Apr 30, 2012

Karen Pokras Toz ~ Guest Post about School Visits

Why I Love School Visits – by Children’s Author: Karen Pokras Toz

I’ve always loved kids, which is a good thing since I’m a children’s book author, and I have three kids of my own. But, I never realized how much I LOVE kids until I started doing school visits recently. 

What started out as what I thought would turn into a promotional tool to sell more books in my Nate Rocks series, actually turned into heart-warming and eye opening experiences. 

Over the past several months I have met with different groups of children in kindergarten through 4th grade. I know how difficult it can be for me to keep the attention of my own children, and so to be honest; I was not sure what to expect. Boy was I pleasantly surprised!

Not only were the children interested in hearing what I had to say, they were interested in learning about all aspects of writing and publishing. They had so many well thought out questions and suggestions. At one point, I almost hired one of them to be my publicist! 

After we finished our Q&A, it was time to get creative. Let me tell you - these kids impressed me so! In several sessions, the children drew their own adventures and told stories, just as Nate Rocks does. The imaginations of these children were incredible. They even gave me some great ideas for future Nate Rocks adventures. In other sessions, we did story building and problem solving. Again, I was so impressed by these children. All of them!

Never stop encouraging your children to be creative – the smiles and glimmers in these children’s eyes as they made up their own drawings and stories were priceless!

To get a glimpse of some of the kids and their artwork, please visit my website: http://www.karentoz.com/meet-the-kids

Get your kids excited about reading! Award-winning children’s author is excited to announce the release the second book in the Nate Rocks series: Nate Rocks the Boat .


With fourth grade finally winding down, 10-year-old Nathan Rockledge is looking forward to a fun and relaxing summer at home with his friends. That is, until his mom decides he has to go to overnight camp with his annoying older sister.  When his best friend Tommy decides to tag along, Nathan thinks maybe his summer won’t actually be so bad. After all, he does get to be away from his mom's awful cooking for an entire six weeks.

Amongst Color War competitions, a flaky counselor, and a bully named "No-Neck,” Nathan turns to his trusty sketchpad, transforming himself into Nate Rocks: 10-year-old extraordinaire. His speedboat ready for action, Nate saves the day time and again from the perils of floods, snakes, ghosts, and even the most wanted criminals.

Join Nathan, Tommy, Abby, and a whole new cast of characters as Nate Rocks once again proves nothing can hold him back in this second book of the Nate Rocks series.


“Welcome, Hawks. I’m Matt, your counselor. I’ve been coming to Camp Spring Ridge every summer since I was your age. This is a great place, and it’s my job to make sure you boys have the best summer ever.” Matt looks up at the sky as the wind rustles through the papers on his clipboard. “Now, before it starts raining, let’s see if we can get through some of the camp rules.”

“Rules? We don’t need any dumb rules! It’s summer!”

I look over toward the sound of the husky voice to see a boy who looks more like he’s Abby’s age than my age. He also appears to have arms as big as my thighs and no-neck. I’ve never seen anyone without a neck before. I’m sure it’s there somewhere. It’s just that this kid’s head is enormous. I am in the right bunk aren’t I?

Matt doesn’t seem disturbed by the outburst as he continues right along. “The rules are only there to make sure you have the most fun possible while staying safe. We wouldn’t want anyone getting hurt...or worse.”

Worse?! Tommy and I look at each other. I turn around to scan the dirt road. Dad must still be at Abby’s bunk. If I left right now and ran, I could probably get there before he and Mom leave. I’m sure Mom would take me with her to see Grandma once I explained about how dangerous it is here at camp. She’s always saying we don’t get to visit with Grandma enough. Or I could just stay at Tommy’s house. I’m certain Tommy would follow me if I took off running. But what if they were already gone? Then I would have to return to my bunk. I could already hear the other kids laughing at me as the camp director returned me to the Hawks.

“Okay,” Matt starts, holding down the paper on his clipboard. “Rule #1: Always listen to your counselor—he’s the coolest guy here.” Matt starts laughing, but quickly notices no one else joins in. He clears his throat and continues. “Rule #2: Stay with your bunk at all times unless you have specific permission to go somewhere. Rule #3: Lights out at 10:00pm. Rule #4: When it’s our turn to have kitchen duty, everyone must participate, and the most important rule—Rule #5: Stay out of the forest! Look, you guys are old enough to hear this, so I’m just going to tell it to you straight. The forest may look cool, but it’s big and dangerous. Every summer, one or two campers decide to wander in there, and the same thing always happens. They get lost. The camp has to call in a search party with dogs and the whole bit. If you wander too far in, you might run across snakes or even coyotes and wolves. So do yourselves a favor and stay out!”

I look around the table to see everyone staring at Matt... even No-Neck.


Karen Pokras Toz is a writer, wife, and mom. Karen grew up in Orange, Connecticut and currently lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and three children. In June 2011, Karen published her first middle grade children’s novel for 7-12 year olds called Nate Rocks the World, followed in 2012 by the second book in the Nate Rocks series, Nate Rocks the Boat. Karen is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI).


Facebook: #/karenptoz
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** I will be posting a Review of Nate Rocks the Boat on May 1st for this promotional tour.  To read my Review of Nate Rocks the World, Click HERE.  To read my son's review of Nate Rocks the World, click HERE.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Susan - I so appreciate you having me on your blog today!!


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