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Ginjer L. Clarke writes fun, fact-filled nonfiction beginning readers about weird, wonderful animals. Her love for strange creatures started early, as the first story she remembers writing in the third grade was “The Strange Animal” about a small, pink-spotted imaginary creature called a Woofa. She loves that her job entails visiting zoos and aquariums, reading lots of books, and even watching TV for research. And she can work at home in her pajamas, which is a lifelong dream!
Ginjer’s books, most of which are part of the Penguin Young Readers series, have sold a combined total of more than 3 million copies worldwide. Her books Freak Out! and Gross Out! were on Publishers Weekly's 2006 and 2007 lists of top 100 best-selling children’s books. Her books have been favorably reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Horn Book, School Library Journal, and regional newspapers and magazines, and have been featured in Scholastic Book Fairs. Her book Platypus! (Random House Step into Reading) was awarded the Maryland Library Association’s 2005 Blue Crab Young Reader Award for Nonfiction and was selected by the National Science Teachers Association as recommended classroom reading.
Ginjer is an experienced and lively school, library, and conference presenter, who has appeared at more than 200 elementary schools, regional reading and writing conferences, statewide book festivals, many bookstores and libraries, and even a zoo. Her programs include engaging book readings, discussion of how she got started writing and got published, the process of how a picture book gets made including research and revisions, and writing workshops for older grades. She is a graduate of James Madison University and lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband, young son, and several silly-looking pets.
Animals Are Fun!
Ginjer reads short books, plays a true-or-false listening game, leads the kids in an animal pretending game, and gives brief information about her background and the book process. For grades K-1 (30-45 minutes).
This program has more discussion about the book process from concept to publication. It includes longer, selected book readings with background anecdotes, interactive questions, and a question-and-answer session. For grades 2-3 (45 minutes).
Let's Get Writing!
The same as the Really Reading program but with a fun 15-minute writing workshop and a more in-depth discussion of the research and revision processes. For grades 4-5 (45-60 minutes).
Ginjer will give up to four presentations of between 30 minutes and one hour per day for up to 200 students per session. For schools within one hour driving distance of Richmond, Virginia, the fee is $200 per session ($800 per day). Presentations within a two-hour driving distance are $250 per session ($1000 per day). Schools three hours or more from Richmond are $300 per session ($1200 per day) plus meals and accommodations, if necessary.
Young Authors' Club For wanna-be student writers, this program gives selected upper-elementary students an opportunity to spend time with the author in a more intimate setting to develop their skills. Building on the information they have already learned in the general session and the story starter they created, they will stretch their stories, add details and expressive language, and then experience the challenges and successes of editing to achieve better-quality writing. This program can be during school, after school, or a follow-up to a previous visit. Same fee applies for a single session depending on the school’s location.
Fees are subject to negotiation and change at the author's discretion. Appearance per diems at non-Virginia schools or conferences and festivals are variable, and travel expenses will be extra but reasonable. The author limits travel outside the mid-Atlantic region in order to be with her family but will consider special requests. She is also available to appear in conjunction with your school's book fair. This is a great way for kids to get signed, personalized copies of the books they have heard her read and for the school to raise funds at the same time. Schools can take pre-orders and purchase books directly from the book fair company or from the publisher at a discount and offer them for sale to students in advance of the author visit. Mrs. Clarke will sign books on the day(s) of her visit so students can have a special memento of the event.
Clarke launches a nonfiction series with an in-depth look at the Amazon rainforest. Faded map backgrounds, faux “taped-in” photographs, and pages marked with colored pencil create the feeling of an explorer’s notebook as Clarke walks readers through the history of the Amazon, threats like deforestation, and the animals and humans that populate it; noting that some 500 tribes live in the Amazon (and not all of them communicate with outsiders), Clarke introduces a handful of peoples, including the Yanomami, Matis, and Kayapó. The Amazon itself is enormous (“almost as big as the United States”), and Clarke capably covers substantial terrain in this book, too, making it an asset for readers looking to learn about one of the world’s most vibrant and important regions—or as Clarke puts it, a “crazy, cool, and crucial habitat.” Ages 8–12. (Sept.)
Thank you so much for your wonderful presentations last Friday! The children are still talking about you and your books. I love it! And we have sold almost all of the ones left over from pre-sales. I am attaching thank-you notes from the second-grade classes. I think you also gave the teachers some good ideas. I wish you lots of luck and success. I will be looking for your new titles in the future!
