International Bestselling Children’s Author and Illustrator Harriet Muncaster Would Love to Visit Your School!
Harriet Muncaster is the author and illustrator of the international bestselling Young Reader series, Isadora Moon. She has also written and illustrated four picture books for younger children. She has delivered engaging assemblies and workshops at schools across England (and even a few in Dubai!), and would love to visit your school next!
Three great reasons to book an author/illustrator for your school
- Boost children’s writing confidence – authors are real people who live and work today, not just names on a cover. They started out learning to write at primary school, just like your pupils!
- Make reading exciting – stories are more than printed words: they are portals into other worlds that don’t just begin and end between the covers. Author visits bring the world of the book to life.
- Show the importance of drafting and resilience – no pictures or stories come out fully formed first time. Drafting and redrafting in response to editor’s comments is all part of the process. Becoming a multiple-published author and illustrator takes patience and hard work to make everything you produce the best it can be.
Free resources for Schools
Harriet has created a number of free downloadable teaching and learning resources for schools. You can find these on her resources page by clicking the heading ‘Resources for in the Classroom‘. Each resource comes with suggestions for how it can be used in the classroom, and more resources will be added over time.
What would a typical visit look like?
- Morning assembly – Harriet gives a brief talk introducing herself and her work.
- Rest of the morning – two or three 45-60 minute workshop sessions with individual classes.
- After lunch – two more workshop sessions with individual classes
- Last half-hour – sign books, answer questions from small groups or individual children
- After school – Harriet would be happy to stay an extra half-hour or so to talk with parents and children
A half-day could include two or three workshop sessions, an assembly talk and a book signing session at lunch-time or at the end of the day.
A single session could be a longer assembly talk, or a single workshop session.
What will work best for your school depends on what you would most like to get from the author visit, how much preparation you would like to do with classes in advance, and how many children you would like Harriet to work with.
Harriet is happy to adjust her author visit to the needs of your school, for example spending less time doing class workshops in order to deliver a longer talk in assembly. It is possible for Harriet to visit as many as seven classes in one day, although this limits her time with each group and can be less effective.
If you let us know what your ideal author visit would look like, we can work to make it happen.
Does Harriet charge a fee for author visits?
Yes. For details of fees, please contact Harriet’s events coordinator using the contact form.
Just like any other job, authors have to pay bills too! Visiting schools is a service Harriet offers, and each school visit requires several hours of preparation beforehand and travel to and from the school, as well as the time on the day. Not only is the school paying for the author’s time, but also their experience and expertise as professional writers.
Will Harriet be selling her books at the school?
Yes! Without book sales, authors are unable to continue publishing quality books. Creating stories for children to enjoy is Harriet’s livelihood, so supporting this is greatly appreciated.
For the purpose of an author visit though, it is also important to offer the books for children to take away. How much more inspired would a child be to sit down and finish a book that has a personal dedication to them in it? What might they go on to read?
As author and library media specialist Toni Buzzeo said in an interview for Education World: “When a kid has met an author of a book, he owns that book more than anything else he’s ever read. It streamlines the approach to encouraging kids to read. You don’t even have to encourage them.”
How do we order books for the day?
What can be more special than having your own copy of a book signed to you by the author? Giving children the chance to purchase their own copy of the book at the end of the day helps to cement that engagement with reading and enjoying a story. But this can only happen with some prior organisation.
There are two ways to make sure copies of the books are available for your author visit:
- Order directly from the publisher at a 30% discount, then return any unsold stock for a refund.
- Contact a local independent bookshop, or Waterstones, to supply books for the day.
Back to the fees – don’t some authors do school visits for free?
Occasionally, authors will visit schools as part of a book tour without charging a fee to the school. Book tour visits are organised by publishers in conjunction with booksellers such as Waterstones or Scholastic. For these book tours, the publishers meet all expenses with the costs being covered by large volume book sales.
