Assemblies

Creating Books

How does an idea become a book? I lead the students through the process of creating a book, using my original artwork from Ebbie & Flo to illustrate each step along the way. During this engaging and informative presentation, I show the evolution of my illustrations from sketches and storyboards to pastel drawings and finally the printer’s full-color press sheets. We also explore the writing process, with an emphasis on the importance of character development, plot, editing and rewriting.

Running time: 30-40 minutes
Grades K-2 (250 audience limit, though the smaller the better)
Up to 4 presentations per day


A Dog’s Tale
(It is important that the students have read A Small Dog’s Big Life; Around the World with Owney before my visit).


This assembly is based on my book, A Small Dog’s Big Life; Around the World with Owney. I start with a PowerPoint presentation about writing, focusing primarily on the mysterious origins of ideas. This presentation is similar to Creating Books in that we discuss how a book is made: writing, editing, sketching, editing, dummies, editing, storyboards, editing, final artwork, and editing (can't emphasize editing enough). The different challenges of working with a fiction and a non-fiction subject are considered, regarding both writing and illustrating.

Running time: approximately 40 minutes
Grades: K-5 (250 audience limit, though the smaller the better)
Up to 4 presentations per day

It’s a Butterfly’s Life
(It is important that the students have read It’s a Butterfly’s Life before my visit).

This assembly is based on my book, It’s a Butterfly’s Life. I start with a PowerPoint presentation about writing, focusing primarily on the mysterious origins of ideas. This presentation is similar to Creating Books in that we discuss how a book is made: writing, editing, sketching, editing, dummies, editing, storyboards, editing, final artwork, and editing (can't emphasize that enough). The different challenges of working with a fiction and a non-fiction subject are considered, regarding both writing and illustrating.

Running time: approximately 40 minutes
Grades: K-5 (250 audience limit, though the smaller the better)
Up to 4 presentations per day


Writing Workshops

A Dog’s Tale Writing Workshop

This writing workshop takes students on a ‘round the world’ writing adventure in which they look at Owney’s life from his point of view. Students examine character, ‘voice,’ and other driving forces involved in the composition of a story. These sessions are collaborative, creative, and lots of fun. By the end of the workshop, each student will have written and illustrated their story in an accordion book shaped like a doghouse. 
Grades 2 – 5.

Dear Diary Writing Workshop

In these workshops, we consider the importance of ‘voice’ in writing, with an emphasis on non-fiction. The students create a diary from the point-of-view of a caterpillar, using the ‘voice’ of a caterpillar. Working as a group, we discuss metamorphosis and with my guidance, the students make their own books based on this process. The students leave the workshop with their very own accordion book, as well as a renewed appreciation of how much fun science, research, reading and writing can be. 
Grades 1 – 5.

I can conduct a maximum of 4 presentations/workshops per day, and each session is between 35 and 40 minutes. Many schools mix the presentations to create a customized day for their particular school. Please email me for my fees.


Praise for Author Visits

“Irene Kelly was wonderful! She really connected with the children and gave them realistic and practical writing suggestions. We are very fortunate to have such unique and special opportunities.”

Brenda Morrow
5th grade teacher
James StoyElementary School
Haddon Township, NJ

“Irene Kelly’s author visit was fabulous! The writing workshops she did with our third grade classes fit perfectly into our writing program. Outstanding program!”

Mrs Kolb
3rd grade teacher
Mansfield Elementary School
Port Murray, NJ

"Irene Kelly's visit to our school was a tremendous success. All of our
students were thoroughly engaged throughout the assemblies, and our first-through fifth-graders were thrilled with the book creation workshops. In
addition to being a talented author and illustrator, Irene is a wonderful
teacher. She instructed, coached and mentored our students throughout their
projects. When their books were completed, the children themselves were astonished by the results (and proud of their achievement). How wonderful to see our kids learning when they think all they're doing is having fun!"

Lisa Donaldson
Co-chair, Assembly Committee
Hopewell Elementary School, Hopewell, NJ

The writing workshops were an extremely useful exercise for the children. They were able to create their own story with your guidance…and the best part was they had fun without realizing they were actually learning.. I received much positive feedback from the teachers. They were thrilled to see their students caught up in a creative writing assignment. One teacher said she has many ideas on how to incorporate this into her own lessons!

Renee Soracco, Co-President, Parents Association
Washington School, Bergenfield, NJ

We had Irene back for the second year in a row and our 3rd grade students loved the Owney Assembly and the writing workshop that followed. The kids were really engaged and enjoyed writing and illustrating their own story in a book dummy shaped like a doghouse. The third grade teachers really enjoyed how Irene was able to get the kids to write from a different perspective – in this case being the dog telling the story! We will definitely have her back again!

Patti Blosfelds, PTA Assembly Chairperson
Delran Elementary School