Overview

I have delivered talks at schools, community education programs, mental health centers, and libraries on a variety of topics. I've also appeared at bookstores and storytime events, presenting Charlotte and the Quiet Place. Please contact me if you would like to book a speaking engagement or school visit. For further details and rates, click here. The following programs are available, or we can create one together, depending on your needs:  

Programs for Children

Finding Your Quiet Place Inside

This presentation includes a reading of Charlotte and the Quiet Place; content is adapted according to grade level and group size. Grades  Pre-K–1 (30 to 45 mins.), Grades 2–3 (60 mins.), Grades 4–5 (60 mins.). Middle school and high school presentations available (60 mins.) or contact me to discuss extended writing workshops. Mindfulness exercises include easy, fun ways for children to become aware of breath, sound, movement. For more info, click here.

The Making of a Picture Book: From Concept to Completion

In this presentation, I discuss the writing, revising, and  publishing process. In-depth craft talk (for Grades 2 and up, 60 mins.) includes PowerPoint presentation showing the evolution of the book from first ideas to rough drafts to final manuscript; and from first sketches to storyboards to galleys to final product. For older children, we discuss craft elements such as story arc, patterns, rhythm, rhyme, alliteration. For more info, click here.

Programs for Adults

Finding a Quiet Place Inside: Mindfulness for Children

This presentation includes a reading of Charlotte and the Quiet Place; overview of the research and discussion of the benefits of mindfulness for children; and demonstration of kid-friendly mindfulness exercises, including awareness of body, breath, sound, movement. (60 to 90 mins.)

The Making of a Picture Book: From Concept to Completion

Have you always wondered what’s involved in publishing a picture book? In this workshop, we will review the step-by-step process that led to the publication of Charlotte and the Quiet Place. Using a fun PowerPoint slideshow, I present the text from earliest scribbled notes to finished product, including side-by-side comparisons of the manuscript at different stages. Then we’ll look at the evolution of Sara Woolley’s illustrations, from initial sketches to final product, and discuss how the illustrations influenced the editorial process. We’ll also discuss how to submit to agents and editors and what to expect once you’ve signed a contract. (90 mins.)

Going with the Flow: Mindfulness and the Creative Process

If you were to peer inside the mind of a writer or artist, you might see a  swirl of words and ideas, sounds and images, as well as doubts, fears,  and judgments. Sometimes that mental activity drives our creativity. Sometimes it interferes with or even cripples the process. Mindfulness—slowing down, paying attention, and tuning in to the present moment with acceptance and compassion—can help us bypass internal obstacles to creativity. The technique of freewriting in particular can bring fresh energy and insight to our work. Writing without stopping,  editing, or censoring lowers the volume on the inner critic and opens up new creative avenues for artists, teachers, therapists, businesspeople, and thought leaders. In this talk, which includes a PowerPoint presentation, we look at mindfulness and creativity in general, then focus on freewriting as a powerful mindfulness practice, even for nonwriters. Participants will have the opportunity to do one or two writing exercises to tap in to their own creative well. (90 mins.)

Mindfulness for Writers: Lower Your Stress, Boost Your Creativity

Do you have a hard time quieting your mind? Tuning out distractions? Thinking clearly and creatively? Mindfulness can help. Studies show that mindfulness—noticing what's happening in the present moment without judgment—leads to greater calm, clarity, and resilience, all powerful building blocks for creative work. In this workshop, I review the fundamentals of mindfulness, share the latest research, then offer a series of writings and mindfulness activities designed to open up those creative channels. You'll leave with practical skills and useful strategies for incorporating mindfulness into your writing life. (Choose from 90 mins. or 3 hrs.)

Past Appearances

Schools & Libraries

Salisbury Central Elementary School (Salisbury, Conn.)
Indian Mountain School (Lakeville, Conn.)
Park School (Brookline, Mass.)
Thompson Elementary School (Arlington, Mass.)
Cottage Montessori School (Arlington, Mass.)
Citizens of the World Charter School (Mar Vista, Calif.)
Newton Montessori School (Newton, Mass.)
Peirce Elementary School (Newton, Mass.)
Hardy Elementary School (Wellesley, Mass.)
Cornerstone Academy (Northborough, Mass.)
Wellesley in the Hills Nursery School (Wellesley, Mass.)

Watertown Public Library (Watertown, Mass.)
Lucius Beebe Memorial Library (Wakefield, Mass.) 

Community Programs

"Mindfulness for Writers: Lower Stress & Boost Creativity," The Writers' Loft, Craft Talk, November 2016

"Finding a Quiet Place Inside: Mindfulness for Children," Yoga Day 2016, Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles, Calif.)

"Finding Your Quiet Place: Mindfulness Skills for Kids and Families," Newton Community Education, with Carla Naumburg, PhD (Newton, Mass.)

"The Making of a Picture Book: From Concept to Completion," Osterville Village Library (Osterville, Mass.) and Park School Picture-Book Writing Camp (Brookline, Mass.)

"Going with the Flow: Mindfulness and the Creative Process," Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy's Buddhist Psychology Lecture Series (Arlington, Mass.); and Cambridge Health Alliance (Somerville, Mass.)

"From Cushion to Page," Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy panel discussion (Cambridge, Mass.) 

Bookstores

Barnes & Noble Bookstores (Boston & Burlington, Mass.)
An Unlikely Story (Plainville, Mass.)
Newtonville Books (Newton, Mass.)
Wellesley Booksmith (Wellesley, Mass.)
Oblong Books (Millerton, NY)
La Casa Azul Bookstore (New York, NY)
New England Mobile Book Fair (Newton, Mass.)
Harvard Coop (Cambridge, Mass.)