Courtney Sheinmel has given over a hundred book talks in schools, libraries, book clubs, Girl Scout, Brownie, and Daisy troops, and festivals all around the country, to kids in grades K-12, and she'd like to visit you, too!
"After Courtney's first visit to our elementary school four years ago, we have invited her back every year. She stirs the kids' imaginations and encourages them to believe in the power of their stories. We have to keep ordering more copies of her books for our library and classrooms because they fly off the shelves!"
- Melissa Eisenberg, Book Fair Chair, Greenacres School, Scarsdale, NY
"Courtney made an indelible impact on every kid who attended one of her assemblies, from the kindergarteners to the eighth graders. (Do you know how hard it is to impress eighth graders?!) In the weeks following her visit, my inbox was filled with messages from parents saying their kids loved meeting Courtney and they were inspired to follow their dreams."
- Elana Militzok, Teacher, Beachside Montessori School, Hollywood, FL
Do you have any goals? I've had many, such as:
• Become an author of books for kids and teens
• Talk to readers in schools all around the country
• Learn to communicate with dolphins
So far, I've become an author of books for kids and teens - 21 books and counting! - and I've spoken at over a hundred schools in more than a dozen states and met THOUSANDS of students.
(As for the dolphins, well, I have yet to nail dolphin-speak, but you never know what might happen.)
Would you like me to visit your school? I can do up to three presentations a day, including any combination of assemblies, breakout writing workshops, or group kindness projects.
I am also happy to have a Q∓A lunch with students, and I promise not to leave the school until I've signed each and every purchased book!
For more information, please contact me - firstname.lastname@example.org - to discuss a program that will fit your individual needs. Brief descriptions of select programs are below:
For elementary school students:
My interactive assembly presentation begins with a discussion of where my ideas come from (answer: the same places your ideas come from - everywhere!). We talk about how writers collect ideas kind of like squirrels collect nuts - they end up with way more ideas than they can possibly use. So how do you know which idea to turn into a longer story? And how does a first draft become a final draft? And how do you know when it's done? I'll tell you everything!
I'll also tell you how The Kindness Club came to be - when an acquaintance's kindness changed my bad day to a great one, and I knew I wanted to write about how a single act of kindness can have reverberations that last far beyond the original deed.
For middle school and high school students:
So you want to be a writer? That's great. You donít want to be a writer? Thatís okay, too. My advice works on whatever it is you want to be: you have to show up. Wanting to be something isnít enough; our dreams require action. Iíll talk about the journey I took to show up to my own writing, including a major detour into law school and practicing law. (Life tip: if you want to be a lawyer, you should totally go to law school! If you want to write books for kids and teens, you may want to rethink the law school route.)
Now I am a full-time writer, and I love creating things in the world that wouldnít exist if I didnít exist. You have a little idea that pops into your mind, seemingly out of nowhere, and after a while, thereís a finished book. Something where there once was nothing. Itís like magic! But magic isnít always easy, and it can take a lot of timeóand A LOT of revision. I admit revision isnít my favorite thing to do, but it is an integral part of what it means to show up.
When I was a kid, my favorite poet was Shel Silverstein, and part of my favorite Silverstein poem goes like this: "Put something silly in the world that ain't been there before." So that's what we will do together. We will come up with a main character (or characters), setting, and the plot of the story, i.e., what does the character want, and is he or she going to get it? No idea is too crazy; in fact, the crazier the better!
Classroom Kindness Ideas
How to Write a Thank You Note
Let's read and discuss the Kindness Club together: The Kindness Club Discussion Questions
Want to know how kids can get the most out of an author visit? Check out these tips:
What authors say
Advice from the folks at Publishers Weekly (Thanks for the link, Wendy Mass!)
Kindness Kit (including certificates, nametags, and a compliment list!)
A Few Really Good Reasons to be Kind
Compliment Cards (Lucy often makes compliment cards for her family to find around the house!)
