Books Forward Authors Provide Virtual Learning Opportunities at Home

Dear booksellers, librarians, parents, teachers, avid readers, book club members and other eager learners,

We have been so touched (and impressed!) with how you’ve kept yourselves and your networks engaged and learning during this difficult time. Our Books Forward author family wants to help by providing a variety of free virtual learning opportunities and story times!

Our children’s and adult fiction and nonfiction authors are available for sessions via Zoom, Skype and other platforms. We can coordinate a special day of readings, discussions and inspiring lessons, covering everything from the writing craft to science experiments to nature exploration and much more. Below, you’ll find some fantastic opportunities tailored specifically for children, tweens and teens, as well as many options for adult readers.

We’ve also partnered with Book Club Babble to help your book club go virtual during social distancing, and to connect you with bestselling and award-winning authors.

Email our coordinator Erica Martin at with your requests, and we’ll arrange a virtual visit (or few) perfect for you!


Writing and Poetry

  • An advocate for marginalized voices in both publishing and her community, YA fantasy novelist J. Elle offers a tailored writing instruction video for your class.
  • USA Today bestselling novelist and Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day founder Jenny Milchman leads a virtual writers group for kids and teens.
  • Children can write poetry with Jet Widick, whose poems center around our everyday experiences and taking delight in the present moment.
  • Literacy instructional coach Caroline DuBois teaches writing in verse and shares supplementary educational materials for her forthcoming middle grade historical novel written in verse, The Places We Sleep.
  • Middle grade author Corabel Shofner shows how characters have a mind of their own and that settings hold a story in place and time, along with other writing prompts.
  • Historical novelist Donna Baier Stein helps budding writers find inspiration for stories by challenging them to find a piece of art in their homes and write a short story based on it (an activity that inspired her own book, Scenes From the Heartland). 
  • Crime thriller author Ed Aymar teaches the importance of diversity in fiction, with narrative techniques for getting it right.
  • Christine Meade, professional editor and author of the new thriller The Way You Burn, offers a writing lesson on how to craft tension, suspense and mystery in narrative form.
  • Love romance novels? Learn how romance author L.A. Long crafts her beguiling characters, gripping plot lines and simmering scenes.

Science & Nature

  • Children’s book author Cole W. Williams invites young ones on a journey with Dr. Brainchild as they discover how creativity, some wacky inventions and science can transform the ordinary into something EXTRA tasty!
  • Dr. Sam Stea offers classrooms and kids a practical introduction to discussing climate change through a fascinating YA climate-fiction adventure story.
  • Tracy Richardson shows there is more to our world than meets the eye with her environmentally-themed, science-fiction YA series.
  • Fine gardener Monique Allen, founder and creative director of The Garden Continuum, offers unique gardening tips, advice and how-tos for cultivating outdoor spaces that reduce stress, promote creativity and sustain the environment. 
  • Naturalist David Parrish offers a fresh understanding of the natural world for nonscientists. Whether you’re curious about sustainability or the accuracy of “The Big Bang Theory” theme song, Parrish will move you to think like a scientist in his insightful, unconventional — and often humorous — approach to biology.
  • How advanced is surveillance technology in the U.S., and how far could it go? Sci-fi thriller author Michael C. Bland details the uses (and abuses) of current surveillance technology and explains why “the future of tech” has already arrived.

Personal Development, Mental & Physical Health

  • Research psychologist Rachel Kowert initiates conversations with children about diversity and inclusion. Her latest book Pragmatic Princess: 26 Superb Stories of Self-Sufficiency inspires young minds to build their own castles and change the damsel in distress narrative to one of self-reliance (with the power of science behind it)!
  • San Francisco columnist and family law attorney Katie Burke demonstrates strategies to encourage open communication with kids about their living environments and other complex (and fun!) topics.
  • Missing that after-church fellowship? Christian novelist Annette H. Valentine hosts a “brunch chat” about books, family, children’s education, Bible study and God’s love.
  • Divorce lawyer and family therapist David and Julie Bulitt offer communication techniques and activities for families during this time of extra “togetherness.”
  • Caregiving expert Donna Figurski shares self-care tips and guidance for how people can still take care of themselves and find support while caring for others.
  • Lisa Boucher shares healthy ways to cope with the temptation to drink out of boredom and how to stay sober when dealing with elevated anxiety, job loss, etc. 
  • After 20 years as VP of publicity for Estee Lauder, Phyllis Melhado took a “second chance” with her life and began a career as a writer, and now she teaches how you can embrace your “second chance” as well.
  • Fifth-degree black belt Tori Eldridge teaches simple martial arts moves and exercises that help channel energy, work out restlessness or frustration, get focused, and have fun!

History & Literature 

  • Wendy Terrien explores the mythology behind her critically-acclaimed YA fantasy series and introduces viewers to the beloved canine rescues who inspired her stories.
  • Historical thriller novelist Samuel Marquis relays some of the most dynamic, fascinating and engaging real-life stories of battles and bravery that occurred during World War II.
  • Inspired by photographer Dorthea Lange’s gender-defying antics during the Great Depression, and her own personal family’s history in the Dust Bowl, Shelley Blanton-Stroud offers a fascinating look back at women’s unconventional antics to survive (and thrive).
  • Michelle Cameron offers a guided tour through a little-known, important period in history: Napoleon’s emancipation of the Jews from Italian ghettos in the 1790s, which still has reverberations in our world today.


  • Designer Justin Dauer (author of Creative Culture) shares fresh, insightful and, well, creative ideas for keeping employees engaged and motivated while working from home.
  • Want professional advice on how to secure your retirement during these uncertain times? Legal consultant Ida Abbott provides video consultations for those interested in retirement planning and financial security.


  • Join comedian and author Dani Alpert for a happy hour discussing unique family dynamics (and how to channel breakup-related grief to a hilarious memoir) from her own experiences as the Girlfriend Mom. 
  • Need a laugh right now? Humor writer Lori Duff shares funny oh-so-real life stories that demonstrate to us (especially women and parents) that we have no choice but to laugh at our failures, no matter how spectacular, and rejoice in our successes, no matter how itty-bitty.
  • Comedic novelist Brandy Ferner encourages children to brave the unknown (safely!), and moms can enjoy a chat with Brandy about the relentlessness of motherhood.

Don’t see a specific lesson you’re looking for? We have other opportunities available from our roster of bestselling authors and varied experts. Email Erica Martin at and let us know what you need!

And if you need help with downloading ebooks or audiobooks to read at home, check out our #BooksForwardHelpline for guides, reading recommendations and other resources.