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.


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

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.

Timetable for a Successful Author Visit

Before I arrive for an author visit, I mail the school a confirmation packet that includes hardcover copies of the books (autographed to the school) with activities, a DVD of the books with me as narrator, and book flyers.

I depend on the school to inform students that I’m coming, so I like to provide a timetable in the packet.


1) Read at least one of the stories to the students. The music teacher can easily add Kaleidonotes to his/her curriculum. The remaining books may be shared several ways:

• Read the book(s) during library, at an assembly, or with the announcements.

• Or multitask! Engage students by playing the DVD of the book(s) on a projection screen as the teacher/librarian prepares their next lesson. The videos may also be accessed at my YouTube Channel.

Tiny Snail YouTube Video

Polliwog YouTube Video

Kaleidonotes YouTube Video

The video of my new book, “Sea Horse, run!”, is on the DVD but not on YouTube.

After reading “Sea Horse, run!”, you may want to watch my YouTube video about the art in the book. SPOILER ALERT: The video focuses on the ribboned sea dragon, and it gives away the ending in the story. I recommend reading the book first then watching the video.

My You Tube Channel

My You Tube Channel


2) Please inform the teachers of the visit by e-mailing a link to my website, www.tinysnail.com. Electronic copies of teacher’s guides, activities, and my presentation outline are available here and may be sent as e-mail attachments. The materials are also in the confirmation packet. Feel free to photocopy them for classroom use.

3) Send book flyers home with students BEFORE the visit. (The book flyers are in the confirmation packet. I send one copy for each student. The date of the visit is printed on the flyer). You may copy the book flyer for students who lose their first flyer.

Book Order Form

4) E-mail a copy of the schedule to me at books @ bookaroos.com.



8:20- 9:00 Kindergarten

9:05- 9:45 First Grade

9:50- 10:35 Second Grade

10:45 – 11:30 Third Grade

Author’s Lunch 11:30-12:15

12:30-1:15 Fourth Grade

1:25- 2:15 Fifth Grade

2:15- 3:00 Book Signing

Half Day (AM)  (3 groups)

Arrive 7:45 am to setup

8:20-9:00 K-1st

9:10-9:55 2nd-3rd

10:05-10:55 4th-5th

11:00-11:30 Book signing

More sample schedules for a few of the schools I visited in Fall 2011 may be found in these blog posts:

Jackson Primary School
Trip Elementary
Dwight Elementary
McKelvey Elementary
St. Patrick School
Three Author Visits Oct 12th and 14th
Author Visits in Bryant, Arkansas
Liberty Christian School
Morton Elementary
Harvey Oaks Elementary


I prefer to set up in one location because I bring large poster displays and many hand-held visuals. Set up time is 15 minutes. I always arrive 30 minutes prior to the first presentation so I have plenty of time to set up. If I must move to another location at some point during the day, I need at least 20 minutes to disassemble, move, and reassemble my displays. If more than one location is required, please factor this additional time into the schedule.

I generally have one book signing at the end of the day for students; however, this is flexible depending on your needs. I pre-autograph books with the exception of the child’s name so I can conduct the signing quickly and efficiently. PLEASE DO NOT SEPARATE THE MONEY FROM THE FLYER. The money could be lost then the child will not receive their book.

It is helpful to a have a liaison or helper nearby if any problems or questions arise (especially during the book signing).

*     *     *     *     *

I hope this information will assist schools and librarians preparing for my next author visit. Please email questions or comments to books @ bookaroos.com.  Happy Reading!

Author Visit Timetable PDF

Fan Mail From Liberty Christian School

As I sorted through a large pile of envelopes on my desk this afternoon, I found a stack of fan mail from students at Liberty Christian School. Here is a sample of pictures and letters the children made for me. (Read my original blog post about the author visit at Liberty Christian on November 1, 2011.)

Book Covers drawn by Hayden B. at Liberty Christian School

“Sea Horse, run!” and TINY SNAIL covers drawn by Hayden B.

Emily's Tiny Snail

TINY SNAIL cover drawn by Emily C.

Madison's Tiny Snail

TINY SNAIL cover drawn by Madison.

Drawing of Polliwog's Cover by Hayden at Liberty Christian School.

Polliwog cover drawn by Hayden S.

Tiny Snail Cover drawn by Tye at Liberty Christian School.

TINY SNAIL cover drawn by Tye.

