Courtney Sheinmel

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Courtney as a kid


One of my favorite memories of fourth grade? When one of my favorite authors, Johanna Hurwitz, came to visit my class. She talked to us kids about her writing projects, answered all of our questions, and signed our books - including my dog-eared, much-loved copy of THE HOT & COLD SUMMER. I wanted to grow up to be a writer just like her.

Now I am grown up, and I am a writer, and I LOVE to visit readers! I have given over a hundred book talks and writing workshops in schools, libraries, book clubs, Girl Scout & Brownie troops, and festivals all around the country (and in England), to kids in grades K-12.

If you'd like to book a visit or Skype session, please contact me for rates and availability:


There are several programs I regularly give (brief descriptions below), or we can design a book talk, writing workshop, or kindness program to fit your individual needs.


For Kids: THE KINDNESS EFFECT

My latest series, The Kindness Club, was inspired in part from visiting schools around the country and seeing kids involved in all sorts of kindness programs. Now I talk to kids about the real-life kindness I observed, how I turned that into fiction, and how, like the butterfly effect, kindness reverberates far beyond the original deed.

For Teens: JUST SHOW UP

So you want to be a writer? That's great. Whatever you want to be, you need to show up for it. I'll talk about the journey that I took to becoming a writer (major detour to law school, etc.); where ideas come from; and how ideas become a book: writing, editing, revision - especially revision. Every author who has ever published a book (at least the ones I know) has struggled with making their story sound as good on paper as it does in their head, and it's okay to write a first draft that's not perfect. In fact, it's okay to write a fifteenth draft that's not perfect. Just keep showing up.

Group Writing Workshop

When I was a kid, my favorite poet was Shel Silverstein, and in my favorite poem, he wrote: "Put something silly in the world that ain't been there before." So that's what we will do together. We will come up with a main character (or characters), setting, and the plot of the story, i.e., what does the character want, and is he or she going to get it? No idea is too crazy; in fact, the crazier the better!
 

At school visits,
kids help me make lists of kindness ideas:

Classroom
Classroom
Classroom
Classroom


Testimonials

"We regularly invite Courtney Sheinmel to speak at our high-profile events because she is inspiring, funny, and brilliant. Courtney shares relevant, captivating anecdotes about her publishing career, which are inevitably following by dozens of enthusiastic student questions. Students are always left invigorated by her honesty and intelligence and down to earth approach." – Rebecca Wallace-Segall, Executive Director & Founder, Writopia Lab, New York, NY

"Thanks to Courtney's Compliment List our children now have the language by which to lift each other's spirits, to show kindness. As you say, Courtney, YOU are sunshine on a rainy day." - Barb Morris, Library Media Specialist, The Parkside School, New York, NY

"Courtney captivated our young readers with her charm, warmth, and openness. Though she came prepared with a presentation, she did not rely on her script; instead she allowed the children's questions to direct the conversation, which made it all the more meaningful for them. Her books keep flying off our library shelves long after the visit." - Cheryl Wolf, Librarian, McKinley Library, P.S. 63 & Neighborhood School, New York, NY

"Courtney's visit to our school inspired 5th grade students to form their own Kindness Club so they could teach each and every student at Washington School different ways to show kindness. By focusing on spreading kindness to kids and adults, their goal is to make our school a safe and caring place where everyone can learn and grow. At Washington, we've always 'Rocked Kindness' and now, thanks to Courtney, we rock it even more!" - Andrea Sadow, School Counselor, Washington School & The Primary Centers, Summit, NJ

"As the mother of a 7-year-old daughter and a professional who runs a social skills group for children with a variety of difficulties, I was thrilled to find an author of books with characters that my kids can relate to. They were ecstatic to meet the author of books they adore, and the lessons continue to resonate." - Meghan Corridan, Director of the Meeting House Juniors, New York, NY

"In high school, I was placed in a writing workshop with Courtney Sheinmel. To say she's a role model is an understatement. Let's just say, she comes into people's lives, and they are so much better for it." - Katie Hartman, student, Philadelphia, PA

When I was eleven years old, I enrolled in a Tuesday afterschool writing workshop, led by Courtney, which I took until I graduated from high school (and if I hadn’t relocated to another state, I’d still be in it). To this day, I’ve never encountered a teacher as compassionate, as kind, and as willing to go the distance to help her students achieve their dreams. Courtney’s presence in my life a true blessing. - Kai Williams, student, Middletown, CT

"If we have one complaint about Courtney's books, it's that we can't keep them in the library! Our librarians are always asking us to order more copies of THE KINDNESS CLUB and STELLA BATTS. Courtney's message of being kind in today's difficult world is one all of our students can relate to, and every day we can see their efforts to be kind and think of others." - Maria Small, PTA President, Old Mill Road School, North Merrick, NY

"After Courtney Sheinmel's first visit to our elementary school four years ago, we have invited her back every year. She stirs the kids' imaginations and inspires them to believe in the power of their stories. We have to keep ordering more copies of her books for our library and classrooms because they fly off the shelves!" - Melissa Eisenberg, Book Fair Chair, Scarsdale, NY

"When Courtney Sheinmel first visited my kids' school with the STELLA BATTS books, my daughter became passionate about writing. Now she has read every book on Courtney's backlist, she still writes her own stories, and she has learned to look for kindness opportunities everywhere." - Melissa Losquadro, PTA Recording Secretary, Hopewell Jct., NY

"My 4th grade son is usually only interested in sports books, but the Stella Batts series has him hooked! He still gets excited when he talks about Courtney's visit to his class. She clearly made a lasting impression." - Amy Bressler, parent, New York, NY

"Dear Ms. Sheinmel, Thank you for coming to our school and teaching me how to be kind. I love reading The Kindness Club. I will keep on thinking of ways to be kind every day. I hope I meet you again." - Margaret X., 2nd grader, Pine Plains, NY

"The assembly wasn't boring at all. It was a lot of fun and got to ask my questions. I loved it!!!" - Brody S., 3rd grader, New York, NY


Extras for kids and teachers

The Kindness Club Discussion Questions
How to Write a Thank You Note
A Few Really Good Reasons to be Kind
Classroom Kindness Ideas
Kindness Kit (including certificates, nametags, and a compliment list!)