Michael Elsohn Ross, Award-Winning Children's Book Author

Award-winning children's book author of over 40 titles offers engaging assemblies and workshops for pre-school through high school.

My wife, adult son and his wife, my baby grand-daughter, and I live on a bluff overlooking the Merced River. During spring runoff the river roars; and in the summer there are placid pools perfect for swimming. The town we live in is El Portal and right next to Yosemite National Park. There’s a small school here with only three teachers. The kids at the school help me a lot with my books and you can see pictures of some of them in my backyards buddies series which includes Rolypolyology, Ladybugology, and other titles about favorite backyard "bugs."

Besides being a writer I also work here as a naturalist taking visitors on hikes and walks to learn about the Park. I’ve been doing it for more than 40 years and plan on doing it for at least another twenty.

Most of my book ideas come from my work as a naturalist or my adventures with school kids. When I’m not taking people on hikes, I’m either writing or taking myself on a hike. I usually don’t write for more than five hours a day. That’s plenty!

I'm honored when a young parent buys one of my books and tells me that one of my books such as Snug as Bug or Wormology was one of their favorites as a child.

The most important thing the author wants readers to gain from his books:

When one of my books make a young reader laugh or encourages them to explore the world my goal as a writer has been met.

Why the author is an authority on the subject of his books:

My non-fiction titles grow out of my passion and experience with the subject matter. In writing my most recent book, Plantology, I relied on my decades studying my local flora and teaching people about my discoveries. I also took the opportunity to investigate aspects of plants that I wanted to know more about, such as plant self-defense and herbology.

Recent Awards:

  • 2008 CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center) list for Mama's Milk

  • Arizona Young Reader Award 2007 Nominee for What’s the Matter in Mr. Whisker’s Room?

  • Science Books & Film–2003 Best Book List for Kitchen Lab and Indoor Zoo

  • Independent Publisher Award 2003–Finalist (Multicultural Non-fiction-Juvenile) for A Mexican Christmas

  • Bank Street College–The Best Books of the Year 2003 for A Mexican Christmas



Speaking Engagements and School Presentations:

I enjoy visiting schools and talking with students about how I create books.

During the last 25 years, I’ve presented at schools and conferences in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Tennessee, Vermont, Wyoming, Puerto Rico, Spain, Colombia, and Bangladesh.

My first book grew out of a challenge to write a kid’s book about cycles, a topic that had not been written about before. I started drawing and writing, night after night for two months, and the book soon took shape. In my program I share this story and others, to illustrate how a book is made, step by step, from the hatching of an idea to selling it at a bookstore.

My props are the real stuff—drafts of art and writing, a book galley, proofs, a press sheet, and the books themselves. I share works in progress and demonstrate how I draw my book characters.

I am comfortable working with all ages of school children and modify my program to suit each school's needs. In a full day visit I present three to four assemblies. I charge a daily fee, which is discounted when I visit more than one school in a region. There are also additional travel expenses for visits that require an overnight stay.

I also present an early childhood science inservice program for staff and parents based on my book, Sandbox Scientist.

Presentation Audience:


Grades K-3

Grades 4-6

Middle School

High School




301+ Appearances



Willing to Travel

Book Type:

Picture Book

Children's Non-Fiction

Tween/YA Non-Fiction

Adult Non-Fiction




Environmental Issues



Women’s Issues

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