INVITE ME TO YOUR SCHOOL
I have visited schools throughout the US and abroad, sharing with students my journey as a writer, how my life in China inspired my writing, and the challenges of writing in my second language.
All of my children's books convey an important message about sharing, compassion, creative inventions, Chinese history, culture, and food. My cookbooks emphasize the importance of healthy eating and living.
Presentations are limited because of my schedule. Please make arrangements three to six months in advance. We will need a written agreement (e-mail or hardcopy). It should cover the date and time of the visit, the presentation schedule, and the honorarium. If necessary, it should also cover arrangements for travel, housing, and meals. I will also need a contact person for any questions I may have.
To arrange for me to visit your school, library, or conference, please read the information below, and then contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact my booking agent Kerri K. McPhail at email@example.com, or fill out the request form at the web site, Children's Authors' Ally.
A one-day visit includes up to three 45-55 minute presentations and a book signing.
What people say
Programs: I have several programs tailored for different development and curriculum levels. Presentations are altered to be age-specific for various grade levels. Though the school can decide how best to break down the groups, I prefer grades K-2, grades 3-4, and grades 5-6 and older. There is no limit to the number of students in a session. I am happy to visit individual classes or select groups of students, if this is preferred to larger gatherings.
I can also conduct student writing workshops and parent/child writing workshops. Programs can be Chinese bilingual.
For grades K-2, I give a PowerPoint presentation on growing up in China, with emphasis on China's rich culture, its wonderful food, and what inspired me to write my books
I show a short video from the Discovery TV show Home Matters. It features my book The Run-Away Rice Cake and details making a rice cake, celebrating the Chinese New Year, while introducing the Chinese values of sharing and compassion.
I perform hands on activities for students: learning how to make dumplings or use chopsticks.
For older grades, I discuss the process of developing ideas, researching, writing, and editing a book. I also talk about the process of coauthoring Secrets of the Terra-Cotta Soldier with my son and the challenges and rewards of rewrites. I share with students historical background of Emperor Qin's tomb, why and how he built the terra-cotta army, and the stories of the secret traps and tomb robbers we learned while researching the book.
I talk about how I wrote my award-winning novels, Revolution is Not a Dinner Party, and A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts, inspired by my experiences while growing up in China. I will show slides of the people and the locations that inspired my stories.
I share with the students my journey as a writer and the challenges of writing in my second language, and emphasize the importance of reading.
With evening programs, I can talk about all of the above as well as about healthy Asian eating and lifestyle to students, parents and teachers.
I provide a brief question-and-answer period with the audience for all my programs.
For school fundraising events, I can conduct classes on healthy cooking for parents, or parents with their students. The classes are popular auction items. The ideal class size is 12 people. Here is a slideshow for fundraising event for the Lafayette Public Library, and photos from a cooking class held aboard the Holland America ship MS Zuiderdam during a Mediterranean cruise. Here is a video of Ying making dumplings.
Scheduling: I am flexible with daily scheduling, though prefer a later starting time for my first session. (I am just not a morning person!)
Breaks: Please schedule at least 10-15 minutes of prep time between sessions, and enough time for lunch. I am delighted to participate in dinners or other events, though some evenings should be free to allow for quiet time and resting.
What Can You Do To Make This A Great, Rewarding Visit?
I look forward to visiting your school. As educators you are well aware of the importance of preparation. It is essential that the students in your school are prepared for my visit.
Fan mail after the visit
Read my books to the students before my visit. Click here for ideas for classroom activities.
For younger grades I will demonstrate how to make dumplings, show a video of making a rice cake, and talk about Stone Soup, so it's important for them to read my picture books. Older grades should read my novels Banquet and Revolution, as I will give a slideshow about the people and locations that inspired me to write those books.
Cook one or more recipes from one of my books with the students, such as making dumplings, stone soup or rice cake.
Discuss Chinese culture with the students along with the virtues of sharing and compassion.
Ask PTA mothers if they would be willing to make rice cake or dumplings following the recipes featured at the back of the books, to let the students have a taste of these special Chinese dishes.
For older students, read and cook the recipes from Banquet for Hungry Ghosts. Click here for the discussion guide for Revolution is not a Dinner Party.
