Alexander, Kwame

Alexander, Kwame

Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and the New York Times Bestselling author of 24 books, including THE CROSSOVER, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American literature for Children, the Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor, The NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, and the Paterson Poetry Prize. Kwame writes for children of all ages. Some of his other works include THE PLAYBOOK: 52 RULES TO HELP YOU AIM, SHOOT, AND SCORE IN THIS GAME OF LIFE; the picture books, ANIMAL ARK, OUT OF WONDER and SURF’S UP; and novels SOLO, BOOKEDand HE SAID, SHE SAID.

Kwame believes that poetry can change the world, and he uses it to inspire and empower young people through his writing and publishing program. A regular speaker at schools and conferences in the U.S., he also travels the world planting seeds of literary love: Singapore, Brazil, Italy, France, Shanghai, and recently, Alexander led a delegation of 20 writers and activists to Ghana, where they delivered books, built a library, and provided literacy professional development to 300 teachers, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an International literacy program he co-founded. In 2015, Kwame served as Bank Street College of Education’s Inaugural Dorothy M. Carter writer-in-residence. The Kwame Alexander Papers, a collection of his writings, correspondence, and other professional and personal documents is held at the George Washington University Gelman Library.

Reynolds, Jason

Reynolds, Jason

Jason Reynolds is crazy. About stories. He is a New York Times bestselling author, a National Book Award Honoree, a Kirkus Award winner, a Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award Winner, and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors. His debut novel was When I Was the Greatest and was followed by Boy in the Black Suit and All American Boys (cowritten with Brendan Kiely); As Brave As YouJump Anyway; and the first two books in the Track series, Ghost and Patina. You can find his ramblings at JasonWritesBooks.com.

 

Primiano, Jay

Primiano, Jay

Jay Primiano is a poet, performer and most recently, children’s book author. Like his co-author, John Rocco, Jay Primiano was raised on fishing boats. He started working on a commercial lobster boat when he was eleven years old and still has a deep connection to the waters of Rhode Island, where he spends much of his free time teaching his daughters how to catch dinner. He lives in Jamestown, Rhode Island. Visit his web site!

3 Fun Facts

1. “My favorite time to write is in the morning; early in the morning before it really feels like morning and it still seems like night time. It is at this time that I can relate best to my characters; tough working people with much to prove after the sun rises.”
2. “I still hold a full ‘Principal Effort shell-fishing license’ and I often work as a professional clam-digger on Narragansett Bay. Working in the fishing industry satisfies my need for exercise, desire to continually discover and my interest in the lives of the people in the business of defying nature every day.”
3. “I was a professional soccer coach at the University of Rhode Island for thirteen years; coaching the URI Men’s Soccer team while they participated in the Atlantic -10 Conference in the NCAA’s Division I. And as a result of this experience, I’ve traveled to fourteen different countries.”

Ventresca, Yvonne

Ventresca, Yvonne

Yvonne Ventresca’s latest young adult novel, the psychological thriller BLACK FLOWERS, WHITE LIES (Sky Pony Press, 2016) was listed at the top of Buzzfeed’s must-read new YA books for fall. Her debut YA novel, PANDEMIC, won a 2015 Crystal Kite Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Yvonne’s other works include the short story “The Art of Remaining Bitter,” which was selected for the anthology MYSTERIES OF DEATH AND LIFE, along with two nonfiction books, PUBLISHING (Careers for the 21st Century) and AVRIL LAVIGNE (People in the News). You can learn more about Yvonne and her books at YvonneVentresca.com.

3 Fun Facts

1. I’m a Sandan (third degree) Black Belt in Isshinryu Karate.
2. I make all my revisions with a purple pen (when I’m not typing).
3. My favorite way to procrastinate is by reading books and articles about productivity.

Clark, Marc

Clark, Marc

Marc Clark’s first book, The Princess Fables, is an Amazon #1 Best Seller and has won several awards, including Best Children’s Book at both the 2014 Great Midwest and Beach Book Festivals.

The Royal Fables, his second book, was an Amazon #1 New Release and was Runner Up, Best Children’s Book at the 2015 Paris Book Festival. All proceeds from the book fund pediatric cancer research at the Texas Children’s Hospital.

He is currently at work on his new fairytale/cookbook, The Picky Princess, with noted nutrition expert, food journalist, TV personality, and author, Carolyn O’Neil MS, RD. www.thefableskingdom.com

3 Fun Facts

1. Produced the HBO Family Series, 30 X 30 Kid Flicks
2. Created Jerry Seinfeld’s 50th Birthday Video for his party at the Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center
3. My initials spell my first name: Marc Angelo Robert Clark

Crowl, M. Tara

Crowl, M. Tara

M. Tara Crowl grew up in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She studied Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, then received an MA in Creative Writing at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. Her debut novel, Eden’s Wish, was released in 2015 by Disney-Hyperion, and the second book in the series, Eden’s Escape, was released in 2016. She splits her time between New York City and Greenville, New York. www.mtaracrowl.com

3 Fun Facts

1. When I was growing up in Tennessee, at different times I wanted to be a country singer, a magician, an actress, and an author.
2. I attended film school at the University of Southern California, and worked in Hollywood for two years before pursuing a career as an author.
3. I moved to Sydney, Australia, for graduate school. At the time, I’d never been to Australia and didn’t know anyone who lived there. But years later, after I was living in New York, I met and married a Sydney native who moved to NYC at the same time as me.

Durst, Sarah Beth

Durst, Sarah Beth

Sarah Beth Durst is the award-winning author of eleven fantasy novels for kids, teens, and adults, including Drink Slay Love, the basis for the upcoming TV movie of the same name, airing on Lifetime in 2017. Her next book for kids, Journey Across the Hidden Islands, comes out in April 2017 from HMH/Clarion Books, and her first picture book, Roar and Sparkles Go to School, comes out in June 2017 from Running Press Kids. Sarah lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband, her children, and her ill-mannered cat. For more information, visit her at sarahbethdurst.com. www.sarahbethdurst.com

3 Fun Facts

1. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was 10 years old. (Before that, I wanted to be Wonder Woman.)
2. I love pizza, hot chocolate, and Raisinets
3. I’m afraid of skunks and Frisbees

Weston, Carol

Weston, Carol

Carol Weston’s brand new novel, Speed of Life, is about Sofia, 14, who thinks her life is over when really it has just begun. Carol has been an advice columnist at Girls’ Life since 1994. Among her 16 books for kids, teens, and adults are Girltalk, which was translated into 12 languages, and seven diary novels about fifth-grade word nerd Ava Wren and fourth-grade traveler Melanie Martin. The New York Times called Ava and Pip a “love letter to language.” Carol studied literature at Yale and has an MA in Spanish from Middlebury. She lives in Manhattan. More at carolweston.com. I have written 16 books including eight novels for kids. (Ava and Pip series and Melanie Martin series. Also Girltalk, in print for 35 years…) www.carolweston.com

3 Fun Facts

1. I grew up in Armonk and my daughter was just on the Today Show because of her pancake business, Birch Benders.
2. I’m the Dear Carol advice columnist at Girls’ Life Magazine –have been since 1994!
3. I speak French and Spanish and do okay in Italian. I have zero sense of direction.

Gehl, Laura

Gehl, Laura

Laura Gehl is the author of award- winning picture books, including ONE BIG PAIR OF UNDERWEAR and the PEEP AND EGG series (PEEP AND EGG’s third adventure, I’M NOT TAKING A BATH, releases October 2017). Laura also writes about science for children and adults. She lives in Chevy Chase, MD with her husband and four children. Visit her online at www.lauragehl.com.

3 Fun Facts

1. I love to travel and have visited many different countries, including Australia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Argentina, Belgium, Morocco, Egypt, and Turkey.
2. Two of my favorite vegetables are ones that a lot of people hate—Brussels sprouts and lima beans. But my other favorite vegetable is chocolate (hey…it comes from a plant, so close enough!)
3. I have four kids, and their names go in alphabetical order from oldest to youngest (We didn’t plan it that way…it just happened!)

Castrovilla, Selene

Castrovilla, Selene

Selene Castrovilla is the award-winning author of eight books, including four picture books about the American Revolution. Her forthcoming book, Revolutionary Rogues: John André and Benedict Arnold, reveals the sinister story that took place in the Hudson Valley: Arnold’s treason! Her previous books include Revolutionary Friends: General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette and By the Sword. Selene visits with students across the country in-person and virtually, talking about the humanity in American history. She lives on Long Island with her two sons and their rescue cats. Visit www.SeleneCastrovilla.com.

3 Fun Facts

1. I love the color purple. I have a purple computer, a purple car and even a purple house!
2. I had no idea I would write about the American Revolution when I was a kid. I thought it was so boring — especially George Washington and his wooden teeth! It took me by surprise when I found out all the amazing things he did, and he became my hero.
3. My sons and I rescue cats! We have six cats right now, plus we feed a lot more every day.