HAVE SARAH SPEAK TO YOUR SCHOOL, LIBRARY OR ORGANIZATION:
Sarah Darer Littman is a critically acclaimed author and award-winning journalist. Her humorous presentations will have students laughing and thinking. In all of her school presentations, Sarah emphasizes how important it is to be able to communicate well in writing no matter what career you end up in, and the importance of revision.
TO BOOK AN AUTHOR VISIT, please contact Michelle Campbell AuthorVisit@Scholastic.com Tel: 212-389-3777
GENERAL SCHOOL PRESENTATION
45-mins – 1-hour
5th grade and up
Sarah begins with her dream of being a writer in high school but being told that she would “never make a living as an English major.” She discuss how in all of the careers she had prior to finally allowing herself to pursuing her lifelong dream at age 38 (financial analyst, dairy farmer’s wife and cheese manufacturer) her ability to write well was a big plus. Sarah goes through the process of writing a book from idea to publication, including plotting, research skills, and with a big emphasis on revisions. She likes as much participation from the students as possible and always leaves room at the end for a Q&A with the students.
I WRITE WELL - AND SO SHOULD YOU! : Finding your own “writing process” and why it’s important to your future
45 minutes – 1 hour
Middle school and up
Sarah begins the presentation with examples of why it is important to write well no matter what career path one pursues. She then goes through the process of what it takes to be a good novel writer, employing skills that are relevant to most jobs: critical thinking, creativity, research, and organization. She likes as much participation from the students as possible and always leaves room at the end for a Q&A with the students.
WRITING FOR CITIZENSHIP, CAREERS AND ADVOCACY
45 minutes -1 hour
Middle school and up
Sarah is very passionate that education isn’t just about being “college and career ready": it’s also about learning the skills to be a good citizen in a democracy, and knowing how to advocate for yourself and others. She begins the presentation with examples of why it is important to write well no matter what career path one pursues. Using her experience as both an author and a journalist, Sarah shows how combining critical thinking, research and strong writing skills can be used to effect change in the real world - using examples from her own work. She touches on media literacy and how it is important to examine sources carefully. She likes as much participation from the students as possible and always leaves room at the end for a Q&A with the students.
CHANGING PERSPECTIVES, BUILDING EMPATHY (writing workshop)
Middle School and up
Conflict drives a story. The cat sat on the mat isn’t a story, but the dog sat on the cat’s mat…now we’re talking. Sarah loves to explore the grey areas in her work, because she believe that we’re all born with the capacity for both good and evil, and it is rare to find a person that is one hundred percent of either. A main character that is one hundred percent good is as boring as a bad guy who is one hundred percent bad. In this workshop, students write a scene about a conflict in their lives from the perspective of their antagonist. This workshop always leads to very interesting discussions!
Smaller Group Writing Workshops: Sarah has given numerous writing workshops for middle school and high school students for the Connecticut Writing Project and longer creative writing programs for teens at libraries. We discuss voice, setting, motivation and conflict, plot, and dialogue, and students use this to start a story of their own.
CONFERENCES and FESTIVALS
MAKING YOUR CRAZY PAY: Creating and maintaining a writing career without going even crazier
There’s a high correlation between creative people and various mental health conditions. So how do we make our crazy pay? Part one of this workshop is craft oriented and will use exercises to dig deep and bring the authenticity and immediacy that grabs readers and makes them want to keep turning the page. Part two will focus on tips for avoiding further nuttiness in what is a crazy-making way to make a living at the best of times – lumpy, unpredictable income, being paid some indeterminate amount 7-8 months in arrears (assuming you’ve earned out your advance in the first place, that is) and reading your Goodreads reviews (hint: don’t).
WALKING THE TIGHTROPE - balancing reality and content in YA Fiction
Sarah Darer Littman’s novel, WANT TO GO PRIVATE? tells the story of Abby Johnston, a ninth grade honor student who becomes involved with an Internet predator. Inspired after hearing an FBI Supervisory Special Agent speak about Internet Safety at her son’s school, Sarah found in her extensive research that real predators get “very dirty, very quickly.” Throughout the process of writing all of Sarah’s books, she is conscious of walking a very fine line – trying to create a story that engages the most vulnerable kids, yet is still accurate and realistic. Hear about the very real dilemmas authors face when tackling difficult issues.
MEDIA LITERACY: USING YA AS A CRITICAL LENS
In an increasingly polarized world with concentrated mainstream media and sponsored content that isn’t always clearly delineated as such, and false information spread at lightning speed through social media, how do we help students with media literacy? Sarah will discuss how to help students think critically about the information they are presented with and suggest other YA novels as well as some of her own as starting points for discussion.
WRITING AS PURPOSE
A recovered bulimic, Sarah speaks about growing up with a distorted sense of body image and low self-esteem. She discusses the unconscious messages we transmit to our children about weight and appearance and how important it is to help kids focus on who they are and what they are passionate about rather than how they look. When, after being hospitalized for a breakdown, she finally allowed herself to pursue her dream of being a writer at the age of 38, it not only helped with her bulimia recovery, it gave her the strength to become the woman she was meant to be all along.
Sarah offers a pro-bono 20-minute virtual visit and Q&A with schools, book groups and library groups that have read at least one of her books using Skype or iChat
Sarah also offers a longer, more in-depth Skype visit.
In-Depth Visit Length: 60 minutes
In-Depth Visit Cost: $200 (reduced for Title 1 schools)
No recording of Skype or iChat Sessions without permission from the author
"On behalf of the students and faculty at Winston Prep, I extend our appreciation for your time and wonderful presentation to students during our 'Writer's Month'. Your sense of humor certainly captivated students and allowed for an engaging and informative hour. All seemed especially interested in your sharing the joys and frustrations of the writing process further providing an appreciation of the overall process and rewarding sense of accomplishment. We hope you come back again soon."Beth Sugerman MS, CCC-SLP Head of School. Winston Preparatory School, Norwalk, CT
"A fantastic presentation for our middle schoolers! We were thrilled to have Sarah Darer Littman come and visit with our students, as she explained how writing has been a part of her life from childhood on, and how both her successes and her failures have taught her important lessons. She was a relaxed, funny and enjoyable presenter, and one whom our students questioned seriously about writing as a profession. It is a wonderful event to have successful authors visit who are able to really talk to students, instead of "talk at" them. Middle school students know the difference, and they appreciate someone who understands what's important to them and who is willing to listen to them, encourage them and take them seriously. Sarah is one of those authors -- and every kid should have the opportunity to meet her and talk to her!" Karen Ball - Media Specialist Eastern Middle School, Greenwich CT
Sarah has presented at:
Texas Library Association
Anderson’s Young Adult Literature Conference
Tattered Cover Teen Book Con
SCBWI National Conference
SCBWI New England Conference
New York Teen Author Festival
West Coast Jewish Children's Book Writers Conference
CT Authors and Publishing Association CAPA-U
CT Writing Project - Young Writers Institute
New Stories for Newtown