Rick at Aylesworth Elementary
photo courtesy Aylesworth Elementary School

I love visiting schools! If I wasn’t a full-time author/illustrator I would be an elementary school teacher. Working with kiddos is one of my favorite things to do. I’m happy presenting to the entire school or working with each classroom individually.

My main presentation covers the process of how I make a book. It begins with the minute I get the idea to the day many months later when a box of finished books lands on my front porch.

I use many visuals, like sketches, final printed sheets, and actual illustrations from my books. I show slides of the habitats I created, the animals I researched, and rough drafts of the text. I discuss the importance of writing and rewriting a story to make it better. I end each session by doing a large full-color piece of art to demonstrate my ‘speed drawing’ technique which I donate to your school or library. I am able to do 4, one-hour presentations in a day.

I have keynoted Young Author’s Conferences, as well as teacher and librarian conventions. I visit at 30 to 40 elementary schools every year. Here’s what some of them have said

Please contact me about scheduling and costs.

Animals in action residencies
  I have developed art/writing residencies which combine literacy, science, the importance of observing things first hand, fact-based research, writing, making art, animals, nature, thinking creatively, and completing a goal.

Story and Pictures
This residency is great for the whole school! I visit each classroom where the class and I write a quick story and then we illustrate it. We brainstorm exciting verbs to tell the best story, vote on the best ones and then write our story. Then I show how I would illustrate it, while each student draws along with me.

During this schoolwide residency I am able to visit 6 classrooms in one day.

longer residencies
Grades K and 1: POSTER POEM
Each student researches an animal of their choice. (I send a list of questions to answer about that animal). Then when I am working with the group, students brainstorm action words describing what the animal does and turn those words into a poem or short story. Then they draw a poster with a large picture of the animal in its habitat. This project drives home the importance of choosing the best verbs to tell the most exciting story. 1 to 2 sessions
Leaping Frog Poster
Grades K through 8: LET'S MAKE A BOOK
Great for all grades from K through 8. Each student follows guided research to write and illustrate their own story about an animal. I take the class through my whole process: sparking an idea, researching the animal, writing (and rewriting) the story, and finally illustrating an 8 page book. 3 sessions per class works best.
Hello Butterfly Book Cover

Grades 6 through 8: PUMP UP THE CONFLICT
Great for grades 6 through 8. I use examples from my own books to show how conflict can make a story more exciting. Each student will write and illustrate their own idea of how to use conflict in a story. 2 or 3 sessions per class works best.


I am flexible with how you would like to organize a residency and which topics you would like us to focus on.

Please contact me regarding fees and scheduling.

Copyright © 2005- Rick Chrustowski. All rights reserved. Privacy policy. Site designed by Winding Oak.
No images or content on these pages may be reproduced or republished in any form without permission.