"The book was absolutely, positively fantastic. I loved it so much. It was probably the best book I ever read. And I've got a name for the wizard, Ozzwald!" -2nd Grade Student

Author Visits

Why I Love Speaking To Students

When I talk to students I like to really listen because I think they have an awful lot to say.  

Two years ago when my daughters first asked me to write a book with them, I was a little hesitant. I had spent many years writing for television and the last few writing features and novels but I had never collaborated with a child before or written a children’s book, how would we do that?  It began with brainstorming and I’ll tell you what, after seven books my girls are pitching ideas, creating illustrations, talking to press, building websites, running excel spreadsheets and making their own video books; and they are only 8 and 11 years old.  They just needed someone to believe in them and to show them how to get their ideas out of their head and into the world.

This year school year I am continuing the "Just Be You" Project along with our very successful author visit that focuses on giving students the courage and the means to get their creative ideas “Out Of Their Head And Into The World”.

The “Just Be You” project started as I began to think about our two main characters; Penelope the science girl and Jilly the magic girl who have to use their talents to fix Story World, a magical land they accidentally messed up.  The program focuses on getting students to explore their unique talents using collaborative exercises that foster emotional intelligence through hands-on, story-driven, project based learning.

We are looking forward to visiting schools throughout the United States this year.  You never know when my daughters will join me and the students love to hear them speak as they see themselves reflected in Ava and Kayla!  

Use our website to get your students excited about the visit.  Here you can read a portion of each book, play puzzle games, find teachers resources, see how we create our illustrations and get our inspiration.

“The staff and students of our school thoroughly enjoyed the presentation. I believe it will have encouraged our children to be more adventurous in their writing and to take a chance on themselves to try something new. The website Ms. Hill (Timpanaro) offers is an amazing way for the learning to continue and for the students and families to remain engaged. Very well done!” -East Islip School District

“Out Of Your Head And Into The World”
Visiting Author Programs For Grades: K-6
Full Day Sessions: 3+ presentations, plus perks start at $850
Half-Day Sessions: 2 presentation plus perks start at $500

Program Length: 45-50 Minutes

Audience Size: 100-200 or up to 500

The “Out Of Your Head And Into The World” Author Visit Program is an interactive, often hilarious, show that encourages students to get creative ideas out of their head and into the world. Based on The Great Story World Mix-Up chapter book series where two girls mix-up all the stories ever created, students learn how author, illustrator, filmmaker Laura Hill and her co-author daughters (8 & 11) made their series. When we show how we write, speak publicly, go on TV, students eyes light up as they realize that they can do it too!

“Just Be You” Project For Grades: K-6

The “Just Be You” project is a Skype Learning Lesson that has three parts, an initial Skype Visit where students are introduced to the program, a project based visit and a project posting so students can share their creation.  Students take the pledge to just be themselves and let their classmates do the same.  Try this at the beginning of the year to foster a fantastic learning environment in the class or create a school wide project.
Two Skype Program: cost $250
School Wide Program: please call or email for more details.

“When students see that they can write books, illustrate, speak in front of large audiences, even appear on TV just like my co-author daughters, their eyes light up and they realize anything is possible.” –Laura Hill

Visiting Author Program
My programs are designed to help students gain the “know how” and confidence to get their ideas out of their heads and into the world.  Since I love to perform, I use humor and interactivity to engage the students, sharing anecdotes of my time working in television with stars they connect with like Tony Hawk. I then relate everyday experiences with things like recipes, movies and video games to "hidden writing".  With lots of visual props I show and tell the children how my daughters and I wrote our books, how they bested me with their ideas and how we created illustrations by turning really bad drawings into really great artwork.

The program is structured to be interactive throughout engaging students with impromptu questions and opportunities to help develop story ideas, name characters and see illustrations drawn.  After programs I like to hand out bookmarks and personalize books.  I also offer unique post visit opportunities where students can ask questions of my daughters and have their reviews and drawings posted to our website.  

Program Perks
During my day with you I am happy to pop into classrooms and chat informally about writing, art and television production.  If you have any ideas, I would love to hear them.  It’s your day and I’m there to connect with the children and inspire them to get their ideas out into the world.

