Author Visits

Through school, library, and writing workshop visits, Alysa aims to share a love of storytelling with upper elementary and middle school students. Alysa’s fun and engaging workshops are designed to unlock the inner writer that lives in all of us. There is plenty of time for “play,” but Alysa also wants to help young writers and readers to better understand elements of writing craft such as perspective, world-building, and character development.

Expanding students understanding of the elements of writing serves to help students to communicate better across groups, develop empathy for the lived experiences of others, and to practice respectful curiosity about themselves, others, and the world around them.

Alysa is available both in-person and through virtual visits. Focusing on readers and writers in the middle grades (4rd-8th), Alysa offers a variety of programs to meet your group’s educational and inspirational needs.

Please contact me for rates, availability, and booking details.

THIS AUTHOR’S LIFE

Grades 4-8 (30 or 45 Minutes )

This 45-minute workshop is a chance for classes, library groups, and book clubs to get to know Alysa, and to hear about her long and winding journey to publication (the journey was long, the story isn’t) But what Alysa especially loves to share with students are her favorite techniques for demystifying drafting, revision, and more revision. She’s keen on introducing students to the joys of “white-paging,”  which simply put means starting the same story over from a blank page. Her goal for this visit is to help students embrace the adage; writing is re-writing in a new and empowering way.

ONE BOOK, ONE SCHOOL

Grades 4-8 (45-60 Mins )

Designed for schools, classes, and clubs that have read either THE VERDIGRIS PAWN or BETWEEN MONSTERS AND MARVELS across the entire school/club community.

In this special presentation, Alysa will dive deeper into her writing process—a process that includes much revision, and sometimes even starting over from a new blank page. She’ll share how she pulls from real-world history to weave the fantasy worlds of her books, and how exploring real history can open doors to imagination. There will be time for Q&A which can be used to address questions about craft or to talk about how we as readers and writers can get involved in affecting change in our own societies. Schools that select this option, will be provided with suggestions on how to integrate the book with curriculum, as well as community outreach programs.

Programming can be customized to meet the needs of the community and can include an evening presentation for parents who are reading along with their kids.

WRITING GYM

Grades 4-8 (45 Minutes)

This workshop is geared to work for all middle-grade levels. Alysa can adapt to working with multiple levels at one time, making it perfect for library and home-schooling groups.

Writing gym is much like the regular gym — without running or push-ups. In this workshop, we’ll be building our writing muscles and practicing fun and easy exercises to increase our confidence and technique. Alysa will lead the group to generate two prompts, then join in as we break out into small groups or work individually for 10 minutes to fast-draft a story. Sharing work is optional, but ideally, we will build our second set of prompts using the work we generated in the first writing segment. By using lines volunteered from student work we can see how we as writers can both be inspired by small moments and also inspire others.

The goal of this workshop is to help students learn how to see around corners in their writing and to embrace the fact that writer’s block is less a block and more a message to dig deeper or in another direction.

BUILDING A WORLD OUT OF WORDS

5th-8th grades (45 minutes)

This workshop, designed to intersect with social studies and civics curriculum, begins with a conversation on crafting both fantasy and real-world worlds. As we approach some writing exercises, we’ll give special consideration to exploring power structures: why do they matter, what do they mean for the people who live in the worlds, and what is the role of literature in creating change in the social structure of our real world.

FROM MONSTER TO MARVEL

4th-7th grades (45 minutes)

This 30-45 minute presentation begins with an introduction to Alysa and the world of BETWEEN MONSTERS AND MARVELS. After a short reading and an introduction to the world of monsters in the book, Alysa and the students will spend time inventing their own monsters. As in the book, the beasts have frightening, monstrous aspects, but they also have gifts, the attributes that make them marvels. Working with a prompt from Alysa, the students will be encouraged to write (or draw) their own monsters, and then pull out their gifts. This fun and interactive workshop is designed to encourage students to get comfortable making mistakes and having to start over (just like a real author) all the while learning to look at problems from different angles

“Alysa’s presentation on World Building was both entertaining and engaging. My 8th grade students had lots of new insight to apply to their creative writing!”

Erica Cranden,8th Grade ELA Teacher,
William Annin Middle School, Basking Ridge, NJ