KB Anne

Jennifer Castle

Isabella Sementilli

Jennifer Sattler

Ryan Smithson

Allisa Grosso

Rhett Miller

John Gray

Elizabeth Zunon

Lyn Miller-Lachmann

Edward Averett

Just a few of the many authors and illustrators that have attended the Hudson Children's Book Festival

Authors & Illustrators2022-09-04T20:37:53-04:00

Authors & Illustrators Attending the 2023  Book Festival

We’re always adding new authors and illustrators to our listing! Please check back often to see who’s coming! You can look for your favorite author by clicking a letter — the listing will then sort by the last name of the authors. Click the “#” to reset the listing to ALL!

Albee, Sarah

Sarah Albee is the New York Times bestselling author of nonfiction books for kids. Her latest title is called Troublemakers in Trousers: Women and What They Wore to Get Things Done. Other popular titles include Fairy Tale ScienceAccidental Archaeologists: True Stories of Unexpected Discoveries; North America: A Foldout Graphic HistoryDog Days of History; Poison: Deadly Deeds, Perilous Professions, and Murderous MedicinesBugged: How Insects Changed History; Poop Happened: A History of the World from the Bottom Up; and Alexander Hamilton: A Plan for America.  She lives in Connecticut with her family. www.sarahalbeebooks.com

Awards
– Eureka! Gold and Silver medals
– Bank Street Best Books
– NCSS Best Books [National Council for Social Studies] – Nerdy Book Club awards
– Starred reviews
– Connecticut Book Award Winner

3 Fun Facts

1. Sarah wants kids to love history as much as she does. Many of her books are a mash-up of history and science.
2. Sarah once played semi-pro basketball in Cairo, Egypt.
3. Sarah’s first job was working at Sesame Street.

Ausherman, Maria Elizabeth

Maria Elizabeth Ausherman, a teacher and independent scholar, lives in Stuyvesant, New York with her husband, Steven Taylor, a photographer. She has two wonderful grown-up daughters and an awesome granddaughter. She enjoys travel, hiking, reading, and spending time with her family, friends, and neighbors.

The author of Masters of Shape: The Lives and Art of American Women Sculptors, Behind the Camera: American Women Photographers Who Shaped How We See the World, The Photographic Legacy of Frances Benjamin Johnston, and co-author with Patricia Jennings of Georgia O’Keeffe’s Hawaii, she earned her B.A. in Geography from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an M.A. in Cinema Studies from the City University of New York and an M.Ed. in Social Science Education from the University of Georgia in Athens, where she also obtained a graduate certificate in historic preservation and completed coursework and a dissertation for a Ph.D. in Art. 

Awards
– League of Women Voters Citizenship Award
– Cherokee Rose Garden Club Award
– Next Generation Indie Book Award Finalist for Historical (Non-Fiction)
– Starred Reviews

3 Fun Facts

1. Maria wants people to love art history as much as she does.
2. Maria loves team work. She played wing on the Varsity Women’s Field Hockey team at the University of North Carolina, in Chapel Hill where she grew up.
3. Maria’s favorite job of all time was using a 1733 Danish map to find historic plantation sites on St. John, the smallest of the three main U.S. Virgin Islands.

Bennett, Artie

Artie Bennett is an executive copy editor by day and a writer by night. He is the author of an inspiring, humorous picture-book biography of a hapless, though beloved, horse, The True Story of Zippy Chippy: The Little Horse That Couldn’t. He’s also the author of several hilarious rhyming picture books: The Butt Book, his first “mature” work; Poopendous!, his “number two” book; Peter Panda Melts Down!, an adorable departure from derrières and doo; the explosively funny Belches, Burps, and Farts—Oh My!; and What’s Afoot! Your Complete, Offbeat Guide to Feet, guaranteed to knock your socks off. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he spends his time moving his car to satisfy the stringent demands of alternate-side-of-the-street parking. HuffPost says: “It appears there is no topic Mr. Bennett can’t make funny and educational.” Visit ArtieBennett.com . . . before someone else does!

The True Story of Zippy Chippy: The Little Horse That Couldn’t
A CCBC Choice 2021
A Horse Lover’s Guide to Staying Inside Children’s Book from America’s Best Racing
A Picture-Book Biography You Need to Know About Citation from Imagination Soup
A Gift Guide Great Book for the Book Lover in Your Life from The Bookworm Sez

Belches, Burps and Farts—Oh My!
A World Science Festival Selection
A Kentucky Bluegrass Award Nominee for Informational Text
A Pragmatic Mom Best Nonfiction Book for Kids
A HuffPost (One of) 26 Entertaining and Educational Books for Back-to-School Season

Poopendous!
A Bright Horizons Notable Book in the Humorous Books for Children Category
A Book Vine for Children Growing Green Book

The Butt Book
Reuben Award Winner for Book Illustration
Best Feel-Good Children’s Book (HuffPost)
A New York State Assembly/NYPL Suggested Reading Title
A Starred Review from the Horn Book Guide

3 Fun Facts

1. My favorite food is ice cream and I have a three-scoop-a-day habit. Whenever I travel, I love sampling exotic or unusual flavors, such as Agenaise (French prune!).
2. I swim every weekday morning. It clears away the cobwebs, making mornings my most productive time of day. I even get some of my best book ideas while afloat.
3. I was a crossword puzzle prodigy and sold my first one to the New York Times when I was only thirteen years old! It’s been downhill ever since.

Bildner, Phil

Phil Bildner is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous books for kids. His latest book is the 2021 NCTE Charlotte Huck Award Honor-winning middle grade novel, A High Five for Glenn Burke. He is the author of many children’s picture books including the Margaret Wise Brown Prize winning Marvelous Cornelius, the Texas Bluebonnet Award winning Shoeless Joe & Black Betsy, Martina & Chrissie, Twenty-One Elephants, and The Soccer Fence. Phil is also the author of A Whole New Ballgame, Rookie of the Year, Tournament of Champions, and Most Valuable Players in the critically acclaimed middle grade Rip & Red series. www.philbildner.com

New York Times Bestseller (Sluggers series)
Margaret Wise Brown Prize (Marvelous Cornelius)
Texas Bluebonnet Award (Shoeless Joe & Black Betsy)

3 Fun Facts

1. I’ve been to the World Series, the Super Bowl, and the NBA Finals.
2. I’ve been bitten by a lion.
3. I have a pitbull rescue dog named Katniss. We call her Kat. So I have a dog named Kat.

Bloom, Suzanne

My books have taken me around the world: from Iowa to Ireland, from Texas to Italy, from Pennsylvania to the Pearl River Delta in China.

I grew up in Fresh Meadows NY, graduated from Cooper Union, made my way to Buffalo and from there to our home-made house on a scrubby hillside in upstate NY. For years my husband and I made wooden toys, until an idea for a book seeped through the sawdust.

All my studies, all my jobs (except for racking clothes at Macy’s) all my grands (3) have led to the making of twenty two friend-filled books. www.suzannebloom.com

Awards:
A Splendid Friend, indeed
– Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor
– ALA Notable
– PA One Book for Every Young Child
– Texas 2×2
A Mighty Fine Time Machine
– Texas 2×2
Alone Together
– Bank Street College of Education, Best Children’s Books of the Year
The Bus for Us
– PA One book for Every Young Child Bunny Braves The Day
Bunny Braves the Day
– Bank Street College of Education, Best Children’s Books of the Year

3 Fun Facts

1. My friends, family, dogs and cats all show up in my books along with my imaginary friends.
2. I am left-handed but use scissors right-handed.
3. My favorite color can be found on many of my book covers.

Bobrick, Rick

As a young parent, Rick Bobrick spent countless hours telling bedtime stories to his three children. Twenty-five years later, one of those stories has led to this first-time author’s unique picture book collection featuring Davy Crockett and his furry frenemy, the grizzly bear.

Rick is now retired and lives in Medusa, New York with his wife Cathleen and his big dog Bean. He enjoys fly fishing, skiing, gardening, and spending time with his grandson. After a forty-year teaching career (mostly middle school science), having his children’s books published is a dream come true. www.rickbobrick.com

3 Fun Facts

1. Rick spent most of his 40-year teaching career at the Hudson JHS which of course is the home of the Hudson Children’s Book Festival!
2. He is an avid home gardener and an amateur poultry farmer raising and caring for laying hens, meat chickens, and Heritage Bronze turkeys.
3. Rick was very fortunate to have a niece talented enough to illustrate his book series; it became a family collaboration that has exceeded both their wildest expectations.

Bruel, Nick

Nick Bruel is the author/illustrator of the New York Times bestselling Bad Kitty series as well as the picture books “Who Is Melvin Bubble” and “A Wonderful Year”. He lives in Briarcliff Manor, NY with his wife Carina, his daughter Izzy, their dog Toby, and his not-quite-good-not-quite-bad cats Esme and Rose. www.nickbruelbooks.com

3 Fun Facts

1. Uncle Murray is based on my own real life Uncle Murray.
2. Toby in “Bad Kitty: Camp Daze” is based on my real life dog named Toby.
3. Baby is based on my real life daughter named Izzy from when she was a baby. She’s 11 years old now.

Bulion, Leslie

Leslie Bulion creates award-winning science poetry steeped in hands-on learning experiences, nature observation, research, humor and imagery in a variety of poetic forms. Her illustrated collections invite readers on multi-layered science adventures exploring spiders, birds, sea creatures, insects, amphibians, and more. Leslie’s graduate science background and years as a school social worker inform both her poetry and her science-infused novels for young readers. She offers lively and engaging author visits worldwide. Her two newest science poetry books, SERENGETI: PLAINS OF GRASS and GALAPAGOS: ISLANDS OF CHANGE take readers on poetic tours of two of Earth’s remarkable ecosystems (Peachtree 2022, 2023). www.lesliebulion.com

NCTE Notable Poetry, NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book, Bank Street College Best Books, Parents’ Choice Awards, AAAS Outstanding Science Book

3 Fun Facts

1. The first critter I ever saw while scuba diving was a common mudpuppy (a large, freshwater aquatic salamander—an amphibian) in the depths of freezing cold Cayuga Lake, Ithaca, NY.
2. My parents were teachers who also worked as summer camp counselors, so I started summer camp when I was three years old. My favorite camp was just about an hour south of Hudson, in Beacon, NY.
3. I never go exploring without my __________? How would you fill in this blank? For me, it’s my rubber boots!

