For Teachers and Media Specialists
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.
Five Reasons Why Kids Should Meet One of Their Favorite Authors
I love to visit schools and libraries, and to speak at writers' conferences. For further information on me and my books, a sample contract, book-order forms, downloadable photos and posters, and more, please see the Press Kit page. For rates and availability, please write to me through the Contact page.
Information on how to find funding here and here.
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.
Alexis O'Neill gives excellent advice on how you can 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.
Questions? Write to me through the Contact page.
Tracy Barrett['s] . . . program was delightful, as was her interaction with the students and staff.
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
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 some nonfiction.
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 activities found on any of the external links.
The Song of Orpheus
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
Teachers and parents, please use the Contact page to request answers to the quizzes and exercises, and with any questions or suggestions.
The Stepsister's Tale
Researchers in the UK are investigating the benefits to children on the autism spectrum of studying ancient myths. Read about it here.
Dark of the Moon
A 3D reconstruction of the Palace of Knossos, where Ariadne and the Minotaur lived.
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.
But some other scholars think there never was anything remotely like a labyrinth in Knossos.
Did the ancient Greeks and their neighbors practice human sacrifice? Some evidence suggests they might have, and it might have been part of a shamanistic ritual, as in Dark of the Moon.
King of Ithaka
Excellent suggestions for using current events for discussion and/or paper topics when studying the Odyssey.
Quiz: Which character from the Odyssey are you?
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 possibly 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.
Some of the places mentioned by Homer remain unidentified, but the best guesses (and the sure bets) are included in this interactive map of Odysseus's travels.
For the Greeks, few of whom (like most ancient people) ever 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 came from.
Written for academics but very accessible, this article discusses the Odyssey's portrayal of refugees and migrants.
Tracy Barrett came to our middle school to work with selected groups of our students. She was wonderful—her presentation was interesting and she had a lot of fun with our students. Tracy gave a lot of background information about writing in general and her novels in particular. She conducted writing workshops with each group that were age-appropriate. Tracy was a real trooper even when technology problems caused a major glitch in her first presentation. I would definitely recommend having Tracy come visit your school.
— Kathy Kelley, Head Magnet Middle School, Nashville, TN
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.