JR (he/him) and Vanessa (she/her) Ford are nationally-respected advocates for LGBTQ+ rights and specifically transgender youth. Their advocacy has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, The Boston Globe, NPR’s All Things Considered and Good Morning America. They are members of the Human Rights Campaign’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council and authors of the award-winning book, Calvin (Penguin, 2021). Vanessa is also the co-author of the upcoming book “Educate, Affirm, Include and Interrupt: Creating Spaces Where Transgender Students Thrive ( Jossey-Bass 2024). They live with their two children, one of whom is trans, in the Boston Massachusetts area. www.jrandvanessaford.com
2022 Lambda Literary “Lammy” Award for Best Children’s /Middle Grade Book
3 Fun Facts
1. Vanessa loves public speaking
2. JR is a podcast connoisseur
3. JR and Vanessa met in 2005 and it was “love at first sight”.
Deborah Freedman was an architect once, but now prefers building worlds in picturebooks. She is the author and illustrator of, most recently, Shy, This House, Once, and CARL and the Meaning of Life. Her books have been translated into seven different languages, adopted in classrooms across the country, and honored with many starred reviews and awards. She lives in a colorful house in Connecticut, where she is always busy at work on her next books. Learn more about Deborah at www.deborahfreedman.net, and please stop by at the festival, and say hello!
Multiple starred reviews, state award nominations, “best of the year” lists —Kirkus, Bookpage, Booklist, Bank Street, Huffington Post, NY & Chicago Public Libraries, and others.
Other awards include:
Crystal Kite Awards
Parents’ Choice Award
Nerdy Book Club Awards
Amazon Books of the Month
Society of Illustrators’ Original Art
Indie Next List
Junior Library Guild
3 Fun Facts
1. I used to be an architect.
2. I have books in every room of my house.
3. I love to plant things and watch them grow, with the aid, of course, of hard-working earthworms!
Josh Funk writes silly stories and somehow tricks people into publishing them as books – such as the Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast series Dear Dragon, Pirasaurs!, Albie Newton, How to Code a Sandcastle and more! Josh grew up in New England and studied Computer Science in school. Today, he still lives in New England and when not writing Java code or Python scripts, he drinks Java coffee and writes manuscripts.
For more information about Josh Funk, visit him at www.joshfunkbooks.com and on Twitter at @joshfunkbooks.
3 Fun Facts
1. Josh Funk plays a mean rhythm guitar – he wrote and sang the songs for all of his book trailers.
2. Josh Funk has a system for eating pancakes so the bottom pancake gets the same amount of syrup as the top.
3. Josh Funk can only think of 2 fun facts about himself.
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.
– 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.
Alison Ashley Formento is the author of the new chapter book One Alien & Four Furry Tails Tales and award-winning nature picture books This Tree Counts!, This Tree, 1, 2, 3, These Bees Count!, These Seas Count!, and These Rocks Count! Her young adult novel Twigs was featured in Publisher’s Weekly as a notable new release for teen readers. Alison has written for several national publications including The New York Times, The Writer , and Parenting. She loves visiting schools and libraries and donates a portion of book proceeds to AmericanForests.org. www.alisonashleyformento.com
3 Fun Facts
1. I love to tap dance.
2. I love burnt brownies, but I don’t like ice cream.
3. I met Nelson Mandela when he first visited America after being released from prison. He was so kind and it’s something I’ll never forget.
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