Calkhoven, Laurie

Laurie Calkhoven has never swallowed a frog, knocked over a rabbit hutch, or sung too loud in music class. She is the author of more than 50 books for young readers, including the G.I. Dogs series and You Should Meet Kids Who are Saving the Planet. www.lauriecalkhoven.com

Awards
– Beacon of Freedom Award
– Bank Street Best Books
– Northern Lights Book Award

3 Fun Facts

1. love to learn random presidential facts (like my character Roosevelt).
2. I have never swallowed a frog.
3. My birthday is the same day as Harry Potter’s!

Castaldo, Nancy

Nancy Castaldo has written books about our planet for over 20 years and received numerous awards and accolades. Recent and forthcoming titles include When the World Runs Dry: Earth’s Water In Crisis, The Wolves and Moose of Isle Royale: Restoring an Island Ecosystem, Ultimate Food Atlas, and Buildings That Breathe, The Farm that Feeds Us, The World that Feeds Us, and Hudson Riverkeeper.

Nancy lives in the Hudson Valley and believes that we all have the ability to make a difference.  She instills that theme in her books and her school visits. www.nancycastaldo.com @NCastaldoAuthor

Green Earth Book Award
SCBWI Crystal Kite Award
NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book
Eureeka Silver Honor
Sigurd Olsen Nature Writing Honor
Nerdy Book Club Award
Multiple stars and state lists

3 Fun Facts

1. I’ve held a koala.
2. I’ve climbed into the shell of a Galapagos tortoise.
3. I’ve talked with a bonobo

Connor, Leslie

Leslie Connor is the author of the middle grade novels, CrunchWaiting for Normal, winner of the ALA Schneider Family Book Award, All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook, a finalist for the E.B. White Read Aloud Award, and The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle, a National Book Award finalist and winner of the ALA Schneider Family Book Award. Leslie has a new title for 2020, A Home for Goddesses and Dogs. She lives with her husband and three rescue dogs in a little house in the Connecticut woods. www.leslieconnor.com

Finalist for the National Book Award
Two-time winner of the ALA Schneider Family Book Award.

3 Fun Facts

1. I’m surprised that I’m a writer.
2. I eat weird things like peanut butter and pickle sandwiches.
3. I love being upside down.

Corrigan, Caroline

Caroline Corrigan is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator. She works out of her home studio in Upstate New York, where she lives with her husband, and three young children. Her favorite color is blue and her favorite museum is Musée d’Orsay. http://www.carolinecorrigan.com/

3 Fun Facts

1. The author and illustrator are friends who decided to make a book about the artists they loved one day.
2. Melanie studied women and art in college while raising her son, Julian, so this book is a culmination of those two experiences.
3. Caroline is an amazing illustrator, artist, and graphic designer whose visual signature can be seen all over upstate New York.

Craft, Jerry

JERRY CRAFT is the New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of the graphic novels New Kid, Class Act, and School Trip. New Kid is the only book in history to win the John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature (2020); the Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature (2019), and the Coretta Scott King Author Award for the most outstanding work by an African American writer (2020). Jerry is a contributor to Black Boy Joy (Delacorte Press) and House Party (Joy Revolution Books). He was born in Harlem and grew up in the Washington Heights section of New York City.

3 Fun Facts

1. I was a reluctant reader until I was an adult.
2. I met Queen Elizabeth when I was a kid.
3. I saw the original Star Wars on opening day. Still have the button they gave me!

Crews, Nina

Nina Crews is a children’s book author and illustrator based in Brooklyn, New York. She uses digital collage and photography to create energetic affirming books in many genres. Nina’s love of poetry has inspired several books including A Girl Like Me, written by Angela Johnson, Seeing Into Tomorrow: Haiku by Richard Wright, a collection of Wright’s haiku poems, and The Neighborhood Mother Goose, a collection of classic nursery rhymes. She has created simple stories of childhood like One Hot Summer Day and I’m Not Small. Her newest book, Not Done Yet: Shirley Chisholm’s Fight for Change was written by Tameka Fryer Brown and is a non-fiction celebration of this amazing woman. www.ninacrews.com

NOT DONE YET: Starred review Kirkus Reviews
I’M NOT SMALL: The Horn Book Summer Reading selection, starred reviews Horn Book and Booklist
A GIRL LIKE ME: Horn Book Fanfare 2020, CCBC Choices 2021, Junior Library Guild Selection, Black Caucus of the ALA for the 2020 Best of the Best Booklist, New York Public Library Best Books for Kids 2020, Chicago Public Library Best of the Best 2020, 2021 Rise: A Feminist Book Project List
SEEING INTO TOMORROW: NCTE Notable Poetry Books for 2019, CCBC Choices 2019, Junior Library Guild Selection, School Library Journal Best Books of 2018, New York Public Library 100 Best Books For Kids 2018
THE NEIGHBORHOOD MOTHER GOOSE: ALA Notable Book 2005, New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing 2004, CCBC (Cooperative Children’s Book Council) Choice 2004

3 Fun Facts

1. Creating children’s books is the family business. My parents, Donald Crews and Ann Jonas Crews, have written and illustrated numerous award-winning books.
2. When I started my publishing career, my day job was freelance work for animation studios and I once assisted, Nick Park, the creator of Shaun the Sheep.
3. I love learning about new things. I now know more about soccer than I ever imagined. It is my fifteen-year-old son’s favorite sport.

Curato, Mike

Mike Curato is the author and illustrator of picture books including the award winning Little Elliot series and Where Is Bina Bear?, and Flamer, his debut young adult graphic novel, which was awarded the 2020 Lambda Literary Award and the 2021 Massachusetts Book Award. He also illustrated All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle, Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian, The Power of One by Trudy Ludwig, and What If… and The Sharey Godmother, both written by Samantha Berger. His new book, What Are You?, by Christian Trimmer, will be available for purchase at the festival before its release!  www.mikecurato.com

Awards/Honors
2020 Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Young Adult (Flamer)
2021 Massachusetts Book Award for Middle Grade/Young Adult (Flamer)
2021 SCBWI Golden Kite Award Honor Illustrated Book for Older Readers (Flamer)
2014 Society of Illustrators Original Art Show Founder’s Award (Little Elliot, Big City)
2015 Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor (Little Elliot, Big City)

3 Fun Facts

1. Mike loves singing karaoke
2. He has a very cute dog named Leia
3. Mike was born and raised in the Hudson Valley

Czajak, Paul

Paul Czajak struggled with reading and writing as a child, and never thought he’d end up writing books. But after working as a scientist for 20 years, he discovered that his creativity could no longer be contained to the laboratory. Now he hopes his books will be the seeds to a new generation of book gardeners! Paul lives in New Jersey, USA. www.paulczajak.com

Moms Choice Award Gold for Monster Needs a Costume and Monster Needs a Christmas Tree
Silver Moon Beam Children’s Award for Best Picture Book series Monster&Me
Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award for Seaver the Weaver

3 Fun Facts

1. I was a Chemist for 21 years before becoming an Author
2. I am a 4th degree black belt in Uechi Ryu Karate
3. In college at one point I swam 8.5 miles a day.

Dadey, Debbie

If you see an author in fins or polka-dots, it’s most likely Debbie Dadey! She is the author and co-author of 181 traditionally published children’s books. A Titanic Friendship is the newest in Debbie’s Mermaid Tales multi-cultural series from Simon and Schuster, the Frankenstein Doesn’t Plant Petunias graphic novel is the newest Bailey School Kids book from Scholastic/Graphix, and Never Give UP and the Race for the Future of Vaccines is her newest picture book.

Debbie has lived in many states, but now lives in a log cabin in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. She visits schools around the world. debbiedadey.com and Facebook.com/debbiedadey

ALA Children’s Choice awards

3 Fun Facts

1. Debbie floated in the lowest spot on the earth, The Dead Sea. No narwhals were spotted.
2. Debbie has ridden two camels and doesn’t plan to ride any more!
3. Debbie once slid into a shark tank to help write a story, Danger in the Deep Blue Sea.

Dee, Barbara

Barbara Dee is the author of thirteen middle grade novels, including 2022’s HAVEN JACOBS SAVES THE PLANET. VIOLETS ARE BLUE was one of School Library Journal’s Best Books of 2021. MY LIFE IN THE FISH TANK was on the 2021 Bank Street list. MAYBE HE JUST LIKES YOU was a 2019 Washington Post Best Children’s Book of the Year and on the 2020 ALA Notable and ALA Rise: A Feminist Book Project lists. STAR-CROSSED was on the 2018 ALA Rainbow List Top Ten. Her books have earned several starred reviews and have been named to many state award lists. www.BarbaraDeeBooks.com.

Honors
2021 School Library Journal Best Books of the Year (Middle Grade); 2020 ALA Notable Children’s Books and ALA Rise: A Feminist Book Project lists; 2018 ALA Rainbow List Top Ten; NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People; Bank Street Best Books of the Year (multiple years); two-time Project Lit selection; multiple state reading lists and starred reviews.

3 Fun Facts

1. My favorite band is Radiohead. I’ve seen them perform live in seven cities…so far.
2. I love baseball in general, the NY Yankees in particular (though I grew up a Mets fan).
3. Whenever I have writer’s block, I walk my rescue hound dog, Ripley.

deGroat, Diane

Diane deGroat has been illustrating children’s books since 1972, with over 150 books to her credit. She has also written and illustrated her own stories. Her picture books about Gilbert the opossum include Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really StinkTrick or Treat, Smell My Feet; and Happy Birthday to You, You Belong in a Zoo. Sixteen additional books are in this series, beloved by anyone who appreciates the humorous trials of everyday school and family life. Her latest book,The Adventures of Robo-Kid is a hybrid comic book/picture book and presents a whole new format and art style for Ms. deGroat to share with her readers. She resides in Amherst, MA. website: www.dianedegroat.com blog: www.thestorybehindthestories.com
Awards
– #1 NY Times Bestseller list
– IRA/CBC Children’s Choice
– ABA Pick of the List
– Time Magazine top ten books
– Oppenheim Toy Portfolio- Platinum Award
– Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Award

3 Fun Facts

1. I love to garden and grow weird things like Mexican Sour Gherkins and Ground Cherries. (Google it.)
2. While mulching my garden recently, I discovered a hornets’ nest in my wood chip pile.
3. Old ladies can run pretty fast when chased by a swarm of bees.

