Simon & Schuster Partners with Ball State to Create Virtual Author Series
Simon & Schuster (S&S) Children’s Publishing and Ball State University (BSU) have partnered to bring S&S authors and illustrators into more than 30,000 schools across the country through live, interactive Web broadcasts. The new program, called “Electronic Author Visits” (EAV), will utilize BSU’s existing “Electronic Field Trips” program to allow students and teachers to interact directly with authors and illustrators through live video, discussion forums and downloadable learning activities. According to S&S, the program intends to feature authors targeted to all grade levels, from picture-book authors and illustrators to middle-grade and young-adult novelists.
S&S has formed a three-year agreement with BSU, and plans to host three EAVs each year. The program will launch on March 18 with Andrew Clements, the best-selling author of “Frindle” and “No Talking,” as the first EAV author. Other authors who have agreed to participate in the program include D.J. McHale, Margaret Peterson Haddix and Doreen Cronin. Teachers can sign up to participate in an EAV via the MyVisit Web site (www.BSU.edu/myvisit).
Each EAV will have several components, including its own Web site. The site will provide teachers with background information and interactive materials that can be used to help students prepare for the author’s virtual visit. S&S and BSU also will provide the featured author’s books to a select group of teachers to develop grade-appropriate activities for other teachers to use before the live broadcast. Finally, the live Web broadcast will be a 45-minute segment that includes a presentation from the author, a reading or excerpt from one of his or her books, and a question-and-answer session in which the author fields questions from the students.
“At Simon & Schuster we strongly believe that every student should have an opportunity to interact with our award-winning authors and illustrators—regardless of the school’s location or budget,” says Rick Richter, president and publisher, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. “We are extremely proud to partner with Ball State University on the MyVisit virtual classroom to bring this state-of-the-art programming to millions of children.”
Booksource has signed on to be the sponsoring book supplier for the program, and will assist participating teachers with book orders through a link to their Web site.