Susan Casey is the author of Kids Inventing! A Handbook for Young Inventors and Women Invent! and Two Centuries of Discoveries That Have Shaped Our World. Susan is also a journalist. Her articles and photographs have appeared in Fast Company, Women’s Sports, Soap Opera Digest, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Inventors Digest, American Profile, Electrical Contractor and many other publications.
When she was a girl, she loved reading and writing and through the efforts of a teacher, her first magazine article was published when she was in the seventh grade. After graduating with a degree in history from Santa Clara University, she became a teacher. Her career as a writer and photographer was prompted by writing letters to her family about her travel experiences in Mexico, Europe, and Africa. She went on to write the same sorts of tales for magazines. She has since written about a wide range of topics including inventors, oddball events, moviemaking, and construction. She splits her time between writing and teaching and lives in Los Angeles.
SCHOOL VISITS: Susan presents at schools (K-8, 9-12) and libraries about Non-Fiction writing and about her books: Kids Inventing! A Handbook for Young Inventors (Wiley) and Women Invent! Two Centuries of Discoveries That Have Shaped Our World (Chicago Review Press). She varies her presentations depending on the age of the students. In interactive programs she includes power point presentations, videos and student participation as she relays stories and demonstrates inventions created by kids and tells of the impact women inventors have had on history—especially during Women’s History Month. She discusses the techniques she uses in writing non-fiction including how to interview, do book and on-the-spot research, fact check and rewrite. She interacts with students to show ways of using non-fiction to create a fictional story.
TEACHER WORKSHOPS: She involves teachers in activities they can use to teach invention in their classrooms. They leave with classroom ready activity sheets.
LIBRARY PRESENTATIONS: Inventor’s Workshops for Kids, Tweens, Teens or Families. Fun, interactive hour presentations involve everyone in the process of inventing--from brainstorming to boasting about invention ideas!
Melanie Conklin grew up in North Carolina and worked as a product designer for ten years before moving to New York, which means her presentations aren’t just about talking books—they’re about seeing the process. From assemblies to writing workshops to keynotes on the brain science of stories, Melanie loves nothing more than talking books. She has presented at schools, libraries, and library conferences across the country and is happy to travel. Her debut novel for kids, Counting Thyme (Penguin, 2016), features the story of a young girl who moves to New York for her brother’s cancer treatment, described as Newbery-winning Rules meets Counting by 7s. Melanie lives in New Jersey with her husband and sons, who are thankfully booklovers, too. When she’s not writing, Melanie spends her time doodling and dreaming up new ways to be creative.
Teresa Funke is the author of the Home-Front Heroes series for middle-grade readers. This multi-cultural series includes Doing My Part, The No-No Boys, V for Victory, and Wave Me Good-bye. Each novel is based on a real person who actually lived the experiences depicted in her novels. In the back matter, young readers learn about the real person on whom the story is based and also fun facts about children's contributions to our country during World War II. The books are popular with both readers and educators because they are fast-paced, action-filled stories with strong characters and dramatic settings. Each book also touches on the key areas of World War II that lead to a broader understanding of our world and create great topics for classroom discussion: areas like the Holocaust, the Japanese interment, how children can "do their part," etc.
Teresa has been visiting schools since 2005 for elementary and middle school children and high school writing and history courses. She's fascinated by the challenges facing educators today and dedicated to assuring history education remains a focus for our children. It was the students themselves who asked Teresa to write about World War II for their age group. It's a time period that captures their imaginations and enfolds so many valuable lessons. Teresa combines elements of history, reading, writing, theater, art, and character development into her school visits and assembly. Her workshops are current with many standards, but also introduce new learning styles. She encourage students to realize that every child has a voice, a story, and the power to change the world.
Teresa has also published two books for adults, Remember Wake and Dancing in Combat Boots. Her short stories, articles, and essays have appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers and anthologies. Two of her essays were listed as Notable Essays by the prestigious Best American Essays series. Teresa is also a sought-after speaker, presenter, and writer's coach. She performs a one-woman show based on Dancing in Combat Boots and works with several non-profits to promote the arts, literacy, and history education.
