Testimonials

What a captivating presentation Mr. Toffoli shared with our Kindergarten through third grade students during his author visit! His book reading was engaging and entertaining for the students, and watching him create illustrations was the highlight of the day. The students not only loved hearing the story of Thomoose Jefferson, but were also completely enthralled while he drew the characters right before their eyes. How neat to be able to see firsthand the stages of creating a “final” drawing—and what valuable lesson to students about the importance of creating drafts that will need to be revised and changed over a long period of time! For students just learning the writing process, this is an eye-opening lesson. Being able to answer questions about the story in order to win personalized illustrations was an added bonus of his presentation.

The manner in which Mr. Toffoli spoke to and interacted with the students clearly demonstrates his experience in the classroom, as well as his sincere interest in bringing learning to life for children. The opportunity for students to meet a “real” author and artist is one our students will never forget. We are so fortunate that Mr. Toffoli was able to share his love for reading, writing, and drawing with our students. Every single one of our teachers raved about his presentation and the level of student engagement. After Mr. Toffoli’s visit, book orders flooded in! Students could not wait to get their books, and they cheered when their very own personalized copies of Mr. Toffoli’s books arrived. We are so fortunate to have had the opportunity to bring learning to life at St. Thomas, and we cannot wait to have Mr. Toffoli visit us again very soon. Thank you, Mr. Toffoli!

Caitlin O'Keefe
Head of School
Saint Thomas Episcopal Parish School 2014

The noted speaker Ralph Archbold once stated: “Charisma is the transference of enthusiasm.” He must have been thinking about Andrew Toffoli when he said it. Each time I speak to Andrew, it is so evident that what he does is intensely important to him. Yet, it is when he starts his presentation to the children when that passion and intensity reaches a new level. It is like literally watching someone plugged into a current of energy. No matter which of his expanding series of Histories he speaks about that day, you know you are in for a trip you will not forget. Combining humor, imagination, and his incredible drawing skills, Andrew not only tells the story but shows the students the entire process of how he writes and illustrates his book. In essence, they are getting a creative writing/art/history class all in one! Sometimes we associate the word “spellbound” with quiet and majesty such as watching a beautiful sunset. Yet, as you watch the rapt attention of the students as Andrew performs his magic you cannot help but think of that word. The only difference is that it is not calm or quiet. There is energy, enthusiasm, and laughter all wrapped together in a wonderful learning experience. Other highlights of his presentation include his always interesting ‘question and answer’ session with the students and the chance to win one of his illustrations from the presentation. “Histories” is also part of the Accelerated Reader series which is a real plus. Our students also love the fact that they have the opportunity to purchase a signed copy of one of the books. So if you are looking for charisma, entertainment and a wonderful educational learning experience, I would strongly suggest a visit from Andrew. I know we are looking forward to another return visit from him in the near future.

Thom Laux
Principal
Most Holy Redeemer Catholic School

Dear Andrew,

It was our pleasure having you come to Riverside Elementary this year! Your presentation captivated and engaged all of our students.

We loved hearing where your ideas came from for the creation of your books. Your demonstrations of how to draw several historical characters from your books was truly a highlight! The complete set of books in our Media Center, is always OFF the shelf. Our students just can't get enough of your books! Hopefully, when you write a new book, you will let us know!

This year, our focus as a school was having students read more informational texts. Your "histories" was a great example of how informational text can be fun and even humorous to students. The students not only enjoyed hearing you tell your own story but they also were intrigued by how the characters came alive in your mind.

How exciting it was for us when you came to our Family Book Night! The students and parents were so touched to meet and greet you. They loved that you took the time to personally sign each book that was purchased.

Riverside would be honored to have you come back anytime! Thank you for sharing your craft with us!

We look forward to seeing you again in the future!

Happy Writing!

Nancy Klareich
Reading Coach
Riverside Elementary School

I wanted to take a moment to thank you for participating in a recent "Meet the Author" event at my son's school (Country Isles Elementary in Weston). He was thrilled to actually meet you in person and to receive his autographed copy of Michelangelo Bunnyroti, which he has read multiple times already. He has not stopped talking about how great it was and keeps his book on the top shelf of his book case, open to the page where you signed and also drew a picture. He paid close attention when you showed him how to draw the image and has been practicing drawing in that manner with amazing results.

I recognize that you are incredibly busy and appreciate you taking the time to meet with children and further build their excitement about reading and learning!

Best regards,
Vanessa Backman

Dear Andrew,

It was a great pleasure to have you visit our school. Students were amazed at your illustrations you made it look easy and bringing the colors to life with pencil crayons blew them away. There were quite a few students trying their hand at sketching at the end of the day.

The entire presentation captivated students of all grades and held their interest. It even inspired my daughter in first grade to sketch, she loves drawing but this took her to a new level.

Your books are easy to read and educational at the same time. The kids really enjoyed reading each one. They love the fact that you took the time to personally autograph and illustrate each book.

It's great to have someone participate and contribute as much as you have in the encouragement of reading, your patients and creativity with the students was amazing. We could not keep up with the book orders. Again, we thank you for visiting Heron Heights Elementary we look forward to having you back in the future.

Sincerely,
Sally Arjoon
PTA Heron Heights Elementary

Dear Mr. Toffoli,
The students at Heron Heights Elementary were honored to have the opportunity to meet you as I knew they would. You left an everlasting impression on me when you presented your literature to the Broward County Media Specialists. Our students can't get enough of your books. Even though they have purchased your signed illustrated books, they are still checking out the titles they didn't purchase. They were taken in by your artistic talents. When they are drawing, I ask them where they get their ideas, their response is "I learned from Mr. Toffoli." You most certainly made an everlasting impression on our students. The entire Heron Heights community thanks you for a most inspiring day.  

Risa. S. Katz, Media Specialist
Heron Heights Elementary

Howard Drive Elementary School always looks forward to your visits. You know how to engage all students during your captivating presentation. The students love that they are able to own their own copy of your books that you take the time to personally autograph and illustrate. Our school promotes the AR program and that your books are AR makes them even more inviting to read. I have purchased all of your books for our media center, and once you have visited, they are always checked out. You have always contributed money back to our PTA after your visit – so in that sense, your visits are a win/win situation – children are introduced to quality literature and our PTA benefits financially. We are looking forward to another visit from you in the near future.

Arlene Young, Media Specialist
Howard Drive Elementary School

Mr. Toffoli's presentation is fun and engaging; our students LOVED his visit. Mr. Toffoli, author, is a rising star. He is well versed and entertaining. His books are creatively written to catch the student's interests and attention as well as educational. He presents, in a fun format, biographical sketches of famous historical personalities. He began his "author talk" by introducing himself and his books. He spoke to the students about the famous characters, and illustrated a few along the way. The students especially enjoyed hearing about the process an author goes through to write and illustrate a book. A question answer session followed, and students were eager to participate since the "chosen students" received one of the illustrations created during the presentation. Thank you for your presentation and the hand drawn sketch with the signed autograph you did for our school. It proudly hangs in our school media center.

We can't wait to have you back!
Mari Bonachea
Media Specialist
Sunset Park Elementary

It was a great pleasure to have you visit our school. I cannot express the encouragement you provided to our students. Each and every one of your books have been embraced by not only the students but the faculty as well. We can't keep the books on the shelves! Students normally follow other students who have the books and as the books are returned, they are checked out immediately. Your presentation inspired lots of special projects in the classrooms. Students were amazed to see that you had one of your former students help you illustrate your books. You are an enthusiastic speaker, and the fact that you are able to connect with the students and teachers make a big difference. Students were motivated to witness your illustrations as you actually drew them. However, the most appealing part of your presentation, is the actual books. Each of them is better than the next. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed reading each one, and how much people who I gave to books to as a gift have enjoyed them. As I mentioned before, I cannot keep the books on the shelves and the students and teachers honestly use them a lot for different school projects and readings. Students really are reading the books for enjoyment! I personally truly enjoy the books as well. It's great to have someone participate and contribute as much as you have in the encouragement of reading for all! Again, we thank you for visiting our school and look forward to having you back in the future.

Happy Writing!
Lourdes Cuervo
Media Specialist
Blue Lakes Elementary School

I have had the pleasure of working with Andrew Toffoli at two different schools, Key Biscayne K-8 Center and Kenwood K-8 Center. His presentations have been a hit with all my students. His series fills a special niche in the historical fiction picture book genre for young children. The illustrations are vivid and attract children instantly but at the same time they are appropriate for the older students who can understand and compare the fictional animal characters with the real historical figures. Andrew's genuine and friendly personality shines through as he presents to each group his stories and how he came to be an author. After listening to the latest book, the students love to ask questions and they are eagerly engaged as Mr. Toffoli re-creates his sketches right before their eyes and then quizzes them and gives away his drawings as prizes. Having Andrew Toffoli visit my schools has been a memorable experience for all who participated and the kids constantly ask to check out his books. He becomes "famous" and the students have the opportunity to meet a real author and to learn a little about history. I highly recommend inviting Andrew Toffoli as a guest author. It's an educational and fun experience for all!

Dania B. Ortega, NBCT
Library Media Specialist
Kenwood K-8 Center

Dear Mr. Toffoli,

How do I thank you for enlightening my students? You came to Devon Aire as an author and illustrator, but you left our school as a hero.

The way you read your picture books to my students and explained the writing process including the research needed to make your "histories" was not only informative but INTERESTING. You captured the interest of students in grades Pre-K through Fourth. That is a talent in itself!

As the students watched you illustrate your characters, they were amazed by your techniques and awestruck with the finished pieces. They were amazed about the fact that coloring an illustration can take hours, let alone days.

I think what makes you such an excellent presenter is your experience as a teacher and your use of technology. You bring your stories to life through a laptop and an LCD projector. The illustrations are so vibrant and the characters are so lovable. It is wonderful to see how you masterfully engage the students through inquiry and games for one of a kind prizes (your posters and on the spot poster sized illustrations).

After you left, I was surrounded by teachers expressing what a wonderful educational experience you left their classes with. The students told me that they thought you were "cool". The PTSA and administration were grateful for your giving back to the school ($1.00 per book), and I am so thankful for you bringing the magic and joy of reading, writing, and illustrating into my media center.

Your presentations were a gift!

Sincerely,

Jennifer Aronowsky-Kunkel, M.Ed., M.L.I.S.
Media Specialist & CCTV
Devon Aire K-8 Center

Thank you for your presentation and the hand drawn sketch with the signed autograph you did for my Son Christopher's books.  He attends Sunset Park Elementary, and we bought two books for him on the day of your presentation.  We gave him "Bengalmin Franklin" (his new hero), on his Birthday and it is now one of his most prized possessions.  He even got a bengal tiger beanie baby to sit with the book.  Thank you for helping boys to have something wonderful to read that doesn't contain negative or graphically violent material, which seems to be the accepted norm of the Star Wars/Anime generation.  Thank you for taking the time to come to his school and bring excitement to kids for reading, history and science.  My son is only 8 and reads on a 4th grade level, but something amazing in your books has brought pure joy to us both.  His relating to such lovable characters and looking to learn more about the historical figures they depict is an admirable outcome of your work.
 
Thank you again, and I can't wait to give him "Thomas Owlva Edison" for the holidays!

Sincerely,
Carolyn Campbell

"I have worked with Andrew Toffoli for a few years and he is a very pleasant, engaging, entertaining author and speaker.  His presentations are always a hit, with the telling of his latest book to the special drawings he gives to audience members.  His books are great for the younger set and really get them interested in famous people and history, especially his creative use of animals and the play on characters' names.  My school always looks forward to his visits."
 
Michelle Moravec
Media Specialist
Epiphany School

Miami Lakes K-8 was all a buzz, October 7th when author/illustrator Andrew Toffoli visited our school.  Mr. Toffoli spoke to our primary students and demonstrated how to illustrate a character from his lasted book "Thomas Owlva Edison".  Our students raved about the wonderful and educational presentation, they LOVED the quiz game portion of the visit.  I believe the best comment came from a teacher that has a student with disabilities and struggles at school.  This student was so engaged in the presentation that she was able to go home and recreate the owl from Mr. Toffoli's book.  The entire day and evening this student continued making Thoma Owlva Edison, she felt so proud of her herself.  I was extremely moved on the difference Mr. Toffoli made in this child's life! 

