BOOKS

Middle Grade
"A poetic tale of overcoming school bullies."--Japan Times. Jason lives in Japan, has an orange belt in aikido, and doesn’t want trouble, but some kids at school just won’t leave him alone.
Young Adult
Leaving her beloved Japan after the tsunami, Emma feels as if she has left half of herself behind, but a volunteer job offers the healing properties of both poetry and romance.
After a classmate’s unexpected death, bi-racial Kana Goldberg is sent to her family’s farm in Japan to reflect on her participation in events that led up to the suicide.
Tomo This collection features thirty-six stories—including ten in translation and two graphic narratives—by authors and artists from around the world, all of whom share a connection to Japan. Tales of friendship, mystery, love, ghosts, magic, sci-fi and history take readers to Japan past and present and to Japanese communities abroad. Proceeds benefit teens affected by the 3/11/2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami.
Children's
Bicultural Nanami goes seaweed gathering with her Japanese and American grandmothers. While translating for the two women she comes to understand they were at war when they were her age.
New Adult, Adult
"A wonderfully insightful novel about a young woman living within two cultures. Thompson adeptly explores the lasting bonds of friendship and the courage needed to face the past in order to embrace the future."—Gail Tsukiyama, author of Women of the Silk and The Samurai’s Garden
Short Stories, Poems, Articles and Essays
Holly Thompson's short stories, poems, articles and essays can be found in these anthologies, journals and magazines.

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Speaking & Visits

Holly Thompson often visits schools in Japan, the U.S., and throughout Asia, and adapts her presentations to meet the needs of each school and classroom. Contact Holly Thompson to inquire about a visit to your school.


High school visit

Holly Thompson (B.A. Biology, M.A. English, Certificate in Educational Technology and Information Literacy) has taught, presented, delivered keynotes and led writing workshops at conferences, schools and universities in the U.S., Japan, Cambodia, Australia, India, Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Mongolia. She is happy to present to students from elementary grades through university, to teachers, to parents, and to adult writers and readers. All presentations include interactive components. She will gladly combine presentations and adapt them to fit a particular curriculum unit, language level of students, teaching focus, or specific workshop need. Some presentations are suited to shorter sessions; others work well in longer sessions. Holly is happy to prepare keynotes and assembly talks and will also work with schools or institutions in half-day or full-day intensives and residencies of two to five days.

Email Holly Thompson to inquire about rates or inquire about a visit to your school or group.
Holly also does classroom and book group Skype visits.

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Children’s Presentations (Grades K-3)

Seaweed Cultivation and The Wakame Gatherers. An introduction to Japanese seaweed cultivation and harvesting, a demonstration of seaweed spore tying, and wakame rehydration, and possibly sampling wakame soup, salad or rice balls. This presentation jumps off from the picture book The Wakame Gatherers and fits into educational units on the sea, family, food and nutrition, cultures, and Japan.

Poem Fest. An intro to poems and poem writing for young writers using short example poems both serious and silly as prompts for young students to generate their own poems.

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Middle Grade or Young Adult Presentations and Workshops (Grades 5-12)

Notice Poems and Poems with Plot After reading scenes written in poetry and notice poems (read the 30 NoticePoems companion series to Falling into the Dragon's Mouth, students will learn poetry tools to tackle writing poems about details in their own immediate environments combined with the stories they inspire.

Poems for Real. Poems for Real looks at context for poetry using social justice poems and excerpts from The Language Inside, then with situation poetry prompts, students will generate their own poems for real.

From Scribbles to Published Novel. With plenty of images and examples, this presentation details the stages of writing a novel as it evolves from notes and scene sketches to messy drafts, reveals tools of the revision and editing processes, and illustrates how perseverance, tenacity, patience and often a bit of compromise lie behind a published novel.

The Work Behind A Picture Book. This presentation details the work process of a picture book--the story of how a book can evolve from ideas that result from events or what-ifs, scribbled ideas, photographs and onsite research, real life details and imagination, to manuscript, storyboard, teamwork and final book. A picture book storyboarding activity can be included.

From Fact to Fiction. This writing workshop centers on generating stories from observation and experience and helps students make the leap from recounting actual events as they happened to creating compelling narratives. Students are prompted into crafting a plot outline and drafting a scene of one plot point.

Story Seeds--Preserving, Sowing and Growing Story Ideas. A look at the many methods writers can employ to gather ideas and nurture them into creative works of fiction, with examples from Holly’s story seeds turned fiction or narrative poem. Followed by a bit of on-the-spot story growing.

Telling Your Stories in Verse. This presentation and writing workshop for students of all writing levels and backgrounds introduces students to the varied approaches to writing novels in verse, including the what, the why, and the how—and demonstrates poetry and narrative tools and techniques students can then use in crafting their own scenes in verse.

The Real Worlds of Orchards. This presentation offers a visual tour of rural Japanese villages that became models for Kohama village in Orchards, introduces Japanese customs and traditions that appear in the story, and reveals the complex, rugged, but gratifying process of researching and writing a novel.

The Issues in Orchards. This talk covers some of the issues that surface in Orchards. Through questions about the story’s characters and motivations, this discussion broaches topics of bicultural identity, bridging cultures, bullying/​harassment prevention, signs of depression and what teens can do to help prevent suicide in their communities.

Poems with Plot--Narrative Poetry.This workshop/​presentation introduces story arc and elements and techniques of narrative poetry via a range of compelling contemporary examples and leads students into writing, reading and performing their own narrative poems.

