Information About School And Skype Visits

I thrive on meeting my readers! I enjoy doing school visits with children in grades K-through 6th Grade. My programs are always tailored to fit each audience I speak to. Here, though, are a few topics I cover:

How Do You Get Your Ideas?

I tell children that I don't get ideas--they get me! I get so excited about something that I MUST write about it. I offer my audiences numerous specific examples about how my books were generated, and show children how they can follow their enthusiasms as well. So far entire books have been inspired by: tushies, spring peepers, potato pancakes, Passover seders, refrigerator magnets, my mother making blintzes, button-collecting, yearning to fly,  and my great-niece's name, Katie Woo! 

How Does A Book Get Published?  What Are The Steps?

There is nothing like a collection of visual aids to show children how something that begins as a glimmer of an idea in someone's head can be nurtured step-by-step until it becomes a finished book. 

In a vivid PowerPoint presentation, I show my audiences the many stages of my books: the original written manuscripts scribbled on yellow legal pads, the stories printed out, then revised, over and over. I tell children, I should be called a re-writer because I often write my stories as much as twenty times. This is a comfort to children, who, like me, are always having to do things over. My book, THE MATZAH THAT PAPA BROUGHT HOME, took 37 tries!

In my PowerPoint program, I also show the many revisions of the pictures that my illustrators do. Some of their sketches are  close to what the final art looks like. Other sketches need a lot of fixing! 

I show sketches and finished pictures by Caldecott-winning artist Paul Zelinsky, for THE SHIVERS IN THE FRIDGE, from Tracy Dockray's art for THE TUSHY BOOK, and from Tammie Lyon's artwork for my many Katie Woo books.

Depending on time, and the age of my audience, I also read complete picture books, and, of course, answer questions and autograph my books after my presentation.

How Do You Feel When Your Stories Aren't Working?
How Do You Feel When Publishers Reject Them?

My answer to this is, Practice makes perfect! Over the years, I've learned that writing books is a roller-coaster existence. I have happy, high-as-a-cloud days and awful, no-good, very bad ones. My way of dealing with this is to cultivate a joyful stubbornness: I never, never, NEVER, give up. I wrote one story that was rejected fourteen times. It was accepted on the fifteenth try. What if I had given up after fourteen? Children understand stubbornness; they're very good at it.

My fees for school visits are negotiable, depending on distance and the number of talks I give. Please contact me for more info at

Special Information For Jewish Educators

My programs for you will be similar to the ones described above, but I will add significant information about my Jewish journey for children, emphasizing the many Jewish books I've written about the Sabbath,  Hanukkah, Passover, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. My talks always encourage children to feel empowered and active in their Judaism.

Some Comments About My Visits

"Your contribution to our Young Author's Conference was invaluable to the children. We've heard such positive comments from parents, teachers, and children about the connections you were able to make with your audience."
Dr. Nancy Crews, Middle Tennessee State University

"Ms. Manushkin is a pleasure to deal with. She gave the students a valuable and worthwhile experience."
The Thomas Jefferson School, Lakeland, N.Y.

"We were thrilled with your visit to your children. They were totally engaged with your presentation."
P.S. 6, New York

"Thank you for being such an important part of our Unit Day for the Year of Fiction. Your presentation was both interesting and inspiring for all of us!"
The Birch Wathen Lenox School

A List Of Some Places Where I've Done Presentations

  • The South Street Seaport Museum
  • The Brooklyn Museum
  • The Jewish Museum
  • The Children's Museum of Manhattan
  • Montreal Public Schools
  • Young Author's Conference, Middle Tennessee State University
  • The Museum of Jewish Heritage
  • Keynote Speaker, The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
    (Jewish Writers' Conference)
  • The Ramaz School
  • Solomon Schecter Schools
  • The JCCs of New York City, Nashville, and Savannah
  • Numerous public schools and libraries