To keep the visit engaging, I decided to not just read poetry to the kids, but to illustrate it LIVE so they could watch me draw along with hearing the words, and bring the words and images together to their funny 'punch-line' conclusion. Thanks to the magic of Skype Desktop Sharing, the kids were able to see me draw on my tablet even as I spoke to them on Video. The school librarian later sent me the following testimonial:
"Vikram's presentation via Skype was excellent! Our 300 students in grades one through five sat enraptured during his time with us and were inspired to ask him lots of questions. He focused on his experiences as a poet for our "Poem in Your Pocket Day" assembly and was both funny and completely on target. I had at least a dozen of our teachers tell me how wonderfully perfect they found his presentation to be."
-- Primary School Teacher Librarian, Washington International School.
The visit was a great success and I am going to be doing more such Skype visits, especially as I feel I can create a unique poetry + illustration experience for the kids and hopefully inspire them on two fronts.
If you know of a school that would like to invite an author/poet/illustrator for Skype visits, please let me know.