Children's Book Author Mike Graf

Book Cover: Going Underground Book Cover: Wolves Book Cover: Glow Worms Book Cover: The Eye of the Grizzly Book Cover: How Does a Waterfall Become Electricity? Book Cover: Whirlwind Book Cover: Tale of the Scorpion

School Talks and Presentations

Topics       Workshops        Rates        Reviews

     One of the great aspects of writing books for children, is that I get to visit schools and share my stories in person.

My presentations run the gamut of 1st through 8th grade, as well as giving talks to educators and parents.  I am an enthusiastic storyteller and would be delighted to present at your school.  Many of my talks revolve around weather, caving, storm chasing, dinosaur digs, animal encounters, and other outdoor adventure and science related topics.  My newly released national parks series, weather, and/or the writing process itself are some of my most frequently requested presentations.

I also give specialized, hands-on writing and weather workshops for smaller groups and GATE classes.

My background includes:

  • Upper grade elementary school and GATE teacher for 10 years
  • Author of more than 70 books for teachers and children
  • Development of science kits for elementary and middle school classes
  • Former weathercaster at 5 different TV stations
  • Consultant for The Weather Channel
  • Instructor for Child Development and Education Departments at California State University, Chico, CA

Topics for multi-class or single-class presentations at your school:

  • What itís like to be a children's book author
  • How to write realistic fiction stories
  • Coaching, judging and implementing school writing contests
  • National park fairs
  • GATE class instruction
  • Weather 101: basic weather elements, hands on activities, and experiments related to weather
  • General storytelling relating to many of my favorite stories while researching my books

Writing Workshops:

Writing workshops are an excellent follow-up to my realistic fiction assemblies for grades 4th and up.  These workshops can be one-hour in length, giving further tips, techniques, examples, and writing time to aspiring authors.  Or, I also offer full, week-long, author in residence workshops that guide students to write four-chapter stories.  In these presentations I guide students to write the beginning, middle, and end of a story, encompassing such techniques as foreshadowing, character development, setting descriptions, building suspense, and editing, among others.

Weather Workshops:

Weather workshops are an ideal follow-up to my Weather 101 assemblies for grades 4th and up.  These workshops include aspects of severe weather, storm chasing, hail formation, tornados, lightning safety, and cloud identification.  Participating students will get to make and complete their own cloud identification chart.

Rates for School Talks and Presentations:

Professional Fees:
$400.00 for one assembly or presentation
$700.00 for two
$250.00 per presentation thereafter

Travel expenses vary depending on location.
For visits outside of California, Nevada, and Oregon, there will be an additional $100.00 fee for the first presentation.
Payment is due the day of presentation.

Book orders are part of my time at your school.  Your teachers and students will want to order books. There are several ways of coordinating this around my visit to your school.  Please inquire at the time of booking your event.

Week-long workshop fees are based upon individual school needs.

Skype (on-line) presentations are available.  Please contact me for more information, including rates.

Reviews

University Review

     "This is the second time I have had the pleasure of attending one of Mike's classes, and I must say, it is a delightful experience.  I find Mike to be an exemplary teacher.  He develops a wonderful rapport with his students - he is engaged and engaging which in turns creates a wonderful learning environment reflective in student engagement in the class and with the material being presented." - Chris Coughlin, CSU Chico, PhD Professor  

Writing Workshops Review

     "Education plus inspiration...does it get any better than that?

Wielding the full weight of being a widely published author, Mr. Graf commanded attention and instructed students quite specifically in the craft of writing.  Budding authors began skillfully writing and revising on the spot, incorporating his tips for creating engaging characters, building empathy, and walking the line between harsh realism and sugar-coating in order to achieve a compelling plot.  Mr. Graf wove fascinating personal adventures throughout his presentation and gifted students with honest feedback as he invited them, inspired them, to share their work.  Despite the large crowd, our writing session felt intimate...a testament to Mr. Graf's knack for being a natural, masterful teacher." - Julie Pitra, Fourth Grade PATS Teacher, Butterworth Elementary School, Moline, IL

Author Presentation Reviews

     "Mike Graf held students on the edge of their seats during his exciting and educational presentation.  His story-telling skills highlighted his love of nature and illustrated the stories behind the books that he has written about the national parks.  He shared personal experiences that had contributed ideas for his stories.  He inspired students to write their own stories by outlining his own writing practices and giving them a vision of how to endear characters to the reader.  Our students benefited greatly, both in reading and writing, from his time at our school." - Pamela White, Librarian, School of the Osage, Lake Ozark, MO

