Eileen is an experienced and popular speaker and has presented for schools, conferences, libraries and writing groups.
Many of Eileen’s workshops can be modified for your group and the age range of the participants. Examples of her workshops include:
- Author Presentation with Question and Answers: Eileen discusses her writing process, the path to publication and reads from her books. Questions are encouraged.
- Writing Fun: Designed for schools and classrooms, this workshop includes a range of writing exercises to encourage creativity and jump start participants own stories.
- Using Humor in Your Writing: Practical techniques for writers to use humor in their writing. Suitable for non-fiction or fiction writers.
-Conflict Resolution Turned Upside Down:Turn conflict resolution techniques upside down to increase the tension and conflict in your fiction.
- Psychology 101 for Fiction: Psychology theories, such as Stages of Change and Emotional Intelligence are used to increase more fully develop characters and deepen the conflict in a story.
The hosting organization needs to provide microphone/sound amplification as needed for the room and audience size, a table to hold Eileen’s notes, and extension cords to reach outlets. Dependent on the workshop Eileen will provide a laptop computer and will require a projector for a Power Point Presentation.
To be negotiated. Please contact Eileen with details regarding the number of participants and if you are looking to arrange a single workshop or a full day of presentations.
If required, travel costs and expenses will be charged.
For Teachers and Educators:
A teaching guide for What Would Emma Do is provided below as a PDF document.
Teaching Guide: What Would Emma Do?
• In What Would Emma Do? the worst thing someone could be accused of was being a terrorist, in The Crucible it was being a witch, during the McCarthy hearings it was being a communist. What is the worst thing someone could be accused of in your high school? Why?
• Emma kisses her best friend’s boyfriend. Emma describes the kiss as “a case of lip hit and run.” Is it ever okay to kiss a friend’s boyfriend/girlfriend? Could you ever forgive someone who did this to you?
• Emma has a lot of questions for God. If you could ask God a question- what would you want to know?
• In Chapter 14 Emma lists the lies she believes adults tell teens. What lies would you add to the list? Why do you think adults tell these lies?
• When she’s stressed Emma goes for a run as a way to cope. What are other ways to cope with stress?
• In the book Emma is very disparaging of how some people use religion as an excuse to be cruel to others or to exclude people. What other examples are there of religion being used for bad instead of good? Why do you think this happens?
• When Colin and Emma were young everyone assumed they would be a couple. Even though Emma doesn’t want to date Colin, she still has mixed feelings about him and he certainly has confusion about her. Why do people sometimes not want to date someone, but still want that person to want them?
• Emma makes the decision to apply only to Northwestern University because she is afraid that if she doesn’t take the risk by applying to only one school then the universe won’t know how serious she is about her goal. Do you understand how she feels? Why or why not?
• Emma can’t wait to leave her small town. Her mom couldn’t wait to get back. What are the advantages and disadvantages of living in a small town versus a big city? Which would you prefer? Why?
• Joann and Emma have been friends for a long time. Emma feels that they’ve grown apart and want different things, but she can’t imagine not having Joann as a friend. Do you think they’ll be friends after Emma moves away? What about five years later? Do people outgrow friendships? Is it worse to be the person who does the “breaking up” with the friend or the friend who gets let behind?
• Fear makes people in the book leap to judgments about other students. Are there other examples you can think of where people have made decisions based on fear instead of fact?
Activities and Projects:
• National Geographic has an interactive website where students have the opportunity to become the accused during the Salem Witch Trials. http://www.nationalgeographic.com/salem/
• Write a letter from the point of view of Joann, Colin or Darci, explaining the events that occur during the book. How does this point of view differ from how Emma tells the story?
• The end of What Would Emma Do doesn’t detail what happens next. Write the next chapter of the book, does Todd forgive Emma? What happens between Emma and Joann? Does Emma get into Northwestern University?
• What Would Emma Do looks at how mass hysteria could happen in a high school. The website http://kwhaley.20m.com/masshysteria.htm has a “web quest” to explore mass hysteria. Participants have a chance to examine other instances where mass hysteria has ruined people’s lives and compare them to the tragedy of the Salem Witch trials. Participants act as journalists and write articles to expose injustice. “Through accessing primary and secondary sources and talking to experts, you will use the webquest to find and compare the causes and effects of The Salem Witch Trials, the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, the McCarthy Hearings, and the Robert Roberson child abuse case. When you have completed the webquest, you will see that mass hysteria is still very much alive more than 300 years after the Salem Witch Trials.”
• This website has information about the Salem Witch Trials. http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/salem/salem.htm After you’ve had a chance to read this material, hold a trial for Darci who is accused of lying to avoid getting into trouble. Assign individuals to play Darci, Emma, and other characters from the book that may be called as witnesses, lawyers to represent Darci, prosecuting attorneys with the rest of the group acting as the jury. Is what she did ever justified? Why or why not? What punishment do they see as fair/appropriate?
• In What Would Emma Do, Emma creates food baskets for the poor and feels that there is nothing “good” in them. Have your school organize drive to collect clothing, books, school supplies for a homeless shelter. Or organize a toy drive during the holidays making sure there is plenty of “good stuff.”
About the book:
While juggling friendship issues (her best friend isn’t speaking to her), a love triangle-turned-square (okay, maybe she shouldn’t have kissed her best friend’s boyfriend…but it was totally an accident!…sort of), and escalating mayhem in her small religious town (uh-oh…what would Jesus do?), Emma realizes she has to stop trying to please everyone around her and figure out what she wants for herself. It’s time to start asking, “What would Emma do?”
Praise for What Would Emma Do?
“Sassy and sly and sweet all at the same time, this book made me laugh out loud.” –Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries and Airhead
“Not since Judy Blume’s Margaret introduced herself to God has there been such a funny, genuine, conflicted, wanna-be-sorta-good-maybe-later girl as Emma. Cook’s tone as she takes on the big ones—life, love, faith, and friendship—is pitch perfect.” –Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Midnight Twins and The Deep End of the Ocean
“Smart and fun and full of heart.” –Sarah Mlynowski, author of Bras & Broomsticks and How to Be Bad ??
“Emma Proctor is the only person in her small town with big dreams of leaving. Even worse, she slipped up and kissed her best friend’s boyfriend, who was also her good friend. And when members of the popular clique begin fabricating stories of drug poisonings and place the blame on the school outcasts, Emma is one of the few people with proof that they are lying. Now she must make some tough decisions: Will she risk her track scholarship and ticket out of town to do the right thing? And will her friendships survive this drama? Cook keeps this book fresh with her smart and sassy protagonist. While some of the plotlines are predictable, Emma’s moral struggles and subsequent questioning of her born-again faith are touching and sincere. Fans of chick lit will appreciate this book.”— School Library Journal Jessie Spalding, Tempe Public Library, AZ
About the Author: Eileen Cook spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer. When she was unable to find any job postings for world famous author, she went to Michigan State University and became a counselor so she could at least afford her book buying habit. But real people have real problems, so she returned to writing because she liked having the ability to control the ending. Which is much harder with humans.
You can read more about Eileen, her books, and the things that strike her as funny at eileencook.com. Eileen lives in Vancouver with her husband and dogs and no longer wishes to be anyone or anywhere else.