Michael Tougias

Michael Tougias is a visiting author and historian for Massachusetts schools and libraries.

From Inspiration to Publication – In all of Michael Tougias’ programs, students learn how to take the seed of an idea through the research and writing process to final publication through Michael’s engaging, informative, and interactive storytelling. Michael Tougias is a NY Times Bestselling author of 30 books including 3 books for middle readers, and two chapter books. His book, The Finest Hours, is now a Disney movie. Among his books are:


The Finest Hours: The True Story of the Coast Guard’s Most Daring Rescue

FinestHoursOn February 18, 1952, a vicious Nor’easter wrecked two gigantic oil tankers less then 20 miles off the coast of Cape Cod. To save the crewmen, the Coast Guard braved towering waves that reached 70 feet, blinding snow, and one of the most dangerous shoals in the world. This daring rescue is the subject of Tougias’ award-winning book, now a movie from Disney Pictures starring Chris Pine and Casey Affleck. With dramatic photography, Tougias transports students into the heart of the storm, confronting them with the challenges the young heroes of the Coast Guard faced. It’s a tale about social responsibility and grace under pressure. In addition to touching on the history of the period and the science of the storm, Tougias discusses writing the book, working with a co-author and making the film, and gives tips for students to make their own writing come alive. This program is modified depending on age group.
Target grades: 3-12.

Film Trailer: The Finest Hours

A Storm Too Soon: A True Story of Survival and A Remarkable Rescue

Seventy-foot waves batter a tattered life raft 250 miles out to sea in one of the world’s most dangerous places, the Gulf Stream. Hanging onto the raft are three men, a Canadian, a Brit, and their captain, JP DeLutz, a dual citizen of America and France. The waves repeatedly toss the men out of their tiny vessel, and JP, with 9 broken ribs, is hypothermic and on the verge of death. The captain, however, is a tough-minded character who survived a difficult boyhood. He now must rely on those same inner resources to outlast the storm. Meanwhile, four coast guardsmen battling hurricane force winds, head toward the crew in their Jayhawk helicopter, wondering if they themselves can survive their own rescue mission. Tougias tells the story of his book—published in versions for adults and middle readers—with the backdrop of dramatic photography. After telling the story, he engages students in a discussion of his research and writing process for the book and offers tips for their own projects.
Target grades: 5–12

Derek’s Gift: A True Story of Love and Courage

When Derek Sheckman, a high school senior from Swampscott, MA, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, he began keeping a journal of his experiences and insights. Michael Tougias and health teacher Buck Harris have co-authored a book that includes Derek’s journal, the lessons we can all learn from it, and the amazing journey of the five key people in Derek’s life. In this presentation for middle and high school students, Tougias uses powerful images to tell Derek’s story, which shows the true meaning of love and courage.
Target grades: 6–12




King Philip’s Indian War in Massachusetts

Drawing from the research in his book, Tougias discusses the causes, the battles, and the aftermath of America’s first war between colonists and natives. He illustrates the topic with dramatic photography slides and then discussed the research and writing process behind his two books on the subject, one, a history of the war, and the other, a historical novel.






Ten Hours Until Dawn: A Blizzard of 1978 True Story of Heroism

During the height of the blizzard of 1978, the pilot boat Can Do, set out from Gloucester, MA with five men onboard, to assist a lost Coast Guard boat and an oil tanker in a Mayday situation. Using dramatic photography slides, Tougias tells the story of what happened on that awful night when the seas were producing monstrous waves of 40 feet and the wind was screaming at 115 miles per hour. His book on the subject, Ten Hours Until Dawn will be released as a middle reader book by Henry Holt Publishing in 2018. The American Library Association selected the Adult version as “One of the Top Books of the Year.” After telling the story, Tougias engages students in a discussion of his research and writing process for the book and offers tips for their own projects.
Target grades: 5–12


For All Michael Tougias programs:

Target Grades: 3-12
Duration: 45-60 minutes
Audience Limit: 300

Double: $941 Triple: $1,235
Travel Fee: based upon mileage
Note: pricing may vary for weekend/out-of-school time

Michael Tougias Performance Requirements

Michael Tougias is a lecturer and award-winning author and co-author of 24 books. His book Fatal Forecast: An Incredible Tale of Disaster and Survival at Sea was praised by the Los Angeles Times as “a breathtaking book – Tougias spins a marvelous and terrifying yarn.” He also co-authored the bestseller The Finest Hours: The True Story of the Coast Guard’s Most Daring Rescue. The author’s other true adventure book, Ten Hours Until Dawn: The True Story of Heroism and Tragedy Aboard the Can Do in the Blizzard of 78, was selected by the American Library Association as one of the “Top Books of the Year” and described as “a white-knuckle read, the best book of its kind”. Tougias has researched dozens of survival stories and includes them in his lecture for businesses titled, Survival Lessons: Decision-making Under Pressure. On a lighter note, Tougias chronicled his misadventures at his remote cabin in Vermont in his award-winning book There’s A Porcupine In My Outhouse: Misadventures of a Mountain Man Wanna-be. This book won the Independent Publishers Association Award for the “The Best Nature Book of the Year.”  Michael brings books to autograph and sell to his presentations


Derek’s Gift For Teachers (site)
Michael’s Blog
Michael’s Books

Film Trailer: The Finest Hours
Derek Sheckman’s Journal



Currently available April 2018 – October 2019 only.
Have a question, or ready to schedule? Click the “Scheduling Request” button below.

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