10 Things to do if an Author Visits Your School

Before we get to our ten things to do before an author visits your school, you need to hear this story.

"Author visit your school" may be the most important piece of your writing in your classroom.
Tyler Whitesides & I during his author visit at school

A Little Backstory

Every March/April time our school has an author visit. This year we had Tyler Whitesides visit. He is the author of the Janitors series. His presentation was absolutely amazing but he came into the classroom (after his big presentation) and we were able to connect with him. As the teacher, I asked him what his favorite book was. He said “Fablehaven.” I pointed to the kids and told them “SEE!!! It IS an amazing book!!!” He then proceeded to tell me that the author of the book, Brandon Mull, was a friend of his. They celebrate Christmas together. My kids convinced him to call Brandon.

He CALLED BRANDON MULL.

Can you freaking believe that? What did I do? I cried…seriously cried. I told Brandon that Fablehaven are my favorite books ever. Yes, I know Tyler was right there but whatever. I cannot believe that I spoke to Brandon Mull. One of the most amazing fantasy authors ever…obviously in my own opinion.

Meeting Tyler Whitesides

When Tyler came in, we were clapping and so very excited. He was absolutely fantastic. Tyler gave us some background about why he wanted to be an author, his family, and everything else about being an author. Whitesides was funny, artistic, and he played the drums on the trash can! Tyler said that he goes to so many schools and that they don’t have drums so he learned to play on the trash can. He was truly an amazing author to have. If you are interested in having Tyler come to your school- check out his website here. I make no money off of recommending him, but from first hand experience I know he is a fantastic author visit for your school.

Top 10 Ideas for Author Visits Your Schools

Generate questions.

Prior to the author coming to your school, generate questions that your students may want to ask the author. They could be simple things about their family, or in-depth ones about the characters and why they wrote about their characters. When an author visits your school, they want to hear questions about the books or the characters that they created.

Read the book!

Always…always…always…read the book ahead of time. If you know they are coming- read the book so the students are familiar with the characters from the book and the important elements of the book.

Make a welcome sign.

Have your students create a poster to welcome them to the school. They can write their name, sign the books for them, or even write a quick review of the book.

Put a display up in the library

In one section of the library, use the shelves to display the books of the author. I have seen some people put the author’s picture or just a sign. It gets the students super excited to read all the books that the author wrote.

Draw pictures of the main character as the student views them.

I love letting kids read the book and then challenge them to draw the main characters. The students love doing this because then they can show the author during the visit and see how right they were.

Buy some books to be autographed.

I always purchase 1-2 books of the author ahead of time. I ask the author to autograph it for me if they can and if they don’t say yes- I will normally give them pleading eyes.

Create dramatic plays

Encourage the students to create a dramatic play prior to the author coming. Let them get into “character” and become a character within themselves. I find it freaking adorable when they bring their favorite character to life. They get such a kick out of it.

Outline a character’s journey

Once you have finished the book, let the kids create a character web, a character journey map, or even search for the places using Google

Author welcoming committee

Have a few kids waiting for them to guide them around the school. Let the kids show them the school and then give them all of the thank you letters that you created.

Take pictures & Have fun!!

It’s the one time you will meet this author. Take some pictures. Enjoy the moment and enjoy the time. Let the kids experience the author and what they do. Let the guard down for a few minutes. You won’t regret it.

"Author visit your school" may be the most important piece of your writing in your classroom.
Tyler Whitesides during an Author Visit at School

Author Visits Your Schools are worth it!

I know when an author visits your school…it can be stressful. However, it is one of the best experiences for the kids that don’t know what it’s like in the writing/author’s world. It was definitely a life-changing experience for me (probably because I met my favorite author).

Want some ideas to link the author’s purpose and your author’s visit? Head to the blog post all about Author’s Purpose to see what I do with those books.