Meet Our Authors
Kari Anne Holt is the award-winning author of many middle grade novels-in-verse including Ben Bee and the Teacher Griefer, Redwood & Ponytail, Knockout, House Arrest, and Rhyme Schemer. She is also the author of From You to Me, Gnome-a-geddon, and several other books for young readers, including I Wonder, a picture book illustrated by Kenard Pak. Kari Anne lives in Austin, TX.
Guadalupe García McCall
Born and raised in Eagle Pass, Texas, Guadalupe García McCall is the award-winning author of many young adult novels and children’s poetry. Guadalupe received the Prestigious Pura Belpre Award, a Westchester Young Adult Fiction Award, the Tomás Rivera Mexican-American Children’s Book Award, and was a finalist for the William C. Morris Award and the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, among many other accolades. She is an advocate for literacy, diverse books, and Own Voices. In her travels, she is always looking for a good taco place and she never met a chocolate mole sauce she didn’t love! She loves to garden, cook, read, write, go for walks and take pictures of nature.
Elaine (E.B.) Vickers
Elaine/E.B. Vickers is an award-winning author of picture books, middle grade, and young adult novels that aim to help readers of all ages find connection and belonging. She grew up in a small town in the Utah desert, where she spent her time reading, playing basketball, and exploring. Several years and one PhD later, she found her way back to her hometown, where she now spends her time writing, teaching chemistry, and exploring with her husband and three kids.
Ashley Hope Pérez
Ashley Hope Pérez is the author of three novels: Out of Darkness (2015), The Knife and the Butterfly (2012), and What Can’t Wait (2011). Out of Darkness was described by The New York Times Book Review as a “layered tale of color lines, love and struggle in an East Texas oil town,” and was selected as a best book of the year by both Kirkus and School Library Journal. It received a 2016 Printz Honor for Literary Excellence in Young Adult Fiction, the 2016 Tomás Rivera Book Award, and the 2016 Américas Award. What Can’t Wait and The Knife and the Butterfly appear on YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults and Popular Paperbacks lists. Ashley is also a former high school English teacher, holds a doctorate in comparative literature, and is an assistant professor of world literatures at The Ohio State University. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her two sons. Read more about her response to book banning here: https://linktr.ee/ashleyhopeperez
Yamile Saied Méndez
Yamile (sha-MEE-lay) Saied Méndez is a fútbol-obsessed Argentine-American Pura Belpré gold medal winning author. She lives in Utah with her Puerto Rican husband and their five kids, two adorable dogs, and one majestic cat. An inaugural Walter Dean Myers Grant recipient, she’s also a graduate of Voices of Our Nations (VONA) and the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA Writing for Children’s and Young Adult program. She writes picture books, middle grade, young adult and adult romance fiction. Yamile is a founding member of Las Musas, the first collective of women and nonbinary Latinx MG and YA authors. She’s represented by Linda Camacho at Gallt & Zacker Literary
Kevan is an illustrator/writer living in the Seattle area. He has been drawing since he was knee-high to a crayon. He has designed and illustrated many things including award-winning children's books. His biggest claim to fame is creating Clippy the paperclip helper in Microsoft Office which still annoys millions of people every day.
Kari is the author of the picture book, WE MOVE THE WORLD (HarperCollins 2021), and a not-yet-announced picture book biography. She has always had a love for words: as a kid reading books, as a speech pathologist helping children communicate, and now as a writer creating stories. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, her two kids and their two dogs.
Sarah Darer Littman
Sarah Darer Littman is the critically acclaimed author of young adult novels, Some Kind of Hate (Scholastic 11/1/22), Deepfake, Anything But Okay, In Case You Missed It, Backlash, (Winner of the Iowa Teen Book Award and the Grand Canyon Reader Award) Want to Go Private?; Life, After and Purge; and middle grade novels, Taming of the Shoe, Fairest of Them All, Charmed, I’m Sure, and Confessions of a Closet Catholic, winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award. As well as writing novels, Sarah is an instructor in the Writing Department at Western Connecticut State University and teaches creative writing at the Yale Summer Writers’ Conference. She is also an award-winning opinion columnist. Sarah lives in Connecticut with her husband and two dogs in a house that never seems to have enough bookshelves.
Kat Fajardo (they/she) is an award-winning comic artist who loves making playful art about self-acceptance and Latine culture for young readers.
Kat is known for their self-published autobiographical zines like Gringa! and Bandida. Their debut MG graphic novel Miss Quinces will be published by Scholastic-Graphix on May 3rd, 2022 and is available for preorder now from your local bookshop or anywhere online!
