I have visited schools in Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. I am a regular speaker at EncycloMedia in Oklahoma City and have presented at the American Library Association, American Association of School Librarians, Oklahoma Reading Association, Oklahoma Library Association, Arkansas Association of School Librarians, and Staff Development for Educators.
Why I love Writing for Children . . .
That’s the title of my main presentation and from there the students and I explore the world of writing, publishing, and books. Using Readers Theater and skits, I get them up and moving. By the time the session is over, they are excited and ready to write their own stories. Sometimes our session has resulted in a completed story. And students will know why I love writing for them!
Grades: PreK – 8, including students with special needs.
From beautiful butterflies to creepy cockroaches, students will brainstorm the insect world and write about one using adjectives, verbs, fun made-up words, and end with a twist.
Can I Have a Pet?
You bet you can if you ask for the right pet. Based on my book, Can I Have a Pet? (¿Me dejas tener una mascota?), students will write or younger students will draw their own bug book.
I introduce students to mask, spine, acrostic and other poetic forms by reading poems from the masters like Paul B. Janeczko. We discuss what works. Why did the author choose that particular subject? Sometimes we compare two poems by the same author. Then students take their turn at becoming poets. Some write serious works, others are more on the wacky side. I don’t discourage wackiness!
Music, art, and emotion: they all come together in poetry. While playing music (from swing to guitar jazz to old time string bands) students will draw a picture with the music as motivation and create a work of poetry based on their art.
I share my three nonfiction science books: Arctic Appetizers, Studying Food Webs in the Arctic; Freshwater Feeders, Studying Food Webs in Freshwater; and Makers and Takers, Studying Food Webs in Oceans. I discuss research, working with my editor, revising, writing captions, graphics, and mistakes to avoid. Students will participate in a Readers Theater based on a biological oceanographer featured in Arctic Appetizers. I will lead students through the process of writing their own books with them as the expert. We brainstorm together and they will leave with an outline that can be finished at a later time.
If I Could Wish on a Shoe
Based on my book The Best Shoes / Los mejores zapatos, we talk about their favorite pair of shoes. I will have all kinds of shoes to get them in the creative mood. We brainstorm what would they do with a magic pair of shoes. After sketching their magic shoes, students will write an adventure story featuring their shoes.
Two students act out The Best Shoes while I narrate. For younger students, we can write a story together.
For up to four presentations, my honorarium is $650.
I charge $0.55/mile when I travel outside of the Oklahoma City, OK metro area.
For longer distances, other travel arrangements may be needed.
- LCD Projector and screen
- Bottled water
- Lunch is never turned down
“We really enjoyed meeting you and hearing all about what it’s like to be an author. The students thought your books were very interesting. Some of the students were inspired and want to be a writer some day, too. Just like you. The students are anxious to read your next books.”
–Mrs. Turley’s 3rd grade class, Rogers, AR
“I loved when you said, ‘Rewriting is writing, because your writing can always be better.’ How reassuring for them to hear that their work is, in fact, a work in progress. The question and answer segment was the icing on the cake! It provided an opportunity for the children to not only see Gwendolyn Hooks, the author, but the person as well… You were fabulous!”
–C. Williams, Writing Curriculum Specialist, Little Rock, AR
“The presentation was more about helping us—the audience—rather than just selling us on her….Captivating personality… Reminded me of the importance of selecting books of all cultures…Not only did you provide helpful information, but were fun and entertaining, too…Your insight and sense of humor were breath of fresh air!”
–Comments from Librarians a the Arkansas Association Instructional Media Conference, 2009