For A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts, after reading the book, students can cook the recipes and bring them in to share in a classroom banquet
Equipment I Need:
I will bring a USB flash drive or a CD with my PowerPoint presentation and short video segments from my TV shows. My presentation is in PowerPoint 2003 or 2007 format, for Windows. I will need a computer connected to a VGA-compatible projector, with speakers for the video and audio. Please have a technician available to help me to set up prior the presentations.
You can choose one or both activities; making dumplings or the chopsticks contest. For both activities, teachers will select one volunteer student from each class during my presentation, so I won't need chopsticks or other materials for all of the students. For sanitary reasons, instead of using meat filling for the dumplings, I use pre-made cookie dough, cooked sushi rice, or thick instant oatmeal for the demonstration. A burner is not needed for the dumplings; the food will not be eaten.
In the past, some teachers have held their own dumpling-making or chopstick contests in the classrooms before or after my visit, so every student can have a chance to participate.
If we are going to make dumplings, I will need the following:
- Two cups cookie dough, cooked rice or thick oatmeal (enough for 30 dumplings)
- A packet of square wonton wrappers
- Three tablespoons
- A bowl of cold water
- 30 thin-slices of a carrot to make discs for the dumplings, or: 2 large carrots, and a small knife
- one large plate to hold the dumplings.
If we are going to practice with chopsticks, I will need:
- 6 pair of chopsticks,
- one large bowl full of large marshmallows, about 2 bags
Setting a Date
I can work with you on the date that is best suited to you. Please go to my Events Page and pick a few candidate days that haven't been booked yet. I will get back to you on the date that works best for me.
For Local Visits
If I can get near you by BART, I would be happy to use it and meet someone at the station. Otherwise I will need your assistance for transportation, since I don't drive long distances.
My standard fee covers up to three sessions and a book signing.
Within the SF Bay Area: $1,500
Outside of the SF Bay Area (US):
In the past, when a school decided to invite me, they sent an announcement to other schools in their area. When a few schools have joined together, they then assign one person from each school to coordinate my travel and other details. If necessary, days can be split between nearby schools.
Single school: $2,300
2 schools: $2,000 each
3+ schools: $1,900 each
Consecutive days are preferred for multiple school visits.
If a librarian organizes three or more of visits for me, I will offer an additional discount to his/her school.
International Visits: Ying frequently visits international schools. It is always more affordable for multiple schools to share the cost of international travel; you may like to reach out to other schools and librarians in your area to gauge interest. Contact Ying for a quote.
Evening programs: $450 for school or library. $400 if I am visiting the school during the day.
Cooking events for Fundraisers (Within the SF Bay Area) : $2,000 per event, plus meals. Or $2,000 per event, if booked as part of a paid school or conference visit. The fee covers: Help selecting recipes, consulting on ingredient shopping, preparation for the event, hosting the event, and a book signing.
Outside the SF Bay Area please inquire.
Skype Sessions: $300 for one session, for 45-55 minutes.
Payment Due Date: Payment in check or cash in USD on the day of the event is preferred. If this not possible, please notify me ahead of time so a payment schedule can be worked out.
Parents are welcome to sit in on sessions.
Photographs are permitted, but not video or audio recording.
Lunch/Dinner: Since I write cookbooks and lecture on healthy eating and living, I tend to be a careful eater. I don't eat white carbs, red meat or poultry. I do eat soy, seafood, eggs, cheese, nuts, vegetables and fruit. I prefer healthy organic foods when possible. I don't drink any soft drinks, only bottled or filtered water.
Arrive and Departure Time: I like to arrive on the day prior to the appearance and leave after the last session of my last day of the visit. Please be sure to keep in mind the timing of the appearance(s) in light of later afternoon or early evening departure times. I don't drive when traveling, but am happy to take a taxi to or from the airport. Transportation will be needed to/from hotel/school.
Airport Pick up: It is best to have someone meet me at the airport, though if needed I can take a taxi myself!
Accommodations: A quiet non-smoking hotel room is appreciated.
To arrange for me to visit your school, bookstore, library, or conference, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact my booking agent Kerri K. McPhail at email@example.com, or fill out the request form at the website, Children's Authors' Ally.
Ying Chang Compestine