I write the books I wish
my teachers had given me...
When I began writing for kids, I was a creative advertising guy. Just like on TV, except minus the laundry list of vices. I started the way lots of people start: Hmmm. It seems easy, right? I mean, Madonna did it...
A couple decades later, I'm still writing books that kids seem to like. And I've been to a LOT of schools. You could say in that time I've been home-schooled in how teachers connect with students -- the ways they reach students at their speed, at their level of interest. Involving kids in the learning process, not just talking at them, brings the results.
Long before there was a common core, there was common sense: be informed, be clear, and be interesting. And above all, show some respect. That's gospel in my house.
I know I'm the guy who arrives at school one day as a mystery, knowing not only how to write, but how to write books. I can use that dynamic to let kids in, and show them how to do what I do. Because it's easy, if they will try. What I have to say can be applied to the very next paper they write.
I also think it's important to find a voice that is right for both the subject and the reader. At that point, I like to read from my nonfiction to show how reference and irreverence fit together perfectly well, thank you. Plus, it's important to make everyone laugh, especially the teachers.
Before I come to school, let's write or talk a bit about any specifics that would help me better reach your population. I'd like to learn what they'll respond to. And I'm there to support what you do every day.
Author visits work best when the students are familiar with the author before arrival. I don't mean a six-week retrospective of my life's work, but having read a few stories or finished the novel makes a big difference to the child's experience.
For more information on planning the visit, please look to the right and click on the page titled How I Make Visits Easy.
See you in the cafeteria,
-- Mark Shulman