Michelle Houts is the author of several fiction and nonfiction books for young readers. She writes in a newly-restored one-room schoolhouse on her family farm in Celina, Ohio.
School Visits & Speaking Engagements
Michelle Houts speaks about writing and publishing to all ages. She has a new workshop with the Lucy’s Lab series where students will learn to connect observation skills with great writing. Audience: Youth or Adult. Please visit this link for more about Michelle Houts’ speaking and to find teaching resources.
SEA GLASS SUMMER (2019): Author Michelle Houts and illustrator Bagram Ibatoulline explore the magic of one of the seaside’s greatest wonders and the bonds that link us through time.
One summer, a boy named Thomas visits his grandmother at her seaside cottage. She gives him a magnifying glass that once belonged to his grandfather, and with it Thomas explores the beach, turning grains of sand into rocks and dark clamshells into swirling mazes of black, gray, and white. When his grandmother shows him a piece of sea glass, Thomas is transfixed. That night he dreams of an old shipyard and the breaking of a bottle. Could the very piece of sea glass on his nightstand have come from that bottle? For the rest of the summer, he searches for more sea glass and hopes to have dreams that will reveal more of the sea’s secrets. A stunning ode to stories and the seaside, this picture book invites readers to imagine the ocean of possibility that lives in every small or forgotten treasure. (Ages 4-8)
SILENT SWOOP: AN OWL, AN EGG, AND A WARM SHIRT POCKET (2019): An owl swoops down to lay her egg in a coal yard—a dangerous spot for a fragile egg! Rescued by Walter, a bird expert with a big heart and warm shirt pocket, the egg miraculously hatches and is aptly named Coal. Thus begins the tender story of rescue, rehabilitation, and most of all, friendship. Watercolor illustrations styled in soft realism capture the connections between Coal and the people whose lives he touches. Complementing the story are additional pages of science information, literacy connections, and STEM activities. (Ages 5-10)
COUNT THE WINGS: THE LIFE AND ART OF CHARLEY HARPER (2018): When you look at a bird, do you see feathers and a beak? Or do you see circles and triangles? Artist Charley Harper spent his life reducing subjects to their simplest forms, their basic lines and shapes. This resulted in what he called minimal realism and the style that would become easily recognized as Charley Harper’s. Art fans and nature lovers around the world fell in love with Harper’s paintings, which often featured bright colors and intriguing nature subjects.
Harper’s love of painting and drawing led him from the hills of West Virginia to the bombed-out villages of Europe, to the streets of New York City, and to the halls of the Art Academy of Cincinnati. How did the farm boy who didn’t know a single artist become one of America’s most recognized midcentury modern painters? The answer is simple. He did it by counting the wings.
Count the Wings is the first book for middle-grade readers about Harper’s life and work. Author Michelle Houts worked closely with the Harper estate to include full-color illustrations, plentiful supplemental materials, and discussion questions that will intrigue and engage young readers. (Ages 12+)