The 2019 Children's Festival

of Stories



a former English as a Second Language teacher, has always marveled at the power of books. With linguistics and reading degrees, her fascination with language, and a penchant for untold tales, she strives for accidental learning in the midst of a great story. Beth is drawn to stories that open minds, touch hearts, and inspire questions. Born and raised in Illinois, she now lives in Loveland, Colorado.

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is the award-winning author of books for young people. She's received two Junior Library Guild awards and earned starred reviews from Kirkus, School Library Journal, the Horn Book Review, and Shelf Awareness. The Wicked and the Just was one of Kirkus Reviews' Best Teen Books of 2012 and won the Washington State Book Award for Young Adults. The Many Reflections of Miss Jane Deming won the Washington State Book Award for Middle Grade. Her newest book is R is for Rebel, middle-grade novel about coercion and resistance in a reform school in a fictional occupied country.

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writes for both adults and children. She holds a Bachelor’s in Children’s Studies from the State University of New York, Buffalo and an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of award-winning historical fiction picture books Grandmama’s Pride, and Lucky Beans. Her newest children’s book is Far Apart, Close in Heart: Being a Family When a Loved One Is Incarcerated. Becky Birtha strives to advocate for social justice in all her writing. She and her partner live in Lansdowne, PA, and are the parents of two young adults.

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H.M. Bouwman writes middle grade fantasy--most recently, A TEAR IN THE OCEAN--as well as early chapter books for younger readers. She teaches at the University of St. Thomas and lives in St. Paul MN with her family.

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lives in Minnesota with her miniature poodle, Louis, and a whole bunch of books. A former teacher and school librarian, her favorite things in the world (besides writing) are getting and giving book recommendations and sharing her love of reading with others. In her spare time, she likes eating cupcakes, running along the Mississippi River, and watching a lot of bad reality TV.

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is an award-winning author of several picture books, including the popular Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots? series. Her picture books, featuring various illustrators, encourage creative thinking, asking good questions, exploring nature, and healthy self- esteem. She believes the humble picture book might very well be a child's first glimpse of poetry, prose, and art. Carmela has a degree in Elementary Education and Art. Her upcoming book, Can Princesses Become Astronauts? explores a bucket list of empowering possibilities. She lives in Colorado with her husband and pup, while her two children are off exploring their twenties.

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Melanie Crowder is the acclaimed author of several books for young readers. She lives under the big blue Colorado sky with a wife, two kids, and one good dog. 
Her books have been awarded the Jefferson Cup, the Arnold Adoff Poetry Award, the SCBWI Crystal Kite, and the Bulletin Blue Ribbon; they have been recognized as a National Jewish Book Awards Finalist, ALAN Walden Award finalist, Colorado Book Awards Finalist, Junior Library Guild selection, YALSA Top Ten Books For Young Adults, ILA Notable Book for a Global Society, Parents’ Choice Silver Medal and more.

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has loved children’s literature for as long as she can remember, thanks to her school librarian mother and the long, cold winters in Maine. She is the author of Lou Lou and Pea and the Mural Mystery and Lou Lou and Pea and the Bicentennial Bonanza. When she’s not writing, Jill practices law, dreams about her next travels, eats soft serve ice cream, and wears cowboy boots. Jill now lives in San Francisco with her husband, their son, and the ghost of their favorite cat. 

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Lija Fisher was raised in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. She received her BFA in Performance Studies from the University of Colorado, Boulder and has lived in London, LA, and NYC. She’s performed on stages across New York, California, Florida, Colorado and Alaska. Her debut novel, THE CRYPTID CATCHER, was published in 2018 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. It received a starred review from Booklist and is a Junior Library Guild selection. Lija was the Writer in Residence with Aspen Words in 2017. THE CRYPTID KEEPER, her second novel, is forthcoming in August, 2019.

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Nancy has written several books including Navajo Year, Walk Through Many Seasons (Arizona Book of the Year) and Warriors in the Crossfire (Colorado Book of the Year). Her recent titles include No-Name Baby (Top 100 Books of the Year, Bank Street) and Cowboy Up, Ride the Navajo Rodeo, a Junior Library Guild Selection.

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In 2010 I launched Luke Flowers Creative, and have been sailing the endless sea of inspiration ever since. Luke Flowers Creative was founded on the goal to bring "illumination of imagination" in every area of my work. This idea was inspired by the meaning of my name (Luke, means Light) and I strive to embrace that in every aspect of my life. Whether it is illuminating the imagination through my illustrations, or bringing a shining light of encouragement to other creatives. I deeply hope that my work will be a source of illumination for you.

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writes award-winning fiction and non-fiction for children of all ages. Her published works include GET ORGANIZED WITHOUT LOSING IT (Free Spirit, 2017), and the novels FAITHFUL, FORGIVEN, and SIRENS (all from Penguin). THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE (Viking, 2016) received starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and Shelf Awareness, and is on numerous lists. VOLCANO DREAMS (Web of Life Books, 2018) is her debut picture book. Janet is a 2010 graduate of the MFA/WCYA, Vermont College of Fine Arts. She's represented by Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

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spent most of her childhood running from books instead of reading them. A learning disorder held her back until she learned the tools to overcome her dyslexia and fell in love with books of every type. From this came Kimberlee’s aspiration to write books for children that would bring about the same love of reading she once found and encourage even the most reluctant and struggling reader.

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Donna Gephart's award-winning middle grade novels include: In Your Shoes, Lily and Dunkin, Death by Toilet Paper, How to Survive Middle School, Olivia Bean Trivia Queen and As If Being 12-3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother Is Running for President. She's a popular speaker at schools, conferences and book festivals. Donna lives in New Jersey with her family, including her canine office assistant, Benji -- the world's sweetest retriever mix.

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Leah is not a Colorado native, but she got here as fast as she could. She spent the last 10 years as an illustrator and designer for a greeting card company drawing butterflies and rainbows, and now writes and illustrates kid's books. She grew up in Wisconsin with her nose in a book and a pencil in hand, and currently lives in the Denver area with her husband, son, and a fluffy pup—and still has her nose in a book and a pencil in hand. A COUCH FOR LLAMA is her first picture book. 

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is an award-winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter. A proud native of New Mexico, she now lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where she runs in blizzards and bikes in lightning storms. When not dodging death by Colorado, Darby is busy wrangling words. Her latest book (lucky number thirteen), DEL TORO MOON, released October 2 from Owl Hollow Press.

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was born and raised in Colorado where she lives with her husband and two children. Along with being a mother of two young ones Niki’s passion for reading, love of storytelling and background in education inspired her to to write a series of books that takes babies and toddlers on a journey told through timeless illustrations, lovable content and rhythmic text all wrapped in a vibrant color story.

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Grew up in Colorado, where I developed a deep love and respect for our natural world. My dad was a hang-glider pilot, and I spent a lot of time in the mountains, camping, hanging out on the launch site, or bumping along in our beat-up 4-Runner, tracking him down. To this day I’m still more comfortable in a campsite than a city, and I draw on the nature around me as a source of endless inspiration. My greatest goal is to help to inspire others to see the beauty of our world and to understand the importance of protecting it.

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has been living on the road for the past 3 years, furthering her passion for climbing, art, and the outdoors. After working for several years at DreamWorks Animation Studios, she now illustrates children's books and creates art based on her travels. Her latest illustrated work includes Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack, Lost in the Library by Josh Funk, the Finding Serendipity series by Angelica Banks, and the upcoming SUN! One in a Billion by Stacy McAnulty.

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For 25 years, Mike has been an editor at The Dallas Morning News; since 2006, he has overseen books coverage. He has also contributed to public radio’s A Prairie Home Companion and composed an out-of-office reply that was mentioned in The New York Times and featured on NPR.

Although he lives in Dallas, he was raised in Colorado -- and his book is set there! Revenge of the Star Survivors was published in 2017 and released in paperback in October 2018. 

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is the New York Times bestselling author of Greenglass House (winner, Edgar award for juvenile literature; nominee, National Book Award for Young People’s Literature; nominee, Andre Norton Award and Agatha Award for Children’s/YA), Ghosts of Greenglass House, Bluecrowne, The Left-Handed Fate, The Boneshaker, The Broken Lands, and The Kairos Mechanism. Kate has also written for stage and screen, and is a contributing writer at She grew up in Riva, Maryland, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, two children, and their dog.

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is the author of almost 60 books for young readers, including recent titles Write This Down, The Trouble with Babies, and Cody Harmon, King of Pets. Her books have been named Notable Books by the American Library Association, nominated for dozens of state readers’ choice awards, and translated into half a dozen languages. Claudia, who holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University, recently left her full-time position as a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she published many scholarly articles on ethical and philosophical themes in children’s literature.

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is an writer, editor and pediatric cancer crusader. Her work has appeared in Elle, Glamour, Wall Street Journal, New York Daily News, New York Post, Moneyish, Redbook and HuffPo. Raakhee has also appeared on the "Today" show as well as both a host and guest on SiriusXM. "Super Satya Saves the Day" is Raakhee's first book and is inspired by her own fiery 4-year-old daughter Satya.


is an award winning children¹s book illustrator passionate about nature, science and the environment. Combining her degrees in fine arts
and education with her background in animation and graphic design, she researches and digitally illustrates ³creative nonfiction² picture books
that read as a story, but are based on facts. These books feature additional classroom guides, downloadable activity sheets and related
websites for the reader to further explore their interests.

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has studied creative writing, dance, and visual art. When she is not writing, she can be found oil painting, taking photographs, speaking French, or choreographing. She teaches Irish and contemporary dance at her own studio, The Fiadhnait Moser School of Dance. She also teaches preschool. She grew up in the Boston area and currently lives in Vermont.


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. Jean is represented by Erin Murphy of Erin Murphy Literary Agency. She writes from her home in Colorado where she lives right across the street from her neighborhood library … which she visits nearly every day.

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Award winning author, Lisa Reinicke is the majority holder of Our House Publications and author of 5 published children’s picture books. Awards include, the 2017 Mom's Choice Gold Award for Wings and Feet, the 2018 Book Excellence Award for Wings and Feet and Finalist for her book Football Flyboy, 2018 Honorable Mention in the Story Monster Purple Dragon Awards in several categories for Wings and Feet and Bart's Escape out the Gate, and 5 star review from Reader's Favorites on all her books. Her books are entertaining yet focus on social issues that engage children and parents to discuss.

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has enjoyed working with children ever since she was no longer considered a child herself. She was a reading specialist and elementary teacher in Chicago, IL before moving to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado where she worked in Environmental Education and is now a mentor for reading and writing at a STEM school.
Her superpower is encouraging curiosity in children and letting them know she believes in them. She has three children of her own whose curiosity and creativity led two of them into STEM related professions.

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Former teacher Laura Purdie Salas is the award-winning author of more than 125 books for children, including If You Were the Moon, A Rock Can Be, and Water Can Be (Millbrook Press). Laura grew up in Florida but likes Minnesota more! She is always up for an adventure and loves to explore new places. Laura also enjoys working with young writers through school visits and young authors' conferences. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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Despite being told she’d have to change her name to work, Sheetal persevered to become an award winning actress/producer, known for her provocative and memorable performances in film and television. Sheetal puts a spotlight on under-represented groups, not only through her trailblazing work as an actor, but also by being an outspoken advocate at festivals, workshops, and conferences. Sheetal served in President Clinton's AmeriCorps, is on the advisory board of Equality Now, and is an ambassador for The Representation Project. She believes if you can dream it, you can be it - even if you don't see it.

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is the author of the Baby Loves Science board book series, published by Charlesbridge. There are currently eight titles including Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering and Baby Loves Green Energy. Ruth’s new STEM-themed picture book series begins with Made by Maxine, published by Dial. Ruth is a frequent speaker at schools and conferences, and recent presentations include the Early Childhood STEM Conference at CalTech, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Sheboygan Children’s Literature Festival, Maker Faire Milwaukee and the Chicago Tribune Printer’s Row Book Festival.

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is the author of several books for children and adults including the bestselling picture book, I Love My Hair!, which is celebrating 20 years in print in 2018, and the acclaimed middle grade mystery, The Harlem Charade. Ms. Tarpley is the Co-Founder of Voonderbar! Media, a multicultural children’s media project with a mission to diversify and expand depictions of children of color in literature and other media. She is also a very slow marathon runner, and resides on Chicago’s south side with her husband.

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author of THE 11:11 WISH (Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins), was a new girl at EIGHT different schools. She now lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband, two children, and her dog, Sushi. Beyond writing, she is also a yoga teacher, a pet wrangler, and the Co-Regional advisor of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the SCBWI. But what you whould know about Kim above all else: she believes in magic and miracles!

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is the author of Alphabet Boats, Alphabet Trains, Alphabet Trucks (illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke), The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred (illustrated by Rafael López) – 2012 Pura Belpré Illustration Honor – its companion book, The Piñata That The Farm Maiden Hung (illustrated by Sebastià Serra), and Before You Were Here, Mi Amor (2009, illustrated by Santiago Cohen).Samantha lives in the Bay Area with her husband, son, and their rescue puppy, Bowie.


is the award-winning author of seven books from toddler to teen, including If Your Monster Won't Go to Bed, a 2018 Crystal Kite Award winner, as well as Build a Burrito: A Counting Book in English and Spanish and Grandmother, Have the Angels Come? (Colorado Book Award winner, Colorado Authors’ League Award, Américas Award Commended Title). Denise lives in Denver with her family where she loves to hike, walk, swim, read, eat French fries and watch out for monsters.

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is the author of five picture books: Pruett and Soo (TBA), First Snow (which Kirkus calls “A sweet suburban/rural contrast to the snowy day enjoyed by Peter in the city."), City Street Beat, Look What I Can Do! and Storm Song. A former teacher who now works as an assistant librarian in a public library, she enjoys visiting elementary schools to inspire young writers and readers. Viau, a resident of N.J., returns annually to the Denver area to visit neighborhoods where she used to live and to hike the Rockies.

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a stay-at-home mother from New Jersey, has the role in everyday life of mom, wife and household manager. She is the author of three bilingual intermediate reader books as well as two picture books. Alidis is now a graduate student at the Rutgers University School of Social Work and continues to create stories she feels children of all ethnic backgrounds can relate to ….with a dash of sofrito.


is the award-winning author of The Nian Monster, an Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature honor book, and Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando, a biography of the inventor of instant ramen. Andrea loves noodles, food, and noodling about food. A former environmental scientist, she appreciates Ando’s scientific spirit, persistence in the face of failure, and passion for making the world a better place. She is also the author of seven nonfiction books for the educational market. Andrea lives in Centennial, Colorado with her family and their dog, Mochi. Sometimes they have instant ramen for breakfast.

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Lily Williams is the author and illustrator of the If... Disappeared books. She grew up in Northern California where she received her B.F.A. from California College of the Arts. Lily seeks to inspire change, engage audiences, and educate people of all ages with her artwork. Her work can be seen in films and books and on her website.

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writes sweet and punny books, and is best known for her The Night Before series. This is the first of her joke books with another on the way called Things with Wings. She lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.

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is an author and artist living in Los Angeles. She started her career in the arts by falling in love with comic books, this eventually turned into a career working in Animation. She loves Japanese Curry, putting things in her shopping cart online and taking them out again and hanging out with her dopey dog. Her film credits include Tangled, Wreck it Ralph, Frozen, Paperman, Big Hero 6, and Moana. Her current work focuses on storytelling with her debut picture book "Meow!" out in stores now and many other novel and graphic novel projects in development.

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is an award winning author and illustrator of over 160 books for children, including the six-book Penguin picture book series that begins with PENGUIN AND PINECONE; the creator of the picture book series featuring Bear, that includes FOUND, STORMY NIGHT, and BEAR’S BIG DAY (Bloomsbury); and the early reader series beginning with DUCK DUCK PORCUPINE (Bloomsbury).

Her books have been the recipients of numerous awards and honors, including the 2018 Geisel Honor for MY KITE IS STUCK.

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