School Visits 2018/Fees for Visual Learning Workshops


In my Discover Your World presentation,  I introduce my nonfiction illustrated books, exploring global cultures through the lens of human commonalities — walls, immigrant stories, traditions for welcoming babies, and the daily life of children.The Visual Learning workshop engages students in the joy of learning about the contents of  books!

I will present up to four one hour workshops per day. I can tailor the focus of her workshops for individual schools by incorporating a curriculum connection (i.e. a country, region or continent, a subject such as geography, values such as friendship, cooperation, teamwork, or topics such as games, languages, homes or transportation.

School fees are negotiable:

Within Maine

within 60 miles of Winthrop — $800/day
more than 60 miles from Winthrop — $800/day plus travel and lodging

New England

outside of Maine — $1,000/day plus travel and lodging

Beyond New England

$1,000/day plus travel and lodging


Thank You BBIS

IMG_0490Thank you to the students and staff at the Berlin Brandenburg International School for a wonderful day on December 1st.  The 2nd-5th graders and I talked and asked questions about: walls, welcoming ceremonies,heroes, the editing process, anniversaries, teasing, architects, memorials, research, new ideas and inspirations.  The school asked me to sign their piece of the Berlin Wall.

Themes of Talking Walls


There are so many ways to study, read and enjoy Talking Walls. I have complied a list of themes and think it would fun for teachers and students to find the walls that  align with the  themes.   What walls are man-made? How may talk about architects?  How many hats are in the book?   What stories do the hats tell?

Let me know if you have another theme to add to my list!

  • Natural Walls
  • Man-made walls
  • World Heritage sites
  • decorated walls
  • memorial walls
  • architecture
  • religion
  • animals
  • emotions
  • languages
  • celebrations/anniversaries
  • mysteries
  • people
  • poetry
  • music/sounds
  • environment
  • hats/clothes
  • math
  • movement
  • food

OMG..Do they say that in France?


I asked a group of 5th graders to look closely at the faces of the four boys in the Lascaux Cave illustration. Then I  asked them to  think about how  the boys were feeling.  I asked the students if they  thought  as the group they could compile a list of ten words.  Surprised, wowed, scared, amazed were just a few and I added awed.

I then asked , “What do you think the boys could be saying?”  and one boy said, “Maybe the boy with the hand over his mouth is saying OMG.” Then he burst out laughing and looked at his teacher who was smiling. Another student wondered if they said OMG in France!


cropped-cropped-talking-walls-discover-your-world.jpgTalking Walls: Discover Your World

The jacket of this new edition shows the inspiration for the first book, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall,. In the fall of 1990, Margy Burns Knight heard poet Doug Rawlings, co-founder Veterans for Peace read his poem, “The Wall,” with these lines:

I kneel
staring into the Wall
through my own reflection
beyond the names of those who died so young

The idea grew from a few thoughts scribbled on a piece of paper to a book that has now been in print for more than twenty years, and its companion. Thanks to our thousands of readers, and to educators who have explored the concept of walls in their classrooms.

Since we created these books, the world has changed. There are new walls, such as the border fence between the U.S. and Mexico, and the separation wall that is also called a fence or barrier in Israel.

There have been changes to old walls. Some are deteriorating due to wear from the elements, pollution and too many visitors. Ten of these walls have been designated as World Heritage Sites, to preserve their history for future generations. The prison walls that confined Nelson Mandela on Robben Island are now part of a museum (which Anne Sibley O’Brien visited in 1998 on a trip to South Africa). As we write this, we’ve just received news that the Belfast Peace Lines may be taken down by 2023.

And there are new ways to tell stories. The original research for the first Talking Walls was done almost exclusively through books, magazine articles, and in-person interviews. Almost none of it was done online. Now, at the click of a key, more information about the world appears than any student could possibly use. How do we know what information is reliable?

With this new edition, we invite you to join us on an expanded journey to become citizens of our world. The more we learn about our neighbors, and ourselves across the street or across the globe, the more we find points of connection. We hope the stories in this book will inspire you to ask lots of questions find more information and discover more stories.
As we say to the students we meet, “Fasten your seatbelts! Here we go on a trip around the world!”

Margy Burns Knight
Anne Sibley O’Brien

Do you think anyone washes the wall?

mbk wall  Bjpg

Last spring I talked to a 5th grade class about the illustration and story in Talking Walls about the WALL in DC. We talked about Maya Lin and the polished granite and  since 1982 how so many  people have spent time at the wall.
I then asked the students if they had any comments  or questions and one boy told me he had a question. He was wondering if so many people visited the wall  and touched it with their hands and tears and then left things he thought the wall would be very dirty and wanted to know if anyone  ever washed it. I told him that no one had ever asked me that question before , but what did he think?. He was not sure and I told him it would be easy to find out, so I read this article: and  when I was in DC  on a sunny spring day I helped to wash the wall. It was an amazing, moving experience to  join other volunteers  not only to wash a national monument, but also  to meet  and talk to veterans and tourists who came to visit the wall that day.  I took pictures back to the 5th graders and thanked the student  for his question and reminded them they too could wash the wall!