Engaging Families for Student Success

Author Visits in Chicago Inspire Young Writers

March 30, 2017

Auther Janet Nolan signing books at LEARN Charter School

Author Visits are a fundamental program of Turning the Page, and connect families to the authors behind award winning children’s books.

“Author visits are a very special part of TTP’s parent program for so many reasons,” Kylia Kummer, Managing Director at Turning the Page Chicago said. “These visits provide families with direct access to renowned children’s book authors and illustrators, which is an empowering thing—it helps build a broader sense of community by unlocking access to people and information.”

Janet Nolan, author of PB&J Hooray!, visited LEARN Charter School and Penn Elementary School this March.

PB&J Hooray! encourages readers to consider where their food comes from and takes you on the extensive journey peanuts, grapes and wheat take to become a PB&J sandwich.

“I love talking to students about my favorite subject, writing! School visits are a wonderful way for me to connect and interact with readers,” Nolan said.

Author Janet Nolan presenting at LEARN Charter School

While presenting PB&J Hooray! to families, Nolan shared the story of getting her first book published, which took years of determination and patience. She wrote dozens of drafts for multiple books before getting published for the first time. Nolan encouraged students to try, and try again when it comes to facing challenges like becoming a better reader and writer.

Nolan also spoke separately with parents to answer their questions about the writing process as well as nurturing a love for reading and writing in their homes.

“The questions the parents asked were challenging and insightful. I appreciate questions that force me to think, and the parents did not disappoint,” Nolan said.

At the end of the evening, each family received a copy of PB&J Hooray! signed by Nolan. Students and parents were excited to take the book home after meeting the author who created it.

Lolita Washington, a parent at LEARN, said “It meant a lot that she was there and that we got a signed copy of the book. From the parent discussion, I took away that it’s not just putting words together but thoughts and feelings that went into the book.”

Author Visits inspire parents to continue writing with their students. After the visits, here’s what books students said they wanted to write:

Art created by Sumner Elementary students inspired by their visiting author’s book Lion, Lion.

“I would write a book about a fox, my favorite animal, because I was one for Halloween.”
– Third grader at Penn Elementary

“I want to write a story about princesses because I love them.”
– First grader at LEARN Charter School

Turning the Page puts on Author Visits each year, giving families the chance to meet multiple authors and add signed books to their home library.

“I love seeing parents get so excited to share these books with their children,” Kummer said. “Especially after they’ve had the opportunity to engage in a robust dialogue with the visiting authors and illustrators and receive personally signed copies of the author’s book.”


Thank you to the following authors for visiting our Chicago partner schools this year!



View more photos from our author visits here.