These are organised at the publisher’s discretion and will be at larger schools with existing links to booksellers or the publisher. If you represent such a school, Harriet is happy to explore this option.
How about a virtual visit?
An alternative to a full school visit would be a virtual visit to the classroom via Skype. This would involve a 30-45 minute video call to your classroom’s interactive whiteboard where Harriet can share her writing tips and answer your pupils’ questions. This can be a great option for schools where distance or budget make a full visit impractical.
We would discuss beforehand what your school would like to get out of this virtual visit, and would do a test call on the morning to check all the technology is working correctly. We could potentially even arrange more than one virtual visit in a day for multiple classes. As part of the virtual visit, children would be able to order Isadora Moon books signed by Harriet with their name. There would be a minimum order of 10 books at £5.99 each plus £10 shipping required. Additional signed books would be available for £5.99 each and no additional shipping.
Testimonials - What have other schools said about Harriet's visits?
“As my current class and my previous class are huge fans of Isadoda Moon, it was only right to invite Harriet Muncaster to our fabulous school. The day was exciting from start to finish. We had a whole school fancy dress up day, which Harriet loved. Harriet had created resources and PowerPoints that were appropriately differentiated for every Key Stage. She turned the teachers and some children into vampires, fairies, or even vampire fairies, which we all loved. The children loved seeing Harriet’s handmade scenes and learning about how to become an author! We learnt how to draw Isadora Moon, which EVERYONE loved. During lunch time, some children really wanted to learn more about how to draw their favourite characters from the book and Harriet was more than happy to give them that extra time. Thank you so much for the amazing experience Harriet and the team. We all loved it. “
– Miss Jarman, Year 3 Teacher at Elizabeth Woodeville School, Leicestershire
“I was lucky enough to be able to arrange a book tour for Harriet – three schools in one day! Harriet was professional and organised, and very easy to work with. More importantly, she engaged the children at each school, dazzling them with her models of her books, and her expert illustrations. The children were delighted to see their imaginative ‘hybrid’ characters come to life, and adored seeing Isadora Moon dressed in their own school uniform! I’m sure she’ll have inspired a whole new generation of authors and illustrators.”
– Clare Zinkin, Literacy Consultant, Volunteer School Librarian and Blogger at www.MinervaReads.com
The children were gripped throughout the workshop presented by Harriet. She was inspiring and captured everyone’s hearts and minds about the joys of writing stories and illustrating.
– Ms. King, Year 6 teacher at Ickleford Primary School, Hertfordshire
Harriet Muncaster’s sessions really engaged the children with an exciting mix of fantasy and tips on being a writer. Children enjoyed seeing the characters come to life and having a go at drawing their own. A good mix of practical activities, reading aloud (with audience interaction!) and advice on writing stories.
– Mrs. Gould, Librarian at Broke Hall Community Primary School, Ipswich
Will Harriet want to take photos?
It’s always helpful to know in advance which children have photography consent from parents. A few snaps from the day are not only a lovely memento: they can also be used to promote your school on your own social media or school blog.
Can we invite the local press?
Please do! It’s great for raising your school’s profile and can add even more excitement to the day for the children.
Where will Harriet travel to?
Harriet is happy to travel to any school within a 2-hour drive of Luton. She is also happy to travel to any schools further away, but may require the cost of overnight accommodation covering. Contact Harriet’s events coordinator for a quote.
Will Harriet visit multiple schools in one day?
Harriet once visited three schools in a single day! She is happy to visit more than one school in the same area, and will charge less to each school than a single school booking her for the equivalent amount of time.
What year groups can Harriet work with?
Harriet is comfortable delivering to children of any age from primary through to secondary. She has previous experience of delivering to every primary age group, and delivering talks to years 8 and 9. Sessions for younger children will focus more on the joy of reading and the fun of creating stories. Sessions for older children will highlight Harriet’s passion and processes for creating finished works of fiction, as well as the career of being an author/illustrator.
