What’s a school author visit via Skype like? I just experienced two successful ones so I thought I’d share my experience in the hopes that you will be able to get authors to your kids’ school too! Skype is really very easy and kids are surprisingly unperturbed when there are minor technical issues which can pop up.
I’d first like to preface Jarrett’s Skype presentation by saying that he is a total rock star. Have you seen his TEDTalk which has garnered over 650k views? His talk moved me to tears.
Your next question might be, “Is he always this amazing? This present? This inspiring?”
And my answer would be, “Oh yes! Always! And funny to boot!”
I first met Jarrett on an online Random House book chat. It’s a little like a Twitter party where participants type in short questions and he responds in kind.
Here’s an example:
In jest I told Jarrett via the LiveChat that I might email him to get more names of funny children’s book authors with difficult to spell and pronounce names.
And he shot back, “… if you need the list of difficult names, we have quarterly meetings throughout the year. :)”
I just thought he was so fast on his feet, witty and downright hilarious. It’s no wonder that his books are funny!
I then met him IRL (in real life) when he did a book signing for his first Platypus Police Squad mystery chapter book series at Peter H. Reynolds‘ bookstore, Blue Bunny Bookstore in Dedham. Again, he was charming and delighted the kids who were there.
His young daughter was there as well and she’s wonderfully confident, advising me on how I should get my books inscribed to my son’s teacher. “Ms. Donahue or Emily or Emily Donahue?” I asked her? “Emily!” she replied firmly. Jarrett said apoligetically, “She goes to Montessori. She calls her teachers by their first name.” (And Ms. Donahue was delighted by the inscription of “Emily” as advised by a smart young preschooler!
Jarrett Krosoczka’s Skype Author School Visit
I was lucky to participate in a Skype author visit at an elementary school in my school district. We were previewing his visit to see LIVE how kids respond to a Skype author visit versus an in person visit. Our school district has traditionally brought in authors face-to-face and there was concern about technology not being as effective.
The Skype visit was hosted by Reederama, an amazing school librarian who posted on it as well. The Skype visit with Jarrett started with two videos that he only provides if you book his Skype visit. (They are so great that one of the parents who viewed it with me asked if her school could rent the videos separately from the Skype visit.)
The videos cover how he wrote the Punk Farm and Lunch Lady series. They are wonderful and I would highly recommend that the kids view these videos IN ADVANCE of the Skype author actual visit just to make the presentation shorter for them. These second graders sat patiently for 1 1/2 hours but I think 45 minutes on the floor would be more comfortable for them.
Here are some images from those two slide presentations:
Jarrett shared his early comics he wrote as a child.
This is a comic he did in high school.
Part of Jarrett’s Skype author visit is the very popular Q and A with students. As you can imagine, Reederama prepared her students well. They were familiar with different genres of Jarrett’s books. His books were also on display in the library. Students also wrote questions in advance.
I’ve noticed that author visits ALWAYS go well if the kids are familiar with the author’s books. And writing questions in advance gets them very excited about meeting the author. It makes them realize that they get to talk to an actual author about something they care about.
There were two cameras set up as well as a microphone to help facilitate the Q and A via Skype but a single camera would work fine too.
With an overhead camera, the kids can see Jarrett and he can view them back so it feels like he is in the room. A darkened room also helps make him come sharply into focus.
I took some video of his Skype visit to give you a feel for his live presentation.
Jarrett Draws the Lunch Lady
Jarrett always include a drawing demonstration in any of his author visits and the kids are riveted by how quickly the character emerges. He also explains how he draws for a book (versus a demonstration).
I noticed that the kids really picked up on the details of the “blue pencil” that doesn’t replicate on a photocopier. The mechanics of how to make a book really seems to fascinate kids and I learned a lot as well!
Jarrett’s New Releases and learning about Trim Size
It’s fun just to hear Jarrett off the cuff! He’s really engaging! He talks about his new releases this year which include a new picture book, Peanut Butter and Jellyfish, a new Lunch Lady release and a new chapter book in his Platypus Police Squad. But as he talked about Peanut Butter and Jellyfish, he segued about his dilemma in figuring out trim size which is the size of the book.
A Tour of Jarrett’s Studio
A Skype visit is not complete without a tour of the author’s studio and Jarrett’s tour did not disappoint. The kids seemed to enjoy meeting Jarrett’s dog as well!
