Emma Larkin, is the founder of “Emma Larkin Books”. She is the author of the unique Irish sporting-themed children’s books, the “Izzy’s Magical Adventures in Sport” series.
There are three Izzy books in the series, “Izzy’s Magical Football Adventure”, “Izzy’s Magical Camogie Adventure” and “Izzy’s Magical Christmas Adventure” which are written by Emma Larkin and illustrated by Paul Nugent.
A fourth Izzy book, “Izzy’s Magical Soccer Adventure” is on the way in Autumn 2022.
Author Visit – Contact Emma on [email protected] for details of availability.
The “Izzy” presentation is most suitable for children in First and Second Classes.
A different workshop around “Twin Power : Throw In” is more suitable for 4th and 5th classes.
I have visited schools using Zoom and it works really well. I can also visit in person now that Covid restrictions have been lifted.
If the visit is via Zoom, then it is live on Zoom, not pre-recorded. Students can see me on their smart board screen, and I can see them via a desktop computer/camera usually.
I do an introductory call with the teacher a few days before hand and explain how it all works.
I sent a complimentary copy of each Izzy book to the class along with a bookmark for all the children. I also send on colouring pages from the Izzy books which the children can colour.
Introduction and Presentation
I start the visit by introducing myself, I try to be full of fun energy, and ask the children to cheer if they love reading! Then I ask for a cheer while I call out various activities/sports. I hold up some props like hurleys, footballs, basketball. This is all to relax everyone and create a friendly fun environment.
Then I explain to the children that I am going to show them some photos about my book and myself. I share the screen and go through some slides about me, how I work and a quick overview of my book. I sent this to the teacher in advance so that he/she knows what it is all about.
Q&A with the children around what they are reading and why they like reading. Also, what sports/ activities they like playing and why they like playing sport (If they are not into sport, what hobbies they have, what they like doing, etc). I always stress that sport does not have to be competitive, and that there is both a book and an activity for everyone.
A reading from “Izzy’s Magical Football Adventure”, “Izzy’s Magical Camogie Adventure” or “Izzy’s Magical Christmas Adventure” – with pauses for the children to ask questions or comment on the story.
I will have slides of all the illustrations while reading it which I share on the screen.
I have some slides also with book recommendations for the children and I chat a bit about how brilliant libraries are.
Finish up with 10-15 minutes of questions from the children.
Presentation usually takes around 45 minutes.
As I mentioned above, my new longer chapter book, “Twin Power: Throw In” was published by O’Brien Press in March 2022. It is suitable for age 9/10 plus, so 4th – 6th class. I am currently developing a workshop around this, with similar themes to what I have described above, but more suitable for older children.
There will be more talk about fairness and equality in sport and life, discussing the pros and cons as perceived by the children of boys and girls playing sport together, the proposed amalgamation of the GAA/LGFA/Camogie association, and getting them thinking and talking about equality.
I will also be very much promoting reading and suggest that they read books about topics that they like, even if that’s starting off reading the sports pages in the newspapers.
O’Brien Press have created a teaching guide for Twin Power which is available here
If can be nice if the children can wear a jersey for the visit or sports top of some sort, it can help them to talk about what sport they like. I wear a jersey and Izzy jacket as well to the talk.
Sometimes, the teacher will have asked the children to write a few lines in advance about their idea for an Izzy adventure or a drawing of Izzy on an adventure. Then the children can share their stories/drawings with me. Alternatively, I can do a quick creative writing piece with the children, where I show them how to structure a very easy story, and how to create their main character and plot. This is with the aim of getting them thinking of what they would like to see happen in their own story.