D I R E C T O R Y O F A U T H O R S & I L L U S T R A T O R S
Motivate your students with a hilariously interactive reading assembly featuring Annie's book, Dr. Electric Takes Over the World! This author visit inspires your students to read and gives them the confidence to write their own adventure stories.
Annie leads the students in a theater-style retelling of her story of a mad scientist trying to take over the world using his nefarious weather-controlling device. Imagine a children's author who is an entertainer, bringing her story to life on stage by combining audience volunteers with balloon props and costumes, just like the balloons she used to illustrate her book. Annie's "balloon theater" will keep your entire audience enthralled and engaged throughout the entire assembly.
After the students laugh themselves silly with Annie's story, she teaches them her unique "theater-style" writing process, as she and the students write a ridiculous adventure story as a group. They'll want to keep writing long after the visit!
Learn more about Annie Banannie.
Students and teachers love author and illustrator Shennen Bersani's visits. Her award-winning authored book, Achoo! Why Pollen Counts, is praised for teaching factual information in a kid-friendly way. She illustrated the Children's Choice Book Award-winning, Once Upon an Elephant, as well as numerous Jerry Pallotta books. Drawn from extensive research trips, Shennen's visits are captivating, fun, motivational, and quite unique. Children have fun while inspired to learn. After her visit students will want to investigate and research more. They will realize writing comes in many forms, even a grocery list. Learning how a picture book is created, they will be inspired to create their own. Shennen will tell the hilarious back stories, antidotes, and whacky events that occurred creating each book, while teaching facts about animals and nature. Some comments teachers made were, "Students learned that reading and research is fun." Many said, "One of the best school visits ever".
Learn more about Shennen Bersani.
Award-winning author and avid reader S.A. Bodeen gets students excited about reading and writing in her presentations and workshops. Her sixteen books for young people range from the Elizabeti's Doll picture book series to the middle grade adventure series Shipwreck Island to the YA thriller The Compound and sequel The Fallout, both recently optioned for film. She has a BS in Secondary Education, an MFA in Creative Writing, and has been visiting schools since 1999. Her large-group presentations can be geared for any grade level and include not only a background on her journey to publication and the inspiration for some of her books, but the three "R's": Reading, Writing, and Revision. Small group Creative Writing Workshops are available for grades 4 and up, with options including a focus on description, revision, or brainstorming ideas. Read more about her books, honors, and presentations at her website www.writersabodeen.com.
Learn more about S.A. Bodeen.
Larry Dane Brimner
Larry Dane Brimner, born in St. Petersburg, Florida, spent his early childhood exploring Alaska's Kodiak Island. He traces his love of reading to that time in his life. Since there was no television reception and only sporadic radio reception, entertainment came in the form of books and stories. Reading and making up stories was a part of day-to-day family life. Raised in a traditional Southern family his parents hailed from Birmingham, Alabama telling falsehoods was frowned upon but embellishment was encouraged. His affinity for reading led him to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in British literature from San Diego State University, where he graduated cum laude, and a Master of Arts degree in writing. Prior to beginning his twenty-year teaching career, he began to write for publication. Larry is now a full-time writer and author of 200 books (and counting) for young people. When he's not traveling to speak to school children about the writing process or to conferences to address teachers, he lives in the American Southwest and the Rocky Mountains.
Learn more about Larry Dane Brimner.
Disability awareness advocate, motivational speaker, and author, Simon Calcavecchia is driven to change student's perspectives on disabilities, inspire, and to create more inclusion awareness in schools.
In 2002, Simon moved to Australia to follow his dreams of playing rugby. During his third game, he was injured leaving him with C5/6 quadriplegia. After graduating from college, he spent most of his time volunteering with preschool children which inspired him to write about The Adventures of Frank and Mustard.
He wrote the book series to share his experiences of living with quadriplegia. During his presentation, he shares his personal story by using videos, music, and allows students to ask questions about his disability.
"It was one of the best assemblies I have ever seen! I have been in education for over 25 years, so that says a lot! You are changing lives, Simon!"
K. Bremgartner Principal at Ground Mound Elementary
Learn more about Simon Calcavecchia.
Susan Casey, both a teacher and writer, writes about ordinary people who do extraordinary things in her books: Kids Inventing! A Handbook for Young Inventors, Women Invent!, and Women Heroes of the American Revolution: 20 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Defiance and Rescue. She grabs students attention in a STEAM-based program by displaying inventions created by kid and women inventors. Afterward students often say, "Hey, I can be an inventor too." She brings the American Revolution to life with stories based on primary sources of courageous acts by women and girls.
Her presentations include and can be a combination of:
Adventures of a Non-fiction Writer: Real Life is Fascinating!
Kids Can Invent: All About Young Inventors and How to Become One
Women Invent! How Women Inventors Have Contributed to the World
American Women in the American Revolution
Young Inventors Workshop A Hands-On Program
For grades 3 and up.
