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?

The Language of Angels

How language helped the Jews find their way back to their homeland, and helped me find my way back to Judaism: A talk about Yiddish, Hebrew, Israel, Brooklyn, baseball, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Leonard Nimoy and me.

Writing Poetry for Children, Teens, and Adults: Commonalities and Differences

Great poetry is great poetry, whether aimed at children, teens or adults. We all share a common humanity and with any luck, will experience all three phases of life. Yet some of our finest poets are unable to bridge the divide, while others write magnificently for different audiences.  This talk will be geared to those writers hoping to spread their wings, and broaden their audience.

Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy

Richard Michelson boldly explores the Jewish immigrant background of his close friend and mentor, the origin of the Vulcan hand salute, and how Nimoy’s childhood influenced his depiction of Mr. Spock, and other roles.

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?

presentations-15Jewish 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.


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.

How a poorly educated, never-Bar- mitzvahed atheist grew up to write the books being used to teach your kids and grandkids about Judaism

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.

presentations-14Too 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