School Visit!!!

I went to my first school visit armed with an umbrella, rain boots, a  Google presentation, a box full of interesting objects, signed copies of my book and my own apprehensions.
Would the kids listen?  Was I dynamic enough to keep their attention?  Would the kids respond to my silly jokes and the questions I asked them?  Would I run out of things to say?  Did I have too much prepared?  Would the teachers and principal feel I was wasting their valuable teaching time, not to mention the money they paid me for the visit?
I went to the school a day early to make sure the technology was working.  The next day, I arrived an hour early to set up for my presentation and the technology wasn’t working. After trying to make it work for over an hour, I told the principal to call the kids in.  “I can do it without my visuals”, I assured him.  I got one last spark of inspiration, ran to the office, downloaded once last time, and  as the kids were filing in, I got the Google presentation working!  I wiped my brow and began with a shaky smile.  Was I ready?
300 kindergarten, first and second graders looked at me expectantly.  “ When I was your age”, I began…. We sang an onomatopoeic song, created a word storm, read first lines of perfect picture books. They asked me questions about my book.
How can a raindrop think?  How many stories have you written?  How long did it take for your book to get published?
My second session with 250 third, fourth and fifth graders was easier.  I was in the flow.  We sang my onomatopoeic song again (without embarrassing my fifth grade daughter!), created our own story from a box, and I showed them all the red my editor sent me when we were revising The Raindrop Who Couldn’t Fall.  More questions about stories and raindrop’s brains…and I was done!
Here are some of my reviews:
“Last week all students enjoyed a wonderful presentation from Kirsti Call, with a published children’s book titled The Raindrop Who Couldn’t Fall. Her interactive presentation encouraged the children to be innovative when in the writing process. The theme of the book fit nicely with our curriculum… to remain positive and persistent when working towards achieving personal goals.”
Dr. Mal Forsman, Principal of Bancroft Elementary School
“That was the best assembly I’ve ever been to!”
2nd grade student
“I loved the book and the song.  I can’t stop singing ‘what does the rain say?’”
2nd grade student
“The presentation was really fun because we got to interact with Mrs. Call and participate- not just sit there and listen.”
Fifth grade student
“The author visit was very engaging and the kids enjoyed it!”
Corie Little, Fifth grade teacher
It really doesn’t get any better than that!
photo (13)
Only You Can Tell Your Story

Story in a Box: 10 Steps for Writing Your Story When You're Stuck

Do you ever want to write a story, but you can’t figure out what to say?  Here’s one way to get started.
1. Find a box:  The box needs to be big enough to fit at least 10 things in it.  A shoe box would be too small.  Try to find something about the size of a file box.
2. Fill it with random objects:  Right now my box has a set of keys, a flashlight, an umbrella, a stuffed dragon, a shell, a shoe, a peacock puppet, an airplane, a rainbow erasure, and a book.
story in a box
3. Discover your setting: Without looking, take something out of the box.  If I took the shell out of my box, my story would happen at the beach or inside of a shell.
photo 2 (5)
4. Discover your main character: Take another object out of the box.  If I took out an umbrella, my story would be about the umbrella at the beach.
photo 4 (1)
5. Discover the problem: Take another object out of the box.  If I took out the peacock than the peacock would be the umbrella’s problem. Maybe Umbrella is jealous of Peacock’s beautiful feathers!
photo 3 (1)
6. Discover how your main character is going to try to fix the problem: Pull another object out of the box.  If I chose the dragon, the Umbrella could ride on Dragon’s back and try to cover Peacock’s feathers with Dragon’s shadow.  Of course that doesn’t work.
photo 3
7. Another attempt to fix problem.  Choose another object.  Maybe I take a flashlight out of the box and the umbrella uses it to highlight his colors so people will notice him instead of Peacock.

8. Repeat step 7. Usually your main character needs to try to solve the problem 3 times.

9. Discover the resolution. Choose one last object from the box.  If I chose the keys out of my box, maybe the keys would open a box to Umbrella’s photo album and the pictures help Umbrella realize he’s special even though he’s not as colorful as peacock.  

10. Wrap it up.  Now that you know your setting, your main character, the problem, how the main character tries to fix the problem, and the resolution, you are ready to write! Now, take your pencil and put the words on paper!

Now I’m off to write about Umbrella and his problem.  Perhaps he will find a way to befriend Peacock?  Or perhaps he’ll just be grateful for who he is.  I’m always grateful for an umbrella on a rainy day...and for something fun to write about.

Top 5 Ways That Reading Improves our Writing

I’ve always believed in the magical power of books.  Books changes lives.  They change how we see things and how we write. When I discovered the word, bibliotherapy, I was thrilled! There’s a word for what I’ve always known to be true. Books transform people’s lives for the better.

5. Reading makes us understand other people. Reading about discrimination in Calling me Home, helped me understand it better. Now I can write about it.

Read more here at!

Kidlit 411!

Kidlit 411 is an amazing resource for kidlit writers!  And today they have a giveaway for PB writers!