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Don’t you love it when authors share their secrets on what makes their workshops and presentations a success? I’m not talking about the ‘m’ word (money), although that’s a handy by-product – I’m talking about being so prepared and organised that absolutely nothing can go wrong. That’s what you call success! Let’s find out how talented and accomplished author, Teena Raffa-Mulligan ensures everything she needs is all but a suitcase in hand. Thanks for sharing, Teena! 🙂
Tradies have their tool kits. I have my author visit kit. It’s always packed and ready to go in a wheelie case tucked under one of the desks in my office. Of course there will be additions and subtractions according to individual bookings but the basics remain the same.
Let’s take a peek…
✔ Two notebooks. One is pocket size to show I can take it out and about with me in case I have a story idea. The other was a long ago gift that is now not in the best of shape. It gets brought out to show kids original drafts of several of my published picture books so they can see how messy they were before I prepared them for submission to publishers.
✔ A pen, because what use is a notebook without something to write in it? Also essential to respond to the inevitable autograph requests at the end of a session.
✔ My first published picture book that brought me five minutes of fame when it was released, due to the stranger danger topic. Even 12 year olds ask me to read them You Don’t Know Me? – a rhyming story about an elephant and a tiger.
✔ My picture book Big Nanna Little Nanna. Although long out of print, I use it as an example of how I used my own childhood experience to create a story that is almost all true.
✔ My picture book Grandpa Goes to Mars. It is also out of print, but provides an excellent lead in to the message that we can do all sorts of things when we follow our dream.
✔ A selection of finger puppets to create a group story with K and PP classes.
✔ My heart-shaped Box of Treasurers that contains a selection of small objects to inspire stories and poems.
✔ A book-shaped box filled with fabrics, ribbons, laces, a mask, feathers, photos, cards and magazine pictures to stimulate imagination during creative writing sessions. I also have a selection of story beginnings and endings, interesting adjectives, random words cut from newspapers/magazines and a set of story cubes my teacher daughter gave me as a birthday gift.
✔ White board markers for a group writing exercise to create several characters and come up with ideas for what could happen to them in a story.
✔ A folder that shows the stages of a picture book from early scribbles to typed publisher submission, illustrator story board and final publication.
✔ A thumb drive with my various Power Point presentations, plus a range of colouring sheets and activities I can copy for teachers to use after I leave.
✔ Throat lozenges. Talking all day can take its toll!
✔ A selection of my published titles.
✔ A few School Magazine editions featuring my short stories and poems.
Three more essentials that can’t be packed ready to go but always accompany me on every author visit are enthusiasm, a lifelong love for story telling in all its forms, and a passion to share both with people of all ages and encourage them to write their own stories.
And there you have it – an author visit kit that even if nothing goes according to plan, I will be present, willing and able to do my best to inspire young listeners.
Article by Teena Raffa-Mulligan
Teena Raffa-Mulligan has been having fun with words for as long as she can remember. She is the author of more than 20 books for children and has been presenting author sessions to encourage children to write their own stories since the 1982 release of her first picture book, as stranger danger story called You Don’t Know Me? Teena’s latest picture book, You Can Be A Writer, is based around one of her most popular sessions and offers a simple step-by-step process for young readers to become writers.
You Can Be A Writer is available from Amazon and other online retailers or directly from the publisher by emailing email@example.com
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