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Meet the Festival’s Authors/Illustrators

Paul Acampora

Paul Acampora

Paul Acampora writes novels and short stories for young readers. Kids, parents and critics praise his work for its laugh-out-loud humor, rollicking dialogue, and heartfelt characters. His books include Defining Dulcie, Rachel Spinelli Punched Me in the Face, and his newest novel, I Kill the Mockingbird, which is a comedy/caper about three friends who sabotage their summer reading list. Paul is a popular leader of writing workshops for schools, libraries, and conferences. In his free time, Paul builds giant cardboard robots. He’s also a twitter dog historian (@historymutt). Paul and his family live in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

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MJ & Herm Auch

MJ & Herm Auch

Mary Jane and Herm Auch have written and co-illustrated a number of punny, poultry-inspired picture books. The most recent are Souperchicken and The Plot Chickens. Mary Jane Auch is also the award-winning author of One-Handed Catch, a Texas Bluebonnet choice; Wing Nut, a Bank Street Best Children’s Book; Ashes of Roses, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults; Guitar Boy, and her newest novel, One Plus One Equals Blue.

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Susan Williams Beckhorn

Susan Williams Beckhorn

Susan Williams Beckhorn is the award-winning author of six children’s books, two of which she illustrated. She grew up in a family where kids, animals, and the outdoors were cherished. Cozy hours listening to her parents read aloud led to a life-long passion for books. She read walking to school, under the covers, everywhere! She says, “I just figured I would write my own stories one day. There is nothing else I would rather do. No one should ever think writing for children is easy or trivial. Our children deserve the very best.” Susan lives and writes in Rexville, NY.

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Julie Berry

Julie Berry

Julie Berry grew up in Medina, New York and now lives in eastern Massachusetts with her husband and four sons. She holds a BS from Rensselaer and an MFA from Vermont College of the Fine Arts. She is the author of the Carnegie Medal and Edgar Award nominated YA novel, All the Truth That’s In Me (Viking Books, 2013), as well as The AmaranthEnchantment (2009, Bloomsbury USA), Secondhand Charm (2010, Bloomsbury USA), and The Splurch Academy for Disruptive Boys series (2010-11 Penguin).

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Kathleen Blasi

Kathleen Blasi

Kathleen Blasi, Co-Director of the Rochester Children’s Book Festival, is the author of middle-grade books A Name of Honor and Are Organized Sports Better for Kids Than Pickup Games? (both with Mondo Publishing). She enjoys visiting schools and libraries, to share her love of reading and writing. Her favorite quote from a third-grade student, prompted by Kathleen’s revealing that her first book took four years from first draft to publication: “Wow! You’re a slow writer, just like me!”

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Suzanne Bloom

Suzanne Bloom

Suzanne Bloom has been been drawing, painting, procrastinating and making things all her life, mostly here in upstate New York. She grew up in Queens and went to Cooper Union before hightailing it to the land of snow tires and washboard roads. Her 16th book is a continuation of the small adventures of Goose and Bear and Little Fox. They have brought her to many new places and garnered a few awards, like the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, the PA One Book(twice), the Texas 2X2 (twice), the UKLA short list of best books (2013). But one of her favorite tributes comes from a 3rd grader in Texas who said, “M’am, you were born to draw.”

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Bluemle

Elizabeth Bluemle

Elizabeth Bluemle is an award-winning picture book author and co-owner of The Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, Vermont. She blogs for Publishers Weekly on children’s bookselling and has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her picture books, published by Candlewick Press, include My Father the Dog (winner of the Wanda Gag Read—Aloud Award), Dogs on the Bed, How Do You Wokka-Wokka? (winner of Philadelphia’s Please Touch Museum’s Children’s Choice Award), and the upcoming Tap Tap Boom Boom, illustrated by G. Brian Karas. She loves the Rochester Festival!

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Judy Bradbury

Judy Bradbury

Judy Bradbury is a lifelong resident of Western New York. She has taught students from preschool through college and is Professional Development Chair for Niagara Frontier Reading Council. Judy created the Christopher Counts! picture book series (McGraw-Hill), featuring embedded math in each story. She also wrote the Children’s Book Cornerseries and The Read-Aloud Scaffold: Best Books to Enhance Content Area Curriculum (Libraries Unlimited/ABC-CLIO). Forthcoming in February 2015 is Empowering Families: Practical Ways to Involve Parents in Boosting Literacy, (Routledge). Judy writes a monthly column on character education for LibrarySparks and conducts workshops nationally on topics of literacy. Learn more at www.judybradbury.com

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Laurie Calkhoven

Laurie Calkhoven

When she got her first library card and was set free among the picture books, Laurie Calkhoven decided she wanted to be a librarian. Later she realized that that were actual people who created those wonderful books on the shelves, and she decided to be one of them. Laurie writes for American Girl’s Innerstar University series as well as historical action/adventure novels for her own series, Boys of Wartime. Her most recent work of nonfiction is I Grew Up to be President. She lives in New York City and can frequently be found at the library.