I hope this gave you a feel for a school author visit via Skype and it will inspire you to book children’s book authors for your school or children’s book club. It’s a very affordable option and you can often even get Skype author visits for free (I’ve won a few when authors do a book launch!).
3 Winner GIVEAWAY for Signed Copy of Peanut Butter and Jellyfish!
To win a personally signed copy of Peanut Butter and Jellyfish, please enter the Rafflecopter below. Jarrett will even draw in Peanut Butter and Jellyfish when he signs your book!!!
What authors have you seen via Skype or would like to see? Please share!
p.s. These are the books Jarrett talked about:
After a long day of work, Farmer Joe goes home to bed.
But meanwhile, back at the barn . . .
Cow sets up her drums.
Pig plugs in his amp.
Goat tunes his bass.
Chicken sets up her keyboards.
And Sheep checks the microphone.
They are Punk Farm and tonight they’re ready to ROCK!
With adorable farm animals – and a surprise tribute to Old MacDonald – this rollicking tale is sure to have kids cheering–and singing–along.
Peanut Butter and Jellyfish
Peanut Butter and Jellyfish are the best of friends. They swim up. They swim down. They swim all around. Except near Crabby, who never has anything nice to say to them. “You two swim like humans” is the least of his insults.
Then one day Crabby is caught in a lobster trap and needs their help! Should they help him? It’s Peanut Butter and Jellyfish to the rescue! Crabby might be afraid of heights . . . but will he be brave enough to apologize?
Lunch Lady and the Schoolwide Scuffle
Lunch Lady and Betty have been unceremoniously cut from the school budget, and the timing couldn’t be worse—the villains from all nine of her previous adventures are worming their way back into Thompson Brook with a masterfully devious plan. Will the Breakfast Bunch still be able to count on Lunch Lady’s superhero gadgets and abilities to save the school, or are they on their own? Don’t miss Lunch Lady’s swashbuckling finale!
Platypus Police Squad: The Ostrich Conspiracy
Jarrett J. Krosoczka is back with The Ostrich Conspiracy, the second installment in a fast-paced, action-packed, and hilarious middle-grade series featuring two platypus detectives, perfect for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Big Nate, and Lunch Lady.
The opening of the Kalamazoo City Dome—the world’s largest indoor amusement complex—has everyone in the city buzzing, especially because it’s going to be the shooting site for Chase Mercy’s new blockbuster film. But that’s when things start to go haywire. Who would want to sabotage the Dome, and why? Detectives Rick Zengo and Corey O’Malley are on the case!
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31 thoughts on “Skype Author Visit with Jarrett Krosoczka and GIVEAWAY”
This was a super post! I’d love to see Jarrett visiting my kids’ school!
I love how students and authors are able to connect now. It’s a great way to make kids feel more enthusiastic about the book. I think having “met” the author makes kids feel like they’re reading something a friend wrote. I have to forward your post to Damian’s teacher Mia. Thanks so much for sharing.
As for the contest question. I believe, even when people are rude, by showing them kindness, it helps to bring out the kindness in them. and now i’m officially entered!
Yay, thanks for entering!!! Jarrett wanted me to clarify that he is signing each of the three books (and will possibly personalize) and he will also draw in Peanut Butter and Jellyfish!!
I hope Damian’s class gets a visit by Jarrett via Skype too!!
He is so inspiring and wonderfully creative–I love his work!
Thanks for sharing this, Mia!
And he’s such a nice person too! And so incredibly funny! We love his books!
Sure they should help – it’s them that’s doing the good deed, no matter how the other person reacts, so they should be proud of themselves.
That’s a great point! It’s doing something they can be proud of! (and also in the surprise ending, Peanut Butter and Jellyfish learn about bullies and why, possibly, they do the things they do).
I enjoyed the Skype visit and the office tour. As far as Crabby goes, we should always help another in need.
For some reason, I always think an office tour will be this mysterious mega office where authors are working their craft so it is always heartening to hear every author say that their office is messy and it looks like a normal room in a house! 🙂
I know the kids ALWAYS enjoy an office tour and they notice and remember unusual tidbits. I’m sure Jarrett’s dog will be one of those things kids focus on and remember the most!!
