Speaking Visits
Bruce McMillan
207-324-9453 bruce@brucemcmillan.com
PO Box 85, Shapleigh, ME 04076, US
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Student Comments Student Letters
-- Ready to Smile? --
Host Comments
Talks for Children
Talks for
Children and Adults
Talks for Adults
Typical School Day Fees Host Required Planning
Upcoming Visits Letter to the Editor
School Library Journal
Getting Books
for a Visit -
Past School Visits Get Promotional Photo
for an Author Visit
Open page, let the large file load,
right click anywhere on the photo
and save it.
Get Promotional
Cover Images
for an Author Visit
The Red Fox
A book only for speaking visits
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As a writer and photo-illustrator...
I've traveled to Alaska, Antarctica, the Caribbean, Iceland, and across the USA, from my home in Maine to create more than forty books for children. I speak throughout North America and Europe at conferences, libraries, and hundreds of K-12 schools. I especially enjoy teaching Writing, Illustrating, and Publishing Children's Books at the University of New Hampshire, and I'm proud to have two students published. From 1997-2000 I lead a Nights of the Pufflings August tour to Iceland where people participated in the annual puffling rescue.

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Student Letters

"That is amazing that you 'stunk' at writing when you were my age." Jennifer Walker

"This is one of the best experiences of my life." Guy Coombs

"I like you so much you could be my brother." Zachary Romanoff

"I like the way you talk fast." Paul Couturier

"Thank you for making me laugh." Zachary Blake

"Thank you for making us laugh." Ben E.

"I like it how you said all your stories have happy ends." Ryan Graney

"I enjoyed the assembly because you were funning and you had the audience participating." Nathan McCabe

"I like the 'secrets' in your books." David Wood

"I loved your presentation. I also liked your story that you told us about writing. I won't tell your secrets." Greg

"Your stories are a riot. Thank you for coming." Mike Kerniski

"I think all the books that you have written and the ones you are working on are pretty cool. And you are a pretty cool guy yourself." Linda Schneider

"I read some of you books when I was in the first grade and I didn't know it. I loved your assembly because you were funny. I want to go to Iceland." Andrew Moyer

"Now that I've seen you, I want to be an author!" Anne LeBlanc

"My great great uncle Robert Frost was a writer. He would have wanted probably to meet you. PS. You're the best!" Sarah
(Note: This was in New Hampshire and the teacher added a comment that Sarah truly was a Robert Frost descendant. The Robert Frost Library below is in another New Hampshire town. You have to love the name.)

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Student comments
on a classroom board after my presentation

Best books
Uses happy ending
Good mind
I like him!
Nice photographs

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Host comments and feedback
"You have a great way with kids. It has made books and reading so much more real to them." Patricia Keogh, Weston, MA

"I'm still hearing from the teachers about what a wonderful time they and their students had when you were here to visit! They loved it!" Peg Button, Chagrin Falls, OH

"What a great day. You have a gift, which you have obviously developed to be able to present to various levels, relevant, helpful and fun information that helps add the spice to the writing process." Constance Ross, South Londonderry, NH

BOCES Evaluation, North Salem, NY
Student Response: Excellent
Artistic Quality: Excellent
Education Quality: Excellent
Artistic Interaction with Students: Excellent
"Extremely prepared and an excellent presenter - interacted wonderfully with the children."

Eighth Annual Southern Maine Chapter I Sharing Conference
Evaluation forms comments:
"Super speaker!"
"Enjoyed having someone with a sense of humor."
"Superb! Attention holding!"
"Entertaining. Thought provoking."
"Outstanding in ability to hold interest."
"Loved the way he kept everyone's attention."
"Interesting! Informative!"
"I can't wait to get my hands on his new books."
"Very personable person. Easy to listen to. Makes me want to write a book."
"Highlight of the day!"
"The best keynote speaker we have ever had."

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Talks for Children
The message I like to leave students with is that for me writing is "play" - and they can play too. My presentations balance education and entertainment. Children look at picture books in new ways as I share my creative insight and behind-the-scenes viewpoint. Using slides, I demonstrate the basic writing elements of "show me, don't tell me," and "rewriting - again?" The audience travels visually to my studio and peers over my shoulder as I hand tint the black-and-white photos in Grandfather's Trolley using the same artistic techniques employed in the trolley era. A few surprises often accompany me. I love hearing the audience saying, "Ooh."
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Talks for Children and Adults
After I speak at school, an evening talk is often scheduled. It's a shared event centered on books and includes travels to far away places such as Antarctica or Iceland where I photographed penguins, puffins and "summer ice." With elements of interest for both parent and child, my talk is interactive, and audience members often win a postcard or bookmark. I have so much material that when I sense specific things my audience is interested in I often change my program on the spot, although the audience might not be aware of it. Sometimes the local library in conjunction with the school hosts an evening visit at an affordable fee. (See fees).

