In-person School Visits

Debra keeps a camera in her studio during the long process of making her books. These pictures are transformed into highly visual presentations that include the search for ideas, the writing and editorial process, journal techniques, and how art can inform writing projects.

A master storyteller, Debra presents to both students and adults with a strong emphasis on process. Her talk on creativity for adults, The Country of Lost, has received standing ovations from architects, potters, writers, other artists, and educators.

Frequently asked questions about Debra’s presentations.

To schedule an Author Visit or Conference Presentation, click here.

welcome banner nottingham 2
I wanted to be sure you know how much we loved you and how fabulous your presentations were to our students. I am continuing to get emails thanking me for bringing you here. The students and the staff raved!…You left footprints on our hearts!”
—Dr. J Manga, Supervisor of Reading, Hanover, PA

An Overview of Debra Frasier’s Presentations

Debra Fraser reads to children in school library

This visual overview of a day-long Author Visit is summarized in this FAQ.
Send further questions or scheduling inquiries to debrafrasier@nullmac​.com.

School Presentations

welcome banner nottingham 2

Debra: an Author Visit includes three large group sessions. It is important to group the audiences by grade level as each presentation is crafted for a specific grade age. For example: K + 1, 2 + 3, 4 + 5th.

Debra with audience
The students, staff and parents were absolutely thrilled with Ms. Frasier’s presentation. The students could not get enough of her and wanted her to stay longer than the hour she was given. For an author to hold the attention of a kindergarten class for one hour should say it all! When the staff walked out of each grade related presentation all I would hear was “that was the best one yet!”
—M. Blank, Media, Riverglades Elementary, Pembrook Pines, FL

Debra: My presentation is visual so the performing space MUST BE DARKENDED. I bring my computer and projector and need only a media cart, screen or white wall, and a microphone. Each presentation shows a different book as it grows its way from tiny idea in a journal to writing, revision, illustrating and production.

“All said, the program was “great.”
“Wonderful presentation…Love the books!”
“It was great. Would like to see more programs like this here!”
—Public comments, Youth Services Librarian, Woodbury, MN
“The way each of your programs was tailored for each different grade level assembly was impressive. You could keep the tiny ones focused as well as our sixth graders interested. It was amazing.”
—S. Sanchez, Author Visit team chair, Bullhead Schools, AZ

Lunch with the Author

Debra: An optional Student Lunch can be added to the day. The lunch can be fancy, with placemats or table cloths, or simple, with pizza in the teacher’s lounge, or special, like the beach picnic in the media center, or very, very simple with a circle of desks and a brown bag lunch. Often cake is served, to go along with A Birthday Cake Is No Ordinary Cake.

A place at the student lunch can be won by a random drawing, or awarded for outstanding effort in reading, or for a Vocabulary Parade Costume or design. After we eat we then have a few minutes to talk more intimately about how my current project is going and field questions about writing. Sometimes we fold tiny journals that each student is then instructed to teach their classmates how to make. Often we have a group picture taken before returning to class.

It was a wonderful presentation…everyone is still talking about it!
—J. Lipelt, Media Specialist, Island Lake Elementary
I have heard nothing but rave reviews. You are absolutely amazing in talent, presentation style, and stamina. Jut the ideal visiting author/illustrator. Can’t wait to see our student’s vocabulary achievement scores.
—K. Amster, Author Visit Coördinator, Sycamore Schools

Debra: It is great when my schedule allows me to appear on morning announcements to introduce myself, or to be introduced by prepared students like these Ohio students performing a teacher created poem to welcome me! Several school districts have taped teleconferences with bused in audiences, and/or call-in question-and-answer sessions.

