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Programs for Schools

Availability: Schools, conferences, libraries, workshops 

Age Groups Preferred: Any 

Number of Groups Per Day: Maximum of 4 

Size of Groups Preferred: Any, as long as questions/comments from the audience can be heard 

Speaking Fees: Fees negotiable

Other Expenses: Travel expenses if outside King County, Washington 

Program Description: During the past 16 years, I have conducted presentations around the country. For presentations based on my books, Baseball Saved Us and Heroes, I concentrate on making stereotypes, prejudice and racism understandable for students. I begin each program with an age-appropriate discussion of stereotypes. For earlier grades, I frame the subject in terms of "assuming without knowing" and name-calling. I use examples of how I have been affected by stereotypes in my own life (Grades K-3, or all grades). 

For presentations based around Passage to Freedom: the Sugihara Story, I conduct an age-appropriate discussion of the Holocaust, focusing on the issues of the moral dilemma and conscientious choice. I also read Be Water My Friend: the Early Years of Bruce Lee, a picture book biography that address fighting and bullying (Grades 4 and above). 

I accompany all readings of my books with the books' illustrations on slides. 

I also conduct a lecture on the history of Asian Pacific Americans in the U.S. military; and presentations about my Young Adult novel, Beacon Hill Boys (both for middle school and above). All presentations last 45 minutes to an hour. 

For Schools That Request Writing Workshops (Grade 3 and above, 45 min. - 1 hour): 

An interactive discussion and demonstration of the basic mechanics of writing: 

  • "Show, Don't Tell" - what does it really mean and how is it applied in writing? 

  • "The Action is in the Verbs, Literally" - emphasis on verbs as the most important words in a writer's vocabulary. 

  • "The 'Like' and 'As' of the Simile and the Use of the Metaphor" - what they are, and examples of some great ones and some bad ones. 

  • "The Ps & Qs of the Plot" - all fiction boils down to a Person in a Place with a Problem who develops a Plan and then embarks on a Quest. 

  • "The Theme is in There Somewhere" - the "why" of what a writer writes. 

  • "Characters Developed and Revealed" - what characters say and do says a lot about them. 

I then read (with the book's illustrations on slides), break down and review for the students the text of my picture book "Heroes," pointing out how all of the above methods were employed during the course of writing the story.