This was such a beautiful post. I reallly enjoyed listening to Jarrett’s story. Very inspiring. His books look like they are light and fun reading. So many authors are doing live Skypes into classrooms. Very effective for all.
My kids love Jarrett’s books for their humor and making reading fun! I’m so glad you enjoyed the Skype author visit! It is such a great way for kids to meet authors they otherwise would not have access to!
My 3rd grade students love his Lunch Lady books and we can’t wait to plan and celebrate Lunch Lady Day in May!
What fun!! You are awesome to plan a Lunch Lady celebration for your students!!!!
Mr. Krocoszka sounds like a guy I’d get along with! 😀 I just got The Platypus Police Squad to review!
My son read it in 2nd grade and really enjoyed it! You would love Jarrett Krosoczka! (and he you as well!).
I enjoyed this post so much and thanks for all the chances to win Peanut Butter and Jellyfish which looks like such a fun book! It is hard to help crabs when they are being mean but yes, I think they should still do it. Loved the videos!
Thanks so much Ann!! And thank you for entering! I loved the story line about bullying and what causes it in Peanut Butter and Jellyfish. It’s exactly the right kind of story to teach to young kids.
Another great post! I had the opportunity to see picture book author Tara Lazar do a Skype visit with my daughter’s second grade class last year. Everyone enjoyed it and the Q’s and A’s were so thoughtful. Skype visits seem like a wonderful way to not only promote a book, but to instill a love of reading and writing in our kids. Can’t wait to Skype when my own book debuts!
Hi Laura S.,
I totally agree with you that Skype visits really do promote a love of reading and writing. I believe they can actually be life changing. You never know if you, as the author, inspired a child to have the courage to go downt the career path of author or illustrator or both!
The kids come up with amazing questions too! I think the authors love to talk directly to their audience and Skype is wonderful way to broaden access to them.
Congrats on your new book!!
Thank you for this collection of resources! My students love Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s work and would be delighted with an opportunity to connect with him!
I’m so glad you like the post and I hope that your students will have a chance to meet Jarrett either in person or via Skype. Do you need the information on how to book a school visit with him? Let me know and I would be happy to give you that information. It’s on his website. If he does another book tour and I am involved, I will ask him if he’s willing to giveaway a Skype author visit. I’ve won them in the past from other authors and shared them with my children’s class and they were always a huge hit!
Thanks so much for this post. It is extrememly helpful to me as an author for what worked in a Skype visit. I just did my first visit for World Read Aloud Day and was fascinated by the possibilities and immediately wanted to learn the best practices. Your post most certainly helped me!
Thanks so much for your kind words! We also did a Skype author visit with Doug Cushman. I think that is posting soon. I think that was his first one. My only advice would be to hardwire your internet connection instead of WiFi when you Skype. It makes the connection more stable.
Also darkening the room for the kids helps to see the screen more clearly. We projected onto a larger screen. Multiple cameras in the classroom is nice but not a must have. Moving YOUR camera around, if even on your computer, so that kids can see your office space is also wonderful!
I was so lucky to be able to see Jarrett live at the AASL’s Comic Brunch in Hartford back in November. I agree: he is a rock star!
How fun to see him at a Comic Brunch. He is soo funny that he could have been a stand up comedian!! I would have loved to seen him. I wonder if there is YouTube video of that? Jarrett??? Can you share?!
I was unfamiliar with Jarrett Krocoszka, but this is inspiring. I will have to let my son check it out in the morning. Thanks for sharing with Countdown in Style!
Your son might know his graphic novel series The Lunch Lady. It’s also going to be turned into a movie with Amy Poehler.
My son, Jack, likes the Lunch Lady books by Jarrett Krocoszka. I’ll have to buy The Platypus Police Squad for him. He likes these kinds of books and he’s not much of an independent reader, despite that his dad is a children’s writer:) He’s a Diary fan and these books are right up there. Excellent post once again, and the extra technical info you gave in a previous reply, I’m going to try and remember for my Skype visits in September for Jack’s Tales. Great stuff:)
I’m so glad that you are Skyping for your author visits! It’s such a wonderful way to reach kids. I hope you son likes the Platypus Police squad as much as my son did!
I love it. How inspiring.
Thanks so much Jason!