David would be happy to visit your school for a reading of THE MAGIC TICKET followed by a fun and meaningful writing exercise for students of all ages.

David wrote The Magic Ticket because his sister’s death when he was five profoundly changed him and his family; his subsequent immersion into books in elementary school may have saved him. The Magic Ticket is his story, and its heroes are the teacher who provided him with all the books he could possibly read, and the librarian who gave him his “magic ticket” to healing: his first library card.

For his visit to your school, David will give a reading of his book, followed by a writing exercise designed to help your students to write about any loss or difficulty they have been through. By reminding students of the fairy-tale structure of storytelling (“Once upon a time . . . Then, one day . . .”) and teaching them how to use that formula to begin their own story, he gives them a creative outlet, a way of making sense of their difficult experience. Turning their friends or themselves into characters in their own story helps to provide context and structure to their experience, and allows them to empathize with themselves. It’s a powerful, fun, and meaningful experience.

Before all presentations, students, teachers, and parents/caregivers are invited to watch the one-minute book trailer for THE MAGIC TICKET, created by the author’s children:

A school visit could take the form of individual class or grade visits, a school assembly, or an after-school visit with students and their parents/guardians, with a maximum of three events.

Because of its subject matter (a boy learning how to process his grief), the Eluna Network has endorsed The Magic Ticket and is partnering with its publisher, Fulcrum Books, to provide grief counseling resources in the back of the book, and to provide grief counselors when/where available at David’s appearances to assist children and adults in processing the story. If you agree that this would be a good idea, David will work with you to make such an arrangement.

A reading of The Magic Ticket followed by the writing exercise would require a 40-50 minute school period at minimum.

As a longtime teacher, David has facilitated this kind of workshop many times, to children and adults, always with positive outcomes. Learning how to structure and comprehend their seemingly incomprehensible experiences and emotions by way of this tried-and-true formula is often a very moving experience, a major step in their lifelong healing and maturation process.

Workshop Proposal

“Once upon a time . . . then, one day”: Processing Loss or Difficulty Through Story

Hook: Learn how to tell a story about a difficult event of your life.

Description: Following a tried-and-true formula (“Once upon a time . . . . Then, one day . . .”), children (and parents) will learn how to identify, begin, and structure their own story of loss or difficulty.

Format: This workshop may be offered at libraries, schools, or bookstores for 30, 40, or 50 minutes. Parents, guardians, or a grief counselor may be present, depending on the children’s age.

Participants will learn…

  • how to narrate an important event in their life
  • how a simple story is structured
  • how to describe themselves (as character)
  • how to use their senses to describe setting
  • the importance of small details

Required Materials: writing materials/device.

Audience: Children (age six and older) and/or adults

Instructor Bio: David Hicks, PhD is an award-winning professor and Creative Writing Director at the nationally ranked Wilkes University MFA graduate program. He is the author of two novels–WHITE PLAINS (Bower House Books) and THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO DANNY (forthcoming, Vine Leaves Press)—and an autobiographical children’s book, THE MAGIC TICKET (Fulcrum Books, 2024), all of which were drafted using the format taught in this workshop.