Important Information

I am available for both on-site and Skype visits to your school or organization. I offer one free 15-20 minute Skype presentation to schools per semester, consisting of an interactive read-aloud and Q&A. I offer additional 15-20 minute Skype lessons for $45.00 a session. I also offer 40-45 minute Skype presentations for $95.00 per visit. My in-person school visit rate is $175.00 per 40-45 minute session. Please contact me for more information about setting up a visit. I am happy to work with you to meet your budgetary needs, and I encourage schools (especially those in Eastern Massachusetts) who think they can't afford an author visit to get in touch. Teaming up with other schools in your district to cover base, travel, and overnight costs can be a great option. Also, check the website of The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, www.scbwi.org, for information on funding sources.

If you are interested in a school visit or would like more information, please contact Jane at jane@janekohuth.com.

Recommendations

We celebrated Picture Book Month with Jane Kohuth. The students loved hearing her read Duck Sock Hop as well as taking a tour of her studio. Her visit was perfect for our 1st graders and they are still talking about it! -- Mrs. Nels, Oakdale Elementary School

My students are addicted to writing. It is all they want to do . . . I honestly think it all started when we Skyped with the author Jane Kohuth. The students were mesmerized to hear that even adults take their writing through the writing process.
Thank you Skype in the Clasroom and Jane for giving my students the motivation they need. -- Allison Hogan, First Grade Teacher at the Episcopal School of Dallas, from her blog.

Jane Kohuth was a wonderful, entertaining visiting author for our first graders. She was interesting, energetic, and lots and lots of fun! We got an up close look at the books she has published and all the hard work that went into them. A great, inspirational visit….thank you, Jane! -- Liz Rey, Librarian, Bates School, Wellesley, MA

We recently had the pleasure of hosting Jane Kohuth at our monthly Teen Zone Book Club/Teen Advisory Group meeting at the Holliston Public Library. The members who attended really enjoyed Jane's encouraging, interesting presentation, which included both handwritten notebooks and computer images of her current and future writing projects. She was wonderfully enthusiastic about the group continuing their writing practice in any way that works for them, guiding them to be persistent when they submitted work to editors, and emphasizing the value of reading and writing as much as possible. Her fresh perspective as a young writer who has achieved success was very well received by middle schoolers and teens alike, inspiring them to write and create through music, art and any other method to which they are drawn. I highly recommend Jane to anyone interested in hosting an author to speak about the writing and publishing processes. -- Jennifer Keen, Teen Zone Librarian, Holliston Public Library

Presentations

Two of my great joys in life are writing and teaching. I am excited to be able to bring these two things together as a visiting author! Please note that I am happy to work with you to combine or edit workshops to meet your needs.

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How Do You Grow Up to Be a Writer?

How do you go from a kid who likes books to a grownup who creates books? How does a story idea become a book you can buy in a store or take out of the library? I loved reading and writing when I was growing up, but writers seemed like mysterious, possibly magical figures. In this presentation I'll talk about how I came to do what I do today, my writing process, and how you get a book published. Think you're done when an editor buys your book? Nope! Now it's time to revise AGAIN. Kids will get to see what a manuscript looks like from messy first draft, to typed page covered in notes from critique partners and editors, to final work. They'll even get to see how the pictures get revised! Note: At the end of the presentation I will be happy to answer students' questions. For a large group, consider choosing questions ahead of time.

Anne Frank’s Words Grow All Around the World

Who was Anne Frank? In this presentation I’ll share what I learned about Anne Frank in the process of writing my book. Students will get to see materials I used and learn more information about Anne Frank, the time she lived in, and the tree she loved. I’ll share the story of what happened to Anne Frank’s tree, and how its saplings are becoming representatives of Anne Frank’s thoughts and ideas around the world. There’s even a chestnut sapling from Anne’s tree growing on Boston Common! Anne Frank wanted the young people of the world to know her story, so she wrote it down. Anne wrote in the form of letters to a friend. We’ll end by writing letters or notes back to Anne, telling her something about ourselves and our hopes for the world. If time and space allow, we can also plant our own seedlings in honor of Anne Frank’s legacy

A Poem Lovely as a Tree: Writing Poems Inspired by Anne Frank and her Chestnut Tree

At first I didn’t know how I was going to write about the complicated life of Anne Frank in a book that young readers could read on their own. I didn’t know how I could write something meaningful and true with all the rules I had to follow about word and sentence complexity, line length, and word count -- until I realized that I should think of writing my book like writing a poem. Many kinds of poems have rules about how many lines or syllables or beats you can use, just like the rules I had to follow. I was also deeply inspired by Anne Frank’s own language and her passion for nature. After reading about Anne Frank, I’ll share some more of her beautiful words as well as other poems inspired by nature. We’ll look at how Anne and the other authors create vivid images with words. We’ll then try our hand at writing our own poems inspired by our favorite places in nature and how they make us feel. If time and space allow, we can end by planting our own seedlings in honor of Anne Frank’s legacy.