     " It was absolutely GREAT having Mike Graf at our school!  He is an excellent speaker and can weave a great story!  The kids at our school were K-8th grade and they were all intrigued and glued to their seats for that whole hour that he spoke!  He had them in the palm of his hand." - Karen Worley, Teacher, Mineral Elementary School, Mineral, CA

     "If you are interested in inviting an author to your school, you should invite Mike Graf!  Lincoln Elementary School in Yuba City, CA has been hosting an Author Day for nearly two decades and the response to Mike Graf's visit was by far the most enthusiastic, well-received, and positive feedback we have had in all that time.  Mike captivated our students and staff during his presentations with his own amazing experiences and how he incorporates those into his books.  After the assemblies with Mike, I kid you not, our students were begging us to write.  That is a true testament to the power of Mike's presentations!  We pre-sold 100 books and then sold out of the books Mike brought with him and had to take orders from the many students still wanting to purchase a book.  During the selling and autographing of the books Mike gave each child his attention and you could tell by their faces and comments that this Author Day was one that was going to be a life-long memory for them.  Choose Mike Graf!  You will be beyond pleased that you did!" - Nancy Teague, Third Grade Teacher, Lincoln Elementary School, Yuba City, CA

     "Two diverse schools in Redlands, CA were captivated by a visit from Mike Graf!  Mr. Graf mesmerized his audiences which ranged in age from kindergarten through 5th grade by transporting them to Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon National Parks through his fascinating power point presentation.  Mr. Graf connected with students at all levels and backgrounds.

     Students at both schools continually show eagerness to read Mr. Graf's books to find out what happens next to the Parker family.  We all can't wait to see where Mr. Graf takes us next!"  - Tandi Liess, Mariposa Elementary School and Trista Barton, Lugonia Elementary School, Redlands, CA

     "Mike Graf is such a great presenter to students of upper elementary ages.  His presentations and his ability to keep the students engaged is outstanding.  Everyone in the audience was on the edge of their seats as they listened to him.  The content of the presentation went right along with our reading and writing curriculum and he did a fabulous job of modeling how to begin a story." - Megan Frederiksen, Fourth Grade Teacher, Garfield Elementary School, Moline, IL

     " The students and staff thoroughly enjoyed having Mike Graf come to our school.  It is not an easy task to keep the attention of 300 students, but he magically did with his presentation.  Students were excited to listen to his stories and personal experiences.  His enthusiasm for reading, writing, adventure, and national parks was contagious." - Lezlie Walters, Teacher/Librarian, Charlotte Hill Elementary School, Las Vegas, NV

     " Mike Graf's author assembly had our students enthralled from start to finish!  Our students loved to hear how his adventures in our national parks gave him authentic and  original details for his writing. From bears to scorpions, our students were hooked by his adventures and photos.  They loved to hear how his own experiences became the experiences for his fictional characters; a true treasure of knowledge for aspiring writers!" - Chris Leggett, Librarian, Lee Antonello School, Las Vegas, NV

     "Mike Graf came to our school in March of 2012.  I highly recommend his presentation as well as his national park series of books.  My  students and all of the teachers were enthralled during his entire presentation.  Mr. Graf did an assembly for more than 250 students, and he had everyone captivated.  I teach in an at-risk, low-income school.  Most of my students have not seen further than their neighborhood park.  Therefore, they look forward to the time of day when I read the Parker's series.  With his use of vivid imagery, my students are actively engaged and transformed into the unique natural wonders of the world.  His series will fuel your desire to get out there and see the natural beauties that surround you!" - Jennifer Hampton, Second Grade Teacher, Wengert Elementary School, Las Vegas, NV

     "Mike Graf's visit to Carmel River School was fantastic!  His enthusiasm and energy was contagious!  The 4th and 5th graders were engaged the entire assembly.  We all left eager to travel to these National Park wonders!" - Annie Jasper, Librarian, Carmel River School, Carmel, CA  

     "Mike Graf connected with our students and teachers as effectively as any author we've ever hosted.  Whether it was through his explanation of the distinction between realistic fiction with other kinds of fiction, or his entertaining  examples of the research he conducts to make his stories authentic, Mike's presentation hit all the right notes.  Mike's experience as an elementary teacher shows in his command of the audience and his material.  He is flexible enough to make subtle changes to his presentations for each grade level while retaining his core messages which include the writing process, story elements, and National Parks.  As a result, following a Mike Graf presentation, kindergartners have nearly as much takeaway as 5th graders.  Mike's teaching background serves him well in that he understands what students want to hear, but also appreciates what teachers want students to hear!" - David Schrag, Librarian, Northview Elementary School, Kansas City, MO