Demas, Corinne

Corinne Demas  is the award-winning author of thirty-four  books including numerous picture books (Saying Goodbye to Lulu, The Littlest Matryoshka, The Disappearing Island, Pirates Go to School ), YA novels (Returning to Shore),  and books for adults.  She is the co-author, with her daughter Artemis Roehrig, of Are Pirates Polite?Do Doodlebugs Doodle? Amazing Insect Facts, and Does a Fiddler Crab Fiddle?, and the forthcoming The Grumpy Pirate  and Do Jellyfish Like Peanut Butter? Amazing Sea Creature Facts. She is a professor at Mount Holyoke College and lives in Western Massachusetts and on Cape Cod. www.corinnedemas.com

Two National Endowment of the Arts Awards, Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship, ASPCA Henry Bergh Children’s Book Award for Saying Goodbye to Lulu. Finalist, Massachusetts Book Award for The Disappearing Island. California Reading Association Silver Eureka Award for Do Doodlebugs Doodle?

3 Fun Facts

1. I have two miniature donkeys.
2. I babysat for my daughter’s tarantula when she went away to college.
3. My favorite color is purple.

Erwin, Kimberly Y.

Kimberly Y. Erwin (Author), received her MS in Education: Intercultural Communication from the University of Pennsylvania and has worked extensively in academia for well over three decades.  She is an author, an entrepreneur, an international journalist and writer, a Reading Instructor & was a high school Language Arts Dept. Chair in Florida, an English college professor, and among various and numerous other titles enjoyed Director of Multicultural Student Affairs (Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY) most as that is what propelled her into researching and writing on the topic of race & ethnicity. Currently, Ms. Erwin is on the board and program chairperson of the library in the city of Hudson, NY where she resides and runs a media company that seeks to publish and promote positive works, i.e. diversity appreciation and self-awareness and love—in photography, film/video, and of course, books! www.kimberlyerwin.me

Look for her also at: https://twitter.com/kyerwinauthor

Ms. Erwin also would like to recognize the book’s, Photographer

Zoey Catlin,  High School student & budding photographer, taking photos of family, friends, and just about any and every engagement she is invited to, including weddings—and loves her little sister (and one of this book’s models, Bailiegh)!

3 Fun Facts

1. I met my Italian American beau when I was 6 years old—and wrote this children’s book DUE to an engagement I had had with him. At 8, he understood better than the adults around us that the little African American girl on the steps outside of “her” neighborhood didn’t have to “Go back home!” The “older” boy sat and chatted with her making her feel like she was just where she belonged (period)
2. I gave myself a “stage” name because of course, I was going to be a famous 1) ballerina, 2) actor, and 3) Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader! In perhaps that order!
3. I’m a HUDSONIAN! (Whoo-Whoo!) I lived in over 16 cities, states, and countries altogether on both coasts & the mid-west and on 2 continents & an island in the Caribbean. Yet, I came back 2 give back! And yes, it’s MORE than worth it–seeing the eyes of young students in elementary and junior high school as well as hearing from teens who are about to graduate from high school how much I (just being Ms. Erwin) MATTER to them. It’s not usual for them to have someone to whom they can relate—just upon 1st glance! PRICELESS.

Ferry, Beth

Beth Ferry reads and writes by the beach in New Jersey where she finds inspiration in the salty air. She is the author of over 30 books including: Stick and Stone, The Scarecrow and The Umbrella. In addition to writing picture books, Beth also writes early graphic novels including Fox & Rabbit, Crab & Snail, and Stick & Stone. Beth is very fond of the ampersand.  You can learn more at bethferry.com.

Awards
– New York Times bestseller
– Amazon Best Book of the Month
– Amazon Best Book of the Year
– Indie Kids’ Next List Pick
– Junior Library Guild Selection
– State Awards

3 Fun Facts

1. Beth has two turtles named Stick and Stone.
2. Beth once rescued an upside down horseshoe crab.
3. Beth’s favorite word is anticipation.

Gavigan, Jenna

Jenna Gavigan is the author of the middle-grade novels Lulu the Broadway Mouse, and Lulu the Broadway Mouse: The Show Must Go On. As a child, she dreamed of Broadway, and as teenager, she made her Broadway debut in Gypsy, opposite Bernadette Peters. Since then, she’s appeared in a handful of films, on a gaggle of television shows, and on stages east and west. Also a producer, Jenna won her first Tony Award in June of 2022 as member of the producing team for the Best New Musical A Strange Loop.  Jenna holds a BA in creative writing from Columbia University, where she focused on fiction, television, and screenwriting. Like Lulu, Jenna loves cheese, regularly quotes musicals, and continues to dream of Broadway. Visit her online at iamjennagavigan.com or on Twitter and Instagram @Jenna_Gavigan www.iamjennagavigan.com

3 Fun Facts

1. I went to regular school during the day while performing on Broadway at night.
2. I wrote a picture-book draft of Lulu in a children’s book writing class during my final semester of college.
3. I gave birth to my first child in 2020!!

Gopal, Jyoti Rajan

Growing up, Jyoti lived in Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, China and India. She finally settled in New York where she raised two daughters with her husband (who also grew up all over the world). As a child, she adored and devoured books but did not enjoy writing. At all.

As a grown up, she is a forever kindergarten teacher and mom. She still adores and devours books. But now, she likes to write!

Awards
I do not have any honors or awards – yet 🙂 Maybe by next May, I will – one can dream!

3 Fun Facts

1. I speak five languages
2. I drank yak milk in Tibet (not my favorite)
3. I am crazy for composting and know a lot about red wiggler worms

Gray, John

John Gray is an Emmy award winning journalist and writer from upstate New York. Donations from the sales of his first children’s book have helped more than 30 animal shelters all over the country. His new book ‘Keller’s Heart’ is based on his blind and deaf dog Keller. View John’s Facebook page.

3 Fun Facts

1. My children’s books are based on real events from my life. In fact I do have a dog named Keller who is blind and deaf and helps run our household.
2. For 20 years I have written a weekly column for the very newspaper that I once delivered as a young child in my hometown. Paperboy was my first job.
3. I’m a huge fan of Broadway and have seen RENT 12 times and can sing the entire score without missing a single word.

Grimes, Nikki

New York Times bestselling author Nikki Grimes has received the 2022 CSK Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award, the ALAN Award for young adult literature, the Children’s Literature Legacy Medal, the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children, the Coretta Scott King Award for Bronx Masquerade, and five Coretta Scott King Honors. Her recent titles include Printz Honor and Sibert Honor Ordinary Hazards, ALA Notables Legacy:Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance and Southwest Sunrise, Kirkus Best Book Bedtime for Sweet Creatures, Kamala Harris:Rooted in Justice, Playtime for Restless Rascals, and Garvey in the Dark. Ms. Grimes lives in Corona, California. www.nikkigrimes.com

3 Fun Facts

1. Once sang on the stage of the Stockholm Philharmonic in Sweden.
2. In Sweden, I was known as a singer who also wrote.
3. In addition to writing, I also paint. The first time I exhibited my watercolors, I won a blue ribbon.

Ignatow, Amy

Amy Ignatow is the author and illustrator of The Popularity PapersThe Odds Trilogy, and she is the author of Jedi Academy: The Christina Starspeeder storiesThe Cutest Thing Ever, and Symphony For a Broken Orchestra. Her first series, The Popularity Papers, is currently being adapted for television. Amy lives in Philadelphia with her family.

3 Fun Facts

1. I once played an entire game of Pictionary with Lemony Snicket on my team without knowing who he was
2. I’m excellent at cutting bagels
3. This is not my natural hair color

Johnston, Jeffry W.

Jeffry W. Johnston is the author of the Edgar-nominated FRAGMENTS and the In the Margins Top 10 Book award winner of THE TRUTH, and both were Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers selections by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). His most recent teen mystery/thriller, FOLLOWING, was a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection. He is never without a book to read and is passionate about movies, TV binging, and baseball. His website is at jeffrywjohnston.com

Awards
– FOLLOWING: Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
– THE TRUTH: In the Margins Top 10 Book Award winner; YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Readers
– FRAGMENTS: 2008 Edgar Award nomination for Best Young Adult Mystery; YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Readers

3 Fun Facts

1. I lived in England for a year when I was in 5th grade.
2. My father was an anthropologist, and my sister is an archeologist.
3. I’m a big movie fan and my favorite movie is IT’S A WONDEFUL LIFE.

Kantorovitz, Sylvie

Sylvie Kantorovitz was born in Casablanca, Morocco, and grew up in France. Sylvie has illustrated many picture books, including the bestseller, Wheels on the Bus, a Raffi Song to Read. Her latest book is Sylvie, a middle-grade graphic-novel about her young years in France. Sylvie has been called “enchanting and witty” (School Library Journal), “a delightful graphic-novel memoir of artistic coming-of-age for children ages 8-14.” (Wall Street Journal). https://sylviekantorovitz.com/

Sylvie is a Bank Street Best Book of the Year and a Junior Library Guild selection.

3 Fun Facts

1. I have painted a large street mural in Albany.
2. No matter how long I have lived in the US, my French accent is here to stay.
3. I have two imaginary animal friends.

Katz, Alan

Alan has written 50+ highly acclaimed books for young readers, including Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs. Alan is the co-author with the Today show’s Dylan Dreyer of Misty the Cloud (a New York Times bestseller) and its sequel, Friends Through Rain or Shine. Alan’s other titles include Got Your Nose! and Really Stupid Stories for Really Smart Kids.

