Adult Programs Children's Programs Testimonials Appearances



Richard Michelson (in long red kurta) is welcomed to American Embassy School, New Delhi India.

Do you need someone to speak to librarians, teachers, religious groups, college students, high school students, children as young as six, or the general public? Do you need someone to give a poetry reading, a story hour, a workshop, or a lecture? Are you looking for a poet, a children’s book author, a book reviewer, an art dealer, an illustrator’s agent, or all of the above? Please read the testimonials below and  call or email for fees and scheduling. 

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Some Recent Programs for Older Grades, Adults, and Teachers

Each talk is individually geared to your particular group and I rarely repeat the same session twice, but the list below will give you an idea of some previous lectures (and please note that even when discussing serious subjects, my presentations are fun, funny and engaging).

Am I celebrating Diversity? Or am I part of the problem? What is a writer to do if you are interested in exploring cultural traditions outside of their own? Are you celebrating or exploiting, and where is the border between the two?

As Good As Anybody: Learn about the friendship of Martin Luther King and Abraham Joshua Heschel, the history of blacks and Jewish working together, and the story behind the writing of the book that won the 2009 Sydney Taylor Gold Medal, and which called one of the 12 Best Books of the Decade.

Writing Race: Poets on the Complexity and Contradictions of Race in America-- How can a poet write truthfully about the complexity and contradictions of race in America? How can a poet balance the message in the poem with the demands of poetry? How can a poet speak on behalf of his or her community, and yet empathize with other communities?

The Poetics of Loss:  Writing About Private, Public and Historical Grief-How do we write—and write well—about grief and loss? Can poetry of personal grief console family, friends or the poet him or herself? Can poetry of communal grief console a community or nation Is it the poet's responsibility to articulate hope and the possibility of redemption in the face of loss?

Jewish Children’s Picture Books: Then and Now: a brief survey of the history of Jewish picture books in America – what they tell us about how we see ourselves, how others see us and how such material can function as a potent tool for Jewish continuity.

Lipman Pike, Jews, and the beginnings of baseball. Learn about the earliest days of baseball and the events that led to the formation of the first professional league in 1871. Hear the true story of Lipman Pike, the Jewish boy who became the  very first professional baseball player and America’s first Home Run King.

Banned!  Most educators agree that banning books is bad, but writers for children are constantly censoring themselves and, along with their editors, making judgments as what is or isn’t appropriate. A look at the history of banning books.

What a long strange trip it’s been: My journey from atheist and ignoramus to someone who travels the country speaking in synagogues, and whose books are being used to raise the next generation of Jewish kids.

Too Young for Yiddish: Forging a Jewish Identity in the American Melting Pot

Busing Brewster: The history of segregation, unequal education and forced busing in America; and why in the world would anyone want to write a picture book about busing!

How much Fiction can fit in a Non-Fiction Picture Book: Where do you draw the line between fact and interpretation? Or between story and history?

Turning Autobiography into Picture Books: How Much Is True, How Long Did It Take to Write and How Much Money Do You Make?

Art and Literature of the Holocaust: The Morality of Using Tragedy to Create Works of Art

How Young Is Too Young?: Picture Books about the Holocaust

The Art of Collaboration: How Artists and Writers Work Together to Create Picture Books

Some Recent Programs for Younger Audiences

Ido readings and talk about the making of my books, and the importance of story. I love to get thekids excited about poetry and art; and many continue to send me projects long after I’ve left their school.

Eavesdrop and Gossip: Learning to Love Poetry: I guarantee the most fun fifty minutes of poetry. Your students will fall in love with words.

Animals That Ought to Be: Art and Poetry
Some children draw imagined animals and others make up poems about animals they would invent; then we switch and illustrate with words or pictures, each other's work.

A is for Abraham: (Jewish Day Schools, and Synagogues) What is the best thing about being Jewish! And why we should respect other traditions.

Ten Times Better and A Book of Flies: Real and Otherwise: How Math, Science and Poetry Can Work Together

Too Young for Yiddish: (This talk can be adapted for all cultures). I encourage children to ask questions of their elders, and explain why it is important to learn about your heritage. We also discuss what the older generation can learn from their children and grandchildren.

Oh No, Not Ghosts?: A traditional read aloud, with children playing the 'scary' parts. Perfect for Halloween.