Learn more about Susan Casey.
Ginjer L. Clarke
Are you ready to be grossed out? Ginjer L. Clarke asks this crowd-pleasing question and many others as she shares her enthusiasm for reading, writing, and weird science. Librarians, teachers, and reading specialists (and kids, too!) love Ginjer's fun, fact-filled beginning readers and her unique approach to action-packed nonfiction in best-selling Penguin Random House titles such as Freak Out!, Gross Out!, Cheetah Cubs, and Pouch Babies.
Ginjer has delighted hundreds of schools over the last 12 years as the "crazy animal author." She is skilled at tailoring the information provided to meet the audience's learning needs and interests, from silly animal games with kindergarteners to writing workshops with upper elementary students. Many core science topics and research, writing, and revision skills are discussed, but there's also plenty of stories, photos, props, and Q&A. Ginjer's energetic presentations have been called "fun but not fluff" and "educational but highly entertaining."
Learn more about Ginjer L. Clarke.
One of the great aspects of writing 90+ books for children, is that I get to visit schools and share my stories in person.
My presentations are for 1st through 8th grade, but teachers, parents and educators love my stories and information as well! My talks revolve around national parks, weather, rock climbing, animal encounters, and other outdoor adventure and science related topics. My Adventures with the Parkers, 13 book national parks series, and the realistic fiction writing process is my most requested presentation.
I also give specialized, hands-on writing and weather workshops for smaller groups and GATE classes.
My background includes:
Upper grade elementary school and GATE teacher for 10 years
Weathercaster at KRCR, Redding and have been on air for 20 years at different stations
Instructor for Child Development and Education Departments at California State University,
Learn more about Mike Graf.
David Greenberg presents two different assemblies:
1/ Poetry Assemblies are based on his superbly-reviewed poetry picture books (Slugs, Bugs!, Skunks!, Snakes!, Crocs!, Don't Forget Your Etiquette, Enchanted Lions, etc). These visually rich assemblies are fun, funny, inspirational. They emphasize the qualities that make writing effective. Children depart saying "I want to be a writer when I grow up!" All grades.
2/ Civil Rights Assemblies are based on his novel A Tugging String (winner of the 2008 Oregon Spirit Award, finalist for the 2008 Oregon Book Award) which tells the gripping story of Greenberg's dad who was chief lawyer for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (and who helped argue Brown v Board). This deeply moving, graphically rich assembly describes the issues, attitudes, personalities, events associated with King's history-changing Selma-Montgomery Voting Rights March in which Greenberg's dad played a crucial role. It makes the civil rights movement spring to life and shows just how pertinent it is today. Greenberg connects it to issues of bullying and personal responsibility. Grades 3 & up.
Learn more about David Greenberg.
John Steven Gurney
John Steven Gurney's books are all over your library shelves. He has illustrated many of America's best loved chapter book series, including The A to Z Mysteries, The Bailey School Kids, and The Calendar Mysteries. He is the author and illustrator of the picture book Dinosaur Train and the graphic novel Fuzzy Baseball. Every illustration tells a story, but how? How does a book get published? What is the editor's job? John answers all these questions and more. He takes the audience through his illustration development process, including visual research, sketch development, and painting. John's presentation is informative and often quite funny. Information is presented with clarity and humor. Then John switches gears and the session gets interactive. Volunteers from the audience experience what it's like to pose for an illustration. John answers questions and draws some cartoons. But the highlight is when John leads the audience in "draw-along" activities.
Learn more about John Steven Gurney.
An internationally acclaimed author, Amy has had books (like Little Beaver and the Echo and Rachel Fister's Blister) translated into 30 languages and featured on "Best Children's Books" lists in three countries. So what? You might well ask. And should ask. Because being a successful author has nothing to do with being able to connect with kids and teachers in a meaningful way. In Amy's case, she is also a Teaching Artist with the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. Her school presentations are not just highly entertaining they have proven educational value as well. Her assemblies (for grades K-8) make direct and personal connections between student work and professional writing practice. Her writing workshops (for grades K-10) reinforce CCSS and learning standards while helping students see exactly what it takes to produce good stories, nail that revision, and in short become a writer.
Learn more about Amy MacDonald.
Get ready to dance! Get ready to sing! Illinois-based poet and songwriter Jeff Mondak's programs educate and entertain. Featuring poems from his book The Toy Box Ate My Brother (2016), and accompanied by musician Jordan Kaye or Sergio Wals, Jeff combines discussion of poetry and songwriting with sheer foot-stomping, hand-clapping fun. After reviewing techniques for writing good poems, you'll learn about the relationship between poetry and songwriting, culminating in a raucous concert including songs such as "The Rock and Roll Hop" and "Pluto's Not a Planet Anymore." Jeff's poems appear in anthologies such as One Minute Till Bedtime, My Teacher's in Detention, I Hope I Don't Strike Out, and Rolling in the Aisles. Jeff's songs appear on several CDs including Mick Brady's Triple the Pickle, and Jeff's songs have aired on NPR's All Things Considered, the Dr. Demento Show, and many children's music radio programs.
