Children’s Book Author
Photographer and Speech-Language Pathologist
Travels from: Orange County, CA

“Sterling’s descriptive writing uses all five senses to evoke American and Philippine culture . . . Paired with sumptuous illustrations of the changing seasons and family life by Filipino Canadian artist Sarah Gonzalez, these sensations come alive on every page.” — NPR Books

Michelle Sterling is a children’s book author, photographer and speech-language pathologist living in Orange County, California. Many of her stories are inspired by her heritage, family traditions, and her love of gastronomy and food history. When Lola Visits, Michelle’s first picture book illustrated by Aaron Asis, received four starred reviews, was an ALA Notable Children’s Book of the Year, Kirkus Best of the Year, NYPL Best of the Year, Bank Street Best of the Year, BookPage Best of the Year and more.  A Sweet New Year for Ren, published by Simon & Schuster in 2022, was illustrated by Dung Ho, NYT Bestselling illustrator of Eyes that Kiss in the Corners.  It includes a recipe for pineapple cakes and received wonderful reviews from SLJ, Booklist, Kirkus and Publishers Weekly.  Michelle’s most recent book Maribel’s Year was illustrated by Sarah Gonzales and published by HarperCollins in May 2023, and has so far received a starred review from Kirkus and lovely reviews from Publishers Weekly and The Horn Book.

Maribel’s Year

Katherine Tegen Books |

Celebrate the special connection between father and daughter in this gorgeously evocative picture book, recounting the year a little girl and her mother spend in America while waiting for her father to join them from the Philippines. From acclaimed author Michelle Sterling and illustrator Sarah Gonzales, a poignant story perfect for fans of Joanna Ho, Linda Sue Park, and Matt De La Peña.

New country, new school, new friends.

A lot can happen in a single year. But one thing’s for certain: Maribel won’t forget her Papa, even when he’s 8,000 miles away in the Philippines.

After all, Papa is all around. He is the memory of feeding koi fish in their pond every morning. He is the constellation map as Maribel dreams of showing him her new world. He is the packages and letters sent back and forth.

He is everywhere except the place he’s wanted the most. But the bond between Maribel and Papa transcends oceans. So as the snow melts and turns to rain, as flowers blossom and welcome sun-kissed days, and as the leaves start to change and snow begins to fall once more, can Maribel wait just a little bit longer?

A Sweet New Year for Ren

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books |

Celebrate the Lunar New Year through a young girl’s family traditions in this charming picture book featuring illustrations by New York Times bestselling artist Dung Ho that also includes a recipe for pineapple cakes!

Little Ren looks forward to the preparation for and festivities of Lunar New Year, but she is always too little to help make the delicious pineapple cakes that are her favorite. She watches family members rolling out the dough and loves the mouth-watering smell. Watching and waiting, when will Ren be old enough?

When Lola Visits

Katherine Tegen Books |

Four starred reviews! In an evocative picture book brimming with the scents, tastes, and traditions that define a young girl’s summer with her grandmother, debut author Michelle Sterling and illustrator Aaron Asis come together to celebrate the gentle bonds of familial love that span oceans and generations.

For one young girl, summer is the season of no school, of days spent at the pool, and of picking golden limes off the trees. But summer doesn’t start until her lola—her grandmother from the Philippines—comes for her annual visit.

Summer is special. For her lola fills the house with the aroma of mango jam, funny stories of baking mishaps, and her quiet sweet singing in Tagalog. And in turn, her granddaughter brings Lola to the beach, to view fireworks at the park, and to catch fish at their lake.

When Lola visits, the whole family gathers to cook and eat and share in their happiness of another season spent together. Yet as summer transitions to fall, her lola must return home—but not without a surprise for her granddaughter to preserve their special summer a bit longer.

* BookPage Best Books of the Year * The New York Public Library’s Best Books of the Year * Kirkus Best Books of the Year * An ALSC Notable Children’s Book of the Year * A CCBC Choices Pick of the Year * Banks Street Best Children’s Books of the Year *

Author Reading and Q+A Session

Michelle will read aloud one or two of her picture books When Lola Visits, A Sweet New Year for Ren or Maribel’s Year, will answer questions from the audience and will inspire students to share their own stories with the world.

Author Reading and From Idea to Book: How a Book Is Published

Michelle will read aloud one or two of her picture books. She will talk about how books are published, show the process of how one of her books was published, and share about her journey to becoming an author.

Author Reading of Maribel’s Year and Holiday Presentation

Michelle will read aloud her picture book Maribel’s Year and present the traditions and foods of the holiday season in the Philippines, which begins every year in September. Includes a Philippine parol star lantern craft that students can take with them to color and decorate.

Author Reading of A Sweet New Year for Ren and Lunar New Year Presentation

Michelle will read aloud her picture book A Sweet New Year for Ren and will talk about how Lunar New Year is celebrated in different countries around the world.

Author Reading and Cooking Our Stories: Creating Family Cookbooks

Michelle will read aloud one or two of her picture books. She will then help students start their own family cookbooks that honor their family history, traditions, culture and meaningful moments in their lives.

Author Reading and Where Ideas Come From

Michelle will read aloud one or two of her picture books, talk about how writers find their ideas, and the things students can do to strengthen their writing skills.

When Lola Visits Coloring Pages

A Sweet New Year for Ren Activity Sheets

Maribel’s Year Activity Sheets

Michelle’s Blog about Children’s Books

Honors, Awards & Recognition

A Sweet New Year for Ren
Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of the Year 2023

When Lola Visits
Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Books of the Year 2021
NYPL Best Books for Kids 2021
BookPage Best Picture Books of 2021
2022 ALSC Notable Children’s Books
CCBC (Cooperative Children’s Book Center) Choices Best of the Year List 2022
Bookstagang Best Picture Books of 2021
Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of the Year 2022

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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