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Anna Olswanger

School Visits

Anna Olswanger offers a number of onsite and remote programs for schools. She can provide up to three programs a day, each about an hour (45 minute talk, 15 minute Q&A). Schools can choose from the following:

Writing Program
Anna discusses many important aspects in writing a story, including character development, setting, voice, plot, pacing, and how each impact the story. She also emphasizes the importance of rewriting and how students can view their own work with a critical eye.

Themes in Shlemiel Crooks
Anna can address some or all of these themes in Shlemiel Crooks: Passover in America, Family history versus Jewish history versus American history, Judaism and Jewish traditions, the serious side of humor, Jewish humor. the meaning of religious freedom, and what a "modern" folktale is/is not. Anna also urges schools to consider licensing the musical play adaptation of Shlemiel Crooks and presenting it as a readers’ theatre production while she is at the school. She leads the students in a discussion of the similarities and differences between the book and the musical.

Themes in Greenhorn
Anna can address some or all of these themes in Greenhorn: what life was like for Jews in America during and after the Holocaust, the feeling of not being able to fit in, the meaning and value of friendship, the many forms bullying takes, how others perceive us, how we perceive ourselves, the age old question of "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Anna also screens the 25-minute film adaptation of Greenhorn and asks students to discuss the differences between the book and the film.

What Agents Look For
Given her experience as a literary agent, Anna talks about what agents are looking for in a book, a few of the differences between publishing houses and what writers can expect from both agent and publisher. Again, she emphasizes the importance of rewriting before and after submitting the work to an agent, and rewriting further once a book is accepted by an editor.

The "Who Am I?" Program
Anna talks about her background, her childhood, and how she came to want to write children's books and what drew her to becoming a literary agent. She talks about her family history research that led her to write Shlemiel Crooks, why she chose to write a picture book based on what she learned, and how the musical adaptation of the book came about. She also talks about why she chose to co-produce the film adaptation of Greenhorn, and can screen the 25-minute film.

For three programs, Anna charges $750 plus expenses (usually gas mileage, train or airfare, meals, and the performance rights fee to screen the film). She lives in the Metro NYC area and is on the New Jersey Transit and Amtrak train lines.

Zoom or Skype Chats
Anna also offers free Zoom or Skype chats of up to 45 minutes to schools. When scheduling a chat, please allow 10 to 15 minutes prior to the chat for a test run, which would take place just between Anna, the teacher or librarian, and the school's tech person if one is available. The test run is to make sure all the equipment is working properly and the lighting in the room is optimal. For the Q&A portion of the chat, please have the students prepare in advance a list of questions for Anna to answer. The size of the group is only limited by the available technology. A large group is possible if the school has a Smartboard or Activboard or some other means to project the images onto a large screen. A small group is better if a desktop screen is used. Please contact Anna with any questions and, if you know approximately when you would like to book her, offer her a few choices in dates and times to consider and mention which time zone your school is located in. Anna is in the EST zone.

For more information about the books, contact the publisher NewSouth Books. For more information about the film, contact TMW Media. For more information about the musical play, contact Drama Source. Contact Anna by email.