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TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR VISIT

The success of Chris Soentpiet's author visit depends on how well the students are prepared. If the students are familiar with his books they are excited and it invites student participation during his presentation. Remember planning and enthusiasm is the key to a successful visit.

LIBRARY COPIES: Once a date has been set for Chris to visit your school, you should get a set of his books for your library immediately. Teachers will his books to introduce them to the students. Order the books through any book supplier or e-mail us and we'll make arrangements to send them to you in advance. Allow yourself time to prepare for his visit by starting as soon as possible. It is never too early to prepare. Encourage everyone to visit Chris' website at www.soentpiet.com to get acquainted with him and his books. Start by teaching your students how to pronounce SOON-peet, Chris' last name.


PUBLICITY: Set-up Chris' books in the library for all to see. Make a big bulletin board display to increase the excitement of his visit. A promotional photograph can be mailed if you cannot download his picture from this website. Use local media and school newsletters to advertise the event in advance. Enlist parents, volunteers and community members in the visit. If PTO money is involved, an article lets them know how their money is being used. It promotes family participation and interest in the program. A note to your local public library of Chris' appearance will allow them time to have his books ready for checkout.

Bulletin board courtesy of Gayle Stein, Media Specialist Central Avenue School, Madison, NJ

PROJECTS: Chris’ books offer many opportunities to study historical and multi-cultural topics. Use his books as a springboard to planning classroom projects. Talk about immigration using COOLIES and BROTHERS. Celebrate Lunar New Year by reading THE LAST DRAGON. Celebrate Black History Month by reading SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL, MY BROTHER MARTIN, MOMMA, WHERE ARE YOU FROM, MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE. Make paper cranes to discuss the symbolism of the origami in Japanese culture by reading SO FAR FROM THE SEA. Topics such as adoption or sibling rivalry can be introduced with JIN WOO. The Korean war and culture can be explored with PEACEBOUND TRAINS. Get the entire school involved - including teachers, media specialists, administrators and parents should all have a chance to contribute good ideas. Visit Teachers Lesson Plans for more project suggestions and reading resources.


PRE-ORDERS (BOOK SALE FOR THE KIDS): An author appearance makes books come alive. It shows kids that "authors/illustrators are real people." And, there is only one truly important reason to have an author visit: to motivate kids to read. If they excite and interest the kids, they ask, "Where can I get your books?" If the books are not at hand, the moment will be lost. Please give your students a special experience of owning an autographed book.

A kid in South Carolina commented "Well, it's not every day you get the chance to have an illustrator sign his book for you."

We respect some schools have a policy of not offering books to the students for sale. In such cases we would appreciate it if the books could at least be available to teachers. Chris can autograph the books in between each presentation. To order the books, plan at least four months in advance to make sure all titles will be available. Enlist members of your PTO to help. Here are several book ordering options: 

BOOK ORDERING OPTION #1: Bookseller
-many independent bookstores are experienced with author/illustrator appearances in addition, this helps support the local economy. The bookstore will take care of the ordering, shipping and returns. It makes it easier for the school and is a great opportunity to support your local independent bookstore. Bookstores need plenty of time to process your order.  You should contact them and find out how much time they need.

BOOK ORDERING OPTION #2: Purchasing directly from Chris-Let Chris know 6-8 weeks ahead of time that you would like to order directly from him. Send parents this order form Kids will bring back the completed form with payment. Then the school will contact Chris with the tally. Either Chris will bring the pre-ordered books with him on the day of visit or he will ship them to you in advance.

BOOK ORDERING OPTION #3: Publishers-you can get the best discount by ordering direct from the publishers.  This option is the best way to fundraise and generate funds for your next author visit.  If fundraising is not your concern, you can pass the discount savings to the students.  Below are the telephone numbers, title and ISBN if you plan to order directly from the publishers, ask for the author appearance discount:

Scholastic School Division Service (800) 724-6527 (press option #3 for the Catalog department)
More Than Anything Else ISBN#0531-094642
Silver Packages ISBN #0-531-30051-X
Momma, Where Are You From ISBN #  0-531-30105-2
America the Beautiful ISBN # 978-0-545-49207-2

Book of Art Distributor (866) 800-8893
Around Town ISBN# 0-688-04572-3

Simon & Schuster (800) 976-1726
My Brother Martin ISBN# 0-689-84387-9 
My Brother Martin paperback ISBN# 0-689-84388-7

Bantam Doubleday Dell (800) 726-0600
Something Beautiful  ISBN# 0-385-32239-9
Something Beautiful paperback ISBN# 0-440-41210-2

