I am happy to work with educators to design presentations and/or workshops that complement your curriculum and are specially geared toward your students. Here are overviews of some of my most-requested school presentations:
How a Book Gets Made
Leila draws on her decade of experience as a children’s book editor at Penguin Random House, as well as her experiences as author with five major publishing houses, to provide an overview of the publishing process. This presentation shows how books go from first draft to editorial process, through to sales and marketing, and highlights the wide variety of career opportunities in the publishing industry. Appropriate for grades 4 – 12, with particular value for high school students considering careers in books.
How to Get Where You Want to Be
Leila shares her personal story of how she achieved her lifelong dream of being an author, despite pitfalls and disappointments, and shares tactics she’s learned along the way that are helpful for anyone trying to achieve a dream, including the value of being open to feedback and creating a community of people who support you. Appropriate for grades 4 – 12.
Reasons to Love Books
Leila lays out a case for reading and writing stories, using her own books as examples for how fiction can foster empathy, help you work through problems, and make you feel less alone. There’s a focus on the conviction that all voices matter, and that books and writing are invaluable resources for everyone, regardless of whether they think of themselves as “a writer.” Appropriate for grades 6 – 12.
Empathy and Anti-Bullying
A presentation using the themes of This Song Will Save Your Life and If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say to promote empathy and help teens understand the effects of cyber-bullying. Involves some self-reflection exercises, asking students to imagine themselves as victim and perpetrator and to brainstorm more constructive ways to behave online. Appropriate for grades 8 – 12.
How to Change Your Community
A non-partisan interactive workshop using the themes of The Campaign to encourage students to understand how government affects their daily lives; what civic responsibility means; and how to advocate for change in their own communities. Includes small-group creative exercises where students imagine how they would run a campaign for a cause they believe in. Appropriate for grades 3 – 7.
What Other Educators Have to Say
“Leila was an engaging guest who openly shared her experiences as a writer and inspired the young writers of Cheshire Academy to pursue their ambitions and dreams. During her visit, she facilitated a writing workshop that motivated students by creating a non-judging forum for students to share their writing. Students read This Song Will Save Your Life in advance of her visit and had copies ready for her to sign. The event lasted 90 minutes and was captivating from beginning to end.”
—Wendy Smith, Cheshire Academy, Connecticut
“Leila inspired our students with her stories of her writing process, how she became a published author, and what it’s like to be an editor. Whether she was talking with 5th graders or 12th graders, Leila treated them as equals. In addition to answering students’ questions about her own work, Leila got them talking about their own reading and writing.”
—Alice Stern, The Winsor School, Massachusetts
“Leila was awe-inspiring. My students and I were so grateful to have her visit us and share her expertise as a published author. We experienced a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Leila engaged my students through genuine stories and real world connections. My students were left motivated to learn more about what it takes to be an author and of course read more of Leila’s great books.”
—Kyra Clemons, Academy for Young Writers, New York
“Leila Sales visited Symphony Space’s Thalia Book Club Camp and enchanted the campers with her wonderful book Once Was a Time. She was very warm and engaged, and her enthusiasm was contagious.”
—Madeline Cohen, Symphony Space, New York
“Long after each visit to our school, students continue to request and read Leila Sales books. She is phenomenal and connects well with students in a way that inspires them to read and write! The passion she exudes for writing is transferable to students. Her pleasant demeanor welcomes as many questions as the students can ask about her novels or the craft of writing. Our time spent with Leila Sales is always delightful!”
—Veronica Perinon, Golden Gate High School, Florida
What You Need to Know Before Booking a School Visit
- Speaking fees. My rates for school visits vary depending on travel time and number of presentations. I aim to offer lower rates to Title 1 schools and schools that purchase classroom sets of my books. There are plenty of websites and articles devoted to helping educators fund author visits. Here’s a good place to start. You may consider partnering with neighboring schools to distribute the burden of fundraising. For ammunition to convince your administration that an author visit is a worthwhile use of funds, refer to articles like this or this, by an elementary school principal who explains why “author visits are not extras; author visits are essential.”
- Preparing students. Having presented to many different students, I can say with certainty that the ones who get the most out of author visits are the students already familiar with the author’s work. Before my visit, please have at least a few copies of my books available so students may familiarize themselves. After my visit, those copies will be hard to keep on the shelves!
- Book sales. If you want the visit to include an autographing session, I can provide you with a book order form to send home to students’ families in advance. I can also connect you with an independent bookstore or with my publisher directly so every student who wants to purchase a copy of my books may do so.
- Virtual visits. I offer free 20-minute Skype Q&A sessions to book clubs or classrooms that have read one of my books. I also offer longer Skype presentations for a small honorarium. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule.