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.
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, Macau, Singapore, Thailand and Mongolia. She is happy to present to students in grades K - 12, university students, teachers, parents, and adult writers and readers. All presentations include interactive, creativity components. She is happy to adapt presentations 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 also delivers keynotes and assembly talks and will 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 Zoom and Skype visits.
Children's Presentations (Grades K – 6)
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 Wakame Gatherers and fits into educational units on the sea, family, food and nutrition, cultures, and Japan.
Twilight Chant. After exploring the text of Twilight Chant about animals at twilight, we brainstorm, gather details and create a class poem about an animal active at a particular time of day.
Poem Fest. An intro to poems and poem writing for young writers using short example poems both serious and silly as prompts for students to generate their own poems.
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, observations 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.
One Wave at a Time. This presentation offers a gentle introduction to grief and loss, followed by a reading of the lyrical text of One Wave at a Time. A demo of wave action depicts emotions coming in waves. Memory poem or memory box activities may follow.
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 and the stories they inspire.
Poems as Windows, Mirrors and Doors. After reading and reacting to poems that serve as Windows, Mirrors and Doors, and discussion of poetry tools and techniques, students work with prompts to create their own Window, Mirror or Door poems for sharing.
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.
Poems for Right Now. Poems for Right Now looks at poem context using social justice and social commentary poems. With various poetry prompts, students collaborate then generate their own Poems for Right Now.
From Scribbles to Published Novel. With 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 revision and editing; and illustrates how perseverance, tenacity, patience and teamwork lie behind a published novel.
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 methods writers can employ to gather ideas and nurture them into creative works of fiction, with examples from Holly's own 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—and reveals narrative and poetry tools and techniques students then employ in crafting their own scenes.
The Real Worlds of Orchards. This presentation offers a visual tour of rural Japanese villages that were models for Kohama village in Orchards, introduces customs and traditions that appear in the novel, and reveals the complex, challenging, but gratifying process of researching and writing a novel. Students may begin work on a story scene.
The Issues in Orchards/Falling into the Dragon's Mouth. This talk covers issues that surface in Orchards and/or Falling into the Dragon's Mouth. Through questions about characters, motivations, actions and reactions, this presentation broaches topics of identity and bullying, and leads students to create individual or collaborative poems.
Narrative Poetry. This workshop/presentation introduces story arc plus techniques of narrative poetry via a range of contemporary narrative poems. Students are choose prompts then tackle writing, reading and performing their own narrative poems.
Bento—Japanese Style Boxed Lunches. For culinary arts/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 for Journalism classes, students do background research on 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.
Intensives/Residencies for Grades 4–12: Half-day or Full-day Intensives; Two to Five-day Residencies
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.
Poetry. Poetry intensives or residencies focus on reading and reacting to sample poems, building collaborative poems, then writing and revising original poems. 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, stories in verse, or linked poems then demonstrates the power of revision. Residencies may culminate in 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 will use whatever tech or traditional tools available to them to generate their multimedia poetry projects. This residency may culminate in viewings and performances.
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 can be used to jumpstart student stories and novels.
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.
Adult/Parent/Teacher Presentations and PD
Practices and Strategies for Cultivating Young Writers. In this PD workshop for teachers, we explore writing by responding to texts and prompts, drafting, reflecting and sharing. We touch on reading for writing, scaffolding, modeling, drafting, revision, feedback, evaluation, audience and purpose, and we discuss practices and strategies for developing an enduring school culture of writing.
The Power of Picture Books. In this PD workshop for parents and teachers, we explore picture book anatomy and craft, and examine picture books for various ages and purposes, and discuss reasons to engage with picture books long after children are reading on their own.
Poetry Serving Story Serving Teens. This active 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 teens. Participants will be guided through drafting a scene in verse—a generative exercise meaningful for both prose and verse writers.
The Craft of Picture Books. This presentation introduces picture book anatomy and the picture book creation process. After close examination of picture books, creative prompts and storyboarding leads participants into drafting their own picture book stories.
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. or outside a writer's heritage or culture of origin. Dos and don'ts are discussed with particular focus on character development, setting portrayal, bilingual dialogue, non-English words, and traps to avoid when writing across cultures in picture books and novels.
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.
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. In this workshop we'll tackle exercises, take up tools and employ techniques and strategies for planning, shaping and revising. Participants will gain a better grasp of their novels and a forward direction and momentum.
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 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 consider editing an anthology. What tools do you need before you start? What will an agent or editor expect in your proposal? How can you create a unique angle? This talk divulges challenges and rewards of compiling an anthology of fiction.
Keynotes and Assemblies
Assemblies. Assembly presentations may include a particular theme or writing focus chosen by the school and/or Holly's cross-cultural writing journey and the importance of the craft of writing.
Keynotes. Holly will prepare keynote addresses or roundtable presentations on writing from your heart; writing across borders; poetry serving story serving teens; the intersection of truth and fiction; and other topics.
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.