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Visit Kit

Mary Knight Author Visit Kit

Grades

3–5, 6–8

Mary has always enjoyed the power of a good story, whether it’s been as a children’s librarian, an author, a curriculum developer, or a writer-in-residence teaching kids how to write. Mary brings this vast wealth of experience and enthusiasm to her author visits, inspiring students to discover the power of words in their writing as well as in their lives.

Of all the things Mary appreciates in life, she says she especially values empathy — the ability to see the world through another person’s eyes. “I must first step into the minds and hearts of my characters to discover their viewpoints,” she says. “Only then can I find the words to create their world.”

Publisher’s Weekly calls Mary’s rendering of her character, Curley Hines, “inspirational,” and School Library Journal proclaims Saving Wonder “a remarkable debut novel by an author to watch.” Students and teachers alike will delight in hearing what inspired Mary to write Saving Wonder and how she uses “the tools of empathy” to engage readers in her stories.

Mary lives with her husband and two cats in Lexington, Kentucky. You can visit her at www.maryknightbooks.com.

Description of the Author’s Presentation

Words Are Your Superpower!

Grades 4–8
30–45 minutes for presentations; 45–75 minutes for writers’ workshops

Mary will share how words have shaped her life and the writing of Saving Wonder, as well as how famous young people like Malala and Craig Keilburger have used words to move people into action. She’ll also invite students to reflect on the power of words in their own lives — to make them happy or sad, to inspire them to laugh or cry, to make or lose friends, to grab their interest or bore them to tears. A longer program may include student participation and possibly a student reenactment of a scene in her novel. A still longer writers’ workshop would include students writing their own scenes using their superpower with words to inspire their readers to care.

A Writer’s Muse: What Inspires Us?

Grades 4–8
45 minutes

In an interactive PowerPoint presentation, Mary will show what inspired her to write Saving Wonder — from being “haunted” by her character, Curley Hines, two years before she began to write the book in earnest to taking an elk tour on a mountaintop mining site much like the one in her story. She’ll also talk about her own grandfather and how a family game of words led her to create the relationship her character Curley has with his own grandfather, Papaw. Students will leave their time with Mary more in touch with the source of their own inspiration and full of ideas for their own stories.

The Tools of Empathy: A Writers’ Workshop

Grades 4–8
45–75 minutes

In an interactive PowerPoint presentation, Mary will talk about what empathy is and why it is so important to evoke reader empathy for your characters—even the so-called “bad guys.” She will offer her “5 Tools of Empathy,” introducing craft skills such as the use of sensory details and how to write a scene that engages your readers. Student writers will have an opportunity to practice these tools through fun and accessible writing prompts.

Conference and Festival Appearances

From Sympathy to Empathy: The Key to Deeper Reader Engagement

15-20 minute presentation: Presents basic concepts
30 minutes: Basic concepts illustrated with excerpts and personal stories
45-60 minutes: All of above with more audience interaction and writing prompts

In this dynamic PowerPoint presentation, Mary will talk about the three levels of reader engagement, focusing on the deepest level, empathy, and why it’s so important to evoke reader empathy for your characters — even the so-called “bad guys.” She will introduce and discuss “Tools of Engagement,” namely Context, Common Ground, Scene, Sensory Details, and Interior Revelation, offering excerpts from middle grade and young adult novels to illustrate how these tools work together to evoke reader empathy. An audience of writers will come away with concrete ideas to incorporate into their own writing, while an audience of teachers will come away with concepts and writing prompts to use in their classrooms.

Virtual Visits

Mary would love to invite you and your students for a 20-minute virtual visit to her writing studio via Skype for a fireside chat. She’d be glad to give you a quick tour of her studio and its well-stocked bookshelves, her grandfather’s desk, and the chair where she most often writes — what she sometimes calls her “command center” because she often feels like she’s traveling to another world. If you’re lucky, you may even get to meet her two cats although that’s not guaranteed. She has absolutely no control over them!

How you spend your visit is entirely up to you. Mary could read an excerpt from her book, Saving Wonder, or even offer a sneak peek into her next novel. Most of all, she would enjoy interacting with your students, answering their questions about the writing life, how and why she wrote Saving Wonder,or hearing about what they love about writing and books. Like all good visits into someone’s home, the hope is that your students will come away feeling like they made a new friend — perhaps even a new colleague. When it comes to learning about writing, Mary believes “We’re all in this together!”

Honorarium

Mary’s honorarium is flexible, but she generally requests $500-$1,500 per day plus any and all 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.

Reading & Math Jumbo Workbook

by Jennifer Jacobson

Grades

3-5

Guided Reading Level

Not Available

Books | Individual Titles | Activity Book
Starting at: $14.99

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by John N. Mangieri , Cathy Collins Block

Grades

3-5

Guided Reading Level

Not Available

Books | Individual Titles | Activity Book
Starting at: $14.99

Reading & Math Jumbo Workbook

by John N. Mangieri , Cathy Collins Block

Grades

1-2

Guided Reading Level

Not Available

Books | Individual Titles | Activity Book
Starting at: $14.99

My Book by Me

by Dana Meachen Rau

Grades

1-2

Guided Reading Level

E

Books | Individual Titles | Paperback Book
Starting at: $4.95

15 Standards-Based Science Activities Kids Will Love!

by Gwenn Lei , Julie Fiore

Grades

3–5, 6–8

Guided Reading Level

Not Available

Books | Professional Resources | eBook
Starting at: $11.99

25 Great Grammar Poems With Activities

by Bobbi Katz

Grades

3–5, 6–8

Guided Reading Level

Not Available

Books | Individual Titles | Activity Book
Starting at: $12.99
My Scholastic

Susan Cheyney

GRADES: 1-2
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