For the last eight years, I have offered Family Nights and Library Events to schools I visit. I do this free of charge, giving schools the opportunity to share my program with their community. Students, teachers and their families are welcome. So, too, are School Board and PTO members, and anyone else the school wishes to invite. My program and drawing projects are geared to all ages, last about an hour and celebrate the work of my students.
Family Nights are offered to all schools scheduling two-or-more days, only on the night before the last day of the event. By this time, students have accomplished something which they are proud to display. I also, offer Family Night and Library programs to schools scheduling one-day events, if I am scheduled in several schools in the same community. This year, due to an increase in my own writing and illustrating projects, I’ll have to limit evening programs to two per week.
I prefer to schedule from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. allowing an hour for the program, and time after, to visit and view our artwork. I’ll have books and prints on display, to browse or purchase, with free bookmarks and autographs for all participants.
Setup should be in a comfortable location for the anticipated group size. Media centers are best for small to medium sized groups. Gyms are fine for large groups. Attendance has varied greatly, from 6 to 200 people, influenced by promotion, weather and other activities going on. Whatever the size group, we’ve all had a great time. It is gratifying to see parents and grandparents drawing with their children, often revealing talents, long set aside.
My needs are the same as for Assemblies and Workshops: a bright projector and large screen, with a quantity of white drawing paper – larger is better – and lots of sharpened pencils. Some schools coordinate with their PTO, to provide refreshments after the event.
Library Events follow a similar format, with a focus on literature, writing and library resources.
If my visit to your school coincides with a scheduled community event, I’ll find a way to participate. Last year, I shared programs with Rotary Clubs, School Board Meetings, Reading Councils, Historical Societies, and in Bangor, a Cinco de Mayo Celebration, I’ll never forget.
I welcome the opportunity to extend my work in your school, to your community.
“Having Tom Woodruff here as an illustrator really brought the books alive for children. He was absolutely the best presenter we’ve ever had in our series…I’m especially enthusiastic because he’s from Michigan and they’ve done so much research for these books.”
-Betty Antosiak, Media Specialist, Bloomfield Hills Schools – Detroit News