Tracy Barrett was a pleasure to work with. Our students read The 100-Year-Old Secret as part of a One Book/One School program. They were extremely excited to meet the author! Her assembly about the writing process gave students an idea on how to begin writing and how to keep writing, even when discouraged. She accommodated our every request and was very gracious throughout the process. We encourage anyone to have her visit their school—she is a wonderful author and a precious human being!
—Joanne Jachimiec, Nancy Young Elementary School, Aurora, IL
Resources and information
We all know that many readers turn into non-readers in middle school. Here are some tips to help keep them reading.
At St. Luke's School in Oviedo, Florida
I love to visit schools and libraries, and to speak at writers' conferences. For rates and availability, please write to me through the contact page. Information on how to find funding: here and here. Alexis O'Neill of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators has excellent advice on how to prepare for a school or library visit, and here's some great advice from a librarian, including how to fund the visit and how to prepare the students.
Tracy Barrett['s] . . . program was delightful, as was her interaction with the students and staff.
Five Reasons Why Kids Should Meet One of Their Favorite Authors
Some easy ways to find an author or illustrator near you: the Speakers Bureau of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and author Kim Norman's state-by-state guide to children's authors who do presentations.
Kim Norman's terrific post "Tips for a successful author school visit" will help prepare everyone for a great day.
For further information on me and my books, a sample contract, book-order forms, and more, please write to me through the contact page.
There were approximately 250 4th and 5th graders in the large-group presentation, and Tracy held their attention beautifully. She also spent time autographing books and visiting classrooms to chat with students and teachers. She handled each setting and situation with flexibility, humor, and grace.
Tracy was very well-prepared, having carefully worked out the details of her visit with me ahead of time. It was a pleasure working with her. Her visit to our school was a truly memorable experience for our students and staff.
–Mrs. Susan Schulert, Librarian/Media Specialist, Mt. Juliet Elementary School, Mt. Juliet, TN
With IRA co-panelists Rebecca Barnhouse and Ruta Sepetys at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, IL
Now available for virtual visits
See this article
in Education Week about the benefits and popularity of virtual school visits.
I enjoy communicating with my readers and answer all emails sent to me through the contact page
. Minors must use a parent or guardian's email account. They may use their own only if a parent or guardian has access to it. (Please remind your kids that they should never communicate with an adult, even an author who has visited their school, without your knowledge and supervision!)
Most of my novels and some of my nonfiction works have been designated as AR books
, and Lexile scores
have been calculated for all my novels and one nonfiction book.
Our students had a wonderful author experience with Tracy. The school media specialist held a "book tasting" before Tracy’s visit, which helped familiarize the students with the author’s work and build excitement. After Tracy’s presentation, the students were eager to get their books signed and to take photos with her. She was very patient with everyone, and she answered all of the students' questions. Her kindness, talent, and capability made for a great event!
–Joanna Roberts, Teen Librarian, Nashville, TN Public Library
Materials for Teachers
I've created class activities (see downloads and links below) for most of my novels. This material is copyrighted, but teachers and media specialists may make enough copies for classroom use with students without permission. Please write to me via the contact page for permission to use it in any other way.
I would appreciate feedback and suggestions for more activities. Please note that I did not write, commission, or have any input into the curriculum guide or trivia quiz for Anna of Byzantium, or the materials about On Etruscan Time listed on that book's review page.
We are so fortunate in Nashville to live in such a literary town, and that includes local author Tracy Barrett! She came to speak about The Song of Orpheus to our 6th graders just as they were preparing to study Ancient Greece. They love myths, and I watched some students who were literally on the edge of their seats, Tracy was so engaging. The students were intrigued by the inspiration for the obscure myths included in the book as well as learning about her writing process. Tracy was so easy to work with and made herself accessible by being prepared with a writing activity and offering a followup Skype session with students. Grateful we had the opportunity to host her!
–Robin Coutras, Rose Park Elementary School, Nashville, TN
Lesson plans, quizzes, crafts, resources, and more
Teachers and parents, please use the contact page
to request answers to the quizzes and exercises, and with any questions or suggestions.
Researchers in the UK are investigating the benefits to children on the autism spectrum of studying ancient myths. Read about it here
Essay and project ideas
for The Stepsister's Tale
A wealth of information about Classical Girls
A short video 3D reconstruction of the Palace of Knossos
, where Ariadne and the Minotaur lived. And a slightly longer one
A short video
showing an imaginative reconstruction of life in Minoan society, including bull-leaping and the explosion of the volcano-island of Thira.
Scholars think that ancient Greeks might have been inspired by two different locations on the island of Crete to come up with the idea of a labyrinth
Did the ancient Greeks and their neighbors practice human sacrifice? Some evidence
suggests they might have, and it might have been during a shamanistic ritual, as in Dark of the Moon
A live-action trailer
made by a film student!
Scholars debate about whether there ever was a Trojan War
, and if so, when it took place
. Some scientists use astronomy to find an answer
Have archaeologists discovered remains of the palace of Odysseus
? Some people think so!
Even some of the most fantastical parts of ancient epics often have some basis in fact. What could possible be fact-based about the witch Circe turning men into pigs, a famous episode in Homer's Odyssey
? Find out here
A fascinating article
about the discovery and excavation of a Mycenean Greek tomb, from around the time in which the Iliad
and the Odyssey
are set, from Smithsonian.com. Long and detailed, but not hard to follow.
For the Greeks, few of whom-like most ancient peopleever ventured far from home, the Trojan War must have seemed like a world war. Here
's a map showing where the main characters mentioned in the Iliad
A trivia quiz
for Anna of Byzantium
Also see the booktalk guide for Anna of Byzantium
in Lucy Schall's Booktalks and More: Motivating Teens to Read
, pp. 196-198.
A very creative school-created video
for The 100-Year-Old Secret
, and another one
from Xena's point of view.
The Sherlock Files activities
(created by the Indiana Library Federation). (55.5KB)
A terrific workshop
for young writers on writing mysteries by the great Joan Lowery Nixon.