I am the author/ illustrator of several picture books. I often speak and read to children in schools and libraries. I would like to try something new. My idea is to present an unpublished dummy of one of my books and ask the children to be the "editors". This would be an interesting way to get them to think critically. Can you suggest a list of criteria for them to use as a guide?
That's a fun idea. You'll be inserting some "mistakes" for them to fix, I assume? It'll depend on the age of the kids, but you might try some show-not-tell on them, ask them for ways to "show" something you've "told". You could ask them to look for the things that are pictured in the illustrations and can thus be cut from the text. You could ask them what image would be best for the cover, and talk about what the cover should convey. If you want to talk about spelling and punctuation, you could include some examples of how the wrong punctuation will make the sense of a sentence change.
Just leave out the crushing paperwork part.