Gary Schmidt

Gary Schmidt is the author of numerous middle-grade and young adult novels, including Wednesday Wars, which won a Newbery Honor, and Lizzie Bright and the Buckminister Boy, which won both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Prize, as well as Trouble, Orbiting Jupiter, Okay for Now, Pay Attention, Carter Jones, as well as the picture book So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth's Long Walk to Freedom. He is a professor of English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Many of his books are about or set in Maine.

Schmidt attended Gordon College in Massachusetts and graduate school at the University of Illinois, earning a Ph.D. in medieval literature. He has been a professor of English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for more than twenty-five years. He lives on a one hundred-fifty-year-old farm in Alto, Michigan, where Gary splits wood, plants gardens, writes, and feeds the wild cats that drop by.

To find out more about Gary Schmidt and his books, please visit 

Past Programs

October 25, 2019: MDI 7th Grade Read at Camp Beech Cliff

October 24, 2019: IRW Community Book Club event at Northeast Harbor Library

May 5, 2017: Virtual visit with three Washington County schools - Edmunds Consolidated School, Charlotte Elementary School, and Pembroke Elementary School - all gathered together at Edmunds' school library.

October 2, 2015: Island-wide Read

Gary was our special guest at an 8th Grade Island-wide Read for the Mount Desert Island Regional School System (Tremont Consolidated School, Conners Emerson School, Mount Desert Elementary School, Pemetic Elementary School, and Trenton Elementary School).

Students received the featured book Trouble in August so they could amply prepare for Gary's arrival - ready to participate in a day devoted to learning, literature, and forming reading communities with other students from nearby towns and villages. And how prepared were they? Wonderfully prepared! Read about it here.

May 26, 2011: Island-wide Read

Author of the book Trouble, Schmidt was the featured guest for the 8th Grade Island-wide Read – Thursday, May 26, 2011. The program involved 110 8th graders, 14 adult volunteer facilitators and island teachers. The gathering took place at the Mount Desert Elementary School in Northeast Harbor.

Students read Trouble and met with Gary to discuss the book and hear a presentation on the writing process. Schmidt also addressed a series of questions resulting from work done earlier in the morning in small groups facilitated by community volunteers

July 24-25, 2011

On Sunday, July 24 2011, Gary Schmidt returned for a public book talk on his book Okay for Now at the Northeast Harbor Library. A reception and booksigning followed.

Gary also met with young readers participating in the Island Readers & Writers Friends Over Books summer reading program on Monday, July 25, 2011 at the Northeast Harbor Library.

IRW creates worksheets to supplement the books we bring to life in the classroom, and provide these worksheets to teachers and students to use in preparation for their school visit. Here is a question sheets link for Gary’s book Okay For Now:

Ok for Now, Gary Schmidt