I Have a Topic, but How Do I Write about It? The Nonfiction Writing Process

Sometimes, when you have a nonfiction topic to write about, it can be hard to find your focus. This is a challenge both students and professionals face. I was asked by my editor to write about Anne Frank, so the project started more like a school assignment than like my other books. In this presentation, I’ll discuss how, because of space limits and a desire to do something different from what had been done before, I needed to find a special way into writing the story of Anne Frank. In my research, I looked for parts of Anne Frank’s story that I hadn’t seen highlighted in other places. From several ideas, I chose to focus on Anne’s thoughts about nature and about her attachment to the chestnut tree that grew outside the Secret Annex. I’ll talk about the different sources I used to find information, how I figured out how to revise my story so that I could cut a 4,000 word manuscript down to 1,000 words, and some of the challenges I faced in making sure everything in the book was accurate. Students will get to see sources I used, as well as examples of my notes and drafts, and pictures of the book in progress.

Poem Sock Hop: Learning Writing Tools with Dance

Ducks pull socks/ from a big sock box/socks with stripes and socks with spots/ socks with squares and socks with dots." The ducks may have socks in their box, but as a writer, I have special language tools in my box that help me when I write. Poems are beautiful or rousing or sheer fun to say out loud because of the language tools writers use to construct them. The text of my picture book Duck Sock Hop is a poem, built using rhyme, meter, alliteration, assonance, and consonance. These might seem like hard words, but they are easy concepts to understand -- especially when you learn them by dancing! Can you clap your hands for each beat? Can you wave your arms for each rhyme? Can you wiggle each time a word starts with the letter "s"? We'll practice using the text of Duck Sock Hop. We can also add a session where students get a chance to write their own poems using the new tools in their writing boxes.

Hold Your Own Duck Sock Hop!

For this visit, I'll bring along my duck sock box filled with wacky socks, we'll dress up our feet in stripes and spots, and, after a rousing read-aloud, I'll spin some rock and roll 45s on my record player, and we'll boogie. If you choose, I can also run a craft in which students create crazy socks of their own. Your sock hop can also incorporate a sock drive. Stories can help us see the ordinary things in our lives in a new light. When was the last time you stopped to appreciate your socks? Your sock hop can also be an opportunity to talk to students about people who don't have warm fuzzy socks. Have your students create a sock box of their own before the event and ask students throughout the school to bring in new socks to donate. I'd be happy to help you find an organization that can use your donations.

Story Starter Workshop

People always want to know where and how authors get ideas for their stories. My answer is that story ideas can come from anywhere, and that anyone can come up with one. In this INTERACTIVE presentation, I'll talk about how I came up with the idea for DUCKS GO VROOM by being silly with words. Then the students, as a group, will get their own chance to come up with zany story ideas by brainstorming different characters and matching them to unusual actions and situations. Depending on the age and size of the group and your needs, students will then act out a group story or write stories in small groups. Note: This workshop is best for class-sized groups rather than assemblies.

Words from Home: Finding Stories in our Families

When I was growing up, most of the adults I knew peppered their speech with Yiddish expressions. It took me a while to realize that certain words weren't English! I found the seed for the story Estie the Mensch in the language of my home and family. Many children hear languages other than English at home, and even in homes where only English is spoken, every family is colored by both the culture of their roots and the private family rituals and expressions they create. In this workshop, students will create their own picture books about their families, using words, expressions, or rituals from home as their starting point.

What's a Mensch? (And Some Other Yiddish Words)

In this workshop, students will be introduced to the contributions of Jewish immigrants to American culture through the many Yiddish words and expressions that have become part of the English language. (Who doesn't know what a bagel is these days?) We'll then take a closer look at the word "mensch" and the concept behind it. Students will end with the "Mensch Challenge" -- coming up with ways they've been mensches in the past, as well as three ways they want to be mensches in the coming months. (Classes can also choose to come up with group goals.) If you post the goals in the classroom, students can check them off when they're done. And if everyone is a mensch by the end date? Send me a photo, and I'll feature you on my blog and send your classroom or school a signed book!

P.S. You don't need me to do the "Mensch Challenge" in your classroom. Read Estie the Mensch aloud to your students, discuss the book, and get to work being mensches! When you've completed the challenge, email me with photo and a description of what you did, and your class could be named the "Mensches of the Month" on my blog.

These workshops address curriculum standards for Social Studies and English Language Arts & Literacy.

Tips for a Great Author Visit

  1. Students will get the most out of a presentation if they are grouped with others of the same age. Kindergarten and 5th Grade don't mix well! I suggest single grade groupings or groupings like K-1, 2-3, etc.
  2. Have a teacher or librarian introduce the visiting author's book(s) before the visit. Come up with good questions to ask ahead of time.
  3. Talk about appropriate behavior during an Author Visit. Treat the visiting author as you would a teacher. Classroom rules apply!
  4. Arrange with the author to have signed books available for students. Supply students with an order form for the author's books, which they can bring home and return to school at least a week before the visit. On the day of the visit, they will then be able to take home a signed and personalized copy of the author's book as a memento of the day -- and perhaps an inspiration!