Now booking author visits for 2023-24!
I love sharing my enthusiasm for writing and illustrating with students of all ages! In-person or virtual, my fun, interactive, and educational school visit programs give all students the opportunity to see the writer and illustrator in themselves—leaving them confident and inspired to create their own books!
I'm also happy to provide a custom visit tailored to your needs and writing/illustration workshops for small groups (30 or less) K-6th grade.
Interested in scheduling an author visit at your school? Contact me for more details!
School Visit Programs:
Idea to Book: How Books are Made & Draw-Along
Grade Level: K-3rd (45 minutes)
In this program, Laura will read Little Squiggle's Lake Adventure, share finding inspiration in real-life for the book she co-authored with her son, and discuss how she created her first Little Squiggle book in elementary school (with a peek at the original)! Laura will walk students through the steps involved in making a book, followed by a fun, interactive draw-along and Q&A. Students will leave confident and inspired to make their own books!
Illustration, Inspiration & Draw-Along - NEW!
Grade Level: K-3rd (45 minutes)
In this program, Laura will read My Love for You is Like a Garden, discuss finding inspiration in her garden for the similes used in the book, and share the impact a tornado in her neighborhood had on the book's illustrations (and her own garden)! Students will get a behind-the-scenes look at her process for creating the cut-paper watercolor collage illustrations, learn simple steps they can take to make a book, followed by an interactive draw-along of a garden scene and Q&A.
Reading, Draw-Along & Q&A
Grade Level: preK-K (30-45 minutes)
In this short presentation perfect for younger children, Laura will read one of her books (your choice) and briefly share the inspiration behind it. Then she’ll lead students in an interactive draw-along, and answer questions.
Workshop: Finding Inspiration through Words & Pictures
Grade Level: K-3rd, 4-6th (45 minutes)
In this fun, interactive workshop tailored to lower elementary or upper elementary, Laura will discuss finding inspiration for her books through words and pictures. Students will create their own idea notebooks, and Laura will lead students through interactive brainstorming activities. Laura will also discuss finding ideas through pictures, and will lead a draw-along where students will develop ideas through illustration. Students will leave with their own blank mini-book and a challenge to create their own book!
Here's what librarians & teachers are saying:
"Laura came to Gower West Elementary School and presented to our Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade classes. All of them loved reading Little Squiggle's Lake Adventure and learning how to draw with her! I love how she discussed the concept of finding inspiration for stories in our everyday lives. I highly recommend having Laura for a school visit!"
—Clare Lund, K-8 District Librarian, Willowbrook, IL
"Hosting Laura Smetana for an in-person author and illustrator visit was a pleasure! Her enthusiasm and passion for writing stories was contagious. By sharing her own experiences and including an interactive draw-along activity, Laura showed students that they can write stories from their own experiences and illustrate them as well!"
—Jamie K., Teacher Librarian,
Downers Grove, Illinois
"Laura Smetana is a fantastic author and illustrator with an easily relatable first book. She shows students the power of believing you can write at any age. She is organized, quick to respond and clearly has a passion for writing and illustrating."
—Joy, Elementary School Librarian,
Glen Ellyn, Illinois
"K-3 teachers and/or librarians - if you are looking to host an amazing author visit, Laura Smetana will not disappoint. As she explained her process in writing and publishing Little Squiggle's Lake Adventure, students were enthralled by her presentation. Laura's kind, warm demeanor provided students an opportunity to see an author in themselves. I received so many compliments from staff after Laura presented but my favorite compliments came from the students who raved about how nice she was. I can't thank her enough!"
—-Gina H., K-2 Librarian, Darien, Illinois
"Laura Smetana visited Briar Glen Elementary School and spoke with our first graders and kindergartners about how her real life adventure with her son inspired her story Little Squiggle's Lake Adventure. Students got to listen to a fun and relatable story, learn about the writing process, and even create their own drawing of Little Squiggle guided by Laura's patient instruction. I've already had several students ask to check out Laura's books, and teachers have reported that students have been doodling Little Squiggle on their papers in their free time! Laura definitely made a big impact for our first graders and kindergarteners this week and we loved hosting her!"
—Kelly Baumgartner, Briar Glen Library Media Center Director, Wheaton, IL
"My class thoroughly enjoyed our read aloud with Laura. The students were highly engaged with the story and hearing all about Laura's writing process. I highly recommend it!"
—Carla Hodge, Second Grade Teacher, Escondido, California
"Ms. Smetana's presentation was educational, inspirational, and entertaining. The drawing activity was a great conclusion for my Kindergarten and First Grade students. The books are welcome additions to our collection."
—Joan M., Teacher Librarian,
Downers Grove, IL