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.
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.
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.
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.
Ana Maria Spagna lives and writes in Stehekin, Washington, a remote community in the North Cascades accessible only by boat, trail, or float plane. But don’t worry! She has not always lived such an insular life. Born in Bogotá, Colombia and raised in Riverside, California, Ana Maria was a book-loving kid who liked sports but knew nothing about the outdoors. She never camped until, as a teenager, traveled to Oregon and — well, there’s no other way to say it — fell in love. After college, she settled in to working on backcountry trail crews for the National Park Service in summer and writing in winter. Ana Maria is the author most recently of The Luckiest Scar on Earth about Charlotte, a 14 year-old snowboarder and her eccentric father, and 100 Skills You’ll Need for the End of the World (as We Know It) a humor-infused exploration of how to live more lightly on the planet, winner of a 2015 Nautilus Award. Her previous books include Reclaimers, the story of people reclaiming sacred land and water, the memoir/history Test Ride on the Sunnyland Bus, winner of the River Teeth literary nonfiction prize, and two collections of essays, Potluck, finalist for the Washington State Book Award, and Now Go Home, a Seattle Times Best Book of 2004. After fifteen years on the trail, she turned to teaching. She has taught creative writing at Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, where she directed the MFA program, at Antioch University, Los Angeles, at conferences around the country, and each winter in the one-room school in Stehekin. Her stories about nature, family, civil rights, and life in a small community appear regularly in magazines and journals. You can learn more at AnaMariaSpagna.com.