School Visits & Author Programs

"Debbie Miller visited nine schools, saw approximately 2675 students, did twenty presentations and had four sit down lunches with small groups of promising student writers....There was one difficulty that hovered all week long. Clocks kept ticking. Neither the children nor Ms. Miller were ever ready for the time to be up.....​"  -Virginia McGee Butler, Retired Teacher/Working Writer, Hattiesburg, MS

 

Due to COVID-19, I am available for virtual classroom presentations or speaker series.

 

From Alaska to New England! Each year I continue to visit elementary schools across America as a guest author. Whether a class is following the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, studying Arctic animals, or working on non-fiction writing projects, I enjoy designing school programs that complement and enrich what students are learning in the classroom. In recent years I've enjoyed visiting schools in Alaska, California, Chicago, New England, Hawaii and Australia. To secure a visit date, please email me and let me know your preference month and date at debbiesmiller@hotmail.com.

School program includes:

  • A PowerPoint show on Alaska and its wildlife with emphasis on the animals that are subjects of my books. This show takes viewers on a journey to Alaska, as they visit the areas where I have researched my books.

  • Hands-on materials for students such as clothing made from caribou hides by Alaska Natives; bones and antlers, artifacts, and animal puppets.

  • Discussion on the non-fiction writing  process and how a nature writer works in Alaska including field studies in the wilderness and collaborating with scientists.

  • Discussion of the book making process with materials showing the different stages of book production.

  • Follow-up activities for teachers

  • Optional young authors lunch with 10-15 serious student writers (for full-day visits)

  • I'm also available for library presentations, conferences, school district inservices, and teacher workshops.

Program Topics:

My nonfiction books relate to a number of different study areas in the science, language arts, and social studies curriculum of elementary schools. I enjoy designing grade level programs that enrich classroom studies. Upon request by a teacher or librarian, these are some of the topics that I can focus on during my presentations:

 

 

  1. Life in Alaska and the Arctic: geography, environment, wildlife, people, cultures

  2. Animal Adaptations

  3. Life Cycles

  4. Biomes and Habitats

  5. Nonfiction research, writing and revision process

  6. Iditarod Sled Dog Race

  7. Climate Change/Global Warming in the Arctic

  8. Journal Writing

  9. Deserts (my recent book, Survival at 120 Above, describes the desert region of Australia and the animals and their adaptations to extreme heat).

  10.  Water Cycle: snow, glaciers, rivers, vernal lakes

 

Across America

From Alaska to California to Georgia to New England! 22 states, 119 communities. Each year Debbie continues to visit elementary schools across America as a guest author. Whether a class is following the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, studying Arctic animals, or working on non-fiction writing projects, Debbie enjoys designing school programs that complement and enrich what students are learning in the classroom.

Recent Itinerary

 

April, 2012: Australia

April 23-May 3: School visits in New South Wales

March, 2012: New England , St. Louis, San Francisco, Australia

March 1: Belmont School, MA
March 2: Wellington School, Belmont, MA a.m. Newport Public Library, RI, 3:30 p.m. youth program
March 3: Newport Public Library Conference
March 5: Burbank Elementary, Belmont, MA
March 7: St. Louis Science Seminar Lecture
March 8,9: St. Louis schools
March 13: California Academy of Science, San Francisco 2:00 p.m. Children’s Program 7:00 p.m. Arctic Program
March 19-23: New South Wales and Victoria, Australia School visits

February, 2012: Chicago area and New England

Feb. 1: McKenzie Elementary, Wilmette, IL
Feb. 2: Greeley Elementary, Winnetka, IL
Feb. 6, 7, 8, 9: Open dates
Feb. 10: Bell Elementary, Marblehead, MA
Feb. 14: Sheehan Elementary, Westwood, MA
Feb. 16: Boyden Elementary, Walpole, MA
Feb. 27: Lyme School, Lyme, NH
Feb. 29: Haggerty Elementary, Cambridge, MA

