Authors & Illustrators

Find Out More
Talkabook Logo

Lee Wardlaw

Lee Wardlaw swears her first spoken word was 'kitty.' Since then, she's shared her life with 30 cats (not all at the same time!) and published 30 award-winning books for children and young adults, including WON TON - A CAT TALE TOLD IN HAIKU, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin (Holt, ages 4 and up) and the middle grade trilogy 101 WAYS TO BUG YOUR PARENTS, 101 WAYS TO BUG YOUR TEACHER, and 101 WAYS TO BUG YOUR FRIENDS AND ENEMIES (fiction, Puffin Books, ages 8-12 and 10-14). Her poetry has been published in many collections and anthologies. A former teacher, Lee has a B.A. in Education, an A.M.I. Montessori Primary Diploma, and studied for her M.Ed. in Child Development. She is a vivacious speaker with 35+ years experience presenting at schools, libraries, and conferences - - both on-site and virtual - - talking with students, teachers, parents, librarians, and writers. Lee has a genuine rapport with children of all ages, and is able to change the complexity and style of her programs to best suit the needs of each audience.


Hey, What's the Idea?! (How to Get Writing Ideas from Your Own Life)

Lee has talked with thousands and thousands of children and young adults over the course of her 35+ year career. The #1 question she's been asked thousands and thousands of times is: "Where do you get your ideas?" In this program, Lee will discuss how to get great ideas from one's own life (even if you think your life is BOR-ring!) and how to turn…

Lee Wardlaw

45 Minute Program

101 Ways to Bug an Author...with Questions! (Extended Program)

Have you ever wondered what an author's daily routine looks like? How they come up with the names and personalities of their characters? What they do when they get rejection letters or Writer's Block? Maybe you’re curious about their writing process...which of their books is their favorite (or least favorite!) - - and WHY - - or perhaps you're…

Lee Wardlaw

45 Minute Program

101 Ways to Bug an Author...with Questions!

Have you ever wondered what authors do in their spare time? How they create the names and personalities of their characters? What they do when they get rejection letters or Writer's Block? Maybe you’re curious about their writing process...which of their books is their favorite (or least favorite!)...or perhaps you're simply dying to know the…

Lee Wardlaw

30 Minute Program

101 Ways to Bug Your Characters – Creatively!

The hardest part about writing is thinking of something to write, right? Wrong! You might brainstorm batches of ideas, only to get stuck in the miserable middles – or even on that dreaded first line. So how do authors do it? How do they turn great ideas into great stories? By ‘bugging’ their characters, of course! Join Lee for a fun and funny…

Lee Wardlaw

45 Minute Program

8 Things I Learned from My Cats about Writing Haiku – A Writing Workshop

Haiku is not just the world’s shortest poetry...or a unique part of Japanese culture...or even a school lesson about syllables. Haiku is also cat-like (compact, elegant, speaking volumes in a few choice ‘meows’)...and learning to write it will help you spy, pounce, and capture the ordinary moments of your day and turn them into something…

Lee Wardlaw

45 Minute Program

Lee Wardlaw hates writing her own bios. Probably because she has ADHD and often gets distracted in mid-sentence. So, she’s offering these bullet points about herself instead:

  • Nickname in middle school: Sam (Because her hair was so short!)
  • Favorite Foods: Tacos, peaches, Sweet Potato Fries, and home-made chocolate chip cookiesFf
  • Favorite Animal: Cats because they are exuberant and self-cleaning! Also: They purr.
  • Favorite Color: Anything from the Green Family: Jade, Teal, Olive, Forest, Mint...
  • Superpower: She can nap anywhere, anytime.
  • Favorite Subjects in School: Reading, 'Riting, and Recess.
  • Least Favorite Subject in School: Math. Which is why the title of her first book for kids was ME + MATH = HEADACHE.
  • Most Embarrassing Moment in Her Life: She is too embarrassed to tell you!
  • Languages: Speaks some Spanish. She is also fluent in 'cat,' but prefers to talk to them in fake French (“Le chat du fromage”).


Okay, okay. Here is a bit more official info about Lee...

Lee has published in every category of KidLit such as board books, picture books, easy-readers, chapter books, middle grade/YA fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and short stories. Her books have sold more than one million copies world-wide, receiving awards and honors from School Library Journal, the Washington Post, the American Library Association, the International Literacy Association, the Children’s Book Council, National Council of Teachers of English, the Association for Library Service to Children, Bank Street College of Education’s Children’s Book Committee, the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, and more. In 2019 the Children's Literature Council of Southern California presented Lee with the Dorothy C. McKenzie Award for her Distinguished Contribution to the Field of Children's Literature.

Lee has been an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) since 1980, most recently serving as a mentor for California’s Central- Coastal region. She is also a member of the Authors Guild, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the Children’s Literature Council of Southern California, the California Reading Association, North American Montessori Teachers’ Association, Association Montessori Internationale and, yes, even the Cat Writers’ Association!

Lee lives in Santa Barbara, CA. She and her husband have one grown son, PJ (a voracious reader), and two dog-disdaining cats, Coconut and Bumble Bee (who don't read but love sitting atop open books and laptop computers).

Read what parents, teachers, and librarians have said about Lee's presentations:

  • "Motivating and inspiring!"
  • "I've never received so many 'She was incredible!' comments from teachers, staff, and students as I have with your visit."
  • "She engaged the kids with charmingly silly stories about her family and her pets, which they loved! A great treat...!"
  • The students all agreed that your detailed answers, connections to your personal life, and seeing you in your office made them realize that this famous author was a 'real' person! Not only did it inspire them to write more creatively, but they really can’t wait to read more of your books..."
  • "Thank you, Lee Wardlaw, for an amazing visit! There's a lot of talk about you today. Lots of talk about writing books! The kids loved you!"
  • "Lee is wonderfully engaging, funny, and creative. Her presentations and stories captured the students attention and she provided many valuable tips and tricks for all of our aspiring writers, authors and illustrators!"
  • "...the evening far exceeded our expectations. We had SO many compliments from parents, teachers, and the principals. Lee was so amazing and brought out the best in the children..."
  • "You're the best author we've ever had!"
  • "I have seen Lee present to thousands of students, in large and small groups, and I've always been impressed with her ability to connect with students, librarians, and parents...when our staff was deciding on which authors to include in our 50th author celebration, she was the first on the list due to her popularity with our readers and her warm and caring personality. I would recommend Lee for any school program or event!"
  • "Thank you for your thoughtful Q&A and read-aloud! It was such a wonderful experience for my 2nd grade students. It's already enhanced their reading and writing interests! They remained engaged the entire time (that's special in and of itself). [Your program] helped them better understand the processes involved in writing, and gave them an intimate peek into your life."
  • "Our book club (our members are moms and students in grades 1st-5th) looked forward to meeting Lee for weeks and everyone checked in early for the Virtual Visit! Lee was fantastic and interesting. She explained how her stories came to be and how writers develop their ideas. Weeks later, we are still talking about the visit. One member (age 7) was inspired to write and illustrate a book of poems. He set up a table outside and is selling them for $5 a piece!"
  • "I am a media specialist and you are truly a favorite of my 5th graders. You were hilarious...my students were roaring with laughter. Now my students absolutely can’t get enough [of your books]. Thank you so much...."

Check out Lee online:

Won Ton

Bubblemania

101 Ways to Bug Your Friends and Enemies

Red, White, and Boom!

We All Scream for Ice Cream!

Seventh-Grade Weirdo

101 Ways to Bug Your Teacher

Won Ton and Chopstick

Saturday Night Jamboree

Corey's Fire

101 Ways to Bug Your Parents