School Visits

Ed Kavanagh, photo by Rick WestEd Kavanagh's sessions consist of a vibrant storytelling session (where he draws on his experience as an actor), a question and answer period, and a selection of original songs and music which invite the children's participation. During the question and answer period the children get an opportunity to see the original drafts of Amanda Greenleaf Visits a Distant Star, as well as Janice Udell's early drafts of the drawings in Amanda Greenleaf and the Spell of the Water Witch. There is a lively discussion of the creative process: the children are shown that while writing is an enjoyable process, it rarely turns out perfectly in the first draft.

The children are also introduced to the enchanting Celtic harp. Ed gives a brief history of the harp, explains how it works, and then invites a number of students to play a harp duet with him.

Read an essay about Ed's adventures as a visiting author in the schools.


Grade Level: The general grade levels for Ed Kavanagh's visits are K-6. Grades 2-4 are most appropriate. Ed Kavanagh also conducts writing, drama or music workshops for all grades, with a special emphasis on grades 7-12.

Setting: A library/resource room is preferable. Gyms should be a last or only resort. Ed Kavanagh prefers the children to sit on the floor.

Numbers: The smaller the group, the better and more personal the session. This is especially true because of the "hands-on" style of the sessions, which includes the children's examination of story drafts and illustrations. One or two classes at a time is optimal; where this is not practical 80 should be the maximum number. Numbers higher than this can make the sessions counterproductive. Larger numbers are better divided into two sessions.

Length: Approximately one hour for grades 2-5, although more time may be required if the children have a lot of questions. For Kindergarten to Grade 1, 40-45 minutes is usually sufficient.

Cost: A single session is $175. Writing, music and drama workshops, depending on the length, may be more.


Writing Workshops: Ed Kavanagh conducts two basic styles of writing workshops for young people: (1) All members of one class attend, preferably in a library/resource room setting. Approximately one hour. (2) Only those students in a school who are especially talented and interested in writing attend. Again, a library/resource room setting is preferable. 15 maximum, preferably less. These students may be drawn from a number of closely related grades--7,8 and 9 for example. These workshops can be as long as a morning, but are at least an hour and a half. Both styles of workshops consist of writing exercises, discussions, technical matters and an in-depth analysis of the students' own work.


Writing Workshops for Teachers: Mr. Kavanagh also offers workshops for teachers on the teaching and encouragement of creative writing and drama. Any number of participants.


Music Workshops: Mr. Kavanagh is also available for workshops on songwriting, the guitar and the Celtic Harp. These workshops consist of talks, demonstrations and audience participation.



Because Mr. Kavanagh storytells Amanda Greenleaf Visits a Distant Star as part of his session, this book should NOT be read to the children prior to his visit. Amanda Greenleaf and the Boy Magician, as it is a sequel to Amanda Greenleaf Visits a Distant Star, should also NOT be read until after the visit. If teachers wish to do some preparation the children may read, or have read to them, Amanda Greenleaf and the Spell of the Water Witch--the second book in the series. But it is not essential to read anything before the visit. It is a good idea, however, to tell the students a little about Mr. Kavanagh. Biographical information can be found on the books, at his website (, and there is also an entry on Mr. Kavanagh in the Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador.


Some schools Ed Kavanagh has visited:
Brinton Memorial, St. Andrew's Elementary, St. Lawrence Elementary, St. Philip's Elementary, Vanier Elementary, Pouch Cove Elementary, St. Francis of Assisi, St. John Bosco, St. Matthew's, St. Theresa's Elementary, St. Peter's Elementary, Cowan Heights, Harrington Elementary, Immaculate Conception, Mary Queen of Peace, McDonald Drive Elementary and Morris Academy.

In addition, he has given readings in Corner Brook, Goose Bay, Labrador City, Wabush, Cartwright, Black Tickle, Davis Inlet, Postville, Nain, Marystown, St. Lawrence, Terrenceville and many other Newfoundland communities. He has also performed throughout Nova Scotia, New Zealand, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Ireland.

From The Northern Pen, Thursday, May 7th, 1996:
As part of Newfoundland and Labrador Library Week, the Character's

"Hundreds of young students in the region had their imaginations stretched to the limit last week as they were taken on a fairy tale adventure with Amanda Greenleaf." creator, St. John's author Ed Kavanagh, visited five communities in the region. During stops at Red Bay, L'anse au Loup, Cartwright, St. Anthony and Gunners Cove, Mr. Kavanagh gave a reading from one of three books in the Amanda Greenleaf series. In an animated and descriptive fashion, he held elementary-aged children spellbound for more than an hour... While the floor may have been uncomfortable for the young students, Mr. Kavanagh made them forget about their discomfort as he paced back and forth in front of the room, waving his arms, making strange faces and constantly changing the pitch of his voice as he told the story of Amanda and her trip to the Blue Star.

Following the reading, Mr. Kavanagh took time to answer questions from his fascinated audience....


Ed Kavanagh, Mount Pearl, NL, Canada    Phone: 709-364-6386   email