January, 2012: San Francisco and Chicago areas

Jan. 20: Town School, San Francisco
Jan. 23-27: School visits in S.F. Bay area
Jan. 24: Hillsborough schools
Jan. 30: Harper Elementary, Wilmette
Jan. 31: McKenzie Elementary, Wilmette

December, 2011: Fairbanks, Alaska

Dec. 6: University of Alaska Children’s Literature Class

November, 2011: Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska

Nov. 8: Chugach Optional, Anchorage
Nov. 9: Bayshore Elementary, Anchorage
Nov. 10: Aquarian Charter School, Anchorage
Nov. 11: Northwood ABC School, Anchorage
Nov. 12: Writers Institute, Anchorage
Nov. 16: Denali Elementary, Fairbanks
Nov. 18: Weller Elementary, Fairbanks

October 2011: Fairbanks, Juneau, and Sitka, Alaska

Oct. 4: Pearl Creek Elementary, Fairbanks
Oct. 6: University Park Elementary, Fairbanks
Oct. 17-18: Alaska State Literacy Conference, Juneau
Oct. 19: Mendenhall River Community School, Juneau
Oct. 20: Auke Bay Elementary , a.m., Juneau Harborview Elementary, p.m.
Oct. 21: Gastineau Elementary, a.m.
Oct. 26: Kettleson Memorial Library Youth Program, Sitka
Oct. 30: Kettleson Memorial Community Program, Sitka

April 2011: Alaska

April 25:  Children's Literature Class, Guest Speaker, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

March 2011: New England author tour
March 1: Wellington School, Belmont, MA
March 3: Franklin Elementary, a.m., Newton, MA
March 4: Bell School, a.m., Marblehead, MA
March 7: Burbank Elementary, a.m., Belmont, MA
March 8:  Haggerty Elementary, Cambridge, MA
March 9:  Lincoln-Eliot Elementary, Newton, MA
March 10: Downey Elementary, Westwood, MA
January-February 2011: Chicago and New England author tour
Jan. 31: McKenzie Elementary, Wilmette, IL
Feb. 1:  Harper Elementary, a.m., Wilmette, IL
              McKenzie Elementary, p.m., Wilmette, IL
Feb. 2:  Winnetka schools
Feb. 3:  Greeley Elementary, p.m., Winnetka, IL
Feb. 3:  Booksigning at the Book Stall, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., Winnetka, IL
Feb. 4:  Greenbriar Elementary, Northbrook, IL
Feb. 7:  Boyden Elementary, Walpole, MA
Feb. 10: Hardy Elementary, Wellesley, MA
Feb. 11: Martha Jones Elementary, Westwood, MA

November 2010:  Kodiak and Anchorage author tour
Nov. 1-5: Kodiak Schools
Nov. 8: Ocean View Elementary, a.m.
Nov. 9: Chugiak Elementary
Nov. 10: Sand Lake Elementary
Nov. 11: Willow Crest
Nov. 12: Muldoon Elementary, a.m.
October 2010: Fairbanks author tour
Oct. 18: North Pole Elementary
Oct. 19: Ann Wien Elementary
Oct. 20: Hunter Elementary, p.m.
Oct. 21: Two Rivers Elementary, a.m.

March 2010: New England author tour

Mar. 1: Burbank elementary, Belmont, MA, a.m.
Mar. 2: Sheehan elementary, Westwood, MA
Mar. 3: Plummer-Motz Elementary, Falmouth, ME
Mar. 4: Boyden Elementary, Walpole, MA
Mar. 5: Bell School, Marblehead, MA
Mar. 9: Woodland & Country schools, Weston, MA
Mar. 10-11: Craneville Elementary, Dalton, MA
Mar. 12: Haggerty School, Cambridge, MA
Mar. 16: John F. Kennedy School, Blackstone, MA
Mar. 18-19: NSTA conference, Philadelphia, PA