     "Mike Graf left our students breathless as he told a small piece of his story from Harrowing Ascent of Half Dome.  Our kids jumped with fright, then laughed, during a piece from Tale of the Scorpion!  Mr. Graf is a superb storyteller and can captivate an audience with his talents.  We LOVED his visit, and we LOVE his series Adventures with the Parkers."  - Barbara Brown, Librarian, Diamond Valley Elementary School, Diamond Valley, UT

     "Thank you so much for coming to our school.  The children are still talking about the assembly.  We really enjoyed it and quite frankly could have listened to you for another hour." - Michelle Hines, Principal/Teacher, First Good Shepherd Lutheran School, Las Vegas, NV

     "Mike Graf gave us a wonderful presentation.  It was very fun and, at the same time, very educational.  The day after, I received several compliments from teachers, parents, and students.  They all thought Mike was immensely entertaining.  They really enjoyed his presentation.  Many said that he was their favorite author to visit our school so far!  My own daughter has been immersed in Mike's book, "Danger in the Narrows", ever since she received it. She loves it!" - Monique Carrolle, Author Night Coordinator, Portola Hills Elementary School, Trabuco Canyon, CA  

     "Mike was amazing."  "He was the best author presentation I have ever heard."  "Mike's presentation was very well liked by all the teachers and students.  He made the assembly very exciting and his stories had connections to real life." - Heera Kulkarni and Staff, Roy Herburger Elementary School, Elk Grove, CA

     "On behalf of Bunderson Elementary and our Authors' Fair committee, we would like to thank you for coming to our school on April 29th.  It was fun to watch all of our students so actively engaged in your every word.  We loved how you taught them about realistic fiction as well as how they can use it as a new genre in their own writing.
     In particular we are most grateful to you for how you conveyed your enthusiasm for learning and writing to our students.  You showed them how essential writing can be in their lives.  It was great for our students to see such a great example of a teacher and an author.  They have been inspired to greater heights as they write stories about their lives." 
- Michele Simpson, Chair of the Young Authors' Fair, Bunderson Elementary School, Brigham City, UT

     "I have used many presenters during my 22 years in education and Mike Graf is at the top of the list.  His ideas to motivate student writing are an inspiration.  The audience was totally engaged from child to adult.  I'm going to invite him to return next year." - Debbie Burnette, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, Lammersville School District, Mountain House, CA

     "Thank you for a wonderful experience for our children.  Many teachers have complimented your excellent management and connection with students.  They really enjoyed the content of the presentation, too!  Children loved having you here."- Rebeckah Winans, Principal, Fuller Elementary School, Tempe, AZ  

     "We are reading your books and loving them.  You made a wonderful impression on our children." - Sam Glover, Literacy Specialist, Sunflower Elementary School, Gillette, WY

     "Your presentations were an awesome experience for Rozet students and staff.  You must have been an excellent teacher!  You are very effective with all of the age levels/grades."  - Tami Bishop, Literacy Specialist, Rozet Elementary School, Gillette, WY

     "Dixie students sat wide-eyed listening to adventures in realistic fiction writing by childrenís author, Mike Graf, at our Annual Author Assembly sponsored by the Dixie Home and School Club, on Thursday, April 9. Graf shared and inspired our students with his experience in writing since he was a young boy in 5th grade.  Grafís exciting action-packed stories of childhood and his recent adventures to national parks served to illustrate for our students the transformation in creative writing; turning real unusual situations into exciting fictional stories with unique protagonists.  Graf even shared his top secret ingredient for writing..." - Maya, PTA Representative, Dixie Elementary School, San Rafael, CA

     "My name is Courtney Wheeler and I am the Library Media Specialist at Nashua Elementary School in North Kansas, Missouri.  Our PTA brought Mike Graf to our school on February 18, 2009 to do author presentations for our kids.  He is one of the most fascinating authors that we have ever hosted.  His ability to pull the audience in to his presentations from Kindergarten to the oldest staff member was truly amazing.  Mr. Graf's presentations were full of interesting facts and intertwined great science knowledge with the foundations of writing realistic fiction.  The students, teachers, and parents can  not stop raving about his presentations and the impression it made on everyone that heard them.  His books have flown off the shelf and have a waiting list a mile long.  I highly recommend any school or organization to have the privilege of hosting Mike Graf."- Courtney Wheeler, Library Media Specialist, Nashua Elementary School, North Kansas, MS       

