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COVID-19 has forced a change in learning environments. If you are a classroom or library educator, thank you for your willingness to rapidly adjust to new online formats. As an author, I’m changing, too, by revamping my presentations for online audiences. If you are interested in an online author visit for your school or homeschooling group, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or click the contact button for special rates.
School Visits and Workshops
If I’m already scheduled to speak at your school or event, the following resources are especially for you:
Pre-formatted book order form
You may pre-purchase books from any local or online retailer or from my publishers listed here:
* King of the Tightrope: When the Great Blondin Ruled Niagara—https://peachtree-online.com/how-to-order/
* Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words—https://peachtree-online.com/how-to-order/
* Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness—https://www.leeandlow.com/contact/ordering
*Expanded content about King of the Tightrope: When the Great Blondin Ruled Niagara
* Curriculum guide for King of the Tightrope
* Curriculum guide for Step Right Up
* Expanded content about Step Right Up
* Curriculum guide for Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words
* Expanded content for Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words to spark classroom discussions (timeline, full bibliography, and articles about dueling, the gentlemen’s code of honor, Bloody Island, etc.)
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For more about what I can offer, read on:
I love talking to students and other writers about my books and the writing process. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com
General Presentation for Students:
One Word at a Time—Demystifying the Writing Process. (45-60 minutes for grades 3-5. Simplified 35-minute version available for grades K-2)
Like any goal or dream, writing begins with an idea, curiosity, and determination. In this interactive presentation, with a game-like element, Donna combines the themes of all of her books to reveal how her own research and writing process echoes what young writers are learning in classrooms, thereby offering specific curriculum connections. Students will be inspired by the idea that nobody is perfect, but we can accomplish almost anything, one patient step (or word) at a time. The visual presentation includes a PowerPoint to show sloppy first drafts, giggle-worthy inspiration, and photos from research journeys. On-hand primary sources and artifacts add a bonus wow factor to get kids fired up about research.
What You Can Imagine Can be Achieved: A STEAM-infused, interactive presentation (45-60 minutes for grades 2-5. Simplified version available for K-2)
Using King of the Tightrope: When the Great Blondin Ruled Niagara (Peachtree, October 2019), we will explore the simple engineering process that allowed Blondin’s tightrope dream to come true, and we’ll explore the related STEM concepts, like balance, that we use every day. Interwoven challenge questions and visuals about the writing and research process directly connect to classroom curriculum. The inclusion of artifacts and research material add “cool” factor.
One Person Can Make a Difference/Kindness Can Change the World (45-60 minutes for grades 3-5. Simplified version available for K-2)
Using Step Right Up as a focal point, this presentation expands the story of Doc and Jim and sparks conversations about how one person can make a profound difference—often with simple acts of kindness. Students will learn about the personal connection that inspired the author to tell Doc and Jim’s story, the long and winding research journey, and the write, rewrite, revise, rinse-and-repeat process. Interwoven challenge questions and visuals about the writing and research process add an interactive element and connect to classroom curriculum. Artifacts and research material add “cool” factor. At the conclusion of this presentation, students will take the Step Right Up Kindness Pledge, downloadable in color or black and white.
Words Matter & Character Matters (45-60 minutes for grades 2-5. Simplified version available for K-2)
With a focus on Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words, expanded content about the historical events surrounding Lincoln’s little-known duel will be shared, along with an age-appropriate conversation about political mudslinging, bullying, character, integrity, and the power of words. Ultimately, we reveal how nobody is perfect—not even Honest Abe. As Abraham Lincoln learned, how we respond to our mistakes and mis-steps defines our character. Students will learn about the spark of inspiration for the author, the long and winding research journey, and the write, rewrite, revise, rinse-and-repeat process. Interwoven challenge questions and visuals about the writing and research process add an interactive element and connect to classroom curriculum. Artifacts and research material add “cool” factor. (45-60 minutes for grades 3-5. A simplified version that focuses on character traits is available for grades K-2—30-40-minutes)
Custom Presentations for Your Audience
I would be happy to customize a presentation for your specific audience. Do your students need help with a particular concept or topic? Let me help you with that.
Research—Part time-travel, Part Scavenger Hunt: (45-60 minutes for grades 3-5. Simplified and shorter version available for K-2)
Research begins with an idea—a spark of inspiration. Bringing that idea to life requires a wide and creative search for facts and details—a search that goes far beyond the internet and requires careful organization. In this presentation, I will discuss the importance of finding a focus, plus I’ll share the question-answer-question process and the differences between primary and secondary sources, as well as credible sources. Students are encouraged to arrive at this presentation with a topic in mind for their own writing. When possible, I will bring artifacts and one of my mega-binders of research to illustrate the range of
Workshops are ideal for grades 3-5 and last ~60-minutes. They require smaller groups of ~50 students who each bring paper and a pencil. We will look deeper at the chosen topic, I will model examples, then the students will do their own writing.
- Expanding Moments into Scenes
- Adding Voice to Writing
- Expository or Narrative Nonfiction
- Writing Biography
- From Idea to Story
- Custom Workshop
Are your students needing help with a specific writing-related topic? Let me know and I’ll build a hands-on writing workshop specifically for your school.
**Limited number of Skype Visits Available. I offer a free 15-minute Skype visit if your class would like a Q&A session about my books. If you would like a full author visit via Skype, contact me for rates.
2019-20 Speaker Fees:
I always strive to be affordable for all budgets. For a limited time, in honor of newly-released King of the Tightrope, I’m offering discounts. I hope you’ll take advantage.
