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You can follow me on Twitter at @helakoski and facebook at Helakoski Books. My email is


I enjoy talking about writing and visiting schools --it keeps  me connected to my audience now that my own kids have flown the coop. The open minds of children and the enthusiasm of their teachers always amazes and inspires me. And teaching is in my blood. I grew up in my parent's Montessori school. I worked with them for many years tying lessons into stories in fun active ways. I have gone on to teach many topics from swimming, to initiative training to art and I now teach writing workshops around the country. But kids are still my favorite audience. 


Several topics I cover as an author/illustrator are listed below. All talks use a large screen and powerpoint. If you are interested in having me come to your school or function, please contact me for rates or more information at Please include your school's name and location in your inquiry. Basic fees are $900* within an hour of Grand Rapids, MI or Lafayette Louisiana and include three separate presentations. Travel expenses may apply to other locations. I usually speak to K-5, but also work with older kids in writing workshops. I understand well how funding for extra activities works (or doesn't) and the importance of arts related programs in our schools. 

Want to schedule a virtual or in person school visit? Click the StorySeer button below for a seamless, efficient experience for both of us!

             Contact me directly for book store or library visits (

If you'd like to sponsor an author or illustrator but don't have the means to do so, consider these options:

  1. Selling the author's books during the visit can generate a profit. Sponsoring schools qualify for good discounts and the savings can then be offered to attendees or used as a fund raiser to help defray speaker costs. 

  2. There are various grant programs designed for school visits.  For more information see links at the bottom of this page.

  3.  Skype visits. A 10 minute skype visit is free. It includes a simple Q&A session. Students should be prepared by reading several books in advance.

  4. Working with other schools in your area to coordinate visits can reduce travel costs and are eligible for discounts.


*Rates are based on presentations being in the same building/location and do not include the expense of travel. Please feel free to contact me with special requests/custom program ideas--I am happy to work with you on ideas. Multi-day visits or artist/author in residence programs eligible for discounted rates. See contact info below or email me with questions at


I offer critique services on manuscripts in progress. There is a lot to learn about this industry and what steps should or should not be taken. I am meticulous in covering concept, plot, rhyme, word play and readability and will include line edits as well as an editorial letter. Basic rate for non-rhyming mansucript is $70--based on one hour of my time. If the manuscript is in rhyme or if the writer is a true beginner, critiquing will likely take more than one hour. Please click on the Critiques header at the top of the page for more information.


What a worthwhile visit! 

The students were engaged and the teachers loved how you showed the students the process that real writers/authors go through to finish a writing piece.  It made what we teach them in writing more meaningful.

Thanks so much for your visit! We Loved it!

--Mrs. Paglio

Indian Hill School

Thank you for adapting so well to your changing audience. We are already applying your fun ideas to get us thinking about word choices. 

--J. Brush

Paw Paw, Michigan

I loved that you stressed how often you were told no, demonstrating that a lot of determination and grit are required in life. 


--J. Beck

Fourth grade teacher

Sylvania, Ohio



School grants - a Web site that covers everything and anything about grants to support schools


The NEA (National Education Association)


How to write a Grant


Wells Fargo Charitable Contributions for Education and Educators (specify state);jession=3UU31QRASBDUDACSYBJLU5YQKDPLUUM0


Writing Links


Michigan SCBWI Web Page  (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) -

National SCBWI -


The Purple Crayon -


Children's Writer Information -


The Children's Book Council -

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