Kate offers both in-person and virtual visits to schools, libraries, book clubs, conferences, and business and educational meetings. She also speaks at SCBWI and other writing conferences and gives professional development workshops for educators. Scroll down for a full list of presentations and workshops. If you are interested in scheduling a speaking engagement, please fill out Kate’s contact form to learn more about current rates and availability.
KEYNOTE & CONFERENCE PROGRAMS
For Business Leadership
The Power of What-If: Writing (and planning for) the Future – In fiction, we call it world-building…imagining a world years, decades, or even centuries away by looking at current events and projecting possibilities for the future. Children’s and young adult author Kate Messner shares the mind-mapping and time lining processes she uses to write futuristic fiction and challenges business leaders and planners to ask the right questions and to bring imagination to the table when considering the years to come.
Letting Kids Lead: How to break away from test prep to create meaningful, real-world challenges in your classroom. In Kate’s 2012 TED Talk, she urged business leaders to respect the imaginations of young people when it comes to solving the world’s problems and building our society of tomorrow. In this talk, she shares a plan to help schools break away from test-driven instruction, instead presenting kids with authentic STEM and future-building experiences through local and national non-profits, government agencies, universities, and cooperating companies.
Walking the Walk: How Teacher-Writers Encourage Student Revision — As teachers, we encourage our students to revise their writing. How can our own writing strengthen our teaching of this important step in the writing process? Author Kate Messner, a former National Board Certified middle school ELA teacher, will share her own revision process as well as strategies, activities, and technology tips to make students excited about revision.
Telling Ourselves New Stories: As writers and illustrators of children’s books, making stories is what we do. We know that stories are powerful. And yet…so often we allow our creative lives to be crippled by the stories others tell us, and even more often, by the stories we tell ourselves. In this inspiring keynote, Kate shares eight self-destructive stories that writers often tell themselves and offers alternatives – new stories to inspire creativity, writing, and career progress.Make it Real: The Power of Authentic World Building in Fiction– Whether a story is set in Ancient Rome, an urban high school, or a torn-apart world of the future, one thing is universal. Settings must be real and authentic to authors before we can make them real for readers. In this presentation, award-winning author Kate Messner shares time lines, mind maps, worksheets, interview pages, and other world building strategies, not only for futuristic fiction but also for other genres where world building isn’t talked about as often but is no less important.
Real Revision: Big Picture & Line by Line – In this workshop, participants will learn tried-and-true strategies for revising a novel, from big-picture concerns like theme and characters to line by line improvements relating to word choice, voice, and cutting unnecessary text. Kate will share the revision stories behind some award-winning books for young readers and tips for adapting those strategies for your own work. Often, revising a novel means returning to an earlier stage in the writing process, so we’ll investigate outlines, organizers, timelines, maps, and sketches as revision tools. We’ll identify situations where a return to research is the best medicine for a hurting manuscript and those where a good pruning is needed. Workshop participants who have a book in progress at any stage should bring it along for the hands-on, down-and-dirty work of revision. Note: This workshop is available for both picture books and novels for young readers.
BRING KATE TO YOUR SCHOOL TO WORK WITH STUDENTS
“Kate is an exemplary performer — she is knowledgeable, informative, humorous, and engaging. As she presents, her face beams with her love of learning and her love of learners — of all ages.”
—Sharon Hayes, School Library Media Specialist, South Hero, VT
“My 4th, 5th and 6th grade students have never been so thoroughly engaged.”
—Karen Wright, Ogdensburg City School District
PROGRAMS FOR SCHOOLS & LIBRARIES
Are We There Yet?
Chapter Books & Picture Books (30-40 minute presentation for Grades K-3)
A Novel’s Journey (45-60-minute presentation for Grades 4 and up)
Sometimes, when you’re a kid, writing assignments seem to go on forever, like a long, long car ride. This interactive workshop takes kids along on the journey a book makes on its way to publication. Kate shares the story of one of her books – brainstorming, writing a first draft, revising, getting feedback from friends, revising, finding a publisher, revising again, sending a new draft, revising again (are you noticing a trend?), copy editing, book and cover design, and finally publishing. Kate will share early drafts, photographs of her (sometimes crazy) writing process, and actual revision letters from her editors. Students will read some text excerpts and have a chance to practice their editing skills, too.
Story Puzzles Writing Workshop
(Grades 3-12, 60 minutes)
Every book I’ve written starts with putting together the pieces of a puzzle. Where will this story take place? Who will the main character be? What kind of mood will the story have? Put those puzzle pieces together, and the story starts to sizzle along on its own. In this presentation/writing workshop, Kate shares the brainstorming stories behind a few of her books and then uses one of those strategies to get young writers started on a story of their own.
Where the Magic Happens: A Revision Workshop
(Grades 4-8, 45-60 minutes)
Think published authors just have a gift for writing and turn out perfect first drafts every time? Think again! In this hands-on workshop, Kate walks students through the messy revision processes she uses once she’s finished a draft of a novel and gives hands-on strategies to make writing stronger. This is a writing workshop in addition to a presentation. Students should bring a double-spaced draft of a piece of writing as well as paper and a pencil or pen. They should come ready to write and revise!
Workshop: Writing the Future!
(Grades 4-12, 60 minutes)
In this STEM-based writing workshop for grades 4 and older, Kate walks young writers through the process of brainstorming and world building for a story set in the future, based on current science and technology and projected advances. Students will complete world building exercises, brainstorm characters, and begin writing their own stories set in the future.
Workshop: It’s a Mystery!
(Grades 4-12, 60 minutes)
In this hands-on writing workshop, kids will think like detectives (and like mastermind criminals!) to develop their own mystery stories. They’ll learn the essential pieces of the puzzle when it comes to mystery writing; brainstorm crimes, suspects, red herrings, and more; develop characters; and begin writing their own mystery stories.
VIRTUAL AUTHOR VISITS
Kate offers two kinds of virtual author visits, using Skype videoconferencing software.
For Schools, Libraries, and Book Clubs:
Book-Talk Q and A
When your students have finished reading one of Kate’s books, she would be happy to join them via Skype for a lunchtime question and answer session.
Available: selected weekdays between 11-1:45 EST Time: 20 minutes Cost: FREE
Virtual Author Presentations for Businesses, Education, and Kids
All of Kate’s in-person presentations listed above may be adapted as virtual visits. These are full-length presentations that include visuals.
Availability: flexible – email to request date/time. Time: 45-60 minutes Cost: $200
RESOURCES TO DOWNLOAD
THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z. – TEACHERS, LIBRARIANS & BOOK CLUBS
A Recipe for Nonna’s Funeral Cookies
Quiz: What Kind of Tree Are You?
HISTORICAL NOVELS – TEACHERS, LIBRARIANS & BOOK CLUBS
Spitfire Study Guide
Champlain and the Silent One Study Guide
To read any of these pages, you’ll need Adobe Acrobat Reader, which you can download for free here.