"[Laura Woollett] had great content to share and was able to relate to middle school students. [She] modeled how an actual author goes through the research process and the revision process, which is a valuable lesson for students. The visual presentation along with numerous books and some 'insider' information that she shared with the students made the presentation engaging." - Deborah Szabo, teacher at the Irving A. Robbins Middle School, Farmington, CT
Laura is an energetic presenter with a passion for writing and for ferreting out the forgotten stories of history. A standard school
visit can be done with an auditorium of kids, with a class, or with
a small group. Presentations are approx. 60 minutes with time for
Q&A. (Laura can tweak timing depending on schools' needs.) Due to the difficult subject matter of Big Top Burning, school
visits are most appropriate for students in grades 5 and up.
Laura is happy to sign books for any students who have
purchased them before the presentation. Parents are often
motivated to purchase the book if advanced orders are organized
through a local bookseller. Laura cannot personally bring books
or arrange to sell them at the event.
Irving A. Robbins Middle School, Farmington, CT
Wellesley Middle School, Wellesley, MA
New Milford High School, New Milford, CT
Bacon Free Library, Natick, MA
Mark Twain House and Museum, Hartford, CT
Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford, CT
Daughters of the American Revolution - Orford Parish-Pitkin Chapter, CT
Telling True Stories
Through a slide show of her own journey of writing Big Top Burning, Laura will explain how published authors conduct research to make true/nonfiction stories come alive. She will share research tips that students can use when they write their own papers and presentations for school as well as techniques for choosing a topic and stylistic ways to make their informational writing interesting. If time and setting permit, students will participate in a group activity of selecting and narrowing one or more true stories they want to learn more about.
Skills: research, choosing and narrowing a topic for writing, author’s craft
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W5.5; W.6.5; W.7.5; W.8.5; W.9-10.8
Exploring the Hartford Circus Fire
Appropriate for those interested in the history of the Hartford circus fire, Laura will use a slide show of primary source photographs to describe the events of the 1944 disaster and conduct an interactive discussion of its ongoing mysteries: Was the fire an act of arson? Who is the unidentified victim, a child nicknamed Little Miss 1565? This presentation is based on research conducted for her book, Big Top Burning, can be modified for students in grades 5 and up or for adults.
Skills: research, analyzing primary sources, making inferences/drawing conclusions
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.5.1; SL.6.1; SL.7.1; SL.8.1; SL.9-10.1
School Visit Fees
Boston/Metrowest, MA area: $300 per 45-50-minute presentation
Hartford, CT area: $300 per 45-50 minute presentation plus mileage reimbursement at $.50/mile
Other areas: Please contact Laura to discuss.
Laura will do up to four presentations in one day at the same school or at a second school in the same district.
Discounts for multiple presentations are available:
2 presentations = $500
3 presentations = $800
4 presentations = $1100
I'm happy to do one 15-20 minute Meet the Author Skype for free. In this presentation, I'll briefly describe how I got interested in the Hartford circus fire, the subject of Big Top Burning, and answer three questions from students. I ask that your students have read Big Top Burning in advance. Please have questions prepared ahead of time to make the Skype run more smoothly.
The cost of a full 45-50 minute Skype presentation, a variation on the in-school visits described above, is $150 and includes up to 100 postcard/bookmarks.
Laura has shared the story of the Hartford circus fire with audiences at the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Connecticut, for a chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and at various bookstores and libraries. If you would like to hire Laura as a guest speaker for your organization or event, please contact her directly to discuss the details, including compensation and book sales.