Shark Vs. Train launch party at BookPeople in Austin, Texas, April 24, 2010. Photos courtesy of
"We were so fortunate to have Chris speak at the 44th Fay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival! Chris was an entertaining and engaging speaker who kept the crowd of librarians, teachers, educators, and writers interested during both the informational parts of his presentation and the fun parts, too. He was flexible and dynamic and both festival organizers and attendees would highly recommend him for your next speaking engagement!" -- Karen Rowell, The University of Southern Mississippi
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I love getting to meet young readers — and older readers, too! I'm available for:
- Professional conferences
- School and library visits
- Homeschooler workshops
- Museum and summer camp appearances
- Book festivals
I currently offer several presentations, including:
- Bob and Joe and Shark and Train: Cooperation and Competition — The audience and I discuss how Day-Glo inventors Bob and Joe Switzer managed to work together despite their differences, and how Shark and Train have a lot in common despite their conflicts. Followed by a reading of Shark Vs. Train and a viewing of outtakes from the book.
- Can We See Your I.D.? — We know what made the teenagers in Can I See Your I.D.? pretend to be someone they weren't. But what would make you do the same? Includes a discussion of the book's unusual second-person narration and the audience's reaction to being put into the subjects' shoes.
- Me? Write Science? — How I went from wanting to be editor of Rolling Stone to having (on some days) a top title in "Books > Professional & Technical > Professional Science > Physics > Light" at Amazon.com. (And how you could, too.)
- My Books Go Into Libraries (But They Come From There, Too) — Without these critical institutions -- too often underappreciated by policymakers, constituents and taxpayers -- my books would not be what they are. In fact, they might not even be at all. Let me count the ways that libraries and librarians have made each of my books possible, and the reasons why it matters.
- Who Did It First? Who Did It Best? Who Did It Differently? — Whatever you're passionate about, there's somebody in that field whose life story would be best told by you. I'll help you figure out who in the world that person is and what on earth you should do about it.
- Why Not Both?: Combining Playful Picture Books with the Rigorously Researched — Take it from the author of both The Day-Glo Brothers and Shark Vs. Train, there are big benefits to writers, readers, teachers, and librarians when we let the silly stuff cross-pollinate with flat-out facts. Includes a reading list of other picture book authors who have written in both realms, from Kathi Appelt to Jane Yolen.
- You Better Believe It: How The Day-Glo Brothers Survived All the Things I Didn't Know — I started off not knowing anything about daylight fluorescence or children's publishing. But I had a story I believed in, and -- 23 rejections and lots of revisions later -- it all worked out.
To schedule a visit or to get more information about programs, fees, etc., please contact me.
"The participants were uniformly enthusiastic about their workshop experience with Chris. ... From an administrative point of view, Chris was also a total pleasure to work with. He was responsive, flexible, gracious and thoroughly professional." -- Emma Walton Hamilton, Director, Southampton Children's Literature Conference
"You have a fantastic and natural repertoire with kids and had them engaged throughout the presentation. ... I would definitely recommend you to other librarians and/or schools looking for an author visit!" -- Rachel Salvaggio, Teen Services Librarian, Austin Public Library
"One of the most inspiring moments was when Chris explained that writing children's books was not his original goal as an author -- he stumbled across an obituary of Bob Switzer and was inspired to write about him. What a wonderful way to answer the question, 'Why is writing important?' So we can remember those who inspire us and their life stories." -- Cindy Modrall, Language Arts Teacher, Leander ISD
"Chris gave an outstanding presentation to Austin SCBWI. He motivated everyone in the crowd to go home and write picture book biographies, and the bibliography he provided was outstanding. I highly recommend him as a speaker for any type of children's literature event." -- Tim Crow, Former Regional Advisor, Austin Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators