School Visits


Session options:

*Assembly – A Writer’s Life: From Idea to Book

A writer is a storyteller and our stories often come from our own lives. In this presentation, I tell students how each of my books came to be published. There is an interactive component in which four students help to act out the arc of book publication. Students leave the presentation with an understanding of the bookmaking process as well as an awareness of how to tell their unique stories by connecting them to their own emotions, experiences and interests.

* How to Be a Hero

Using examples from my own life, I highlight my journey to becoming a writer, and the key traits that help me in my work now, observation, connection, and discipline. Students leave inspired to learn and share their stories with the world.

*Poetry Jam:

Poetry is full of rhythm and meter – even when it’s unrhymed! In this workshop, I introduce different types of poetry to students and help them find their beat and their own voice to be able to express themselves, their insights and their emotions, in poetry. This is an active hand-clapping, foot-stomping workshop. Students leave with a virtual “poetry toolbox” of strategies to use in writing their own poems.

 *Cowabunga, Dudes! Ride the Wave of Writing

Using the Traits of Writing, Kristy compares surfing to writing our stories. Ideas are compared to waves (and choosing the right one is most important!), voice is compared to a surfer’s unique tricks and writers are reminded that even when you wipeout you get back on your board and use what you’ve learned to revise!

*Put on your Thinking Glasses

In this workshop, students will develop the tools they need to construct meaning from the images they see in books, art and the media around them, based on the principles of visual literacy and design. Kristy uses illustrations from her own books to explain how her illustrators create images that extend the meaning of the words and expand the story. The end result of this workshop should be students who think more visually, strengthening their own art, design and writing.

*Go Forth and Be Super!

Using examples my forthcoming superhero picture book, as well as other familiar examples for the age range of the presentation, this workshop explains story structure, story arc, and character development (a simplified discussion of Aristotle’s The Hero’s Journey, with lots of familiar examples for kids) and gives tools for students to use in writing their own stories.

*Middle School/High School Writer’s Workshop

This session works best with small groups (25 students max) and can be tailored to fit each school’s curriculum/focus. Students focus on drawing from a toolbox of strategies that is applicable to each type of writing. Sessions may focus on voice, dialogue, characterization, plot/story arc and use of language. This session is usually most successful and productive with a focus on creative writing and/or poetry.

*Teacher In-service:

A Celebration of Poetry Across the Curriculum: Teachers learn how to integrate poetry into all aspects of the curriculum through exposure to excellent resources and developing the tools to create their own poetry with students.

Igniting the Spark: Fostering a Love of Reading and Story in Your Students: Suitable for both teachers and parents, this seminar provides both inspiration and practical steps to foster a love of reading in children.

The Teacher as Writer: In this writing workshop, teachers will learn how to be active participants in their students learning by joining in the creative process themselves.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Questions: An understanding of the principles of visual literacy and design fosters student-led inquiry within the curriculum. A workshop on the power of art and picture books across all ages and content areas.


Workshops for Writers/Keynotes:

 *Go Forth and Be Super:

Superhero mythology is deeply ingrained in our culture as readers. We are drawn to stories that reflect our desires to be better, stronger, or more powerful. And yet, over the years, superhero stories have also begun to portray heroes that are increasingly flawed and vulnerable. Superheroes reflect not only our own hopes and dreams, but they also reveal our fears and inadequacies. We identify with their struggles. We grow as we watch them grow. And we begin to dream of our own heroic moments.

Similar characteristics also exist between superheroes and anyone who creates art. Both are often motivated by a sense of calling to their purpose. Both can have weaknesses that expose their vulnerabilities. Both experience dark moments when the weight of their inadequacies seems immovable. And ultimately, both hold the power to create a better world.

In this keynote, I’ll discuss how the arc of our creative journey is reflective of the kinds of stories readers want. We can tap into the emotional truths of our own lives to build stories that provide heroes our readers can identify with, while also helping them imagine a better world of their own.

*The Creator: Reflecting the Glory of Creation:

For anyone involved in creative pursuit, it is a struggle to both nurture and control the inner chaos that drives creativity, in addition to all the other demands of life. This workshop is part inspiration/perspective and part practical activities on living and maintaining the creative life.

*Sweetie Pies and Smart*sses: Creating Characters that Drive the Story 

Editors are looking for character-driven picture books but how do we create characters that are strong enough to drive a story? In this workshop, we’ll study different character types, explore how to make them relatable to our readers, and how to give them distinctive qualities that drive both the emotional and the action arcs of our stories.

*How to Not Have a Nervous Breakdown While Waiting:

To be successful at this career you have to learn to wait well while nurturing and controlling the inner chaos that drives creativity. Waiting for responses from agents and editors, waiting for the publication machine to turn its slow-moving wheels, waiting for illustrators’ schedules to align, waiting for your own ideas to gel into something worth pursuing . . . it’s enough to make anyone with a creative drive feel a little insane at times. This workshop is part inspiration/pep talk and part practical activities on living and maintaining the creative life.


Fee Information:

My fee is US $1250 per day. Number of sessions/presentations is limited to a maximum of 6 per day. Please contact me to discuss fees for single presentations or half days. School is responsible for providing all meals, transportation costs (flights, etc) and lodging, unless author has agreed in writing to make other arrangements. Sessions can be adjusted to fit the schedule of each school, though an average session lasts 45 minutes. Each session includes time for Q and A when appropriate. Sessions may also be developed/tailored to meet the needs of each school. 
Each school visit includes a book signing when appropriate. 
Schools may handle book sales with a local bookseller or directly with the publisher, and may pass forward any discount they receive to students, or use the sale of books as a fundraiser.




3 thoughts on “School Visits

  1. Pingback: Calling All Schools! | Kristy Dempsey

  2. Pingback: Four Books in 2016 and exciting news | Kristy Dempsey

  3. Colin Hanson

    Good morning! I hope all is well! My name is Colin Hanson and my co-teaching partner is Nathan Holtz. We teach 5th grade in Edgar, WI. For years, we have been bringing in people to share their stories and expertise with our students (we have a K-12 building as we are a small rural district), through our organization “A Walk In Their Shoes”. We have a website if you would like to look at it ( Anyway, we are presenting this summer at a teacher’s workshop at EAA Oshkosh (the largest fly-in, aviation event in America) and would love to give out some of your books that fit that field! We will be writing a grant to buy copies of your book, but we are wondering if you would send us 10 to 15 bookplates with your signature on them so we can put them into the books for the teachers? We love your book “Papa Put A Man on the Moon” and would love to share it with other teachers. Our presentation is to show how to connect picture books to lessons, units, and classroom activities about aviation. Maybe another time we could talk about having you come to Edgar WI for a writer’s workshop with the students!

    Here is my personal email ( and my school email ( I hope we can talk soon! Take care! Colin.

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