School Visit Information
(Have Pencil, Will Travel)
I am available for a limited number of school visits each year. While
most of my visits have been inside New York State, I am not adverse
to traveling further. For more distant locations it may be worth trying
to coordinate my visit with other schools in your area to share travel
expenses. (I am a relatively low maintenance author, I don't mind flying
coach and I don't need a fancy hotel, see below.)
(Length of performance, 45-60 minutes, will modify to fit your schedule).
"How a Book is Born"
This presentation is suitable for any age level. Items covered: how
I come up with ideas, develop an idea into a concept, sell the concept
to a publisher and work with an editor and/or art director to create
a picture book. The presentation includes many examples of work, artifacts
and interesting bits of publishing history created by yours truly. This
"behind the scenes" look at children's literature, includes many concepts
useful to young writers (such as the role of the first draft in shaping
the final product). However, facts and information about picture books
are intertwined with humorous anecdotes to entertain as well as educate.
After seeing this program, a student will understand how much "unseen"
work goes into writing and illustrating.
"Lets Write a Story"
This presentation is a high energy and fast paced exercise in creative
writing. The workshop begins with the group playing with letters and
words to invent a new name for a character. It ends with each student
having crafted their own unique idea that could be expanded into a story.
(If you have a very aggressive writing program this may be appropriate
for Kindergarten or first grade, otherwise I would suggest second grade
or higher.) This program introduces and explains such processes as brainstorming,
drafting, characterization, writing dialog and constructive peer critiquing.
It reinforces many of the concepts taught in "process writing."
Materials and Room Set Up.
I am extremely flexible and easy going when it comes to where I perform.
I have delivered these presentations in every conceivable type of school
environment: Auditorium, Cafeteria, Gymnasium, Library, Lobby, Classroom,
Open Classroom and Loading Dock (if you can get the kids in the room,
I can make it work). I like to begin each session by doing a special
drawing for each class. I have found it useful to have a blackboard
(portable is fine), some large white drawing paper (18 X 24 is a standard
art room size), masking tape, a fist full of black magic markers (standard
size) a supply of coffee would be nice (I take it black, no sugar).
If coffee is unavailable water is fine but I'll probably whimper, whine
and generally look pathetic between sessions. If I am doing "Lets Write
a Story," students should come with a pencil and several sheets of blank
Logistics and Costs
(alas, both my daughters are attending hideously expensive
colleges, so I cannot donate my services)
My fee for a day of programs within New York State is $1000. Due to
additional travel time involved, I charge $1200 for visits outside
of New York. (see below for travel expenses). A school visit
includes up to 4 assembly programs or workshops and a bunch of original
Dave Ross drawings to hang in your school- see above. Give
me a call and I can give you an exact figure for the cost of a visit
Additional evening programs, keynote speeches and teacher workshops
are all possible and may be negotiated separately at a discounted rate,
see Speaking Engagements.
Since 1974, I have spoken about children's literature to every age
group from pre-K through graduate school, I adjust the content of my
presentations accordingly. I will make every effort to accommodate the
needs of my audience. If you don't see something here that you want,
please don't hesitate to make a special request.
For visits within 50 miles of Clifton Park, NY (near Albany) there
will be no additional travel expenses.
For visits between 50-120 miles I charge $25 for my gas guzzling vehicle.
Beyond 120 miles, we need to talk about a bag full of take out food
& a cheap hotel (please note: I gave up staying with well meaning
teachers years ago after an unfortunate incident involving an asthmatic
Yorkshire Terrier and a bowling ball).
Most out of state visits require airfare and sometimes a
rental car. I
fly out of Albany International Airport (they have a flight to Toronto
once in a while so I guess "International" is accurate). From
here, I can usually fly round trip to most major US cities for about
$250 and most other US locations for under $400.
Books, the signing thereof and autographs.
I am very happy to sign any book that is placed in front of me (I have
been known to sign other author's books as well). You may either order
my books directly from the publisher (there are a limited number of
titles available) or I am prepared to bring some titles with me (I stock
about 4 different titles & offer a discount for group sales -see
Stuff for Sale for books available).
For some reason, at the conclusion of my program, many children seem
desirous of obtaining my autograph. Rather than fight my way through
a sea of napkins, gum wrappers and shreds of loose leaf notebook paper,
let me offer the following compromise. At your request, I will draw
and sign a book mark design suitable for reproduction on your copier.
These may be distributed in place of the aforementioned chaotic autograph
Please feel free to e-mail questions
or call me direct. My office/studio is an old bookmobile parked behind
one of the buildings at Helping Hands School (where I serve as Chief
Fiscal Officer and Director of Plumbing Problems). You may call the
school line at 518-664-5066 between 8:30 am - 3:30 pm and one of my
overworked secretaries will try and track me down. Another option is
my studio line 518-664-6530. I'm in and out all day but the best time
is 7:30 a.m.- 1:00 p.m. (if you miss me please leave a message on my
answering machine with your name, phone # and best time to call, I promise
to get back to you).