Frequently Asked Questions

What do you talk about in a presentation?

firstpicI like to call my presentations “performances” because I perform several poems from my books. Through the use of a Powerpoint presentation, I show students where I have been in the world, how I come up with my ideas and discuss how I got into doing what I do. To see all the programs I offer, click here.



Do you do Skype visits?

Yes! I can do my standard presentation, a writing workshop, or even a question and answer session with students or faculty. A trial run through will be done prior to the scheduled event at the same time to avoid technical difficulties. Click here to see all the other programs I offer.


What grades do you speak to?

gradesgrades2With over 30 titles to my credit, I’m able to speak to all grades from K through 12. The performance aspect is popular with everyone but most of my books skew from 4th to 8th grade, so those are the groups I speak to most.



How long is a presentation?

Grades K-1 are 30-45 minutes. Grades 2-8 is about 60 minutes and high school presentations can be done in one class period. Workshops are 60 minutes or 1 class period.


#studentsHow many students can you speak to at once?

I’ve spoken to groups as small as 10 and as large as 500. I usually speak in a library, multipurpose room or auditorium. I only ask that kids are comfortable, able to see and that there is ample space between the students and myself. Workshops are no larger than 25 due to the hands-on and participatory nature of the exercises.


 How many presentations do you do?

An author visit with me includes 3 performances, lunch (paid for by school) and a book signing. A writing workshop counts as 1 performance and can be mixed or matched to total 3 performances. Multiple day residencies can be tailored to your needs. Anything over three (after school in-service for faculty for example) is an additional fee.


What can teachers or librarians do to prepare the kids?

prepare2The simplest answer is to introduce the books to the kids at least 2-4 weeks before the visit. They should also check out as much of my website as possible. Listen to the poems. Watch the poetry performances and book talks to get to know a little about me and my work. Librarians can offer a web quest where students have to find specific info by navigating through the site. It gets the kids excited and allows them to ask informed prepare3questions when the program is done. Click Here for Media

Should we sell books?

Yes, yes, a thousand times YES! Once kids (and teachers) see the books brought to life they will definitely want their own copies. Everyone misses out when books are not offered for sale. A book order will require time, organization and effort, but it’s not that hard and can also serve as a fundraiser for the school. Or make things easy by clisellbookscking here to work with my local bookseller, who can ship to you anywhere.


Should we sell books before the visit or after?

You should always sell before but order extras to have available on the day of the visit. (You only pay for what’s sold, so it’s ok to order more.) It’s important for students to be introduced to the books before the visit but even still, once I perform from my books, those that were reluctant to order before will most likely buy after, especially teachers.


How do I know which books to get?

Click here to see all my books with recommended grade level. This is only a recommendation. Many of my books, like I Am America, are popular across every grade, while some, like The Mighty 12, skew to a specific grade due to when the subject matter is studied in school.


Do you have resources for using your books in the classroom?

Yes. Click here to find out how to use my books and see examples of what other teachers and librarians have done.


What are your preferences for travel and accommodations?

No bed and breakfasts or school lunches please.


I’m ready to book a date, now what?

My wife handles all bookings and once you fill out the request form she will reply with the fee. Once you agree on the fee, the details will be hammered out between the two of you. As the date gets closer, you will provide a schedule for the day and she will inform you of my AV needs. Lunch will be agreed upon and if applicable, travel arrangements will be made one month prior to the visit.