Visits and Events

As a former school librarian and writer-in-residence I love visiting classrooms, scout troops, book clubs, and libraries, and working with young readers and writers. I am an author in the 2020-21 READ LOCAL Challenge and I have completed in depth training in virtual author visits in Kate Messner’s Reinventing The Author Visit program.

Here are some of my presentations:

Free Zoom or Skype with your class, troop or group

All Ages – (FREE! 20 minute visit)

Bring STEAM to your study pod, troop or classroom with Tami’s PERKIN’S PERFECT PURPLE, ART IS LIFE, WE REALLY DO CARE and INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED!

I’ll share William Perkin, Keith Haring and Betty, Jean and Kay’s true stories, my inspiration and some fun and simple science, art and coding games your kids will love to do at home or in the classroom.

I believe every child deserves to be inspired by writers and people who’ve followed their dreams- regardless of whether their school has resources to bring in visiting authors. This year I’ve “visited” over 70 schools and spoken to thousands of children, from India to Indiana—all for free.

Contact me now to schedule your slot.

Longer Visits

We All Really Care

Grades pre K-adult

(30 min- 1 hour, depending upon age of participants and depth of program)

Caring is not a weakness– it’s a SUPER-POWER. If all of us, young and old, learn to express caring in active, sincere and powerful ways we can move mountains!

But just saying “I care” isn’t enough. How do you show caring for others? Why is it hard to care sometimes? How do we get over our resistance to care for people who are different or for people we don’t know?

Using simple tools, games and techniques, including my book WE REALLY DO CARE, Jacqueline Woodson’s THE DAY YOU BEGIN and Ibram X. Kendi’s ANTIRACIST BABY, and methods developed by Harvard’s Making Caring Common Project we’ll have lots of fun while practicing opening our hearts, eyes and minds to become more active carers and sharers.

Look out world– we care about you!

(anti-bullying, sharing and compassion, anti-racism)

The Thrill Of The Chase

Grades 2-5
(45 min)

Research is a thrill — uncovering clues and learning the true story behind the history. I’ll share my journey researching the lives of Betty, Jean and Kay, Keith Haring and William Perkin- from the Smithsonian archives to 1500’s Phoenicia, to  3000 feet up in the wild blue yonder- as I created PERKIN’S PERFECT PURPLE, SOAR, ELINOR, INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED and ART IS LIFE. Kids will learn how to become intrepid researchers, uncovering spills, thrills and chills to fill in the blanks in their own research projects.

This presentation can be expanded to a full day biography/STEM program with a kid-safe pre-planned internet scavenger hunt for sources, quotes and clues. Students examine primary sources, conduct mock interviews, prepare an outline, and write a short biography of one of ten diverse scientists.

(research, writing)

I am a Scientist… A Mathematician… An Computer Scientist… An Artist… A Pilot… I can be what I want to be!

Grades 2-5
(45 min)

The most striking characteristic Elinor Smith, Betty, Jean and Kay, William Perkin, and Keith Haring ALL shared was a belief that they could be what they wanted to be, no matter what others thought or told them. I will share empowering and defining moments from the lives of each of these STEAM heroes, including some actual archival video footage I uncovered in my research.

We’ll perform a Reader’s Theater as each hero takes charge of his or her destiny then we’ll discuss “what might have been” if Elinor, William, Betty, Jean or Kay had listened to the naysayers.

Finally, I’ll introduce a fun interactive and artistic coding game we can begin or play at home that requires no computer or special supplies to truly embrace our personal inner strengths and resources.

(STEM, STEAM, positive role models, self-image)

Convince The Queen: Writing A Persuasive Essay

For Grades 3-8 and up
(1 presentation session 45 min or  2 interactive sessions 1 1/2 hours)

Queen Victoria commanded “Make me a coronation crown, of gold and silver and purple velvet!” but purple was tricky until a boy named William Perkin invented a new way to make a new purple, using SCIENCE!

When William came up with Perkin’s Perfect Purple he didn’t keep his new invention to himself. He persuaded Queen Victoria to wear a dress made of Perkin’s Purple velvet to the most important event of the decade- her oldest daughter, Princess Vicky’s wedding. Perkin’s Purple became a PASSION!

Persuasive essays state facts and make arguments to convince the reader. Using a five paragraph structure we’ll construct a persuasive essay William could have written to convince the Queen. (If your school uses another specific formula for persuasive essays this presentation can be adapted to your own format.)

Be prepared to be persuaded!

If you would like me to conduct this presentation as a generative workshop with students writing their own essays it can be presented in two sessions with a break in between. Session two includes brainstorming, guided writing, editing and revising techniques and sharing.

(Persuasive Essays, Writing)

Art’s Secret Codes

Grades K-8
(45 min) Pop Artist Keith Haring said “Art is life, life is art.”  His paintings and drawings often depict symbols- radiant babies, barking dogs, dolphins, robots- that stand for bigger ideas. What is a symbol and how do symbols communicate? We’ll explore how Keith developed his vocabulary of visual symbols by reading portions of ART IS LIFE- The Life Of Artist Keith Haring.

Did you know computers are programmed using symbols, too? Binary code uses 0 and 1 in unique combinations to stand in for every word and number!

In a fun, fast activity we’ll use symbols from Keith’s art to write our own secret binary codes, the same way Betty, Jean and Kay programmed ENIAC, the world’s first electronic computer, as depicted in my book INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED: How A Team of Women Programmed The Future.

Artists and Scientists- we’ve got you covered! Art really is life.

(STEM, art, coding)

Charting The Map Of Me (and you!)

Grades K-8
(30 minutes for younger grades, 1 to 4 hour writing workshop for older students This program can be expanded to a residency with exercises, presentations, and readings spread across several days.)

Everyone has a story to tell. I mined memories of growing up in Kentucky when I wrote THE MAP OF ME. We’ll all uncover memories to discover our own epics, then draft beginnings, middles, and ends. The result? Personal memoirs, shorts stories, and the beginnings of novels.

(Personal Essays, Writing)



Free! 20 minutes Skype or Zoom visits

I charge $150 for 45 minute Skype and Zoom visits, however I offer a sliding scale based on need and every year I am able to offer a handful of probono visits to schools with under-served populations, so don’t be afraid to ask!

Every student who participates will receive a free bookmark. When you arrange the visit let me know how many students will attend and I will mail bookmarks in advance, free of charge.

I can arrange book orders for signed books and send them to you by priority mail. We can even set book sales up as a school or group fundraiser, if you’d like. It’s easy. Contact me and I’ll explain how. Or I can send free customized signed bookplates you can place inside books you purchase anywhere.


I also visit schools, museums and bookstores in person. Rates vary according to your location, program and the time required. Contact me to arrange a visit.

Upcoming Events

March 11, 2023, 11:00am-3:00pm

9th Annual Girls in Science and Engineering Day

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
Pier 86, W 46th St,
New York, NY 10036
Join me at the Intrepid Museum,  for the 9th annual Girls in Science and Engineering!
I’ll have lots of fun tech and science activities, read alouds and an all new INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED Photo Booth!
Picture Yourself As A Pioneer Programmer!
Event check-in will be from 10:00am-11:45am in the Welcome Center. Make sure you and/or your guests arrive during this time for FREE entry in the Museum and the event. Pass it on!
This registration form for free admittance will close/end at 12:00am, March 10, 2023.