1. Children get excited about writing
Author visits make writing fun! For some children words are scary. My school visits show kids how they can tell their stories through pictures and words. My books have few words as I really let the pictures do the talking.
To me there's no such thing as bad writing, and some words are better than no words. For some children, freeing them of having to write right, makes them actually want to start writing.
2. Kids learn that anyone can draw
At the start of each school illustrator event I ask the children, ‘Who here can draw?’ Not everyone puts up their hand, but I love proving them wrong by the end of the event!
I do live illustration and show children how to draw characters with easy step by step instructions. We celebrate how all our drawings come out differently, and I show them there's no right or wrong way to draw.
3. Kids find out what an author does
How long does it take to write a book? How does someone decide what story is a good story? Why are some books long with no pictures? And why are some books short with lots of pictures? What does an author do all day? These are all great questions with equally great answers that I love to address in a school author visit.
4. Kids learn what an illustrator is?
Do you know what an illustrator does? Illustration is more than just drawing pretty pictures. It's about telling a story in visual form. How does an illustrator decide what to draw? How does an illustrator come up with ideas? How do those ideas go from a sketch in a sketchbook, to a beautiful piece of artwork in a picture book? How does an illustrator work with an author? And what if I want to become an illustrator, how do I do that?
These are all questions that I love to answer in a school illustrator visit.
5. Kids find out how a book is made
It's a mystery how a story goes from being inside my head, to being a beautiful book you can hold in your hands. I get a lot of questions about how I print my books, or how I get my drawings to sit nicely on a page with the text.
With an ‘Art of Happiness’ school workshop I show kids how to make their own picture book and talk a lot about the process of how picture books are made. I'm actually planning a new book all about how books are made, but that's exciting news for another time!
6. It makes kids want to read!
At an author visit I always ask children what their favourite books are and why they like them. I share the story behind my stories, and invite children into my secret world of why I like to create children’s books. Being in this secret club makes children really excited to get into the library and see what other stories there are to explore.
7. If you can see it you can be it
When I go to a talk or event it makes me feel like maybe I can do what that person can do. Just seeing that they are a person, and I am a person, gives me that glimmer of hope that I could do what they do. For children to meet a real-life author or illustrator at a school visit plants that seed that one day maybe they could do that too.
8. Kids love asking questions
I always leave lots of time at the end of my talk for kids to ask any questions they like. It's one of my favourite parts of the day because I see how enthusiastic they are to learn about what I do. Children aren't scared to ask the awkward question or the personal question, and I love this. It's the best way for them to dive into my world and find out exactly what they want to know, all with one easy school author visit.
9. Kids see how powerful books can be
I make books that inspire children to choose happiness for themselves. Together we create our own books in my ‘Art of Happiness’ workshop, where we create a world in which we can overcome any challenges to our happiness, all whilst having fun. How powerful is that?
If you’d like to find out more about school author visits and illustrator visits then please do get in touch.
Or click here if you’d like to book The Happy Book Lady for an event.