Here's what makes my program unique.

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How does my presentation compare to other author and illustrator programs?

"Some authors come for a school visit and rest on their reputation, but not Mr. Van Patter. He uses his experience to inspire his audience but does so much more than explain his creative process... Students leave the assembly and workshop motivated to be creative and ready for the challenges they will face."

Daniel Fonder, Assist. Principal, Hillside School, Bridgewater, NJ

What other authors & illustrators focus on: themselves.

What I focus on: the ideas of your students.

The usual author show is a slide presentation about how he or she gets ideas, how books are developed, yadda, yadda. I even saw one author show a slide of the couch where she takes her daily naps. My show is about creativity applied to creative writing: how all your students are innately creative and what they can do to stay that way. My PowerPoint presentation, is filled with original, kid-friendly illustrations that will instruct as well as entertain. After that, I get student volunteers up front to participate with me in creative activities. Kids will leave the assembly ready and eager to write and draw. Just to give an example: a teacher recently told me that after my assembly, her class went back and wrote for two hours, only stopping because they had to go home. And they were kindergartners!

What other illustrators draw: the same character they've drawn in countless other schools

What I draw: a large illustration of the story your students create.

The usual illustrator drawing is canned. If you travel from school to school, like I do, you'd see the same drawings on the walls of each school library -- simple sketches of the illustrator's latest character. Every new school gets the same, old drawing. When I draw, it's totally spontaneous. In assemblies, I don't know what I'll have to draw until four student volunteers give me the random ingredients I weave into a story. Not only do children love to watch drawings come to life, they love the fun of having the presenter on the journey of discovery with them. And they recognize and value that they contributed to the drawing. I don't just draw a character, I draw a narrative. My drawings also go far beyond the level of finish of other illustrators as well. Take a look at the page of recent school drawings and see the amount of detail I add before giving them to the school to display. I created 300 just last year alone and they're all different. These are large, professional illustrations you'll love to have on your walls. After all, they were generated by your students' imaginations!

How many sessions other presenters give: usually just two assemblies; a few offer workshops, but at an additional price.

How many sessions I give: two assemblies plus three grade-level workshops, all included in my one-day rate.

Sometimes, assemblies just aren't enough. I want to do more than just talk about ideas. I want kids to experience the amazing fun of generating ideas. So after the two assemblies, I will meet kids in three workshops throughout the day. These workshops,45-50 minutes long, build on the ideas of the assembly. We take a random doodle, create a character out of it, then build a story around the character. Students learn the basic structure of stories as they contribute ideas that eventually lead to my drawing a large marker illustration of the tale we constructed. I usually end the workshops telling humorous personal stories, or telling jokes as a way to underline how creativity often leads us onto unpredictable paths. I've posted a page to help you see how to schedule the day.

What other authors and illustrators give teachers to take back to the classroom: little or nothing.

What I give teachers: a website with over 300 pages of information and creative writing ideas; I supply a guide for teacher to use my website. I also provide a free weekly email with ideas about writing with kids.

When I finish my visit, students are highly motivated to write and illustrate. Teachers have asked me to help them keep that enthusiasm alive back in their classroom, so I've developed resources for them. My website has numerous free ideas for writing projects. In addition, I've produced downloadable creative writing helps available for a small fee at my Let's Get Creative Store.

What your students will say after the usual author visit:
"When I grow up, I want to be an author or an illustrator."

What your students will say after my time with them:
"When I get home, I'm going to write and draw a story."

Additional benefits of my program:

a sheet of signed bookmarks to run off for students to remember my visit and to give them my web site address

an opportunity to purchase one of my books and have it signed. I write short messages of encouragement and add a small drawing to every book I sign. I currently have two books on the market, Farley Found It!, a new picture book based on a story which was developed in a school workshop. The follow-up book to Farley, called Tucker Took It!, came out in February, 2010.

a page for your school on my website detailing the drawings and stories that came out of the day. This gives kids a chance to share with their parents details from the experience, as well as re-telling the story we invented. Click on the button to see the school pages.

I also make available an evening program for parents and kids. It's called How to Invent Stories With Your Kids, and gives families practical, entertaining ideas for creating stories in their own homes. An hour long, this program costs an additional fee and is totally optional. But I've frequently seen schools that hold this evening program surpass expectations of attendance for evening programs, because students come back from school so energized, they pull their parents back to school to get a taste of the fun themselves.

As an assembly planner, you have a choice in the kind of authors you can bring in. You can go for the high-visibility celebrity and hope that the show is kid-friendly. (I'm sure you've heard stories, just as I have, of disastrous presentations by nationally-known presenters.) Or you can look beyond how many books might be on a resumé and bring in a presenter who will inspire and equip students with an entertaining, involving show.

I am that presenter. Nobody gives more to schools than I do. And I'd be glad to give references if you want to hear that from schools I've visited. If you haven't already, read some reviews by teachers!

As for cost, my price is lower than the national average for school presenters.

Let's Get Creative! may very well be the best assembly you book this year!

all material ©2006-2010 Bruce Van Patter