There’s nothing better than when I get to share my love of writing with students. My school programs are interactive, fast-paced and can be customized to appeal to learners of all ages. Calling upon my 11 years of teaching experience, I’m able to link my visits to relevant writing lessons.
Before the visit, we will discuss exactly what you’re looking for, so I can provide a program that’s tailor-made to fit your needs. I provide teachers with follow-up materials so learning can continue long after I leave.
My Most Popular School Programs Are:
Bugs for Breakfast
Based on my book Bugs for Breakfast (Chicago Review Press), this program focuses on entomophagy (the practice of eating insects as food), sustainable food, and what changes we’re all going to have to make to feed the world’s growing population. Students will learn that one-fourth of the world’s population already eats insects. Crickets, for example, are packed with protein. Students will learn how insects are being raised and marketed. Several schools have promoted this program by conducting a school-wide food drive; the teacher whose class contributes the most non-perishable goods gets to dine on dung beetles or crunch crickets — in front of the whole school. Primary standard focus: Next Generation Science Standards. Click here for Teacher's Guide.
What do You Wonder?
What’s the highest a human has ever jumped? How fast does the world’s fastest train go? Those are the sorts of questions that fill my writer’s notebook. Curiosity has always driven my book ideas and it’s helped me develop a love for research. Yes, sometimes research involves reading through old books and files, but a lot of times it doesn’t. My research has required me to taste test cricket cookies, ride an elephant in a circus parade, and hang out backstage with a boy band. This interactive program shows students how my books have been shaped by curiosity — and by the research I’ve done to answer these questions. Students will leave understanding how my work as a nonfiction author relates to the work they do. Primary standard focus: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W
The Nitty Gritty
In-person and virtual programming is available. Programs can be presented in large assemblies or in smaller workshop settings. I’m always happy to talk to teachers, administrators or parent groups to come up with a visit plan that fits your school needs and budget. It's possible I'm already traveling your way or your visit can be combined with another school to share costs. Contact me, and let’s see what we can do!
“Mary instantly had my active and energetic group of third graders enthralled with her conversations about not only research and the writing process, but also a variety of topics like biomimicry and entomophagy. My students have repeatedly been asking when Mary can come back and for me to read aloud another one of her books!”
— Carmen Cooke, 3rd grade teacher, Manchester, Iowa
“Mary’s enthusiasm and humor make for a completely engaging presentation. Not only did she share her passion for reading and writing, she brought a ‘snack’… BUGS! The way she helped my students make a connection from her book to real life was the talk of the class for the rest of the year. I am excited for Mary’s visit every year.”
— Tammy Bentley, 4th grade teacher, Tacoma, Washington
"Mary's presentation inspired students to think differently about how we use one of our Earth's resources — BUGS! Mary encouraged and answered all questions during Q&A time. Students connected with her as they understood even published authors face challenges, setbacks, and eventually the rewards of perseverance."
— Beth Janiec, 3rd grade teacher, Neshanic Station, New Jersey
Paying for School Visits:
If your school is interested in having an author visit but isn’t sure about how you’d pay for it, read this. You’ll find some terrific information about grants and ideas for fundraising.