      "This is year three and building three for me having Mike Graf at one of my school's.  They are always wonderful talks.  In every building my students have been captivated by his presentations and inspired to write!  Mike truly engages the students- a rarity for my middle schools- and they love it!  I had more kids come in after Mike left just to see if they could check out some of his books!  They whined out loud when I said they wouldn't be ready until tomorrow!" - Marian McHugh, National Board Certified Teacher/Library Media, Cashman Middle School, Las Vegas, NV

    "Mike Graf was very entertaining for all ages- students and teachers!" "Our students were able to return to school and build on what's already being taught when writing stories.  They really enjoyed listening and learning from Mike Graf." - Teachers who brought 5-6 graders to the Plum Creek Children's Literacy Festival, Seward, NE

   "Thank you so much for including York in the Plum Creek Festival.  Mike Graf was an exemplary speaker.  The kids thoroughly enjoyed him." - Bonnie Moses, York Elementary School, York, NE

     "Mike Graf's assembly was one of the most enjoyable and worthwhile assemblies we have had.  He had the students engaged and attentive during that short hour.  I believe that he inspired our students to want to write more (and better) stories.  He told things the way they are and made himself more real by doing so.  Thank you!"- Debbie Houghton, 4th Grade Teacher, Hurricane Elementary School, UT       

      "Great! We have had such great feedback from students and teachers alike.  I don't think the teachers thought their students were capable of being engrossed for a stretch of time like that." - Katie Demsher, Assistant Principal, Plum Canyon Elementary School, Saugus, CA

     "We loved having you visit our school!  I have been fielding compliments about your presentation for the last two days!  The teachers, including myself enjoyed it as much as the kids did.  Thank you so much for coming!  Teachers were very impressed with how you kept the kids focused and how much they learned from you about writing.  You are a dynamic speaker.  Your talk didn't even seem like an hour." - Kathleen Gipson, Literacy Specialist, Monte Cristo Elementary, Granite Falls, WA

     "I was told by a staff member that the kids talked about you all afternoon!  It was a great morning!"  "I want to thank Marian for getting our author here this morning.  Mike Graf was just a wonderful speaker.  Our 3-5 grades were just entranced with his stories from start to finish!" - Marian McHugh, Library Media Teacher,  Paula Laub, Writing Specialist, Paradise Professional Development School, Las Vegas, NV

     "Thank you for the excellent presentation you gave to our students at Bodega Bay School.  Although the talk was aimed at 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders, you were able to engage and interest the three lower grades as well.  The teachers were very pleased with the presentation also."- Carolyn Connors, Bodega Bay Elementary School, CA

    "Thank you for your recent visit to our school...You did a remarkable job of altering your presentations so that the varying grade level presentations were age appropriate and clearly enjoyable for all.  Your teaching experience was evidenced by your ability to command and hold the attention of the students...what an outstanding presentation you gave to the students. Our best yet!" - Barbara Danowitz, Principal, St. John Eudes School, Chatsworth, CA

     "I wanted to thank you again for coming to Bilbray yesterday.  I have gotten so many positive comments today about the assemblies yesterday and the program last night.  The students and teachers think you are amazing.  I hope that you'll be able to come back to our school in the future.  Good luck to you on your next books!" - Gayle Jefferson, Literacy Specialist, Bilbray Elementary School, Las Vegas, NV

     "It was a pleasure having you in our room on Wednesday.  The students really enjoyed writing their realistic fiction stories.  I know it was intense, but I do have to say, the students stayed focused, and really enjoyed the process.  I have received nothing but positive feedback from parents and students.  It was truly an honor to have you as a guest in our class." - Miss Rodriguez, 4th Grade Teacher, Alexander Dawson School, Las Vegas, NV

     "Thank you for coming to our class.  I learned a lot about writing.  I liked to write before, but now I love it!  I learned what morbid vs. sugar-coated means now.  I think I will never forget how to make your story interesting.  Now I know that you should put an unusual situation in every story.  Now I am using dialogue in my stories.  I can't wait to finish my story.  Thank you again." - 4th Grade Student, Alexander Dawson School, Las Vegas, NV

     "Thank you very much for everything.  It was great.  My daughter, a seventh grade student, said you were the best author we have ever had.  I'd say that is quite a compliment since we have had some really great authors, and since the middle school age can be a difficult age to please, since they already know everything, lol." - Mary Larez, Librarian and parent of Mikaela Larez, 7th Grade Student, St. John Eudes School, Chatsworth, CA