A few students simply wrote letters instead of drawing a picture. This student forgot to sign their letter, but TINY SNAIL‘s message of perseverance and never give up made a big impression:

Liberty Christian Letter

“Thank you help me want to read more and to learn more of things learn as much I can and inspir’d me to write a book and write and try and never stop from your book the snail book”

*     *     *     *     *

Thankfully one student found my program both inspiring and entertaining:

Letter by Laura at Liberty Christian

“Thank you for coming. It helped me to do beter [better] in things. My favorite part was when you droo [drew] a frog. You inspired me to never give up. You’re very funny. Love Laura”

*     *     *     *     *

Avery's Letter

“Dear Mr. and Mrs. Bronson,

I have always wanted to be a writer. I have [been] making up stories since I was three years old. Thank you for coming and talking to us about your books. My favorite book is ‘SEA HORSE, RUN!’. I really want to do picture books. Thank you for coming to the school and sharing about your books. You should keep writing!


*     *     *     *     *

Bella's Envelope

One student sent their letter in a separate envelope they decorated especially for me!

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


TIP: Keep writing!”

I will keep writing, Bella!

*     *     *     *     *

A BIG thank you to ALL of the students at Liberty Christian for sending such wonderful pictures and letters. I keep my fan mail, and I will treasure your words of encouragement. You keep writing, too!

Red Rocks Elementary at Red Rocks Park, Morrison, Colorado

Red Rocks Elementary Librarian

Tammy (left) and Courtney Drysdale, Librarian (right), at the Red Rocks Elementary Library.

Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Red Rocks Elementary is a wonderful school located in Morrison, Colorado, a popular tourist destination just 30 minutes from downtown Denver.

View from the Red Rocks Elementary library window.

View from the Red Rocks Elementary library window.

I spoke to Red Rocks’ students on Thursday, November 10, 2011, and I was impressed that the  children can see the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater from the library window.

9:15-10:00 AM 4th, 5th, & 6th Grades

10:10-10:40 AM Kindergarten & 1st Grades

10:50-11:35 AM 2nd and 3rd Grades

Red Rocks Amphitheater Enlarged

Enlarged view of part of the Red Rocks Amphitheater as seen from the library window.

I regret that we did not have more time to drive into the park itself. This is an area I would love to visit again only next time as a tourist. Red Rocks Park has a fabulous website with great photos of the area at:  http://www.redrocksonline.com/.

We had to leave the school at midday and drive back to Lakewood to visit Green Gables Elementary that afternoon.

12:40-1:20 Kindergarten & 1st Grades

1:20-2:05 4th, 5th, & 6th Grades

2:15-3:00 2nd & 3rd Grades

Both schools are small with only about 350 students each, and Courtney Drysdale is the librarian at both Red Rocks and Green Gables. Courtney did a fabulous job organizing our visits!

My husband and I did manage to take one day off during our trip to Denver. We spent that day in Boulder, Colorado. It was our first trip to Boulder, and my favorite tourist attraction that day was our tour of the Celestial Seasonings Tea Company. I love tea!

Celestial Seasonings Tea Shop, Boulder, Colorado

Celestial Seasonings Tea Shop, Boulder, Colorado

Colorado is a beautiful state, and we were very fortunate that the weather was gorgeous all week (50 degrees or more). We’re looking forward to visiting the Denver area again.

Visiting Harvey Oaks Elementary, Omaha, NE

Friday, November 4th, 2011 was a full day of “Animal Antics” at Harvey Oaks Elementary. The school’s principal, Mrs. Dawn Marten, was the assistant principal at Neihardt Elementary, an Omaha school we visited last fall (November 8, 2010). Without a doubt, Mrs. Marten’s fond memories of our visit to Neihardt contributed to our warm reception at Harvey Oaks.

In celebration of my visit, students in kindergarten through 5th grade wrote stories or  drew pictures inspired by my books. We were amazed by the quality and quantity of creative work produced by the Harvey Oaks’ students.

Matthew Shane Bronson & Tammy Carter Bronson at Harvey Oaks Elementary

An underwater bulletin board featured original, multicolored sea horse art inspired by  “Sea Horse, run!”.

Close-up of sea horses by Harvey Oaks students.

First grade students painted lovely, underwater scenes inspired by Polliwog.

Watercolor paintings by 1st grade students at Harvey Oaks Elementary inspired by POLLIWOG. .