Bento—Japanese Style Boxed Lunches. For culinary arts or international cooking classes, this presentation introduces students to design, color and nutritional concepts central to bento making, demonstrates the making and wrapping of a bento lunch, then invites students to create their own using the basic bento principles referenced in Orchards.

Press Conference. In this session perfect for Journalism classes, students do background research on author Holly Thompson prior to the visit, and prepare questions and follow-up questions. Students compile their notes into a news article.

Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction—Background and Stories. This presentation introduces the reasons for creating the Tomo anthology and shares background and updates on Japan since the 2011 earthquake, and discusses Japan-connected short stories.

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Intensives/​Residencies for Grades 4–12: Half-day or Full-day Intensives; Two to Five-day Residencies

Poetry Immersion Poetry intensives or residencies focus on reading and reacting to example poems then writing and revising original poems, in categories such as memory, history, oral history, social justice, service, action, and biography. Residencies may culminate in multi-media projects, zines or poetry performances.

Scenes in Verse This intensive or residency introduces students to narrative poetry, novels in verse, and novels in poems, and provides students with the poetry tools and confidence they need to create their own moving scenes or stories in verse, then demonstrates the power of revision. Residencies may culminate in narrative poetry/​scene readings/​performances or school zines.

Multimedia Poetry This intensive or residency introduces multimedia poetry—poetry combined with video, still images, audio, typography, animation, movement, live performance, or other content forms. After viewing and discussing examples, students will brainstorm and begin drafting or adapting poems for a multimedia poetry project. Students use whatever tech or traditional tools available to them to generate their multimedia poetry projects. This residency may culminate in blogs, viewings and performances.

Essay Writing for College Applications This intensive or residency, especially for students applying to U.S. colleges or universities, is an opportunity for students to brainstorm, plan, write, revise and polish various Common Application and supplemental essays for the college application process. Students build writing and storytelling skills for shaping unique, compelling essays. Workshopping and one-to-one conferences are included in residencies.

Situations to Short Stories This intensive or residency guides students through the process of writing short stories and tackles plot planning, beginnings and endings, structure, point of view, characterization, dialogue and setting. Holly’s situation plotting methods will be used to jumpstart stories.

Story Starts to Finished Stories—This residency pushes students to write original openings for several types of short stories using different approaches, then has them select one of these story starts to develop into a complete short story. This residency is best done through visits spread over several weeks allowing students time for writing between sessions, and may culminate in a short story zine or collection.

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Adult/​Parent/​Teacher Presentations

Poetry Serving Story Serving Teens. This hands-on workshop for teachers of all subjects delves into reasons why poetry speaks to teens and ways to engage teens in reading, writing, performing, and sharing poetry.

Writing Verse Novels for Young Adults. This talk and workshop introduces writers or teachers to the many styles, structures and approaches to verse novels today, delves into elements of narrative verse, and explores why novels in verse resonate with young adults. Participants will be guided through drafting a scene in verse—a generative exercise meaningful for both prose and verse writers.

Crafting Intercultural Fiction—Writing Across Cultures. This workshop for writers offers tools and guidance for writing intercultural fiction and stories set outside the U.S. Dos and don'ts and traps to avoid when writing across cultures in picture books and novels are all discussed.

Narrative Poetry.This workshop/​presentation introduces story arc and elements and techniques of narrative poetry via a range of compelling contemporary examples and leads participants into writing and sharing narrative poems.

Multimedia Poetry This workshop for writers or teachers introduces multimedia poetry—poetry combined with video, still images, audio, typography, animation, movement, live performance, or other content forms. After viewing and discussing examples, participants will brainstorm and begin drafting or adapting poems for a multimedia poetry project. Participants will use whatever tech or traditional tools available to them to generate their multimedia poetry projects, either collaborative or individual.

International School Visits What Authors and Illustrators Should Know. This presentation is for writers and illustrators who are considering international school visits. Find out what sorts of presentations international schools typically seek, what and how you should prepare, and what to expect when you present across the world.

MG/​YA Novel Workout This workshop is for writers with a full or partial draft of a middle grade or YA novel-in-progress. Are you ready to give yourself a rigorous novel workout? In this workshop you’ll tackle exercises, take up your tools and employ techniques and strategies for planning, shaping and revising your work. Participants will gain a better grasp of their novels and a clear direction forward—whether toward a complete first draft or a full revision.

Tackling Novel Revision: Techniques and Tips. Your novel’s first draft is done; now to revise. But how to create order from chaos? How to keep the big picture in mind while focusing on details? How to keep track of story elements and deepen themes? This talk or workshop for writers offers helpful techniques and practical approaches to tackling novel revision.

Editing a Fiction Anthology—Working with Original Stories and Stories in Translation. Many writers have the idea of editing an anthology. What tools do you need before you start? What will an agent or editor want to see in your proposal? How can you create a unique angle? This talk divulges the challenges and rewards of compiling an anthology of fiction.

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Keynotes and Assemblies

Assemblies Assembly presentations may include a particular theme chosen by the school and/​or Holly’s biographical writer’s journey from grade school endeavors to present moment for schools where she will also present to smaller groups.

Keynotes Holly will prepare keynote addresses or roundtable presentations on intercultural fiction; writing across borders; poetry serving story serving teens; the intersection of truth and fiction; and other topics.

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Have an Idea?

Do you have an idea for a presentation or workshop with Holly Thompson? Share your thoughts with her for a presentation you’d like for your school or organization. Contact Holly Thompson.





elementary school visit

high school visit

Orchards school visit

elementary school visit

middle school visit

with high school interviewers

Japanese bento lunch preparation for culinary arts class