Children's Authors' Ally LLC

Connecting Schools With the Books and Authors Kids Love!


Grades 3-5

Jack Gantos

author-portrait-1JACK GANTOS has written books for readers of all ages, from picture books and middle-grade fiction to novels for young adults and adults. His works include Hole in My Life, a memoir that won the Michael L. Printz and Robert F. Sibert honors; Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, a National Book Award Finalist, Joey Pigza Loses Control, a Newbery Honor book, and Dead End in Norvelt, the 2012 Newbery Award Winner, and the Scott O’Dell Award Winner for Best Historic Fiction.

2017 brings Mr. Gantos’s highly anticipated newest work, Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories.

Learn more at

Grade Levels: Grades 3-5 , Grades K-2 , Middle School , Upper School
Genres: Fiction

Dan Gutman

Dan Gutman has visited more than one thousand schools in the last decade, so he must be doing something right.  For grades 1-3, he talks about his popular easy reader series, My Weird School.  For grades 3 and up, he gives a very inspirational, educational, and entertaining talk about his baseball card adventure series (Honus & Me, Babe & Me, etc.), showing his rejection letters, preliminary cover designs, and rewritten manuscript.  Both groups get a funny slide show depicting a day in the life of an author. For Kindergarten students, Dan reads his picture book Rappy the Raptor.  A splendid time is had by all!

Dan limits his visits to schools in northern New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut ​and visits only those by which he can travel by using mass transit.

Please see Dan’s website for details on how to request a “virtual visit”.

Visit the HarperCollins World of Dan Gutman to watch interview videos, learn about new releases, print My Weird School cards and play games.

Grade Levels: Grades 3-5 , Grades K-2
Genres: Fiction

Bruce Hale

Edgar-nominated author Bruce Hale is passionate about inspiring reluctant readers to open books (and actually read them).  He has written or illustrated over 45 seriously funny books for children, ranging from picture books like Clark the Shark and Snoring Beauty (one of Oprah’s Recommended Reads for Kids), to middle-grade series like the award-winning Chet Gecko Mysteries and The Monstertown Mysteries.

Bruce’s assemblies are a blend of character education, stand-up comedy, and pro-literacy message, tracing his journey from reluctant reader to author in a way that inspires listeners to dream big. Assemblies are tailored to grade level and include helpful insight into the writing process. He can also provide interactive writing and cartooning workshops for smaller groups. An actor and Fulbright Scholar in Storytelling, Bruce is in demand as a speaker, having presented at conferences, universities, and schools worldwide, from New York to New Delhi. You can find him on the web at

To view a video interview of Bruce Hale, visit:


Grade Levels: Grades 3-5 , Grades K-2
Genres: Fiction

Charise Mericle Harper

e6ce614a8af30a7e9d9a6b.L._V179490534_SX200_Charise Mericle Harper is the creator of the witty and winning Just Grace series, along with many other books for young readers. Charise was born in Vancouver, B.C. and still has her Canadian citizenship. Besides writing and illustrating children’s books, Charise has also been a freelance editorial illustrator for many national magazines and newspapers, penned a weekly comic strip that ran in about nine alternative newspapers, and earned a business degree in Marketing.

When working in her studio on her various projects, like the Just Grace books or the Fashion Kitty series, Charise likes getting phone calls, because sometimes it gets a little lonely working by herself all day. She doesn’t like it, however, when her cat walks all over her artwork with her dirty feet. She also sometimes talks to her paintbrushes, which she never throws away, even when they get worn out, because they are like old friends.

She loves coffee, and has an extreme weakness for pie. Her favorite color just might be green. She lives in Oregon, NY with her husband, two children and one very pesky cat that meows too much.

Take a look at Charise’s website.

