Five Tips for an Amazing Author Visit by Chitra Soundar

As a children’s author, I’m often invited into schools, libraries and festivals to tell stories and share my book with children and often parents. 

Illustrated by Poonam Mistry

If you’ve written a picture book and got it published, then you might want to visit schools to share your stories. 

Here are five tips for a wonderful author visit. 

1) Read the book aloud many times, knowing when to dramatize, where to change voices, how each character sounds. Prepare for the visit. 

Remember picture books are usually shared with children from 3 years old. So it’s important to engage them with the reading. When I read You’re Safe With Me to children, I change the voice for each animal in the story, that matches their personality, and the dialogue. You can try this out with your own family or friends to get prepared. 

Here is my reading of Tiger Troubles (illustrated by Hannah Marks) that helps illustrate this.

2) Expand and stretch the story. Introduce nursery rhymes as appropriate to break up the reading. Children love to join in and they enjoy and remember the experience when they can participate instead of being passive listeners. 

Illustrated by Frané Lessac

For example, when I tell the story of Pattan’s Pumpkin, as the pumpkin floats, we sing Row, Row, Row the boat together with some relevant changes in the words that surprise the children and the adults alike. 

3) Carry props -  they could be shop-bought, handmade. But it adds a new dimension to the listening. Children can see and touch the object (pre-covid of course) especially if the characters or things in your story are new to the listeners. When I tell the story of Manju's Magic Wishes and the sequel Manju's Magic Muddle (both illustrated by Veronica Montoya), I carry a magic lamp with me and it is fascinating to see how the little ones are definitely happy to suspend disbelief and imagine the magic. And that's magic. 

4) Ask the publisher for a pdf version of the story and convert it to a slideshow (google can help you find tools to do this). In every class, there will be children who need visual cues to keep their attention. Also it honours the craft of the illustrator to show the children the art from the book and talk about it. Just remember not to leave the presentation / pdf behind in a school or festival computer. 

5) Create activities for the story – be it a colouring sheet (ask the publisher to give you one from the book) or a word search puzzle (google for this too) or a craft activity children can learn to do from the teachers. Check out my dedicated website for book related activities here

That's just five tips from the tip of the author visit iceberg I've shared with you. What are your tips to bring your book to readers and listeners? Share in the comments. 

Chitra Soundar is an internationally published, award-winning author and storyteller, who is inspired by mythology, culture and folktales from across the world. She believes every story needs to be celebrated and there is a story behind every celebration. 

Her latest picture books are Holi Hai! And We All Celebrate. Find out more at and follow her on twitter here and Instagram here.

Post a Comment

* Please Don't Spam Here. All the Comments are Reviewed by Admin.