The 2020 Children's Festival
AUTHORS & ILLUSTRATORS
Sarah Allen has been published in The Evansville Review, Allegory, and on WritersDigest. She has an MFA from Brigham Young University. Like Libby, she was born with Turner Syndrome. What Stars are Made Of is her first novel.
Beth Anderson, author of An Inconvenient Alphabet: Ben Franklin & Noah Webster’s Spelling Revolution (S&S 2018), loves digging into history and culture for undiscovered gems, exploring points of view, and playing with words. A former educator who has always marveled at the power of books, she is drawn to stories that open minds, touch hearts, and inspire questions. Born and raised in Illinois, Beth now lives in Loveland, Colorado.
Learn more at: bethandersonwriter.com
Ariel Bernstein is a writer of picture books such as I HAVE A BALLOON (illustrated by Scott Magoon) and the WARREN & DRAGON chapter book series (illustrated by Mike Malbrough). She lives in New Jersey with her family, many mismatched socks, and the occasional balloon. You can find her online at www.arielbernsteinbooks.com.
Learn more at: arielbernsteinbooks.com
Paula Chase’s books focus on tough topics for younger readers. So Done, her middle grade debut, was a 2018 Kirkus Reviews Best Book and the recipient of starred reviews from Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal. Its companion novel, Dough Boys, uniquely captures the life of two boys, from a working-class community, forced into an illegal hustle by their basketball coach.
Chase, a longtime “Inclusion Jedi,” co-founded the award-winning blog, The Brown Bookshelf. She remains on the front lines advocating for diversifying the type of fiction featuring Black characters highlighted among educators.
Chase is the mother of two and lives in Maryland with her husband.
Learn more at: paulachasehyman.com
In previous chapters Marcie Colleen has been a teacher, an actress, and a nanny, but now she spends her days writing children’s books! She is the award-winning author of THE SUPER HAPPY PARTY BEARS chapter book series with Macmillan/Imprint, as well as picture books, LOVE, TRIANGLE, illustrated by Bob Shea (Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins), PENGUINAUT!, illustrated by Emma Yarlett (Orchard Books/Scholastic), and THE BEAR'S GARDEN, illustrated by Alison Oliver (Macmillan/Imprint). She lives with her husband and their mischievous sock monkey in San Diego, California.
Learn more at: thisismarciecolleen.com
Abby Cooper lives in Minnesota with her husband, her miniature poodle, and a whole bunch of books. She is the author of STICKS & STONES, BUBBLES, and FRIEND OR FICTION. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @_ACoops_.
Learn more at: AbbyCooperAuthor.com
Carmela LaVigna Coyle is the best-selling author of the Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots? series, plus Do Super Heroes Have Teddy Bears?, Wild Zoo Train, and more! She has a degree in Elementary Education and Art, but she credits the sum of her parts to being a mom. She practices yoga, meditation, and mindfulness in her daily walkabouts. When Carmela is not in her writing room, she's in the kitchen plotting something tasty, or roaming the urban wilds (puddle jumping, shutter-bugging, birding) near and around her home in Colorado. She is a self-proclaimed wonderment activist.
Learn more at: carmelacoyle.com
Evette Dionne is a black feminist writer and the editor-in-chief of Bitch Media. Her writings about race, gender, and culture have appeared in Teen Vogue, Refinery29, Bustle, Self, The Guardian, and The New York Times, among other publications. Before becoming a writer and editor, Dionne taught eighth graders about social justice and tenth graders about world literature.
Learn more at: evettedionne.com
ALICE FAYE DUNCAN
Alice Faye Duncan is a writer and school librarian. Her books include A SONG FOR GWENDOLYN BROOKS, HONEY BABY SUGAR CHILD, JUST LIKE A MAMA and the 2019 Coretta Scott King Honor Medal--MEMPHIS, MARTIN AND THE MOUNTAINTOP. Her home is the Volunteer State of Tennessee, where she lives in the city of Memphis.
Learn more at: alicefayeduncan.com
Lija Fisher received her BFA in Performance Studies from the University of Colorado and has performed in theatres across the country, including Alaska where she was chased by a bear. Her debut novel, THE CRYPTID CATCHER, was published in 2018 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux (BYR). It received a starred review from Booklist and was a Junior Library Guild selection. THE CRYPTID KEEPER, her second novel, was written while Lija was the Writer in Residence with Aspen Words in 2017. Prior to becoming an author, Lija trained for a while (a very short while) to be a Hollywood stunt person.
Learn more at: LijaFisher.com
Alison Ashley Formento is the author of the 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.
Learn more at: alisonashleyformento.com
Donna Gephart's humorous/heartbreaking middle grade novels include: The Paris Project, In Your Shoes, Lily and Dunkin, Death by Toilet Paper, How to Survive Middle School and others. She's a popular speaker at schools, conferences and book festivals. Donna lives in the Philadelphia area with her family and her canine office assistant, Benji, a sweet retriever mix.