     "Mike Graf is an excellent informative teacher/author.  He walked into each class a natural and with excellent skills in capturing the audiencesí attention and getting across information and telling stories.  Highly recommended!" - Paradise Valley Arizona

     "I very much enjoyed your presentations this morning at San Domenico... Your realistic fiction presentation was fabulous.  I liked all aspects of it: grammar, vocabulary, different concepts for characters, recording excursions, real life experiences. All important contributions to the story.  Very exciting...you were super!" - M. Schwerin, Librarian, Brookside Upper Campus, San Anselmo, CA

     "Please tell Mr. Graf that I thought he did an excellent job at the assembly!  His talk was very informative, yet by defining vocabulary, bringing some physical objects, and using storytelling techniques he was able to connect with a young audience.  I was also very impressed with his management skills; it was a pleasure to attend an assembly where an intrinsically interesting presentation engaged the students so much that virtually none of the students grew restless or bored.  Obviously, Mr. Graf has a wealth of experience managing large numbers of students, and he was well prepared to discuss his books and the ways he gets his ideas.  I hope that he can speak with our students sometime again in the future, and I am sure that any other district would be fortunate to have him present at their school." - Lisa Doig, Rescue Union School District Lake Forest School, El Dorado Hills, CA

     "If you have Mike Graf coming to your school during Nevada Reading Week are you in for a true adventure!  Mike travels and writes about his real experiences in his Realistic Fiction Books.  Mike has written over 70 books.   His books are bursting with information. Students, parents, and teachers loved his presentations!  Hold onto your hats... " - Ruby Sandoval, Teacher and Librarian, Lummis Elementary School, Las Vegas, NV

     "Over fall break, we drove up to the Grand Canyon.  The kids really loved the book Tale of the Scorpion.  Eliana kept mentioning to me that we were going to take a day hike.  She packed up our backpacks with all the important things: water, food, a salty snack, flashlight, etc.  We even bought a black light flashlight so we could hunt for scorpions!  She reminded Mike and I to start drinking water well before our trip.  When we got to the Canyon, we started walking on the trail. Eliana started going down, down, down.  When I told her we weren't going to the bottom, she was shocked!  She was so upset!  She thought we were going to hike right to the bottom, just like in the book!  It was priceless!!  Thankfully, she was satisfied with our long hike around the rim." - Miriam Spizzirri, Parent of 4th Grade Student, Tesseract School, Phoenix, AZ

     "Mikeís presentation was terrific.  He held the students attention with experiments, hands-on cloud chart building and reading from his books." - Santa Clara, CA

    "Mike Graf was a great hit with the fifth grade teachers and students at our school.  He tailored his presentation to fit the weather/extreme nature themes the fifth grade students had been studying in class." - Tiburon, CA 

    "I found Mike Graf to be both professional and gracious when I worked with him.  He was helpful in providing information and materials.  I enjoyed his presentation and would gladly have him again." - Orland, CA

    "The kids really enjoyed Mike's lecture--in fact, the first grade teacher told me her students talked about the caves for the rest of the day. Every comment I heard was positive--from the kids and faculty alike." - Melissa Moore, Junipero Serra School, Carmel, CA

     "Mike, you were getting rave reviews all day long yesterday!  The teachers LOVED your presentation, and were so delighted to have you here that they've already asked me if we can book you for next fall to speak to next year's fifth graders!"
- Melissa Jones, Librarian, Bel Aire School, Tiburon, CA

    "The children and adults were enthralled by Mike's presentation. Mike's stories really came alive for the children. Lots of positive feedback from all who attended." - Dixie Elementary, Marin County, CA

     "Mike's presentations were engaging, exciting, and informative. Both students and teachers will remember his visit for years to come." - Anna Lane, Glenn County Office of Education

     "I can't begin to tell you what a pleasure it was to have Mike at our school. The students and staff really enjoyed the presentations. I really liked the ease of working with him." - Dorothy Garrelts-- Johnstonville School, Susanville, CA

    "I am getting rave reviews about Mike's sessions....the teachers all loved him." - Lore Silva, Librarian, Vista Grande School, San Diego, CA

     "The best author we have had come and visit." - PTA president, Gold River School, Folsom, CA


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Adventures with the Parkers

Geography

National Parks

Outdoor Adventure

Teacher Guides

Weather

Science Kits

Weather Station

Cloud Kit

Precipitation Lab

Science Writing Cards

Science in a Nutshell