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Archive for the ‘Author Visit’ Category

School Visit: Richmond Heights, MO

Friday, May 9th, 2008


I am excited that this year it’s working out to visit more local schools here in the St. Louis area! Today I spent the afternoon at MRH Elementary in Richmond Heights, MO, which is only about 15 minutes from my house. I gave two presentations – one for the 2nd and 3rd graders and the other for the 4th, 5th, and 6th graders. Gloria Neiman, who kindly organized this visit for me, ordered about 35 paperbacks and raffled them off to the lucky students. Above, you can see the kids patiently waiting for me to autograph their books. Thanks MRH!

School Visit: Mehlville, Missouri

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

Happy Earth Day! I visited Hagemann Elementary School in Mehlville, Missouri today, where I talked with the fourth and fifth graders in the library. They were a great group, and asked lots of good questions about the writing and illustrating process. Some of the kids even took notes as I spoke. I could tell there were lots of prospective authors and artists in this bunch!


I shared my new book, The Forever Forest, with them. This book tells the inspiring story of the Swedish second grade class who began a movement in 1987 to protect Costa Rican rainforests. Twenty years later, the Children’s Eternal Rainforest preserve in Monteverde, Costa Rica is now more than 54,000 acres – the largest private forest reserve in Central America.


In the photo above, I am showing the students a picture I took of the Children’s Rainforest when I went there last year to do research for the new book. One of the teachers said she had actually visited the Children’s Rainforest herself. I wouldn’t be surprised if this sharp group of kids figured out their own way to help this special place.

In the weeks before my visit, they started working on a pretty cool art project. First, they read my two books Salamander Rain: A Lake & Pond Journal and Saguaro Moon: A Desert Journal. Next, they got busy making their own habitat dioramas with sculpted animals inside. They were still working on painting the habitats, but in the picture below, you can see some of the animals they made. Thanks to Mary Ellen Kopsas for organizing this visit.


School Visit: Monterrey, Mexico

Saturday, April 19th, 2008

Buenos dias! Just a couple of days ago, I returned from visiting the American School in Monterrey, Mexico. I took my husband Gabriel with me, and we had a fantastic time. We flew down from St. Louis, MO on Wednesday 09 April, and got caught in the massive American Airlines flight cancellation surprise. Fortunately, my dad is a pilot for Northwest Airlines, so he was kind enough to bail us out with some standby passes. Thanks dad! It took us a little longer, and we got to visit a few extra airports, but we arrived in Mexico on the morning of the next day. That left just enough time for me to still meet with all the kids. Yay!


These are some of the kids. Aren’t they adorable? I spent two days at their school. I gave presentations for K-5 in the auditorium, where I talked about my new book, The Forever Forest: Kids Save a Tropical Treasure, which is all about the Children’s Eternal Rainforest in Monteverde, Costa Rica.


The teachers were all very friendly, and one even grabbed me a chai at the coffee shop across the street from the school. I was so grateful to actually have made it to the school that I forgot about how little sleep I had gotten in the process. 🙂 The friendly tech staff did a quick job of setting up my laptop as soon as I arrived, even though I don’t speak more than two dozen words in Spanish.


I visited the Prekinder kids in their classrooms. I brought a giant stuffed clownfish from the library and read them A Swim through the Sea. I couldn’t believe how smart these little ones were. They asked some pretty clever questions that I hadn’t heard before, in all of my many school visits. My favorite one was: “do you know what’s inside the fish?” I was glad I had an illustration of a jellyfish in my book, so I could show him that we can see right inside some fish. 🙂


This is my marvelous host, Ms. Fiona. She is the librarian at ASFM (American School Foundation of Mexico). She, and her wonderful assistants, did all the organizing for this trip, and took great care of us while we were visiting Mexico. On Saturday, Fiona took Gabriel and me to see the Diego Rivera exhibit at the MARCO (the modern art museum).
I loved it. We ended up seeing the whole museum, which also included an exhibit of other Mexican painters, and a whole floor upstairs for women artists. I wasn’t all that familiar with Mexican art, and had a great time soaking it all in.


One of my favorite things I got to do with the students was a nature journaling workshop on Friday afternoon. Fiona had the third, fourth, and fifth grade teachers each select one or two students to participate, and I ended up with 24 kids in the library. First, I talked with them about what skills are needed to write and illustrate non-fiction books. What do scientists do? What do artists do? Then I asked the kids what qualities both artists and scientists need. Right away, one girl raised her hand and said “observation!” Well, that made it easy. Time to go outside and practice those observation skills.


