School Visits

Our teachers commented that ‘he was the best author we’ve ever had.’ Quite a compliment!
— Massachusetts PTO events organizer
Pitner Elementary, in Kennesaw, GA, created a parade of bats leading to the Media Center!

Pitner Elementary, in Kennesaw, GA, created a parade of bats leading to the Media Center!

I have seen many Author Days at school before and you were by far the best. You are funny, inspiring, artistic, and a creative illustrator and author. You have inspired me to chase my dreams and do work not for the money, you do it because you love it.”
— 5th Grader, New Jersey school, February 2019

I spend upwards of 60 days each year visiting schools around the country, and working with elementary school students in grades K-6.  

It's a great joy to be able to speak with young readers and writers, and to reinforce the messages ("add more details!") which their own teachers are sending in the classroom.

In fact, I'm an author/illustrator today because of an author visit to my elementary school when I was in 5th grade.  So I know firsthand some of the positive effects that can come from a lively and informative author visit.

 If you're interested in a high-energy, curriculum-enhancing program that's been called "the best author visit we've ever had" and fits hand-in-hand with growth mindset messaging, please contact me to talk about what I can do in your school!  

Brian's Acclaimed Programs:

•  The "Tried-and-True" Presentation (50-60 min., leveled to Grades K-6):  This is the presentation that has garnered rave reviews from schools around the country.  
A peek into how an author/illustrator creates a picture book, including sketchbook drawings, original artwork and a live drawing demonstration.  Discussion of where ideas come from, how to revise, and the fact that everyone has to rewrite to achieve their "best work."  I talk about the importance of adding unique details to make writing come alive, and demonstrate how details trigger lively images in the brain.  I end presentations with a drawing demonstration based on student suggestions.  Throughout, I reinforce how a growth mindset is essential in making your work better (50-60 minutes).

•  "The Worst Thing I Ever Ate" (writing workshop, grades 4-6):  This workshop focuses on collecting and using compelling and powerful sensory details to use in a short piece of descriptive non-fiction writing.  Avoid "weak" words like "fun," "amazing," "gross!"  Stories are shared with the group and critiqued.  The negative-sounding focus of the prompt encourages even the most reluctant young writers to dive in and see if they can't impress their peers with their writing (50-60 min.)

•  "Rubber Reality" (writing workshop, grades 4-6):  Students take a real-life experience and expand upon it, using exaggeration and carefully-placed additions, ultimately creating a tall tale.  How much of it was true?  How much made up?  Can your writing convince your peers that ALL of it actually happened?  Did the additions stretch the reality, or did they "snap" it?  This workshop takes place over two days, often spaced a week or two apart.  During the first session, we get students launched into the writing, and they will continue working on their Rubber Reality stories at some point during class time between the sessions.  The second session consists of a "critique group," during which stories are read aloud and the whole class discusses strengths, and things they wish they'd heard more about (requires two days of visits).

Click here to read schools’ comments on my presentations!

How to arrange a visit:  Email me directly to talk about setting up a visit, at  

Getting the most from a visit:  some tips on how to make a visit from Brian Lies the strongest it can be.

Book Sales: I'm happy to sign books during a school visit, but I don't require book sales.  Click here for a sample book order form, and publisher information.

"But my school can't afford an author visit!"  Don't be fooled by this mindset.
IT CAN BE DONE.  Scholastic has some great ideas on how to fund author visits here.

My favorite animals are horses and your presentation was almost as grate [sic] as horses.
— 3rd grader, Newton, MA 2018