Author, illustrator speaks to Clanton Elementary students

Published 3:05 pm Thursday, April 17, 2014

4-18 Author at CES_web

Author and illustrator Michelle Nelson-Schmidt shows a painting she did of a Great Dane to students at Clanton Elementary School on Thursday.

Hundreds of Clanton Elementary School students were treated to a special story time in the library Thursday morning as they listened to Atlanta-based children’s book author and illustrator Michelle Nelson-Schmidt read her books aloud and talk about her journey to getting them published.

In three presentations for pre-kindergarten through second grade students, Nelson-Schmidt told students about the talent and passion she discovered she had for drawing and painting at an early age, her experiences at an art college and the long years she spent doing other jobs before pursuing her dreams of trying to publish books she had written and illustrated.

She said she did a variety of jobs—from graphic design to a pet portrait business—before deciding she had to give the book industry a shot.

“When you are doing something for you, it won’t make you quit,” Nelson-Schmidt said. “If you are not willing to work that hard for yourself, who are you going to work that hard for?”

She said she received many rejections before finally hearing positive news from a publishing company about her books.

Nelson-Schmidt now has four published books through Kane Miller Publishing: “Cats, Cats!,” “Dogs, Dogs!,” “Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster” and “Bob is a Unicorn.”

She travels to different schools around the country to talk to students about her work as an author and illustrator, show samples of her artwork and motivate students to pursue their dreams, whatever they are.

“It is one of the most fun jobs in the whole wide world,” Nelson-Schmidt said of being an author and illustrator. “You guys can have the exact life you want. If I get to have the exact life I want, then you can, too.”

Nelson-Schmidt’s visit to CES was coordinated by local resident Rebecca Corley, an education consultant for Usborne Books and More, which encompasses Kane Miller Publishing.

For more information about Nelson-Schmidt and her books, visit