I love talking with students!

How do writers turn everyday events into fantastic adventures? I’m happy to share some of the tricks and techniques I use when I visit your school or library. My presentations are fun and interactive, just right to get students motivated as you kick off a writing unit.

Below you can find the programs I have on offer. If you don’t find something that suits your needs, please reach out—I am happy to work with you to develop a program for your school or organization.

Author presenting to seated students
photo by Kay Pearson

Meet the Animal Climate Heroes!

This fun, interactive, assembly-style presentation introduces students to some of the incredible critters that help maintain their ecosystems and help us fight climate change in the process. With an emphasis on plant-animal interactions and ecosystems processes, the presentation reinforces upper-elementary science topics. We talk about features that make these animals powerful protectors of their ecosystems and the remarkable role of the often-overlooked “side-kicks,” including towering trees, giant kelp, and teeny-tiny phytoplankton. Available for grades 3-7.

Solving the Mysteries of North America’s Ancient Past

Rhinos weren’t only in Nebraska! This assembly-style, interactive presentation focuses on my latest release, Rhinos in Nebraska. It introduces students to the idea that our continent used to look very different than it does today—but how do we know? Students will uncover the scientific mysteries surrounding the Ashfall Fossil Beds. What were rhinos doing in the middle of North America? Why did horses have three toes? And where did all that ash come from, anyway? A great way to tie Language Arts and Social Studies to Science. Available for grades 3-7 with a focus on geology and fossil evidence or for grades 1-2 with a focus on the features of ancient North American mammals.

Writing Non-Fiction that’s Weird (but True!)

This presentation for elementary school and middle school (grades 3-8) is all about writing nonfiction. How do the Weird But True books come together? What is the research like? How do writers make their stories fun to read? Do they really have to revise? And what are some of Alison’s favorites facts and stories that made it into the Weird But True books (or didn’t)?

(Re-)Writing to Get it Right

Many students dislike having to revise their work. In this presentation for grades 4-8 they’ll quickly discover that not only is revision an essential part of the writing process, but it can also be fun. Includes Revision Rules handout.

Non-Fiction Writing Workshop

In this workshop for grades 3-5, I talk about what it’s like to write National Geographic Kids’ Weird But True Ripped from the Headline books: how I found topics, how chapters came together, and how I created fun-to-read stories. Students will get to choose from an assortment of ideas and use these to practice writing Weird-But-True-style short stories. In this workshop, we will cover: how to find interesting information and be sure it’s true, hooking your readers, and making your writing fun and snappy.

Fiction Writing Workshop

This workshop for grades 3-5 starts off with an assortment of photos of wacky events—the perfect prompts to ignite the imagination. As a group, we will select one image and use it to brainstorm story ideas, then write (and revise) our group story. Students will then choose their own images and practice brainstorming and writing their own stories using the techniques we covered in the first part of the workshop.

Woman talking to students about writing nonfiction.
Photo by Erika Hanke

Want more information? Check out my Book a Visit page.