Houghton Mifflin (800) 225-3362
Molly Bannaky paperback ISBN# 978-0547-076768
So far from the Sea ISBN# 0-395-72095-8
So far from the Sea paperback ISBN # 0547-23752-9
Peacebound Trains paperback ISBN # 0618-040-307
The Last Dragon ISBN # 0-395-67020-9
The Last Dragon paperback ISBN # 0395-845173

Philomel Penguin Books (800) 526-0275
Coolies ISBN#  0-399-232-273
Coolies paperback ISBN # 014250 0550
Dear Santa, Please Come to the 19th Floor  paperback ISBN#978-0-14-241931-1
Where is Grandpa? paperback ISBN# 0698119045
Brothers ISBN # 0-399-23406-3

Peachtree Publishers (800) 241-0113
Saturdays & Teacakes ISBN #056 145-303X

Sleeping Bear Press call (866) 918-3956
Happy Birthday to You ISBN #13: 9781585361694

Lee & Low Books 1-888-320-3190 x 28
Amazing Faces ISBN # 978-1-60060-334-1
Amazing Places ISBN # 978-1-60060-653-3

Busy parents and teachers don't always return the book order forms before the visit. Many decide they want a book the day of the presentation, so consider ordering 20% more than you think you need.


SCHOLASTIC BOOKFAIR:  If you are having a Scholastic Bookfair, Chris’ books may be available.
Tri-state:  (800) 272-2665
New England Region:  (800) 526-3343

Ask your Scholastic Bookfair representative if they can get the following titles: 
More Than Anything Else
Silver Packages
Momma, Where Are You From
My Brother Martin
Saturdays & Teacakes
Something Beautiful 
Molly Bannaky
So far from the Sea
Peacebound Trains
The Last Dragon
Jin Woo
Coolies
Dear Santa, Please Come to the 19th Floor
Where is Grandpa?
Brothers

SIDE NOTE: During an author visit, Chris does not require that the sponsoring school sell his books. But they should have access to his books at the school library. This is an important way for the school to carry on the value of the day long after the visit is over.


SCHEDULE: Presentation length is approximately 45 minutes. The size of the audience does not matter though the size of your room should be taken into consideration when planning the logistic of the day. You can also add an extra presentation to the schedule, however you'll need to let us know in advance. The grades should be grouped to conform to number of presentations requested.

We will need a copy of the schedule in advance. Having the schedule early will allow Chris time to set-up his slides to the appropriate grade levels. The schedule should include the time of each presentation, the grade level of each presentation, the expected number and type of audience (i.e. teachers, principals, students-grade, parents) and location of where session is to be held (i.e. gymnasium, library, multi-purpose room, auditorium). Since there will be visuals and equipments, it would be helpful if we had the presentations in one designated area instead of moving from room to room.

Chris prefers back-to-back presentations if possible. He would love to participate in the traditional teacher's luncheon. However if there is no such luncheon planned, Chris doesn't mind stepping out on his own for lunch.


THE BIG DAY: Have the media specialist, teacher or principal introduce Chris in a fun and lively way. Since Chris will be showing slides, the presentation room MUST BE DARK. If the presentation room has windows, ask your custodian to cover them. For the presentations, please supply:

  1. LCD projector to support Microsoft Powerpoint
  2. Microphone
  3. three long tables with your library set of Chris' books
  4. large drawing pad (unlined 25" x 30" preferred) on easel for drawing demonstration
  5. screen or a clean white wall

*Chris welcomes photos and still camera. However audio-taping or videotaping is strictly prohibited.


HONORARIUM/FEES: Schools and libraries can use a variety of sources to sponsor author visits. Including BOCES, Title I, district, PTA/ PTO, grants from local organizations or sponsorship from business groups and funds from the sale of Chris' books.

Your fee has been negotiated ahead of time based on the number of presentation and activities requested. If you wish to add an extra presentation to the day, let us know in advance. Kindly submit your paperwork early so a check can be delivered to Chris on the day of the visit.

SIDE NOTE: We ask that you do not put Chris in a position to go from classroom to classroom to answer questions. Keep in mind that each time he is placed in front of a group and asked to speak he will be repeating information which is needed to give an enthusiastic presentation on stage. So please try to be reasonable about such requests. If you would like an extra presentation or a workshop, let us know in advance so Chris can prepare and fees will be adjusted accordingly.

DONATION: We would be delighted to donate signed art prints for your next PTO fundraiser. Please contact Chris' school visit coordinator and a donation will be made on the day of the visit.

After the visit, students can follow up with thank-you letters, story-writing and more reading and discussion of Chris' books. They should be encouraged to look for more of his books in the public library and to watch out for a new publication. This is the best way to get the most out of this author/illustrator visit. You'll be surprised at the interest in reading that'll become memorable moments of this whole experience.

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