February 2010: Chicago and New England author tour

Feb. 1-5: Chicago area schools
Feb. 8: Wilmington Public Schools, Wilmington, MA
Feb. 9: Wilmington Public Schools, Wilmington. MA
Feb. 10: Fenn School, Concord, MA
Feb. 11: Wilmington Public Schools
Feb. 12: Paul Hanlon Elementary, Westwood, MA
Feb. 16: Thetford Elementary, Thetford, VT
Feb. 22: Wilmington Public Schools
Feb. 23: Wilmington Public Schools
Feb. 25: Marion Cross School, Norwich, VT
Feb. 26: Franklin Eelementary, Newton, MA, a.m.

January 2010: New England author tour

Jan. 5: Burgess Elementary, Sturbridge, MA
Jan. 11:  East Falmouth Elementary, North Falmouth, MA
Jan. 19:  Wilmington Public Schools, Wilmington, MA
Jan 20-21: David Mindess School, Ashland, MA
Jan. 25:  Hardy Elementrary, Wellesley, MA
Jan. 26: St. Joseph's Elementary, Needham, MA
Jan. 27: Maine Audubon Society

Comments from Teachers, Librarians, Students & Parents

"Debbie Miller...visited nine schools, saw approximately 2675 students, did twenty presentations and had four sit down lunches with small groups of promising student writers. A little girl figured out her process and gave a nice summation. “So you learn all the facts with your own eyes and interview people, and then you put those facts in your book.” That girl just may grow up to be a nature writer herself. Ms. Miller’s years of teaching experience allowed her to adapt quickly and change topics when she saw a teachable moment. At the beginning of one session, she found out the group had begun a study of marine biology. She immediately switched into telling about her current research for a future book about the Olive Ridley Turtles in Mexico and showing slides of them heading out to sea. The shared interest between her and those students was palpable. There was one difficulty that hovered all week long. Clocks kept ticking. Neither the children nor Ms. Miller were ever ready for the time to be up. One couldn’t help but wonder how long the sessions could have happily continued if there had not been a need to address another group, get to the cafeteria, or catch a bus to go home. Words of appreciation abounded after her visit from teachers, administrators, parents, and children. They might be summed up by one of the professors at the University of Southern Mississippi who had not seen a presentation himself but said, “You really got your money’s worth from Debbie Miller. There is quite a buzz around town about her visit.”

     -Virginia McGee Butler, Retired Teacher/Working Writer, Hattiesburg, MS

 

 

​"Ms. Miller - My son is a student at Oak Grove Elementary. You appeared at his school and he came home so excited. I have never heard him come home so excited about learning and about a BOOK!!! I can't believe how much he learned from you. He has been telling us all about Alaska and honestly, I can't explain it. He retained so much and I just wanted to thank you. You really peaked his interest (he is 9) in reading and learning new things. I really wish I could explain in words how Noah was inspired and came home and told us word for word the things he learned from you. Thank you so much! You have made a difference in the life of a great 9 year old!!

     -a parent in Hattiesburg, MS

 

"Ravenscroft Lower School recently hosted Debbie Miller. Mrs. Miller's presentation to our students in Grades 1-5 was both informative and entertaining. She shared her many adventures drawn from 24 years living in Alaska and materials she has gathered over the years, such as clothing and boots, mittens, and hides from the caribou. Her presentations included a discussion of what it is like to live in Alaska and a slide show of the wildlife and natural scenery of the state. The children thoroughly enjoyed her enthusiasm for and knowledge of the caribou, polar bear, and plover! She explained journal writing, the writing and editing process, and research involved in publishing a book. In addition to presentations, Mrs. Miller worked with fourth graders who became authors of animal stories, and first graders who illustrated new text she has written and hopes to have published. This author is a gift to the children's world of books. She is an exceptional presenter and does such a nice job of addressing each grade level appropriately. Every presentation was different in some way! She took our students on "a journey to Alaska" that they will never forget!"

