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Welcome to the Author Skype Tour Blog!

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Welcome to the Author Skype Tour Blog, a place where authors, teachers, and librarians can connect to help readers discover great new titles and learn more about writing. There are already great Skype-author resources like the Skype-an-Author Network and Kate Messner's list of authors who do free, 20-minute chats with classes & book clubs that have read their books.  But sometimes, teachers & librarians may want to connect with an author whose books students haven't read yet...and sometimes, authors may want to talk with groups that haven't read a book yet, to help get the word out about a new title. That's what this site is for.

Note for Teachers & Librarians: We have more listings than can appear on one page, so when you scroll to the bottom, be sure to click "Previous 10" to see the next page of offerings!  You can also click on any of the tags on the left to search tours by age levels, themes, and curriculum topics.

This blog is hosted by Marjorie Light and Kate Messner. We're enthusiastic readers, writers, and English teachers in Upstate NY. If you have questions or comments, our email is authorskypetour at gmail dot com.

Marjorie Light is a National Board Certified middle school English teacher and the author of several yet-to-be-published middle grade and young adult novels. She's always at work on her next project and also facilitates the Northern New York SCBWI group. She's @marjorielight on Twitter.

Kate Messner is an author and National Board Certified middle school English teacher. Her titles include 2010 E.B. White Read Aloud Winner THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z. and SUGAR AND ICE (Walker/Bloomsbury), the forthcoming MARTY MCGUIRE chapter book series with Scholastic (May 2011), a first-day-of-school picture book called SEA MONSTER'S FIRST DAY (Chronicle, July 2011) and a teacher resource book called REAL REVISION: AUTHORS' STRATEGIES TO SHARE WITH STUDENT WRITERS (Stenhouse, Spring 2011). Learn more at her website: www.katemessner.com. She's @katemessner on Twitter.

So how does this site work?

Simple, really. Authors who are offering limited-time Skype book tours to teachers and librarians free of charge can list them here. You can offer read-alouds, behind-the-scenes stories, show-and-tell, writing activities...whatever sounds like fun. Teachers & librarians can search the listings to find opportunities for their students. We're just making the introductions. Authors and teachers are responsible for working out the details via email.

How do authors & publishers benefit?

A limited-time Skype book tour is a great way for an author to get the word out about a new book release. You'll have opportunities to show readers your book, share an excerpt, answer questions and become a part of the reading/writing journey for the students with whom  you connect.  Plus it's free.

How do teachers & librarians benefit?

Connecting students with authors can be a powerful way to introduce them to new titles and provide real-world writing mentors. Author Skype Tour offers are tagged with age levels, themes, and writing topics so that you can find titles and authors to match your curriculum needs. And did we mention they're free?

Is there a charge to be listed or to be included on an author's tour?

Nope. We're doing this because we're writers and teachers, and we like other writers and teachers a whole lot. We think more of you ought to get to know one another, and we hope this will help.  It's a free service that we'll continue as long as it's helpful to people who love kids and books.  If you find the site helpful and want to say thanks, we'd love it if teachers & librarians would share our books (and forthcoming books) with your young readers. As for authors and publishers...we never say no to middle grade and YA book donations to our classroom libraries. :-)

Where can I learn more about Skype author visits?

Check out Kate's School Library Journal technology features on this topic:

More Information for Authors & Publishers - How to List a Skype TourCollapse )

More Information for Teachers & Librarians - How to Book an Author Skype Tour for Your GroupCollapse )
Meet Author Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkoviah, on Skype tour this June!

Website: http://www.olugbemisola.com/

Title: 8TH GRADE SUPER ZERO  (Arthur A. Levine Books, paperback release June 2011)

Best for Grades: 3-5, 6-8

Themes/topics for discussion: community service, bullying, social justice, family, friendship, economic hardship, multiculturalism/diversity

Writing Topics you like to discuss: brainstorming, revision, editing, character development, humor

About the book: After the worst first day of school ever, Reggie “Pukey” McKnight wants to get through the school year out of the spotlight and on the sidelines. Then he and his friends Ruthie and Joe C. get involved with a wacky televised school election and a local homeless shelter; they start thinking about being activists in their world and beyond. A pair of “Dora the Explorer” sneakers seems to have powers of transformation, and Reggie wonders: can kids really make a difference?

