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November 10th- Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, Buffalo, NY- 10am-3pm- Free

2018 Expo Authors

Click on the author name links below to visit the author websites!

Meet the Expo Authors

Kristin Madej-Warham and Brigette Atlas-Callahan have been writing together since 2002, starting in a little coffee shop on Elmwood Avenue. The two women are friends, mothers, and literacy specialists in the Niagara Wheatfield Central School District, and of course, they are proud Buffalonians! Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, they share a passion for writing. This passion led to an idea to highlight what a phenomenal place Buffalo is to live. They enlisted the talents of local artist Bill Jankowski, who has worked in the children’s entertainment industry for many years, to create the character Bob Uffalo. Bob became the perfect guide to take kids on a tour around the city they love. With Bill, and the help of designer Mel Zakraysek, Buffalo From A to Z, Come Take a Tour With Me came to life. The team created a book bursting with history and pride, and Kristin and Brigette were able to fulfill their dream of bringing their love of Buffalo to the hearts of children.

Jim Averbeck

Jim Averbeck works, plays, and evades the law in San Francisco, California. He is the author of Two Problems for Sophia (Margaret K. McElderry Books) and Trevor (Neal Porter Books.) His first book, In a Blue Room, was a Charlotte Zolotow Honor book. His popular books Except If and Oh No, Little Dragon! feature charming protagonists with pointy teeth. Several of his books, including The Market Bowl and his middle grade novel A Hitch at the Fairmont were Junior Library Guild Selections. His book, One Word From Sophia, was an Indy Next Top 10 for Summer 2015.  

Julie Berry
Julie Berry is the author of the 2017 Printz Honor and Los Angeles Times Book Prize shortlisted novel The Passion of Dolssa, the Carnegie and Edgar shortlisted All the Truth That’s in Me (2013, Viking), the Odyssey Honor title The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place (2014, Roaring Brook), and six others. Her latest novel, The Emperor’s Ostrich, released June 13, 2017 from Roaring Brook. Her forthcoming novel, Lovely War, will release from Viking Children’s Books in Spring 2019.  She holds a BS from Rensselaer in communication and an MFA from Vermont College. Born and raised in Medina, New York, she lives in Southern California with her family.
Judy Bradbury - CTLE Professional Development

Judy Bradbury is coordinating the Expo Educator Event, a three-hour NYS-approved CTLE opportunity taking place from 8am-11am at the Expo. Judy is an author and literacy specialist who provides professional development workshops across the country. She has over twenty-five years of teaching experience ranging from Pre-K through college. Her books include Empowering Families: Practical Ways to Involve Parents in Boosting Literacy, The Read-Aloud Scaffold: Best Books to Enhance Content Area Curriculum, the Children's Book Corner series, and the Christopher Counts picture book series. Judy has penned a monthly column on character education for LibrarySparks and contributed regularly to Children's Writer and Writer's Guide.  She has received awards from the New York State Reading Association and the Niagara Frontier Reading Council, where she is CTLE/Professional Development Chair.  Follow Judy's literacy-themed posts on Instagram at judy_bradbury. Educators can learn more about the Expo Educator Event and the panel of authors who will be participating and register here. Space is limited.

Melanie Bunch

Melanie has spent the majority of her career as a professional fundraiser. She is passionate about education and believes in giving back to the community. In 2016, Melanie became an entrepreneur by establishing The Fairy Bunch, LLC, a creative publishing company. She is the author and creator of the Book Fairy, which will make its debut in August 2018. She is currently working on several new books and characters, all designed to inspire children to develop a life-long love for reading.



Melanie has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Communication from Buffalo State College and a Master of Science degree in Education from the University at Buffalo. She lives in Hamburg, New York with her husband Bradley, and four fur babies: two crazy German Shorthaired Pointers, Ike and Elsie, and two feisty felines, Sherman and Gracie.

