Interacting with children at schools, libraries or film centers is an exciting perk of being a children’s author. Despite the fun, I know a lot of planning goes into putting on a successful author’s visit. With that in mind, the following information will hopefully serve to answer questions and provide an overview of the programs I offer. Please feel free to contact me with additional questions!
These programs are suitable for mid-elementary through middle school levels.
Books We Love to Watch; Movies We Love to Read
Students love to watch movies (especially ones based on their favorite books) but sometimes they forget that all movies start with a written script. In fact, writing is a critical part of moviemaking. By weaving in examples from books and movies, and including her own video moviemaking tips, Julie Mata leads students on a high-energy, interactive exploration of the writing process. She offers valuable advice on how to brainstorm story ideas and how to eliminate fear of failure from the creative process. Julie highlights the importance of character, plot, conflict, and resolution in both stories and screenplays, and the value of revision. Finally, Julie offers funny anecdotes from her own journey to publication to prove the importance of persistence and never giving up!
The Big Build (writing workshop)
Where do story ideas come from? How do you take an idea and shape it into a written story? Using creative exercises, Julie Mata demonstrates how to build a story from the ground up, beginning with the essential foundation of a strong idea. Julie shows students how to generate ideas by leading them through a fun, fast-paced brainstorming session. Photos, paintings, personal experiences—they’re all raw material the imagination can use! Julie discusses the important building blocks of character, plot, conflict, and resolution, and allows time for students to construct their own stories with the blueprints they have created. Lastly, Julie hammers home the importance of revision in crafting a strong story!
For school visits: I have found it works best if children have the opportunity to buy books in advance. Schools can work with local independent booksellers to arrange book orders. I am happy to sign purchased books and will bring bookmarks so students can have a fun memento.
For film-related events: If I am conducting a workshop, I request that the cost of one of my books be factored into the workshop price and that a local bookseller supply the books, so that each participant can take home a signed book. If I am presenting at a children’s film festival or movie showing, I request that a local independent bookseller be on hand with a supply of my books for sale, which I will be happy to sign. I will also bring bookmarks so children can have a fun memento.
Note: I am not a seller of the books, nor can I arrange for a discount.
Fees: I would be happy to quote a fee depending on the location and number of presentations requested. I am flexible and will always try to work with an organization’s budget.
These Common Core-aligned curriculum guides are designed for fourth through seventh grades.
BOOK CLUB DISCUSSION GUIDE
Perfect for library and after school book clubs! Provides fun icebreaker activities and discussion questions.
“I highly recommend having Julie Mata come and speak to your students! Her presentation, “Books We Love to Watch, Movie We Love to Read, fits perfectly with the Language Arts Common Core standards on writing. It is quite enjoyable and informative for students, and gives them a renewed eagerness for writing!”
Heather Hansen, Library Media Specialist
“Bringing in an author, published by Disney-Hyperion, with a book about a young girl making movies was a winning combination for us. Julie Mata was a gracious guest, a wonderful speaker, good communicator, and showed up on time for everything, so professional, and approachable to students.”
Julie Anderson Friesen, Founder & Programmer, Cinema Falls
“Julie Mata inspired the students with video clips, excerpts from her book, and walked them through the writing process of editing and revising. Following her presentation, the principals and teachers shared with me how students were all discussing ideas for their own next book. Some of them started to follow Julie’s tweets and video tips on Instagram. Julie’s passion and kind presence allowed students to see authors as creators of new worlds.”
Michelle Doman, Literacy Coach and Specialist
“Author Julie Mata presented a wonderful writing workshop for children during the Sheboygan Children’s Book Festival, including useful information about getting a story started and how to brainstorm ideas. The children really enjoyed the interactive participation and were excited to begin their individual works. By the end of the hour, the children had each made a good start on a story. It was a great program.”
Karin Menzer, Co-chair, Sheboygan Children’s Book Festival
“Julie Mata artfully wove her experiences as a writer into an interactive workshop that had the kids thinking, talking and writing about ideas, characters, plot, conflict and satisfying endings. Mata’s visit was the perfect way to launch my sixth-graders into the world of fiction writing.”
Kathy Horejs, 6th grade Reading and Language Arts teacher
For information on school visits, please contact Lisa McClatchy at: