RANDOLPH, NJ – Ben Mikaelsen, an award winning children’s author, visited Randolph Middle School on Mar. 21 and 22.

Mikaelsen was born in Bolivia, where he wasn't sent to school until the fourth grade.  Some years later, Mikaelsen moved with his family to the United States where he entered the seventh grade. He began writing full-time in 1984, and has won many awards, including the International Reading Association Award and the Western Writers' Golden Spur Award.

Mikaelsen has also earned many state Readers Choice Awards, and has written many novels such as Tree Girl, Touching Spirit Bear, Ghost of Spirit Girl and Petey. Ben is still very active with traveling, giving talks,and writing. Today, Mikaelsen lives outside BozemanMontana with his wife and kids. He has been writing books for 30 years.

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Mikaelsen described his journey to becoming a successful, published author during an assembly of sixth, seventh and eighth grade students at Randolph Middle School. Mikaelsens’ most avid readers also had the opportunity to have books signed, attend a special lunch or attend a writer’s workshop. During the workshops, Mikaelsen encouraged the students to never give up and to always follow their dreams. He shared with them that he had gotten 176 rejection letters before one of his books was finally chosen to be published.  In honor of his visit, students designed bulletin boards throughout the school to resemble the covers of  Mikaelsen’s books.