Valentine’s Day in Texas

Valentine’s Day is a popular date for author visits at schools probably because this is a ‘free’ day for most schools with students exchanging valentines and enjoying parties. As a result, every year we visit a different school on Valentine’s, and this year we spent the holiday in Texas.

On February 13th we returned to Liberty Christian School. Our first visit to this fabulous school in Argyle, Texas took place on November 1st in 2011. (Read my blog post about the first visit). The librarian, Yvonne Lacy, enjoyed our visit so much that she invited us to return and speak with the younger students at the school. In 2011 we spoke to students in 3rd through 6th grade, so this year we targeted kindergarden through 3rd. Our presentations took place in a new meeting room designed specifically for special programs.

12:45 – 1:15 PM  Kindergarten & 1st Grade
1:30 – 2:15 PM  2nd Grade
2:25 – 3:10 PM  3rd Grade

Matthew Shane Bronson preparing to speak with students at Liberty Christian School.

Matthew Shane Bronson preparing to speak with students at Liberty Christian School.

As before, Mrs. Lacy did a fantastic job preparing the students for our visit. Some of my favorite fan mail came from Liberty Christian School, and I still have this beautiful letter from Bella (dated November 2011) on display in my office where I can see it everyday:

Bella's Letter

“Dear Mr. & Mrs. Bronson,

I had a great time when you came to our school and I really like your cute books and I can’t wait to read new ones that you wrote! I love to write and illustrate. I also want to be the same thing you are right now! You inspired  me that its not those big animals that always matter. Your books tell us that even the smallest creatures are very special because God made them that way! Thanks!

Love from Liberty Christian

Bella

TIP: Keep writing!”

I am still writing, Bella!

*     *     *     *     *

That evening (February 13th) we had dinner at Zanata’s in downtown Rockwall, and I have to say it was one of the best meals I have ever had. If you ever visit Rockwall, Texas, go to Zanata’s!

*     *     *     *     *

The next day was Valentine’s, and we visited Heritage Christian Academy in Rockwall. Students gathered in the library to watch my program.

9:15 – 9:45 am K – 1st Grades
9:45 – 10:30 am 2nd – 4th Grades
10:30 – 11:15 am 5th – 6th Grades

We signed books for students in the school cafeteria during lunch, and we learned that one of the parents at the school is also an author. Anne Mateer has several books published with Bethany House. Her latest book, A Home For My Heart, will arrive in bookstores September 2013. Congrats Anne!

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A Literacy Night to Remember

On Friday (2/8/2013) I visited Westview Elementary in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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I spoke with each grade during the day, and in the evening I presented to parents, teachers and students at their 3rd Annual Literacy Night.

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Last year’s author was Anna Dewdney who is well known for her “Llama, Llama” books.

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I drew a picture of TINY SNAIL for the school (below), and the principal, Margo Williams, plans to have it framed.

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PTA President Celeste Ward (left) and Tammy Bronson.

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Daniel from Bridge Christian Church.

Members of the Bridge Christian Church set up an elaborate sound and video system for my evening program. Many thanks to them for their cheerful, technical support.

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The event was hugely successful due to the efforts of the Westview PTA, particularly Celeste Ward, the PTA President. Many thanks to the PTA, parents, teachers and students who made Friday night a literacy night to remember!

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FROM THE WESTVIEW WEBSITE:

Westview’s third annual Literacy Night was a huge success! Over 300 parents, teachers, and students came together to celebrate reading. We all enjoyed meeting author and illustrator, Tammy Bronson, who wrote the Sea Horse, Run and Tiny Snail books. She was very generous with her time and did a great job reading and drawing for the kids. We learned some great tips from the variety of literacy workshops. We want to thank McDonald’s on Ooltewah-Ringgold Road for the delicious snacks, and READ 20 for the great story. We also want to thank Mac Authority for their workshop, along with all the other teachers who presented. As always, we greatly appreciate the volunteers and teachers who dedicated their time to make the evening possible. We look forward to enjoying Literacy Night next year!”
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Book signing after the literacy night presentation. 09WestviewLiteracySchoolphoto-02

My Visit to Shiloh Christian School January 25, 2012

Shiloh’s Librarian, Melissa Merrifield (left) and Tammy (right).