Toni Buzzeo

Toni Buzzeo (1951- ), the acclaimed author of 20 picture books as well as 11 books for educators, was born in Dearborn, Michigan and grew up in the Dearborn Public Libraries, reading nearly every book in the children's and young adult sections of the Snow Branch library before taking a job downtown at the Main library as a Library Page and then a Library Assistant to put herself through college.

After earning a BA and MA in English from the University of Michigan, she worked for a decade as a college and high school English teacher. She then earned an MLIS from the University of Rhode Island and returned to libraries as a school librarian. She was named Maine Library Media Specialist of the Year in 1999 and continued to work as an elementary school librarian while she launched a successful writing career. In 2013, Toni's New York Times best-selling book One Cool Friend, illustrated by David Small, won a Caldecott Honor. It also won the Maine Literary Award for Children's Books from the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance in the same year. 

Alyssa Capucilli

When I was a young girl growing up in Brooklyn, New York, the weekly trip to the public library with my mother and sisters, was much anticipated. I loved the quiet hush of the room, I loved the books on the shelves, I loved the books in my hands. I quickly became an avid reader and vowed to read every book from A to Z! Louisa May Alcott and Beverly Cleary were two of my favorite authors! Although I loved to imagine myself as different characters in books, I never imagined that the authors who created them were real people!


My home was filled with books and book lovers as well. And even though I spent much of my time writing, imagining, and creating stories, songs, poems, and puppet shows, I began focusing on story telling in another way; I began to tell stories through movement and dance, and spent numerous years dancing professionally. I still love to dance, but now I find that I enjoy inventing worlds through words even more.

Nowadays, my home is a small cozy cottage in Hastings on Hudson, New York. It is still filled with books and even more book lovers — my two children, Peter and Laura, my husband, Bill, and of course our lovable chocolate Labrador, Huckleberry! I find that I get many ideas and much inspiration from the long morning walks through the woods that I take with Huckleberry each day. Huckleberry especially loves the snow!

Carmela Lavigna-Coyle

Carmela LaVigna Coyle is an award-winning author of over a dozen picture books and board books. Her first published book, Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots? illustrated by Mike Gordon (Rising Moon), is a favorite among the not-your-average-princess crowd. Her latest picture books include, Wild Zoo Train, illustrated by Steve Gray, (Muddy Boots Books) and Do Princesses Live in Sandcastles? Her many princess books have been modified into Keepsake Doodle editions and Board books, as well as Spanish, Korean, and Chinese editions. Her book, The Tumbleweed Came Back, illustrated by Kevin Rechin, (Rio Chico) won 2014 Colorado Book Award. 


Carmela has a degree in Education and Art. Her interests (besides writing) include inventing recipes, dabbling in watercolors, growing pumpkins, anything puppy dog and little kid related, heart-rock hounding, feeding the birds, and long solitary walks in nature.


She is in awe of the remarkable artists and writers in her field, and keeps an ever-expanding collection of their extraordinary books. This year marks her 3rd year as a SCBWI mentor. Carmela lives in Colorado with her family and a lively shi-poo dog named, Lulu. 

Rachel DiNunzio

Rachel DiNunzio is a local author, illustrator and publisher.  She has written several books in the Forsynthia series. Her latest project involves students in elementary school to college, its called: My Thoughts Can Change the World. Rachel believes that what you do outwardly and what we think internally, impacts everything around us. The project’s goal is to make a positive impact for people, animals, plants, and our environment, through the sharing of thoughts and ideas. Rachel loves working with schools to empower the students into not only believing that they can make a difference, but also works with them to write down their thoughts.

Maria DiVencenzo

Maria DiVencenzo is an author and founder of Winterlake Press.  She is an award-winning author and publisher of books for children including The Scariest Dream Ever and The Star of Christmas. Maria also wrote three Little House novels depicting the childhood of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s mother, Caroline. An independent publisher, Winterlake Press uses proceeds from book sales to support children’s programs in schools and libraries. In 2010, Winterlake Press became a founding sponsor of, a storybook support program that connects deployed US service men and women with their families back home. She also works with teachers and librarians to provide seminars and enrichment programs for classrooms. Maria lives in Western New York with her husband, four children, and shaggy black Schnoodle.

