I’m a former elementary school teacher who loves sharing my picture books with children. I have given visiting author/illustrator residencies at hundreds of schools throughout Minnesota, the Upper Midwest, and internationally.
Residencies can last from one day to over a week. During a typical one-hour presentation I talk about the various stages in writing a book, from rough draft to finished manuscript, stressing the importance of revising. I also include some storytelling as well as on-the-spot drawing. If desired, I can work with individual classrooms where I get the students started on a creative writing/illustrating project of their own.
I have presented to groups of 200 and larger, but I prefer presenting to smaller groups of 100 or less, which better facilitates interaction with the students. I am able to perform a maximum of four to five presentations a day; each presentation can be up to 45–60 minutes in length.
Please contact me for my speaking rates, availability, and any other questions you have. I’d love to visit your school!
While I love interacting with students in person, a virtual visit might be a better fit for your school. I’ve conducted classroom and grade-level presentations using Zoom and Google Meets, and created individualized YouTube videos for library storytimes and writing residencies. I’d be happy to work with your school to create a virtual visit that works for your needs.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.
Comments from Past Visits
“Our Virtual Visit with David was phenomenal! He was able to engage the students with writing and illustrating through video lessons using humor and entertainment. Throughout his lessons he made the students feel like they were in the room with him. He was able to interact by asking a question and then pausing and affirming their silent responses. Students excitedly awaited the release of each new video. If an in person visit with David is not possible, a Virtual Visit is the next best thing!” (Brenda Dahl and Beth Gotz, first grade teachers, Champlin-Brooklyn Park Academy, MN)
“I have seen many children’s authors working with elementary school children in my twenty-something years as a teacher and administrator. David LaRochelle tops the list. His interactions with children, charismatic personality and enthusiasm kept our students so focused and excited during the time they spent with him. Having an author who can talk about writing, editing, planning, thinking and also illustrating is a special experience. I think every child took something away from the sessions with David that will help them to develop their own writing. In addition I was impressed by how hard David worked each day when he was at our school. He is tireless and was keen to spend as much time as possible interacting with students.” (Frances Lond-Caulk, elementary school vice-principal, International School of Beijing)
“After David visited our school I could fill up pages of quotes from both teachers and students sharing how much they loved his presentation! A few things that I heard were, ‘That was the best author we have ever had by far!’ ‘Our students (preschool kids) have never sat that quietly for that long! They were mesmerized!’ and from a student: ‘When is David going to come back? I miss him already!’ I would agree with each of these statements wholeheartedly! It was a joy to have David here. The students were engaged for the whole 45-minute presentation. He included many opportunities for student participation, he had everyone laughing, smiling, and even moving! As a librarian, I found setting up everything with him was wonderful and easy. David was always quick with replies, flexible, and even made a special keepsake bookmark for our students! It was a very special experience for our students and I would highly recommend David LaRochelle as an author visit to anyone!” (Katie Merulla, teacher librarian, Echo Hill Elementary, Marion, IA)
“If you are looking for an author who will inspire your students and staff, David LaRochelle will do just that! His presentations are fun and engaging and he knows how to respectfully manage large groups of kids. I listened to 4 presentations in a row and each time I was captivated by his storytelling and illustrating, and by the excitement of the kids in the audience! We were also lucky enough to have David lead writing workshops in individual classrooms. After his lessons my kids were actually excited to add details to their stories. It has been a week now since his visit and students and staff are still talking about the impact his visit made on them.” (Bobbi Tracy, second grade teacher, Crivitz Elementary School, Crivitz, WI)
“David weaves stories in a fresh, funny and entertaining way. He held the attention of 150 kindergarten and first graders, followed by 150 second and third graders, meeting with three groups of 75 fourth, fifth, and sixth graders. He held them in the palm of his hand. Many turned out with their parents for a book signing at the local bookstore that same night. Each book signed is a work of art. We hope to have him back again!” (Ann Reynolds, teacher librarian, Crestview Elementary School, Clive, IA)
“David LaRochelle’s author visit could not have been better. From the extra care he took to send his introductory letter to teachers and the delightful bookmark he created for our students, to the amazing way he had students from kindergarten to fifth grade enthralled, he was simply outstanding! Many teachers made a point to tell me his words were just perfect for their students. His books are constantly checked out—a true measure of his success!” (Carla Larsen, media specialist, Red Rock Elementary, Woodbury, MN)
“I have been in and around international schools for over a decade (either as a teacher or as a mom or both!) and David LaRochelle’s presentation was by far the best I have ever seen. He knows exactly how to talk to children and how to keep them focused and interested. Best of all for teachers, he touched upon the main points that we emphasize over and over again with our young writers—keeping notes, doing multiple drafts, adding details, making revisions, asking a peer to help—the list goes on. David has reinforced our teaching in a way I have not yet seen from visiting authors.” (Ruth Fawcett, third grade teacher, Anglo-American School of Russia, Moscow)
“David LaRochelle’s visit to our school was magical! His books provided a rich vehicle for library lessons in preparation for his visit. Meeting the creator of those books was a dream come true for our primary students. His stories and drawings captivated and delighted students and staff alike. His gentle affirmation of student answers set the tone for a presentation that both encouraged and honored creativity, all the while respectfully acknowledging the hard work that it takes to persevere through many revisions. Students took his advice to heart: many parents reported that David was the talk of their dinner tables that evening, and teachers were impressed with how many students followed through by writing and illustrating their own books. David made us believe that we all can be authors and illustrators!” (Susan Richardson, media specialist, Sunnyside School, Red Wing, MN)
“The teachers couldn’t say enough wonderful things about David! As one teacher put it, ‘He even had the kindergarteners!’ When David was teaching, the students in grades K through sixth were mesmerized.” (Christie Walter, Title I reading teacher, Horizons Elementary, Appleton, WI)
“Listening to David LaRochelle, I felt like one of the students. He captured the attention of all of us as he turned foolishness into fantasy. He made us laugh, listen, and learn as he entertained us with pictures and words. What a gift he was to all of us. When my fifth graders returned to class, we spent time writing in our Writer’s Workshop journal using inspiration gained from our time with Mr. LaRochelle. The students asked, ‘May we draw, too, and use the whole page like David said?’ I knew then that he had made a wonderful impact on all of us!” (Paula Zotalis, fifth grade teacher, Faribault Public Schools, MN)
“David LaRochelle captures the attention of his audience with his ‘down to earth,’ calm, gentle nature. His respectful affirmation of student ideas provides an environment that encourages students to think, imagine, and create.” (Audrey Webster, second grade teacher, Lake Ripley Elementary, Litchfield, MN)
“Simply put, David was the best Author Visit we have hosted. He mesmerized both students and staff with his presentation style, and we were all taken by his genuine warmth and the attention he gave to students.” (Brendan Bogart, principal, Lincoln Elementary School, Alexandria, MN)
“David carefully explains all aspects of writing a story and getting it published, yet is careful to explain the struggles he himself has encountered as a writer. Parents and students comment year after year about what a memorable and inspirational experience it was to have him work with our students.” (Margot Brooks, third grade teacher, Turtle Lake Elementary, Shoreview, MN)
“David brought an engaging educational experience to all of the students at our school. His former experience teaching at the elementary level, combined with his captivating storytelling talents and artistic abilities made his visit worth every penny! I highly recommend inviting David to your school; students and staff alike will be inspired and delighted by his visit.” (Jenny Hill, media specialist, St. Michael Elementary School, St. Michael, MN)