As a media specialist, I wear many hats but hosting authors is definitely my favorite one to wear.  Students gain so much from a visit from an author.  It is the perfect stimulus for further literacy work.  I will have Mr. Toffoli many times again, I look forward to seeing his latest historical creation.

Ibis Mendoza
Media Specialist
Miami Lakes K8 Center

Dear Mr. Toffoli,

Thank you so much for coming to present to our school at Sunny Isles Beach Community School K-8 on January 28, 2010. The Kindergarten, First, Second and one Third grade class all enjoyed your presentation. They were captivated by your George WashinTON story reading and loved your drawings and the explanation of the steps on how to draw each character. You did an amazing job! Thank you for taking the time to personalize and autograph all the presale books for the students with their special dedication requests. The children enjoyed that special moment you extended by taking photographs with them. It has been a pleasure working with you and I wish you much success and good luck in the future. Thanks again.

Sincerely,

Jenny Levinson
Media Specialist
Sunny Isles Beach Comm. School

Dear Andrew,

Thank you for visiting Nob Hill Elementary. The students and teachers are STILL talking about how much they enjoyed your presentation. We've seen authors read their books but what made your presentation stand out was how you explained and demonstrated the process of making your books. Our students are using your drawing techniques and creating their own characters. The fact that your books also have AR tests is the icing on the cake! Thanks again for a wonderful experience and let us know when your next book comes out!

Sincerely,
Heather Rowe
Media Specialist
Nob Hill Elementary

The students at Chapel Trail Elementary had a wonderful time with our visiting author, Andrew Toffoli. His grade level presentations were entertaining, informative and enjoyed by all our students from PreK to 5th grade. His books are creatively written to catch the student's interests as well as learning from them. The students especially enjoyed hearing about the process an author goes through to write and illustrate a book. His explanations on how he illustrates his books had our students drawing for days! Family night was a tremendous success with parents enjoying him as much as the students. They loved his books so much that he ran out of books to sell! We will certainly enjoy having Andrew Toffoli visit us again!

Liz Grafe
Media Specialist
Chapel Trail Elementary

In the past, other media specialists have mentioned fellow M-DCPS teacher Andrew Toffoli's author visits and I wanted to add my two cents. Andrew has written and illustrated four kid-friendly biographies on popular historical people, including Christopher Columbus (Christopher Cowlumbus), Benjamin Franklin (Bengalmin Franklin), Michelangelo (Michelangelo Bunnyrroti), and Leonardo da Vinci (Lionardo Da Vinci). The first three titles have AR quizzes available and both the titles and quizzes are available through Follett. (I bought them through Amazon before Follett provided them.) These books, especially after Andrew visits, are NEVER on the shelf!

Andrew visited Leewood the year before last to present Christopher Cowlumbus and the students, parents, and faculty loved him, as indicated by the excitement and the number of books we sold. This year, upon hearing that Andrew was returning to debut his latest title, Lionardo Da Vinci, the kids couldn't wait. Andrew suggested that we sell his titles as a PTA fundraiser - for every book sold, Andrew would donate $1.00 to our PTA – and through a pre-sale and a sale on the day of his presentation, the students, parents, and faculty members bought a ton of books, which he personally autographed for hours that afternoon. This fundraiser was super easy – Andrew provided promotion materials and a suggested schedule to use to promote his visit, and delivered boxes of books several days before the event for us to begin selling. We will definitely do this again upon the publication of all of his future titles (he's promised one a year!) The good news is that there is a long list of them!

One mom even e-mailed after his presentation the following: Thank you for this activity. My children came home yesterday so excited about meeting Toffoli. They spent the afternoon drawing and reading about his characters. I am very grateful for the dedication that Leewood gives to my children.