On January 25, 2012 I spoke to all the students in Kindergarten through 5th grade at Shiloh Christian School in Springdale, Arkansas. This was a special visit because Shiloh is a local Arkansas school, and I’ve visited them twice before: first on March 11, 2002 and again on February 26, 2004. Mrs. Merrifield has been the librarian at Shiloh for many years, and we are grateful that she has invited us to her school three times!

Shiloh Kindergarten Hallway

8:30 – 9:00 Kindergarten
9:15 – 10:00 2nd Grade
10:15- 11:00 3rd Grade
12:00- 12:30 1st Grade
12:45- 1:30 4th Grade
1:45 – 2:30 5th Grade

After our last visit, nearly every student in the school sent us thank you notes. They arrived in a large box.

I read ALL of my fan mail. I keep my fan mail, but there is so much that most of it is stored in a drawer. I loved the letter pictured below so much that I keep it on the shelf in my office (right above my computer) where I can see it everyday.

Mrs. Merrifield was kind enough to include a note that interpreted the letter. It reads:

***********

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Bronson,

I love your books. I think your next book will be a big success. Remember never give up. Be courageous even if there’s pressure…Just close your eyes and pray. No matter what happens, you can never give up on your goal.

From Quinn

***********

With all my heart, thank you, Quinn! Your message means the world to me. I will treasure your excellent advice.

A Fun Morning at Hope Sullivan Elementary, Southaven, MS

My author visit at Hope Sullivan Elementary on Friday, January 20, 2012 was a great success! This was my first visit to Southaven, Mississippi, and I spoke to over 630 students in three presentations.

9:00 – 9:30  Kindergarten

9:40 – 10:10   1st Grade

10:20 – 11:05 2nd Grade

From left to right: Amanda Samples (Principal), Tammy, Terri McCain (Librarian), and Lisa Nye (Asst Principal).

The faculty and staff were very involved on every level. The principal, assistant principal, and librarian encouraged students to participate, and they did! Their enthusiasm was uplifting, and I did not leave empty-handed. A teacher, Jan Hoselton, presented me with art created by her kindergarten students.

Tiny Snail book covers created by kindergarten children at Hope Sullivan Elementary.

Thank you, Ms. Hoselton, for giving me their wonderful pictures. Here are a few of my favorites…

Mikaela loves Tiny Snail. I love her picture (above).

Logan combined my name with Tiny Snail’s (above). ‘Tamy Snail’ has a nice ring to it!

I also love AJ’s Tiny Snail. He even drew a colorful version of Miss Butterfly (below).

Hope Sullivan students, keep writing and drawing!

POLLIWOG inspires sisters to create a book at Farragut Primary in Knoxville, TN

I spent the day at Farragut Primary in Knoxville, Tennessee, on January 19th, 2012.

Farragut Primary's Librarian, Wendi Lesmerises (left), Tammy Bronson (middle), and Matthew Bronson (right).

With over one thousand Kindergarten through 2nd grade students at this school, the librarian and teachers did an outstanding job sharing my stories with all the children prior to our visit.

Farragut Primary's Gym

We needed a very large space to accommodate five classes at a time (~150 students), so we set up in the school’s gym.

8:00-8:30  (Kindergarten) 5 classes

8:40 – 9:10  (Kindergarten) 5 classes

9:20 – 9:50  (Kindergarten, 1st grade) 5 classes

10 – 10:30  (1st , 2nd grades) 5 classes

10:40 – 11:10 (1st grade) 5 classes

11:20 – 11:50 (1st , 2nd grades) 5 classes

Lunch Noon – 1 PM

1:10 – 1:40 (2nd grade) 4 classes

1:50 – 2:20 (1st , 2nd grades) 6 classes

My program is designed to inspire children to create their own picture books. Generally kids make their own book after my visit, but at Farragut Primary two sisters combined their talents to create their own book prior to my arrival.