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Frank Cammuso

Frank Cammuso

Frank Cammuso is the author/illustrator of the graphic novel series The Misadventures of Salem HydefromAmulet Books. He also created the graphic novel series Knights of the Lunch Table from Graphix/Scholastic. Frank drew the comic Otto’s Orange DayandOtto’s Backwards Day for Toon-Books. Frankis the former award-winning political cartoonist for The Post-Standard newspaper in Syracuse, New York. His cartoons have been reprinted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Newsweek. His fiction and satire have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and on National Public Radio. Frank teaches Sequential Illustration at Syracuse University.

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Nancy Castaldo

Nancy Castaldo

Nancy Castaldo is the award-winning author of several nonfiction books for kids and the Regional Advisor for the Eastern NY region of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Her current middle grade title, Sniffer Dogs: How Dogs (and Their Noses) Save the World (Houghton Mifflin) has garnered acclaim in the Wall Street Journal and a star from Kirkus. Look for her forthcoming books on Nellie Bly and seeds coming out in 2015. Nancy loves to talk about research and writing with kids in schools and libraries. Follow her on Twitter @NCastaldoAuthor & visit www.nancycastaldo.com

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Peter Catalanotto

Peter Catalanotto

Peter Catalanotto has published over 45 books for children, 16 of which he’s written, including Ivan the Terrier, Question Boy, Matthew A. B. C., Monkey & Robot, and Emily’s Art. The second book of his early reader series, More of Monkey & Robot, was released in March 2014. Peter has illustrated for some wonderful writers, including Cynthia Rylant, Mary Pope Osborne, Joanne Ryder, Megan McDonald, George Ella Lyon and Robert Burleigh. Peter teaches the first children’s book writing course offered at Columbia University and was commission by First Lady Laura Bush in 2008 to illustrate the White House holiday brochure.

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Yangsook Choi

Yangsook Choi

Yangsook Choi grew up in Korea and moved to New York to study art. She was selected as one of the most prominent new children’s book artists by Publishers Weekly, and has written and illustrated many books for young readers. Her books have been acclaimed as “Best of the Best” by the Chicago Public Library, included on the American Library Association Notable Book list, selected by PBS Reading Rainbow, and have received the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award. *Sponsored by Love the Children of Rochester

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Eileen Christelow

Eileen Christelow

Eileen Christelow is the best-selling creator of many picture books, including Vote!, two titles featuring Emma, the Desperate Dog, and ten popular stories about the five little monkeys. She lives in Dummerston, Vermont. You can learn more about her and the Five Little Monkeys at www.christelow.com and www.fivelittlemonkeys.com. *Sponsored by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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Cynthia Cotten

Cynthia Cotten

Cynthia Cotten has been an author of fiction and poetry for children for more than thirty years. She attended Wells College and received an MFA in Writing or Children from Vermont College. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, The Authors Guild, and the Children’s Book Guild of Washington D.C.

A native of Lockport, she has found inspiration for much of her writing in the beauty and rich history of Western New York. She has recently moved back to Lockport after being away for most of her adult life.

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Cynthia DeFelice

Cynthia DeFelice

Cynthia DeFelice is the author of both picture books and novels for young readers. “Nothing makes me happier than learning that one of my books turned a child into a reader. I try hard to reach those kids who haven’t yet been turned on to the joy of reading. I love when a child who ‘hates to read’ suddenly recognizes himself in a story and the switch turns from ‘off’ to ‘on.’”

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Erin Dionne

Erin Dionne

Erin Dionne’s books are Models Don’t Eat Chocolate Cookies, The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet, and Notes from an Accidental Band Geek. Her novel Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking: A 14 Day Mystery, is based on the real-life Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum art heist. The series continues with Ollie and the Science of Treasure Hunting (July 2014). A graduate of Boston College (English & Communications, 1997) and Emerson College (MFA, 1999); she teaches writing at Montserrat College of Art and lives outside of Boston with her husband, two children, and a very indignant dog.

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Elizabeth Falk

Elizabeth Falk

Elizabeth Falk writes historical fiction for mid-grade readers all based in New York State. She is co-director of this year’s festival. She lives on Conesus Lake and finds the view out of her front window inspiring. She is currently writing and illustrating her first picture book. A life time reader, she enjoys finding a book that will take her on a magical journey without ever leaving her favorite chair. When she finally stops reading, she also loves to ride her bike and paddle her kayak.

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Sally Gardner

Sally Gardner

Sally Gardner illustrated and co-created the Splurch Academy for Disruptive Boys children’s book series with her sister, author Julie Berry. Sally is an award-winning freelance illustrator, graphic designer, and letterpress printer. Sally has been drawing pictures and tinkering with gadgets since she was tiny. She has a particular fondness for old machines, especially antique printing presses. Sally currently lives in Western New York with her naughty puppy named Ivy.

