Preparing for the event
Planning an author visit well in advance will ensure the best results for the children, and the best performance from the visiting author, too.
Check with the author which titles they are planning to use as part of their presentation / workshop – or ask them to focus on particular titles you may be using in class. If the work fits in with particular curriculum subjects or skills you are covering, discuss how the author can support this, prior to the event.
Make sure that children have access to the author’s books well in advance but that copies are also available at the event itself for children to buy – they often enjoy having their own signed copy to keep following author events.
The books will need to be ordered several weeks in advance, either from a local bookseller, via a schools’ supplier or schools library service, or direct from the publisher (although one author may have several different publishers). Ensure that the author’s most recent book is included as they will probably want to talk about that during the day.
Create a detailed plan of the day itself and ensure that breaks are planned in and that lunch is arranged and that you know about any dietary requirements. Check with the author if they want to eat with the children in the cafeteria, to go out with the PTA / teachers, or simply have time to unwind.
Authors will typically be able to cover about three sessions during the day but some may want to do fewer. Check with the author to find out the type of workshop/presentation they are happiest doing, how many sessions they are willing to do, and how long they expect each session to last? What presentation materials do they require?
Check what age groups they normally work with. Brief them on which of their titles the children have covered and how this fits in with your teaching schedule. The author can often support this during their sessions.
Nearer the event, ensure that the author is briefed on the event and is happy with the details. Check their travel arrangements: will they need picking up / dropping off at the station? Are they staying at an hotel overnight – if so, will you host an evening meal for them? etc
Flyers and posters will help publicise the event to the children and a display near the entrance will always go down well with the author!