Hi there! I’m children’s author Kate Messner, and if your school hosts a Scholastic Book Fair, I’m sure we already have a lot in common. Tell the truth…you grew up circling the books you wanted from the book clubs flyer in magic marker, right? As a voracious reader and someone who taught middle school English for fifteen years, I know how important it is to have lots of resources for getting kids excited about reading and writing, so I’ve put together this page to help you explore some ideas and get even more from the great books you and your students find at the Scholastic Book Fairs.
Authors Who Skype with Classes & Book Clubs (for free!) – I love to Skype with readers, and I also maintain this list of more than a hundred other authors who offer free, 20-minute Skype Q and A sessions for groups that have read one or more of their books and prepared questions in advance.
I’ve also written several School Library Journal technology features about using technology to connect students with authors and promote literacy:
“Met Any Good Authors Lately?” This School Library Journal technology feature explains how Skype author visits are an exciting way to connect readers with their favorite authors, as well as a free or lower-cost alternative to in-person author visits.
“An Author in Every Classroom” offers more on Skype author visits and how they’re becoming a regular part of literacy programs.
“Author Visits: A Remote Possibility” takes a look at how librarians and teachers used Skype connections to bring World Read Aloud Day to life in their schools.
“Pleased to Tweet You” is my SLJ feature on using Twitter to promote literacy in classrooms and libraries.
“Very Pinteresting” takes a look at Pinterest, the new social network that lets users “share beautiful things” as well as great books and ideas for getting kids excited about them. This feature has an accompanying Pinterest board (of course!).
You’ll also find Pinterest boards loaded with discussion guides, related websites, and other resources for my books, CAPTURE THE FLAG, EYE OF THE STORM, MARTY MCGUIRE DIGS WORMS, and HIDE AND SEEK (the second Silver Jaguar Society mystery, set in the rainforest of Costa Rica and coming from Scholastic in Spring 2013).
Kid-Sourcing.com – In March of 2012, I gave a TED talk at the organization’s annual conference in Long Beach, California. The topic: World Building in fiction and how we might challenge kids to use those same strategies to help solve real world challenges. I created Kid-Sourcing.com to share opportunities — citizen science and crowd-sourcing projects where kids can take an active role in making the world a better place.
Teachers Write! – When it comes to teaching writing, “walking the walk” is one of the most powerful things a teacher can do to inspire students, empathize with the challenges of putting words on paper, and model authentic writing. In the summer of 2012, I created Teachers Write, a virtual summer writing camp for teachers and librarians who wanted to work on their own writing. I had expected a “cozy little camp” of maybe a dozen or twenty writers, but more than a thousand people signed up, and so Teachers Write has become an ongoing community of learners, with weekly blog posts that include craft lessons and writing prompts as well as a lively Facebook community. We’d love to have you join us!