Child’s Play – Performing for Children (Part Three)

This post is the third and final part of an article first published in WQ August 2010 – a publication of the Queensland Writers Centre. You can read Parts One and Two on the links below.

Part One – How to Establish Connection (Tuesday, 5 October)
Part Two – How to Maintain Interest (Tuesday, 12 October)
Part Three – Question Time (Tuesday, 19 October)
Part Four (NEW) – Other Authors/Illustrators Share Tips & Tricks (Tuesday, 2 November)




Question Time:

When asking questions, specify ‘hands up’ so you aren’t bombarded with kids calling out. When it’s time to move on, make sure hands are down again, so as not to distract you and other students.

Vary your questioning. And give think time to encourage more students to respond. Don’t always ask the first hand-up. (It may be the same student each time.) School yourself not to respond to the question/answer of a child who calls out.

Common questions asked by children:

    Where do you get your ideas?
    How many books have you written/illustrated?
    How long did it take you to ‘make’ the book?
    How old are you?
    Which is your favourite book?
    What do you do if you don’t know how to spell a word?
    Will you marry me? (Yes, I really have heard that one – though it’s not so common.)

To speak in Queensland schools, authors and illustrators require a Blue Card, issued by the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian. For details and to apply, visit:

Author talks may at first seem daunting, but they are a celebration of what we do best – writing and illustrating for children. Share your passion and engage more kids in this magical world of literature.



Kathryn Apel is a  teacher and children’s author. Kat has attended author talks with her  class and organised whole school (Prep to Yr 10) participation in the  Curtis Coast Literary Carnivale. As an author, Kathryn has conducted  talks face-to-face in schools and at writing events, and via Katherine  School of the Air, and Eluminate Live online.

Kathryn is willingly available for author talks. Click on the Kat to School tab above – or on this link – for more information.



  1. Again, great advice, Kat.
    I can add another question, ‘How much money can you get from being an author?’
    I answer ‘Not very much money at all, but I’m wealthy in other ways – lots of friends who love books too, lots of ideas in my head to write stories and lots of children who love reading my stories.’
    The kids probably think I’m nuts.


  2. Great series of advice. I think that line: Author talks may at first seem daunting, but they are a celebration of what we do best – writing and illustrating for children will stay with me always


  3. Hi Sarah, L’Aussie and Jenny. Thankyou for dropping in to say hi. (And you’ve reminded me that I should be doing something on my blog about the platform building crusade. :\)

    Aah yes – the money question… And that one doesn’t just come from kids, does it? Though with adults, I think there is an assumption that writers are making heaps of money from their books. Alas, truth is stranger than fiction.

    Thanks for visiting – and commenting. 🙂


  4. Pingback: Child’s Play – Performing for Children (Part Four) « Kathryn Apel

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