Author Visits & Presentations

For Young Readers & Writers | For Grown-up Writers | For Teachers & Librarians

1. Workshops and Playshops for Young Readers and Writers

My energetic, interactive presentations for young readers and writers meld content-learning with Common Core-based writing skills.

I understand that your budget is an important factor in deciding whom to invite. My fees are $1000 for a full day of three or four presentations or $650 for a half-day of two presentations plus travel expenses. Fees for schools in the Austin area are $800 and $500, respectively. I also arrange a limited number of presentations each year at lower fees for under-resourced schools. You can share travel expenses by coordinating visits with other nearby schools. Please look at Upcoming Appearances [link] to see when I will be in your area. 

Contact me at clevinson@austin.rr.com to discuss schedule and arrangements. Also, be sure to check out the NARRATIVE ARChaeology. We help kids Dig Research and Rock Writing!

“You’re Never Too Little To Make A Difference”

When Audrey Faye Hendricks was nine years old, she stood up to segregation and said, “That’s not right!” She was determined to make a difference. Kids in Grades 1-5 can make a difference, too. Following Audrey’s journey, they talk about issues they want to fix, create signs, write new words to a song, and then step up to change their world.

“The Hero’s Journey: It’s Not Just for Fiction”

Using a map of the mythic “Hero’s Journey,” students in Grades 3-8 learn about narrative arc while following the route of real heroic children.

“Writing Truth that Reads Like Fiction”

Students in Grades 3-8 learn how the factors that make fiction seem real–characterization, plot, setting, story arc–can bring their nonfiction writing to life.

“The Constitution: It’s Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be”

Did you know that childhood obesity can be traced to the Constitution? Or, that a bill might not pass even though a majority of both houses of Congress and the president support it? Students in Grades 4-12 hear real-life stories, learn the history, and debate what to do about fault lines in the Constitution. (Presentations are customized for middle school or high school.)

I also visit by Skype

During Skype visits, I field questions from students about my books and my research and writing process. These are different from in-person workshops but equally fun and informative. Fee: $100 for a 45-minute session.

2. Workshops and Presentations for Grown-up Writers

I offer three-hour, exercise-based workshops and one-hour presentations for writers. Topics include those below as well as others that we can discuss. Please contact me at clevinson@austin.rr.com for topics, schedule, fees, and arrangements. To hear some of my advice, listen to my interview with Bethany Hegedus on The Porchlight (Episode 10).

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“The Hero’s Journey: It’s Not Just for Fiction”

The narrative arc known as The Hero’s Journey, which was teased out by Joseph Campbell from his study of thousands of powerful myths from around the world, has become a classic format for novels and movie scripts. But, it’s not just for fiction.

Learn how the hero’s journey can help you organize your nonfiction project, select and highlight key events from your subject’s complex trajectory (while downplaying others), and move your true story from an intriguing opening through heightened tension to a satisfying resolution.

“Writing Truth that Reads Like Fiction”

The factors that make fiction seem real–characterization, plot, setting, story arc–bring nonfiction to life as well. Learn how to research and incorporate these techniques into your nonfiction Work in Progress.

3. Presentations for Teachers and Librarians

I offer one-hour presentations for teachers on both the content of my books and on teaching research and writing skills. Topics include those below as well as others that we can discuss. Please contact me at clevinson@austin.rr.com for topics, schedule, fees, and arrangements.

“The Constitution: It’s Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be”

Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws that Affect Us Today tells true stories, provides historical background, and lays out alternatives to fundamental problems in the US Constitution. Did you know, for instance, that childhood obesity can be traced to the Constitution? Or, that a bill might not pass even though a majority of both houses of Congress and the president support it? This workshop shows you how to bring these issues to life and to debate in your classroom. I recommend keeping up to date on these issues by checking the Fault Lines blog.

Sandy and I talking about Fault Lines in the Constitution at the National Book Festival. Don’t you love the poster?!

“Writing Truth that Reads Like Fiction”

The factors that make fiction seem real–characterization, plot, setting, story arc–bring nonfiction to life as well. This workshop shares exercises and techniques on how to help students research for important details and incorporate them into their nonfiction writing.

“Reluctant Reader: Meet Reluctant Hero”

Reading an entire book, especially nonfiction, can be daunting to reluctant readers. However, by using graphic organizers, students can follow the thread of one person, a real-life “bad boy” who became a hero, to read in a book–and still get the big picture.

“We had a wonderful visit and cannot recommend Ms. Levinson highly enough.  Her lesson was interactive and kept the kids thoroughly engaged.  She also did a great job of making them understand the time period.” Elizabeth Switek, Librarian, Austin (Texas) Discovery School

“My students don’t necessarily see themselves as readers, and I really appreciated how you tied in their personal experiences with both history and literature.” Wendy Gassaway, Teacher, Forest Grove (Oregon) School District

“I really liked your presentation because you had everyone act a part and you didn’t lecture us.” Student

“Cynthia Levinson has developed great activities that teachers can easily use.”

You spoke so clearly and with great kindness, focus and humor.  The entire event was one of the most joyful and hopeful experiences I have attended.” Cathy Balshone, Reference Librarian, Newton (MA) Free Library

“It was such a terrific event and my students and I thoroughly enjoyed it.” Rebecca Burton, Librarian, Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School

“What a wonderful presentation you gave! Thank you for giving me tools to re-structure my story. With your guidance, I’ve given [it] far more life – and a universal theme.” Linda Elovitz Marshall, Writer