“In her butterfly net of beguiling rhythm and rhyme, Raven Howell captures the sweet, fleeting moments of childhood. Both you and the little gnome on your lap will love it!”
—Irene O’Garden, poet, author, Off-Broadway playwright
The Impact on Children Through Author Visits to Schools/Libraries
“Good morning, everyone! It’s wonderful to be here - thanks for inviting me. My name is Raven Howell and I write children’s stories and poetry....” and off we go. I’ve always enjoyed visiting students and children in classrooms, bookstores, and libraries to share my love of books, and reading and writing.
Involved in the children’s literary community for several decades now, I don’t recall my very first visit to meet with students, but I do know that I’ve never had a visit I didn’t enjoy. I could be presenting in a big school assembly or teaching poetry with four students in attendance in a small enrichment workshop, and still, I always gain new insight, am inspired by the kids themselves, and go home smiling.
What I gain from author visits is important to note because inspiration runs both ways. As you give, you get. That may not be apparent in the moment, and on several author visits, a child may seem completely bored, looking out the window, or maybe is disagreeable on some level. Yet, inevitably, the teacher will contact me afterwards and say something like, “Caleb always has a hard time focusing, but after you left, he wrote a poem about baseball and even drew a picture to go along with it! We have a hard time getting him to write anything, so thank you!”
Poetry tends to strike a chord or ring a bell inside one’s heart. Because of poetic rhythm, rhyming, wording, and expression, it can communicate a message like no other art form. And for children, who are full of questions (“Mom, why is the sky blue?”), poetry can address questions and make the questioner see things a different way. It’s an incredibly powerful medium for anyone of any age. Teaching even the youngest students how to read, listen to, be inspired by, and then attempt to write their own poetry or story may lead to anything from self-expression, processing emotions, to improving literacy and even epiphany.
Children want to explore. Children want to explore what’s beautiful in their world, and a good story or poem is the perfect pathway. This aesthetic is the inspiration behind my new picture poetry book, The 20 Little Poems for 20 Little Gnomes. If you’re a children’s author and have any doubts or self-consciousness about a school visit, please know the kids would love to hear “your story”, you’ll both be linking together in some form of enlightenment AND, you’ll have fun doing it!
Here With You
Hop the rocks
Across the stream
Where tall trees whisper
Skip the path
Where our hearts sing,
Let bright sun shine
On Robin’s wing.
Glad to be
Out here with you
Where grass is green
And sky is blue.
From The 20 Little Poems from 20 Little Gnomes written by Raven Howell © 2022 Handersen Publishing. Available on Amazon.
Raven Howell is an award-winning author and poet of several children's picture books. Her poems appear in children's magazines such as Cricket, Highlights for Children, HighFive, Ladybug, Jack and Jill, and Fun for Kids. She enjoys presenting children’s writing workshops, visiting libraries and schools, and serves as Creative and Publishing Advisor for RedClover Reader. Raven writes a column for Story Monsters Ink magazine, The Book Bug.