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
With award-winning books ranging for ages K-12, MARY CASANOVA engages a wide variety of audiences. Warm, energetic, and inspiring, she has visited a thousand schools with glowing reviews. Once a struggling reader, she's passionate about writing "stories that matter and books readers can't put down." Whether sharing One-Dog Canoe with puppets, writing for American Girl, or international travel (Norway WWII, The Klipfish Code), Mary motivates kids to read and write! Her awards include ALA Notable, two MN Book Awards, Parents Gold Choice Award, Booklist Editor's Choice, and numerous state reading master lists.
"I love your books because they're full of adventure! They make me sit on the edge of my seat and make me want to read more!"
Austin, age 11
"Our school has a notable history of visits by excellent authors with Mary Casanova on our list of the most highly recommended! Her superb presentation motivates children to develop their writing skills and will inspire them to have a life long love of reading."
Lori Dechert, Ridgeview Elementary, Granite Bay, CA
Learn more about Mary Casanova.
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.
Brian P. Cleary
Brian P. Cleary, poet and author of the best-selling Words are Categorical books grew up reading the bouncy rhymes of Dr. Seuss. A frustrated student and reluctant learner, Brian daydreamed from class to class until being introduced to poetry in elementary school. Intrigued, he set on a course to explore the wonder of words.
Author of more than 50 children's books, with 3 million sold, Cleary has written several books explaining grammar (A Mink a Fink, A Skating Rink; What is a Noun?) many poetry books (Rainbow Soup and If it Rains Pancakes), along with books on math, social studies and even computer coding.
Brian P. Cleary's work has been compared to the likes of Dr. Seuss, while his books of poetry and puns have been honored alongside the works of Roald Dahl and Shel Silverstein. His poetry has been anthologized with Jack Prelutsky's, Kenn Nesbitt's, and Lemony Snicket's. Presentations, workshops and in-services for grades K-8. Fondly known as the "Word Nerd," Brian lives in Cleveland, Ohio.
Learn more about Brian P. Cleary.
National parks are Mike's favorite subject. His national park series has 13 books taking place in: Sequoia/Kings Canyon, Zion/Bryce, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Smokies, Olympic, Glacier, Rocky, Arches/Canyonlands, Mount Rushmore/Badlands/Wind Cave, Acadia, and Grand Teton. Mike also has non-fiction national park books, including a Pop-Up and Build Guide to the parks.
Mike's love of weather began in 3rd grade. Years later, as a school teacher, his classes ran a weather station. That led to Mike's first published book, The Weather Report. That book landed him a consulting job with The Weather Channel. Mike's first TV weathercasting job was in San Luis Obispo, CA. He has since been on TV at several stations. Mike has also written many books on weather.
Mike has over 90 published books for children, families and teachers. He loves to visit schools and share his stories in person. His presentations are for K-9th grade, as well as teachers, parents and educators. Mike also gives specialized, hands-on writing and weather workshops for smaller groups and GATE classes.
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, the graphic novel Fuzzy Baseball, and his new early reader The Bossy Pirate. Every illustration tells a story, but how? How does a book get published? What is the editor's job? Schools in 30 states and 5 countries have invited John to share his work and answer these questions. 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.
Your school will experience animals and habitats from all over the world with biologist, explorer, and author Dean Jacobs.
Dean has invested over eight years of his life exploring 58 countries and has used these adventures for 15 years to create teachable moments that inspire students to have hopes and dreams.
He uses his adventure experiences to present high energy and engaging assemblies and combines it with writing workshops and growth mindset work that challenges students how they think about the world and themselves.
If you have students who sometimes feel a little lost or unsupported, Dean's assemblies and writers workshops can be a game-changer that will impact them for the rest of their life. If your students could benefit from gaining clarity on why exploring and writing is essential, Dean offers something unique not found anywhere else.
Thousands of students love his award-winning book, Wondrous Creatures.
Dream Big, Live Tall, Make the World Better Explore with Dean.
It's time to inspire your students to dream.
Learn more about Dean Jacobs.
Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD, is an author and clinical psychologist, based in Princeton, NJ. Her most recent book for children is Growing Friendships: A Kids' Guide to Making and Keeping Friends. She has also written or co-authored four books for parents: Kid Confidence, Smart Parenting for Smart Kids, The Unwritten Rules of Friendship, and What's My Child Thinking? She's the professor for The Great Courses audio-video series Raising Emotionally and Socially Healthy Kids.
