Professional Critiques


For aspiring Kidlit writers I offer manuscript critiques based on the guidelines, fees and structure offered at SCBWI conferences.

1. I critique:

  • nonfiction picturebooks - submit full text 
  • nonfiction chapterbooks - submit proposal and/or first chapter 
  • nonfiction middle grade - submit a proposal and/or first chapter 
  • fiction picturebooks - submit full text


2. For all submissions, limit submission to 10 full pages (note, for middle grade, this usually means submitting either the proposal or the first chapter).


3. For format guidelines, use "From Keyboard to Printed Page" from SCBWI.  

What you receive: 

1. A written critique using the SCBWI Gold Form which includes all of the major categories an agent/editor would consider. 
2. Comments written on the manuscript. This does not usually include extensive line-editing, rather it provides suggestions and examples. 
3. A 20-minute follow-up Skype or phone conversation.

Fees and Timeline:

  • The fee is $45.00.
  • You will receive your critique from 1-3 weeks of submission. 


2017/18 Fees


Large Group Presentations
  Full Day = $1,300

Educator and Writers' Workshops
  3 hour = $800          6 hour = $1,500

  Plus travel expenses from Ardmore, AL.

Virtual Visits

  45-60  minutes = $300

  Available through iNK Think Tank via CILC

  https://tinyurl.com/h7erred 

  Search for "Heather L. Montgomery"

 

Brief, free, Q&A virtual visits may be available for classrooms who have read one of Heather's books.

Presentations are adapted to the needs of the audience. Signings available after the presentation.


Need funds?
Try DonorsChoose.org

Check out the Grant Wrangler website.
If you are in central Alabama, look into mini-grants http://birminghamaudubon.org/grantsscholarships/mini-grants-program/

Or, contact Heather.


Educator Workshops


A Wild Discovery: From Reluctant to Ready Readers, Writers and Researchers
50 minutes
(Elementary and Middle School Educators)

Web-shooting worms, bomb-dropping sea life, leeches up the nose? Nonfiction author Heather Montgomery shares strategies and informational texts that capitalize on the wackiness of nature to hook the reluctant. Turn on their curiosity, expand their passion for inquiry, and set them loose into the land of discovery!


Reading, Writing and the Environment
1-6 hours
(Elementary Educators)

Learn hands-on activities that incorporate literacy into science curriculum!  Nature journaling, word sorts, metaphor madness, fold-a-poem, vocabulary games, … During this workshop, attendees practice strategies that improve students’ reading and writing skills while challenging their scientific thinking. Learn to launch inquiry-based science activities with recommended picture books.


 Other workshops available upon request.

Writers' Workshops


Natural Inspirations
1-3 hours, 10-30 students
(Grades 3- Adult)

Exploring their environment, participants nature journal and discover new worlds through the use of specialized magnifiers. They hone their observation skills and play with literary devices such as metaphors, alliteration, and onomatopoeia.  Descriptive writing becomes fun because they are inspired. This workshop will be held outdoors when possible.


From Trivia to Timeless: The Big Idea in Nonfiction
50 minutes
(Professional Writers)

Winning nonfiction goes beyond fantastic facts to help the reader connect with a timeless, universal theme and a "big idea." In this workshop, attendees will compare texts; explore their personal concept of universal and timeless; plus, practice wrestling with facts to support different themes and big ideas.


Nonfiction: Your Path to Publication?
50 minutes
(Adults)
Are you curious? Do you enjoy learning? Non-fiction may be your ticket into the publishing industry! Learn how to find work, please editors, write for niche markets, explore the world of educational publishing, build your credits and create other revenue streams!

Large Group Presentations

*Correlated to the Common Core State Standards, the Next Generation Science Standards and Alabama Course of Study


Don't Get Duped! Animal Cheats and Deceits
(Grades 4-8)
A bird that cries wolf, a wasp that zombiefies roaches, a firefly femme fatale… the animal world is teeming with trickery and deceit – engaging examples motivate students to analyze sources of information, consider motivations, and make informed decisions. 


Burp and Slurp: Write it RIGHT! Right?

(Grades 3-8)

Do you have students who can't get started writing? Students who hate revision? Tracing Heather's nine year process to publish a picture book, they'll learn that first drafts are vomit on the page. Writing it "wrong" is all a part of the process. Then they will play with voice, build their confidence, and actually have fun with revision.


Mysteries & Methods

(Grades 4-8)

Science detectives track down answers to nature's mysteries -- poop-shooting caterpillars, freaky frogs, brain-slurping bugs -- or at least they try. Students "get" the scientific method as they engage in a mystery themselves. They pose questions, make hypotheses, examine experiments, analyze data, experience surprise!


Wild About Research!
(Grades 4-8)
Presented with wacky animals and stories of hands-on research -- in the form of a snake dissection -- students discover the fun side of research. They get their hands on nature artifacts and develop their own research questions. (Limited to 150 students per group.)


Wild Discoveries!

(Grades 2-8)

Hot pink millipedes, slime-shooting worms, see-through frogs... glimpsing into scientists' journal entries, students make their own wild discoveries through careful observation and descriptive writing!


Asking Questions - Seeking Answers
(Grades pK-3)
Faced with bizarre bugs and anomalies from nature, students practice their observation and thinking skills. This fast-paced session will have them buzzing with questions. Curiosities will soar!


Write Like a Scientist
(Grades 2-5)
How does a scientist think? How do they discover information? What kinds of questions do they ask? Do they write too? Students will trace the development of one of Heather's works, inquire about the science, and discover the parallels with the writing process.


Dirt Detectives
(Grades 2-4)
Inspired by the detective aspect of science, students will get their hands dirty observing, comparing and contrasting soil samples. They will practice using precise language and domain-specific vocabulary. Discovering the mineral components, they will thrill at making face paint from soil!


Extension
(Grades K - 8)
Classes which have participated in an in-school presentation or workshop are invited to call/Skype/Google Talk in for follow-up time with Heather. Content may include discussion of the students’ writing, additional writing activities or follow-up to exercises presented during the school visit.

Presentations & Plans


Energy. Passion. Excitement. A dash of humor. A sprinkle of yuck-appeal. And a smattering of artifacts (fossils, snake skins, tree guts). 
That is what you'll get with Heather's programs & lesson plans.


"Heather is a female version of Bill Nye with the energy of Richard Simmons." - Fyffe School Media Specialist

Click on the video to hear about Heather's visits.

Scroll down for descriptions, fees and lesson plans.

​​Heather L. Montgomery                                                                                

Heather L. Montgomery                                                                                

​​Heather L. Montgomery                                                                                

Presentation Prep







Nonfiction Monday blog (a round up of recent kidlit nonfiction):
https://nonfictionmonday.wordpress.com/

Melissa Stewart's Celebrate Science blog: 
http://celebratescience.blogspot.com/

Links you might like:


Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (largest professional organization for kidlit wiht a searchable author/illustrator list):
www.scbwi.org​


Kim Norman's Authors By State Listing:
http://authorbystate.blogspot.com/

Lesson Plans

Science and Language Arts. Many are correlated to Common Core State Standards Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects and Next Generation Standards. 














Writing Activities to Extend Learning!

Note: Some of these activities are also a part of the curriculum at  McDowell Environmental Center.











Videos

Energize your nonfiction text features lesson plan with these videos.  Several videos include challenges for students to apply their knowledge using one of Heather's books. 

NOTE: these are unscripted, unedited and off-the-cuff teaching.