Mike has been writing stories ever since he was in elementary school. His love of weather began in 3rd grade. Growing up near Los Angeles, he wasn’t used to “real” weather—or snow for that matter. Well, one December morning at school it did snow! His principal came in and told his teacher to let them play outside. That memory still sticks today.
Years later, as an elementary school teacher, Mike’s classes ran a school weather station. That led him to write his first published book, The Weather Report. It also landed him a consulting job with The Weather Channel. And, it opened the door to television weather. His first TV weather casting job was as a weekend weatherman in San Luis Obispo, CA—while he was teaching. Now, years later, he has written several books on weather for children—both fiction and nonfiction. He also has several teacher’s books and science kits published on weather. And, because his intrigue for weather has never left, he is now a weathercaster for KRCR-TV in Redding, CA.
But, weather is not the only topic he enjoys, he also loves to write realistic fiction books for children about the outdoors. He has published books out on: caving, dinosaur digs, whale rescues, ghost towns, animal encounters, and much more. He has currently written over 90 books for children.
His national park adventure series is something he is very proud of. The “Adventures with the Parkers” series currently has 13 books published taking place in: Zion, Bryce, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Great Smoky Mountains, Olympic, Glacier, the Rocky Mountains, Arches, Canyonlands, Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, Wind Cave, Acadia, and Grand Teton. This series has already received national attention, awards, and excellent reviews.
Mike spent ten years teaching 4th and 5th grades and GATE classes. He was also a district mentor teacher in science and weather. Additionally, during his first year of teaching, he was recognized as one of the Top 100 New Teachers in the Country by Fannie Mae. For fifteen years he taught Child Development classes as an adjunct professor at Chico State in Northern California. In 2004 he was nominated for honorary membership in Phi Eta Sigma, a National Honor Society, by students as an Outstanding Professor 2003-2004.
Mike loves visiting schools and his presentations can range from 1st-8th grade. Some of my most popular topics include: weather, national park adventures, writing realistic fiction, storytelling and selected readings, and topic-based science based on my books. He is comfortable presenting to small and large groups, in workshop style, or in whole school assemblies.
Most of his time is split between writing, and visiting schools. He lives in Chico with his wife, Kimberly, their daughter, Maggie, and their two cats, Clare and Katina. When he has free time, he enjoys biking, hiking, backpacking, camping, and of course, spending time in the national parks.
My Yosemite: A Guide for Young Adventurers
In eight chapters covering everything from “Yosemite’s Rich Past” to “Endless Things to See and Do,” Mike Graf calls on the park’s most knowledgeable insiders – biologists, rangers, even the park’s resident entertainer – to share their most exciting stories and best advice. Colorful photos and illustrations enable young readers to get up close and personal with Yosemite’s waterfalls, Giant Sequoia trees, sheer granite walls, and, of course, those famous black bears. This guide also recommends gear for a national park visit and offers safety tips, a wildlife observation how-to and birding guide, tips on managing a wildlife encounter, and a guide to rock climber lingo and a difficulty ratings system. Also featured are detailed accounts of famous climbs, tips on how to protect the park and keep it green, an historical timeline, and a list of popular hikes.
Mount Rushmore, Badlands, Wind Cave: Going Underground
Illustrated by Marjorie Leggitt
Encounter fossils, caves, and storm chasers as the Parkers traverse the trails of South Dakota’s awe-inspiring national parks. Robert and Kristen Parker lead their twin children, James and Morgan, on a series of mini-adventures through three parks, even coming across a pair of mischievous fossil poachers at Badlands National Park. Unfortunately, the poachers get away, but not before the Parkers record their description. The adventurers end with a visit to Mount Rushmore. It just so happens, the poachers turn up there! After reporting this information to park rangers, the Parkers sit back and enjoy the evening lighting ceremony of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. In the latest of the “Adventures with the Parkers” series, Graf once again places the quaint family of four in the midst of natural wonders. He is a master of description, transporting readers to trails and caves, vividly depicting surroundings. The family’s adventures present readers with tantalizing sneak-peeks of what park visitors may encounter. Adults and some younger readers will be attracted to Graf’s magnificent imagery, taking them to places they may not have the chance to witness, or inspiring them to plan a visit. Reviewer: Remy Dou (Children’s Literature).