Alan is a six-time Emmy-nominated writer for series including The Rosie O’Donnell Show, Pinkalicious and Peterrific, various Nickelodeon shows and network specials. He has also created theme park shows, trading card sets, TV commercials and hundreds of other special projects for kids and their parents. www.alankatzbooks.com

Awards
Utah Children’s Poetry Book Award Winner
North Carolina Children’s Book Award Winner
Colorado Children’s Picture Book of the Year Winner

3 Fun Facts

1. Alan’s favorite food is cantaloupe
2. Alan used to host a game show on XM Kids Place Live
3. Most nights, Alan sleeps in a bright orange t-shirt

Kelly, David A.

David A. Kelly is the author of the Ballpark Mysteries and MVP sports series from Random House. The Ballpark Mysteries chapter books features cousins Kate and Mike, who solve mysteries at different major league ballparks. Mr. Kelly is also the author of the early reader, Babe Ruth and the Baseball Curse and the picture book Miracle Mud: Lena Blackburne and Secret Mud that Changed Baseball. He has written about travel and technology for the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and many other publications. He can be found at www.davidakellybooks.com.

MVP series chosen as “Best Books of 2016” by Chicago Public Library
Miracle Mud is a Maryland Blue Crab Award Winner
The Wrigley Riddle (Ballpark Mysteries #6) was selected as one of Amazon.com’s Best Books of 2013

3 Fun Facts

1. I once met home run king Hank Aaron.
2. I get to go to baseball parks and watch games as part of my job!
3. I was a terrible baseball player!

Kimmelman, Leslie

Leslie Kimmelman is the author of many popular and prize-winning picture books for children, including the new Bat and Sloth series; Write On, Irving Berlin; Here Come the Helpers!; and The Ghouls’ Guide of Good Grammar. For almost twenty-five years, she was an editor at Sesame Workshop, where she was one of the creators of Julia, who is autistic. She lives in Westchester County, New York, with her family. www.lesliekimmelman.net

  • We’re Amazing, 1, 2, 3 (the book which introduced the character of Julia and the entire autism initiative at Sesame Workshop) received a prestigious 2017
    Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award.
  • Write On, Irving Berlin!: Charlotte Award picture book winner from the New York State Reading Association
  • Everybody Says Shalom: A Sydney Taylor Honor Book (from the Association of Jewish Libraries). Five other titles were named Sydney Taylor Notable Books.
  • Hot Dog! Eleanor Roosevelt Throws a Picnic: Eureka Honor Book (California Reading Assoc.); NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book
  • Many more starred reviews, CELI finalists, Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year

3 Fun Facts

1. I love to swim and get some of my best writing ideas in the pool. I might have been a fish in my last life.
2. I cook a mean homemade pizza. Not to mention making my own ice cream. Yum!
3. I have read books just about anywhere you can think of—the bathtub is one of my favorites! I once broke my ankle by tripping over a curb, as I read a book, licked an ice cream cone, and walked down the sidewalk, all at the same time. Don’t try this at home!

LaBarge, Melanie

Melanie LaBarge is a writer living in Upstate New York with her partner, Shane, and her son, Julian. She holds a BA and MA in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her favorite color is yellow and her favorite museum is MoMA. https://melanielabarge.com/books

3 Fun Facts

1. The author and illustrator are friends who decided to make a book about the artists they loved one day.
2. Melanie studied women and art in college while raising her son, Julian, so this book is a culmination of those two experiences.
3. Caroline is an amazing illustrator, artist, and graphic designer whose visual signature can be seen all over upstate New York.

Laiz, Jana

Jana Laiz is a writer with a purpose. The author of the triple award-winning novel, Weeping Under This Same Moon, Moonbeam Silver Medal Winner, The Twelfth Stone, Elephants of the Tsunami, “A Free Woman On God’s Earth, The True Story of Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman, The Slave Who Won Her Freedom, Thomas & Autumn, Simon Says ~ Tails Told By The Red Lion Inn Ambassador, Billy Budd in the Breadbox, The Story of Herman Melville & Eleanor, and Blanket of Stars, Jana believes that honoring diversity can change the world. She is the very first Writer-In-Residence at Herman Melville’s beloved Arrowhead. www.janalaiz.com

ForeWord review Gold Medal Winner
Moonbeam Children’s Book awards Silver medalist
International Reading Association Notable

3 Fun Facts

1. I have a Pitbull
2. I play the Irish penny whistle and the harp
3. I was the Jacks Champion in high school

LaMonica, Lisa

Lisa LaMonica is an author and illustrator in upstate New York who has received awards for her art and books including a grant from the Kaplan Fund. She was nominated for Artist of the Year in 2002 by the Columbia County Council on the Arts. Lisa currently writes for WMHT and the Times Union. www.lisalamonica.com

3 Fun Facts

1. I have been to several places in the Caribbean where pirates roamed.
2. I have twice been featured on PBS/WMHT
3. I buy, fix up and sell old houses.

Lehman, Barbara

Barbara Lehman mostly makes wordless children’s picture books. Readers can use their own words to tell the stories! She has shared her books with children at the Whitney Museum of American Art and at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, and her illustrations have been included in exhibitions at The Art Institute of Chicago and the Central Children’s Room of the New York Public Library. THE RED BOOK was awarded a Caldecott Honor. She attended Pratt Institute, and now is based in Albany NY.   www.barbaralehmanbooks.com

Awards
– Caldecott Honor
– New York Times Bestseller List
– ALA Notable Books
– Junior Library Guild Selections
– Horn Book Fanfare List
– Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of the Year
– Kirkus Best Children’s Books,
– New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing,
– Parent’s Choice Gold
– Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of the Year.
– Premio Andersen [Italy]

3 Fun Facts

1. I like making books with the word RED in the title
2. I hope they get read a lot
3. I also like puns!

Leno, Katrina

Katrina Leno was born on the East Coast and currently lives in Los Angeles. She is the author of seven critically acclaimed novels: Sometime in Summer, Horrid, You Must Not Miss, Summer of Salt, Everything All at Once, The Lost & Found, and The Half Life of Molly Pierce. Her eighth book, and her first for middle grade readers, comes out in June 2023 and is called The Umbrella Maker’s Son. You can visit her online at Katrinaleno.com

Awards
Horrid was featured in OwlCrate’s September 2020 box
You Must Not Miss received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist
Summer of Salt received starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal and is routinely featured on LGBTQI+ book lists

3 Fun Facts

1. Moving to Los Angeles nine years ago gave me a newfound appreciation for the rain. My upcoming middle grade book, The Umbrella Maker’s Son, is a love letter to those dark, gray days I love so much.
2. I collect fountain pens and own a truly ridiculous amount of notebooks, rubber stamps, washi tape, and journaling supplies.
3. My favorite movie of all time is Practical Magic. It was a big inspiration for Summer of Salt! I can genuinely watch it every single day forever and never get sick of it.

Lerangis, Peter

Peter Lerangis’s books have sold over 6.5 million copies and been translated into 35 languages. His nine N.Y. Times bestsellers include the entire Seven Wonders series and his 39 Clues contributions. His YA novel Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am, won an ALA Schneider Award, and his latest adventures are the Max Tilt and Throwback trilogies. He’s also performed on Broadway, run a marathon, rock-climbed in Yosemite during a 6.1 earthquake, and graduated Harvard with a degree in biochemistry. www.peterlerangis.com

Awards
– ALA Schneider Award for best book depicting the disability experience
– ALA Quick Picks
– Multiple Junior Library Guild Awards
– ALA Best Books
– New York Public Library Best Books
– Bank Street Library Best Books

3 Fun Facts

1. My left pinkie has camptodactyly, which means it can’t straighten, and I have worked it into the plot of a book.
2. I sang and acted in a Broadway show.
3. The letters of my full name can be rearranged into Sergeant Peril.

Magaziner, Lauren

Lauren Magaziner is the author of The Mythics series, the Case Closed series, The Only Thing Worse Than Witches, Wizardmatch, and Pilfer Academy. She is originally from New Hope, Pennsylvania, and she currently lives in Philadelphia, where she writes full-time. Lauren is also a secret undercover international detective—but don’t blow her cover. You can visit Lauren at www.laurenmagaziner.com.

Awards:
The Case Closed series is an international bestseller in Spain and Italy. Lauren’s books have been translated into ten languages, been on the Indie Next List, been a JLG selection, been featured in The Chicago Tribune, and optioned for a TV movie by Nickelodeon.

3 Fun Facts

1. My new series The Mythics is about mythical beast animal companions – If I had a mythical beast animal companion, it would be a dragon.
2. I use a giant whiteboard to draft each book in the pick-your-path Case Closed series. I write each plotline in a different color. My whiteboard holds many secrets: including where the dead ends are and who the culprit is!
3. When I lived in Scotland, I dunked my face in a fairy river of eternal youth. Legend says that if you leave your face in for exactly seven seconds, you will never age. Come find me in twenty years with the same exact face.

Maldonado, Torrey

Torrey Maldonado was born and raised in Brooklyn’s Red Hook. He has taught in New York City public schools for over 25 years and his fast-paced, compelling stories are inspired by his and his students’ experiences. His popular young readers novels include What Lane?, which won many starred reviews and was cited by Oprah Daily and the NY Times for being essential to discuss racism and allyship; Tight won the Christopher Award, was an ALA Notable Book, and an NPR and Washington Post Best Book of the Year; and his first novel, Secret Saturdays, has stayed in print for over ten years. Learn more at torreymaldonado.com or connect on social media @torreymaldonado.

Awards
What Lane? is a Kirkus Best Book, a School Library Journal Best Book, a Washington Post Best Book, an NPR Best Book.
Tight is a Christopher Award winner, a Washington Post Best Book, and an ALA Notable Book.
Secret Saturdays is an ALA “Quick Pick”.

3 Fun Facts

1. I got hooked on comic books in the third grade. By middle school, I had almost two hundred collectibles. I also had a cat named Snow White and she peed on and scratched my collection down to fifty comics. So I secretly wish I had the super power of pausing and redirecting pets to pee in the right places freeze to prevent people from losing things we love.
2. I’m pretty sure that, wherever I am, no one in a five mile radius can beat me in Scrabble OR no one in a five mile radius would enjoy losing as much as me in Scrabble. Visit my table to play me and even if I lose, it will be fun to play!
3. As a teen, for about a month, I taped my ears to my head with black electrical tape because I thought that would flatten my then big ears. It didn’t work. Good thing that my skull in high school grew and caught up with my ears.

Masiello, Ralph

Ralph resides in the state of Massachusetts, USA, where he lives with his daughters Alexa and Talia. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (BFA, Illustration, 1985), Ralph has illustrated for magazines, newspapers and books, created posters and prints, and shown his fine art paintings in galleries throughout the world. Since 1987, he has visited over 2,800 schools all over the world, inspiring children with his life story, humor, and art. While visiting schools, he is often inspired himself by the enthusiasm, creativity, and hard work of the students and teachers. This led him to create his unique “How to Draw” book series. In 2011, his work appeared in a strange and mysterious book called The Mystic Phyles: Beasts. Newest in the series his series of How to Draw books is the Ralph Masiello’s Unicorn Drawing Book. March 2020 is the release of his Fantastic Fruits: A Grimal Grove Coloring Book, which is about rare and unusual tropical fruits.  www.ralphmasiello.com

Society Of Illustrators Award of Merit (twice)
Charlotte Award (NYSRA 2004)
IRA/CBC Children’s Choice Award
NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book
Early Childhood News Director’s Choice Award
ABA Kids’ Pick of the Lists
Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Books of the Year

3 Fun Facts

1. I have an imaginary friend…ask me about him!
2. I race motocross (dirtbikes) and still jump over 90 feet in the air! I’m 58 and still a kid.
3. I was raised by dragons. Just kidding!
Alternate fact: My oldest daughter, Alexa, has Rett Syndrome. Google it!
Alternate fact 2: I have actually visited over 3300 schools since 1987.

McAnulty, Stacy

Stacy McAnulty is an award-winning children’s book author, who used to be a mechanical engineer, and who dreams of someday being a dog therapist, a correspondent for The Daily Show, an astronaut, and a Green Bay Packer coach. She’s written over 30 books, including the middle-grade novel, The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl, and the popular Our Universe picture book seriesHer debut middle-grade nonfiction, Save the People! Halting Human Extinction was favorably reviewed in the New York Times. Most of her books include a STEM angle or an adorable dog—some have both. Originally from upstate NY, she now lives in Kernersville, NC. www.stacymcanulty.com

Awards
– Indie Bestseller The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl
– Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor Recipient for Excellent Ed
– 2019 Mathical Prize Winners for The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl
– The 2021-2022 Vermont Golden Dome Book Award Winner for Millionaires for the Month

3 Fun Facts

1. I believe intelligent life exists beyond Earth, but I’d really like to know for sure!
2. I studied mechanical engineering in college and then worked designing first-class airline seats. (Yet, I’ve never sat in a first-class airline seat.)
3. Local roots! Both my parents were born and raised in Hudson, and we adopted my first dog, Mandy, from the Columbia-Greene Humane Society.

Miller, Kayla

Kayla Miller is the author and illustrator of the New York Times bestselling Click graphic novel series and co-author of its spin-off series Besties. They studied at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and graduated with a BFA in Illustration. Kayla currently lives and works in New York state and when not writing or drawing they enjoy watching bad movies, trying to cook new recipes, playing board games, and reading other people’s graphic novels. www.kayla-miller.com

Awards
Kayla’s books have been featured on the New York Times, Indie, and USA Today Best Sellers lists as well as selected for inclusion on the Little Maverick Reading List, the Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List, The Illinois Bluestem Award Master List, Parents Magazine 30 Best Books of the Year, Barnes & Noble’s Best Books of the Year, A Mighty Girl’s Best Books of the Year, and chosen as Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selections.

3 Fun Facts

1. My hair has been pink, purple, blue, black, red, and green… but it’s naturally brown.
2. I didn’t always want to be a cartoonist. Growing up, I wanted to be a paranormal investigator with a specialty in ghosts and aliens… and, presumably, ghosts of aliens.
3. My favorite meal is breakfast! I love how breakfast can combine sweet and savory and spicy all on one plate— or even inside of a single sandwich!

Miller, Sharee

Sharee Miller is an acclaimed illustrator and author of many picture books including Don’t Touch My Hair. She lives in Jersey City with her spouse, son, and their two cats. Her books include Princess Hair and Don’t Touch My Hair and Michelle’s Garden published by Little Brown for Young Readers. Her most recent work can be seen in Sam’s Super Seats, written by Keah Brown. She is currently working on her debut graphic novel series Curlfriends set to debut in Fall 2023.

Sharee Miller’s books have been featured in Entertainment Weekly and The New York Times. Don’t Touch My Hair! was an African-American Literary Award Winner in the “Children’s Book” category and an ALA Children’s Notable Book.

She invites you to visit her website at shareemiller.com and her Instagram @coilyandcute.

3 Fun Facts

1. Sharee can wiggle her ears
2. She was born in Athens, Greece.
3. She has two cats whose names are Pumpkin and Spice.

Minor, Florence

Florence’s transition from film editor for TV to author and collaborator with her husband Wendell has been working out very well for many years. Her love of animals and the natural world are reflected in her books If You Were a Penguin – a Pennsylvania One Book Literacy Program selection, If You Were a Panda Bear – a Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Books of the Year andHow To Be a Bigger Bunny. She has loved cats since she was a child, so it’s no surprise that her next collaboration with Wendell will feature lots of felines!

Florence and Wendell have been honored with the New England Independent Booksellers Association (NEIBA) President’s Award for lifetime achievement in arts and letters, and were Honorees of the Boston Public Library’s 27th annual Literary Light, which recognizes outstanding writers from the Northeast for their inspiring work. Visit Florence at www.minorart.com and on Facebook and Instagram.

3 Fun Facts

1. I love all animals, and writing about them.
2. My next book will be filled with lots of adorable kittens!
3. I like to write funny poems for my friends on their birthday.

Minor, Wendell

Wendell Minor has illustrated, written and collaborated with many awesome authors. As a nature lover and history buff, Wendell loves sharing those interests with children through more than 60 books he has had published.

His newest books are TINY BIRD: A Hummingbird’s Amazing Journey, HI, I’M NORMAN, THE MAGIC OF LETTERS, WILD ORCA: The Oldest Wisest Whale in the World, and NIGHT TRAIN, NIGHT TRAIN.

His books have received the Cook Prize, Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young Children, Outstanding Science Trade Books, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library selection, Pennsylvania One Book Every Young Child selection, ALA Notable Book, John Burroughs List of Nature Books for Young Readers. Wendell was honored to be named the 2018-2019 Artist Laureate of the Norman Rockwell Museum.

Visit Wendell at www.minorart.com

3 Fun Facts

1. My new book, TINY BIRD is about my favorite bird – the Hummingbird!
2. I’ll never give up my dream that one day I will learn how to play the banjo.
3. I love watching my cat do silly things.

Mojica, Barbara Ann

Barbara Ann Mojica, M.A. S.A.S., S.D.A is a historian and retired educator. Her education career spans more than forty years serving as a teacher, special educator, principal, and school district administrator. Barbara writes monthly historical articles for the Columbia Insider under the banner “Passages.” Using the whimsical Little Miss History character to narrate her book series, Barbara hopes to entertain, inspire, and empower children to become tomorrow’s leaders. Little Miss History’s antics make reading nonfiction a fun-filled adventure for all ages. She firmly believes, “If you don’t know your history, you don’t know what you’re talking about.”  LittleMissHISTORY.com

The Little Miss HISTORY book series has garnered over two dozen awards including B.R.A.G. Medallions, International Book Excellence Awards, International Readers’ Favorite Awards, Eric Hoffer, Purple Dragonfly, and Independent Author Network Book of the Year Awards.

3 Fun Facts

1. I once got locked inside my elementary school.
2. I nearly got thrown out of the Moscow Circus.
3. I am still teaching with TWO-MINUTE TEACHER lessons on my you tube channel

Mojica, Victor Ramon

Illustrator, cartoonist, writer and publisher, Victor has produced comic strips, comic books, coloring books, children’s books, authored websites, written poetry and screenplays. He is mostly self-taught in all these endeavors. “I’ve been writing and drawing since the age of five. I love producing art and stories so much I started my own publishing company in 1992. www.eugenus.com

Awards
The Cecil Hemley Memorial Award for poem
“Friend or Foe.”
The BRAG Medallion Award for Captain CROSSBONES in The Treasure Hunt.
Hollywood Book Festival’s Award for Best Graphic Novel eugenus, The Next Step in Human Evolution!

Fun Facts

1. I once broke into my own office after locking myself out.
2. I was mistaken for Tony Danza in a casino he frequented.
3. I beat at chess a Columbia University Chess Champion 3 times in a row and left undefeated.

Muntean, Michaela

Michaela Muntean has written dozens of books including many for Sesame Street, the Muppets, and Little Golden Books. Two of her most recent books include Do Not Open this Book! and Do Not EVER be a Babysitter! Both feature an incredibly crabby (but funny) Pig. She is also the author of Stay, a true story about a circus performer who rescued ten dogs no one else wanted and trained them to perform in a circus act. She lives in Ghent, New York, with her husband, author Nik Cohn, and their rescue dogs, Beau and Tess.

Keystone to Reading Book Award
Grand Canyon Reader Award
Charter Oak Children’s Book Award
Bank Street CBC Best Children’s Books of the Year

3 Fun Facts

1. I wish I could sing, but I can’t. In fact, a music teacher once asked if I could just “mouth the words” so that those around me wouldn’t be thrown off key.
2. I might stink as a singer, but I am excellent at mini-golf.
3. I went to welding school. So, if you ever need something welded, I could do it for you.

Parra, John

John Parra is an award-winning artist, illustrator, author, and educator, best known for his Latino themed children’s picture books. His work on, Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos, was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book of the Year. He regularly speaks as a visiting artist at schools and literary conferences across the country, advocating art and reading education. His new book, Growing an Artist: The Story of a Landscaper and His Son, is his debut as both author and illustrator and has received numerous starred reviews. John currently lives with his wife, Maria, in Queens, New York.  To learn more visit: https://www.johnparraart.com/

Awards
– Three American Library Association’s Pura Belpré Honors, Two Golden Kite Awards from The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, A New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book of the Year, and a Christopher’s Award.

