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.
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!
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.
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.
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.