Doug Cushman skype author visit

Skype School Author Visit with Doug Cushman in Paris!

The Miracle of a Skype Author Visit! My son’s third grade teachers requested a school author visit from Doug Cushman. They teach a mystery writing unit and they use Doug’s mystery picture books to start off the unit.

Doug Cushman author illustrator, 2nd grade school author visit, Doug Cushman Skype author visit

A picture book mystery is perfect for breaking down the elements of a good mystery story:

  • leading and minor characters
  • setting that changes in order to create action and adventure
  • an intriguing plot with suspense and a clear beginning, middle and end
  • a problem to solve
  • a solution that is believeable

These were the three mystery picture books the third graders all read as a Read Aloud.

Mystery at the Club Sandwich by Doug Cushman

The Mystery of King Karfu by Doug Cushman

The Mystery of the Monkey’s Maze (From the Casebook of Seymour Sleuth) by Doug Cushman

Because Doug Cushman lives in Paris, France, we decided to do it via Skype. This was Doug’s first Skype author school visit and his enthusiasm was infectious!


Doug Cushman’s First Skype Author Visit

We were all delighted about the miracle of  Skype!

Unlike Jarrett Krosoczka’s Skype author visit, we only had one camera set up (attached to the laptop) so the kids came up one at a time to ask Doug questions. Like Jarrett’s Skype visit, the kids had read Doug Cushman’s books in advance of the visit AND written a question to ask him the night before as part of their homework.

skype author visit with Doug Cushman author and illustrator picture book for third grade

Figuring out what questions to ask Doug was the talk of the kids that morning at their lockers and it helped to build excitement about meeting the author!

Doug Cushman Skype school author visit


Doug Cushman Teaches 3rd Graders About Book Dummies and the Role of Editors

Doug shared his earliest books (from when he was about the same age as the third graders watching him) and how he got into writing and illustrating books. He also covered how creates his story including his inspiration.


Doug Cushman Draws Frankenswine from Pig Nightmares

No author/illustrator visit is complete without a drawing demonstration. A student asked Doug to draw for them and he happily complied. Here he reads a poem from Pigmares, draws the Frankenswine, and shows them the original drawing.

Pigmares byDoug Cushman


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Doug Cushman skype author visit

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Wow, what fun! What a great use of technology to let kids visit with authors from all over (and to let authors visit with kids from all over). And so he talked both about the process of building a mystery story and then the process of getting it into print? Very neat. What was the most interesting question the kids asked?
    Asakiyume recently posted…another sketch of Em and KayaMy Profile

  2. Jim Westcott

    I see much potential in Skype visits for kids and for children’s authors. I’ll have to check out Doug’s books. Children always want to know how an author creates his stories, where they get their ideas, and what process they use. Whether an author is in the flesh or in digital form, these moments inspire kids to read and write. Good stuff.
    Jim Westcott recently posted…Excerpt from Jack’s Monster: Book in Jack’s Tales’ SeriesMy Profile

    • Hi Jim,
      The Skype visits have really seemed to work well for the kids. Even if there is a short technical glitch, the kids seem unphased and patient. And almost all the kids have Skyped before with relatives so they are totally used to their technology.

      It’s fun to be able to meet authors that are otherwise out of reach. And Doug was so nice!!! They loved him!!! The 3rd grade teachers use his books to lead off the mystery writing unit so it’s perfect for the curriculum as well.
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  3. Modern technology is truly amazing! Our children can reap so many benefits when it is used appropriately, learning as opposed to texting. LOL

  4. Your author visits always sound so cool! I love that your school uses Skype to bring authors to the kids!
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  5. Catherine Johnson

    Thanks for sharing this, Mia. I need to dare to Skype one day. Looking forward to getting these books.
    Catherine Johnson recently posted…Watch “Epilepsy – How to Teach Children About Epilepsy” on YouTubeMy Profile

  6. Peter J. Liebenow

    This is Pete (Peter J. Liebenow) via Twitter.This is a great thing you’ve got going on!I’ve been lucky enough to work in the arts Pre-K all the way up – college/university – seniors.I aided an adolescent once regarding reading “problems” by utilizing his favorite comic book/Captain Underpants! Turned out he read pretty great on his own. Just little or no interest in what he assigned in schoolI did Purple Day/Worldwide Epilepsy Awareness day yesterday on my own in Chicago. Designed my own handout/my artwork (turned out really cool) with my story on the back and talked to a bunch of people. An absolutely great day!!!Thanks Much!Pete

  7. Hi all–The AUTHOR here–Thanks, Mia, and everyone, for all your kind words. The kids were great during our Skype session together; I had a ball. I want to do more; I miss talking to the kids (and teachers!) about books and reading, especially in the States. I feel a little out of the loop here in Europe (though France does inspire me to bring new stories and pictures to classrooms). But our session was a true dialogue; I learned as much from the all the students as (I hope) they learned from me. I hope to meet everyone one day in person. Thanks again, everyone!

  8. keisha hanvy

    That sounds like it was a lot of fun! l love how your school is using technology in a way that the kids can have experiences like this one that they couldn’t have had without it. Thanks for taking the time to link up at the Homeschool Linky Party! Hope to see you again this coming week!

  9. fariba

    Hi , It;s a great idea ,because of The kids like this technology ,it can be useful for them. Thank you so much .

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