Debra Frasier TV introduction in school
We just had Debra Frasier at our K‑2 school and 3 – 5 school for 2 days. EVERYONE loved her. Here’s a sampling of what I’ve heard to convince you to look into booking her if you can:
“Did you see the author?” (First Grader, hoping I hadn’t missed her!)
“You should just invite her back every year.” (Teacher)
“That author was great!” (Third and Fifth grade teachers)
“I wanted to tell her that there were 2 first grade special ed students who lasted FORTY minutes!” (Special Ed Para-educator)
She does an after school presentation for teachers about extending her books. I could go on and on — she’s a treat to have in your school.
—M. Dressel, K‑5, Librarian, Osceola, WI (posted on national library list-serve)

Teacher In-service

Yesterday we had our parent author visit de-brief. So many wonderful comments from the reps from all the building about your visit. The teachers loved your before school presentation and plan to use your suggestions in their classrooms, the kids really do think you are a rock star, you have really made a difference — we cannot thank you enough…We are all so impressed by you, your books and presentation style. Thanks for your amazing visit, I think we have finally cemented author visits as a valuable pursuit and one that should be continued yearly in this district. How great for our children. Thank you.
— — K. Amster, Author Visit Coördinator, Sycamore Schools

Debra: An optional twenty to forty-minute Teacher In-Service is included in the Author Visit. We meet before or after school and I showcase dozens of projects from all over the USA that show how my books can be extended across the curriculum. Plan for refreshments, or make a call for pot luck treats — or bring in a chef for cook-to-order omelets! (a one-time event, not your usual faculty refreshment table!)

My job in this short session is to show how, through real-life examples, the Author Visit impact can be greatly increased through extensions. Many teachers comment on how inspirational it is to see how other teachers around the country work with books.

Also, I just wanted to mention how inspiring you were to me personally. I know the kids had a great time, but I was surprised that I myself was so touched by your presentation as well…I believe listening to you speak nudged me toward myself abit, perhaps just enough to force my hand, literally.
—Teacher follow-up note

AUTOGRAPHED BOOKS

Debra: Offering books to be autographed to the students is a school decision. Some schools use book sales as part of the fundraising effort, others want to keep the price as low as possible. My titles are both hard and paper covered so the price points are accessible. Sometimes a school invites a local bookseller to handle all books. Volunteers are always needed to sort the orders and distribute books to students.

On the day of the Author Visit I like to have the books sorted and ready for me to sign in a quiet place — library or conference room — where I can dip in and out in my spare moments to try to get all signing done before the day’s end. (Note: Books are most often returned to the students the day AFTER my visit. if I do finish the signing by day’s end, students can be called to the library for distributing if we have time.)

What a wonderful visit we had with Debra…The teachers raved about her sessions with the children.
—A. Van Kirk, Principal, Symmes Elementary, Cincinnati OH

A FAMILY NIGHT EVENT! 

HOW TO MAKE CUT PAPER ILLUSTRATIONS 

Family Night photo
Family Night photo
Family Night photo
Family Night photo
Family Night photo

Debra: This event is in addition to the day-long Author Visit, and is individually considered by each school. Some schools share the expenses by inviting two schools for one event. One district held ONE evening event for the entire district, using the large local high school cafeteria. We need enough room for each participant to have table space, a pair of scissors, and a glue stick. I bring the rest of the supplies.

Always an exciting night, this one and a half hour session begins with an introductory slide show (so the room needs to be darkened, with a projection viewing screen or white wall), followed by the hands-on creating. Everyone makes, no one sits and watches! It is always a joy to see the room settle into quiet creating. The Dads are usually the most surprised at how well their projects turn out — and the children literally beam at their parents’ efforts. My largest group has included close to 300 participants so if the space can accommodate the guests, we can teach this amazing, simple, and life long skill in a single evening. Estimated number of participants must be submitted three weeks before the event so paper can be ordered and shipped in time.

I wanted to thank you on behalf of the PTA and Riverglades Elementary for a wonderful visit. We have received only rave reviews from teachers, parents, and children. Everyone truly enjoyed your time with us.
— — R. Harris, Riverglades Elementary, Pembrook Pines, FL

PREPARATIONS

Debra: I spend years preparing for my one-day visit to your school but my visit can only extend so far without support from the hosting school. (See the Timeline Notes I provide in your planning kit!) The most successful Author Visits come in many shapes and sizes but a few elements are consistent. Try any of these ideas gleaned from hundreds of school visits across the United States. Our mutual goal is to model a love of books, stories, reading, and writing for our students and faculty.

