The presentations listed below are the common ones that I give, but I can develop a presentation specifically designed to meet your goals. Keep in mind that I can give four different presentations during a one-day visit.
Whether speaking to one class or the entire grade level, I am adept at keeping the attention of my audience. I encourage faculty and students to become involved in planning the visit. I prefer an hour for each presentation so that I will have time to answer student questions at the end.
Presentations About Research and Writing
Becoming a Writer
Introduces students to the major influences in my journey to become a writer, starting with my childhood and continuing through my school years. I talk about the time I got my first idea to write a story and how I pursued that hobby without realizing that it could become a career. I show how I get ideas for my books today and the steps I take to research and write them. This is a very personal and inspirational account of what it's like to become a writer and is intended to motivate students to continue their own writing journey.
The Fun of Researching and Writing
Describes the sometimes strange but always exciting experiences that I have had as I researched my books, starting with my first nonfiction book and ending with whatever book I am currently working on. Throughout the talk, students come to understand what is involved in the research process and why it can be so rewarding.
I also offer writing workshops for students in grades 412. I can teach how to write a short memoir, how to start a story, how to use dialog, and how to end a story to small groups of students. Depending on the schedule, I can meet students for one day (with some preliminary email contact) or multiple days to ensure on a memorable educational experience for students.
Explaining how to research bogs and bog bodies, at the International School of Paris
Presentations about Individual Books
Facial Reconstruction/Research/Historical Presentation based on Faces from the Past: Forgotten People of North America More info
Melting Glaciers as well as Ötzi the Iceman based on Bodies from the Ice More info
Pompeii and Herculaneum and the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius based on Bodies from the Ash More info
Bogs and Bog People based on Bodies from the Bog More info
Egyptian Mummification based on How to Make a Mummy Talk
My most popular presentation, I take the audience on a 3000-year tour of Egyptian mummification, showing how mummies (and their coffins and their canopic jars and various other items, many unusual) changed over that period of time. I show approximately 80 rare images in my PowerPoint from museums around the world that illustrate this dramatic evolution.
Introducing students to photo research techniques at the Berlin-Brandenburg International School, Kleinmachnow, Germany
Presentations about the Holocaust
Auschwitz based on Auschwitz: Voices from the Death Camp More info
Kristallnacht based on Kristallnacht: The Nazi Terror That Began the Holocaust More info
Breendonk based on The Prisoners of Breendonk: Personal Histories from a World War II Concentration Camp More info
As I researched his books about the Holocaust, I had the opportunity to visit most of the major concentration camps multiple times. In this presentation, I discuss at least four major camps: Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen, Dachau, and Mauthausen. I explain why and how the concentration camp system was established by Adolph Hitler. Then I describe what individual camps were like, using the above four camps as examples. Throughout I complement my presentation with evocative images in my PowerPoint presentation.
Speaking about Kristallnacht to high school students at the International School of Berne, Switzerland
Presentations for Younger Children
Sometimes I am asked to speak to younger students. As the father of four, I am comfortable speaking to any age group. When I speak to children in grades K-3, I share what it is like to have an exciting job as a writer and then prepare them for some stories by using a few PowerPoint slides to teach some vocabulary. Then I read a story or two that come from my book, How to Hunt Buried Treasure.
Talking to kindergarten students about a ghost town treasure at the Copenhagen International School, Denmark