3 Fun Facts

1. I play guitar
2. favorite color is green
3. My mom is a retired school teacher who also use to be a Catholic nun.

Preller, James

James Preller lives in Delmar, NY, and frequently visits area schools as a guest author. He has – insanely — 10 books coming out in 2019. Three titles in the new “Big Idea Gang” series, including EVERYBODY NEEDS A BUDDY. A picture book in haiku, ALL WELCOME HERE, illustrated by Mary GrandPre (of “Harry Potter” fame), BLOOD MOUNTAIN, a middle-grade novel of wilderness adventure and suspense, plus 5 more Jigsaw Jones titles: THE CASE OF THE HAT BURGLAR, plus 4 newly revised titles that were temporarily out-of-print. www.jamespreller.com

3 Fun Facts

1. James is trying to become a better writer of haiku.
2. James is trying to learn how to identify trees (it’s been a slow process).
3. James loves music

Pullen, Mark David

ALTHOUGH HE HAS ALWAYS HAD A VIVID IMAGINATION, his call to writing never manifested itself until his late twenties. Being the boy who sought after adventure and escape, he would use his imagination to create strange characters and unique far-away worlds. Some of those strange characters and far away lands cemented themselves into his mind and later became part of the firm foundation for his writing style.

NOW AN ADULT, he lives with his wife, two children, and their crazy pup, Toby, in Upstate New York. The use of his imagination and sense of wonder as a child has proven to be the first steps on the long road to becoming a published author in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre. His debut novel “The Oasis King” Was released in February of this year.

3 Fun Facts

1. I love to cook.
2. I enjoy playing vintage video games.
3. The dogs in “The Oasis King” are named after my childhood dogs and my basset hound Toby.

Raff, Anna

Anna Raff is an award-winning illustrator of several books for children. Before her career as an illustrator, she was a designer at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and several children’s book publishers in New York City. When she is not drawing, she teaches illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, designs websites and book trailers, and recently animated a music video.  www.annaraff.com/

Awards
– Starred reviews: Kirkus, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal
– New York Public Library Best Book of the Year
– Bank Street Best Book of the Year
– The Original Art Show, Society of Illustrators

3 Fun Facts

1. When I was a kid, I had a robot factory in my basement.
2. I am an avid birder, and so far I have seen almost 200 different species in New York City.
3. I am left-handed, but throw a frisbee right-handed.

Ready, Jean

When Jean Reidy was a kid, she was a reader, a writer, a poet and a dreamer. She’s happy to still be that kid at heart. Her bestselling and award-winning picture books have earned their spots as favorites among readers and listeners of all ages and from all over the world. Truman, also illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins, was a Parents’ Choice Gold Award winner, a Charlotte Zolotow Honor winner, a Colorado Book Award winner and was recognized on “Best of” lists by School Library Journal, the New York Times, NPR and Amazon. Visit Jean at https://jeanreidy.com/.

3 Fun Facts

1. I’ve never had a pet spider, but I have resided with an assortment of not-so-well-behaved turtles, parakeets, lizards, goldfish, hamsters and even one feisty, fire-bellied toad.
2. My favorite food is crunchy peanut butter … right off the spoon.
3. I’m a fan of football, train trips and tall, tall mountains.

Reidy, Jean

Jean Reidy’s fun, best-selling and award-winning picture books have earned their spots as favorites among readers and listeners of all ages and from all over the world.  She loves writing, but she loves chatting with her readers even more. That’s why she’s a frequent presenter on writing and reading and at schools and storytimes across the country. Jean writes from her home in Colorado where she lives just across the street from her neighborhood library … which she visits nearly every day. To learn more about Jean and her books, please visit https://jeanreidy.com

3 Fun Facts

1.I’ve never had a tortoise, but I have resided with an assortment of not-so-well-behaved turtles, parakeets, lizards, goldfish, hamsters and even one feisty, fire-bellied toad.
2. My favorite food is crunchy peanut butter … right off the spoon.
3. I’m a fan of football, train trips and tall, tall mountains.

Rissi, Anica Mrose

Anica Mrose Rissi is the author of the Anna, Banana chapter-book series; the picture books Watch Out for Wolf!, The Teacher’s Pet, and Love, Sophia on the Moon; the middle-grade collection Hide and Don’t Seek: And Other Very Scary Stories; and the YA novels Always Forever Maybe and Nobody Knows But You. Her essays have been published by The Writer and the New York Times, and she plays fiddle in and writes lyrics for the band Owen Lake and the Tragic Loves. Find out more at anicarissi.com, and follow @anicarissi on Instagram and Twitter.

Awards:
Anica’s books have been published in multiple languages around the world. Her most recent picture book, Love, Sophia on the Moon, won the Maine Literary Award and the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, and Hide and Don’t Seek was named a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers.

3 Fun Facts

1. Played the National Anthem on her viola at a Boston Celtics game
2. Grew up on a small island off the coast of Maine, where there were only 24 kids in her class at school
3. Lives with a very good dog named Arugula

Roehrig, Artemis

Artemis Roehrig is the author (with co-author Corinne Demas) of three nonfiction picture books with Cornell Lab/Persnickety Press: Do Doodlebugs Doodle? Amazing Insect Facts, Does A Fiddler Crab Fiddle?, Do Jellyfish Like Peanut Butter? Amazing Sea Creature Facts and two rhyming picture books with Scholastic: Are Pirates Polite? and The Grumpy Pirate (out in June). Artemis is also the author for Storey Publishing’s Tattoos That Teach series. When she isn’t busy with her two kids or finishing her YA manuscript, she works with invasive insects for the Department of Environmental Conservation at UMass Amherst. www.artemisroehrig.com

California Reading Association Silver Eureka Award for Do Doodlebugs Doodle? Amazing Insect Facts

3 Fun Facts

1. I have four pet tarantulas.
2. I have been playing the violin since I was four and a half.
3. I didn’t go on an airplane until I was 18.

Rogers, Jacqueline

Some of my notable published work is the Beverly Cleary’s backlist, including the wonderful Ramona series in 2013-14. I loved working with Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager on the picture book, “Our Great Big Backyard” in 2016, a NY Times #1 Bestseller.  Recently, I illustrated two picture books for Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman.  The first, “Little Ree” also a bestseller, and then “Little Ree, Best Friends Forever”  came out in 2018.  2019 welcomed “Goblin Moon” published by Harper Collins.  An original halloween poem I wrote and illustrated. While I still love to illustrate other authors’ manuscripts, I have found that my love for developing characters has led me to writing and illustrating my own picture books and now graphic novels. Writing for an older age group is very exciting, and I am working in photoshop and procreate to build a digital style to go with these stories. www.jacquelinerogers.com

Our Great Big Backyard written by Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager was a #1 New York Times bestseller in 2016.
Little Ree written by The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond reached #4 on the NY Times bestselling list in 2017.

3 Fun Facts

1. I love to make all kinds of art, including pottery, sculpture,and mosaics, as well as painting and drawing.
2. Monsters are my favorite things to draw.
3. Ramona and Beezus are exactly like my daughters.

Rotner, Shelley

Shelley Rotner is the author and photo-illustrator of 50 award-winning children’s books. Her books are mostly about

diversity and the environment. It is her hope that they will lead children and their parents and/or teachers to engage in conversations and inspire observations and curiosity about the world they live in.

Some of her recent books include: Colors, Hello Autumn!, Hello Spring!, Hello Winter!, Hello Autumn, Grow! Raise! Catch! How We Get Our Food, Whose Eye am I?, Families,  Body Actions, and All Kinds of Friends. Coming this year: Shapes and What’s the Weather?  www.shelleyrotner.com

University of Maine Correll Book Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Informational text- Families.-packed with photographs of families of many different sizes, shapes, ages and colors.”
Hello, Spring! Starred Kirkus review
Grow, Raise, Catch!  Subaru nonfiction finalist and Green Earth Book Award.
Garbage Helps our Gardens Grow– Green Earth Book Award-

3 Fun Facts

1. I never went to kindergarten
2. I stand on my head almost every day
3. I’m a photographer because I don’t know how to draw very well.

Sadlowski, Dan

Dan Sadlowski is the author of the newly released children’s book, The Universe Is Rooting for You! An awe-inspiring tale that reminds us to appreciate the natural world around us, connect with nature, and give back. His first book, Finding Brooklyn – And The Next Great Superhero boasts your first original female superhero in a children’s book. This resilient children’s book encourages readers to feel empowered, be different, and believe they have superpowers within. Dan Sadlowski is dedicated to spreading uplifting messages through storytelling, empowering school visits, and inspiring readers everywhere. #gofindingbrooklyn  http://dansadlowski.com

3 Fun Facts

1. I love all movies by Laika Studios. One of my favorite characters of all time is Coraline Jones.
2. I spent most all of my time as a child playing basketball. Challenge me to a game of 1 on 1!
3. I love superheroes. Come say hi and tell me who your favorite superheroes are?

Sattler, Jennifer

Jennifer Sattler is the award-winning author and illustrator of many children’s books, including Sylvie , the Chick ‘N’ Pug and Pig Kahuna series, The Jennifer Sattler Board Book series (Dirty Birdies, Jungle Gym, Bundle Up, Oink Oink Moo Cock-a-doodle doo) Bully and One Red Sock. She grew up outside of Philadelphia and then went on to study painting and drawing at the University of New Hampshire, followed by the Hope School of Fine Arts at Indiana University in Bloomington. In 1996, she won a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her books have won The Mockingbird Award for Picture Books and The Georgia Children’s Book Award. Jennifer lives in upstate New York.  www.jennifersattlerbooks.com

3 Fun Facts

1. The person I talk to most all day is not a person at all… it’s my dog Matilda.
2. I wear yellow tinted glasses around the house in winter to trick myself into thinking it’s sunny out.
3. When I dance, I plant my feet and move the rest of my body. My family says I look like a tree.

Schmidt, Tiffany

Tiffany Schmidt is most recently the author of the holiday rom-com I’m Dreaming of a Wyatt Christmas. She also wrote the YA romcom series: Bookish Boyfriends. (A Date with Darcy, The Boy Next Story, Talk Nerdy to Me, & Get a Clue) — as well as several other novels for teens and tweens. A former sixth grade teacher, she lives in Pennsylvania with her impish twin sons, their rascally little brother, a muppet dog, and her very saintly husband. TiffanySchmidt.com

Awards
YALSA Teen Top Ten nominee
Indie Next List
Romantic Times Top Pick

3 Fun Facts

1. I can’t whistle, snap, or wink—and I look ridiculous each time I try.
2. Planning Disney vacations is my favorite stress-reliever.
3. When I was eight, I had a pet frog that kept escaping its tank—we got a new frog a few Christmases ago. So far, so good.

Sementilli, Isabella

My name is Isabella Sementilli and I am 19 years old. In 5th grade, I was the victim of a bully who pulled out my chair as I went to sit down. I suffered a concussion, fractured tailbone and back and neck injuries. I was diagnosed with two rare and debilitating headache disorders- effects from the concussion. Since I could no longer tap dance or play tennis, I learned to knit and bake. I created my own cookie-Iznettes®.

When I wasn’t baking, I started to write about what happened to me. I would also doodle pictures to go along with what I wrote. I put it all together-creating my book-The Short Story of One Tough Cookie : A True Story.

I want to share my story so what happened to me, doesn’t happen to anyone else. I also started a Never Crumble!® line-t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, healing bracelets, and a Izzy Never Crumble!® doll!! I donate from the sales of my merchandise to anti-bullying and brain injury awareness organizations locally and nationally.

I have received numerous awards including- the Ruth Bader Ginsberg Agent of Change Award from NYSMCJ, the Neil & Jane Golub Making a Difference Award from the Anti-Defamation League, the Literary Champion Award. I was also featured in Cricket Media, Highlights Magazine -“Kids Changing the World: Cookies for a Cause.”

I live in Niskayuna with my mom Pola, dad Guy, and my chocolate lab Luca.

3 Fun Facts

1. I am a bartender at my dad’s Italian restaurant
2. I have two USA Registered Trademarks
3. I collect rosary beads

Shapiro, Esme

Esme Shapiro is an illustrator and author of books for children. She spent her childhood roaming around the dry brush and blossomed succulents of Laurel Canyon, California. She eventually ventured east and settled in Brooklyn, New York. It is There she works in a tiny plant filled apartment, surrounded by her two confidants – two tiny scraggly dogs. Her childhood never roamed too far from her heart, and she has a deep held belief that that time in one’s life is immensely powerful. Children are always busy at work, carving out their inner worlds that eventually become the foundation for the rest of their lives. Esme makes books that aim to be fuel for their imaginations, with a strong emphasis on the importance of empathy and friendship. www.esmeshapiroillustrations.com

Esmé is a past recipient of both the Nancy Lee Rhodes Roberts Scholarship and the SILA West 53 Gold Award-Phillip Hayes Scholarship. She has exhibited at The Society of Illustrators and her work has been featured in Taproot, Quill and Quire, and Plansponsor Magazines. Her first book, OOKO, was nominated for a Governor General’s Literary Award and was # 1 on the National Post Best Seller’s List.

3 Fun Facts

1. I know how to Irish jig!
2. If I were an animal, I would be an elephant.
3. I can bake a very tall cake

Sibson, Laura

After a career in undergraduate counseling, Laura Sibson pursued an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. When she’s not writing in a local coffee shop, you can find her running the neighborhood streets or hiking with her dog. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and their two sons. The Art of Breaking Things is her debut novel. www.laurasibson.com

3 Fun Facts

1. When I was sorted as a Gryffindor, I wasn’t sure how to feel. I thought for sure I’d be a Hufflepuff, but my sons were like: You’re *so* Gryffindor.
2. I am a “pantser” who wants to be a “plotter.” Please, Plotters, tell me how to mend my wicked ways!
3. I crave the outdoors. I will write on my back deck, weather-permitting. And I always work out plot problems when walking my dog in the woods behind my house.

Stark, Hannah

Hannah Stark is an author and public school teacher in New York City.  She loves teachings kids to write, as well as, making and sharing resources with fellow educators.  Hannah was inspired to write her debut book, TRUCKER AND TRAIN, while playing with her son.  When not writing or teaching, she can be found taking road trips and train rides to unfamiliar places.  www.hannahcarinastark.com

Amazon Editor’s Pick August 2019
Participant and author reader at Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival and Brooklyn Museum of Art Children’s Book Fair 2019

3 Fun Facts

1. I’ve never driven a truck or a train but I used to drive taxi cabs.
2. When I was a kid I was a sock model.
3. I played soccer for 30 years.

Stephens, Dr. Cynthia

Dr. Cynthia Stephens, a recent Hudson resident, earned a doctorate in Deafness Rehabilitation from New York University, and worked as a Speech and Language Pathologist for NYS, as well as various early childhood education settings in NYC. She studied and performed with dance greats such as Shawneequa Baker-Scott, Chuck Davis, LaRoque Bey, and the esteemed Babatunde Olatunji. Cynthia founded The Hear Me Now Project, Inc., an arts program for youth with disabilities, based in Bridgehampton, N.Y.  A career in playwriting developed from her work with the children. Since then, Dr. Stephens has expanded her authorship to children’s fiction. www.sacredgroundproductions.com

I received the (2004) Professional of the Year award from the International Association of Black Women in Business, for my work in the arts.

I was the recipient of the (2012) Lab Award from the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center for my play titled “Painted Red”, which chronicles the life of Henrietta Lacks, the woman from whom the first immortal human cell line was taken.

3 Fun Facts

1. I began my artistic life as a dancer and traveled the country with several African and Afro-Caribbean dance companies.
2. After earning a Ph.D., I began a cultural program for students with disabilities on the east end of Long Island.
3. After retiring from my work with the New York State Office of Developmental Disabilities, I realized a dream and became a playwright (with two off-Broadway performances) and author of 3 children’s books-soon to be 5!

Stolarz, Laurie Faria

Laurie Faria Stolarz is the author of several popular young adult novels including the Dark House series, the Touch series, Project 17, Shutter, and Bleed, (all published by Disney/Hyperion Books for Children), as well as the bestselling Blue is for Nightmares series (Flux Publications). With over a million books sold worldwide, Stolarz’s titles have been translated into thirty languages, been named on numerous award lists, developed into podcast series, and optioned for TV. Her newest title, The Last Secret You’ll Ever Keep, was released in winter of 2021, a companion book to Jane Anonymous, which was named a 2020 Best Book for Young Adults by Kirkus. For more information, please visit her web site at www.lauriestolarz.com.

My titles have been on the following lists: Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Top Ten Teen Picks, Best Books for Young Adults, and Popular Paperback (all through the American Library Association). They have also been on the Texas Taysha’s list and the Kirkus Best Books for Young Adults list. Additionally, my titles have been finalists for a New England Book Award, a South Carolina Book Award, the and the Missouri Gateway Book Award.

3 Fun Facts

1. Despite writing scary books, I scare easily.
2. I love mustard so much that I can eat it on its own, with a spoon. (Don’t judge.)
3. Even though I’ve always loved stories, I was a reluctant reader as a young person.

Talbott, Hudson

Born and raised in Louisville,KY, came to NYC and worked as an illustrator where a children’s book editor saw my work and invited me to do a book.That became a movie by Steven Spielberg. Have done about 25 books since then. Now living in the Hudson Valley ,helping to develop my village of Catskill. Hudson’s latest book, PICTURING AMERICA – Thomas Cole And The Birth of American Art, is about the founder of the Hudson River School of art, whose dramatic landscape paintings gave us the original iconic images of America the Beautiful. www.hudsontalbott.com

3 “Fun” Facts

1. I was a slow reader in my third grade class so I focused on drawing. I got so good that the school principal didn’t believe I was doing my drawings and asked me to draw something in front of him while he watched me. He was surprised and happy to see that I wasn’t faking it! I didn’t know I was good, but he did.
2. Hudson Talbott is originally from Louisville, Kentucky. He went to school in Rome for fine art, came back to NYC, and now lives in Greene County.
3. He has been a full time author/illustrator since 1986.

Teague, Mark

Mark Teague has delighted young readers with more than 20 picture books, and he has written many of them himself, including the popular Pigsty, Baby Tamer, and One Halloween Night. He is also the illustrator of Cynthia Rylant’s beloved Poppleton series for beginning readers and the best-selling books by Jane Yolen, How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight and How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon. Mark Teague’s life changed when he moved from San Diego to New York City and he planted the seed for his first picture book, The Trouble with the Johnsons. Each of Teague’s books start as ‘notebooks full of sketches and scribbles, strange little drawings and phrases that suddenly come together,’ Teague explains. And although he had no formal writing training, his endless imagination and understanding nature gives him a permanent place in the hearts of everyone.

3 Fun Facts

1. I’m the youngest of seven children (not sure if that’s fun.)
2. As a kid, I once got in trouble for drawing pictures all over a new pair of canvas sneakers.
3. Last year I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada (2,653 miles!)

Thermes, Jennifer

JENNIFER THERMES is a map illustrator and the award-winning author and illustrator of many books for children, including her most recent picture book, Horse Power: How Horses Changed the World (Abrams, 2021). Jennifer loves to weave maps throughout her stories in order to give readers a sense of geography and place. She is fascinated by the big picture of history and how it connects the past with our lives today. www.jenniferthermes.com

Awards
NCTE Orbis Pictus Honor Book, Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection, Norman A. Sugarman Children’s Biography Award Honor Book, starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, School Library Journal, and Shelf Awareness.

3 Fun Facts

1. I loved to draw as a kid, but mostly only drew horses!
2. I adore cats. Dogs are pretty cool, too.
3. My favorite pizza topping is anchovies. (For real. They are delicious.)

Trimmer, Christian

Christian Trimmer is the author of the picture books Teddy’s Favorite ToyWhat Are You?, and The Good Hair Day, among others. When he’s not writing books, he’s editing them. He previously has worked at Disney Hyperion, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan and currently oversees MTV Books. He lives with his husband in Hillsdale, New York. Learn more at christiantrimmer.com.

