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Visit Kit

Dean Robbins Author Visit Kit

November 6, 1957


PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

Dean Robbins is a longtime newspaper editor, critic, and reporter who has won many state and national awards for writing. His television column ran in fifteen newspapers and magazines around the country, and he has written about the arts for the Grammy Awards, the Village Voice, and dozens of other publications. He also reads his personal essays on public radio.

Dean has interviewed a lot of fascinating people, including actor Robert Redford, artist Yoko Ono, comedian Lily Tomlin, and singer Ella Fitzgerald. His interest in history led him to a second career as a children’s author, focusing on two of his idols. Dean wrote Two Friends: Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass to inspire elementary school students with a tale of America’s civil rights triumphs. Trained as a teacher, he strives to engage children with humor and dramatic storytelling.

Dean lives with his wife and son in Madison, Wisconsin. His website is

Description of the Author’s Presentation

What Makes a Hero?

Grades K-4
30-40 minutes

In this presentation, Dean discusses his lifelong fascination with heroes, beginning with comic book figures like Superman and Batman. He explains how he moved on to real-life heroes like Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, the civil rights champions who are the subject of Two Friends. He’ll provide an introduction to Anthony’s fight for women’s rights and Douglass’ fight for African American rights, showing how they became unlikely friends and supported one another’s causes. The presentation invites students to reflect on what makes a hero; to identify heroes they know; and to consider the possibility of becoming heroes themselves.

Having Fun with Writing

Grades 3-6
30-50 minutes

Dean draws on his background as a journalist, radio essayist, and children’s author to discuss approaches to writing about the world around us. He’ll explain how writers get their ideas; how they begin a writing project; how they polish their work; and how they find outlets for sharing their finished product with readers. He covers several forms of writing, including poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and personal essays. The presentation engages students in a brainstorming activity to get them thinking of subjects they’d like to explore, and it provides steps they can take to get started on their writing journey.

Conference and Festival Appearances

A Writer’s Life
30-50 minutes

Dean enjoys speaking with teachers, librarians, and fellow authors about his journey as a writer. He’ll discuss his career as a journalist, where he worked as an editor, critic, and reporter, and provide insight into finding success in this field. He explores approaches to more personal writing, such as his nationally syndicated column and his essays for public radio. Dean also describes the perseverance involved in becoming a children’s author, including the setbacks he experienced on his road to publishing his first picture book. It’s a dramatic tale with a happy ending that can serve as inspiration to other writers.

In Search of a Hero
30-50 minutes

Dean will discuss his longtime fascination with heroes, beginning with Superman and Batman and moving on to sports stars, writers, musicians, and civil right champions. His passion led him to a career in journalism, where he could write about idols like Jackie Robinson, Ella Fitzgerald, and Houdini. He’ll describe his pilgrimages to his heroes’ hometowns, including Rochester, New York, where he discovered that suffragist Susan B. Anthony and abolitionist Frederick Douglass formed an unlikely friendship and supported one another’s causes. Dean will tell the story of their inspiring relationship, the subject of his picture book Two Friends

AV and Tech Needs for In-Person Visits

Projector for the PC he will bring; a projection screen; and a microphone for larger rooms.


$1,200 per day plus travel expenses.

Ordering Books

Schools and libraries may order books at a discounted rate by visiting The Scholastic Teacher Store or by calling 1-800-SCHOLASTIC.

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