Children's Authors' Ally LLC

Connecting Schools With the Books and Authors Kids Love!


Middle School

Natalie Bober

Natalie Bober is an award-winning author with a strong background in the humanities and eighteenth century British and American history. She believes that biography is the human heart of history. Her biographies describe the milieu from which her subjects sprang, and show how their accomplishments were an outgrowth of the lives they lived. Her books have appeal across a wide spectrum of ages, and have garnered starred reviews from Booklist, School Library Journal, and Kirkus Reviews. They have been acclaimed in the New York Times Book Review as among the best of their genre being written today. Bober served as a consultant for the PBS television documentary Thomas Jefferson and appeared as a “talking head” throughout the program. She has lectured at conferences and universities across the country and at Oxford University, as well as at the annual lecture series on the Adams Family, the 250th birthday celebration of Thomas Jefferson, and at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, MA. Among her titles are: Thomas Jefferson: Draftsman of a Nation (ALA Award “Best of the Best”); Countdown to Independence; Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution (Boston Globe/Horn Book Award) and A Restless Spirit: The Story of Robert Frost (Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award and “Vermont Reads” Book of the Year 2008). She was elected to the Hunter College Hall of Fame, is a Fellow of the International Center for Jefferson Studies, and a member of the board of the Jefferson Legacy Foundation. Over the years Natalie Bober has spoken at countless schools, and continues to enjoy this. She is now looking forward to the publication of a new picture book biography next year.

To learn more about Ms. Bober’s work, visit

Grade Levels: Middle School , Upper School
Genres: Nonfiction

Ying Chang Compestine

Ying shares with students how her life in China inspired her writing, her journey as a writer and the challenges of writing in her second language. For younger grades, Ying utilizes a PowerPoint presentation using pictures of her life growing up in China to introduce students to Chinese culture, its delicious food and how she was inspired. She engages them in hands on activities, teaching them how to make dumplings or use chopsticks. Additionally, she presents a video from a Discovery TV show featuring her picture book The Run Away Rice Cake, which introduces the Chinese New Year, the values of sharing and compassion. For older grades, she discusses the writing and editing process, developing ideas, and researching. She shares the process of writing her award-winning novel, Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party, which was inspired by her childhood in China. She gives a PowerPoint presentation showing the locations and people that inspired her stories. Revolution is Not a Dinner Party has been chosen for the One Book, One County program for San Mateo County, CA, and has been selected as a required reading book for many schools. In addition to speaking about her writing, Ying can also present healthy Asian eating and lifestyles, conducting healthy cooking classes for teachers, parents and older students. The classes are popular auction items.

For information on Ms. Compestine’s books and presentations, visit

Why I Wrote Revolutionan interview with the Children’s Book Council

Watch how to make dumplings! Recipe from the picture book Boy Dumplings.

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

Bruce Coville

Bruce Coville has published nearly 100 books, and won children’s choice awards in over a dozen states. He is also an acclaimed speaker who has presented in schools on five continents and been commissioned four times by the Syracuse Symphony to create original stories to perform with the orchestra. Bruce’s basic presentation opens with Bruce storytelling the first two chapters of his book The Monster’s Ring. He then tells the story-behind-the-story of how the book was written and revised, using an engaging mix of comedy, motivation, and serious writing instruction. The hour long session includes the famous “puddle story,” which has inspired writers from third grade through working professionals. For audiences below third grade Bruce offers a shorter presentation about the creation of his first picture book, The Foolish Giant. He can also provide writing workshops and small group instruction. You can find him on the web at

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

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.

Learn more at

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

Cheryl Harness

Expect a day packed full of serious fun when Cheryl comes to your school to show and tell how she’s made her many historical picture books. She’ll tell about the researching, writing, and REwriting. She’ll show how she goes about creating her elaborate illustrations, too.

Will Cheryl draw pictures?  Yup.  Will she show up in costume or play her harmonica? Very likely. Will she answer lots of questions? Give good writing tips? Sign books?  Absolutely!

Cheryl’s 45-50 minute talk is a mixture of humor, bookbiz, and history, her own and our nation’s. After all, as Cheryl will tell you, “History is ever so much more than a load of factoids about dead people and battles!  A historical understanding gives you a lofty vantage point from which we can see how & why we all got to our modern world.”

More information on Ms. Harness can be located at

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

Kate Klise

Kate Klise wrote her first book when she was ten years old as a gift for an older sister. So she speaks with a certain authority when she encourages children to begin their writing careers now. With seventeen middle grade novels and seven picture books to her credit, Kate relates well to students of all ages. With early readers (grades K-2, 30 minutes), Kate offers gentle advice about writing stories. Using examples from her early school papers as well as from her books, Kate shows young children how a simple idea can become a book, and how a homemade book is always the perfect gift to make for the holidays. 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

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 seventy books for kids and teens, most recently Framed and two novels in the multi-author series The 39 Clues. 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

Donna Jo Napoli

Donna Jo Napoli has written books for readers of all ages, including 14 picture books, 34 chapter books and 20 young adult novels. Her writing ranges from contemporary fiction to fantasy to historical novels. She also writes mathematical tales and science tales as well as books geared toward helping Deaf people learn to read. Ms. Napoli’s Stones in Water won the Golden Kite Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and Breath was named as an honor book. Stones in Water also won the Sydney Taylor Award. Ms. Napoli’s Alligator Bayou was honored as a Parent’s Choice Gold Award book and North and King of Mulberry Street were Silver Award books. In addition to writing for young readers, Ms. Napoli is a professor in the Department of Linguistics at Swarthmore College.

Donna Jo Napoli is happy to make school visits for K-12. Her preference is to give a talk to the entire school at a morning assembly of 45 to 60 minutes. Then she will go from group to group, either talking or doing writing exercises. The groups can be classes (and she puts no limits on the size of the class) or can be groups chosen by the teachers or groups of children who volunteer. The writing exercises vary according to the age of the child. With K-1, for example, she might talk about how to critique a story and tell it cleanly. For 2-3, she might do an exercise on emotions in story-telling that involves using magazines (any magazines you have on hand). For 4-5, she might do an exercise on how to start a story. For 6-7, she could deal with the elements of character, setting, and plot. And for 8-12, she might work on rhythm in dialogue. She also has a workshop on poetry and using the senses that can be done with almost any age.

For more information on Donna Jo’s books and school programs, please visit her website at

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

Marc Tyler Nobleman


“Wow—incredible! An inspiration—absolutely gripping story everyone should hear.”
—educator attendee, Charlotte S. Huck Children’s Literature Festival, Redlands, CA

Marc Tyler Nobleman is the author of Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman (which made the front page of USA Today) and Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman (which inspired a TED talk…and changed pop culture history). Upcoming titles include Thirty Minutes Over Oregon, Fairy Spell, The Chupacabra Ate the Candelabra, and Brave Like My Brother.

His talks are real-life detective stories engaging for any age, even those who couldn’t care less about superheroes. He has been invited to speak at schools and conferences internationally (from India to Tanzania) and blogs about adventures in publishing (from research victories to promotional gambles) at Noblemania. Twitter: @MarcTNobleman.

“I’ve never seen an author have such an impact as did Marc. My students were enthralled. In a grocery store, a colleague overheard a 4th grader heatedly discussing the presentation with his father.”
—Lisa Casey, library media specialist, Jamestown School District, RI

“To say that [your] presentation was outstanding is almost an understatement. I’ve been the Head of Lower School for 30 years. All of the adults agreed that [you are] the best presenter we have ever had.”
—Dana Hahn, Head of Lower School, Wheeler School, Providence, RI


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