Michelle Schusterman

Michelle Schusterman – Ghostwriter

Author and ghostwriter of over a dozen middle grade and young adult novels published by Penguin Random House, Scholastic, and Little, Brown.


I'm the author of the I HEART BAND! series and THE KAT SINCLAIR FILES series, OLIVE AND THE BACKSTAGE GHOST (Booklist Starred Review), SPELL & SPINDLE (Kirkus Starred Review, Junior Library Guild Selection, SECRETS OF TOPSEA (Junior Library Guild Selection, and THE PROS OF CONS (Publisher's Weekly Starred Review), as well as THE DOG'S MEOW, SOME BUNNY TO LOVE, and MY OTTER HALF. My books have been published by Penguin Random House, Disney Hyperion, and Scholastic. My next middle grade novel, WADDLE I DO WITHOUT YOU, will be published by Scholastic in fall 2023.

I have extensive experience in IP (intellectual property) work and ghostwriting for major publishers. My projects include a collaboration with Olympic Medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani on the Kudo Kids series, published by Penguin Razorbill; three books in the ANIMAL JAM series (Call of the Alphas, The Phantom's Secret, The Lost Treasure) based on National Geographic's popular online game with over 65 million registered users; and the fourth book in the New York Times Bestselling GIRLS WHO CODE series, Spotlight on Coding Club.

As an author with experience both writing my own original fiction and working with publishers on licensed properties and in-house projects, I have a unique perspective on ghostwriting. Working with clients like Girls Who Code and National Geographic on developing books for kids has helped me hone my collaborative skills, as well as my ability to take materials, sketches, and suggestions from a client and craft a story that fits their vision. And as the author of over a dozen original novels of my own, I understand how messy, exciting, and frustrating that early "idea" stage can be. While every client is different, my approach usually begins with a discussion about their vision for the project and a close review of any and all materials already written. Next, I craft a detailed synopsis that hits all the major plot points and send it to the client for review. Once I've received feedback, I begin writing the draft.

The following are real examples of the types of projects I've worked on for Reedsy clients:

~Writing the novelization of a screenplay
~Rewriting an early draft of a novel to improve voice and style
~Taking a one-sentence concept and developing it into a novel
~Developing and drafting a historical novel based on true events

I'm very flexible and happy to accommodate your needs, whatever stage your story is at!
Action & Adventure Coming of Age Contemporary Fiction LGBTQ Fiction Middle Grade Middle Grade Fantasy Young Adult
Children’s Non-Fiction
English (US)
  • Junior Library Guild Selection
  • ALA Rainbow List
  • ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers List

Work experience

Penguin Random House

Jan, 2013 — Present

My first two series, I HEART BAND! and THE KAT SINCLAIR FILES, were published through Penguin's Grosset & Dunlap imprint. Since then, I have worked with the imprint on in-house licensed projects. Under the pseudonym Ellis Byrd, I wrote three of the four books in the ANIMAL JAM series based off National Geographic's popular online game with over 65 million registered users. Using an expansive bible filled with information about the characters and world of the game, I worked with my editors at Penguin and NatGeo to develop fun adventure chapter books aimed at children ages 8-12. I also wrote SPOTLIGHT ON CODING CLUB, the fourth book in the New York Times Bestselling Girls Who Code series. I'm also the author of the third book in the Rebel Girls GROWING UP POWERFUL series, HOW TO SAY HI, a guidebook on social anxiety.

Random House Children

Apr, 2016 — Present

My two standalone middle grade novels were published by Random House Children in 2017 and 2018. OLIVE AND THE BACKSTAGE GHOST received a starred review from Booklist, which called it "haunting and ethereal...nods to Edgar Allan Poe make it atmospheric, and Olive herself, a lonely heroine with ghosts in her past, give it soul."

SPELL & SPINDLE is a Junior Library Guild Selection and was hailed as "an excellent melding of horror and heart" in a starred review from Kirkus.

Little, Brown Hachette

Apr, 2016 — Present

SECRETS OF TOPSEA, a series I co-author with Kirsten Hubbard under the pseudonyms Kir Fox and M. Shelley Coats, is a two-time Junior Library Guild selection. The first book, A FRIENDLY TOWN THAT'S ALMOST ALWAYS BY THE OCEAN!, came out in 2018, and the sequel, THE EXTREMELY HIGH TIDE, was released in 2019.


Mar, 2016 — Present

Scholastic published THE PROS OF CONS, a YA contemporary novel I co-authored with Alison Cherry and Lindsay Ribar, in 2018. PROS was honored by the American Library Association with inclusion on both the 2019 Rainbow List and Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers List. Publisher's Weekly called it "a laugh-out-loud romp" in a starred review.

My middle grade novels with Scholastic include THE DOG'S MEOW, SOME BUNNY TO LOVE, MY OTTER HALF (a bestseller in Scholastic Clubs and Fairs!), and the upcoming WADDLE I DO WITHOUT YOU.


Waddle I Do without You?