Jennifer Stacy, Media Specialist, Patrick Henry Elementary, Arlington, VA
Ginjer fascinated our children at every level, K-5, with her descriptions of animals, her story of being an author, and some read-alouds that kept them hooked. I particularly liked the way she adapted each presentation to the grade level. The 5th graders were enthralled and even had a chance to do some writing themselves! Every presentation ended just early enough for Q&A which is so important to address and affirm the students' own curiosity. Thanks for the great time and the fresh appreciation you gave us of our wonderful animal kingdom.
Susan Holt, Reading Specialist, J.B. Watkins Elementary, Chesterfield, VA
Just a note to thank you for such a wonderful visit yesterday. The kids were so excited, and you did such a great job of talking to them and working with their enthusiasm. I have already sent out notes to my colleagues about how great your visit was, and I look forward to having you back in the future. Thank you, thank you.
Anita Mays, Media Specialist, Baker-Butler Elementary School, Charlottesville, NC
I would like to thank you so much for coming to our school and presenting us with your book talk. Our children (and parents as well) were thrilled to have you visit us and were even more delighted to hear about all the fascinating animals in your books. The children loved the opportunity to ask you questions, and you were so gracious in answering all of them. Your lovely gift of your autographed books will be a great asset to our library. You were the highlight of our children's Book Week celebration! Thank you for sharing it with us.
Debbie Wilson, Librarian, Toras Chaim, Portsmouth, VA
You did a wonderful job; you really spoke on the students' level and were extremely patient with them! I think that your presentation was perfect for students in grades K, 1, and 2 and that your books are well suited to their interests and reading levels. I am recommending you to my colleagues in the county!
Wendy Collins, Media Specialist, A.M. Davis Elementary, Richmond, VA
Our October PTA meeting was greatly enjoyed by readers of all ages. Author Ginjer Clarke enthralled both youngand old with her nonfiction, colorful books on animals. She really seemed to capture the children's attention. I know she had mine. We learned unusual facts about animals we often hear about and some we've never heard of. She also took us through the steps of how a book is made. She is delightful to work with and very accommodating. Mrs. Clarke donated an autographed copy of each of her books to our own Pemberton library.
Corrine Cooper, PTA, Pemberton Elementary, Richmond, VA
The students and teachers are still talking about your visit to Twin Hickory. Many thanks for your very personal sessions with both the students and teachers. I found your in-service to be both informative and entertaining. Your handouts and tips about writing are very valuable and kid-friendly. I will certainly use them in my instruction. Thanks for sharing. The books you donated to our collection are requested almost daily. On behalf of our principal and our PTA, thanks so much for sharing your talents and your gift of books to our library.
Joyce Ricks, Librarian, Twin Hickory Elementary, Glen Allen, VA
PUBLISHED BOOKS Penguin Young Readers
Baby Alligator (2000, ISBN 0-448-42095-3)
Baby Elephant (2009, ISBN 978-0-448-44825-1)
Baby Meerkats (2010, ISBN 978-0-448-45106-0)
Baby Otter (2009, ISBN 978-0-448-45105-3)
Cheetah Cubs (2007, ISBN 978-0-448-44361-4)
Giant Lizards (2005, ISBN 0-448-43120-3)
Sharks! (2001, ISBN 0-448-42490-8) (level 1)
BLACK OUT! Animals That Live in the Dark (2008, ISBN 978-0-448-44824-4)
BUG OUT! The World's Creepiest Crawliest Critters (2007, ISBN 978-0-448-44543-4)
FAKE OUT! Animals That Play Tricks (2008, ISBN 978-0-448-44656-1)
FAR OUT! Animals That Do Amazing Things (2009, ISBN 978-0-448-44826-8)
FREAK OUT! Animals Beyond Your Wildest Imagination (2006, ISBN 0-448-44308-2)
GROSS OUT! Animals That Do Disgusting Things (2006, ISBN 0-448-44390-2)
MAXED OUT! Gigantic Creatures from the Past (2010, ISBN 978-0-448-44827-5).
Pouch Babies (2011, ISBN 0448451077)
WATCH OUT! The World's Most Dangerous Creatures (2012, ISBN 0448451085)
What's Up in the Amazon Rainforest (2015, ISBN 978-0-448-48103-6)
What's Up in the Gobi Desert (2016, ISBN 978-0-448-48104-3).
Platypus! (Step into Reading, Level 2, 2004, ISBN 0-375-82417-0)
Wild Dads! (Pictureback, 2002, ISBN 0-375-81449-3) out of print
Wild Moms! (Pictureback, 2003, ISBN 0-375-82205-4) out of print