Tag Archive | author visit

Second Author Visit at Waseda International School!

Waseda International School is a cozy, colorful and compact campus nestled in heart of Shinjuku ward just a short walk from Takadanobaba on the JR Yamanote Line. This past April, I embarked on another author visit when I was invited to Waseda International School to present for the second year in a row.  I arrived with 40 freshly-printed copies of “Princess Ramona, Beloved of Beasts” which had been produced especially for this occasion. (First time ever for my digital book to be printed!)  FirstPrintedRamonaBook

In the rush to make the train, Baabara the lamb puppet got left behind. A substitute puppet was quickly crafted from a sock, googly eyes and yarn pom-pons. He filled in for Baabara in his own goofy way for the short introduction given to the preschool group for the first presentation. As we moved on to the main event, the little ones enjoyed the hikari-shibai of “Princess Ramona” projected onto a large screen that was low to the floor and on their level. This made it easy for the students to approach the screen and point out details that they discovered in the illustrations, which we could then zoom in on using the iPad touch screen. They enjoyed the grumpy knitting cat, for example, and the tiny knitting spider which they spotted in the corner of one of the illustrations. As young as these students were, and though many were English-language-learners, they still were able to sweetly verbalize the themes of the story and express their delight in the characters.

The second group of students were first-through-fifth graders and they were excited to see their own stories and illustrations projected onto the big screen. We had planned for this presentation several weeks ahead and the students had collaborated in their classes to produce a pourquoi tale with original illustrations. Early in the week, their stories and illustrations had been forwarded to me.Waseda_Own_Stories

I took their submissions and created a Keynote presentation that incorporated lessons in writing, editing, and book design. For the older students’ story, for example, they were shown their original version and then an edited version that eliminated unnecessary details in a shorter, snappier version. At the end of the presentation, I read a pourquoi tale I have been working on.

After the presentations, I met briefly with the fifth graders in their classroom to talk about their current language arts unit, poetry. We shared a few poems that we had memorized and with that, my time at WIS was almost over.

The PTA presented me with a bouquet of gorgeous flowers and I sat down to sign the stack of purchased “Princess Ramona” books. WIS had wisely prepared the list of names ahead of time which greatly helped the signing process. Most of the books were signed in time to send home with the students. Before I finished, one student came by to share a lovely little cake, as it was his birthday. I was so blessed and impressed by all of the staff and students at this school. Thank you!


First Author Visit Ever!

In the spring of 2013, at the invitation of Waseda International School’s Paramita Basu, I embarked upon my first author visit ever. My presentation was split into two sessions. The first session was attended by a bouncy contingency of thirty-eight preschoolers. The second session was attended by the elementary students ranging in ages from 6 to 12. Besides packing my MacBook with Keynote presentation, my iPad with digital book loaded, I also brought along… (to help me weather all 45 minutes with the preschool set)… a sack full of puppets for the youngest students to play with and try out.

Meeting Baabara

Meeting Baabara

Waseda International School is located in downtown Tokyo, close to Shinjuku. I was met at Takadanobaba station and we walked uphill to the school where we got set up in the lively and welcoming preschool room. Somehow, all of the wiggly three to five year olds were gathered onto a corner rug where they sang a song about the parts of a flower with their teacher who had a beautiful voice.

The children got to meet Baaabara, the library lamb, who enjoyed meeting all of the children even though she didn’t manage to learn all thirty-eight names. Blame it on those very fuzzy, but adorable ears. While Baaabara took a little nap in the puppet bag, the WIS preschoolers enjoyed “Princess Ramona, Beloved of Beasts,” which was projected from the iPad onto the large screen at the front of the room. BoBAuthorVisit2

As soon as the children realized that there was a dragon hidden in many of the illustrations, as soon as the digital page was turned, there was no continuing with the story until the dragon was found. The ability to zoom in on the details of the illustrations helped to hone in on the hidden dragon, much to the delight of the kids.

The older group enjoyed a Keynote presentation about the importance of reading… and the importance of knowing when and where to read. Reading with friends, reading with dogs, reading in trees… all good. Reading while driving, reading while pig wrestling, reading with a crocodile… not so good. The older students also got to see the entire “Princess Ramona” book and enjoyed the rhyming text of the story and the built-in dictionary. We stopped at various words to study the meaning which was especially helpful for the second-language learners.  A “lummox,” we discovered, is a clumsy, stupid person. They were happy to see that the lummox knight turns out to be a helpful and reasonable sort in the end.  You!ScreenShot

I was honored to be invited to Waseda International School to present “Ramona” to their delightful students. Special thanks to Paramita for the invitation and for arranging all of the many details! After such a positive experience and enthusiastic student response, I look forward to my next author visit.