Available days/times for Skype chats: Weekday mornings are best; there is some flexibility.

Tour Dates: June 2011

Email: olugbemisola@olugbemisola.com

Author Richard Newsome on Tour!

Meet Author Richard Newsome, on Skype tour this May!

Website: www.richardnewsome.com

Author Skype Tour title: The Billionaire's Curse (Paperback)  (Walden Pond Books, Release Date: May 17 2011)
Best for Grades: Middle School

Themes/topics for discussion: The effect of greed on people's morals

Writing Topics you like to discuss: Putting your heroes under pressure, planning, goal setting

About the book: Gerald Wilkins has just become the richest 13-year-old on the planet, after his great aunt leaves him a $30 billion fortune in her will. But she has also left him a mystery to solve, as a shadowy villain has Gerald in his sights. 

Available days/times for Skype chats: Weekdays from 9-10am (East coast) or 2-3pm (West coast)

Tour Dates: May 2011

Visits Available: 10 visits


Author Jennifer Trafton on Tour!

Meet Author Jennifer Trafton, on Skype tour this April & May!

Website: http://www.jennifertrafton.com

Author Skype Tour title: THE RISE AND FALL OF MOUNT MAJESTIC (Penguin/Dial 2010)

Best for Grades: 3-5

Themes/topics for discussion: imagination, fantasy, becoming a writer

Writing Topics you like to discuss: ideas, characters, the writing process, revision, how and why I became a writer, favorite books - I can adapt to the teacher's needs!

About the book: Ten-year-old Persimmony Smudge leads a very dull life on the Island at the Center of Everything . . . until the night she overhears a life-changing secret. It seems that Mount Majestic, the rising and falling mountain in the center of the island, is not a mountain at all--it's the belly of a sleeping giant.

Available days/times for Skype chats: flexible - contact for schedule

Tour Dates: April and May, 2011

Visits Available: 10

Email: jennifer@jennifertrafton.com

Author Katie Davis on Tour!

Meet Author Katie Davis!

Website: http://www.katiedavis.com

Author Skype Tour title: LITTLE CHICKEN'S BIG DAY (S&S/McElderry Books, April 19, 2011)

Best for Grades: K-3

Themes/topics for discussion: Creativity, writing books, illustrating books, storytelling, getting lost, following directions.

Writing Topics you like to discuss: Everything! Brainstorming, revision, editing, illustration...whatever the class needs and/or the teacher wants.

About the book: In a starred review Booklist wrote, "...delightful illustrations...just the right amount of emotional heft...this book is perfect...engaging...such appealing characters...utterly simple and utterly adorable."

"I hear you cluckin', Big Chicken!" That's the simple refrain that Little Chicken repeats to his mama throughout a typical day. But Little Chicken can be distractable . . . and when he wanders off and gets lost, the day becomes anything but typical. With subtlety and humor, this sweet little story sweeps through a wide range emotions using the simplest of language. From husband and wife team Katie and Jerry Davis, this is a little book with a huge heart. The perfectly minimal illustrations and spare text belie the enormous message at its core: that with family, help is always just a cluck away.

Available days/times for Skype chats: Any time!

Tour Dates: April and May, 2011

Email: katiedavis@katiedavis.com

Author Eric Luper on Tour!

Meet author Eric Luper, on Skype Tour this May!


Author Skype Tour title: JEREMY BENDER VS. THE CUPCAKE CADETS (Balzer & Bray, May 2011)

Best for Grades: 4-6

Writing Topics:
IDEAS, Where do they come from? Revising, What it's like to be an author

the book: When sixth-grader Jeremy Bender damages his father's prized boat and needs to come up with the money to get it repaired, he and his best friend infiltrate the Cupcake Cadet troop in an attempt to win the Windjammer Whirl, a model sailboat race, and the prize money that comes with it. But despite what he might have thought, Jeremy quickly discovers that being a girl is no piece of cupcake!

