Character Education, Health, Storytelling
Costs are dependent on the duration and nature of the Author Visit. This can be discussed with each school as visits are requested.
School Author Visits
While just recently published the first book in the series in May 2022, Parmesan Pig goes back 7 years. When my daughter Jane (now 9 years old) was a toddler, she had a stuffed animal she nicknamed Parmesan Pig. Two years later, in 2018, our whole family (wife Lauren, son Connor, daughter Jane) were playing on a vacation beach and nicknamed a crab Coconut Crab. And from there, it was on! We came up with about ~30 more food-animal combinations that day. It was so fun, that I felt compelled to create a universe for these characters. I wrote through the night for 3 straight days. But, at the time, that’s all it was, a cute little story for my family. I read it to my kids before bed, but I wasn’t an author, and it wasn’t a ‘book’. Fast-forward two more years, now 2020, the organization I work for had a fun event where we were asked to share something special that we made/created. In that moment, I decided to just put this story out there for my company/colleagues. The feedback blew me away. Colleagues were adamant that I turn this into a real book. They gave me such a positive response, that I wrote another book, and another, and another. In total I have 5 stories of Parmesan Pig and her friends. In 2021, I decided to go for it and by 2022 I self-published the first book. In the fall of 2022 the second book was published, and recently in the Spring of 2023 the 3rd book came out. With this series, I wanted to prove to my daughter that you can turn dreams into a reality. But also, there was another motivation…
The Parmesan Pig Book Series:
The last few years have been especially difficult for children (pandemic, traumatic events within schools, etc). There’s a lot of talk about addressing mental health for children and I wanted to actively contribute. For my own kids, I wanted to write a story they could internalize… something that could help them navigate life as an adolescent. I wanted stories with social-emotional learning themes, that discussed the critical importance of friendships and support systems. My kids are great kids, and I want them to be helpers in this world – so that is the motivation behind the themes presented in this series. Be good to yourself, be good to others.
For context, professionally (and this is a mouthful), I am an Associate with The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Service Members, Veterans, and their Families’ (SMVF) Technical Assistance Center at Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA). I work closely with Veteran organizations across the country, behavior health specialists, and suicide prevention coordinators, to address the behavioral health needs of military and Veteran families. This profession deals with themes of wellness, mental and behavioral health, and peer support – all of which are core elements throughout the Parmesan Pig Book Series.
This books in the series is intended for readers ages 5-9, but I can tell you that older grade levels (6th-8th) during author visits have really taken interest as well, hearing about my author journey. Specifically in the first book, Parmesan Pig and her friends illustrate implicit themes of happiness, loyalty, depression, grief, health, compassion, and self-confidence. Throughout this book, students/children will see ways to equip themselves with strategies to achieve and maintain mental health. Also, they will see a friend (Parmesan Pig) who see opportunities to offer her support…and then steps up. I would also offer, adult readers have provided some of the most heartfelt feedback thus far, mentioning that it is a book that touched them deeply/emotionally.
School Author Visits:
Regarding a potential author visit, I am very flexible on the style. I have been to schools and gone from classroom to classroom covering up to 7 in a day for 25 minutes each – but I have also been to schools and have larger multi-class groupings come to a library where the session is 45-60 minutes.
The presentation of the visit is typically 4 parts.
1. Introduction: How I went from writing stories to creating books, how the the character names were invented with the help of my own kids, how these books are about important social-emotional themes.
2. The book reading (I’ll read 1, 2, or 3 depending on the time allotted).
3. Follow-up discussion and questions, done at an age-appropriate level based on the grade in attendance.
4. I bring in a large colorful poster of all 34 characters and ask the kids to guess the character names – and they light up! I have to save this for the end, because if I did it first, we would never get to the book reading 🙂
I would also offer that I have made pre-order forms for schools that can be printed 2-sided as an event promo on the front and order form on the back. As a self-publisher order the copies myself and sign them with a message specially to each student ahead of the visit, and then show up with all of them.
Detailed about the book series can be found here. The Website includes teacher/principal/librarian testimonials from author visits:
• Website: https://www.parmesanpig.com
• Instagram: @ParmesanPig
• Facebook: @ParmesanPig
Thank you for the time spent reading this note. I’m ready to make a difference in kid’s lives and share these stories.
12 Union Ave
Delmar NY, 12054