school visits

Author/illustrator of picture books, science books, chapter books, wordplay books cartooning books, biographies and professional books.

First things first... How much is this going to cost?

You probably want to know how much Mike charges for his school visits, right? The short answer is $1500 plus travel (from New Orleans), lodging and meal expenses.  For many schools, that is well within their budgets. However, many other schools cannot afford that much for an author visit. In those cases, Mike suggests that two nearby schools "partner" and split the day (and the expenses). Mike usually does three presentations per day - so that would mean one school would have Mike for two presentations and the other school would have Mike for one presentation. If both schools want Mike to do two presentations on the same day, Mike is happy to oblige, but he does charge an additional $500 for the extra presentation. That means each school would pay $1,000 and half of the expenses. 

If you have a special situation, please let Mike know. He can get pretty creative when it comes to working within a tight budget and he won't let a little thing like money come in the way of him visiting your school. {ahem}

Mike typically visits K - 5 or K - 6 schools however it's not uncommon for Mike to speak to groups of Jr. High or even High School students. Naturally, the subject matter and interactivity is different for each group, but here's a basic outline of what Mike does when he speaks with kids:

Mike starts with a PowerPoint presentation showing pics of himself, his family and where he's from. Many of these PowerPoint slides are very funny and the humor sets the stage for the rest of Mike's presentation.

Next, Mike shows images from several of his books. The first images are from some of Mike's non-fiction science books.Next, Mike engages the kids in some wordplay from his joke, riddle, tongue twister books.Mike then moves on to his Cajun books. Mike reads from one or more of the books using his authentic Cajun accent. 

Depending on the group, Mike might read from some of his other books or he might engage the kids in some interactive "brain games" that challenge the kids to think in ways they may find unusual and great fun. Mike also talks about the different kinds of writing he does (fiction, non-fiction, biographies, etc.) as well as advertising copyrighting, greeting cards and other forms of writing that kids don't often hear about.The highlight of Mike's presentation is always the step-by-step cartooning instructions. Mike shows every student (and teacher) how to create great little cartoons and how cartoons can help improve reading, writing and thinking skills. Not to mention improving everyone's ability to express themselves more visually. EVERYONE DRAWS ALONG - little kids, big kids and teachers too.

Finally (if time permits), Mike will close with some music. Mike has been playing music professionally since he was a teenager and he loves to get the kids singing. He might even get someone from the audience to dance with him...

Do you want to have some of Mike's books available for sale/autographing? Great! You can order books directly from Mike, from a local bookseller or directly from the publisher. If you order directly from Mike, he'll send you 5 - 8 sample books and an order form. You can display the books in your library and then take orders for the books and collect the money. When all the orders are in, you email the name of the child/adult ordering the books, the titles being ordered and the name of the child's teacher. Mike will autograph EVERY book and personalize the book with the child's name (or whatever name is specified on the order form). Mike will also draw a small cartoon in each book. When all the books are signed, Mike will ship them to you in advance of his visit. Sorry, no discounts, but you may keep the sample books as Mike's gift. You can mail a check to Mike for the books or you can give Mike a check when he arrives at your school. Questions? Concerns? Email Mike at for more info. 

Mike's thoughts on reaching reluctant writers

"Good writing is the result of good thinking. It doesn't happen accidentally. The main reason why so many kids are reluctant writers is because they are overwhelmed by the process. The way to address this is to have them write a lot...but to write things that are short, fun and relevant. And for your visual thinkers, it's important to tie-in the visuals - because a large portion of their thinking is done in pictures."  

Mike Artell