Alan Gratz
Alan Gratz is the bestselling author of a number of novels for young readers, including Samurai Shortstop, The Brooklyn Nine, Prisoner B-3087, Code of Honor, Projekt 1065, The League of Seven series, and Ban This Book. His latest novel is Refugee, the story of three different refugee families struggling for freedom and safety in three different eras and different parts of the world. A Knoxville, Tennessee native, Alan is now a full-time writer living in Asheville, North Carolina with his wife and daughter. Visit him online at
Heather Lynn Harris
Heather Lynn Harris, in her words, “loves to paint and tell stories”.  Illustrating picture books is her specialty and she is studying illustration storytelling. Heather paints people and landscapes. She tells stories with her painting. She paints narrative fine art paintings and she paints picture book illustrations. Both make her happy. Heather likes to paint stories because she believes stories tell us who we are, connect us to our community and reflect the rhythms of life. She can be quoted saying  "A scrumptious mingling of breaths, lives, and identities which I express in paint."  Heather is a professor  at Saint Bonaventure University and says that she is always learning from her students.  She teaches painting and drawing and likes teaching because it keeps her humble. Like any good storyteller, she tells stories while she teaches. Her story is on-going…a collection of small details dropped and added by the people she encounters over time…part of a larger narrative. Heather's shoulder is sore, and her mouth is dry, because… she loves to paint and tell stories.
Brian Herberger
Brian Herberger has spent much of his career teaching middle school English. His favorite genre, whether encouraging students to read, reading to his own kids, or simply relaxing with a good book, is young adult fiction. Brian weaves many of his personal interests into his books, Miss E. and Cross Country. The activism and free-spirited culture of the 1960s, memories of flying in his father's airplane as a boy, the adventure of a cross-country trip, and the sights and sounds of his hometown of Buffalo - all of these elements find their way into his stories, along with engaging characters who bring his historical fiction to life.  Brian lives in the Washington DC area, but he'll always call Buffalo home.
Sean Jensen

Sean Jensen was born in South Korea, but he was raised in California, Massachusetts and Virginia, mostly on or near military bases. Given his unique background, he's always been drawn to storytelling, a skill he developed at Northwestern University and crafted for the last 16 years, almost exclusively covering the NFL, for major newspapers and websites. 

During his career, he's fostered strong relationships with athletes in multiple sports, and penned profiles on Jared Allen, Jason Brown, Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, Randy Moss, Derrick Rose and Adrian Peterson, among others. He's earned distinctions from the Illinois Associated Press, Minnesota Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists, Pro Football Writers of America and Associated Press Sports Editors. In 2006, he received a special achievement award from the St. Paul Pioneer Press. 

He founded E & Z Enterprises, a marketing consulting company that works with leaders, nonprofits and businesses to showcase stories of impact and influence. In his spare time, he volunteers in his community, including as a board member of a Twin Cities community soccer club. He's trying to eat more carrots and veggies, though he craves buttered movie popcorn and chicken wings. He lives in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minn., with his wife, two children and dog.

David Kalvitis

In 2000, author/designer David Kalvitis, started a dot-to-dot revolution, producing award-winning dot-to-dot puzzles. He has been dedicated to creating the most amazingly complex and artistic dot-to-dot puzzles to ever hit the market. The Greatest Dot-to-Dots aren't just for little kids and here's why: The final image cannot be determined until completion of the puzzle; puzzles can number in the thousands; and there are 17 different ways of completing these dot-to-dot puzzles. 


Kalvitis's puzzles challenge children and adults of all ages, are an incredible learning tool, and are a fantastic way to relieve stress. With nearly 1 million Greatest Dot-to-Dot Books sold worldwide, David Kalvitis continues to strive to make connecting and coloring dot-to-dots a wonderfully enjoyable and relaxing experience.

Joy Keller

Joy Keller is the author of fun and fantastic picture books, including MONSTER TRUCKS and the upcoming MISS TURIE'S MAGIC CREATURES. When she's not writing, she's teaching fourth graders how to write. She lives in Fairport, NY, with her husband, two children, and several cats.