How Does a Cloud Become a Thunderstorm?
This book is part of an interesting, low-cost, paperback series that answers key topical questions about the Earth sciences. Its text, photos, and graphic elements will attract readers. Students in grades two through five will enjoy the easy-to-read font style and size with important words in bold. Photos are clearly labeled with sentence captions, and sidebars feature key questions and interesting information. There are many great resources in the nonfiction text to help students with research reports, and there is an extensive glossary. The “Find Out More” section includes lists of websites and books, an index, and a contents page. The photographs in the text are stunning and will keep the reader’s interest. The fact boxes found throughout the book engage readers with intriguing bits of information. I would recommend this series to both classroom teachers and librarians. Reviewer: Tracy Alley (National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)).
Topics for multi-class or single-class presentations:
- National Park Tours: Take a tour with full color photos, stories, park information, animal sightings, vacation planning, and drama of each of these national parks: Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Glacier, Zion and Bryce Canyon, Arches and Canyonlands, Acadia, Great Smoky Mountains, Olympic, Rocky Mountain, and Badlands/Mt. Rushmore. Each “tour” will be about an hour long and will leave the audience wanting to head immediately to that national park!
- National Park Adventures and Realistic Fiction: This is his most requested presentation. Schools get a combination of national park drama and storytelling, national park background information from key parks, and realistic fiction writing tips and techniques. This one hour assembly is best suited for 2nd grade and up, but adjustments can easily be made for lower grades. This also fits well with my Adventures with the Parkers series of books.
- All about Weather: This one hour presentation teaches all about severe weather, storm chasing, weather safety, and basic meteorology. During this talk, Mike will also read sections from some of my books on weather and tell stories from my weathercasting and storm chasing past. This topic is best for 2nd grade and up.
- Writing Workshop: This 60-75 minute workshop is for smaller groups and follows Mike’s National Park Adventures and Realistic Fiction presentation. During this workshop he gives further advice on writing and promote and guide students to begin writing their own stories by giving feedback along the way. In these presentations he teaches students to write the beginning, middle, and end of a story, encompassing such techniques as foreshadowing, character development, setting descriptions, building suspense, and editing, among others. This topic works well for GATE/TAG students and grades 4th and up.
- Nonfiction Writing Workshop: In this workshop students will be guided through the Nonfiction Writing Process. Topics included are how to research and write for a particular subject. Students will learn how to put text into their own writer’s voice and how to design and set-up an informational, yet attention grabbing book. Further, the presentation will cover the use of photos and illustrations, maps and diagrams, page-by-page set up, and getting writing to a particular grade level. The editing process will also be included. In the end students will learn how to take a topic and write about it from start to finish, whether as a paper or to make the topic into a book.
- Weather Workshop: Following his weather assembly, students will make cloud charts illustrating the four basic types of clouds and the weather each brings. Students will also learn about other cloud types and gets some basic tips on a weather broadcast. This presentation is for smaller groups and GATE/TAG classes from 4th grade and up.
- Mini Tour of the National Parks: (for K-1st grade classes only). In this presentation Mike will take younger students on a mini tour of some of our best national parks. With a slideshow presentation, he will share pictures and teach what makes the parks unique and awesome to visit. This presentation takes about 30 minutes.
- Author in Residence Writing Seminar: For 5th grade and up, these seminars can be one to two weeks in length. Please inquire for details.
- Skype Presentations: Topics and times vary. Please ask for details.
Fees: $400 for a single presentation. He is willing to do up to four presentations in a day. Travel expenses to be paid by sponsoring organization.
To learn more about Mike and his publications please visit www.mikegrafauthor.com.