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Spreading kindness, one reader at a time.

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In-Person Visits

To request a virtual or in-person author visit, contact me at  

Author visits (full-day or single presentations) can be tailored to the age groups, learning objectives, and time requirements of each school. Each presentation engages students through dialogue and hands-on activities.

Possible topics include the following:

What Makes You Feel REAL?

This 45-60 minute presentation reveals the dramatic story-behind-the-story of the award-winning novel REAL, inspired by the life of co-author Peyton Goddard. The presentation puts students in the shoes of the main character Charity and helps them see autism as simply having a “differently wired brain.” The powerful message of anti-bullying and valuing all people helps grow empathy for those with differences. Peyton can join the presentation virtually to answer student questions. [Best for grades 5 and up]

REAL Book Club

For students who have read REAL, the authors invite students to discuss the book’s characters, story and important themes. For example, why do many people have low expectations for Charity at the beginning of the novel? Charity says, “Believe that all kids can learn.” How does this attitude—Every Person Is Capable—affect the way we treat people like Charity who can’t talk or who communicate differently? Describe how different characters evolve throughout the novel. What can you do to stand up for those who are excluded at your school? How does the idea of welcoming differences benefit everyone?


How to be an Anti-Bully

This 45-60 minute presentation focuses on the book’s theme of inclusion as a form of social justice. We discuss the joys of diverse friendships and consider the pain caused (often unintentionally) when we exclude and pity those who are different. Students will collaborate on creative ways to include peers with differences in and outside of class. We also discuss how to become friends with kids who are different and how to be a superhero of inclusion. [Adaptable for any grade]

Story Starters

This 45-60 minute presentation covers the basics of storytelling, such as gathering ideas, crafting characters, structuring plot, and building tension. We discuss how professional writers approach the writing process—from research and observation to revising and editing. We can also practice ways to give feedback to critique partners. Hands-on activities (like mini-prompts, timed freewriting, and sharing) will get kids started on telling their own stories. [Adaptable for any grade]

Writing Your World

Because REAL is inspired by a true story, this 45-60 minute presentation focuses specifically on autobiographical writing. Timed, associative, and meditative exercises will teach students how to mine their own memories to create meaningful stories and find their own unique voice. We will also discuss the healing power of writing and journaling. [Adaptable for any grade]

Lunch time Q & A

On full-day visits, budding writers can join Carol for lunch and informal chat.

author visits

Carol offers both in-person and virtual visits to schools, libraries, book clubs, and conferences, with Peyton able to participate virtually. 

As an award-winning educator who has taught writing for more than 25 years, Carol is a pro at engaging students and getting them excited about writing and storytelling. Carol and co-author Peyton Goddard facilitate essential discussions about valuing and including all people in our classrooms and community. Their middle-grade novel REAL, told from the perspective of a girl with nonspeaking autism, is a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection and won the Positive Images in the Media Award from Cal-TASH, a leading disability advocacy group.

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