Grade Levels: Grades 3-5 , Grades K-2

Laurie Keller

Laurie Keller is the author of many delightful books for children, including the American Library Association’s 2017 Theodor Geisel Medal Winner from the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading Series We Are Growing as well as Birdy’s Smile Book, The Scrambled States of America, Do Unto Otters, Arnie the Doughnut, The Scrambled States of America Talent ShowGrandpa Gazillion’s Number Yard and the delightfully silly spin-off chapter books series The Adventures of Arnie the Doughnut. In her school program, Laurie typically spends about 20 minutes doing a Powerpoint presentation introducing her books, showing where she lives, her favorite childhood books, her childhood and college artwork, and other illustration work she’s completed, including some she did at Hallmark and Nickelodeon TV.  She leads the students in interactive activities related to a few of her books and she speaks about her writing/illustrating process. Laurie demonstrates how students can become better writers.  Sometimes she reads a little from her latest book or shows the Weston Woods animated version of Do Unto Otters.  At the end of the presentation (for about 15 minutes), Laurie teaches the students how to draw characters from her books and provides a few cartooning tips. It is remarkable to see what even the youngest students can produce and the joy created from these drawing lessons. It seems to really inspire the students to draw and think about character development and gives the students something to take home as a memento of the visit.  The visit concludes with about 5-10 minutes of questions and answers.

Information, including downloadable classroom activities, can be viewed at

Grade Levels: Grades 3-5 , Grades K-2
Genres: Fiction

Steven Kellogg

Steven Kellogg has been a beloved children’s author and illustrator since 1967, with over 110 picture books to his credit.  For this lifetime contribution to children’s literature, Mr. Kellogg was awarded the prestigious Regina Medal. He says that he has always been passionate for storytelling and drawing stories. As a young boy, Steven and his two younger sisters enjoyed an activity they called “telling stories on paper.” Kellogg would sit between the girls with a stack of paper on his lap and a pencil in his hand, making up fanciful stories and creating quick illustrations one after another to accompany the tales. From this moment on, Steven knew he wanted to draw pictures that made “an arresting and lasting impression”.

When not creating picture book art in his studio in Essex, New York, Steven is out visiting schools, libraries and conferences all over the country. At school visits, this master storyteller tells his favorite stories, including The Island of Skog and Best Friends. While telling these spellbinding tales, Steven draws the characters and their adventures, and leaves the children mesmerized.

Mr. Kellogg is particularly thrilled with his latest project, And I Love You (story by Ruth Krauss). Steven worked with Ms. Krauss when he was a young artist and she was the veteran. “It is thrilling to be illustrating one of her books after so many years. She was someone I truly admired”.

To learn more, visit

To view a video interview,

Grade Levels: Grades 3-5 , Grades K-2
Genres: Fiction

Natalie Kinsey-Warnock

Natalie’s books are based on her childhood growing up on a Vermont dairy farm, and her true family stories, and Natalie’s school presentations are all about family stories and encouraging students to explore the stories in their own families. Natalie shows how she writes about her own family (The Canada Geese Quilt, The Bear That Heard Crying, Wilderness Cat, From Dawn Til Dusk), and discusses various ways of uncovering family stories and how students can use those stories in their own writing. Natalie also conducts writing workshops, and since 2012 has been involved with her Storykeepers residency program and she is eager to bring it to your school. Storykeepers teaches students how to do historical research based on their family stories. Units include genealogy and family trees; photography; primary/secondary sources; records at the Town Clerk’s; artifacts; census records; and other online research. Students choose an ancestor, or local historical person, to research, using at least three tools of research, and create a culminating activity. Natalie offers 3-8 day Residency programs with Storykeepers.

You can read more about Natalie at

More information on Storykeepers can be found at

Praise for Storykeepers:

The second graders at PQ received the gift of Natalie’s Storykeepers Workshop this past March. Natalie did an amazing job of presenting the information in a way that not only held the children’s attention, but truly sparked their interest. After the first day working with Natalie, the children came in with artifacts, family stories and an unquenchable desire to research their family history. We saw reluctant readers and writers eager to explore and share their stories through writing about the information they had found online. It was truly inspiring! We, as teachers, even began researching our own families and sharing our stories. In my twenty years of teaching, I have never seen one unit capture the interest and motivate children as much as Natalie’s Storykeepers Workshop. It is truly an authentic and valuable workshop that helps inspire all involved to learn about and share their families’ history and stories through research and writing. It was also a wonderful way for families to reconnect with one another by telling their family stories and sharing their history.

