I like to think I’m a walking advertisement for the value of a liberal arts education. I constantly learn new stuff about the world, and relish the opportunity to pass along this passion to students by showing them that good nonfiction is as compelling as fiction. And my broad publishing background qualifies me to speak intelligently about virtually any form of writing.
What they say about my visits . . .
From the moment nonfiction writer, Jim Whiting, stood in front of my 5th grade students, he completely captivated them! It was a rich, varied presentation that had them sitting on the edge of their seats the entire period. He relayed his story of how he became a writer, reading excerpts from his books, showing visuals, and telling the stories behind writing them, all with a keen sense of humor. He also showed them how to improve their writing from ordinary to interesting.
The students who earned “Lunch with the Author” with Mr. Whiting were delighted with his encouraging comments on their written stories they had submitted earlier to him.
In short, Mr. Whiting’s visit was a highlight of my students’ 5th grade year and a day I’m sure they will never forget. I am making plans to have him return next year.
– Sherry Edwards, North Hill Elementary
A charming and inspirational teller of true tales, Mr. Jim Whiting kept our students captivated with facts old and new. Editing and researching have been elevated to an art form for our students as a result of Mr. Whiting’s shared insights, and the Common Core expectation of 50% or more nonfiction reading is not a problem. Mr. Whiting’s books are never left long on the library shelves.
– Martha Miller, Beaver Valley Elementary School
We really enjoyed having Jim Whiting visit Haines. Living in a small town in Alaska and being so far from everything, it is a rare treat for the children here to meet a real, live children’s author. They were so interested to hear how he has written and published so many books! The second graders were especially fascinated with the Scary and True series, and the middle schoolers enjoyed hearing about Edgar Allan Poe. Jim spoke to so many different classes and groups while he was here, from 8-year-olds to teenagers to adults at the library at the evening program, and he kept his presentation fresh and alive for each new group. I know because I attended every talk over the two days he was here, and it was fun and interesting for me each time to hear him share. He takes facts and makes them into true stories kids and adults enjoy reading, and he has a great story-telling style. I recommend Jim Whiting as a great author to have for your next author visit!
– Holly Davis, children’s librarian, Haines, Alaska
Jim Whiting did a great job talking about how he gets his ideas to write, what he does to make an assigned topic interesting, and the importance of rewriting. The 40-minute assemblies zoomed by. I had many requests and holds for his books, which the students wanted to check out at once. The hook had caught them. What a delight! I highly recommend Jim Whiting for your next author.
– Rebecca Pierce, Manchester Elementary School librarian/media specialist
The students in our middle school enjoyed having Jim Whiting as a visiting author. He met with students in a variety of settings including a one-on-one video interview by the VTV class which was later shown to the entire student body, a large discussion group (across grade levels) targeting aspiring writers who were interested in asking questions about the writing process, and an in-class working session with students involved in the editing of their own writing. Jim is knowledgeable, interesting, and adept at addressing middle school students.
– Susan Shira, middle school reading specialist
- Karen Kline, Sunset Elementary
My presentations fall into two categories: content and craft. Content emphasizes the pleasures of reading nonfiction. Craft offers proven suggestions to improve your students’ writing. My goal in both categories is to make learning fun. So I call my craft presentations playshops rather than workshops.
Many teachers express their appreciation for my emphasis on the important of rewriting. It’s especially useful for students to see the amount of rewriting that my editors ask me to do.
5th Grade Social Studies Learning Standards
I have an ever-increasing number of presentations to complement your in-class work on the American Revolution. They are based on my own books, numerous titles I’ve edited, and my considerable reading and research in this fascinating era. I’m happy to work up others by request.
"Jim's presentations on Revolutionary War 'grunts' and Paul Revere took our previous learning of the era to uncharted waters. Our knowledge of the time period was given a gritty personal example to make meaning from, and even challenged our ideas about what role Paul Revere truly played," said a teacher.
6th Grade Social Studies Learning Standards
I have written or edited dozens of books about ancient civilizations—Rome, Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, Persia, China—and especially Greece, which I’ve visited on numerous occasions. It's likely that these presentations will encourage students to learn more about the people and events I describe, and prompt numerous reports.
Here are a few samples. As a research junkie, I'm happy to work up any others you might wish.
What students say
Thank you for coming. It was great! I liked it when you were talking about how to be a writer. You were a great storyteller. I hope you come again. – Dakota
You are one of the coolest people I ever met. I hope you write lots of interesting books in the future. You should come to this school yearly. – Thomas
I thought you did a great job when you were reading your books. I love your scary books. I have read all of them. – Katavia
I hope you can come again. You are the best! – Connor
I enjoyed your writing techniques. I learned many things while you were here, like how to write a biography. – Jordan
I really think your writing is awesome. I think you are the best writer in the world. I have read a lot of books and so far I think you should get an award. I think you should come near year. – Katie
I really liked your books. I would of bought 1,000,000 books if I could. You are the nicest author I ever met. Everybody liked you and I really hope you can come again. You have a big heart. – Rachel
I loved to hear you talk about the things you do. It made me want to be a writer! – Hanna
Thanks for coming to our class and telling us about writing. I hope you come back. – Jesse
You are the best speaker I have ever seen. There wasn’t one time where I ever got bored. – Kyle
I loved how you made a boring story into an exciting one and draw the reader in! – Savannah
You rock!! – Kaylee