London Ladd
A graduate of Syracuse University with a BFA in Illustration. London has illustrated numerous critically acclaimed children’s books including March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World (Scholastic), written by Christine King Farris, the older sister of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Under the Freedom Tree (Charlesbridge) and Frederick's Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass (Disney/Jump at the Sun).
Elizabeth Leader

Elizabeth grew up in Boston, Massachusetts. After graduating from Massachusetts College of Art, she moved to Rochester, New York to earn her MFA degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology. She settled happily in Upstate New York and worked as an art instructor, graphic designer and artist, first in Rochester and then in Buffalo. There she experienced the awesome power of a blizzard, and immediately knew she wanted to create a storm story for the children of Buffalo. Buffalo Snow proved to be very popular and copies are now in hands around the world. Elizabeth is also the illustrator of Max Meets the Mayor, by Mark Goldman, and has several other books in the works. She can be reached at Studio 507 at the Tri-Main Center, 2495 Main Street, Buffalo, NY and online through

Loren Long

Loren Long is the #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator of President Barack Obama’s picture book Of Thee I Sing, the Newbery Medal-winning Matt de la Pena's picture book Love, the re-illustrated edition of Watty Piper’s The Little Engine That Could, and Madonna’s Mr. Peabody’s Apples. He is also the Golden Kite Award winning illustrator of Angela Johnson’s I Dream of Trains and the Golden Kite Honor winning illustrator of When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer, based on the poem by Walt Whitman. Loren is also the illustrator of Margaret Wise Brown’s never-before-published picture book Good Day, Good Night.


Loren is the author and illustrator of the New York Times bestselling picture books Otis, Otis and the Tornado, Otis and the Puppy, An Otis Christmas, Otis and the Kittens, and Otis and the Scarecrow. Loren’s heartwarming Little Tree is a picture book for all ages.


Born in Missouri and raised in Kentucky, Loren has always loved dogs and always loved to draw. Inspired by Janette Seabring Lowrey’s The Poky Little Puppy, four-year-old Loren would sit on his kitchen floor with the cartoon section of the newspaper and draw his favorite character, Snoopy. Loren attended the University of Kentucky and earned an undergraduate degree in graphic design. From there, he completed graduate studies at the American Academy of Art in Chicago.


For awhile, Loren created illustrations for the Gibson Greeting Card Company in Cincinnati. Soon, Forbes magazine hired him to illustrate their cover. That led to further illustration opportunities with Atlantic Monthly, Time, and Sports Illustrated. Then Loren began illustrating book covers for Harper Collins, Penguin, Houghton Mifflin, and the National Geographic Society, which paved the way for his picture book career.


These days, Loren lives just outside of Cincinnati with his wife Tracy, their two sons, Griffith and Graham, and their two Weimaraners, Ellie and Moon.

Cynthia Lord

When Cynthia Lord sat down to write her first children's book, she knew it would be a middle-grade novel. As she recalls, "I grew up next to a lake in New Hampshire and I remember being ten years old, lying on our pier, listening to the seagulls calling, and daydreaming about Borrowers and Chocolate Factories and Secret Gardens."


In her Newbery Honor Award winning novel, Rules, twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life, which is near impossible with a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. Filled with humor and warmth, Rules takes a candid and sensitive look at feeling different and finding acceptance—beyond the rules.


In Cynthia's second novel, Touch Blue, eleven-year-old Tess is faced with a new foster brother and the threat of losing the island home that she loves. Set among the lobster boats and rocky coast of Maine, Touch Blue is a thoughtful, funny look at what it means to belong-—and how lucky we feel when we do.  


The idea for her first picture book, Hot Rod Hamster, came from the experience of reading to her daughter. "She would cuddle close to me," says Cynthia, "and whenever she saw an array of fun things in the illustrations, she'd stop me from turning that page. 'What would you pick, Mama?' she'd ask. Then with great joy and purpose, she'd point to something else on the page. It was always a special moment between us, and I wanted to recreate that for other families." In Hot Rod Hamster, the reader helps a little hamster make his big racing dreams come true.   


A former teacher and bookseller, Cynthia still enjoys lying on a pier, reading a good book. And she hears plenty of seagulls at her home near the ocean in Maine, where she lives with her husband and their two children.    

Stacy McAnulty

Stacy McAnulty is a children’s book author, who used to be a mechanical engineer, who’s also qualified to be a paleontologist (not really), a correspondent for The Daily Show (why not), and a Green Bay Packer coach (totally!). She is the 2017 Ezra Jack Keats Book New Writer Honor Recipient for Excellent Ed, illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach. Her other picture books include Brave and Beautiful, both illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff; Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite, illustrated by Edward Hemingway; and 101 Reasons Why I’m Not Taking a Bath, illustrated by Joy Ang. She’s also authored the chapter book series Goldie Blox, based on the award-winning toys, and The Dino Files. Her debut middle grade novel, The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl, will publish in 2018. When not writing, Stacy likes to listen to NPR, bake triple-chocolate cupcakes, and eat triple-chocolate cupcakes. Originally from upstate NY, Stacy now lives in Kernersville, NC with her 3 kids, 2.5 dogs, and 1 husband.

Kristin Madej-Warham

Kristin Madej-Warham and Brigette Atlas-Callahan have been writing together since 2002, starting in a little coffee shop on Elmwood Avenue. The two women are friends, mothers, and literacy specialists in the Niagara Wheatfield Central School District, and of course, they are proud Buffalonians! Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, they share a passion for writing. This passion led to an idea to highlight what a phenomenal place Buffalo is to live. They enlisted the talents of local artist Bill Jankowski, who has worked in the children’s entertainment industry for many years, to create the character Bob Uffalo. Bob became the perfect guide to take kids on a tour around the city they love. With Bill, and the help of designer Mel Zakraysek, Buffalo From A to Z, Come Take a Tour With Me came to life. The team created a book bursting with history and pride, and Kristin and Brigette were able to fulfill their dream of bringing their love of Buffalo to the hearts of children.

Buffalo From A-Z - Cover - 090518.jpg
Bob Uffalo at Buffalo Nite 2018 in Washi
Thomas McDade

Thomas McDade is television producer, director, and editor who has traveled throughout the world over the past 20 years. He is the owner of Honey + Punch LLC, a Buffalo-based media production company.

Melanie Morse

Melanie Morse is a mother of three boys, an experienced educator, a daydreamer, a traveler and a storyteller. When she’s not wrapped up in an adventure with her super awesome boys, or with Seymour & Hau, she is the Producer for commercial storytelling company Honey + Punch.

Vanessa B. Newton

Vanessa Brantley Newton was born during the Civil Rights movement, and attended school in Newark, NJ. Being part of a diverse, tight-knit community during such turbulent times, Vanessa learned the importance of acceptance and empowerment in shaping a young person’s life. When she read Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, it was the first time she saw herself in a children’s book. It was a defining moment in her life, and has made her into the artist she is today. As an illustrator, she includes children of all ethnic backgrounds in her stories and artwork. She wants all children to see their unique experiences reflected in the books they read, so they can feel the same sense of empowerment and recognition she experienced as a young reader.

Vanessa celebrates self-love and acceptance of all cultures through her work, and hopes to inspire young readers to find their own voices. She first learned to express herself as a little girl through song. Growing up in a musical family, Vanessa’s parents taught her how to sing to help overcome her stuttering. Each night the family would gather to make music together, with her mom on piano, her dad on guitar, and Vanessa and her sister, Coy, singing the blues, gospel, spirituals, and jazz.  Now whenever she illustrates, music fills the air and finds its way into her art. The children she draws can be seen dancing, wiggling, and moving freely across the page in an expression of happiness. Music is a constant celebration, no matter the occasion, and Vanessa hopes her illustrations bring joy to others, with the same magic of a beautiful melody.-- 

Zachariah O'Hora

Zachariah OHora is the illustrator of the New York Times best selling book Wolfie the Bunny. He is the author and illustrator of a number of award-winning books including the Huffington Post Best Childrens Book of 2013 No Fits Nilson!. And My Cousin Momo! a Boston Globe Best Children’s Book of 2015. His debut children’s book Stop Snoring Bernard! won the 2011 Society of illustrators Founder’s Award and was the PA One Book for 2012. He lives in Narberth, PA with his wife and two sons. Visit him online at or on Twitter @ZachariahOHora.

