Patrick Carman, free skype author visit, 39 clues

Seeking 3rd Grade Mystery Author for School Visit

Best Mystery Authors for 3rd Grade School Visit

I’m co-chairing my elementary’s school Creative Arts and Sciences program run by the PTO with another lovely mom of 5. We are responsible from bringing in all the wonderful supplemental programs into the school. It’s run quite efficiently; all programs have to be approved by the Director of the Creative Arts and Sciences Program (a part time paid position), and then screened by all the chairs at more than a dozen elementary schools before we can book them.

This year, we had Lucinda Landon of the popular Meg Macintosh chapter book series as our mystery author and she was WONDERFUL!! Our teachers asked for her back next year and pretty much every year after that, but bad news; she’s taking the year off to write her books. The nerve of her! Writing and illustrating when we need her in the classroom!! I am kidding, but only a little.

So, the search begins for a replacement …

I contacted David Adler of early chapter book series Cam Jansen. He is from Toronto but, because the stars are aligning, he will be in Boston next June to attend his child’s college graduation. We can’t afford him though. He emailed me back and he does Skype visits too for a very reasonable price. A good option I think.

I also emailed Liam O’Donnell of the graphic novel mystery series Max Finder which I have been enjoying with my first grade son. He’s in New York. I’m not sure if the teachers will go for graphic novel since the curriculum our program is supposed to support is writing mystery short stories. Emphasis on stories.

So, I thought I’d ask you for suggestions. Yes, you!

What mystery authors for 3rd graders do you like? Did any visit your schools? Thank you so much!


I also found a list of mystery authors for 3rd grade. I have been checking out their websites.

Blue Balliett. She used to be a teacher! She doesn’t have school visits listed on her website though. I do really like Chasing Vermeer though! It’sa great mystery wrapped around art and museums.

Pseudonymous Bosch. We can book an imposter which sounds promising and quite fun. Not sure if he does school visits though. Looks like his visits are mostly to bookstores when he has a new book to promote. Drat!

Michael Buckley. No mention of school visits.

Bruce Hale. Paydirt? He does school visits and Skype visits. He’s based in Santa Barbara, CA. (Lucky guy!) $250/1 session. $350/two sessions on same day via Skype. Alas, no. His presentation is based around storytelling from one of his books. We need meat and bones of how to craft a good mystery. He would be great for a kids’ book club though!

Patrick Carman. From Walla Walla Washington. Virtual tour video of him. Q and A around his book. Darn it. I need a structured presentation around writing! He seems lovely. I just heard a magic word as I am listening to his video as he talks about his school visits: FREE EVENT! He will do 20 free Skype visits a year. Wow! I am emailing him right now. His mystery chapter books are really, really popular among our 3rd graders. He has rock star status among them! I will be a hero if I can get him!

Diane Stanley. Santa Fe based. Skype not available. Too bad. It’s really not that hard to set up Skype.

Nancy Springer. No website. That is too bad. I don’t get it when authors don’t have their own websites.

Doug Cushman. My 3rd grade teachers would love Doug Cushman because they use his picture books to teach mystery writing. It makes sense! I didn’t realize there were mystery picture books!


Thank you to reader Sunny for her great suggestion. Jennifer Trafton, author of The Rise and Fall of Mount MajesticSunny said that she did a wonderful job at an author visit at her library.

Hapa Mama suggests Wendelin van Draanen, who wrote the Shredderman series, the Gecko and Sticky series and the Samantha Keyes series.


Artchoo! suggests Michael Buckley.


Please wish me luck is getting Patrick Carmen. I would love to book him for next January or February to coincide with the 3rd grade writing curriculum in which they … ta da! write their own mystery stories. I will report back if I get him on how the Skype author visit went. You should book him too! For your school or special play date!


p.s. We ended up with …

Sheela Chari of Vanished. She was awesome!

To view any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Ann

    Wow! What a great event to plan and the perfect person on it! I want my kids at your school!!! We are not into mysteries yet so I don’t authors but will spread the word!
    Ann recently posted…All Signs Point to Fun!My Profile

    • Hi Ann,
      I love doing the Creative Arts and Sciences at my school. I hope Patrick Carmen will agree to do the 3rd grade visit. They are so excited for him but I haven’t heard back from him yet. Fingers crossed!

  2. Artchoo

    I was going to suggest Michael Buckley, too. Maybe you could try to contact these people even though they don’t mention school visits. You never know when an author will just happen to have a sister that happens to live 10 minutes from you.
    Artchoo recently posted…Tea for TotsMy Profile

    • To Artchoo,
      Good point! Yes, will have to start making some frantic emails if Patrick Carmen does not get back to me! Fingers crossed. The teachers are so excited about a Skye visit with him. They have Skype set up already!

  3. You know who would be awesome? Wendelin van Draanen, who wrote the Shredderman series, the Gecko and Sticky series and the Samantha Keyes series. She does do school visits, although she is based in California.
    HapaMama recently posted…Taiwanese Fried ChickenMy Profile

  4. Sunny

    I know I’m late to the party, but Jennifer Trafton (The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic) did a book club at our library and was fabulous. Just thought you might want to keep her in mind for another time. I will try to remember some of the others and post later, but Skype worked very well!

  5. Easepod

    Blue Balliett does do school visits. She is currently on book tour for her latest book, Hold Fast. Contact Antonio Gonzalez at Scholastic Press. See Contact on her website.

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge