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.
From classrooms to book signings to auditorium-style presentations, Michelle A. Hansen is a confident and entertaining speaker. Her favorite audiences are high school students and fellow authors. She'll tackle any topic, given enough time and research. Travel to exotic locations is always a bonus.
Michelle loves Pepsi and Doritos more than chocolate. She loves summertime and hates to be cold. She's had three near-death experiences, one involving a kid, a rifle and a classroom full of students. She's addicted to office supplies and has an irrationally large stash of pens and notebooks. So, pass the Pepsi, hide the pens, and we're good to go.
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.
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.
Barbara was born and raised in South Carolina and draws on her Southern roots to create her stories, settings, and characters. Her award-winning novels for children include Wish, How to Steal a Dog, The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis, and The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester and are popular read alouds in elementary classrooms.
In addition to seven Parents Choice Awards, Barbara’s distinctions include School Library Journal Best Books, Kirkus Best Books, Bank Street College Best Books, and ALA Notables. She has had books nominated for children’s choice awards in 38 states. Barbara is a popular visiting author at schools and a frequent speaker at conferences around the country.
She currently lives with her husband and two dogs in Asheville, North Carolina, surrounded by the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. She spends her days drawing on her childhood memories to create her stories.