Kathryn Otoshi

Kathryn Otoshi is a multi-award winning author, illustrator and speaker, best known for her character-building number/color book series: Zero (self-esteem), One (bullying/standing up) and Two (friendship/conflict resolution).  Her most recently published book is Beautiful Hands about the wonderful things that young children explore.  She travels across the country to encourage kids to develop strong character assets and helps teachers find creative methods to connect with their students through the power of reading, art and literature. Kathryn lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband, Daniel, and two cockatiels.

John Parra

John Parra is the illustrator of numerous books for children including the Pura Belpré Honor winning Frida Khalo and Her Animalitos, the Pura Belpré Honor and SCBWI Golden Kite Award winning Gracias/Thanks, the Pura Belpré Honor award-winning Green Is a Chile Pepper, and the SCBWI Golden Kite Award winning Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans. John is also the illustrator of the Christopher Award-winning Waiting for the Biblioburro, and the 2018 picture book is Hey, Wall.


As a boy growing up in Santa Barbara, California, John always loved to draw — robots, creatures, cities, his family, and of course, his Hispanic roots and heritage influenced his creations. But it wasn’t until a conversation with visiting artist, Salomón Huerta, during John’s final year at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena that his art style came into focus. John discovered he could infuse his culture and personality into his work, and ever since, he hasn’t stopped.


John has taught art at the Carnegie Art Museum in Oxnard, CA, and in 2015 he shared his creations at a special event and workshop at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. John’s work can now also be seen on a series of six USPS Forever Stamps titled Delicioso, which celebrates Latino food cuisine.


When viewing John’s work, be sure to look closely. John loves planting Easter Eggs – funny, personal, or symbolic references. For instance, in all of his books, John always includes a self-portrait of himself as a child. But don’t ask him to help you find these hidden gems, he won’t give them away!


John lives in Queens New York with his wife Maria, and like always, he continues to work in his studio, passionately creating art.

James Ransome and Lesa Cline-Ransome

James Ransome and Lesa Cline-Ransome collaborated on their first book together with the biography  Satchel Paige, an ALA Notable Book and a Bank Street College “Best Children’s Book of the Year.  They later created Quilt Alphabet, a collection of alphabet poems,  Quilt Counting, Major Taylor: Champion Cyclist, Young Pele,  Words Set Me Free,  Light in the Darkness, Benny Goodman and Teddy Wilson:  Taking the Stage as the first Black and White Jazz Band in History, Freedom’s School, My Story, My Dance, Just a Lucky So and So:  The Story of Louis Armstrong. Their newest title Germs:  Fact and Fiction, Friends and Foes, was released in January.  In the fall of 2017, Holiday House will release their verse biography of Harriet Tubman, Before She Was Harriet.  James and Lesa’s books have received numerous honors and awards including the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book for Picture Book, the Coretta Scott King award, Coretta Scott King Honor Award, two NAACP Awards , Kirkus Best Books, two Top 10 Sports Books for Youth,  the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance Award, and an Orbis Pictus Recommended Book. They live in Rhinebeck, NY with their family and St. Bernard.

Dee Romito

Dee Romito is a middle-grade author and former elementary school teacher, Dee lives in her hometown of Buffalo, New York, where she and her family are steadily checking items off their own bucket list of adventures. You're likely to find her at the local ice cream shop, writing at a cafe, or curled up on the couch with her cats. And while she does her best to be a grown-up most of the time, giggling with her BFFs is still one of Dee's all-time favorite things. To join the fun and create your own bucket list, visit

Lisa Ann Scott

Lisa Scott is a former TV news anchor who now enjoys making up stories instead of sticking to the facts. She’s worked in Bangor, ME, Rochester, NY and Buffalo, NY. She lives in upstate NY with her husband, two children, dog, cat, and koi fish. When not writing, she works as a voice actor.  

