A veteran speaker and writing teacher, Candice Ransom has given hundreds of presentations to schools, libraries, conferences, and literary festivals. In addition to writing and speaking, she currently teaches in the Hollins University graduate children’s literature program. Her education includes an MFA in writing for children from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and an MA in children’s literature from Hollins University.
Candice’s programs are supplemented by PowerPoint, peppered with enthusiastic discussions and stories about the writing life from someone who started writing when she was seven, decided to be a writer when she was ten, and began writing children’s books for publication when she was fifteen (after that, it was a longer road than she imagined!). Programs fall into two categories: book talks and writing workshops. Book Talk presentations for grades K through 6 will be tailored to age groups (K-1, 2-3, 4-6).
The Big Green Pocketbook, Amanda Panda Quits Kindergarten, Amanda Panda and the Bigger, Better Birthday
Three autobiographical picture books—one based on a fun day with Candice and her mother, one based loosely on her first day of school, and the last based on rivalry with her cousin—help young children realize it’s okay to write “what you know.” Grades K-1. PowerPoint, 45 minutes.
Pumpkin Day, Apple Picking Day, Snow Day, Garden Day
Candice’s series of rhyming readers features a brother and sister having fun on special family outings. In this program, students will learn how to create stories based on their own fun family days. Teams will also participate in a Rhyme Challenge. Grades 2-3. PowerPoint, 50 minutes.
Emus, Monster Trucks, Salamanders, and The Worst Cat in the World
This program focuses on Candice’s experiences in writing true stories (50+ nonfiction titles) and the importance of writing what you don’t know. Candice knew nothing about monster trucks or endangered frogs when she wrote books on those topics. Students will learn how to ferret out true stories on the Internet, then dig deeper with books, articles, local travel, and interviews. Grades 2-6. PowerPoint, 50 minutes.
Thomas Jefferson: Author of the Declaration of Independence, President, Paleontologist?
This program focuses on Candice’s nonfiction picture book, Bones in the White House: Thomas Jefferson’s Mammoth. Students will learn how one sentence in a book led Candice on a three-year journey that encompassed Ice Age mammals, the New Republic’s struggle to gain foothold on the world stage, 18th century natural history, and Jefferson’s keen interest in all sciences. Candice will discuss her first mistake in research (assuming Jefferson’s papers are in one place and the public can access them), and how she pieced together a story from many resources, like a detective following clues. Students will see a different side of Jefferson and realize research can take them to wonderful, unknown places. They’ll also see Candice’s edited drafts and photos from her travels, including an old Ice Age dig site. Grades 2-6. PowerPoint, 50 minutes.
Small Group Writing Workshops
In response to teachers asking how to motivate their students to write more, Candice has created several workshops geared for small-group settings. Candice was a child writer—she wrote her first story, on her own, in second grade and hasn’t stopped. Writing should be fun, but it is also a craft. Her series of workshops focuses on one aspect of the craft. Each workshop is tailored for different grade levels (2-3, 4-6) and is geared to get students excited about writing.
- Rhyme and rhythm
- Making historical figures come to life
- Story structure
- Nonfiction structure
These workshops will be conducted as writers’ workshops, the way Candice has taught dozens of intensives, classes, and workshops for adult writers. She will provide a bulleted handout, a fill-in-the-blank worksheet, and will leave students with an assignment.