  • The first and most important: Everyone reads the author’s books!
  • Cultivate a committed principal. Help the principal prioritize the Author Visit within their (insanely) busy schedule. Students are smart and know principals only focus on what’s important. (Faculties know this, also.) Try these principal involvement activities I’ve seen:
      1. Be caught reading the author’s books: on school TV, school announcements, at the lunch room, visiting classrooms.
      2. Participate in an extension activity: Make an On the Day You Were Born booklet and post it for kids to see you as a child…Pick a word and march in a Miss Alaineus Vocabulary Parade
      3. Meet with parents to encourage funding and volunteers.
      4. Give lead Author Visit faculty release time to work on planning and run the days’ events.
      5. Attend the Author Visit sessions. Introduce the author to all or some of the groups. Students notice!
      6. Call the press, be in pictures with the author for newspaper, TV or school newsletter. Help make the Author Visit A Very Big Deal within the community. One principal wisely said to me: “Once we have an author in our school we try to figure out how to use the visit to help secure the NEXT author visit.”
      7. Appoint a photographer so there is ample documentation to use in future presentations to parents, school boards, or the local press. Be certain the day is documented for the yearbook.
      8. Faculty Involvement! Invite faculty to weigh in on the Author choice. Read the author’s books to your students and yourself. Use the extensions found under each book page where a host of easy-to-find activities are ready for use. Discuss structure in the picture book. Try the techniques the illustrator uses. paper the school with images and vocabulary from the studied books. Be in a Vocabulary Parade. (Note the faculty pictured here: “Transparent” hat, “Eyeballs” PE coach costume, “Divine” Principal, “Puzzled” teacher, and “Miss Pelling, Queen of Commonly Misspelled Words.”
      9. Take on a school-wide project. Examples: On the Day You Were Born research works well with all ages, as well as the Vocabulary Parade that accompanies Miss Alaineus, A Vocabulary Disaster.
      10. Read all the picture books before my arrival. It won’t take long. They ae short, but aimed at the heart! My talks are about process and how tiny ideas in journals grow into full-fledged books. If the students know my stories we can spend the time concentrating on unlocking creative process. Start early, round robin the set you will receive with the signed contract.
      11. Study the author. Know something about the author’s background before arrival.
      12. Transform the school in some small way: a hallway, door, welcome sign.
Debra, you are just like your books — genuine, warm and true.
—T. Hamilton, Tennessee Master Teacher
Debra Frasier with Ohio students

And with this marvelous compliment, I close, and wish you the greatest of Author Visit Days with any author you invite into your school. Read. Plan. And remember that our job is to keep wonder alive, even as it flags in us through the grind of daily life. Without that flame flickering, all is lost because ALL solutions come from within the glow of wonder. Books do so much to kindle that light, and in childhood we have a chance to fan the flames, hoping to make the light bright enough to stretch all the way through life to guide the way.

Thank you for being with our children, building their lives day by day, page by page. Your work is the Great Work.

All the best,

Debra

Debra Frasier, Author & Illustrator

AUTHOR VISIT COSTS

A one-day Author Visit is $1250.00 per day, plus expenses. This honorarium includes three large group sessions, an optional student lunch, an optional in-service session with faculty, an array of Frasier picture books and a Vocabulary Parade planning kit. Expenses include airfare, car rental, hotel, and meals (not to exceed $25 per day.) If my own car is used the current government rate will be charged (56 cents per mile at the moment), or gas charges. If the school would like smaller audiences a second day in the same school building is $1100.00

The Family Night Event is an additional $350.00. Some supplies are provided by the school: scissors for EACH participant (even parents) and glue sticks (one glue stick for each pair of participants to share). All construction and other materials are provided by the author. Debra will cover shipping costs to the school. School agrees to ship author’s supplies back to her studio in Asheville, NC. (ZIP code 28804)

My in-person Author Visits are temporarily suspended until we are safely through the Covid-19 global pandemic. I look forward to seeing you on the other side of this! Please visit my Virtual Author Visit page for a description of a live visit to my studio.

Warmly,
DEBRA