Learn more about Jeff Mondak.
Paul Orshoski writes witty, humorous, rhyming children's poetry and has published thirteen books with Treasure Bay, Inc. His poems have appeared in anthologies by Meadowbrook Press, Scholastic, Inc., and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Paul focuses on getting students to laugh, to be entertained, and to learn about the writing process, while also developing an understanding of how important it is to become good readers. Upon listening to Paul's presentations, many students gain a renewed enthusiasm for reading and writing. Paul's presentations are geared for students in grades PK-5, and work best when students are grouped together in grades PK-2 and grades 3-5. He will also gladly speak to larger or smaller groups of various grade levels. Paul can accommodate most school budgets. He will customize his presentation(s) to match your needs but he usually performs his poems to student audiences using a digital slide show. Each presentation lasts 45-60 minutes.
Learn more about Paul Orshoski.
Happy 50th Birthday, Amelia Bedelia! In 2013, Amelia Bedelia celebrated 50 years of misadventures. This milestone was marked by a new edition of the classic first book, Amelia Bedelia, and the publication of several new books, including the first chapter books.
Author Herman Parish has carried on the character created by his Aunt Peggy Parish. Herman has added 43 books to the series, five of which are national bestsellers. His latest books feature Amelia Bedelia as a young girl. She's as literal as ever, only littler. There are picture books for the youngest children, books that are perfect for early readers, and a new series of chapter books for older children.
Invite Herman Parish and Amelia Bedelia to your school. You'll discover what students have known for over 50 years: reading and writing can be fun! Who knows maybe Amelia Bedelia herself will stop by for a visit...
Learn more about Herman Parish.
Inspire students to grow as writers, and as readers, and also to laugh, when Laurence Pringle visits your school. Yes, Larry can be funny but he also nurtures research, writing, and editing skills, and excites interest in reading. His programs (as many as 6 per day, tailored to a wide range of grades), can reinforce CCSS standards, and help students understand informational texts.
Larry is one of the nation's most popular and honored authors of nonfiction for children, winner of several major lifetime achievement awards. His 116th and 117th books were published in 2017. Some recent highly-praised titles: Owls! Strange and Wonderful, ICE! The Amazing History of the Ice Business, and The Secret Life of the Red Fox. Creating all of these books gives Larry a wealth of wisdom and practical advice to share with students.
Learn more about Laurence Pringle.
The kids. My school programs begin and end with their input. Because my goal is not only sharing The Adventures of the Poodle Posse 5 book series with them, it's getting them fired up to want to tell some tales of their own. Impressive and engaging are just two of the words used to describe my visits. And I believe that's because they're completely interactive and fun, utilizing my 20 years of feature writing with a decade of writing for children teaching them about the writing process in a non-classroom way.
Award-winning Poodle Posse transitional series and Once upon a Poodle picture book support instruction for customized programs that combine everything from simple storytelling for little kiddos (Prek-1) through a complete look at the creative process for grades 2-4; writing workshops and individual attention for the more mature (through grade 8).
Learn more about Chrysa Smith.
Marie Ketsia Theodore-Pharel
Hear the echoes of Haiti in Marie Ketsia Theodore-Pharel's presentation. There's dancing, hand-clapping, call and response, and laughter in her dynamic mix of traditional story-telling and picture-book reading. She was born in Port-au-Prince Haiti. Currently, she lives in Homestead, Florida with her three children and husband. She earned a bachelors from Tufts University and a masters in English from University of Massachusetts, Boston. Her children's books include Where the Dinosaurs Sleep (2016), Mama, How Beautiful you are (2015), Beauty Walks in Nature (2010), Songs from a Tower (2009), Keeper of the Sky (2007), One More Daughter, America (2006), Daughter of the House (2005), A Fish Called Tanga (2003), I'll Fly Away (1999).
Learn more about Marie Ketsia Theodore-Pharel.
Sandra Warren's open-ended storybooks, If I Were a Road, If I Were a Table, The Great Bridge Lowering and Arlie the Alligator, have been used in classrooms for over thirty-five years, encouraging positive communication and enhancing creative writing and divergent thinking. Patriotism is the theme of her latest nonfiction book, We Bought a WWII Bomber: The Untold Story of a Michigan High School, A B-17 Bomber & The Blue Ridge Parkway, an amazing account of student achievement during WWII. The book resulted in the placement of a historical marker.
Themes of creativity, communication and patriotism permeate presentations to all age groups. Younger audiences (K-3) enjoy an interactive reading plus illustration session, while older students (4-high school) learn about writing, researching and publishing in multiple genres or how patriotic students can make a difference as they did during WWII. Writing workshops focus on creating open-ended stories. Books and autographing are available.
Learn more about Sandra Warren.