I’m rolling out a new, two-part approach to virtual school visits this year: first, a pre-recorded portion, followed at a later time by a live virtual visit.
Last year, my virtual school visits started off with a webinar-style screen sharing presentation about my writing process and about the book Equality’s Call, followed by a meeting-style interactive Q&A with students. This year, I’d like to increase the interactive time, so I’ve pre-recorded my slide presentation portion. Teachers can share the video with their students at their convenience prior to my live virtual visit. This leaves more time available for student Q&A and helps ensure that my interactive time is tailored to the interests of the students and school.
The video is available at my Pre-recorded School Visit page. Teachers and schools are welcome to share the video with students, even if I’m not scheduled for a later live virtual visit.
My pre-recorded presentation focuses on the nonfiction picture book Equality’s Call. The book has curriculum connections at all elementary grade levels (see my Curriculum Connections page for more info), and is suitable for students of any age.
The following are some additional details about my virtual visits. After reviewing these details, you can contact me by email for scheduling.
Part 1: In my pre-recorded presentation, I talk about being a writer, about writing Equality’s Call, about the history of voting rights, and about voting rights today. The free 17-minute video is available on my web site. Please have the book Equality’s Call available before showing the video; at about the halfway point of the video, I provide a time to pause the video and read the book aloud. The video is suitable for all ages. For lower elementary, the second half of the video has more detail than they’ll likely absorb, but I still recommend showing the whole video, as it has ideas that will be accessible even if all the details aren’t. The video can be used by any class or school, with or without a follow-up live virtual visit.
Part 2: Live virtual visit: For schools that have shown my pre-recorded presentation to students and are also interested in a live virtual visit, I am available for a 20-, 30-, or 45-minute virtual visit to answer student questions and to read one of my books. The live virtual visit is done meeting style for small groups, and webinar style for large groups, and is conducted through the school’s virtual platform of choice. I prefer that the school provide the link, and that the school librarian or one of the teachers moderate the questions.
NOTE: Since the book Equality’s Call will have been previously read to the students by their teacher or librarian prior to my live virtual visit, I’m happy to read a different book of mine during the live virtual visit. The school or some of the classes in the school could potentially vote ahead of time on which title they’d like me to read, and could use this as an opportunity to explore voting techniques (e.g. What’s the winning title when all titles are listed and the top vote-getter wins, even if it doesn’t get over half the total vote? Is the result different when using ranked choice voting? What’s the result if first there’s a primary for one Pout-Pout Fish book to go up against one non-Pout-Pout Fish book? etc.) Voting to choose the book is not a requirement, but it could be a good learning opportunity for your students, so I encourage you to consider exploring this idea.
COST: I am donating my time for virtual Equality’s Call school visits, so there is no direct cost for my visit (though I do ask that you add at least one copy of Equality’s Call to your school library). However, I do not want my donation of time to devalue the professional service provided by visiting authors, nor do I want it to impact the opportunities available to my kidlit colleagues who do school visits. So I ask that you take whatever amount you would have spent on my visit and use it to schedule an additional author visit for your students at some point during the current school year, paid at that author or illustrator’s standard professional rate.
OTHER DETAILS: Our nation is diverse, but historically children’s literature has not been. In particular, white authors have historically been overrepresented in book publishing and in school visits. It’s important that kids see and hear from authors who reflect the world we live in. With this in mind, if your school has not had a non-white author for at least one of your last two author visits, I’m unable to accept your invitation, as that would overrepresent whiteness.
In addition, if your school has any policies that exclude students, teachers, families, or school guests based on racial or cultural identity, religious belief system, immigration status, ancestry, gender identity, sexual preference, appearance, disability, learning style, or other aspect of human diversity, I am not able to accept the invitation.
SCHEDULING: Just email me at deborah [at] deborahdiesen [dot] com. When possible, I prefer to schedule for a Monday or Tuesday time slot, but I have other times available as well.
I look forward to visiting with your students!
Bookstore and Library Events, Book Festivals, and Conferences
In addition to school visits, I’m scheduling a limited number of virtual visits and events. To make a general event request, see my Contact page (for contact information and event policies).
Listed below are upcoming public events. Be sure to confirm all event details with the host venue before attending, in case of any last-minute detail changes.