Lori Nichols Lori Nichols' enchanting debut features an irresistible, free-spirited, nature-loving little girl who greets the changing seasons and a new sibling with arms wide open.
You can learn more about Maple here.
Learn more about Lori Nichols here.
If you are interested in hosting an appearance by Lori Nichols at your school, library, or conference, please use the online request form, send an email to authorvisits[at]us.penguingroup.com with possible dates, your school name, location, details about the day, and your contact information.
Author Appearance Q&A with Lori Nichols
What can a school, library, or conference expect when you are making an appearance?
I love to plant the ideas in kids that they can create stories with words and pictures. I do this with a lot of audience participation and pictures from nature. My chats are between 30-45 minutes long depending on the age of the kids. Second thru 6th graders learn how words and images are essential to storytelling and how funny drawings reveal stories anywhere.
Being a mom helps me a lot when presenting for the younger kids. I think I understand this age a lot and know both their limitations as well as their expectations. So, for the younger kids, pre-k-1st grade, we do a little yoga before I read Maple. We pretend to be a tree, just like Maple. We hang like a willow tree (which the kids later realize is the small sapling in the book Maple.) We sway like a tree, grow tall and get our wiggles out by pretending to be branches dancing with the wind. I then read Maple to the kids and show them beautiful images of my life with my daughters out in nature. My family makes all kinds of wonderful creations using natural objects and I challenge the kids all to take a nature walk and pick up objects like rocks, leaves and sticks and look at them in a completely unique and different way so they, too, can create art. I also bring bird nests in for the kids to see and touch.
What makes your author appearances unique?
All my presentations include a captivating drawing lesson using the first letters of students' names to make faces. This is something I have done with young kids ever since my first daughter, Harper, began learning to read and write. It's a special lesson that helps kids see letters in a unique way and it becomes a lesson that teachers use over and over again in their classrooms. And, it's just as much fun for the older kids as it is for the young ones.
What can schools and libraries do to ensure a successful appearance?
We only have the kids for, so planning is everything. I usually like to book several months in advance and that way the local independent bookstore can get a head start. The more I know about the age range of the class or classes, the better it allows me to reach them. I use a few tools as well, including: a dry-erase board, markers, laptop, projector with a remote and microphone. I send my presentation (PDF) to the school a week or so prior to the visit and most schools have it ready to go when I arrive. I love to meet the teachers and media specialists too, because they keep me in tune with what the kids like.
Do you enjoy traveling to other parts of the country for appearances?
I love traveling to other parts of the country for appearances. My family and I always find heart-shaped rocks when we travel and so I've started challenging the kids to go outside and find their own heart rocks. This is something that I tell them they'll see in Maple & Willow Together, the companion book to Maple that comes out in November 2014.
Do you ever make appearances at more than one school in an area? Could schools and libraries from one area join together to bring you to their institution?
Yes, I love to combine different schools and libraries, and even better if we can include book stores, too. This usually takes a little more planning, but if there's a local champion, we can make it happen. I can do up to three presentations a day.
What do you hope your audience will come away with from your presentation?
I have had teachers come up to me and say "I want to live in your world." I hope my presentation encourages both children and adults to value nature and all that it shows us…if we look.
What was your favorite/most interesting/most memorable appearance experience?
I carry a very large, oversized pencil with me and use it as "crowd" control when the kids get too wiggly. When I hold up the pencil, the kids know to yell at the top of their lungs "DRAW ON DUDE!" This usually gets their attention. After I presented at one school, I was asked questions like, "Is that pencil real?" "Does that pencil work?" "Can you draw with that pencil?" "Where did you get that pencil?" This makes me laugh every time I think about it. I love these kids!
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