A trusted expert on children's social-emotional learning, Dr. Kennedy-Moore frequently speaks at schools and conferences. Her presentations for kids, parents, or teachers, are lively, interactive, and full of do-able solutions. Dr. Kennedy-Moore has been a featured guest on The TODAY SHOW, Good Day Philadelphia, and dozens of major radio shows, and she has been quoted in numerous magazines and newspapers, including Real Simple, Working Mother, Family Circle, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Chicago Tribune. Her blog on Psychology Today has over 3 million views. She and her husband have four children.
Learn more about Eileen Kennedy-Moore.
Kevin McCloskey is a professor at Kutztown University, PA. He is author and illustrator of TOON Books' Giggle & Learn Series. Kids love comics and this natural science series is drawn in comic book format. He's traveled from Philadelphia's Franklin Institute to the California Academy of Sciences sharing fascinating facts about common creatures. His presentations combine drawing, writing and science. His books about worms, pigeons, goldfish, snails and ants inspire readers to realize the little creatures in their own backyards are just as amazing as animals they might see on a safari.
"McCloskey continues his trade-mark humor while imparting plenty of facts to keep emerging readers interested." School Library Journal's Good Comics for Kids
"Kevin McCloskey was part of our Family Math and Reading Night. We loved his presentation, especially getting to try out our own snail illustration. Students of all ages and families enjoyed the fun facts (exploding ants!), shadow box, and even worm races. We highly recommend him for a school visit!" Dawn Conrad, Librarian, Oley Valley Elementary School, Oley, PA
Learn more about Kevin McCloskey.
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.
New York Times Bestselling author and self-proclaimed giraffe suspicioner, Heidi Schulz, has developed engaging, interactive presentations and writing workshops for all ages of students elementary through high school.
Since 2014, Heidi has connected with thousands of students across the U.S. and internationally, with in-person and web-based school visits. Her presentations have been called informative, inspiring, hilarious, and, much like Heidi herself, a lot of fun.
Heidi's NYT bestselling novel for middle grade readers, Hook's Revenge, published by Disney-Hyperion, has received many accolades and awards, including: Bank Street Best Book, New York Public Library's Top 100 Titles for Children in 2014, Scripp's National Spelling Bee Book Club Selection, and Oregon Council of Teachers of English Oregon Spirit Honors. Also published, a sequel to Hook's Revenge, Hook's Revenge: The Pirate Code; Heidi's picture book debut, Giraffes Ruin Everything (Bloomsbury Kids); and a short story for children, The Day the Puddles Stomped Back, which can be found in Oregon Reads Aloud, an anthology to benefit S.M.A.R.T. (Start Making A Reader Today). Heidi lives in Salem, Oregon.
Learn more about Heidi Schulz.
Sandra Smith, award-winning author of the Seed Savers series, grew up on a farm with a tremendously large garden. She maintains that if you can't taste the soil on a carrot, it's not fresh enough.
A middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers is set in a future where gardening is illegal and real food unknown. Ms. Smith enjoys visiting classrooms to talk about Seed Savers, gardening, and/or the writing process.
"It was a pleasure to have Sandra Smith visit our classroom this year. My sixth grade students were given insider information on what it is like to write a book. She shared the process she used while focusing on revising and editing. My students learned that the process takes time and effort and that the first write is not what gets published... Ms. Smith's presentation allowed my students to see the writer in themselves. I am certain that many are writing their own novels this summer."
6th grade language arts teacher
An extra good fit for schools with gardening programs!
Learn more about Sandra Smith.
In the Blink of an Eye
Who could imagine that the simple act of wiping an eyelash from one's cheek could yield the star of a successful children's book series? This is a question Julie Woik, author and creator of The Life and Times of Lilly the Lash, still wonders about often.
"Becoming an author was most certainly NOT on my bucket list," Woik declared, "but for some unknown reason, I was singled out for the role. From the onset, I was driven to cultivate my relationship with this rather unusual character, to help children SEE the importance of building strong self-esteem and good character. Although I'm the one writing the stories, Lilly the Lash is the one changing the world In the Blink of an Eye! Because of her, I've met the most inspiring people, most amazing children, and have realized my purpose on this planet."
Julie's whimsical tales are designed for children ages 0-10 (to 110!). These adventurous, yet meaningful storylines told in rhythm and rhyme, are accompanied by spectacularly breathtaking cinematic-like illustrations.
Learn more about Julie Woik.