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Visits to your program or school


For seven years I was an early literacy home visitor with the Cambridge, MA Public Schools and now I’m a visiting children’s book author with the Somerville Family Learning Collaborative, the early childhood and family engagement hub for the Somerville, MA Public Schools. I love doing events with young children, their parents or teachers, or children and adults together!

Visits might include:

  • Interactive reading with ages 0-6 using my Small Talk Books®, followed by book extension activities such as making sock puppets for Red Socks, pet fish drawings for A Fish to Feed, play dough from scratch for Cake Day, and story character paper dolls for Rosa’s Very Big Job.
  • For older K-2 children, extension activities such as bookmaking activity to learn about the special way in which picture books are made in picture book publishing. (Lots of teamwork is required!)
  • For parents, caregivers, teachers and early childhood providers, sharing research-based tips on reading aloud and early language development, using text and pictures from my Small Talk Books®.

If you are interested in a visit, please send me an email.

My Event Scrapbook

My first bookstore reading

“We were very pleased to host Ellen Mayer at the Harvard Coop today — her books A Fish to Feed and Red Socks were a big hit with our storytime crowd, in no small part thanks to her lively reading and experience engaging with a (very) young audience. We look forward to her forthcoming books!” — Hannah, Children’s Book Department at The Harvard Coop, Cambridge, MA, August 22, 2015


Decorating cakes on a school visit

“Our Primary Multiage students were visited by children’s book author, Ellen Mayer. After reading two of her wonderful books to the students, Rosa’s Very Big Job and Cake Day, she introduced an art activity to the group based on one of her books. The students were excited and quite engaged in the activity. Thank you Ellen for visiting our school.” – K. Ryan, art teacher/librarian at Sandwich Central School, Sandwich, NH, September 15, 2016

A national early literacy campaign uses Red Socks

Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of the Clinton Foundation and the Opportunity Institute, teams up with a host of partners to turn “wash time” into “talk time” at Laundromats in underserved communities across the country to build early literacy – and the campaign uses Red Socks!  Illustrator Ying-Hwa Hu and I had a great time reading with families at the Laundry Project’s Free Laundry Day in Tampa, FL on August 13, 2016. We also made sock puppets! Click here to learn more about the “Wash Time is Talk Time” campaign.

Watch Quack Quack, THE MOVIE!


(With special thanks to
Cornelius Van Wright)

Watch a video about our visit!


Talks to parents and grandparents

Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA hosted me in two presentations. The first, “What can you do with a board book? Some ways to share a board book with infants and young toddlers (0-2 years)” was part of a program for new parents in August, 2015, “Beyond Goodnight Moon: Why, how, and what to read to your baby.” 

The second presentation in July, 2016 was on the topic “Tips for Grandparents on how to build the language of infants and young children.

Talks to providers

“Author Ellen Mayer visited ReadBoston today and talked to Parent Literacy Leaders about writing and publishing children’s books. Thanks for the wonderful presentation!” –Anna Adler, Senior Manager of Literacy Programs, ReadBoston, Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, Boston, MA, March 16, 2017


“Thank you so very much for sharing your wisdom and experience with staff and parent groups in your presentations on early language development using your Small Talk Books® picture books. You were a ‘spot on’ visitor to our Minute Man Arc Early Intervention Program last week. You truly are enlightening and inspirational.” – Gale Ann Merle, Staff Parent Group Leader, Minute Man Arc Early Intervention, Concord, MA, November 2, 2016

Visiting children’s book author

As visiting children’s book author to the Somerville Family Learning Collaborative in Somerville, MA, I joined their joyous End-of-Year Family Celebration on May 17, 2017

Book signing bashes

With a crew of fellow kidlit authors, I signed books at The Writers’ Loft Holiday Bazaar and Book Fair in 2015 and 2016, at Jeff Kinney’s An Unlikely Story Bookstore and Café in Plainville, MA

Afterschool projects

“Harvard researcher and children’s book author, Ellen Mayer, visited the Center last week! She read Cake Day, and afterwards we had a blast coloring our own cake creations inspired by the story! We thank Ms. Mayer for spending time at the CCC and sharing her wonderful books with us.” – Annie-Eliza Stevens, Cambridge Community Center newsletter, April 4, 2017

Playing with a playgroup

“A wonderful morning with our visiting author, educator Ellen Mayer. She shared activities and her two board books with us at our last Shutesbury Playgroup for the school year. The activities showed us ways to have fun with language!” – Gillian Budine, Community Network for Children Program Coordinator, at Shutesbury, MA playgroup, June 3, 2016

Launch of new picture books

“We recently hosted the launch for Ellen Mayer’s new books, Cake Day and Rosa’s Very Big Job. It was a great event for the kids and adults alike. Ellen really engaged the kids by asking them to act out the motions in the book, such as stirring and shaking, while the characters made a cake. What a fun way to spend the morning, reading with kids.”— Kim, Children’s Book Department at The Harvard Coop, Cambridge, MA, September 10, 2016


Stir, Shake, Wait.

photos by Joseph Borkowski

Fun and learning in a family childcare

“As an early childhood educator and a parent I am excited about Small Talk Books®. Not only do the children in my childcare love all four books, but the books provide modeling within the stories and useful information on building language skills in young children for both the parents of the children in my childcare and myself! The series is appropriate for children across a range of ages – I serve children from 3 months to 5 years and there is a book for everyone.” – Andy Lesser-Gonzalez, Owner & Lead Teacher at Panda’s Playcare Family Childcare in Roslindale, MA

Fairies love books

At a Barnes & Noble, Burlington, MA reading of Rosa’s Very Big Job, a fairy visited, September 11, 2016

photo by Malcolm Pittman

photo by Malcolm Pittman

Conference Fun

At the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter meeting in Boston, MA in January, 2016 illustrator Ying-Hwa Hu and I signed copies of our book Red Socks and got to hang out with Star Bright Books’ Jiyoung Ahn and Deborah Shine.


And of course we wore our red socks!

At the International Literacy Association (ILA) conference in Boston, MA in July, 2016 Dr. Betty Bardige, author of Small Talk Books® parent notes, and I had the opportunity to chat with professionals about how they might use the series in their work as librarians, teachers and early literacy providers.

And at the Massachusetts Reach Out and Read Conference in May, 2015 I met Clifford, the Big Red Dog.

Photo by LaDawnna Sparks

Photo by LaDawnna Sparks