3 Fun Facts

1. Christian is mixed handed, favoring his left hand for things like writing and eating and his right hand (and foot) for sports.
2. Christian is biracial. His father, a white man from Ohio, met his mother, a Vietnamese woman, as a soldier during the Vietnam War.
3. Christian’s middle name is “Ian,” named after Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond.

Tucker, Laura

Laura Tucker has coauthored more than twenty books, including two New York Times bestselling memoirs. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter, and is a cat person who cheats with dogs. All the Greys on Greene Street is her first novel. www.lauratuckerbooks.com

ALA Notable Book, five starred reviews, five Best of the Year lists, including the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Edgar award nominee.

3 Fun Facts

1. I am a cat person who cheats with dogs.
2. I’m not an artist! I can barely draw a stick figure but this does not stop me.
3. Like Olympia, I grew up in New York.

Venkatraman, Padma

Padma Venkatraman is the author of BORN BEHIND BARS (Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin Random House) as well as THE BRIDGE HOME, A TIME TO DANCE, ISLAND’S END and CLIMBING THE STAIRS. Her novels have been shortlisted for over 20 state awards, received over 20 starred reviews, appeared on numerous best book lists, such as the ALA Notable, NYPL Best Book, Kirkus Best Book, Booklist editor’s Choice and Junior Library Guild selection. Her poetry has been published in Poetry magazine and elsewhere. When she’s not writing, she loves speaking to others about her love for books and her passion for diversity, equity and inclusion and has presented keynote addresses, conducted writing workshops and attended festivals and conferences around the world. Arrange for a visit via  https://theauthorvillage.com/presenters/padma-venkatraman/; follow her on twitter (@padmatv); (@venkatraman.padma) on fb and ig.
www.padmavenkatraman.com

Awards
Padma Venkatraman is the winner of a WNDB Walter Dean Myers Award, SCBWI Golden Kite Award, three South Asia Book Awards, 2 Nerdies, 2 Julia Ward Howe awards and many more.

3 Fun Facts

1. Before becoming an American, Dr. Venkatraman spent time under the ocean and in rainforests, served as chief scientist on oceanographic research vessels where she was the only BIPOC female.
2. Padma Venkatraman also worked previously as a teacher and diversity director.
3. She was born in India and moved abroad on her very own, at the age of 19.

Ventresca, Yvonne

Yvonne Ventresca is the award-winning author of two young adult suspense novels: Black Flowers, White Lies (a psychological thriller) and Pandemic (about teens surviving a deadly illness that strikes our contemporary world). Her latest fiction, The Third Ghost, was selected as the title story for the middle grade adventure anthology, Voyagers: The Third Ghost. Yvonne’s other work includes two nonfiction books and several additional short stories selected for anthologies. You can learn more at YvonneVentresca.com, where she also features resources for teen writers.

3 Fun Facts

1. I’m a Yondan (fourth degree) Black Belt in Isshinryu Karate.
2. Purple pens are my favorite for editing my stories.
3. My family rescued a “schneagle” —a part-Beagle, part-Schnauzer dog named Luna.

Vernick, Audrey

Audrey Vernick writes picture books and middle-grade fiction. Her books include the New York Times Notable Book Brothers at BatFirst Grade Dropout, and Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? She has also co-authored five books—three with Liz Garton Scanlon – Five Minutes (That’s a Lot of Time) (No, It’s Not) (Yes, It Is); Bob, Not Bob, and Dear Substitute; as well as Two Naomis and Naomis Too with Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich. A frequent presenter at schools across the country, she lives near the ocean in New Jersey. Visit her at www.audreyvernick.com.

Awards
New York Times Notable Book, California Young Readers Medal, BCCB Blue Ribbon Books, three-time recipient of writing fellowship from the New Jersey State Council of the Arts, Bank Street College’s Best Children’s Books of the Year.

3 Fun Facts

1. Grew up in Queens but is a big Yankee fan. (Sorry, Mets.)
2. She once saw Bruce Springsteen and Derek Jeter within a half-hour period and did not faint but may have screamed like a Beatles girl.
3. Her favorite part of being an adult is that she gets to have a dog. Always.

Viau, Nancy

NANCY VIAU is the author of the following picture books: Pruett and SooToday Is a Beach Day!First SnowCity Street Beat, Storm Song, Look What I Can Do! and Splish, Splash! First to Last (Forthcoming 2023). She is also the author of several middle-grade novels, including Samantha Hansen Has Rocks In Her Head, Something Is Bugging Samantha Hansen,Just One Thing! and Beauty and Bernice. A former teacher and librarian, and forever a kid-at-heart, Viau loves to visit schools, libraries, and bookstores across the U.S. to present assembly programs and writing workshops. Connect with Nancy on Twitter or Instagram: @NancyViau1 or on: NancyViau.com.

Awards
2019 IPPY/Independent Publisher Book Silver Award Winner
2018 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Finalist
2016 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Gold Award Winner

3 Fun Facts

1. I hiked up an active volcano in Guatemala and hiked down in TOTAL DARKNESS.
2. I once tried to break into the principal’s van—he had the EXACT same one and I thought it was mine!
3. My dreams are like adventure movies and if a dream is boring or I’m scared, I can change it immediately.

Wallmark, Laurie

Award-winning author Laurie Wallmark writes picture book biographies of women in STEM as well as fiction. Her books have earned five starred trade reviews, been chosen by Junior Library Guild, and received awards such as Outstanding Science Trade Book, Crystal Kite, Cook Prize Honor, and Parents’ Choice Gold Medal. Her titles include Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine, Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code, Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life, Code Breaker, Spy Hunter, Dino Pajama Party, and Her Eyes on the Stars. Laurie has an MFA in Writing from VCFA and is a former software engineer and computer science professor. . You can find Laurie at www.lauriewallmark.com and @lauriewallmark.

Awards
Outstanding Science Trade Book, Best STEM book, Cook Prize Honor Winner, Crystal Kite Winner, Junior Library Guild Selection, Parents’ Choice Gold Medal, Eureka! Nonfiction Children’s Book Award

3 Fun Facts

1. I was the only girl in a boys-only architectural drawing class in junior high.
2. My high school principal told me I would never take advanced math classes because I was a girl, but he was wrong.
3. I used to teach computer science to students on campus and also those in prison.

Wan, Joyce

Award-winning author-illustrator, Joyce Wan, designed her first greeting card when she was in first grade for a city-wide greeting card design contest. The design won first place and was subsequently sold through a major department store chain. Twenty years later, that design would inspire a line of greeting cards and eventually a design studio called Wanart. She has now published over 30 books for children including the best-selling You Are My Cupcake. Her books have sold a combined total of over 1 million copies worldwide. www.wanart.com

Awards
– 2019 Cybils Award Board Book Finalist (Dream Big)
– 2020 ALA Amelia Bloomer Book List (Dream Big)
– Mills-Tannenbaum Award for Children’s Literacy from Reach Out and Read of Greater New York

3 Fun Facts

1. Self-taught artist
2. Studied architecture in college
3. Favorite hours of the day to work are 12am – 3am

Wenzel, Brendan

Brendan Wenzel is a New York based illustrator, whose work has appeared in picture books, animations and magazines. An ardent conservationist, he is a proud collaborator with many organizations working to ensure the future of wild places and threatened species, especially within South East Asia. He has illustrated several books including Some Bugs by Angela Diterlizzi, One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree by Daniel Bernstrom and his 2016 release, They All Saw a Catwww.brendanwenzel.info

3 Fun Facts

1. When I was a kid a pig lived in my house.
2. My parents are also artists
3. I am a big fan of the natural world

Yoon, Salina

Salina Yoon is a Geisel Honor-winning author/illustrator of novelty books, early readers, and picture books, including her beloved seven-book Penguin series that begins with PENGUIN AND PINECONE, celebrating its 10th year with a special edition releasing Nov 1, 2022. PENGUIN AND PENELOPE, the latest in the Penguin series, releases on Sept 6, 2022, which features another heartwarming story celebrating unlikely friendships, the challenges of growing up, and finding your own way.

Other awards include the Award for Excellence in a Picture Book for FOUND, the New York State Reading Association Charlotte Award for PENGUIN AND PINECONE, Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award for DUCK DUCK PORCUPINE, and many more. You can read more about Salina and her books at: www.salinayoon.com

Most recent award was the 2018 Geisel Honor for MY KITE IS STUCK AND OTHER STORIES (A Duck Duck Porcupine! Book)
2018 Honor Award: Anna Dewdney Read-Together Award for BE A FRIEND.
2017 Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award in the Beginner Fiction category: DUCK DUCK PORCUPINE!
2017 VA Readers’ Choice, FOUND

3 Fun Facts

Penguins have been following me my whole life. Here’s 3 pieces of evidence:

1. My first job was working as a frozen yogurt dispenser, at Penguin’s Frozen Yogurt!
2. My first major book deal was with Penguin Publishing (now called Penguin Random House).
3. My most well known character is Penguin, from the Penguin series!

Young, Brigit

Brigit Young is the author of the middle grade novels Worth a Thousand Words, The Prettiest, and Bright. The Prettiest was featured on Seventeen Magazine’s 50 Books for Teens That You Won’t Be Able to Put Down and NBC News’ 9 Books to Help Young Girls Build a Positive Image. Brigit has also published poetry in multiple literary journals including The Common, 2 River View, and Burrow Press. She lives with her family in New Jersey where she gardens, plays pretend with her toddler, and teaches creative writing workshops to kids.  brigityoung.com

Awards/Honors
– Bank Street Best Books
– Starred reviews
– Chicago Public Library Best Books
– Italy’s Andersen Award Best Book for 12-14 year olds
– Junior Library Guild selection

3 Fun Facts

1. I have a crested gecko named June Dolly (her middle name is in honor of Dolly Parton).
2. I met my husband when we acted together in a short kissing scene on a soap opera!
3. When I was a kid I was obsessed with orcas and did school reports on them pretty much every year. I wanted to be an orca trainer or researcher, and to this day I dream of seeing one in the wild!

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