Workshops and Appearances
Recent comments by elementary students:

“Last Friday I had a bunch of fun.  I loved all the books that you wrote.  I thought that they were very, very funny.”

“I learned the ‘dummy’ is a first rough copy.  I never knew you were supposed to do that. I liked it when you showed us the pre-copy.” 

“It was cool how we made our own books.  I want to be a writer when I grow up.”


Programs for Children

Length—30 minutes for younger audiences to 50-60 minutes for older children.

Size of Audiences—can address assemblies or smaller groups for workshop activities.

Make a Beast!  Paper Bag Puppets

I will read from Dear Miss Perfect:  A Beast's Guide to Proper Behavior, in which animals write in with their problems.  For instance the porcupine would like to know where he can find a dancing partner. Students will discuss what problems various animals might have, and then they will make their own paper bag animal puppets. Children can have fun describing their "problem" with their animal puppet (or "beast"!) on their hand.  Grades 1-4


Making a Picture Book

In my picture book, Dear Miss Perfect:  A Beast’s Guide to Proper Behavior, animals write in with their problems:  a porcupine would like to know where he can find a dancing partner; an elephant would like to know what to do with his trunk at the dinner table.  With slides and actual pieces of art I bring to class, I show the beginnings of this book, how it evolved, and how students can create their own picture book.  We end with each student creating a double-page spread for a book the class will put together.  Grades 1-4


Writing and Research:  How I Work

With slides, I discuss growing up in southern Ohio, the fossils in my backyard, and the remarkable Cincinnati Arch—a geological formation that has pushed up pre-dinosaur fossils, and how it informed my novel Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth.  Students will learn how writers use what they “know” and research what they don’t.  How they develop a character.  This will lead to writing exercises in which students investigate their own interests and begin stories of their own.  Grades 4-7

For a school visit, please contact Sandra Dutton by email:  sjsdutton@hotmail.com
or cell phone:  (207) 350-6136.

Programs for Adults

Formerly a professor of English at New York Institute of Technology, Dutton taught creative writing and literature courses, as well as a “writing for children” course for NYIT’s Continuing Education Department.

She was awarded three American Association of University Professors grants and the Award for Academic Excellence by the school’s honor society.


I Eat My Peas With Honey

A workshop for beginners on writing and/or illustrating the picture book and middle grade novel.  Plot, character, getting ideas, and how to submit work are covered.  Participants also do writing exercises. This is a “whet-the-appetite” workshop, pointing writers and/or illustrators in the direction they need to go to develop their own projects.  (3-4 hours)

How to Make a Picture Book

Using poems in the public domain, or the participants’ own poems/stories, create a storyboard, then begin construction of a dummy. Types of picture books, rhythms, page turns, and types of illustration are discussed. (3 hours)

Novel Workshop

Best for those with a draft under way—a sharing of the participants’ own sample chapters, discussion of processes, and what to do when
you get stuck. (a weekend workshop)

To set up a workshop, please contact Sandra Dutton by email:  sjsdutton@hotmail.com
or cell phone:  (207) 350-6098.

Sandra Dutton's books have been named to "Pick of the Lists' by American Bookseller, featured in Publishers Weekly, and have appeared on many "best books" lists.

She has taught both art and writing at the elementary, high school, and university levels.  Teachers like the way she can draw parallels between the writing and illustrating processes, showing the research and drafting that go into each one.

Dutton chaired the English Department at New York Institute of Technology, and her reviews have appeared in the New York Times Book Review. 
Sandra Dutton with 2nd Graders at Catskill Elementary School
Catskill, New York