Hudson Talbott's newest book, River of Dreams: The Story of the Hudson River pays homage to the river that shares his name with this gorgeously illustrated and fascinating history. Hudson Talbott also wrote and illustrated United Tweets of America, and illustrated Show Way (by Jacqueline Woodson), a Newbery Honor book, and Leonardo's Horse (by Jean Fritz), which was an ALA Notable Book and a VOYA Honor Book. He lives in New York City and Leeds, New York, in the Hudson Valley. Make sure to check out his website at www.hudsontalbott.com
If you are interested in having Hudson Talbott make an appearance at your school, library, or conference, please use the online request form or email the Author Appearance Coordinator at 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 Hudson Talbott:
Penguin: What is a typical appearance like with you? What do you do differently with audiences of varying sizes, ages, and interests?
Hudson Talbott: I always tailor my presentations to suit the audience I'm visiting. With groups of fewer than 50, I can hold up original artwork, explain the process of creating a book by using sketches, storyboards, art, then going onto color print proofs, and finally a finished book.
With groups larger than 50, I usually use slides, and often base my talk on a theme or a particular book with subject matter related to their curriculum.
Penguin: What makes your author appearances unique?
Hudson Talbott: I try to offer something for everyone. I have told stories to kindergarteners using my book O'SULLIVAN STEW, discussed the Holocaust with middle schoolers using FORGING FREEDOM, given writing/illustrating workshops to all grades and also enjoy speaking to college education majors or support groups for prospective authors.
Penguin: Do you enjoy making appearances for adult audiences? What do you do when presenting to adults?
Hudson Talbott: I love speaking to adult audiences because I feel freer to share in greater depth my knowledge of the subject matter of a particular book. I also enjoy speaking to emerging authors about creating a career in writing and illustrating.
Penguin:What can schools and libraries do to ensure a successful appearance?
Hudson Talbott: Having a clearly defined contact person who has a comprehensive oversight of the entire visit is the most important thing a host venue can do to ensure a successful visit. Standing alone in an unfamiliar hallway with no escort to greet or guide a visiting author is a bad start to a visit. It's only happened a few times in my twenty-two years of author visits, and usually stems from a gap in communication among the hosts themselves.
Penguin:Do you enjoy traveling to other parts of the country for appearances?
Hudson Talbott: I've always enjoyed traveling and have based several books on my travels. I've spoken in schools and other venues in at least twenty states as well as international schools in Peru, Morocco, and India.
Penguin: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?
Hudson Talbott:I always encourage a school district to contact other schools in their area regarding a joint visit to an area. I've done this often in California, New Jersey, Texas and Ohio. It helps with defraying the travel expenses.
Penguin:What do you hope children will come away with from your presentation?
Hudson Talbott:For several years I've offered a theme of "The Hero's journey"what makes a hero, how we define one, how I portray one in my work. My hope is that the rather tricky notion of teaching ‘character education" is more intrinsically conveyed within this framework.
Beyond that, I love showing young people that what I am doing today is no different than what I did when I was their agetelling stories through the pictures I drew. I love to leave them with the inspiration that if I could do it so could they.
Penguin:What was your favorite/most interesting/most memorable appearance experience?
Hudson Talbott:My very first class on my very first school visit taught me so much about school visits. During the Q&A a first grader raised her hand and asked, "Did you ever see a pig being born?"
"No," I answered, expecting a fun story. "Have you?"
The hands shot up again. "You live in New York," a boy said, "Do you know Bloomingdale's?"
"Sure," I answered, "it's a big store—have you been there?"
"No," he replied, "but my father is affiliated with a holding company that recently acquired Bloomingdale's."
This, just after the pig question.
From then on, I knew to leave expectations at the door and just go with the flow of a school visit.
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Do you have questions about an author visit or comments about this page? Please contact the author appearance coordinator.