Dori Hillestad Butler is a chapter book series and mystery author who is eager to share her love of books and writing with kids of all ages. She is the author of 40 books for children, including the Buddy Files series (Albert Whitman & Co.), which is about a school therapy dog who solves mysteries. The Buddy Files: Case of the Lost Boy won the Edgar award for best children's mystery published in 2010. She is also the author of My Mom's Having a Baby (Albert Whitman & Co.,), which was #4 on ALA's list of most challenged books in 2011. She speaks openly about the experience of facing her challenger on national television and is happy to talk with other authors about how to handle a potential challenge to their books, or even how to deal with the fact that not everybody is going to like every single book you publish. Dori also has a special interest in the topics of bullying and cyberbullying. Her Truth About Truman School (Albert Whitman & Co.,) is a mystery novel for middle school students that looks at cyberbullying through the eyes of the bully, the bullied and the bystanders. She has developed a unique author visit program for schools that are interested in an all-school reads of this book. Forthcoming books in 2014 and 2015 include a new chapter book series entitled The Haunted Library (Grosset & Dunlap). Dori grew up in southern Minnesota and currently lives in Kirkland, WA. She is also on a quest to do an author visit in all 50 states. If she has not visited your state yet, you could be eligible for a discount. Contact Provato Marketing for more information or to schedule an event.
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.
Growing up, Kirby Larson's best friends were books but she never imagined an ordinary person like her could become a writer. What she loves best about the creative life is that she is always learning something new. That may be why Kirby has tackled a variety of genres from picture books to chapter books to novels. Kirby's historical fiction portfolio includes the 2007 Newbery Honor Award book, Hattie Big Sky and its recent sequel, Hattie Ever After (nominated for the ALSC Notables List), as well as The Friendship Doll, The Fences Between Us and, in fall of 2013, Duke. She and her friend Mary Nethery have collaborated on two award-winning nonfiction picture books: Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship and Survival, and Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine and a Miracle. Between them, these two books have garnered over 20 State Young Readers Choice Awards. Kirby is delighted to be involved in a brand-new picture book series for American Girl, with titles including Bitty Baby and Me, and Princess Bitty Baby, among others. A lifelong resident of Washington state, Kirby lives in Kenmore with her husband, Neil, and Winston the Wonder Dog. When she is not reading, writing or speaking about writing, she is traveling, beach combing or spoiling her new granddaughter rotten.
Sharon Mentyka is a children’s writer, designer and educator, with an MFA in Writing from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts (NILA) Whidbey Writers Workshop. Her stories grow from small kernels of truth that explore common themes: fairness (or unfairness), transitions and helping the less powerful find their voice.
Her stories and essays, for both children and adults, have appeared in numerous literary magazines including ColumbiaKids, Cricket and Soundings Review. QUI, QUA, AND QUO, a picture book about three cats living in the ancient Italian hilltown of Civita di Bagnoregio was the product of Sharon 2012 two-month fellowship from the Civita Institute, where she also created a series of storytelling maps. B IN THE WORLD, an illustrated children’s chapter book about a gender non-conforming child was published in 2014 and CHASING AT THE SURFACE, a middle grade novel inspired by a 30-day visit of orca whales to an enclosed inlet in the Pacific Northwest, is forthcoming from WestWinds Press in October 2016.
An active member of SCBWI-Western Washington and a contributor to the “We Need Diverse Books” campaign, Sharon also tutors and teaches writing workshops to middle and high school students.
Mary Nethery is the New York Times, USA Today and Publisher's Weekly bestselling author of many picture books for children, as well as books for readers of all ages. She has collaborated with her dear friend, Newbery Honor recipient Kirby Larson, to write Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship and Survival, and Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine and a Miracle. Two Bobbies received the ASPCA Henry Bergh Children's Book Award, the SIBA Book Award, and was featured on NPR's All Things Considered, and is a Junior Library Guild selection; an IRA Teachers' Choice; IRA/CBC Children's Choice; Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People; and is included in The Best Children's Books of the Year, Bank Street College. Two Bobbies has received thirteen state Children's Choice Awards. Nubs is a New York Times Best Seller and recipient of the Christopher Medal; the National Parenting Publication Gold Award; is a Junior Library Guild Selection, and has received ten state Children's Choice Awards. Mary's newest picture book, illustrated by John Manders, is The Famous Nini: A Mostly True Story of How a Plain White Cat Became a Star. Set in 1890's Venice, it tells the story of the meteoric rise of a plain white cat to the world stage. His scrapbook includes a line of music from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata and is signed by such luminaries as the Czar of Russia, the Emperor of Ethiopia, Pope Leo XIII and the Queen and King of Italy. Mary travels extensively and possesses a passion for animals, adventure, fashion, laughter, kindness and spunky characters -- all of which weave their way into her books. She lives in Eureka, California with her husband Han, and their super brilliant cat, Dashiell, AKA the Baby Muse.