Available days/times for Skype chats: Tuesdays & Thursdays 9AM-2:30PM EST

Tour Dates: May 3 - June 2, 2011

Number of Books/Visits Available: 

Email: eric.luper@gmail.com

Author Kate Messner on Tour!

Meet author Kate Messner, on Skype Tour this May!

Website: http://www.katemessner.com

Author Skype Tour title: MARTY MCGUIRE (Scholastic, May 2011)
Also see Kate's March & April Skype Tour offer for SUGAR AND ICE (Walker/Bloomsbury, 2010)

Best for Grades: K-2, 3-5

Themes/Topics for Discussion: Ecosystems, improvisation

Writing Topics:
brainstorming, research, revision

the book: Marty McGuire would rather spend recess catching frogs in the pond than playing dress-up with the other third grade girls. So when her teacher casts Marty as the princess in the school play, Marty's absolutely, positively sure there's been a huge mistake. But with a special lesson in improvisation, Marty finds a way to improve the play. Maybe a princess in muddy sneakers can live happily ever after, after all!

Available days/times for Skype chats: Weekdays, 11:15 AM

Tour Dates: May 2 - June 10

Number of Visits Available: 

Email: kmessner at katemessner dot com

Author Lena Roy on Tour!

Meet author Lena Roy, on Skype Tour this spring!

Website: http://www.lenaroybooks.com

Author Skype Tour title: EDGES (FSG, December 2010)

Best for Grades: high school

Themes/topics for discussion: addiction, recovery, grief, loss, family, alcoholism

Writing Topics:
Characterization, revision, plotting, editing, brainstorming, first drafts, blogging, mining our experiences for fiction

the book: Seventeen-year-old Luke lives and works at the Moonflower Motel in Moab, having fled New York City where his father Frank drowns his sorrows after the death of Luke’s mother. Back in New York, eighteen-year-old Ava meets Frank at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. When these lost souls converge in Moab, what happens transforms them all.

Available days/times for Skype chats: Weekdays 9AM-3PM EST

Tour Dates: March 28-April 15, April 25-May 20

Number of Books/Visits Available: 

Email: lena.roy@gmail.com

Author Steven Krasner on Tour!

Meet author Steven Krasner, on Skype Tour this spring!

Website: www.nudgingtheimagination.com

Author Skype Tour title: PLAY BALL LIKE THE PROS (Peachtree, March 2010)

Best for Grades: 3-5, middle school

Themes/topics for discussion: Baseball

Writing Topics: brainstorming, revision, nonfiction, brainstorming

the book: Baseball tips for kids 8-12 years old and their coaches from 20 Major League stars. Each chapter includes, among other things, a Q&A about a specific skill with such players as Jeter, Pedroia, Mauer, Howard, Longoria, Sabathia, Youkilis and Teixeira as well as their 8-12-year-old baseball-playing memories.

Available days/times for Skype chats: Flexible

Tour Dates: March - May

Email: Nudging@aol.com

Author Julia Karr on Tour!

Meet author Julia Karr, on Skype Tour this spring!

Website: http://juliekarr.com

Author Skype Tour title: XVI (Speak, an imprint of Penguin USA, January 2011)

Best for Grades: high school

Themes/topics for discussion: dystopian, government, teen sexuality, families, media

Writing Topics: first drafts, revision, plotting

the book: In the future, innocence expires at sixteen. With no choice in the matter, fifteen year old Nina is desperately holding onto normal. Then, with one brutal strike, Nina's normal is shattered; and she discovers nothing about her life is true.

Available days/times for Skype chats: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday after 4:30pm, Weekends after 10am EST

Tour Dates: April 11 - May 12, 2011

Number of Books/Visits Available: 10 (Skyping classes will receive one book and bookmarks while supplies last.)

Email: juliakarr@me.com


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