"We have gotten amazing feedback from your readings and could not be happier about the impact that you have made in our schools. Our board members are still talking about your visit!"
Robin Jones, Bossier Arts Council

"Thank you again for such a meaningful, educational, and interesting learning experience!!! You truly engaged our students about topics that are extremely important in today's world."
Karen Wadler, Librarian Congregation Beth Shalom Northbrook, Illinois

"We thought it was gonna be boring, and it was really interesting!!!"
5th grader, Librarian Congregation Beth Shalom Northbrook, Illinois

"Everyone at 826 Boston and at the Mission Hill school was thrilled with your visit--your humor and creativity came through in all of your sessions. You got the kids thinking about how we generate ideas and stories, how pictures and words interact with each other, and how telling a story about a hard issue makes it real for the writer and the reader."
Jennifer Cusak, Foundation for Children’s Books

"Our participants loved your talk...You made everyone feel special."
-Jerry Mallet, Mazza Museum

"Richard Michelson is not only a terrific writer but a wonderful storyteller. As our keynote speaker he captivated the audience with intriguing personal life stories that evoked serious reflection on current and relevant social issues. Rich is a thoughtful inspiring speaker with something to say!"
-Robert Marmor, Executive Director, Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts

"The feedback, based on your wonderful presentation would make you blush. Everyone mentioned your humility, your manner, and the quality of your readings. Thank you for giving us an evening we will not soon forget... Please come again."
-Marion Kaletski, Public Relations, Quinsigamund Community College

"Thoughtfully and beautifully conceived and presented... listening to your words that evening, I could not help but feel their lyrical and literary quality. Our audience was clearly captivated and everyone in attendance let me know how much they enjoyed the experience."
-Stephanie Plunkett, Curator, The Norman Rockwell Museum

"There was a keen interest from the audience for your enlightening and enjoyable talk. It was a profitable experience in both senses of the word."
-Annette Goldsmith, American Jewish Librarian Convention Committee

"Your contribution made our conference a fulfilling day for all who attended. Comments on your presentation included the words inspiring, humorous, fantastic, and informative. Thank you for so strongly enhancing our program."
-Masha Rudman, Perspectives in Literature Conference, University of Massachusetts

"Thoughtful, witty, genuine are just a few words of a long list to describe the extraordinary events we conducted with Mr. Michelson. He was wonderful with the children at University School of Nashville, easily keeping them captivated and giggling, and his lecture at our library brought up complex issues, proving very enlightening to our faculty and teacher education students."
-Lara Beth Lehman, Peabody Library, Vanderbilt University

"Thanks so much for coming to the Clemson Literary Festival and Family Day ...I've been getting stopped all over town with parents telling me how much their children enjoyed the event."
-Michelle Martin, Clemson University

Selected Residencies/Recent Speaking Engagements

Richard does dozens of book-signings, school visits, library conferences and poetry readings every year. Below are selected events where he was a keynote speaker or scholar in residence. Check here Richard’s Calendar for Upcoming Events.


Massachusetts Poetry Festival Northampton Poet laureate Reading

Massachusetts School Library Association -- Annual Conference Guest Speaker


Harvard University’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice with Charles Ogletree

Festival of Faith and Writing -- Exploring religious and cultural traditions outside of one's own- Crossing the border between exploitation and celebration


Baseball Hall of Fame -- Cooperstown, NY -- Lipman Pike: America’s First Home Run King

Center for Children's & Young Adult Literature: The Power of the Picture Book

Foundation for Children’s Books & 826 Boston


Boston Book Festival 
Border Crossing: Understanding Social Justice Through Fiction

Skirball Cultural Center
Monsters and Miracles: A Journey Through Jewish Picture Books


Association of Jewish Librarians Convention
Sydney Taylor Award Lecture

Anti-Defamation League 
Next Generation Philanthropy Lecture


Clemson University - Richard J. Calhoun Distinguished Reader in American Literature for 2008.

Dover Reads 2008 - Tuttle’s Red Barn - A Community Wide Reading Project

Associated Writers Program Conference, NYC:
- Poets in the Hood: Jews, Blacks, and Hispanics-with Martin Espada, and E. Ethelbert Miller
- Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust – with CK Williams


Simmons College -Center for the Study of Children's Literature - Lecturer

Boston College -Foundation for Children's Books - Keynote Speaker

Vanderbilt University -Peabody Library - Inaugural Book Festival Speaker


Association of Jewish Librarians, Guest Speaker at Annual Convention.

Pskov Writers Association, Pskov, Russia, One week residency. Poetry Readings and discussions.


Jewish Family Services,Springfield, Massachusetts: Keynote Speaker at Annual Convention.

Bratislava International Biennial, Bratislava, Slovakia: Represented the United States at international literary conference of 48 countries. Lectured and served as cultural emissary, meeting with the Slovakian Minister of Culture, American Ambassador, and numerous arts groups.

Society of Illustrators, New York City: Served as judge for the 25th Anniversary of “THE ORIGINAL ART SHOW" - This is the premier American exhibition celebrating the Fine Art of Children's Book Illustrations.

American Embassy School, New Delhi, India: One-week residency working with international students and their teachers.


Mazza Museum of International Art, Findlay, Ohio - The world's largest museum devoted to literacy and the art of children's picture books: One-week residency lecturing to teachers and librarians.

Western Mass. Society of Women Educators: Reading and lecture.

Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York City: Visiting Writer, grades 1st through 8th.

CAJE 29 – (Conference for Alternatives in Jewish Education), Hofstra University: New Guest Lecture - How Young is Too Young: Picture Books About the Holocaust.

Perspective in Children's Literature Conference, University of Massachusetts: Guest Lecturer at Conference of Educators.