9:00 – 9:35 am Kindergarten
9:45 – 10:30 am 2nd Grade
10:50 – 11:25 am 1st Grade
11:30 – 12:30 pm Lunch provided by Bear Creek Coffee Cafe
12:30 – 1:15 pm 5th Grade
1:25 – 2:10 pm 4th Grade
2:20 – 3:05 pm 3rd Grade

More POLLIWOG art by 1st graders at Harvey Oaks.

Fourth grade students wrote stories that utilized a character trait from Tiny Snail. Some stories demonstrated attitude, self-esteem or how to set goals, while other stories reinforced attributes such as courage, perseverence, or gratitude.

A wall of stories by 4th grade students at Harvey Oaks Elementary.

Tammy C. Bronson and the Harvey Oaks Librarian, Sue Hillman.

The school’s librarian, Sue Hillman, presented us with a gift basket featuring foods made in Nebraska.

Harvey Oaks Elementary Gift Basket

Ms. Cook, a 3rd grade teacher at Harvey Oaks, applied for and won a grant from the Milliard Public Schools Foundation. This “Animal Antics Grant” supported my author visit which focused on snails, frogs and sea horses. The grant also paid for a complete collection of World Books of Animals for the school library. Later this year, the grant will enable Harvey Oaks students to connect with animals through a trip to the Henry Doorly Zoo.

The new World Book collection at Harvey Oaks Elementary.

Congratulations, Harvey Oaks, on winning your grant, and thank you so much for inviting me to be a part of your “Animal Antics.” We will treasure the memories!

Almost 25,000 copies of TINY SNAIL in print

After more than a decade, over 18,000 copies of Tiny Snail are inching their way around the world. Many teachers wanted access to a video of the book for the classroom, so in March 2010 I posted videos of my books on YouTube. Polliwog and Kaleidonotes have been viewed a few hundred times, but in eighteen months the Tiny Snail video has been viewed 2,610 times! Tiny Snail is by far my most popular book, and last week she entered her 10th printing. Our shipment of books arrived  Tuesday, October 25th. Unfortunately the truck did not have a lift, so we unloaded 53 boxes (4,300 copies) by hand.

Tiny Snail Boxes on the Truck

Although a couple of boxes were damaged, the books inside were unharmed.

24,786 copies of Tiny Snail are now in print!

TINY SNAIL Date Soft cover Hard cover
1st Printing 3/18/00 2200
2nd Printing 12/27/01 2200
3rd Printing 9/23/02 5495
4th Printing 12/16/04 2000
5th Printing 4/18/05 500
6th Printing 2/28/07 889
7th Printing 1/28/08 4376
8th Printing 10/25/08 950
9th Printing 10/19/10 1860
10th Printing 10/25/11 4300
TOTALS 16371 8399

Go, Tiny, go!

My Author Visits in Bryant, Arkansas

In April 2001 I visited Grace Hill Elementary in Rogers, Arkansas. It was one of my first author visits, and at that time I only had one book, Tiny Snail. Katie Thomas, a former teacher at Grace Hill, is now the principal at Collegeville Elementary in Bryant, Arkansas. I was amazed to learn that ten years later Katie remembered my 2001 author visit at Grace Hill, and when it came time for her to select an author for a program at Collegeville, she chose me!

My visit to Collegeville Elementary was Monday morning, October 24, 2011. Collegeville shared the day with Salem Elementary, and both school programs were in the gym. Since there were about 200 kids in each presentation, the schools provided a document camera so smaller visuals could be projected on the wall. Despite the size of the groups, students were very attentive and asked great questions.

K-1st Grades 8:30 AM – 9:05 AM

2nd – 3rd Grades 9:15 AM – 10:00 AM

10:00 AM-10:20 AM Autograph Books

4th – 5th Grades 10:20 AM – 11:05 AM

11:05 AM – Noon Finish Autographing Books and Lunch

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Drive to Salem Elementary and set up in the gym

4th-5th Grades 1:00 PM – 1:45 PM

K- 1st Grades 1:50 PM – – 2:35 PM

2nd-3rd Grades 2:30 PM – 3:15 PM

3:15- 3:45 Autograph Books

I am very grateful to both Katie Thomas and Salem’s principal, Mark Scarlett, for taking time out of their busy schedules to organize the author visit and to meet with me personally on the day of the event. It was a lively and very rewarding day.

Students are welcome to keep in touch and send questions via e-mail at books@bookaroos.com.