A Day with Robbyn Smith-van Frankenhuyzen
Author – Wildlife Journalist & Rehabilitator – Storyteller
Robbyn and her husband Gijsbert have spent the last 20 years of their lives rehabilitating
orphaned or injured animals. Her training as an animal technician enabled them to raise
and release a wide assortment of critters.from foxes, fawns and raccoons to skunks, opossums
and owls. She kept journals of their experiences with the menagerie of creatures and tapped
those journals to write Adopted by an Owl, Saving Samantha, Kelly of Hazel Ridge
and Itsy Bitsy & Teeny Weeny.
Robbyn shares with students, K – 6, the unique way her books were written and suggests that
there is no one way to write a story. Before her visit she sends to the school a seven-minute
video with unbelievable footage of Jackson, the Great Horned Owl. During her school visit, she
will share many stories about her family’s extraordinary relationship with Jackson. She presents
a slide show of all the animals they have cared for over the years, blending lessons in natural
science, writing, and interactive storytelling. Her motivation is to give children confidence
in reading and writing …with an important emphasis on journaling. Her main philosophy in life,
just like her husbands, is one she encourages all students to take as their own. "Make
your hobby your career." She says, "We all have to work when we grow up, we might as well be
doing something we like to do". Each session must be 60 minutes long. Class size can
range from 30 to 100 students. No more than 6 sessions in one day, please. If the sessions
are held in cafeteria or gymnasium a lapel microphone is required…but the media center is a
much preferred gathering place. The school should supply a carousel projector with screen.
As Artist-in-Residence Robbyn’s visits can range from a day-long program,
to as much as a week in your school district.