School, Library, and Community Programs

In Washington, DC

Praise for Terry’s programs

“Thank you so much for providing students with such a substantive experience. Your emphasis on human dignity and the power of stories is certain to make a lasting impression on their lives.” Janet Zwick, An Open Book Foundation, Washington, D.C.

“I began to see the U.S. from the Sudanese mother’s eyes.” Diversity Hiring Coalition of Maine discussion group member.

 “Like Viola I am an immigrant, and even after 10 years of living in the U.S. I find myself lost between cultures. I loved finding myself in Viola.”
Mt. Wachusett Community College (MA)  student

I welcome invitations from schools, libraries, and community organizations. I come to book clubs and ESL classes, and nonprofits.   I present story and writing programs as well as programs exploring the topics of my books such as “Be Free!” about a journey out of war and to the U.S.,  and “My New Neighbor.”  Tell me about the focus in your community and how my books and talks can best support you.

Here are some examples of school and library programs:

Be Free!   the Story of a New American Teenager

A Middle School, High School, College or Library program.  Through documentary photos, oral histories, reports of on-the-scene war correspondents, and readings from The Good Braider, I take students on the arduous journey of children and their families out of war in South Sudan.   The program offers the larger picture of contemporary displacement of populations and also offers the story of one southern Sudanese girl’s resilience as she navigates life in her new home, Maine.

Terry’s multi-media approach to sharing these difficult stories is both a celebration of the lives of young people who have grown from their adversity and a tribute to the creative and beautiful individuals who are living right in our midst in Maine.”
– Nancy Watson, Bangor High School Librarian

My New Neighbor – Especially for elementary school kids

Welcome to an interactive author program with reader’s theatre, movement, and writing!  The program features one of my picture books:

Josephs’s Big Ride, illus. by Ken Daley.  “A joyful upbeat tale that takes a positive perspective on an immigrant child’s first encounters.” Kirkus Reviews


Luis Paints the World, illus. by Oliver Dominguez. “To keep his army-deployed older brother close, Luis creates a mural capturing images of his Dominican family’s world…” * Starred review from the Bank Street College of Education.

“Luis Paints the World showed the children that immigrants and immigrants’ children  are just like them: they have favorite foods, and miss their brothers, and need to run away sometimes, and need to show everyone that the world is at home, too.” Mo Churchill, Children’s Librarian, Newport, NH

Finding the Dove: A Writing Workshop for Everybody 

Using poems and illustrated books as models for a memory story or a story to tell to a child, we’ll play with language and ideas.  Writers build vocabulary and fluency as they take steps to be the writers of their own books.   Includes a packet of handouts with writing prompts, writing tips, and a reading list of “Picture Books for Writers of all Ages.” This workshop is  suitable for all writers, including English language learners.

Extraordinary Journeys:  Bridges Across Cultures

As I researched my books,  I was drawn into  exploring the cultures of new Americans who have come to the U.S. as refugees and immigrants.  This is a multimedia exploration with readers and writers, high school to adult, on travels to explore these cultures.   We’ ll look at the many forms research can take, from travel, to listening, to recording personal narratives and music. I offer lots of ideas on ways to share stories among cultures in your community.

“My students felt Terry’s visit was one of the highlights of the course and that her presentation on the good braider gave depth and honesty and reality to the reading that they had been doing.”
– Cathy Eaton, English Professor, New Hampshire Technical Institute, Concord’s Community College

“Terry’s never-ending energy, patience, creativity and apparent love for passing on the gift of reading were clearly evident in her presentations. The knowledge she gave our girls will stay with them forever and hopefully will be passed on to their children, and continue for generations to come.”
– Director, YWCA Teen Living Program, Lawrence, MA

Terry didn’t have an agenda.  She told the truth.”
– Pam Chodash, journalism teacher, Oxford Hills High School, South Paris, Maine

Conference Talks and Keynotes

My conference presentations on diverse books and the literature of immigrants and refugees arise from the themes of my books and my projects with new American children and families. I’ve been a speaker for American Library Association, International Board of Books for Young People, National Council for the Social Sciences conferences, IRA, and writing conferences among others.

Mosaic – Our Characters in the World

“We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic,” Jimmy Carter writes of the U.S.  This is a talk about writing with authenticity across our cultural borders and honoring the cultural mosaic of the U.S.  Read the program description and find handouts here.

Illuminations: War in Children’s Lit

Braiding Lives Through Children’s and Young Adult Literature

Blog posts about some of my presentations

The Open Book Foundation in Washington, D.C.

My first school visit with Luis Paints the World

Ubuntu in Maine


Library programs or single class visits are $200.  School assembly programs are $400  – $500. Mileage is .55/mile.  Writer and educator Alexis O’Neil has good advice on identifying funding for author programs. Her post is here.

I also present programs in New Hampshire and Vermont through CLiF – Children’s Literacy Foundation, and am a New Hampshire Arts Council Arts-in-Education roster presenter. Both of these groups offer grants to bring writers into the classroom and for after school programming.  New Hampshire Humanities has a Quick Grant program that, among many benefits, supports organizations to bring speakers.

Other funding opportunities include partnering with local organizations or businesses that champion life-long education and family literacy. A Request for an Author Presentation is here: Request for Author Presentation . Complete and save the form and e-mail it back to me.