“Donna Gephart GETS middle schoolers.”—Debbie Remington, Media Specialist and President, SLC Reading Council, St. Lucie County, Florida

DONNA GEPHART is a professional nerd. Her love for libraries and reading have led her to a career as a children’s book author for Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster. Her books now reside on the shelves of the library she frequented when she was a child.

Donna’s humorous and heartbreaking middle grade novels include The Paris Project, In Your Shoes, Lily and Dunkin, Death by Toilet Paper, How to Survive Middle School, and Abby, Tried and True. Her books have won a number of awards, received starred reviews, landed on many state reading lists, and been selected for schoolwide reading programs. Go Be Wonderful! is her first picture book, and Welcome to the Woofmore is her forthcoming first chapter book.

Donna is a popular speaker at schools, book festivals, libraries and conferences, including the SCBWI National Conference, the Erma Bombeck Humor Writers’ Workshop, NCTE, ILA, ALA, FAME, and many others.

She lives in New Jersey with her family, including her canine office assistant, Benji.


About the Visit

As a former creative writing teacher, Donna offers an inspiring, humorous, heartfelt presentation perfect for grades 3 through 8 and for family events that shows students who she was and what she read at their age (hint: comic books). She illuminates how she navigated challenges and rejections to pursue her lifelong dream of writing a book that landed on the shelves of the Free Library of Philadelphia, where she found solace as a lonely kid. Her lively, popular presentation uses engaging stories and images to show her writing process, including the tools she employs, her research methods, where she finds ideas, and the importance of revision. (Donna has a special interest in working with students from low-income families, as she shares her story of growing up in difficult financial circumstances.)

In Donna’s presentations for early elementary school students, she shares how she fell in love with books and reading when she was young and how the public library transformed her life. She shares the fun ways she gets ideas for her stories and the challenges of a creative career. She also shows how dogs have inspired her and found their way into her books for young readers. This fun, interactive presentation is perfect for grades K-2!

Additionally, Donna offers creative writing workshops for groups of up to 25 students. These include a mini-lesson, quiet time to write with specific guided instruction and share in a safe, judgement-free environment, followed by a Q&A period. Groups can choose from the following workshops, or book the whole series: 1. Sensory Writing That Makes Sense, 2. Scar Stories, and 3. How Art Inspires Art.

Donna is also available for conferences and book festivals.


“The event honestly exceeded all of my expectations and students are still saying it was their favorite assembly by far. The story you told was really inspiring and just what the kids needed to hear at this time of the year.”—Emily Perez, Library Media Specialist, New Paltz Middle School, New Paltz, NY

“To say that my 3rd-5th graders fell in love with both YOU and your books is an understatement.”—Robyn Kovner, Media Specialist, South Olive Elementary School, West Palm Beach, FL

“Donna was awesome with the kids, and they loved her. They will always remember the day Donna visited Curtis Middle School!”—Kay Hawkins, Media Specialist at Curtis Middle School, Allen, TX

“She is sincere, kind, smart and really funny.  Our 5th-7th graders LOVED her book and laughed themselves silly during her author visit to Manatee Academy.”—Debbie Remington, Media Specialist and President SLC Reading Council, St. Lucie County, FL

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