My overall goals are to: (1) encourage students to read, (2) excite them about learning, and (3) help the students and teachers make real world connections.

My specific objectives for the presentation are to: (1) talk about Owney and some of the other books I've written, (2) discuss the researching, writing, and editing process, and (3) answer student questions.

My Presentation

I'd like a computer projection device, Internet connection, and screen. A clip-on microphone would be nice.

I can do up to 3 presentations per day with approximately 150 students in each group. I can tailor each speech from 30 to 50 minutes long. When discussing Owney, it's probably wise for me to speak to grades Kindergarten through fifth.

However, I've taught all ages, including adults, and can tailor the topic to specific needs.

Ordering Books

Please allow students to purchase Owney at a discounted price. To order, see:

Before My Visit
  • Announce visit on website or parent newsletter.
  • Send home form for ordering books, including autograph instructions.
  • Inform principal, teachers, and custodian that I am coming.
  • Have teachers read aloud Owney to all students.
  • Have students do at least one activity on Owney.
On the Day of My Visit
  • Duplicate and distribute to teachers the Owney cards to give after visit.
  • Have books ready to sign. Insert paper with autograph instructions in book.
  • Remind staff that I'm coming.
  • Set up cart, projection device, computer, and screen. Ensure access to Internet and YouTube or TeacherTube. Appoint a helper.
  • Provide chair, small table, microphone, and water.
  • After presentation, allow students to post on Owney blog, do Readers Theater, color, map Owney's route, or do online Owney jigsaw puzzles. See Owney page.
Reviews & Awards
See professional reviews and awards for Owney and my other titles.
$1,000 a day for 3 presentations. If school is a significant distance from my home in Westminster, MD, also provide funding for travel and lodging. Please know I will work with schools with limited budgets.
Virtual Visits

Virtual visits can also be scheduled.

Sarah Chauncey and I have created Skype an Author Network, a list of authors willing to "virtually" visit classrooms. On that site, we've posted instructions, but here are some additional ones to consider as you plan.

  1. Purchase books and sell to students at a discount. Email me the names, and I'll snail mail personal autographed bookplates.
  2. Share details about the visit with the principal, teachers, and parents to enhance the learning opportunities.
  3. Prepare the students by reading my books.
  4. Consider keeping the group small. Our goal is student participation. During the visit, I'll start off by reading brief passages, telling how I came to write the book, and discussing the actual events. But after that, I'd like to let the students ask questions.
  5. Allow them the freedom to ask questions based on what I say--spontaniety is fun--but it's good to help them think of quality questions. For example, while they can certainly ask me if the dog is dead, questions that focus on writing, revising, illustrating, or publishing might lead to a more meaningful conversation.
  6. Have a pre or post Owney activity. These activities--in writing, geography, social studies, art, and math--are found on the Owney page of this site. You can meet many curriculum standards in multiple grade levels, and these connections will enhance the Skype experience.
  7. Duplicate the Owney cards and give to each student after the visit.
  8. Bad weather affects transmission. Have a back-up plan. Before the visit, exchange phone numbers with me so we can fix a glitch.
  9. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are good days for visits.
  10. My skype name is ramonakerby. Add me to your contact list and send me a short note so I can add you to my list.

A visit typically last 20-30 minutes and costs $200. When you email me, you might tell me your ideas, how many students, what grade, what curriculum objectives we are meeting, etc.

Of course, everything can be negotiated or tailor-made. Just let me know.

Professional Affiliations
  • American Library Association, including American Association of School Librarians, Association of Library Service to Children, and Young Adult Library Services Association
  • Authors Guild
  • International Association of School Librarians
  • Maryland Association of School Librarians
  • Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
  • Texas Library Association
  • Texas State Historical Association



2-13-11 mk