Beth Savarese, PQ School Teacher


I have been a member of the PARP(Parents as Reading Partners) Committee for the past 8 years. The StoryKeepers Program with Natalie Kinsey-Warnock was the best writing workshop program that I have seen offered through our PARP program. This 3 day program(modified from her 10 day Vermont based program) was piloted for 2nd and 4th grade students, and actively engaged all students on an age appropriate level. Natalie’s passion for genealogy and her depth of knowledge inspired students, staff and ultimately parents. Students were empowered to engage in conversations with family members, research primary and secondary documents and explore their family history to tell their unique story. Students felt confident to tackle the topic of genealogy because of Natalie’s teaching skills. Students left each session motivated and were provided with appropriate resources to aid their research. This program is a wonderful resource to expose children to aspects of research, historical and cultural history, and writing in a systematic yet exciting way. Many families provided feedback on the joy of discovering and/or rediscovering their family history with their children. This program was so well received we’re considering offering this earlier in the school year to set the stage for research and writing and also include expansion to other grades. This program was a gift to all!

Veronica Smith—PQ school, Co-Chair of the PARP Committee, K-5 Elementary School, Westchester County, NY

Grade Levels: Grades 3-5 , Grades K-2 , Middle School
Genres: Fiction , Nonfiction

Kate Klise

Kate Klise wrote her first book when she was ten years old so she speaks with a certain authority when she encourages children to begin their writing careers now. With thirty books to her credit (picture books, early readers, middle grade novels, and one YA title), Kate relates well to students of all ages. When working with early readers (grades K-2, 30 minutes), Kate offers gentle advice about writing stories and invites students to create an original story on the spot. When presenting to older students (grades 3–6, 50 minutes), Kate focuses on the writing process: where she gets her ideas, how she writes her rough drafts, why the art of rewriting is so critical, and—yes!—how she comes up with all those punny names in the Regarding and 43 Old Cemetery Road series. In addition, Kate explains the classic elements of storytelling, including the importance of sending characters on journeys. In addition to large-group presentations, Kate also offers fiction and non-fiction writing workshops for smaller groups (30 students or less, 50 minutes). As a 15-year veteran for People magazine, Kate enjoys sharing her tips and tricks for writing on deadline. Over the years she’s taught countless students how to write colorful, compelling, and often hilarious People magazine-style stories about themselves and others.

Kate can be found on the web at  and

To watch an interview of Kate:, go to

Grade Levels: Grades 3-5 , Grades K-2 , Middle School
Genres: Fiction

Gordon Korman

Gordon Korman is the author of more than ninetyty books for kids and teens, most recently RESTART, SLACKER, and the MASTERMINDS trilogy”. He will talk about his writing process, including brainstorming, character development, dialogue, and his signature styles of humor and adventure, and relate his experiences growing up writing for kids after his seventh grade English assignment became his first published novel.

To read more about Mr. Korman’s books, visit

Grade Levels: Grades 3-5 , Middle School , Upper School
Genres: Fiction

Peter Lourie

Peter takes students on adventures around the world and shows them the passion that lies at the heart of travel and writing.  In this lively multimedia adventure presentation he will take children into cloud-forested jungles to look for Inca treasure, up Mayan and Aztec temple walls, into the Arctic world of Eskimos and polar bears, out to prehistoric early human excavations in East Africa, down historic rivers and waterways, and deep into the history and foreign cultures studied in elementary and middle school.  His Adventure Assembly helps children understand the process of a writer – researching topics, collecting journals, and perfecting the writer’s craft.  Optional follow-up writing workshops and peer critique residencies help teachers and students bring adventure to the page as they perfect their writing skills.

Learn more about Peter and view photographs from his travels at

To read an article in Edutopia about Peter’s school programs, visit

Grade Levels: Grades 3-5 , Grades K-2 , Middle School
Genres: Nonfiction