Authors and Illustrators Who Visit Schools
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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

Larry Dane Brimner

Larry 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.

Ginjer L. Clarke

Ginjer 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
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.

William Durbin

William Durbin
"The author visit with William Durbin was a highlight for our sixth-grade students this year! His adventure-based historical fiction connected seamlessly with our social studies and language arts curriculum. Students enjoyed learning about history during his assembly presentation and interacting with Durbin during the writing workshops."
— Tara Oldfield, media specialist, Bloomington, Minnesota

A winner of the Great Lakes Book Award and a two-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award, Durbin has published thirteen novels for young readers, including three books in Scholastic's My Name Is America series. His novel El Lector was recently optioned for film by Jane Startz Productions.

William Durbin has appeared at over 1,000 schools and libraries since his first novel, The Broken Blade, was released. A former teacher with experience on every level from middle school through college, Durbin relates well to students of all ages. Whenever he visits a community, his goal is to get students excited about reading and to inspire them to write. As a bonus, his rates are very affordable.

Learn more about William Durbin.

David Greenberg

David Greenberg
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
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.

Amy MacDonald

Amy MacDonald
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.

Jeff Mondak

Jeff Mondak
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

Paul Orshoski
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.

Herman Parish

Herman Parish
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.

Laurence Pringle

Laurence Pringle
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.

Chris Rumble

Chris Rumble
Artist-Author-Entertainer CHRIS RUMBLE offers murals and high-energy assemblies designed to entertain and inspire.

ASSEMBLIES: In his UNIQUE Reading PEP RALLY, Chris uses live music, performance art and lots of laughter to motivate your students to read! His FUN and interactive Writing and Illustration Workshops will have your kids running to create works of their own! His HILARIOUS Fun Family Reading Night and FIRED UP About Reading Family Time Around the (Indoor) Camp Fire will have your families excited about reading TOGETHER. His Cultural Arts EXPLOSION highlights the giftedness of your students and puts them in the spotlight.

MURALS: Chris has painted 200 murals in the last five years! Students can watch the project come together or it can be a collaborative effort that allows the kids to help. His goal is to enliven the atmosphere of your school through an excellent, beautiful work of art that will stir the imaginations and encourage the hearts and souls of all who see.

Learn more about Chris Rumble.

Diane Z. Shore

Diane Shore - Author
Get ready for an ultra-energetic, interactive, inspirational celebration of literacy! Funny, fun, and full of life, teacher-turned-author Diane Z. Shore travels the world with her widely popular school presentations.

Educators describe Diane's author visits as ""awe-inspiring" and "right on target with all grades" as she wows the audience and sparks their creativity with her non-fiction Highlights for Children articles (Did you know that George Washington's false teeth were not made of wood!) poetry, rhyming riddle contest, readers' theater, hidden pictures, songs, guessing games, and more.

She shares rejection letters, rough drafts and writing strategies (vivid verbs and colorful words!) through her well-loved A/R books which include the best-selling How to Drive Your Sister Crazy!, plus Bus-A-Saurus Bop, Look Both Ways (a hoot to hear in German!), her historical This Is the Dream, and This Is the Feast, and her newest release Just My Style.

The kids think they're just having fun!!!

Learn more about Diane Z. Shore.


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