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Thanks to all for your suggestions. There were requests to post a HIT. Just so you 
know, the author that I hosted talked about feminism to one of our 12th grade 
Feminist Theory class (42 minutes only). Here are our collegues' 

1. The author will appreciate it greatly if the students have read his/her book. 
This would be a great "gift" to the author. Lunch is a wonderful idea. Many authors 
also appreciate a school t-shirt or similar item.

2. Take her out to lunch and have a thank you gift.  

3.  Offer lunch or desert either with students (who had read at least one of their 
books) or teachers.  Make sure kids had questions--do not 'feed' them questions in 
advance but prep them by asking ahead of time that they come up with questions.  
After, thank you notes, thank you notes and photos for the author.

4.  Greet the author when she arrives and escort her to the classroom/library. Have 
the author eat lunch with a group of students. Discussion could continue to take 
place around the table.

5. In advance, ask her if she needs anything special:  microphone? laptop?  
projector? seats in a circle? stool to "perch" on? podium? You or a student should 
greet her at the front door.  Offer her a bottle of chilled water to have 
while she speaks. Take her to lunch before or after, or get a $20-$25 gift card 
from Barnes & Noble, Borders or similar, to say thanks.  Present it to her formally 
at the end of the class period, with the students:  "We want to say thank 
you so much for taking the time to come talk with us...." that sort of thing.  If 
your school has a school mascot cap or cup or t-shirt that isn't too expensive, you 
could give that in addition to the card.  If you have no budget, maybe a $10 gift 
card plus a signed card from all the students in the class.  At the very least, a 
card signed by all of the students. 

6. It is nice to give a welcome basket with booster items.  Lunch on you sounds 
great as well.  But I would definitely introduce her, and make sure the kids are 
familiar with her work.

7. Have a bottle of water ready. Offer a visit to the rest room before. Prep the 
kids by charting questions that they would ask her. Do some research on the 
internet. Definitely offer to take her to lunch.

8. We usually take our visiting illustrator/author out to lunch and give a tour of 
the school (if they have time).

9. When I introduce the author I talk a bit about the author & how she wrote 
several books. Then I said, "Let's give a nice round of applause for ... to make 
her feel welcome."  I did give her a five minute warning when the class was 
coming to an end.

10. Talk directly to the author to find out what she wants to do with the class 
(any equipment needs?) Have bottled water available. Prep the class; do a pre-visit 
lesson with talking points from the book; discuss the book; formulate 
questions.  Get one copy of each of her books and display them.

11. Know her book(s) and make sure your students are fully familiar with her work 
and background. If you can swing it time-wise do take the author out to lunch. If 
you have a school mug or something special in those terms it would be 
wonderful if you could have your students present her with a "school" gift as a 
thank you.

I would also add that it's a good idea to speak with your author's 
publicist/editor. I wasn't able to get a copy of one of her books to display to the 
class, but because we already had a phone/email relationship, I was able to get a 
copy of the book from her. Also, I spoke directly to the author to find out what 
she specifically wanted based on the the comments above. I met her at the door, 
escorted her to the classroom via the bathroom, gave her a bottle of water, and 
very briefly introduced her to the class. Also, it's important to make sure the 
teacher is on board. I think that made the visit even more successful because he 
also prepped the class. The author was engaging and the students responded with 
good questions and comments. I also gave her a little present (a school T-shirt and 
mug). I offered to take her out to lunch but we didn't have time.

Again, thanks for your suggestions.

Colette Lageoles
NYC Lab School
New York, NY

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