Bring Kelly to Your School

With more than 25 years of experience in children's literature and publishing, Kelly is qualified to speak on a variety of topics pertaining to children’s writing.

"Visiting school, meeting students, teachers, librarians — readers — is the frosting on this writer’s life — and I love frosting!”  

Kelly Bennett is passionate about reading, writing, and creating, and she shares this passion in her lively, interactive presentations. Equally comfortable with large groups or small, she is happy to speak to as many students as can fit comfortably into the available space. She often gives presentations in the library or cafetorium.

During a full-day visit (at one school) Kelly makes up to four 40-55 minute presentations; up to two in a half-day. (One 30-minute presentation for Pre-K/K students can be added to each of these.) School Visit, workshop, conference, and evening program fees are available upon request.

Contact Kelly directly, or Emily at Children's Literature

Travel fees are based on airfare from Houston, Texas or New York, depending on which is closer to you!

If 3 or more schools in one district schedule visits in the same week, they are welcome to split a full-day. And share the travel fees!. 

Kelly tailors each presentation to suit the ages and interests of the students, in this way providing them the best experience possible. Therefore, it is best to group students according to grade levels.

Kelly divides her time between Long Island, New York and Houston, Texas, and places in between. Her schedule fills up early. If in your area, Kelly would love to participate in your event! Please check Kelly's Calendar for availability.

Supplies needed:

Equipment to support PowerPoint presentation and viewing screen, microphone, water, display copy of each book.

During each presentation, while highlighting a featured book or books, Kelly:

  • Encourages Storytelling
  • Shares Idea Starters
  • Discusses the Creative Process—including revising revisions!
  • Shows how books are made
  • Spills secrets from her books

Popular Presentations Include...

Playing With Words

Grades 1-8

During each lively, interactive presentation, Kelly:

  • Encourages Storytelling
  • Shares Idea Starters
  • Explores the Creative Process
  • Discusses How Books Are Made
  • Spills Secrets from Her Books

From Pet to Picture Book

Grades 1–8

In the beginning, there was a goldfish… Students will discover how a favorite pet inspired a story, and how that story became the picture book entitled NOT NORMAN, a Goldfish Story.  This presentation can be designed as a workshop for writing students of most ages.

NOT NORMAN: Fish & Other Pets

Grades Pre-K–1

“I wanted a different kind of pet. NOT NORMAN.” Utilizing her picture book, Kelly will discuss different kinds of pets—especially fishy ones—with very young listeners. The program is interactive with songs and movements.

VAMPIRE BABY: Truth about Biting Babies

Grades Pre-K-1

The true story of how a biting baby sister's own story--and big brother's misfortune--became a picture book entitled VAMPIRE BABY. The program is interactive with songs and movements.

DANCE Y'ALL, DANCE! Two-Steppin' through Texas History

Grades 3-5

In this lively presentation we'll explore how, inspired by her own family's Two-Step lessons, Kelly wove U.S. history, Texas symbols, and a quirky cast of characters into rhyming, rollocking picture book, Dance, Y'all, Dance. Which wasn't is, but--as we'll see when members of the audience join in to demonstrate Two-Step moves--sure is fun!

Picture Books are Like Icebergs—It's What You Don't See That Counts

A writing workshop. 

What is it about some picture books that make a child ask “read it again” and “again” and “again”? In the first part of this hands-on workshop we will dive below the surface of popular picture books to see what makes them stand out. Participants will develop a deeper understanding of how picture books work, components of successful picture books, and the surprise that makes a picture book special—knowledge they can use to strengthen and develop their own picture book manuscripts. Best as a half- or full-day session.

Writing for Children is Not Child's Play

Grades 5–adult

Workshops for older students, children's writers, and teacher in-service sessions focus on a variety of writing-related topics including: critiquing, finding your character's voice, finding the writer's voice, marketing your work and the business of children's literature. When appropriate, class and individual exercises are incorporated into the program.

Mysteries of Writing Mysteries

Grades 1–5

A 90 minute class-participation presentation during which students plot a crime, plant clues, establish motives and ultimately solve the crime while learning the fundamentals of mystery writing. At the end of the session, students will be encouraged to write the mystery the class plots or to create one of their own. This interactive format is appropriate for smaller groups. A 45-minute larger group mystery presentation, with limited audience participation, is also available.

Native American Culture, the Spider & the Trickster

Grades K–8

Utilizing slides, artifacts, and traditional Spider and Trickster legends featuring her multi-tribal collection, SPIDER SPINS A STORY: Fourteen Legends from Native America, Kelly Goldman Bennett shares American Indian culture with students. Local tribes and customs will be highlighted.

I appreciated all that you did to make the audience feel at home and encouraging the kids to interact with you and encouraging literacy. The world needs more passionate people like you.
— —Jeanie Garza, Corpus Christi Children's Book Festival

Kelly Bennett has been a featured speaker at SCBWI,  OWFI & AWP Conferences and Workshops, a contest judge, panelist, and critic. She has facilitated children’s writing retreats, full- and half-day workshops, and library seminars for a variety of organizations.

Fees for writing/writer events varies. Kelly is delighted to work with you to design a program specifically for your group.

Program lengths, presentation materials, and stories covered vary according to the age level of the audience. 


"Watching a Kelly Bennett performance is like homemade pie--warm, sweet, and wanting a second slice!"—Jeanie Garza, Children’s Librarian, Anita and W.T. Neyland Library, Corpus Christi, TX

“Kelly, Thank you for your grace and courtesy and love of what you do.  It shows in your interactions with everyone, whether it was a student, parent or random librarian.  Your love of reading, writing and kids was a beacon at assembly, and family night, you drew everyone in to your wonderful writing and stories.”Elizabeth Holloway, Kinkaid School Librarian, Houston, TX.

"Kelly, Your books are still wildly popular and there is a long list of students waiting to check out Vampire Baby!  What surprises me is that the older students (grades 3 and 4) are the ones placing that title on hold most often.  Your popularity and the impact of your school visit continues to have a ripple effect on our community of College Hills student readers."—Sally Smith, Librarian, College Hills Elementary, College Station, TX.

 "Kelly Bennett, picture book author and Terri Murphy, illustrator, inspired, led, pushed, pulled, and guided attendees through the process of developing a picture book from inspiration to publication.”  – Alice Brock, Review of BV SCBWI’s Not-For-Beginners-Picture Book Workshop

"I learned a lot about what picture books really are and about what my stories really are.  I came away excited and exhausted, and I've written a lot since then.” – Sam Pittman II, 4th grade teacher

"Best part for me was [Kelly's] technique of audience participation woven in.” —Sally Smith, South Knolls Elementary School Librarian, College Station, Texas