Melissa Hart is the author of a middle-grade novel, Avenging the Owl (Sky Pony, 2016) two memoirs--Wild Within: How Rescuing Owls Inspired a Family (Lyons, 2014) and Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood (Seal, 2009), and numerous K-8 books for Teacher Created Resources including the best-selling 101 Ways to Love a Book. Her essays have appeared in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, Women's Day, Hemispheres, Orion, High Country News, The Advocate, Brain Child, Mothering, Writer's Digest, and The Writer Magazine. She teaches nonfiction writing for Northwest Institute of Literary Arts MFA program and creative writing for Laurel Springs, a distance-learning high school based in Ojai, California. She lives in Eugene, Oregon, with her husband and daughter, four cats and an adventurous terrier.
Deb Lund was first published when her fifth grade teacher in northern Minnesota submitted a poem of Deb's for an anthology. Since then, several fifth grade students of Deb's have also become writers. As a past classroom and music teacher and librarian, Deb loves being with kids and teachers. Her master's degree focused on teaching writing, and she has taught writing to students of all ages ever since. Her interactive presentations stay with students long after her visits. Deb's real gift, and the reason she became a creativity coach, is her passion for inspiring students to write. Deb's books include Harcourt's celebrated dinoseries and Monsters on Machines, which Publisher's Weekly's starred review says "has just about everything a child could hope for." Though known for her warm and quirky, or rollicking, rhyming picture books, Deb also writes middle grade and YA fiction, as well as materials to support teachers who teach writing. She teaches continuing education courses, works with writing and creativity coaching clients, and frequently presents at conferences and workshops. Hiking, walking her dog on beaches near her home on Whidbey Island, singing with her husband Karl Olsen of The Brothers Four, riding unicycle, and playing or reading with her three kids are some of Deb's activities when she puts down her pen. Deb hopes you'll join her email list when you visit her at her website, DebLund.com, or at her "Deb Lund, Author" page on Facebook. And don't be afraid to drop her an email. She answers them all.
Writers are like crows. They collect shiny objects that capture their attention and hide them away. Maureen has been collecting interesting bits since she was six and decided she wanted to be a writer. Like all interesting journeys, the road to her goal took many twists and turns along the way: teaching middle grade through college, coordinating a program for gifted students, marrying and raising her own two children, traveling the world, and all the while writing in the spaces in between.
Maureen's published works include The Peculiars,(Abrams/Amulet) a YASLA, Bank Street, Horn Book and Westchester YA best book; Nuclear Legacy, (Battelle Press) an Independent Publisher's Award winner and numerous poems in literary journals. Her next books, Beyond the Door and The Telling Stone (Abrams/Amulet), are due out in spring and fall 2014. She's currently finishing a YA SciFi manuscript that asks what people are willing to risk for a deep connection with another human being.
Whenever she has the opportunity, Maureen loves to present to students in the schools, share her love of language and books, and encourage them to follow their passions. Maureen works with teachers to tailor workshops to specific writing goals. She is also a frequent presenter at writing conferences.
Maureen grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area before it became Silicon Valley and now lives in WA State near the banks of the Columbia River with her husband. Eagles, wood ducks, a friendly owl and raccoons visit her yard. When she's not writing or teaching, Maureen's always hoping for a real life mystery to solve.
A graduate of the University of Virginia, author, Stacy A. Nyikos, Ph.D., is an award-winning writer and musician. Her books includeRope 'Em, the Read Across Oklahoma Book for 2011, and Squirt, Shelby and Dizzy. Stacy's first novel, Dragon Wishes, released in Spring 2008. Her new book, Waggers, comes out with Sky Pony Press in fall 2014. Stacy also offers presentations and workshops to students in grades K-8. She has presented at more than 50 schools. In addition, she has presented events at the World Aquarium in St. Louis, the Shedd, the Houston Zoo, the Tulsa Zoo, and the Oklahoma Aquarium.
Natasha Wing has published 21 children's books, with more in the works. She is best known for her paperback series based on the popular story, The Night Before Christmas. The stories are about families celebrating holidays and other big events in kids' lives such as the first day of school and losing a tooth. Her titles include The Night Before Easter, the original book in the series which was published in 1999, and The Night Before Kindergarten, which has regularly been on bestseller lists since its publication in 2001 and is also a sticker book, part of a kindergarten gift set, and an ebook. Wing's multicultural book, Jalapeno Bagels, is a favorite among elementary school teachers and students. The story is based on a real bakery in Arcata, California and includes recipes from the bakery. An Eye for Color: The Story of Josef Albers is about a neighbor of hers when she was growing up in Connecticut. The artist of the "Homage to the Square" paintings studied color for 27 years and changed how teachers taught color. Several of her poems appear in anthologies, and she has also written articles for children's magazines such as Highlights and Babybug.