Painting of grass and sky

Speaking Engagements

School Visits

As a former high school English teacher, I love connecting with students. Contact me at to discuss rates, formats, and topics that best suit the needs of your group.

What I offer:

  • Small, craft-focused writing workshops
  • Virtual classroom visits
  • Interactive talks with large groups of students

    • For older audiences: I discuss broad social issues such as racial and sexual identity, and the ripple effect of historic injustices (specifically the history of the model minority myth and the Japanese American incarceration); as well as more personal issues like peer and family drama. The underyling themes of my presentations focus on the importance of interrogating our beliefs about ourselves and others—asking where those beliefs come from and why we hold them.
    • For younger audiences: I teach students about Shinto religious traditions and stories, and/or give a brief overview of my writing process and how an idea becomes a book. Through these topics, I address themes of resilience, self-confidence, and empathy.


I also love talking to adult writers, educators, librarians—anyone really—about my craft, my passion for diversity in literature, and the place of young adult literature in language arts education. Some topics I have spoken on:

  • Breaking Into the Writing Profession, SheRoars conference at Princeton University (panelist)
  • Diversity in Children’s and Young Adult Literature at the SCBWI Golden Gate Conference
  • Using Backstory to add Nuance to Characters at the SCBWI Golden Gate Conference
  • Why Asian YA is Having A Big Moment at the Asian American Literature Festival (panelist)
  • Conversation on craft and character with Mitali Perkins at the National Book Festival (panelist)
  • This Is Us: Family Relationships in YA at the Texas Teen Book Festival (panelist)



“Of the many author visits I’ve hosted in my library, Misa Sugiura’s visit stands out as one of the most meaningful. Misa is an excellent communicator. She was open, honest, and vulnerable with our students, highlighting issues of identity and equity in ways the students found profoundly relatable.”

— Jole Seroff, librarian at Castilleja School, Palo Alto, CA

“It’s always a gamble when we book a virtual author visit, but Misa did an amazing job using the technology to make us feel like we were right there next to her. Each student was engaged in Misa’s relatable stories, and she really knew how to reach a middle school audience. I would highly recommend Misa to any middle school looking for an inspiring, down to earth, and authentic speaker.”

— Lauren Gray, librarian at Sunset Ridge School, Northfield, IL

“This was one of the best author visits we’ve ever had! Middle school students can be a tough audience, but Misa’s engaging presentation helped share how these years can also be formative and impactful. Her advice on writing was specific and meaningfully tailored to a middle school audience. By sharing some of her own personal struggles during middle and high school, students could relate to Misa on a personal level. She did an amazing job of being honest and authentic, using technology to make us feel like we were meeting with her in person, and integrating images and text to assist students in visualizing the process of creating a novel!”

—Michele Widdes, Chris Roberts, and Andrea Handelman, ELA and Humanities teachers at Sunset Ridge School, Northfield, IL

“Misa shared her energy and enthusiasm for her craft in her author presentation to our high school students. Her experience as an English teacher was clear in the level of engagement students showed in participating in a fun activity designed to show them the pitfalls of stereotyping others. She shared from her own past and memories of her teen years, which has given rise to her understanding of what it takes for teens to find and express their own clear voice. I would love to have Misa back now that her second novel is out!”

— Kathleen Smoot, librarian at Wilcox High School, Santa Clara, CA