Learn more at: donnagephart.com
Jenny Goebel is the author of Out of My Shell, Fortune Falls, an Indies Next List pick, and Grave Images, the Colorado Book Awards 2014 Winner for Juvenile Literature. She also wrote the penultimate, The 39 Clues Book: Doublecross: Mission Hurricane, and picture books: Foreman Farley has a Backhoe; Foreman Frankie is Handy and The Firefighter. Jenny is happiest either with a steaming cup of tea and a good book in her hands, or when she’s exploring Colorado’s endless beauty with her family. She lives in Westminster with her husband, three sons, three crested geckos, and one mischievous dog.
Learn more at: jennygoebel.com
With lots of perseverance and optimism, Luda will never give up. She loves creating stories and will always strive to fight for the world to be more inclusive. Born with muscular dystrophy, she has used a wheelchair since the first grade. Despite all of the obstacles, Luda has lived a life full of adventures that include exploring different career fields like recreation, event planning, and non-profit. Never seeing a positive representation of people with disabilities, she formed INCLUDAS Publishing in 2015 to build a place that supports authors, illustrators, and editors with disabilities.
Learn more at: includas.com
Xelena González, from the Tap Pilam Coahuiltecan Nation, has roots in San Antonio, Texas, and has stretched her wings to fly all the way to Guangzhou, China, where she worked as a librarian in an international school. She studied journalism at Northwestern University and library science at Texas Woman’s University, but her true training as a storyteller has come from getting to know other living beings—including plants, animals, and people who happen to speak different languages or see the world in unusual ways.
Learn more at: allaroundus.info
Jason Henderson, author of Young Captain Nemo, is a regular speaker on media and entertainment. His popular podcasts “Castle Talk” and “Castle of Horror” feature interviews and discussion panels made up of best-selling writers and artists from all genres. His young adult series, Alex Van Helsing, was named by the Texas Library Association to the 2011 Lone Star Reading List. He also writes for games and comics. Henderson lives in Colorado with his wife and two daughters.
Katey Howes is thrilled to be making books for children. She also makes bad jokes, great apple crisp, and messy mistakes. Katey lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and three adventurous daughter makers. Katey is the author of picture books Magnolia Mudd and the Super Jumptastic Launcher Deluxe and Grandmother Thorn.
Learn more at: kateyhowes.com
Janet Sumner Johnson lives in northern Utah with her husband and three children. She sings in the shower, attends dance parties in her kitchen, and ruthlessly beats her kids at card games. She is the author of the picture book, Help Wanted, Must Love Books (Capstone, 2020), and the middle grade novel The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Society (Capstone, 2016).
Learn more at: janetsumnerjohnson.com
EG Keller is the illustrator of the New York Times #1 bestseller, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, and the picture book His Royal Dogness, Guy the Beagle: The Rebarkable True Story of Meghan Markle’s Rescue Dog. As Gerald Kelley, he illustrated documentarian Ken Burns’ New York Times bestselling book, Grover Cleveland, Again!, and wrote and illustrated the picture book, Please Please the Bees, which won the 2017 Frances and Wesley Bock Book Award for Children’s Literature and was read aloud for Storyline Online by Rashida Jones.
Learn more at: egkellerdraws.com
Jessica Kim writes about Asian American girls finding their way in the world. Before she was an author, Jessica studied education at UC Berkeley and spent ten years teaching third, fourth, and fifth grades in public schools. Like Yumi, Jessica lives with her family in Southern California and can't get enough Hot Cheetos, stand-up comedy, and Korean barbecue.
Learn more at: jesskimwrites.com
Writer for children—reader forever…that’s Vivian Kirkfield in five words. Her bucket list contains more than five words – but she’s already checked off skydiving, parasailing, and visiting kid-lit friends all around the world. When she isn’t looking for ways to fall from the sky or sink under the water, she can be found writing picture books in the quaint village of Amherst, NH where the old stone library is her favorite hangout and her young grandson is her favorite board game partner.
Learn more at: viviankirkfield.com
Kristin Mahoney is a former magazine editor and elementary school reading teacher with a master's degree in elementary education and teaching literacy from Bank Street College of Education. Her writing has appeared on the New York Times Learning Network blog, McCall's magazine, and the SCBWI "Write This" Gallery. Kristin has lived in both Brooklyn and in a small town that resembles Clover Gap. She now lives in New Jersey with her husband and two daughters. Follow her on Twitter at @KMcMahoney.
Learn more at: kristinmahoneybooks.com
Brenda Maier is a picture book author, a mother of five, and an educator in a large public school district. She lives in Oklahoma with her family and lots of books.
Learn more at: brendamaier.com
A lifelong pumpkin fan and ghost enthusiast, Mark Milbrath is thrilled to finally be using his overly-active imagination through words and stories. Mark has already had plenty of experience using his imagination through numbers; he's worked for many years as a TV meteorologist and commercial real estate appraiser... Other than writing, Mark enjoys playing the guitar, tennis, stargazing, walking in the woods, frequenting pumpkin patches and the occasional late-October haunted house.
Kate Milford is the NYT bestselling author of The Thief Knot, as well as Greenglass House (winner of the Edgar Award, long-listed for the National Book Award, and nominated for the Andre Norton and Agatha Awards) as well as Bluecrowne, Ghosts of Greenglass House, The Boneshaker, The Broken Lands, The Left-Handed Fate, The Kairos Mechanism, and the forthcoming The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book (January 2021). She has written for stage and screen, and as a contributing writer at nagspeake.com has authored scholarly articles on subjects as varied as self-aware ironmongery and how to make saltwater taffy in a haunted kitchen.
Learn more at: greenglasshousebooks.com
Jenn Reese writes speculative fiction for readers of all ages. Her first novel, Above World, was a finalist for the 2012 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she revels in the rain, plays too many video games, and works as a freelance graphic designer.
Jean Reidy’s fun, lively and award-winning picture books have earned their spots as favorites among readers and listeners of all ages and from all over the world. The New York Times called TRUMAN "An enchanting tale of bravery, heroism, and undying devotion." It was named an NPR Favorite Book of 2019, a New York Times Best Children’s book of 2019, a Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book of 2019 and a School Library Journal Best Picture Book of 2019. Kirkus says that her most recent book WHEN THE SNOW IS DEEPER THAN MY BOOTS ARE TALL is “just waiting for a performer and a young audience eager to participate. This celebration of the first day of snowy play hits the right notes.
Learn more at: jeanreidy.com
Laura Roettiger is the author of ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON and has enjoyed working with children ever since she was no longer considered a child herself. She raised three children, and worked as a reading specialist and elementary teacher in Chicago, IL. In 2016, she moved to Colorado and worked in Environmental Education and mentored a new teacher at a STEM school. Currently, she mentors third grade classrooms through #KidsNeedMentors and tutors adults in the Boulder Reads program at the Boulder Public Library. Her superpower is encouraging curiosity in children and letting them know she believes in them.
Learn more at: lauraroettigerbooks.com
Michelle Schaub is an award-winning children’s author and veteran teacher. Her book Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market won the 2018 Growing Good Kids Award and 2019 Northern Lights Book Award. She is the author of Finding Treasure: A Collection of Collections and Dream Big, Little Scientists. Her poems appear in several anthologies, including The Poetry Anthology for Celebrations and Great Morning! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud. Michelle speaks at conferences on the power of poetry to boost literacy and shares ways to use poetry in the classroom on her blog POETRY BOOST, www.michelleschaub.blogspot.com.
Learn more at: michelleschaub.com
SONJA K. SOLTER graduated from Stanford University and earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University, with a critical thesis on writing trauma in middle grade and young adult realistic fiction. She is currently a creative writing mentor to youth with the Society of Young Inklings and enjoys writing poetry and prose for children of all ages. Sonja lives with her husband and two children in Louisville, Colorado.
Learn more at: sonjaksolter.com
Ruth Spiro is the author of the Baby Loves Science board book series. New titles include Baby Loves the Five Senses: HEARING and SIGHT. Her new picture book series, Made by Maxine, is about an inspiring young Maker who knows that with imagination and recyclables, it’s possible to invent anything.
Learn more at: RuthSpiro.com
Joyce Wan is an award-winning author/illustrator of best-selling books for children such asYou Are My Cupcake, The Whale in My Swimming Pool, and You Are My Magical Unicorn. She designed a greeting card in first grade for a city-wide greeting card design contest. The design won first place and was sold through a major department store. Twenty years later, that design would inspire her to launch her own design studio called Wanart. She has now published over two dozen books for children and her books have sold a total of over one million copies worldwide.
Learn more at: wanart.com
Lily Williams is the author and illustrator of If Sharks Disappeared, If Polar Bears Disappeared, and If Elephants Disappeared. She grew up in Northern California where she received her BFA from California College of the Arts before moving to Denver, Colorado. Lily seeks to inspire change, engage audiences, and educate people of all ages with her artwork.
Learn more at: lilywilliamsart.com
Lauren Wolk is an award-winning poet, artist, and author of the adult novel Those Who Favor Fire, the Newbery Honor-winning novel Wolf Hollow, and the Scott O'Dell Award-winning Beyond the Bright Sea. She was born in Baltimore and has since lived in California, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Canada, and Ohio. She now lives with her family on Cape Cod.
KAO KALIA YANG
Kao Kalia Yang is a Hmong American writer and author of the award-winning books The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir and The Song Poet. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, her daughter, and twin sons. This is her first picture book. While her family did not get a chance to know Ruth well, Bob is a beloved friend and neighbor. Visit her online at www.kaokaliayang.com.
Learn more at: kaokaliayang.com