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I love to teach almost as much as I love to write. Here I am presenting a workshop for children at the Illinois Young Authors Conference.

School Author Visits

I am available to speak to students in grades 3-12. (For adult programs see the left sidebar.) When speaking to children, I prefer groups of no more than 75 students, but I can make accommodations for larger groups. Following is a description of my basic presentation. For information about other programs, scroll down.

Worms, Pens, and Butterflies

Much of who I am as a person and an author is rooted in my upbringing as the first-born child of Italian immigrants. In this presentation, I discuss how my background and life experiences influence my writing. I also describe my roundabout route to becoming a published author, emphasizing the importance of both reading and writing in accomplishing career goals, whatever they may be. I typically use PowerPoint slides to show some of the milestones (and humorous events) along my path to publication. This presentation lasts 45 minutes to one hour, including time for questions. I am willing to do up to three presentations in one day.


"Worms, Pens, and Butterflies" is best suited to grades 3-6. Contact me for information regarding programs for younger or older audiences.

See the right sidebar for what educators and attendees have to say about my presentations.

New Presentation on the Power of Research

I'm currently developing a new presentation describing the research required to write Playing by Heart, which is inspired by the lives of two extraordinary sisters who lived in 18th-century Milan, Italy, one a composer and the other a mathematician. Contact me for details. 

Composer Maria Teresa Agnesi--the inspiration for the main character in Playing by Heart.

Other Presentations

I am also available to present writing workshops based on classes I have taught, and I will tailor my talks to the audience's needs. (For example, I often incorporate the 6 + 1 Traits of Writing.) In my children's workshops, I use games and group activities to "make writing fun." Here are some sample topics:

Transforming Life Into Fiction: explains how I fictionalized people, places, and events from my childhood to write Rosa, Sola. Students practice transforming their own real-life experiences into fiction.

Re-Visioning—Seeing with "Fresh Eyes": describes the many revisions Rosa, Sola went through prior to publication and presents specific techniques to help students "re-vision" their own writing.

Young Author's Workshop: presents techniques for generating ideas, developing characters, creating plot, and describing setting.

Markets for Young Writers: provides a step-by-step process for submitting work, along with tips for finding markets open to students in grades 3-12. (For links to writing markets for young writers, see the Young Writers page at

Need help planning a school author visit?