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Rick Sowash . . . Critters. Flitters and Spitters: a new book by Ohio's Visiting Author
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Thank you for your interest in my work as a Visiting Author in schools.

When schools invite me, they can choose between three entirely different and exciting day-long programs:

1) Ohio Heroes Day -- unfolding the history of our state through the stories of the heroes featured in my book, Heroes of Ohio: 23 True Tales of Courage and Character.

2) Tall Tales Day -- spellbinding students with hilarious retellings of favorite stories from my book Ripsnorting Whoppers! Humor from America’s Heartland.

3) Ohio Animals Day -- Ohio animal stories, covering the Ice Age, the Moundbuilders, the Shawnee, pioneers, Civil War, the Amish, Lake Erie and Ohio’s zoos, parks, forests and farms, all from my book Critters, Flitters & Spitters: 24 Amazing Ohio Animal Tales.

Each of these days includes: a comprehensive Study Guide sent in advance, school assemblies, ‘Lunch with the Author,’ three half-hour visits with smaller groups (two or three of the older classes combined), book sales at wholesale prices, and personalized book-signings.


Rick Sowash in action, presenting his Ohio Heroes assembly

My fee usually falls somewhere between $500 and $950. For schools located beyond a comfortable driving distance from my home in Cincinnati, whatever the fee, I request an additional $85 to cover the cost of overnight lodging. When I stay on to do an evening program, there is an additional $150 fee. There are no add-ons for mileage or meals -- I cover those expenses. My fees can sometimes be reduced for various reasons.

harriet Beecher StoweMy book Heroes of Ohio, written at a 4th-6th grade reading level, is the basis of Ohio Heroes Day. Some schools choose to have me present the morning assembly as a "one-man show." Other schools choose to involve as many as 28 students (usually 4th graders) as my 'co-stars' in the assembly, re-enacting the heroes from my book. These options are spelled out in the Study Guide I supply schools that invite me to visit. We should discuss these options well in advance and structure the assembly to best serve your school. Either way, the assembly includes costumes, props, music, pageantry, drama, humor, audience participation and (optional) recognition of a local hero from your community. Seeing and/or participating in this assembly, your students will understand that history thrills us with stories of real people, that Ohio has given the world great heroes, and that everyone can be a hero.

Tall TalesTall Tales Day is based on Ripsnorting Whoppers!, a collection of Ohio Tall Tales, such as a cucumber vine growing so rapidly in the “richest soil in Richland County” it nearly choked the fellow who planted it; a pet wildcat that ate balls of yarn and later gave birth to a litter of kittens wearing sweaters; the summer when it got so hot, the corn in the fields popped into popcorn; and the world’s fastest dog -- when he ran full speed, it took three people to see him!

 

Ohio Animals Day is very similar to Ohio Heroes Day -- substituting animals for heroes.

The storytelling and theatrics in these assemblies delight schoolchildren and inspire them to love Ohio history and American folklore and to become more enthusiastic readers.

“Lunch with the Author” allows a dozen of your student writers to dine with me and be praised for their abilities. I present a pin-on button to each of my lunch friends, which proclaims them to be “A Whopper of a Writer.” I have noticed that these buttons are worn proudly by the students during the rest of the day.

The three half-hour visits that follow are most meaningful for the older grades. These visits focus on the following elements of good Writing:
1) Use “Juicy” Words (sensory imagery, ie. words aimed at the five senses)
2) Cut the Clutter (edit out extraneous words)
3) Suspense! (the best way to grab a reader’s attention)

I also share a little of myself -- my family, my career, how I got started, what I’m working on now, etc. All this helps kids feel that they have gotten to know a ‘real’ author and prompts a lively question-and-answer session which I direct during the final minutes of each visit.

The Study Guides I provide are full of tips on how to make the most of the day and how best to prepare the students. You can view these Study Guides on my website: www.sowash.com

The underlying messages of my work in the schools are:

1) Books, storytelling, history, reading and writing are fun.

2) With the younger children, I emphasize the importance of ‘following directions.’ I also explore the difference between a tall tale and a lie --tall tales are joyful falsehoods; other kinds of falsehood can be harmful.

3) With the older children, I explore career paths and the importance of writing skills: Find what you love to do, become good at it, figure out a way to get paid to do it, and you’ll be happy in your work. I personify this point with my skills in writing, storytelling and music. I try to inspire young people to strive to become heroes.

Schools I visit are expected to offer my books for purchase by students and staff simply by sending home a ‘send-home form’ which I provide. These items are provided at a 25% discount: $10 for softbound, $15 for hardbound. The students return the forms and checks or cash to the School Office. Checks are made out to me. The school has no involvement except to send home the forms and collect them when they come back in. On the day of the visit, I will bring along a good supply of my books and fill the orders at that time. No shipping, no fuss.

Please feel free to share this letter with other educators. Please call me at the number below to discuss further details. I visit about 100 schools each year -- call soon to secure the date you want.

When I visit schools in distant parts of the state, I prefer to have more than one day in the area. Please inform other educators in your district that you are thinking of inviting me; ask them to consider inviting me on the day before or after the day I visit your school. Nowadays I am fairly well known; I think you’ll find that other schools will be enthusiastic about the idea of inviting me.

Sincerely,

Rick Sowash
338 Milton Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
phone: (513) 721-1241
email: rick@sowash.com

P.S. If you wish, I can supply you with plenty of references from other schools I have visited in your part of the state. Just ask!

 

 
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Newspaper artices about Visiting Author Rick Sowash

Newspaper artices about Visiting Author Rick Sowash

"Dear Rick -- Re: Heroes of Ohio and your school programs, I am more impressed than ever! ... I'm often asked to read aloud in schools and I plan to use your books in that capacity and to encourage schools to follow up by having you in."
-- Hope Taft, First Lady of the State of Ohio

"The writing my students have done since your visit is incredible. They are the longest and most descriptive writings they have ever done. You really did inspire them!"
-- Jill Graham, 4th Grade Teacher, Cridersville Elementary, Cridersville, OH

"Our entire school community was in awe of your performance: K-8 and beyond. The quality and sophistication of your presentation put each of us on the edge of our seats. You ... broke through the 'too cool' armor of the junior high students..."
-- Bill Schlater, Principal, St. Veronica School, Cincinnati

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