Tammy (left) with author Abigail King (middle) and her teacher, Katie Wheeler (right).

The author, Abigail King (2nd grade), said that my book, Polliwog, inspired her story entitled, Lilly Pad the Tadpole. Her sister, Jessica King, illustrated their story.

Lilly Pad the Tadpole, a picture book by Abigail and Jessica King at Farragut Primary.

Many thanks to the King sisters and Abigail’s teacher, Ms. Wheeler, for giving me this imaginitive story. I’m glad Lilly Pad learned to swim!

Read Abigail’s book, Lilly Pad the Tadpole (PDF).

My Visit to Crockett Elementary, January 18, 2012

I visited Crockett Elementary in Franklin, Tennessee on January 18th. They have over 640 students in pre-k through 5th grade, so I set up in the gym where I spoke to one grade level at a time.

Tammy (left) and Crockett's Librarian, Julia Andrews (right).

The librarian, Julia Andrews, prepared the students for my visit, introduced me at the assemblies, and provided me with lunch. I really enjoyed her tour of their amazing library.

Crockett Library's Reading Nook with Puppets

Many of the books are organized by topic. Books in a series have their own shelf. So do the “Princess” books!

Ms. Andrews and her shelf filled with "Princess" Books.

Ms. Andrews painted the walls to look like a castle.

Mural at Crockett Elementary

The murals were painted by another artist, but Ms. Andrews designed each mural with a variety of characters from beloved books.

Another Mural at Crockett Elementary

Thank you Crockett Elementary for a great day! I look forward to my next trip to Franklin, Tennessee.

Schedule:

8:50 – 9:35       Kindergarten and Pre-K
9:40 – 10:25      First Grade
10:30 – 11:15      Third Grade
11: 15 – 12:15      Author’s Lunch
12:15 – 1:15       Fourth Grade
1:20 – 2:05        Second Grade
2:10 – 3:10       Fifth Grade

A Visit to Nolan Elementary in Signal Mountain, TN

My visit to Nolan Elementary on Tuesday, 17 January 2012, was a great success thanks to PTA member Melissa Barrett. A former teacher, Melissa is the Classroom Enrichment Chair for Nolan PTA, and she did a fabulous job preparing teachers and students for our visit.

Melissa Barrett, PTA (left) and Tammy.

Home of the Knights, Nolan Elementary has an enrollment of approximately 679 students in grades K-5. Perched atop Signal Mountain outside Chattanooga, Tennessee, the school’s picturesque setting is surely an inspiration for both students and staff.

Mosaic art by Nolan students in the auditorium windows.

The halls and windows inside the school are covered with murals and student art.

A reading nook near the Nolan office.

Nolan Elementary

K & 1st grades: 9:10 – 9:50

2nd & 3rd grades: 10 – 10:45

4th & 5th grades: 10:55 – 11:45

We had a great time speaking with grades K-5 about writing, illustrating and publishing children’s books. Thank you Nolan PTA for inviting us to your school!

More Links:

Hamilton County Schools

Last Author Visits of 2011

I was on the verge of posting about my first 2012 author visit when I realized I still needed to publish  about my final visits in 2011. Here is an overview of my last trip to Atlanta, Georgia.

My adventure began Monday, November 14, 2011 at…

Ocee Elementary
4375 Kimball Bridge Road
Alpharetta, GA  30022

I spoke to the children from the stage in the cafeteria. About 200 students attended each program.

8:00  Pre-K and Kindergarten

9:00  1st and 2nd grades

PTA member Jeannie Fisher (right) with Tammy (left) at Ocee Elementary, home of the otters!

Tuesday, November 15, I spent the day with Jennifer Rice in her library at…

Macedonia Elementary
10370 East Cherokee Drive
Canton, GA 30115

Each group had about 80 students.

8:15-8:55 Third Grade
9:00- 9:40 First Grade
9:45- 10:20 Kindergarten
10:25-11:05 Second Grade
11:10-11:40- Lunch
11:45-12:15 Fourth Grade
12:20-1:00 Fifth Grade
1:15-1:45 Book Signing

The librarian, Jennifer Rice (right), did a fabulous job preparing students for our visit.

