A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of hosting Marcie Colleen here on the blog. (If you missed that post, go read it now!) We now have the double pleasure of welcoming her back to share more thoughts on how authors can get their books into schools (and share some information about a great Webinar Marcie will be doing on November 23!).
Without further ado, heeeeeeeeere’s Marcie!
Four Ways to Get Your Book into School Curriculum
In my last post for Nerdy Chicks Rule, we talked about book selection for the classroom and how teachers are no longer relegated to teach specific dusty texts. These days, under the Common Core, teachers are free to make their own decisions on classroom literature. This is good news for authors but, there is a lot of competition out there. So more than anything, authors need some snazzy ways to make their book stand out.
There are many benefits for teachers in using books from the “book closet.” These books are classics. They have been used for decades in the classroom. There is no need to re-invent the wheel.
Take for example SUPERFUDGE by Judy Blume. Pop “Superfudge by Judy Blume lessons” into Google and you get 1,790 hits. Find one you like, hit print and BOOM! There’s your plan for the next few weeks.
So how does your book battle SUPERFUDGE and win?
It can happen.
- Familiarize yourself with the language of the Common Core State Standards. You might not like it or politically agree with it, but it’s the educational language of today. You wouldn’t go to a foreign country without figuring out how to speak the basics like “where’s the bathroom?” or “is there a doctor in the house?” Right? Well, it’s the same with getting into the schools. No one expects you to study and memorize the Common Core State Standards, but you should be familiar with them. Know what they ask. Know what they expect out of students. Read more than the angry headlines you see on Facebook and Twitter. Only then can you address how your book can fit into the school curriculum. The Common Core State Standards can be found at (corestandards.org).
- Know your themes and universal truths. Sure, SUPERFUDGE might be about Peter’s annoying little brother Fudge and another baby on the way. But look deeper and it’s about “change”. Peter’s life is about to change in so many ways. And although students might not be moving or gaining a sibling, everyone can relate to change. So what is the universal truth or theme of your book? What is at the heart? How can your book speak to every child? Once you put your finger on what your book is truly about, it will be easier to position it within a school curriculum.
- Create Discussion Questions and Teacher’s Guides. Remember those 1,790 lesson hits in Google for SUPERFUDGE? It’s easy and quick for teachers to adapt the book into their own classroom. No one expects you to have 1,790 lessons and activities, but if you can provide something for teachers to utilize easily, you’re playing the game right. This actually happened to one of my clients. She had just launched her debut early middle grade novel and she hired me to create the Teacher’s Guide. When she went on her very first school visit she presented a copy of the Teacher’s Guide. The teachers were so impressed. And before she left a teacher said, “you know. Maybe we should teach your book instead of SUPERFUDGE next year.” MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
- Be available. The most successful authors when it comes to school visits are visible. They participate in initiatives like World Read Aloud Day in March and Picture Book Month in November. They offer Skype talks and assemblies and library visits. They Tweet to teachers. These authors succeed because they are approachable. Chances are a school is not going to be able to afford a school visit from Judy Blume. However, you can be available for less. You can be accessible. This automatically gives you a foot up.
So there you have it! You can do it! You can get your book noticed. You can be the talk of the school. You can be loved until your books’ covers are falling off. You can battle Judy Blume…and win!
I do hope you join me on November 23rd as we discuss further in depth the in’s and out’s of school curriculum (including the dreaded Common Core) and provide more details on how to make your book irresistible to teachers and students.
- To read and understand the Common Core
- The jargon of the educational world so you can talk more knowledgeably to teachers and librarians
- The nuts and bolts necessary to create great Discussion Guides, Teacher’s Guides, and hands on activities
Remember, Early Bird Pricing ends November 10th! Sign up now by clicking this link!
Author and Education Consultant Marcie Colleen is an expert on creating highly acclaimed Teacher’s Guides that align picture books and middle grade novels with the Common Core and other state mandated standards. She is the Education Consultant for Picture Book Month and the the Curriculum Developer for Time Traveler Tours & Tales. Her work with Picture Book Month has been recognized by School Library Journal and the Children’s Book Council.