Schusterman, Michelle

From two-time Olympic bronze medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani comes a fun-filled, fast-paced middle-grade mystery set at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.Andy and Mika are going to Tokyo! The Kudo Kids have never been to Japan before, so they can't believe they get to... read more
My Otter Half

Schusterman, Michelle

Some Bunny to Love

Schusterman, Michelle

The Dog's Meow

Schusterman, Michelle

The fourth novel in a fiction series based on Animal Jam, the popular online game enjoyed by over 65 million users! The adventures continue as the Alphas, brave animal leaders, head out on an exciting and dangerous voyage to find a hidden treasure.When an anci... read more
The third novel in a new fiction series based on the hugely popular online game, Animal Jam, enjoyed by over 65 million users! Learn all about the origin of the Animal Jam home called Jamaa, a lush natural environment, and its brave, adventurous animal leaders... read more
The first novel in a new fiction series based on the hugely popular online game, Animal Jam, enjoyed by over 65 million users! Learn all about the origin of the Animal Jam home called Jamaa, a lush natural environment, and its brave, adventurous animal leaders... read more
Former band director Michelle Schusterman ends her adorable series about middleschool band geeks with the perfect coda!The band has been preparing for their big regional competition all year and it's time for all of their work to pay off. On top of preparing f... read more
Former middle-school band director Michelle Schusterman continues to celebrate the high notes and low notes of middle-school band! The band is off to New Orleans for a competition as well as a bit of sightseeing. But there is all sorts of boy treble in the ban... read more
Band Geeks unite in this fresh new middle-grade series by debut author (and former band director) Michelle Schusterman! The band’s bake-sale fund-raiser pits the sections against each other, and Holly is positive the brass section will win. After all, the two ... read more
I Heart Band #1

Michelle Schusterman

Band Geeks unite in this fresh new middle-grade series by debut author (and former band director) Michelle Schusterman! Holly Mead’s first day of seventh grade isn’t going as planned. Her brother ruins her carefully chosen outfit, she’s almost late, and her ne... read more
Teenage ghostbuster Kat is back, but this time, traveling halfway around the world might not be far away enough to escape from whatever is haunting her! As Passport to Paranormal sets off for Beijing and Seoul, Kat is ready to take her ghostbusting abroad. She... read more
Kat didn’t believe in ghosts—until she became a teenage ghostbuster. . .After a couple months at home dealing with her mother's upcoming wedding and trying on itchy bridesmaid dresses, Kat is more than happy to head off on another ghost-hunting and ghostbustin... read more
Kat didn’t believe in ghosts—until she became a teenage ghostbuster. . . When Kat Sinclair’s dad tells her his new job hosting the ghost-hunting TV show Passport to Paranormal means they’ll be living on the road and visiting the world’s most haunted places, Ka... read more
Talise knows more about the ocean than any kid in Topsea. Any adult, too. As the best-and only-bathymetrist in Topsea, Talise is able to predict important things about the sea, like the next tide (Severely Low with a threat of Wildcard) or the arrival of Seawe... read more
Welcome to Topsea, the strangest place you'll ever visit. In this town, the coves are bottomless and the pier has no end in sight. There's a high tide and a low tide... and a vanishing tide. Dogs are a myth, but mermaids are totally real. And seaweed is the ma... read more
Perfect for fans of The Babysitters Club and anyone interested in computer science, this series is published in partnership with the organization Girls Who Code!It's almost time for the talent show at school, and Erin couldn't be more excited. It's her time to... read more
The Pros of Cons

Alison Cherry

Drummer Phoebe Byrd prides herself on being one of the guys, and she's ready to prove it by kicking all their butts in the snare solo competition at the Indoor Percussion Association Convention.Writer Vanessa Montoya-O'Callaghan has been looking forward to the... read more
Olive and the Backstage Ghost

Michelle Schusterman

A ghost story with a literary heart for fans of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline and The Graveyard Book. Theater kids and ghost-story readers alike will find new meaning in the term stage fright. All great theaters have their ghosts. . . . After Olive Preiss freezes dur... read more
Spell and Spindle

Michelle Schusterman

Doll Bones meets Splendors and Glooms as a boy trades bodies with a wooden marionette.The Museum of Peculiar Arts holds many oddities--a mechanical heart, a diary bound in its owner's skin . . . and Penny, a child-size marionette who almost looks alive. Fog cl... read more

Michelle has 20 reviews





Kassandra C.

Kassandra C.

Aug, 2023

Working with Michelle was honestly a treat! She was approachable, professional, very communicative, and I was able to bounce ideas off of her and have an open space to discuss different concepts for the book. She was so helpful and sometimes I wouldn't get back to her very fast, yet she was so patient with me. I really enjoyed working with her, I highly recommend her!
Michelle S.
Thank you so much, Kassandra! This was such a fun project and I can't wait to see where it goes next!
Craig S.

Craig S.

Jun, 2023

Kind, helpful and responsive!
Michelle S.
Thanks so much, Craig! It was a pleasure working with you!
Alexis P.

Alexis P.

Apr, 2023

I had the pleasure of working with Michelle as my ghostwriter a children's book that has a very personal place in my heart, and I can confidently say that she exceeded all of my expectations. From the initial consultation to the final draft, Michelle was a true professional who was committed to bringing my vision to life. She had a natural talent for understanding the tone and style that I was...
Read more
Michelle S.
Thank you so much, Alexis! This collaboration was a joy, and I'm looking forward to working with you again!
J S.

J S.

Aug, 2022

Michelle is a super writer. She has improved my book considerably while keeping my voice intact. She really cares about her craft and it shows in every word. Thank you! 5*****
J S.

J S.

Jul, 2022

Michelle is a super writer. She kept my voice strong whilst making the writing richer, funnier and overall tighter. She is incredibly professional and l would highly recommend!

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