Sarah Thomson

Sarah L. Thomson has published more than thirty books, including prose and poetry, fiction and nonfiction, picture books and novels. Her work includes two adventures featuring a teenage girl ninja, poetry for picture book readers, and nonfiction about gorillas, sharks, plesiosaurs, saber-toothed cats, and other fascinating creatures.

School Library Journal called her picture book Cub’s Big World “a big must-have.” The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books described her novel Deadly Flowers as “clever, dangerous, vivacious,” and Booklist said this fantasy set in feudal Japan is “genuinely thrilling, with surprises at every turn and a solid emotional core.” Deadly Flowers also received Wisconsin’s Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla award. Sarah’s novel Mercy, based on a historical vampire incident, was chosen as one of the best YA fiction books of 2011 by Barnes and Noble and received a Top Shelf award from VOYA.

Sarah worked as an editor at HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster before becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Portland, Maine. Learn more about her work at

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is an author, poet and writing teacher whose work has appeared in several magazines and children’s publications.  A writing teacher and journalist, Amy has a Master of Arts degree from Teacher’s College, Columbia University.  She has taught 5th grade and a directed a summer writing program for many years.  Amy lives on a farm in Holland, NY, with her husband, three children, lots of animals, and plenty of books.
Susan Verde

Susan Verde grew up in a brownstone in the heart of Greenwich Village in New York City with her older brother Michael. She spent much of her time as a child clad in bell bottoms and rainbow suspenders, roller skating up and down her block with a skate key around her neck and a piece of chalk in her pocket (for spontaneous hopscotch).


Susan’s household was filled with books, music and the smell of mocha chip pies, which her mother made for their neighborhood restaurant. Susan could always be found writing stories and poetry and even a song or two. Susan moved to the Hamptons where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s in reading remediation and become an elementary school teacher at a private school in Bridgehampton.


Susan is an award-wining children’s book author capturing and celebrating the unique experience of children. Her titles include, The Museum, The Water Princess, Rock N roll Soul and her latest Hey, Wall a Story of Art and community. Her books have been translated into many different languages spreading her messages worldwide. Her books, I Am Yoga and I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness and the forthcoming, I AM Human: A Book of Empathy are part of a best selling series inspiring children, teachers and yoga practitioners alike.


In addition to writing having her own personal yoga practice led Susan to became an RYT 200hr and RCYT certified teacher bringing yoga and mindfulness to children and adults with an emphasis on self-care and mindful parenting. Susan is also a reiki practitioner and an essential oils advocate.


Susan is currently living in East Hampton, New York with her twin boys Joshua and Gabriel and her daughter Sophia where she writes children’s books and teaches kid’s yoga and mindfulness. Her children, her practice and the ocean at her doorstep keep her constantly connected and inspired.

Jennifer Ward

Jennifer Ward is a bonafide bird stalker, wildlife whisperer, and authoress who writes books for children and adults.With over 800,000 books in print and translations in many languages, her work has been the recipient of numerous awards including state awards, New York Public Library's Best Informational Book of the Year, ALA Notable recognition, the International Literacy Association/Children’s Book Council Children’s Choice Award, the Giverny Award for Best Nonfiction Picture Book, among many other honors. Jennifer is also the recipient of the Judy Goddard/Libraries Limited Award for her body of work and contribution to Southwestern children's literature. Her book, There Was a Coyote Who Swallowed a Flea, has also been integrated into the architecture at the Buckeye Public Library in Arizona. Jennifer lives with her husband and two dogs  high in the treetops within a canopy of old growth oaks in Southern Illinois, where she writes full time. Her neighbors include deer, fox, and lots of squirrels. She wakes up each morning to bird song. 

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