Kindness Acrostic Poems
Master of Kindness certificate
I recently learned about an amazing program called Empatico, which is an initiative from the people who started the KIND Foundation. Empatico strives to connect students around the world, foster positive interactions, expand horizons, and strengthen empathy.
"We regularly invite Courtney Sheinmel to speak at our high-profile events because she is inspiring, funny, and brilliant. Courtney shares relevant, captivating anecdotes about her publishing career, which are inevitably following by dozens of enthusiastic student questions. Students are always left invigorated by her honesty and intelligence and down to earth approach." - Rebecca Wallace-Segall, Executive Director & Founder, Writopia Lab, New York, NY
"Thanks to Courtney's Compliment List our children now have the language by which to lift each other's spirits, to show kindness. As you say, Courtney, YOU are sunshine on a rainy day." - Barb Morris, Library Media Specialist, The Parkside School, New York, NY
"Courtney captivated our young readers with her charm, warmth, and openness. Though she came prepared with a presentation, she did not rely on her script; instead she allowed the children's questions to direct the conversation, which made it all the more meaningful for them. Her books keep flying off our library shelves long after the visit." - Cheryl Wolf, Librarian, McKinley Library, P.S. 63 & Neighborhood School, New York, NY
"Courtney's visit to our school inspired 5th grade students to form their own Kindness Club so they could teach each and every student at Washington School different ways to show kindness. By focusing on spreading kindness to kids and adults, their goal is to make our school a safe and caring place where everyone can learn and grow. At Washington, we've always 'Rocked Kindness' and now, thanks to Courtney, we rock it even more!" - Andrea Sadow, School Counselor, Washington School & The Primary Centers, Summit, NJ
"As the mother of a 7-year-old daughter and a professional who runs a social skills group for children with a variety of difficulties, I was thrilled to find an author of books with characters that my kids can relate to. They were ecstatic to meet the author of books they adore, and the lessons continue to resonate." - Meghan Corridan, Director of the Meeting House Juniors, New York, NY
"In high school, I was placed in a writing workshop with Courtney Sheinmel. To say she's a role model is an understatement. Let's just say, she comes into people's lives, and they are so much better for it." - Katie Hartman, student, Philadelphia, PA
When I was eleven years old, I enrolled in a Tuesday afterschool writing workshop, led by Courtney, which I took until I graduated from high school (and if I hadnít relocated to another state, Iíd still be in it). To this day, Iíve never encountered a teacher as compassionate, as kind, and as willing to go the distance to help her students achieve their dreams. Courtneyís presence in my life a true blessing. - Kai Williams, student, Middletown, CT
"If we have one complaint about Courtney's books, it's that we can't keep them in the library! Our librarians are always asking us to order more copies of THE KINDNESS CLUB and STELLA BATTS. Courtney's message of being kind in today's difficult world is one all of our students can relate to, and every day we can see their efforts to be kind and think of others." - Maria Small, PTA President, Old Mill Road School, North Merrick, NY
"When Courtney Sheinmel first visited my kids' school with the STELLA BATTS books, my daughter became passionate about writing. Now she has read every book on Courtney's backlist, she still writes her own stories, and she has learned to look for kindness opportunities everywhere." - Melissa Losquadro, PTA Recording Secretary, Hopewell Jct., NY
"My 4th grade son is usually only interested in sports books, but the Stella Batts series has him hooked! He still gets excited when he talks about Courtney's visit to his class. She clearly made a lasting impression." - Amy Bressler, parent, New York, NY
"Dear Ms. Sheinmel, Thank you for coming to our school and teaching me how to be kind. I love reading The Kindness Club. I will keep on thinking of ways to be kind every day. I hope I meet you again." - Margaret X., 2nd grader, Pine Plains, NY
"The assembly wasn't boring at all. It was a lot of fun and got to ask my questions. I loved it!!!" - Brody S., 3rd grader, New York, NY