      -Sarah Adams, Librarian, Ravenscroft Lower School, Raleigh, North Carolina

 

"Our students found her presentations informative, interesting and fun! The slides were really great and helped students visualize the vastness of Alaska's wilderness. Her presentations have an excellent balance between talking, showing, and answering questions."

     -Sheila Carey, Librarian, Ravenwood Elementary School

 

"Debbie Miller was wonderful. The children loved her presentation. They came back to class feeling they had been on a real journey."

      -Chugiak Elementary School

"...I really enjoyed your presentation. It was just great. One day I would like to be a writer like you. What encouraged me to think about this career is that I noticed when you gave all of the information to us, you seemed to really enjoy writing yourself..."

     - a fifth grader from Pleasanton, California

 

"...You are very lucky to live in such a beautiful state. There is such a large amount of caribou that you can go out into the wild and study their habits. Then you can put your research and notes together and write wonderful stories that tell about real life in Alaska. I hope you can continue writing about your wonderful Alaska adventures..."

      - a third grader from Salem, Oregon

 

"...I love your stories and the paintings. The paintings make me feel like I'm in them. They really describe the words. The stories are really interesting. I really want to go to Alaska. I want to see Mr. Van Zyle's dogs and the Disappearing Lake..."

     -a fourth grader from Northbrook, Illinois

 

"...I thought it was very spectacular the way you researched your books. I especially was fascinated when you told us 40,000 caribou were coming toward you! Also, you have experienced many things while researching like, falling flat on your face, getting your foot stuck in a crack on the sea ice, and seeing polar bear tracks around you..."

      -a fifth grader from Seattle, Washington​

"Dear Ms. Miller: Every year our family follows the Iditarod and I do a unit study on Alaska with my 3 children. As I read "Big Alaska" to the children today I felt compelled to write to say thank you for producing such fantastic books. Your books are truly "living books" and they bring Alaska right into our schoolroom (aka my kitchen table). We may never get to see the race first-hand (although every March 1st my husband threatens to sell everything we own and head up there!) but your books have helped us get a bit closer. Iditarod is a family affair for us - I suppose what the Super Bowl might be to other families. Your books make these 2 weeks a richer time for us. I've read "Disappearing Lake" and "Caribou Journey" year after year. This year, "Big Alaska" and "Arctic Lights, Arctic Nights" will be new. Thank you for all the hours you have put into creating a picture of America's greatest state for those of us in the lower 48. Now that I've discovered your website, we will add 'author study' to our lessons!"

     -a parent in Georgia

How to Order my Books for School Visits & Author Events

Most local bookstores and regional distributors either stock my books or can order them for you. Publishers will give you a 40% discount if you order multiple copies of books for a school visit or other author events. I'm happy to autograph books for any author visit.

For these seven children's book titles: Survival at 120 Above, Survival at 40 Below, Big Alaska, The Great Serum Race, Arctic Lights, Arctic Nights, Are Trees Alive?, A Polar Bear Journey, contact Carol Monteiro with Bloomsbury/Walker at 1-646-307-5012.

 

For new hardcover and softcover editions of A King Salmon Journey, A Caribou Journey, A Woolly Mammoth Journey, & Flight of the Golden Plover contact University of Chicago Press at 1-800-621-2736.  In Alaska please contact the University of Alaska Press at 888-252-6657.

 

For Grizzly Bears of Alaska, published by Sasquatch, 2014, contact Random House at 1-800-733-3000

 

For my adult books and essays:

For On Arctic Ground, Midnight Wilderness: Journeys in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Arctic Wings: Birds of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, & Seasons of Life and Land(Braided River) contact: Mountaineers Books: 800-553-4453. In May, 2011, the new color edition of Midnight Wilderness was released by the Braided Rivers imprint of Mountaineers Books.

There are many bookstores that partner with schools and non-profits. They can bring in books for an author event, usually giving a small percent of the proceeds to the hosting organization. Or they give an educational discount. Contact the local bookstores in your community for more information.