Which children will Harriet’s Isadora Moon series appeal to?
Isadora Moon is a little girl whose dad is a vampire and whose mum is a fairy, making her a vampire fairy. The six books in the series so far describe her adventures as she decides which school to go to, goes on holiday and school trips, has a birthday party, and gets into trouble by following her older cousin. The books are highly illustrated ‘young reader’ titles of around 6,000 words aimed at children aged 4-9. You can read more about them on Harriet’s books page.
Why could the Isadora Moon series be suitable for our school?
As ‘Young Reader’ titles, the books bridge the gap between simple ‘first reader’ books and wordier children’s books such as those by Roald Dahl or Enid Blyton. This can be appealing to less confident readers who may otherwise struggle to make that transition. The frequent illustrations break up larger blocks of text, and offer contextual clues to help with difficult words or sentences.
The themes and messages within the stories also offer potential points for class discussion. For example:
- In Isadora Moon Goes to School, Isadora struggles with her mixed vampire/fairy heritage and the expectations of her parents when deciding which school to go to. After trying out both types of magical schools, she decides to follow what is right for her and go to human school, where everyone is different and everyone is accepted.
- When Isadora Moon Gets in Trouble it is because she listens to the advice of her older cousin, against her better judgement. She ends up getting sent home from school and lying to her parents, before ultimately learning an important lesson about giving in to peer pressure.
- A primary theme of Isadora Moon Goes on a School Trip is judging someone before you get to know them. In this case, Isadora’s classmates are all afraid of Oscar the ghost until he dons a disguise and they have a chance to find out what he’s really like.
Will boys be interested?
It can sometimes be difficult getting most boys interested in pink books involving fairies. However, Isadora is only half-fairy and only half-pink. Boys often respond to the vampire elements of the story, the bats, the dragon, and the wizard. Of course the activities and learning in Harriet’s sessions appeal equally to boys and girls.
Does Harriet hold a DBS Certificate and Professional Liability Insurance?
Harriet does not hold a DBS Certificate as
The Department of Education and Ofsted are clear in their guidance that a Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly CRB) check is only needed when there is ‘Teaching, training or instruction of children, carried out by the same person frequently (once a week or more often), or on 4 or more days in a 30 day period, or Overnight’. It is not required if an author is performing supervised visits on an infrequent basis. For ad-hoc visits the school should confirm that at no time will the author be left unaccompanied with children, and that DBS clearance is therefore not required.
Please note that a teacher or other suitable member of staff should be in the room with Harriet at all times. Not only is this essential for safeguarding, but there are multiple additional benefits to have the teacher in the room:
- The teacher knows the children and their individual needs best
- Teachers may like to jump in at certain points to highlight particular advice Harriet is giving, or suggest a link to a current topic.
- Seeing the teacher engaged and interested in the session sends a positive message to the children
- The teacher is an expert in the behaviour management policies for the class
In the very unlikely event that a pupil or staff member is injured, or school or personal property is damaged, in the course of Harriet’s sessions, Harriet is covered for up to £5,000,000 of professional liability.
Are there any resources we can use before or after the author school visit?
If you would like to plan a project leading up to the visit, let us know when you contact Harriet’s events coordinator and we can help with this. The more preparation your classes do in advance, the more valuable the author visit can be.
For example, the children could study an Isadora Moon title as a writing model, and then attempt to write their own story. This could be a ‘what do you think will happen next?’ or they could even create their own characters and stories. On the day of the author visit, they could then showcase their creations to Harriet. The children could ask questions about any challenges they faced in doing this, and ask Harriet for advice. Following their session with Harriet, they could work on redrafting and improving their writing. The results could then be sent on to Harriet via email.
For an example of how one class used Isadora Moon as a writing stimulus, see this blog post.
Please let us know if there are any resources you would love to have before the visit, and we can look into helping create these.
Any other reasons to book a school author visit?
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