Children's Authors' Ally LLC

Connecting Schools With the Books and Authors Kids Love!


Grades 3-5

Charles R. Smith Jr.

Charles R. Smith Jr. is a children’s author and photographer, and the 2010 Winner of the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration.  He is the is the author of over twenty books, including but not limited to: My People, Chameleon, Winning Words, Hoop Kings, I Am America, Twelve Rounds to Glory The Story of Muhammad Ali, and The Mighty 12 Superheroes of Greek Myths. Regarding his school visits, Charles says, “I truly enjoy visiting schools and meeting the kids that read my books. The children are an inspiration to me. My hope is to plant a seed that they too can write and take photos, and to achieve any goal by reading. I talk about life as a professional photographer and writer, and where my career has taken me in the world and what goes into creating a photograph. I also talk about each book, perform poems and discuss how and why I did things the way I did.  When it comes to my poetry, I try to bring the words to life by performing them so students and teachers can see the power of words at work. I also discuss my interests as a person and how that determines what projects I might do.”

Charles can be found on the web at

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

Melissa Sweet

As author and illustrator, Melissa Sweet’s presentations begin with the question:  Which comes first, words or images? Melissa shows materials used in making a picture book, from sketches to the art and the unbound pages of the final book. She talks about where ideas come from and the process of drawing, revising and editing. For each presentation, Melissa has a slide show with images of her studio, and using one title appropriate for the age group, Melissa shows slides of the making of that title. Some of the titles include: the Sleepy Little Alphabet, Carmine: a Little More Red, and the Caldecott Honor book, A River of Words. Next, she provides a small drawing booklet for each student and draws with the class showing simple cartooning techniques. The presentation concludes with questions and answers and a chance talk about upcoming books and projects.

To find out more about Melissa’s work, go to

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

Janet Tashjian

Janet Tashjian is the author of many best-selling middle grade series, including My Life as a Book, Einstein The Class Hamster, and Sticker Girl. She has also written YA novels including The Gospel According to Larry series and Fault Line, which are taught in several schools. Janet has been doing author visits for two decades, giving exciting and memorable group presentations on writing and creativity in elementary, middle, and high schools. She has the unique ability to meet children on their level and get them engaged with stories. Key points of her presentations include: how she became a writer, how she comes up with stories and characters, the writing process, how she came to love research and revising – and lots of laughs in between!

Janet often collaborates with her son Jake, who illustrated each book in the My Life As… and Einstein The Class Hamster series. Please specify if you’d like to invite Jake to present as well. Each session is followed by a lively question and answer session where students can ask not only about Janet’s books but about how she can help them become better writers.

For more on Janet and to download a brochure, visit her website.

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

Sarah Weeks

Sarah Weeks has written and published more than 50 picture books and novels.  Because of her wide range of titles, she has books appropriate for young readers in grades K-8.  Some of her best selling titles include: Mrs. McNosh Hangs up Her Wash, Crocodile Smile, Oggie Cooder and So B. It. An author visit from Sarah Weeks includes PowerPoint presentations, Q&A and autographing.  She is also available for author-in-residence writing workshops for grades 4 and up.  Booking begins March 1st for visits the following school year.  For more about Sarah’s author visits, including references and testimonials please visit her at:

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

Eric Wight

Unknown-3My career has lead me from one exciting journey to another, from working as a professional animator for such companies as Disney, Warner Bros., and Cartoon Network, to winning awards for my comic book adaptation of the Pulitzer prize-winning novel, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. I’ve developed entertainment properties for movie stars, created props for television shows like The O.C. and Six Feet Under, and in 2007 wrote and illustrated my first original graphic novel, My Dead Girlfriend, which was selected by YALSA as a Great Graphic Novel for Teens.