Within the Austin metro area:
* $1,000 for a full day (3 presentations plus optional lunch or book talk with students or teachers)
* $700 for a half day (2 presentations)
For visits that require an overnight stay:
* $1,200 for a full day (3 presentations plus optional lunch or book talk with teachers or students)
(If three or more schools book visits on consecutive days, I will reduce my rate to the local $1,000 rate.)
* $900 for a half day (2 presentations)
* Plus mileage and lodging expenses
For Grown-up Writers and Professional Development:
I love speaking about a wide variety of craft and business topics with writers, teachers, and librarians. By sharing information, we help each other reach our unified goal—to inspire young readers and writers.
Recent presentations I have given include: Using Mentor Texts for Young and Adult Writers; The Nitty Gritty of Queries, Cover Letters, and Synopsis; The Financial Realities of Publishing, and Not Just the Facts, Ma’am: The Duel Benefits of Creative Picture Book Biographies and the Often Blurry Nonfiction Line, described as follows: The current trend toward more creative approaches in picture book biographies is great news for today’s drama-focused young readers and educators alike. A biography with a tightly focused angle, presented through unique storytelling, literary devices, and story structures, can turn an informational subject into story time fare and a conversation about literary variety. Authors balance the role of historian and storyteller by using fiction techniques to stitch carefully-chosen facts into narrative form—while not making anything up—usually. Drawing on my critical thesis research and my own experiences along the publishing journey, I will present a handful of the creative techniques that successfully offer this dual opportunity; how those approaches and any embellishments can blur the nonfiction line; and how publishers, awards committees, and the Library of Congress feel about pushing the boundaries.
“Ms. Bowman was an absolute joy and amazing experience for our students. She made the writing process sound fun and interesting for our students. I am so glad she came and would love her to come back about her new book.” —Christine Jackson, Voigt Elementary School
“This is one of the best author visits I’ve had.” — Jenny Day, Lee Elementary
“Ms. Bowman’s performance was wonderful! The students were engaged and interested in what she presented. Staff and students alike gave compliments about her presentation and her featured books.” –Cindy Drake, Brookhollow Elem.
“I am so glad Ms. Bowman was able to speak to our campus. Her presentation was entertaining, informative, and engaging. From kindergarten through fifth grade, the students were enthralled. She went into detail with the older grades about researching, writing, and revising. To hear a professional writer talk about the importance of revision was invaluable for students. In addition, her message about kindness was wonderful to hear. Thank you, Ms. Bowman, for spending your day with us. We can’t wait to have you back.” —Susan VanDeWater, Wieland Elementary School librarian
“During our Writer’s Workshop, Donna shared the authentic process of writing her stories…the good, the bad and the ugly! Students were drawn to her story through the animals she talks about growing up around as a child. She helped our students break down the process into kid friendly segments by making lists of great words, and our 4th grade students came away with the start for a great story as well as many tips for improving their writing! Thank you Donna!” —Brenda Weathers, Cactus Ranch Elementary
“The best writers’ workshop we’ve had in years! Step Right Up is such a perfect fit for schools wanting literary nonfiction mentor texts brought to life. Its kindness theme offered our children a nice position paper prompt opportunity, and her thorough research exemplifies the importance of good supporting details. Donna Janell Bowman is flexible and professional, and she truly inspired our young writers. She brought her research notes, the cover art for her next book, her beautiful 5′ canvas sign, and slides that chronicled the steps involved for writing Step Right Up. She customized her writers’ workshop presentation to suit our fourth-grade curriculum and writing targets. My teachers asked if she could return next year!” —Mariah Smith, Forest Creek Elementary
“To say that Donna Bowman, author of Step Right Up, had a successful author visit at Alcuin School would be a gross understatement. Every presentation, every class visit, every meeting with parents, administrators and staff was a conversation about the importance of kindness. That message is such a universal one that our entire community continues to discuss it weeks after her visit. The students created banners of “kindness” words and displayed their signed Pledges of Kindness in the library. Some students wrote letters or drew pictures for Ms. Bowman. The magic seems stronger when the students have opportunities to be involved, so we found that it was helpful for everyone to have read or listened to the story of Jim Key. The message of kindness is something our world needs to hear; and thus, we hope other schools bring Ms. Bowman for a visit and begin spreading the message one school at a time.” Mary Ann Campbell, Alcuin Montessori School—Dallas, TX
“Donna Janell Bowman, author of the beautiful, informative book “Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness,” visited Benbrook Elementary for Reading Rock Stars. She was fabulous! The students were fascinated with her book, her Kindness Pledge, and her program from beginning to end! We highly recommend spending a morning with this interesting author!” — Librarian Susan Scheinthal, Benbrook Elementary, TX
“Donna’s presentation to our creative writing summer campers was both personal and professional. She told her story about how and why writing became a meaningful pursuit for her. She helped students understand her process for coming up with ideas, conducting research, drafting and revising, working with an illustrator, and staying motivated. Donna provided inspiration and insight young people can use as they continue to try new things in their writing. She also included a writing activity for our campers, and our group responded enthusiastically—they were very excited to share their work with her, as well. Donna’s positive energy and genuine interest in writing kept students engaged. Her talk was versatile and inclusive—campers from third-grade to twelfth-grade enjoyed learning from and talking with Donna.” – Cecily Sailer, Program Manager, Austin Public Library Friends Foundation
“Donna did a wonderful job speaking with the kids, never losing the positive message about her book. Her presentation was both entertaining and informative. Besides writing, she has a real talent for connecting with kids!” — Amy German, Youth Services Librarian, Round Rock Public Library