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Talks for Adults
I share how I structure my books as creative learning experiences and entertaining stories. I like to play with words and enjoy demonstrating this visually. I share my knowledgeable perspective on picture books so that it is informative, insightful and entertaining, as I take my audiences to fascinating faraway places. I tailor my presentation to the group whether it's teachers, librarians, or parents.
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Typical School Day - 9:00 am. - 3:00 p.m.
A school visit is for the entire day.
A half-day visit is still a full day fee.
I arrive at 9:00 a.m. - not before. What?
I arrive at 9:00 a.m. - not before. Got it.

9:00 a.m.

9:15 a.m.

10:20 a.m.

11:45 a.m.

1:00 p.m.

1:50 p.m.

2:10 p.m.

3:15 p.m.

Arrive & Set Up

K-2 Presentation 50-60 minutes

3-6 Presentation 60-80 minutes

Lunch with Teachers

Q & A Classroom Visits / Workshops
(discuss this with Bruce)
This is an extra because
there is not enough time for everyone,
so it's informal with no set schedule.
Double up classes.
Workshops are brainstorming sessions
with students photos or art to "think story".

If afternoon K, allow for 20 minute
session with 10 minute break
prior to the assembly.

School Assembly
(45 minutes before school closes.)
Half-hour assembly includes
twelve-minute tricycle film.
The day ends like Bruce's books -
with a happy ending.

After School Autographing,
if requested. The parent group often
hosts an autographing party.

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The speaking fee is due at the conclusion of the speaking day, otherwise, and if approved by Bruce in advance, a later payment charge of $100 is automatically applied. Fees are based on travel costs & total time away from making books.
Speaker Fees
2004-2005 school year
- 2005-2006 add $25 -
Fee is per day
includes all travel

Minimum days, except for Europe,
means speaking at various schools
within driving distance.
Check with me to see
if another school is booking in your area.

Four days minimum booked
for a speaking trip

Three days minimum booked
for a speaking trip
(excluding ME*, NH, Eastern MA & RI),
*Aroostook County, and Canada

Two days minimum booked
for a speaking trip
West and South of Boston, MA, & RI
North and East of Bangor, ME
Western and Northern NH
Greater Bangor, ME
South of Bangor to Waterville, ME

Day trips
Boston, and north of Boston, MA
Central NH
Bordering ME still in NH
Augusta south to Portland, ME
Local / South of Portland, ME

Public libraries take note.
You can afford a visit.
In conjunction with a school visit,
a presentation at the school, library,
or other group

The school visit fee is the guideline.
To meet the minimum days booked,
area schools or other
speaking engagements are
often coordinated.
Discuss your options with Bruce.

Please write, call or email.
Email to Bruce







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Host Required Planning

Letter of confirmation on school, library, or conference letterhead including both a map and directions.

Once I have the official name of the school, library or conference I'll send out a free personalized "Penguin Call" book mark master that makes three bookmarks per page.

Schedule in advance. Parents are welcome to attend if host wishes.

Wireless clip-on mike & sound system, For large groups or more than one talk. This is often available at no cost from other schools, music departments, local churches, or for a small cost from a local Radio Shack.

Speaking room/area, which can be darkened for slides, yet still, leaves the presenter easily visible.

Kodak Carousel slide projector on a stand, spare bulb, remote control, projection screen, and power cord.

16 mm sound film projector if tricycle film is to be shown, with its own stand, spare bulb, separate power cord, and projectionist

Long table for props

Fresh glass of water

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So I'm driving down the road to the Lincolnville (Maine) Elementary School using the map and directions they sent. As I approach the center of the village my directions say, "Turn left at Petunia Pump." I'm thinking what in the world is a Petunia Pump, and looking around. I see a gazebo and slow down to see if there's a pump anywhere in the vicinity. I look up at a cardboard sign on the gazebo's post and read, "Yes Bruce, this is Petunia Pump."

After I stopped laughing and was just chuckling I got out my tricycle and took a snap shot of it on the way to school.

I also took a self portrait with the sign. Can you see me in the photo to the right?

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Schools visited: 19
Libraries visited: 1
Conferences: 2
Courses at UNH: 3
Locations: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Michigan, Iceland, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain

With links to the schools who have web sites...
Visits - School Year 2001-2002
Veazie Community School Veazie, ME
Minoa Elementary School
Minoa, NY
Kathryn C. Heffernan Elementary School Marcellus, NY
Reynolds Elementary School
Baldwinsville, NY
Willow Field Elementary School Liverpool, NY
Amherst Elementary School
My fourth visit here!
Amherst, NH
Griffin Memorial School Litchfield, NH
Matthew Thornton School Londonderry, NH
Visits - School Year 2002-2003
This does not include speaking inquires yet to be confirmed.
Jewett School Bucksport, ME
Miles Lane School Bucksport, ME
Deer Isle~Stonington Elementary School Deer Isle, ME
Rose M. Gaffney School Machias, ME
Young Author's Conference
at the University of Maine in Machias
Machias, ME
University School of Milwaukee (two days) Milwaukee, WI
Oriole Lane School Mequon, WI
Vickery School Pittsfield, ME
Signing at the Blueberries and Moose Festival Portland, ME
Visits - School Year 2003-2004
including summer 2003)
This does not include speaking inquires yet to be confirmed.
Summer 2003 ~ Keynote Speaker
Maine Seamless Transitions K-6 Literacy Conference
sponsored by University of Maine Orono
Bethel, ME
Berwick Schools S.A.D 60 Writers Symposium for Teachers
Berwick, ME
Sunset Heights Elementary School Nashua, NH
Fairgrounds Elementary School, Day and Evening Nashua, NH
Ledge Street Elementary School, Day and Evening Nashua, NH
Hallsville Elementary School Manchester, NH
Visits - School Year 2004-2005
This does not include speaking inquires yet to be confirmed.
Phippsburg Elementary School Phippsburg, ME
Keysor Elementary School Kirkwood, MO
Mountain Brook Elementary School Mountain Brook, AL
Cherokee Bend Elementary School Birmingham, AL
Brookwood Forest Elementary School Mountain Brook, AL
Epping Elementary School Epping, NH
Belgrade Central School Belgrade, ME
Norridgewock Central Grade School Norridgewock, ME
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See this Húfa at School
To the School Visit...
Phippsburg Elelmentary School
November 18, 2004
To the School Visit

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School Library Journal
April 1987
Letters to the Editor

Another Author's Viewpoint

Having talked with students from grades K-12 as a visiting author at over 175 schools, one word comes to mind regarding January (page 21) SLJ's "School Visits: The Author's Viewpoint." Thanks.

Every school visit is unique. But there is one common thread to every visit. There is always a certain someone - a librarian, a school administrator, a teacher or a parent - who initiates the visit, who wants something extra, something beyond the regular school curriculum, something special for their students. I've been to rich and poor communities so it's not just money that makes a visit possible; it's that certain someone.

Indeed, because an author usually gets invited to where those certain someones are making a visit happen, it does go well, because of advance planning by host and author to get the most effective use of the author's time. Every author has something different to offer; so, planning and flexibility by host and author mean that the goal of a successful visit can be met. The students will reap rewards, not only on that visiting day, but long after.

Bruce McMillan, Author of Counting Wildflowers
Shapleigh, Maine
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Getting Books for a Visit / Publishers
There are three ways to do this.

1) Within driving distance I can bring a complete selection of titles at bookstore prices. If a book is available in both hardcover and paper, the hardcover will be offered.

2) Books may be ordered directly from the publishers at a discount. There are eight publishers involved so this requires quite a bit of time and work, often a PTA volunteer. Usually, payment is not required until after the visit when you return the unsold books. You're responsible for shipping costs both ways. Discounts range from 25-40%. Profits from sales can offset the cost of the visit, or the savings can be passed along to young readers in the form of discounted book prices.

3) Arrangements can be made to obtain books for resale through your local bookstore or distributor. Because many publishers are involved, only customer-service bookstores will supply a full selection of titles. (If your bookstore does, you have a great bookstore. Pass the word and keep it in business.)

Whichever you do, Apple Island Books is my company to keep titles in print, and you need to order those titles directly from me - Apple Island Books.
The Remarkable Riderless Runaway Tricycle (soft cover)
Ghost Doll (soft cover)
The Alphabet Symphony (hardcover)
Step by Step (hardcover)
Growing Colors (hardcover from me - but may still be in print from original publisher in soft cover)
Grandfather's Trolley (hardcover)
Beach Ball, Left - Right (no jacket)
One Sun: A Book of Terse Verse (hardcover from me - but may still be in print from original publisher in soft cover)
Play Day: A Book of Terse Verse (hardcover)
Mary Had a Little Lamb (hardcover from me - but may still be in print from original publisher in soft cover)

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Apple Island Books (this is my company) - 207-324-9453
176 County Road, Shapleigh, ME 04076-0190
Inquire about the school speaking discount before ordering
Email Apple Island Books (Bruce)
Book Order Page

Crown Publishers - 800-726-0600
201 East 50th St., New York, NY 10022

Cavendish Children's Books - 914-332-8888
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Farrar, Straus & Giroux - 212-741-6900
19 Union Square West, New York, NY 10003

Harcourt Brace & Co. 800-543-1918 or 619-699-6435
525 B Street. Suite 1900, San Diego, CA 92101

Holiday House - 212-688-0085
425 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10017

Houghton Mifflin Co. - 617-351-5000 (or direct -5945)
222 Berkeley St., Boston, MA 02116-3764

Lothrop, Lee & Shepard (Morrow) - 800-843-9389
1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019

Scholastic Press - 212-343-7628 or 800-724-6527
555 Broadway, New York, NY 10012

Walker & Co. - 800-289-2553
435 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014

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Getting Book Cover Images for a Visit

For Houghton Mifflin books go to the Houghton Hifflin catalogue and search for "Bruce McMillan". That will open a list of Bruce McMillan books. Click on a title for the book page. The left column will have a tab for "Download Assests". You may get covers and other information here, though you will have to go to each book page.

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