfrey Show in the past year or so, you have seen Skype in action. Skype is free software that you can download to your computer and use to make free video calls to anyone else in the world who also has Skype. The Skype an Author Network is growing a list of authors who will do FREE (15-20 minutes) video chats with students. Longer in-depth visits are also available for a low cost fee. Read more about how the Network started in Joyce Valenza’s post about the site.
Teachingbooks.net – Librarians in MISD have another option for exposing students to the authors whose books they are reading. Teachingbooks.net is a subscription service that is available to all MISD teachers and students at school and at home. This fabulous resource offers original movies that allow students to see and hear award-winning writers and illustrators at work in their studios. Although these presentations aren’t interactive like a virtual visit would be, students can learn writing tips directly from their favorite author.
I’m sure there are other ways that librarians are using technology to promote literature and writing. Leave yours in the comments!
Image citation: Brainstorming. Uploaded on July 1, 2007 by MikeOliveri.
The librarians at Mesquite High School hosted author Susan Campbell Bartoletti on their campus last week. Susan spoke about doing research, writing and publishing to selected classes in the school’s auditorium.
Susan is an award-winning author of all types of books for children and young adults. A tenacious researcher, Susan described the process she uses for writing non-fiction for young adults and told some of the fascinating topics about which she has written: coal mining in Pennsylvania at the turn of the century, labor strikes led by young people before the advent of child labor laws, the Irish potato famine in the 1840s, and the Hitler Youth in Nazi Germany.
Her book about the Hitler Youth movement was awarded Newbery Honor and a Sibert Medals and has now been translated into German for inclusion into the German history curriculum.
Susan described how her non-fiction writing often flows into fiction. After she has researched and written about a topic, she often continues exploring the topic through a fictional story. Most of her non-fiction books have a corresponding fiction book. Susan also described how she uses the same story elements commonly used in fiction (setting, character, plot) to make her non-fiction come alive. She stressed, however, that any dialog used in non-fiction must be found in primary sources!
Susan’s latest published book is The Boy Who Dared, a novel based on the true story of a boy who stood up to the Nazis. A non-fiction book on the Ku Klux Klan has just been completed and turned in to the publisher.
The MHS students at the session I attended were a great audience and asked some really good questions. Many purchased books to have signed by the author.
Thanks to the MHS librarians for arranging a great author visit!
One of our fabulous librarians alerted me to the news that Dallas is one of the scheduled stops on Jan Brett’s Fall tour. This tour is to introduce her new book, Gingerbread Friends. At each stop, they are doing a “party.” Her web site says that tickets are free, but limited, so you may want to call the book store and find out when they will be available. The Dallas party will be at the Borders on Preston Rd. on Thursday, November 6. Mark your calendars – sounds like a lot of fun!