Kate offers both in-person and virtual visits to schools, libraries, book clubs, conferences, and business and educational meetings. She’s also a frequent speaker at writing conferences and offers 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. At this time, Kate is holding off on scheduling most in-person events, but she is scheduling virtual visits. Learn more about those here.
KEYNOTE & CONFERENCE PROGRAMS
Full-day Workshop: Real Writing, Real Revision In order to create work that goes beyond the single-draft test essay, students need models and mentors in their writing lives. This comes in the form of mentor texts, connections with favorite authors, and most importantly, from lead learners, teachers and librarians. In this full-day workshop, author/educator Kate Messner shares strategies for using mentor texts and connecting students with the authors whose books they love, and she invites teacher-writers to pick up their own pens or keyboards to experiment with tried-and-true author strategies for everything from brainstorming story ideas, to writing nonfiction leads, to revision. Join Kate for a day of learning and writing bravely.
Keynote: The Creative Superpower of Curiosity –– “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” Albert Einstein wrote those words to his biographer, and the power of curiosity as a creative force is just as real for students and teachers today. While Kate has written more than fifty books for kids, spanning diverse themes and age groups, all of those titles have one thing in common. They grew out of that same kind of passionate curiosity. In this keynote, Kate shares her own curiosity stories along with thoughts about the link between curiosity and empathy and evidence that this is a trait we need to be inspiring in kids bound for STEM and other careers as well.
Keynote: Magical Mentors: How mentor texts, mentor authors, and mentor teachers inspire student writing. Because so many of our students live in homes where reading and writing aren’t a part of everyday live, providing strong mentors in the classroom can have a transformative effect on student literacy. In this session, Kate explores the power of mentors that go beyond the traditional Albus Dumbledores of the world to focus on mentor texts, author connections, and teacher leadership in living a literate life.
Keynote or Conference Workshop: 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.
Keynote: The Creative Superpower of Curiosity –– “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” Albert Einstein wrote those words to his biographer, and the power of curiosity as a creative force is just as real for students and teachers today. While Kate has written more than fifty books for kids, spanning diverse themes and age groups, all of those titles have one thing in common. They grew out of that same kind of passionate curiosity. In this keynote, Kate shares her own curiosity stories along with inspiration and thoughts on some daily practices to foster the kind of curiosity that feed our souls as authors and illustrators.
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 – 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
A Writing Journey (for groups of any size)
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 wild) 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 (for smaller groups – up to 50)
(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 (for smaller groups – up to 50)
(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! (for smaller groups – up to 50)
(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! (for smaller groups – up to 50)
(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.