School Visits

I love speaking in schools about my life either in person or virtually.  Over the years, I’ve seen how children are inspired when they meet a “real” author and hear her speak about her writing and adventures.

After talking about my wolf experiences  and how they helped me write my wolf books, the principal at Eureka Elementary School in Granite Bay, CA, wrote to me, “The students continue to talk about your presentations and are checking even more of your books out of our library. You inspired one of our 4th grade students so much that she wrote her own legend about wolves!” I love knowing that I’ve inspired students to read and to write.

I have several programs for presentation that can be adapted to various age levels. They last from 45 to 60 minutes, with time for questions from the audience and can be presented in a classroom or at an assembly. All my talks are accompanied by a slide show, and in every program I show how my personal experience with my subjects enlivens and enhances my writing. All of them can be adapted to any age level from grade 2 through adults. The ones on bears and wolves have been enjoyed by adult audiences at libraries and conventions in addition to at schools, and the one on how an idea becomes a book can be informative for writers as well as children or general adult audiences. In addition to the topics below, I am putting together presentations on the prairie and on “The Buffalo and the Indians: A Shared Destiny.”

Since I’ve been writing for 40 years, I decided to put together another presentation that can be adapted to all ages, “The Adventures of a Restless Writer.” My passion for research has taken me from the Canadian Arctic (polar bears) to the equatorial Galapagos Islands (Charles Darwin) and from the amazing prehistoric cave paintings at Lascaux, France to the fabulous terra cotta warriors guarding the tomb of the first emperor of China. As always, this talk is accompanied by a PowerPoint slide show.

Here is a sample of my presentations. I can also tailor my talks to meet the needs of a school, conference, or other public appearance:

My Adventures with Wolves
Wolves are a favorite subject for me. In this program, you’ll travel with me as I see my first wild wolves in Denali National Park in Alaska, get to know a pack of captive wolves in Montana, and follow the progress of wolf reintroduction into Yellowstone National Park.

Bears, From the Tundra to the Rain Forest
I’ve traveled from Alaska to Wyoming, Hudson Bay to British Columbia to observe and learn about bears for my many bear books. See polar bears at play on the ice and grizzly and black bears fishing for rich, tasty salmon in river rapids as I learn how these powerful animals survive in the wild and gather information for my writing.

How an Idea Becomes a Book
Using my book “Big Cats,” I show how a book is planned, written, and illustrated, with photos of all the stages along the way from research to final pages. I show the stages of the illustrator’s work as well as those of the author.

The Right Dog for the Job
See how a puppy is raised to help the handicapped and how an author may take years to complete a book project as she documents the unexpected career of a service dog turned guide dog. This talk is great for every age level and audience and can help children see the value in looking beyond their own lives for ways to help others.