Hailing from the lively and magical place of Loisaida, New York City, Kat holds a BFA in Cartooning from the School of Visual Arts.
When they're not slouching over a drafting table working on their next book, you can find Kat scrapbooking, listening to spooky podcasts or chasing after their sock-stealing pups, Mac and Roni and their partner, Pablo. Kat currently resides in Austin, Texas.
Jessica Burkhart is the author of the best-selling 20-book middle grade series, Canterwood Crest, with over 1 million copies in print in multiple languages. Her other works include the Unicorn Magic chapter book series and the stand-alone YA novel, Wild Hearts. She made her editorial debut with Life Inside My Mind: 31 Authors Share Their Personal Struggles—a YA anthology about mental health. Jess’s new series, Saddlehill Academy, is a Canterwood Crest spinoff for middle school readers coming in summer 2023. She lives in Illinois and loves doing writing workshops and school visits when she’s not catching Pokémon or playing Animal Crossing.
Award-winning author Jody Feldman had early thoughts of working as a treasure hunter, a codebreaker, a movie director, and an inventor. Through a series of happenstances, however, she enrolled in the Mizzou School of Journalism and discovered she really could write. Her middle grade novels—The Seventh Level and The Gollywhopper Games series (HarperCollins/Greenwillow)—have appeared on 26 state reading lists and have won, among other honors, the Georgia Children’s Book Award and the Grand Canyon Readers Award. Her debut YA novel, No Way Home (forthcoming 8/2/2022, Sourcebooks) is her first thriller.
Chris Barton is the author of picture books including bestseller Shark vs. Train, Sibert Honor-winning The Day-Glo Brothers, and Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions, which has been included on 21 state reading lists. His new books in 2021 and 2022 include How to Make a Book (About My Dog), Moving Forward: From Space-Age Rides to Civil Rights Sit-Ins with Airman Alton Yates, and Glitter Everywhere: Where It Came From, Where It’s Found & Where It’s Going. Chris and his wife, YA/middle-grade novelist Jennifer Ziegler, live in Austin, Texas, and co-host the children’s literature video series “This One’s Dedicated to…”
Debbi Michiko Florence
Debbi Michiko Florence is the author of middle grade novels Keep It Together Keiko Carter, Just Be Cool Jenna Sakai, Sweet and Sour (2022), and her forthcoming This Is How I Roll (2023). She is also the author of three chapter books series including Jasmine Toguchi and co-authored a picture book biography, Niki Nakayama: A Chef’s Tale in 13 Bites. A third-generation Japanese American, born and raised in California, Debbi now lives in Connecticut where she writes in her studio, The Word Nest.
Author Photo Credit: Roy Thomas
Jennifer Ziegler is the author of several novels for young and young-at-heart readers, including Worser, Revenge of the Flower Girls, and How Not to Be Popular. She also serves as faculty co-chair of Vermont College of Fine Arts’ MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. A native Texan of Mexican American heritage, Jennifer lives in Austin with her husband (and favorite author), Chris Barton, and their boss, a terrier mix named Ernie. When not teaching or creating books, Jennifer loves to visit schools, festivals, and conferences to lead workshops and presentations, urging readers and writers to recognize their own powers and use them for good.
Daria's first job was at nine years old in the children's section of her hometown library in Paso Robles, California. She worked a little, but she mostly read picture books. Daria loved basketball, drawing, and painting. Her dad gave her art lessons in their garage on Rose Lane, and Daria's mom rescued her first self-portrait from the kitchen trash can, and had it professionally framed the next day. Today, it hangs in her parents' living room as a reminder that our life's purpose almost always introduces itself to us as a child. Daria earned a BA in English from UC Santa Barbara, where she found herself shelving books in the library once again and reading the writings of many notable authors. After earning a Masters in Education and 10 years of teaching, Daria became a full-time author and illustrator.
Jamie Michalak is the author of many children’s books. Her titles include the starred reviewed NIKI NAKAYAMA, co-written with Debbi Michiko Florence and illustrated by Yuko Kato-Jones (MacKids, 2021); DAKOTA CRUMB: TINY TREASURE HUNTER, illustrated by Kelly Murphy (Candlewick Press, 2021); JOE AND SPARKY early readers series, illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz (Candlewick Press); FRANK AND BEAN early reader series, illustrated by Bob Kolar (Candlewick Press, 2019); and COME ON IN: THERE’S A PARTY IN THIS BOOK, illustrated by Sabine Timm (Hippo Park, 2022). Jamie is also the author of many movie and TV show adaptations.
When not writing, she can often be found singing off-key, drinking too much coffee, or hanging out with her two sons. Jamie was born in Springfield, Massachusetts and now resides with her family in Barrington, Rhode Island. Author photo credit: Brad Smith
For over eight years, Typewriter Rodeo has crafted spontaneous poems on vintage typewriters at events everywhere. From the Smithonsian to the Sun Valley Writers' Conference, for corporate workshops, fundraisers, celebrities, even a music show mash-up -- give them a topic, they give back a poem.
“I love this band of spontaneous writers — they always lift the mood.”
~Naomi Shihab Nye, Young People’s Poet Laureate
They also have a delightful book (Andrews McMeel 2018) and do weekly radio poems for Austin's NPR station.
As a children’s writer and play therapist, Robyn believes that books help us navigate life experiences. Stories connect us, by allowing us to feel seen and heard. Whether she’s writing fiction or nonfiction, she hopes her stories excite and inspire her readers, while fostering an understanding of self and others. Robyn’s debut picture book, Dolly! The Story of Dolly Parton and Her Big Dream, releases June 7, 2022.
Stephen Briseño is the author of picture books and young adult novels. The Notebook Keeper: A Story of Kindness from the Border is his debut picture book.
A middle school English teacher, Stephen enjoys life, writes, reads, and drinks a ton of coffee with his wife and daughter in San Antonio, TX.
Ty Chapman is the author of SARAH RISING (Beaming 2022) & LOOKING FOR HAPPY (Beaming 2023); as well as three forthcoming picture books through multiple publishers, and a forthcoming poetry collection. A previous version of the collection was long-listed for Button Poetry's Chapbook contest, and Frontier Magazine's 2021 New Voices contest.
Ty's accomplishments also include being named a Loft Literary Center Mirrors & Windows fellow, Mentor Series fellow, and attending Vermont College of Fine Arts in pursuit of his Master's Degree in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults.
Lisa Kerr grew up hiking and exploring the Western United States. She is a children’s book author, playwright, educator, and essayist whose work has been featured in magazines and publications including Huffington Post, New York Magazine, Bustle, and more. After a recent visit to the California super bloom, Lisa was inspired to research and then write Wake, Sleepy One. She lives in Central California.
Nadia Salomon is the author of GOODNIGHT GANESHA (Philomel 2021) as well as two forthcoming picture books in 2023 and 2024. She’s a children’s author writing on themes of South Asian and Caribbean culture, STEM, nonfiction, and humor. When not participating in her own goodnight rituals, Nadia can most likely be found curled up in her reading nook or spinning a silly yarn. Nadia holds a journalism degree from Emerson College. She’s an award-winning journalist who has freelanced with The Boston Globe. She is the winner of the 2020 SCBWI Service Award and the 2019 SCBWI WOOP Honor Award for work of outstanding progress. Nadia lives in California with her family.
Varian Johnson is the author of several novels for children and young adults, including The Parker Inheritance, which won both Coretta Scott King Author Honor and Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor awards; The Great Greene Heist, an ALA Notable Children’s book and Kirkus Reviews Best Book; and the graphic novel Twins, illustrated by Shannon Wright, an NPR Best Book.
Varian was born in Florence, South Carolina, and attended the University of Oklahoma, where he received a BS in Civil Engineering. He later received an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is honored to now be a member of the faculty. Varian lives outside of Austin, TX with his family.
Jo Knowles is the author of several young adult novels including Jumping Off Swings, Living With Jackie Chan, and Read Between The Lines. She’s also written numerous tween and middle grade novels, including See You At Harry’s, Where The Heart Is and Meant To Be. Her first picture book, Ear Worm! came out this year. Jo's awards include a Vermont Book Award Finalist, New York Times Editor's Choice and Notable, American Library Association Notable, the PEN New England Children's Book Discovery Award, Bank Street College's Best Books for Children, and YALSA's Best Fiction for Young Adults. Jo's books have also appeared on numerous state award lists. She has a master's degree in children's literature and teaches writing at the Mountainview MFA program through Southern New Hampshire University.
Varsha Bajaj is the award-winning author of picture books and middle grade novels.
Her upcoming middle grade novel, Thirst, (July 2022, Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin Group) is a Global Read Aloud selection for 2022. Her novel Count Me In, was a One Book, One School selection.
She has also contributed to short story collections, Come On In, and the Magic Paintbrush and other enchanted tales.
Her middle grade novel, Abby Spencer goes to Bollywood, (Albert Whitman and Co., 2014) was shortlisted for the Cybils Award and included in the Spirit of Texas Reading program.
Her picture books include The Home Builders, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani (Paulsen/Penguin 2019) a Dolly Parton Imagination Library selection for 2021 and 2022, and This is Our Baby, Born today, illustrated by Eliza Wheeler, (Penguin/Paulsen, 2016).
She grew up in Mumbai, India and when she came to the United States to obtain her master’s degree, her adjustment to the country was aided by her awareness of the culture through books.
J. Anderson Coats
J. Anderson Coats has received two Junior Library Guild awards, two Washington State Book Awards, and earned starred reviews from Kirkus, School Library Journal, the Horn Book Review, and Shelf Awareness. Her newest books are The Night Ride, a middle grade action-adventure about a girl determined to protect horses in danger, and Spindle and Dagger, a historical YA set in medieval Wales that deals with power dynamics and complicated relationships. She is also the author of The Green Children of Woolpit, R is for Rebel, The Many Reflections of Miss Jane Deming, and The Wicked and the Just.
His kids’ books include the Jett Ryder (2021) adventure-history series, as well as several educational books for Fountas & Pinnell.
Sean has an MFA in Writing for Kids from Vermont College and a law degree from Stanford. He teaches poetry workshops for kids & adults, and legal writing at the University of Texas Law School.
As a founding member of Typewriter Rodeo, Sean has written over 20,000 poems all across the country.
Natasha Tarpley is a bestselling children’s book author with over 20-years’ publishing experience. Her classic picture book, I Love My Hair!, an ode to Black childhood and natural beauty, is a staple on national school and library reading lists, and a favorite among readers around the world. Her latest picture book, The Me I Choose To Be, affirms the power of children to choose who and what they want to be. Natasha is also the writer and co-creator of the award-winning children’s narrative podcast, Opal Watson: Private Eye (Pinna.fm), and currently has new children’s podcast and television projects in development. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Essence Magazine among other publications.
A diary keeper, a journalism major, a public relations executive, now a children’s author—Lindsay Leslie has always operated in a world of written words. She likes to bring her unique outlook on life, quirky humor, and play with words to the page in picture books. Lindsay is the award-winning author of THIS BOOK IS SPINELESS, NOVA THE STAR EATER, DUSK EXPLORERS (an SCBWI Crystal Kite Award winner, Bank Street Best Book of 2021 with Outstanding Merit, and Amazon Editors’ Pick), and SO YOU WANT TO BUILD A LIBRARY. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, two kiddos, two fur-beasts, and a guinea pig.
Danielle Joseph is the author of the newly released middle-grade novel, PJ Library Selection, SYDNEY A. FRANKEL’S SUMMER MIX-UP and the 2021 CBC Notable Social Studies picture book; I WANT TO RIDE THE TAP TAP. She also has written three young adult novels SHRINKING VIOLET, INDIGO BLUES and PURE RED. SHRINKING VIOLET was adapted into the 2012 Disney Channel movie, RADIO REBEL. Danielle has a BFA in Creative Writing and an MA in Marketing Communications and Advertising, both from Emerson College. She's a former middle school creative writing teacher and has been teaching writing workshops for over fifteen years. Danielle was born in Cape Town, South Africa and currently lives in Maryland. Her picture book biography, RUTH FIRST NEVER BACKS DOWN debuts Fall 2023 from Lerner.
Dr. Artika Tyner
Dr. Artika Tyner is a passionate educator, award-winning author, sought after speaker, and advocate for justice. She is committed to empowering others to lead within their respective spheres of influence. Tyner provides leadership development and career coaching for young professionals. She has also developed leadership educational materials for K-12 students, college/graduate students, faith communities, and nonprofits.
Kate Cosgrove is a delightfully weird artist with rainbow hair and pencil-smudged fingers. Her favorite things are drawing, reading and hanging out with tiny creatures like worms and toads.
Cosgrove is an award-winning children’s book / KidLit Illustrator. Her debut picture book, AND the Bullfrogs Sing: A Life Cycle, was a Bank Street Best Book of the Year, and a Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award Honors book.
Kate’s second picture book, The Dirt Book, Poems About Animals that Live Beneath Our Feet, was juried into The Original Art 41st Annual Exhibition in NYC by the Society of Illustrators. It was also a New York Public Library Best Book of the Year.