Meet Michelle Houts

 by Laurie Lazzaro Knowlton

I'd like to welcome Michelle Houts to the Six Pens Blog!

Michelle is a fellow, award-winning Ohio author who has a new book coming out in August of 2023, Hopefully the Scarecrow. We are excited to help her celebrate!

Here's a sneak peek at the cover:

Michelle, tell us about HOPEFULLY THE SCARECROW.

Hopefully the Scarecrow (by Michelle Houts, illustrated by Sara Palacios) releases August 8, 2023 from Flamingo Books (Penguin Random House). It tells the story of a scarecrow who is kept company by a girl who visits his garden with piles of books. She reads aloud, filling his head with stories and adventures. When the girl stops coming to the garden, the scarecrow finds himself alone and helpless. But throughout adversity, he remains hopeful. Hopefully the Scarecrow is a story of friendship and hope.

 What was your inspiration for the book?

While working as an elementary school speech-language pathologist, I observed children whose life circumstances left them uncertain about their futures. As very young children, they had very little agency and no ability to change their situations. I wanted to write a story for anyone who needs hope. And who has less control over their situation than a scarecrow, stuck to a pole and left out in the elements? Like Hopefully the Scarecrow, I want children to see that even when things seem bleak, there’s always hope that the sun will shine again.

 Michelle, what are your thoughts on Sara Palacio’s illustrations?

When I saw Sara Palacios’s sketches, I adored Hopefully and his young friend. But, when I got my first glimpse of the finished art, I was completely in love! Sara has created a fabulously rich garden, alive with vibrant color and a wonderful southern feeling that I’ve never seen in a scarecrow story. Her art leads the reader right into Hopefully’s imagination, where kings and dragons and, most especially, hope live.

Thanks, Michelle for sharing your latest book with us. We are excited and looking froward to purchasing this heartwarming tale of friendship and hope in all of our lives. You can preorder from your favorite bookseller or follow this link: Hopefully the Scarecrow a book by Michelle Houts and Sara Palacios (

 Michelle has published 13 titles. 
Here are a few of my favorites: 

COUNT THE WINGS, a middle grade biography about Ohio artist Charlie Harper.
SEAGLASS  SUMMER, a picture book.
LUCY'S LAB, a chapter book series.
published in 2009.

Her books can be found at in-person bookstores or online here


    Check out Michelle's website:





Author Quotes for the New Year

                  (Share your favorite author quotes in the comments! Happy New Year!)


'You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.' – Annie Proulx

'Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.' – Stephen King

'We are all broken, that's how the light gets in.' – Ernest Hemingway

'You can always edit a bad page. You can't edit a blank page.' 

– Jodi Picoult

'If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.' 

– Margaret Atwood

What will you write this year?