Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Speaker Profile - Kathy MacMillan


Region: Maryland/Delaware/West Virginia
Age Levels: 5-10, 11-13, and 14-17
Will Travel: Anywhere in the world
Skype Visit: Yes
SCBWI Profile: Member Profile
Speaker Email:


Kathy MacMillan (she/her) is a writer, American Sign Language interpreter, librarian, signing storyteller, and avowed Hufflepuff.  She writes picture books, children’s nonfiction, and middle grade and young adult fiction. Her debut young adult novel, Sword and Verse (2016) was a finalist for the Compton Crook Award. She has also published eight resource books for educators, librarians, and parents. Kathy serves as the co-Regional Advisor for the Maryland/Delaware/West Virginia Region of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in Baltimore, MD. Find her online at or on Twitter and Instagram at @kathys_quill.

Presentation Description:

For children and parents:

Stories By Hand: Kathy MacMillan, author of Nita's First Signs (Familus Press) and Little Hands and Big Hands (Huron Street Press) leads high-energy programs that teach about American Sign Language and Deaf Culture through high-energy, interactive storytelling, music, and games.  Whether you want an introduction to signing with babies, an assembly program for elementary age students, or a rollicking storytime for families, we’ve got a program for you! See the complete list, rates, and booking information at


For teens and adults:

For rates and booking information, see


Meet the Author: A lively conversation with Kathy MacMillan, author of Sword and Verse and Dagger and Coin, about worldbuilding, literacy, and the way fantasy reflects the concerns of the real world.   (geared to readers age 12 and up)


From Worldbuilding to Storybuilding: No matter what your genre, a rich palette of details brings the world of your story to life.  Kathy MacMillan, author of Sword and Verse and Dagger and Coin, shows how to focus on the specifics you need at each stage of the writing process to build your characters’ world without ever losing sight of the story at its heart. (geared to writers age 12 and up)


Choices and Consequences: Kathy MacMillan, author of Sword and Verse and Dagger and Coin, shows how to analyze your story through the lens of choices and consequences to create coherent plots, compelling characters, and satisfying endings.  (geared to writers age 12 and up)


Taking off the Training Wheels: Neil Gaiman says fanfiction can act as a training ground for writing original fiction. Is he right? Kathy MacMillan, author of Sword and Verse and Dagger and Coin, discusses how writing fanfic in the Harry Potter, Star Trek, and Babylon 5 fandoms prepared her for creating fictional worlds of her own. (geared to writers age 12 and up)


Connecting with Debut Authors: Learn about the ins and outs of the debut author experience, connecting with debut author groups, and how librarians, teachers, bloggers, and readers can get in on the ground floor with exciting new authors.  Kathy MacMillan, author of Sword and Verse and Dagger and Coin, is a librarian and the founder/lead administrator of the Sweet Sixteens debut author group. (geared to librarians, teachers, and bloggers)


For rates and booking information, see



For Educators and Librarians:

Many professional development workshops available, including:

  • Basic American Sign Language for Library Staff
  • Hands-on Storytimes: Incorporating Basic Sign Language into Your Programs
  • Little Hands Signing in the Classroom
  • Create a Calmer Classroom with American Sign Language
  • Multicultural Storytime Magic
  • Sign, Baby, Sign!  It’s Storytime!
  • Storytime Stuff
  • Working With American Sign Language Interpreters

For details and workshop booking information, see



Book Sales: I request that schools and libraries offer sales of the book in conjunction with visits.  Book sales may be offered before, after, or during the visit. Connect with your local independent bookstore here.  I will be available to sign books after the session or at another agreed-upon time during the visit.