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
– 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.
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.
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
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.)
Audrey Vernick writes picture books and middle-grade fiction. Her books include the New York Times Notable Book Brothers at Bat, First 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, NotBob, 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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. Edie In Between, is her latest book following her debut novel, The Art of Breaking Things. www.laurasibson.com
3 Fun Facts
1. My happy place is our cabin in the Adirondacks where I can cross-country ski in the winter and kayak in the summer
2. I have a fierce and abiding love for strong coffee. And chocolate.
3. I become grouchy when I go too long without working on a story.
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!!
NANCY VIAUis the author of the following picture books: Pruett and Soo, Today Is aBeach Day!, First Snow, City 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.
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.
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!