I took them out to a courtyard, where we observed a large, flowering cactus. First we looked closely at different parts of the plant. Then we sat down in the shade and wrote a list of five things we noticed about the cactus. Finally, we drew a far-away view of the cactus, and then a close-up of part of it. The kids really got into it. Several of them started asking questions and forming hypotheses about things such as why the flowers grow on the outside of the cactus, or why smaller plants grow in the shade of the cactus arms. This was my favorite part of the whole visit. Thanks, ASFM!

A Swim through the Sea
goes to Ouagadougou!

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008


My Aunt Kim is the Elementary School Principal of the The International School of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, and she sent me this adorable picture of the Pre-K class, who read A Swim through the Sea in their classroom, and painted lots of happy clownfish for an art project. Adorable!



School Visit: St. Louis, Missouri

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

As you can see, I have not been doing very many school visits in the last year. It’s kind of hard to write & illustrate books and go on the road to talk about them at the same time…

I have 5 new books coming out during the 2007-2008 school year, so get ready! Of course I will post here as soon as these new books are available.

Well, today I had a chance to visit with the teachers at Wilson School after classes. I talked with them about how I got started making children’s books and the new books I have been working on. I also brought a few original acrylic paintings on canvas to show them. That’s the nice thing about visiting local schools here in St. Louis – I can bring out originial pieces on occasion.

It was a good surprise to find out that Christina Hoerner is now teaching science at Wilson. We went to high school and college together, and I hadn’t seen her in a long time.

I look forward to speaking with the Wilson students next week!

School Visit: Steamboat Springs, CO

Friday, September 9th, 2005

Happy Friday! Today I spent the afternoon with the kids at Strawberry Park Elementary School. Still in Steamboat Springs. They were super excited about journaling! These are my kind of kids… Here I am with one of the students right after I autographed her copy of A Fly in the Sky. Behind us is a giant mural that the kids created. It says: “Welcome Kristin Joy Pratt-Serafini!” and is totally covered with students’ journal entries about local animals and plants. I love it! Thank you, Strawberry Park!

School Visit: Steamboat Springs, CO

Wednesday, September 7th, 2005

Welcome back to school, everybody! I started this school year with a visit to Soda Creek Elementary in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. This is a picture of me with School Librarian Marty O’Leary. She was a magnificent host. I did two presentations this afternoon: one for 2nd & 3rd grade, and one for 4th & 5th grade. In between, I did an interview with Susan Cunningham, who wrote a very nice article about my visit for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. The kids here have only been back in school for about 2 weeks, so it was fun to kick off the school year by talking about how they could use their writing and illustrating skills. Thanks, Soda Creek!

School Visit: Altoona, PA

Thursday, May 19th, 2005

And now for two days at Logan Elementary! This school was a joy to visit because it has a beautiful outdoor classroom on the edge of the woods. Just like the last school, I spent 2 days here talking with the students. On the 2nd day, the weather was so fabulous that we had to go outside with the big kids. Since it’s almost time for summer vacation, I talked with them about how summer is the perfect time to practice journaling. Writing and drawing over the summer will give them a headstart on the next school year. That’s what I plan to do with my summer! Thanks, Logan!

School Visit: Altoona, PA

Tuesday, May 17th, 2005

One more adventure for the 2004-05 school year! I am off to Pennsylvania this week. I just spent yesterday and today visiting with the kids at Juniata Gap Elementary. What a beautiful school! Over the course of 2 days, I got to speak with the entire K-6 student body. Both days I ate lunch with some students who were particularly interested in writing and drawing. They got to watch me paint in my journal while lunch was being prepared, and I got to have a look at their special placemats which they had decorated for this occasion. I also did an evening presentation for parents and teachers. Thanks, Juniata Gap!

School Visit: Amherst, OH

Friday, May 13th, 2005

After visiting with the kids in Loudonville, I zipped up to Amherst, OH. Kim Gambish, a wonderfully enthusiastic teacher friend of mine, invited me back for a 2nd visit to her school. I loved visiting this school because I did one large presentation with the whole school, and then had time to really answer a lot of questions and talk about journaling & bookmaking with smaller groups. Harris is a whole school of just 3rd & 4th graders. This is a picture of me out in front of the school with a couple of the students. It was taken by a newspaper reporter who came to interview me between sessions. Thank you, Harris Elementary!