Loren Long has putt puff puttedly chuffed his way all over the bestseller lists with such titles as Otis, Otis and the Tornado, Drummer Boy, the Little Endgine That Could by Watty Piper, Toy Boat by Radall de Seve, Mr. Peabody's Apples by Madonna, and Of Thee I Sing by President Barak Obama. Loren lives in Cincinatti with his wife and two sons, all frequent visitors to his studio, where they see the art and hear the stories first. You can visit Loren online at www.lorenlong.com.
Learn more about Loren Long here. If you are interested in hosting an appearance by Loren Long at your school, library, or conference, please use the online request form, send an email to authorvisits[at]us.penguingroup.com with possible dates, your school name, location, details about the day, and your contact information.
Author Appearance Q&A with Loren Long:
What is a typical appearance like with you? What do you do differently with audiences of varying sizes, ages, and interests?
Whether the audience is large or small, on the younger side or older, I like to start out with getting to know one another. I share some of my favorite books from when I was little, show them my own books that I have made all these years later and talk to them about the process I go through when making my books. I always draw for the crowd, since all audiences respond to seeing someone draw.
For the younger kids (pre-K, K, 1,2), I'll usually draw one of my characters like The Little Engine That Could, the Toy Boat or Otis. And for older kids (grades 3 and up, even teens), I'll do a quick drawing demo breaking down the 5 forms of shadow on the human face usually using a teacher as a volunteer (sounds technical but it is quite simple and fun). AND, I love to end with questions… I've often found that the kid's questions result in responses that further connect and round out the perfect author visit!
What makes your author appearances unique?
I am from the Midwest, born in Missouri, raised in Kentucky, living in Ohio. Neither of my parents were artists of any kind or even knew an artist. I never saw either of my folks so much as make one drawing my entire childhood. I did not visit an art museum until I was in college. I share my story in hopes that the kids will see that they can do anything they want in life no matter how unlikely it may seem.
Do you enjoy making appearances for adult audiences? What do you do when presenting to adults?
I enjoy speaking to adults very much. It is a chance to connect to an audience on a different level. When speaking to grownups, I share more about my career story. How I came to be a children's book illustrator and author. I share some of the trials and tribulations along the way and provide an insider's view of some of the extraordinary experiences and projects I've had in my book career.
What can schools and libraries do to ensure a successful appearance?
The best thing that can be done to ensure a successful experience is to promote and advertise the appearance. In the months ahead, let the kids know I'm coming. Take them to my website, show them my books, read my bio page to them and let them see pictures of my dog on my site. Let them begin to think of a question that they may want to ask me while I'm at their school. And make sure that book orders are organized weeks in advance so that each child has an opportunity to take home a personalized and signed book.
Do you enjoy traveling to other parts of the country for appearances?
Yes, I do enjoy traveling to different parts of the country for appearances.
Do you ever make appearances at more than one school in an area? Could schools and libraries from one area join together to bring you to their institution?
I'm happy to do more than one event during a trip. Whether it is more than one school in an area or a school in conjunction with a conference…I'm flexible and appreciate the interest.
What do you hope your audience will come away with from your presentation?
ENTHUSIASM! Again, whether it is the very little or the "I'm getting too cool for school" ages, I want them to leave with the message of no matter what you do with your life, ENTHUSIASM is perhaps the most important attribute you can possess. Sure, I tell them this and I share my favorite Ralph Waldo Emerson "enthusiasm" quote. But mostly, I want them to SEE it in me. I want them to see that I'm just like them. I want them to see that I'm like their parents or their teachers. I want them to see my vulnerability, that my pictures don't always (rarely, in fact) come easy. I want them to see that I want them to like my work and that I care that they do.
What was your favorite appearance experience?
I've had many memorable appearance experiences. The more I do, the more I realize that I take away much more than I give. Perhaps the most special moment was when I was approached by a mother and her little 3rd grade daughter after an elementary school presentation.
They asked me to sign a well worn copy of my 2005 edition of The Little Engine That Could. The little girl appeared quite normal to me, but her mother shared how they read the Little Engine to her everyday while she had been in treatment at the Children's Hospital for leukemia. Through tears, the mother explained that the book had inspired, comforted and entertained her daughter (and the family) during the shaky and terrifying experience. Of course, I understand that The Little Engine That Could has reached millions of people long before I was born, and that I had nothing to do with the creation of such a classic. Still, to know that a book I had anything to do with had touched this family was humbling. The words will stay with me forever.
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