Gwen Agna has been an educator for over 45 years, most recently the principal of the Jackson St. Elementary School in Northampton, MA. She was trained in early childhood education and strove to promote the principles of child and human development in elementary school classrooms. She did her undergraduate work at Nottingham University College of Education, Nottingham, UK. and has a master’s in education from Antioch New England Graduate School She recently received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Smith College in Northampton, MA. She was awarded a Fulbright Memorial Teacher scholarship to study in Japan. She was born in Myanmar and lived in Haiti as a child. She has travelled extensively in Asia and Europe. She taught preschool and kindergarten in schools in Ohio, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. She served as the Northampton Public Schools’ Early Childhood and Civil Rights Coordinator in the late 80’s and 90’s. In this position, she worked to incorporate social justice, anti-bias, and anti-racism in all aspects of classroom practice.
She continued this work as the leader of the Jackson St. School. Recently retired, she is, as an elder, exploring all ways to share her knowledge and experience as well as to keep learning from humans of all ages. She is dedicated to making the world a safe and happy one for all children. She lives in Northampton with her husband, Tom Marantz, has two children, and two grandchildren.
3 Fun Facts
1. I own a 1960 Morris Minor Traveller which is being converted to electric.
2. I have a teapot collection – 127 of them.
3. I’m known as “Nama” to my two granddaughters, ages 2 and 10.
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 Science; Accidental Archaeologists: True Stories of Unexpected Discoveries; North America: A Foldout Graphic History; Dog Days of History;Poison: Deadly Deeds, Perilous Professions, and Murderous Medicines; Bugged: 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
– 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.
Tony Abbott writes books for young readers aged 6 to 14, including Kringle, Underworlds, and the long-running series, The Secrets of Droon. He is also author of the realistic novels Firegirl (2006 Golden Kite Award for Fiction) and The Postcard (2008 Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery), and the civil-rights drama, Lunch-Box Dream. His latest novels are The Summer of Owen Todd (2017), Denis Ever After (2018), and The Great Jeff (2019). Tony has been on the faculty of Lesley University’s MFA in Creative Writing, is a frequent conference speaker and visitor to schools. www.tonyabbottbooks.com
3 Fun Facts
1. I play the guitar middling fair, the violin terribly, and the trombone not at all.
2. I wrote poetry for twenty years before writing novels for children, and am now combining the two disciplines.
Elanna Allen is the author most recently of Pet Dad and Poor Little Guy. She graduated from Brown University and studied animation and illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design. She has designed characters and directed animation for Disney Junior, Nick Jr, and PBS. She lives in New York City with her husband and two boys, and is currently learning to play the ukulele. elannaallen.com
3 Fun Facts
1. Elanna designed characters and directed animation for Disney
2. She lives in New York City with her husband and two boys
3. Elanna is learning to play the ukulele.
Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and the New York Times Bestselling author of 24 books, including THE CROSSOVER, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American literature for Children, the Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor, The NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, and the Paterson Poetry Prize. Kwame writes for children of all ages. Some of his other works include THE PLAYBOOK: 52 RULES TO HELP YOU AIM, SHOOT, AND SCORE IN THIS GAME OF LIFE; the picture books, ANIMAL ARK, OUT OF WONDER and SURF’S UP; and novels SOLO, BOOKED, andHE SAID, SHE SAID.
Kwame believes that poetry can change the world, and he uses it to inspire and empower young people through his writing and publishing program. A regular speaker at schools and conferences in the U.S., he also travels the world planting seeds of literary love: Singapore, Brazil, Italy, France, Shanghai, and recently, Alexander led a delegation of 20 writers and activists to Ghana, where they delivered books, built a library, and provided literacy professional development to 300 teachers, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an International literacy program he co-founded. In 2015, Kwame served as Bank Street College of Education’s Inaugural Dorothy M. Carter writer-in-residence. The Kwame Alexander Papers, a collection of his writings, correspondence, and other professional and personal documents is held at the George Washington University Gelman Library. www.kwamealexander.com
Jon Apple is an artist and illustrator living in Bethlehem, Pa. He is versed in every method and medium imaginable. From greetings cards to editorial cartoons, from posters to portraiture, from fine art to PhotoShop. The eye’s the limit.
3 Fun Facts
1. I can write backwards and forwards simultaneously
2. I do impressions.
3. I can cross one eye at a time.
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