Workshops and Readings by
Marie Betts Bartlett,
author and illustrator of
The Little Yellow Trolley Car
Poppy's Purpose

The Little Yellow Trolley Car Poppy's Purpose

Readings and Workshops

Marie Bartlett comes to schools, community centers and other meeting places for book readings and classroom workshops. Below are descriptions of available formats and activities. Marie is also open to your ideas!

See what people are saying about these presentations and workshops!

Author Reading

Marie reads one of the books she wrote and illustrated and answers questions for a 20-25 minute presentation. Suitable for any size audience if a video projecting system and microphone are available.


Marie uses one of the books she wrote and illustrated in a variety of workshops as an effective platform for expanding and reinforcing literacy skills, artistic skills, historical knowledge and perspective.

These workshops are interactive, multi-activity and appropriate for preschool through grade six because they are tailored to meet age appropriate developmental and literacy needs. Workshops may be further tailored to meet the needs of a particular classroom.

Workshops can be given to a class as either a stand alone option or in a series of workshops offered on multiple days. Most workshops are 45-60 minutes, though teachers of older students may choose 90 minute sessions. Workshops for preschoolers are 30 minutes.

Workshop Topics include:

Author and Illustrator Experience

Workshop provides an interactive overview of why and how the author and illustrator created this book. This may include (depending on age group) discussion of the original idea, the writing (and rewriting) process, illustrative process, and book design, production and distribution. Students share their own work with the author.

Sounds in a Story

Workshop stimulates listening to sounds, generating words that represent these sounds and using sounds to enrich students' writing. Sounds from the book "The Little Yellow Trolley Car" launch the discussion, which then expands to other sounds in or out of the classroom. Students may apply this knowledge to their own writing or to a class created book such as "Sounds From Our Classroom."

The Passage of Time in a Story

Workshop helps students understand and recognize the passage of time during a story. Does it occur in minutes, days, years? How do they know this? How does the passage of time contribute to the story? How do characters or situations change with time? Students begin by looking at The Little Yellow Trolley Car, and then apply this perspective to their own stories or to other literature.

Illustrations and Stories

Workshop examines the relationship between the story and its illustrations. Does the story stand on its own? Which ideas were illustrated? How do the illustrations support the story? How would the story change if the illustrations were different? Students initially examine the story and illustrations of The Little Yellow Trolley Car, and then begin to link their own story to illustrations, or to examine this relationship in other literature.

Timelines, History and The Little Yellow Trolley Car

Workshop uses the lifespan of the trolley car as the foundation for creating a timeline. Students contribute additional world events or inventions as well as local history (some of this information is supplied by Marie). The timeline is crafted so that discussions of decades and centuries are visual, contextual and a ready resource for further classroom use.

Writers' Techniques: Effective Language, Plot Development or Use of Time

Workshop examines the relatively simple text of The Little Yellow Trolley Car for the effectiveness of different kinds of figurative language, the use of repetitive language and the impact of word choice on mood of the story. Workshop may also examine pacing, plot development and the use of time in developing an engaging story. Students will then apply this awareness to their own writing.

What people say about these presentations and workshops

"The children LOVED getting to meet you, to hear the story again, to share with you all of their ideas, and to try out the different sounds. You have created such an engaging book... and are just lovely with children. I wish that every child could get to have you visit their school."
J.Guillaume, teacher of grades 1/2, Warwick, MA

"I am very happy with the timeline we started in class. It is a great way for my students to learn about local history as well as the history of the larger world. Perfect!"
S. Taylor, teacher of grade 3, Colrain, MA

"This was wonderful- one of the most age appropriate and interesting author presentations I've observed in my over 20 years as a children's librarian."
L. Hickman, children's librarian, Montague Public Libraries, Montague, MA

"Marie's book served as a wonderful mentor text, and the students were delighted to work with her for three separate workshops. The Little Yellow Trolley Car has become one of our classroom favorites and her visits with us were the highlight of our year."
J. Shilling, teacher of grades 1/2, Leyden, MA

"We LOVED having Marie here! Her workshops were engaging and enjoyable for all our students. She scaffolded her workshops so that each group learned appropriate artisitic and literary techniques they can apply to their own work."
S. Bullard, Head of Lower School, Lake Forest, IL

"You inspired me with your writing. I loved having you teach me about sound words."
2nd grade student, Leyden, MA

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