I had a dream and wrote a poem about llamas which my wife liked so she bought me a stuffed toy llama online. I held it up to my daughter one day and said, "Erin! Kiss the llama!" and she said "I don't want to kiss a llama!" So I wrote her a love poem which became a book with now more than 30,000 copies sold!
I get to tell stories and sign my books at Grant's Farm in St. Louis almost every day of the season which starts in April and ends in November. And you'll get to meet the animals I write about! Or you can go to the store here and order them. Make sure you tell me whose name you want me to write in the book!
I have spoken to audiences of all ages, from newborn to retirees. I have many of my poems memorized and can tailor my presentation based on age and interest. I can give you some recent references if you like. I do not require a speaking fee and pay my way by selling books to libraries and those who are want to take them home.
My time with your students is limited and so we start by having fun with words. Many of my poems are about animals and many are funny. Once the students are laughing I can tell them in another poem what they have to do to become a good writer like editing, reading, watching for inspiration and listening to others and to oneself. But mainly we have fun!
I absolutely love the expressions on the teenagers' faces when the librarian tells them they're about to hear poetry! But one poem later they are laughing and listening and learning. And having fun. Give me twenty seconds and let's see if I can get a laugh! And twenty minutes and see if a student gets an idea for a new direction to go in life.
Adults in these groups know how important reading is to the children in their lives. They get to enjoy them with me and consider taking a book home to share with a loved one. Hopefully you will discover one of the best picture books for children or one of the best poetry books for children for your family!