My last author visit in 2011 was on Wednesday, November 16 at…

Greater Atlanta Christian School
1575 Indian Trail Rd
Norcross, GA  30093

My husband and co-author of KALEIDONOTES in the GACS library.

8:20-9:00           Third Grade
9:20-10:55          Kindergarden/First Grade
10:15-11:00         Fourth Grade
11:00-12:00        Lunch
12:00-12:45         Second Grade
1:00-1:45             Fifth Grade

We were right at home in their lovely library. The librarians, Allison Anderson and Renee Arnold, were very excited about our visit. Their enthusiasm for our books prior to our arrival prepared the students who were fully engaged and asked great questions.

From left to right: Allison Anderson, Tammy Bronson, Renee Arnold.

A 2nd grade teacher, Crystal Rush,  taught in Conway, Arkansas before moving to Norcross. She fondly recalled my author visit to Marguerite Vann Elementary on March 5, 2010. It’s a small world! I remember my visit to that school because a kindergarten student sent me a watercolor painting he did from my Polliwog book. It was such an amazing picture, I framed it. It still hangs in my office.

Although I often hear, “This is the best author visit we’ve ever had,” very few teachers find the time to put that in writing. My heartfelt thanks to Ms. Cherry at Greater Atlanta Christian School for taking time out of her busy schedule to post my favorite author visit review of 2011:

“Mrs. Bronson, Thank you for visiting Greater Atlanta Christian School in Norcross, GA today. I just have to tell you, that after listening to 15 years of author visits, your presentation was by far the best I have ever heard! My 4th graders greatly enjoyed your talk, learned, and were inspired to try writing their own picture book. I appreciated all of the aspects of being an author that brought to life as well as the from start to finish of the book. Learning how the books are actually put together was something that I do not think any author has ever presented. Your use of technology and explaining how you use Photoshop was also very helpful since the children are comfortable with that program. You and your husband presented a lively and informative author talk and I am thankful for your visit!”

Responses like this encourage me to continue traveling and inspiring children to be readers, writers, and lifelong supporters of the library. I am grateful for any feedback, but this was a big boost that helped me get off on the right foot in the new year. A fond farewell to 2011. Hello, 2012!

Anatomy of an Author Visit Prep Packet

When a school signs up for an author visit, I send the school a confirmation packet filled with goodies that a librarian or teacher can use to prepare students for my program. Here is a sneak peek of the contents.

1 – Letter to the school confirming the date.

2 – Hardcover copy of Polliwog.

3 – Hardcover copy of Tiny Snail.

4 – Hardcover copy of “Sea Horse, run!”.

5 – Hardcover copy of Kaleidonotes.

6 – Four bookmarks (one for each book).

7 – Activity for Kaleidonotes.

8 – Activities for Tiny Snail including…
“Tiny Snail taught me…” Activity (For Bulletin Board)
Teacher’s Guide for Tiny Snail

9 – Activities for Polliwog including…
Frog Life Cycle Activity (Color, Cut, & Paste)
Teacher’s Guide to Polliwog

10 – Activities for “Sea Horse, run!” including…
“Sea Horse, run!” Teacher’s Guide.
Sea Horse Diagram
Brain Coral Maze
Draw Sea Horse with a Dot-to-Dot Activity

11 – DVD with videos of the books and me as the narrator.
Video of Tiny Snail.
Video of Kaleidonotes.
Video of Polliwog (English).
Video of Polliwog (Spanish).
“Sea Horse, run!” video is only available on the DVD.

12 – Timetable for a Successful Author Visit.

13 – Author Photo.

14 – Invoice for author visit fee and travel expenses.

15 – Book flyers for students who want to purchase books.

16 – Shipping label.

(17 )- FAQ by Teachers & Administrators / Program Outline for K-5 (not pictured above).

Want an author visit at your school?

Email books @ bookaroos.com for cost and availability in your area.