Author Visits

Author Visit Options

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
* Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words
* Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness

Click here for a Pre-author visit Tip Sheet

*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.)

Read interviews with me on the About Me page and on each book’s page

Need help paying for an author visit? Download or View a PDF list of Available Education Grants. 

Want to know the truth about author incomes? Click here.

 For more about what I can offer, read on:

I love talking to students about my books and the writing process. The below presentation options will be adjusted for virtual platforms and will include interactive elements. If you’re looking for something different, I will happily customize a presentation for you. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact me at


General Presentations for Students:

Custom Pod-specific presentation—Are you trying to bring a little inspiration and motivation to your small learning pod? I’ll build a presentation around your objectives, whether curriculum-specific or casual. If an in-person visit with your small group is preferred, I’m open to discussion, as long as social distancing and other health and safety precautions are agreed upon.

One Word at a Time—Demystifying the Writing process (45-60 minutes for grades 3-6. Simplified version available for grades K-2)
Like any goal or dream, writing begins with an idea, curiosity, and determination. In this presentation, Donna combines the themes of all of her books and reveals how her own research and writing process echoes what young writers learn in the classroom. Students will be inspired by the idea that we are not perfect, but everybody can accomplish something great, one step (or word) at a time. Visuals include sloppy first drafts, giggle-worthy inspiration, and photos from research journeys.

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

Book-Specific Presentations for Students:

Book Reading and Q&A—Thirty minutes. I’d be happy to read one of my books and then answer your student questions.

Imagine it, Achieve it: A STEAM-infused presentation (45-60 minutes for grades 2-6. A Simplified version is available for grades K-2)
Using King of the Tightrope: When the Great Blondin Ruled Niagara as a focal point, we will explore the simple engineering process that allowed Blondin’s tightrope dream to come true, and the write, rewrite, revise process that resulted in the book. A STEAM activity, easy for at-home learners, will be included.

One Person Can Make a Difference / Kindness Can Change the World (45-60 minutes for grades 3-6. A simplified version is available for K-2)
Using Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness as the 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 author’s personal connection to the story and the long and winding research and writing process. At the conclusion of the presentation, students will take the Step Right Up Kindness Pledge. A craft for at-home learners will be provided.  Downloadable the pledge in color or black and white

Words Matter & Character Matters (45-60 minutes for grades 2-6. A simplified version is 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 own mistakes and missteps defines our character. Students will learn about the spark of inspiration for the author and the research, writing, and revision process. A craft for at-home learners will be provided.

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Writing Workshops for Students:

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. 

  • Revision
  • 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.

Speaker Fees (subject to change):

Dear educators and librarians, I have immense respect and admiration for what you do. The difference you make today will shape students for years to come. You are superheroes! As a writer and speaker, my goal is the same—to make a difference in the lives of young readers. I invest a great deal of time, heart, and expertise in crafting meaningful author visits that connect with curriculum goals and inspire students to be active readers and writers.

Virtual Author Visits:

One virtual presentation of 30-45 minutes for grades K-8 —
Up to three (3) virtual presentations —
Contact me

In-Person Author Visits:

Within a one-hour drive of north Austin, TX:
Half-day (max of 2 presentations) — $600
Full day (max of 3 presentations. 4th presentation negotiable) — $1100
For all in-person visits that require an overnight hotel stay —$1300 per day plus travel expenses for up to 3 presentations (4th presentation negotiable)


“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

“Your students will learn so much when Donna visits your school!…[Her] visit and interactions with the students was amazing. Our students were still talking about [her] visit months later! —Amy Simpson, Annie Purl Elementary.
“I got such great feedback from the teachers and students about your visit to DFT.  The teachers said students were making connections in class to your presentation.  They loved the message of kindness and used it as a springboard for conversation in class.” —Keri Rabe, Double File Trail 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