The Biggest Perk Of All
After my visit I will post a personal greeting to the students on my webpage.  Teachers can help students write books reviews or create artwork which will be displayed on the site and be viewed on the smart board.  My daughters and I love to answer mail as well so send  your questions to laurahillbooks@gmail.com and we will reply to your teacher's e-mail address.
Program Details
Grades K-2: The Great Story World Mix-Up
In this program I talk about getting the creative out and how my daughters had an idea to write a book that quickly became a very real venture for them.  I show the students how my daughters developed the main characters and the story illustrations bringing in blown up examples of the real art.  I act out conversations in which they bested my ideas and show them the silly things I surround myself with to “get ready to write.” In a lively discussion we talk about getting a “big idea” and developing it into a real story with characters, story arcs, rules, and settings.
Curriculum support: reading, writing, reviews, literacy, literary genres, art.  Special Concepts are touched on in each book and can include: Self-esteem, bullying, global warming, plants, public speaking and friendship.
Grades 3-6: The Great Story World Mix-Up Deluxe
For Grades 3-6 I ramp up the program with a real introduction to brainstorming, developing ideas, producing those ideas and marketing them.  Everything in the K-2 program is included, but it is geared to more sophisticated interests and skills as well as working in a collaborative environment where students will actually develop a storyline with me.
Curriculum support: Writing, brainstorming, collaborating,
illustration, using persuasive media, history, science. Special Concepts are touched on in each book and can include: Self-esteem, bullying, global warming, plants, public speaking and friendship.

Get Ready for the Visit  www.gswmu.com
To get ready for the visit its important that students have read the books we will discuss.  To make this easy for you I have developed a fun safe website, the greatstoryworldmixup.com or www.gswmu.com.  Here teachers can use their Smart Board to read a portion of one of our books to the students.  They can see my daughters working on illustrations, play interactive puzzle games, read reviews and view pictures created by other students.
Post visit, teachers can use the website with the Smart Board to view their students reviews and illustrations or ask questions of my daughters or myself via e-mail.

The website will help you:
               Build up to your author visit with activities based on my books
               Link my books and the information I will present during my programs with your curriculum.
               Continue to use ideas from my presentations and books as a touchstone for the rest of the school year.
               Additional resources are available for older students. Just contact me!
Book Sale & Signing
Book ordering is easy and can add excitement to your program.  You will never be charged more than $5.99 per book.  I do this so that every child has the opportunity to receive a signed copy of a great book and so that your school can use my books as a fundraising opportunity.  Please allow three-four weeks to ensure books are available the day of your visit.  Later orders will be signed and shipped promptly to your school after the visit.  In special circumstances additional bulk orders may be placed post program. To make this easy and hassle free I have created a sample order letter you can customize for your school visit.

I am happy to make your visit the best it can be.  To ensure I am at my best please allow 15 minutes between programs so I can gather my thoughts and pump up the energy.  Also please factor in a 30-40 minute lunch break for full day programs.
 Picking a performance space
The best performances are in a space where the students, teachers and I are most comfortable; after all we are going to get to know each other over the next 50 minutes.  I love to interact with the children to get them excited and feeling creative.  I find comfortable seating in an auditorium or library is best, a microphone with a long leash for large groups and a table to put my props on.  For classroom chats students can get comfortable on the rug or at their seats.
 Equipment Needs
               Tables (one or two) to display books and program props
               Microphone (for large groups or large rooms)
               Bottled water
               Computer with digital projector and screen, and someone experienced with the equipment to make sure it runs smoothly. Please ask your AV/computer expert to contact me beforehand about your setup and whether an Internet connection is available in the room.
Free Books For You!
With every half or full day author visit you will receive a set of signed books for your school library, absolutely FREE. 

Contact me
No program is too big or too small, no idea is too grand or restrained.  For more information, pricing or to schedule a virtual face time meeting please contact me at laurahillbooks@gmail.com or see visit ES BOCES performer's catalogue by clicking here.

See you soon!

"I love how your writing experience echoed strategies that we try to teach the children as writers.  It is so wonderful for them to hear how things are done "in real life".  Your book exceeded my expectations." -Laura Kelly, Educator

“It looks like it will be a popular series and I LOVE the illustrations!” -Laura Williams, UK

“I love the concept, the characters and the writing. You and the girls did an amazing job.” –Laura Kelly, Educator

"Finally, something refreshing and new is out there!" -Helen Riesgraf, NY

"You got me with the blurb, I can't wait to read the story!"-Mary LaSita, Librarian