And yet, these accomplishments seem trivial compared to my proudest achievement: the co-creation of my son and daughter. Becoming a father sharpened my creative focus with laser accuracy. I realized that I wanted to create stories my family and I could enjoy together. Stories that made us laugh, but also offered a positive point of view. Frankie Pickle is my first series of such stories, and there are many more to follow.
The perks of being a children’s book author are many. After all, I earn a living by using my imagination, spending my days writing and illustrating stories—often while in my pajamas. But my favorite part of the process actually has little to do with making the books themselves. It’s being given the opportunity to visit schools and libraries so that I can share what it’s like to be an author, and help kids unlock their creative potential. Nothing compares to the pricelessness of a child making a comic book for you because they were inspired to do so after reading your story. Or a parent telling you that your book was the “light switch” that reformed their reluctant reader. Or a teacher who for the first time in their career had a class who unanimously completed their reading assignment because they enjoyed the book so much, and oh yeah, it happened to be the one you made.

Success is too often measured in dollar signs and golden statues. For me, no greater reward would be to someday read the biographies of a new generation of storytellers, and learn that somehow, I might have played a small role in inspiring them to chase their dreams the same way Walt Disney did for me so many years before.

Learn more

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

Hans Wilhelm

Hans Wilhelm has written and illustrated over two hundred books, including the popular Noodles Series, I’ll Always Love You, Come Rhyme With Me, Tiger-Tiger Is It True? and Bunny Trouble. Depending on the age of the students, Hans usually begins his lecture with a demonstration of how books are created (from the first idea to the finished printed book). He emphasizes the key importance of the writing and illustrating process. This is followed by a power point show, using two of his recent stories, which have not yet been published. Then Hans lets the students develop their own story, which he illustrates on huge sheets of paper. Students usually are so captivated by the process that they leave the assembly with a renewed enthusiasm for writing, reading, and illustrating. Hans wants the students to say to themselves, “I want to be a writer when I grow up!” The session takes about 45 minutes – and is a lot of fun! In addition to live visits, Hans is now offering “virtual visits”.

More information on Hans, including teacher activities, can be found at

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

Janet Wong

Janet Wong is the author of 21 books published by traditional publishers (S&S, HMHarcourt, etc.) and is the co-founder of Pomelo Books, publisher of The Poetry Friday Anthology and Poetry Friday Power Book series, adopted in thousands of schools nationwide. Most of her current work involves teacher education on how to use “Poetry Across the Curriculum” to support STEM, social studies, arts, and kindness/anti-bullying instruction. An ideal booking for Janet is a day of working with students followed by an hour-long teacher inservice session held after school.

Janet’s work addresses a wide variety of topics and genres for a K-8 audience that includes pictures books, poetry, chapter books, books to inspire writing, verse novels, and professional books for use by teachers, librarians, and parents. Among her honors and accolades: she has been featured on CNN and Oprah; has read at the White House; has been honored with ILA’s “Celebrate Literacy” Award; and has served on many prestigious committees, such as the NCTE Commission on Literature and the ILA Notable Books for a Global Society committee.

Perhaps what is most distinctive about Janet’s work, in terms of school visits, is its appeal to the whole school community: P.E. teachers will want to use TWIST: Yoga Poems, art teachers will want to lead recycled-art projects based on The Dumpster Diver, science teachers will love The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science, and chess-playing families will want to make their own lists of “Top 10 Chess Tips” inspired by Alex and the Wednesday Chess Club.

Janet does 4 presentations per day, a blend of assemblies and workshops tailored to your needs. Her assemblies are high-energy, interactive mixes of storytelling and poetry with a blend of writing pep talk and an explanation of the publishing process. Children love her suitcase of props (with each prop connected to a poem or story), while teachers and parents enjoy hearing about Janet’s transition from lawyer to published author. Janet packs the writing workshop with tips on craft and makes it easy for students to write an excellent first draft of a poem (providing the basis for an exercise in revision that teachers can continue in their classrooms). The most-reluctant readers and writers often become fans of poetry after one of Janet’s visits!

Learn more about Janet at and
To view an interview with Ms. Wong, visit


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