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Scott Gibala-Broxholm

Scott Gibala-Broxholm

Scott Gibala-Broxholm was born in a castle laboratory one dark and stormy night . . . no, not really (Actually, it was Upstate New York). Growing up, he loved to draw, especially pictures of old movie monsters. Scott is a graduate of Syracuse University and spent his junior year studying in London. He has been illustrating for children for over 30 years. He and his wife, Janice, have two children, Brent and Tess. Someday . . . somehow . . . someway . . . he hopes to be able to work with Tim Burton. Scott’s latest book is a perfect example that certain things never change. It was inspired by classic movie monsters.

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Marsha Hayles

Marsha Hayles

Marsha Hayles writes picture books and novels for young people. Her mid-grade historical novel Breathing Room—called “a perfect read” by Horn Book—is set at a fictional tuberculosis sanatorium and follows the struggles of several girls as they ‘chase the cure’ for their disease. Her picture books include Bunion Burt, Pajamas Anytime, He Saves the Day, Here’s a Cheer for Our Childfirst Day, The Feathered Crown, and Beach Play. When she’s not writing, chances are she’s out walking her dog Haddow along the Erie Canal.

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Ingrid Hess

Ingrid Hess

Ingrid Hess is an illustrator, graphic designer and educator. The simplicity in her work is heavily influenced by her Amish/Mennonite heritage; the bright colors and patterns are inspired by art from Costa Rica (her childhood home for four years). Ingrid holds an MFA in Graphic Design with an emphasis in the book arts and has worked in the publishing industry since 1996. Her dual passions of design and illustration work well together and help her tell stories through pictures. Her research focuses on economic justice as a way to bring peace to the world and empowers kids to understand that they can make a difference.

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James Howe

James Howe

James Howe is the award winning-author of over 90 for young readers, including the popular Bunnicula and Pinky and Rex series. He writes a wide range, from picture to young adult fiction. His novel, The Misfits, was the inspiration for national No Name-Calling Week (www.nonamecallingweek.org). Its three companion novels are Totally Joe, Addie on the Inside, and Also Known as Elvis. Recent picture books are Brontorina and Otter and Odder, illustrated by Caldecott medalist Chris Raschka. James grew up in Webster; he currently resides in Yonkers, with his husband, two cats, and a hound dog named Lily. Visit him at www. Jameshowe.com.

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Hubbell Howell

Will Hubbell

Will Hubbell is a full-time author who has written and illustrated three children’s picture books—Pumpkin Jack, Apples Here!, and Snow Day Dance. Under the pen name Morgan Howell, Will writes high fantasies for young adults that feature strong female characters facing serious moral choices. He has written two fantasy trilogies, Queen of the Orcs and The Shadowed Path. In his new fantasy novel, A Single Deed, a sixteen-year-old girl who is half orc and half human, struggles to find her place in the world.

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David Kalvitis

David Kalvitis

David Kalvitis, a lifelong puzzle and game fan, has a Fine Arts degree from Syracuse University and operated a graphic design business in Upstate New York for 13 years. In 2000 he opened Monkeying Around Publishing, with a goal to provide fun and challenging dot-to-dot puzzle books that entertain both young and old alike. So far he has published 17 books and has sold over 3/4 of a million books worldwide.

www.monkeyingaround.com

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Michelle Knudsen

Michelle Knudsen

Michelle Knudsen is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 40 books for children, including the picture books Library Lion, Argus, and Big Mean Mike, as well as fantasy novels The Dragon of Trelian and The Princess of Trelian. Her newest book is her debut YA novel, Evil Librarian—just released September 2014! Next up (spring 2015) is the picture book MARILYN’S MONSTER, illustrated by the wonderful Matt Phelan. Formerly a full-time children’s book editor, Michelle continues to edit manuscripts on a freelance basis (see her website for more info: www.michelleknudsen.com). She lives in Brooklyn, New York. **Sponsored by Candlewick Press

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Kevin Kurtz

Kevin Kurtz

Kevin Kurtz has loved books and nature since he was a kid. He has worked at a marine biology lab, an aquarium, a science museum, and spent eight weeks at sea onboard a research ship during a scientific expedition. He is the author of the nonfiction picture books A Day in the Deep, A Day on the Mountain and A Day in the Salt Marsh, about the animals and the habitats they live in, and Uncovering Earth’s Secrets, a free eBook about a scientific research ship that studies the seafloor to learn about volcanoes, earthquakes, and more.

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Jeff Mack

Jeff Mack

Jeff Mack, born in Syracuse, New York, has written and illustrated a long list of award-winning picture books and chapter books, including the Clueless McGee series, The Things I Can Do, Good News Bad News, Frog & Fly, and Ah Ha!, one of the NY Public Library’s Best Books of 2013. He has also illustrated many books for other authors, including James Howe’s Bunnicula and Friends series.

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Matthew McElligott

Matthew McElligott

Matt McElligott is the author and illustrator of thirteen books for children, including Even Aliens Need Snacks,Even Monsters Need Haircuts, and the Benjamin Franklinstein series. His books have been published in six languages on five continents and have sold over two hundred thousand copies around the world. Recent awards include the 2012-13 Oregon Patricia Gallagher Picture Book Award for The Lion’s Share and the 2012-13 South Dakota Prairie Bud Children’s Book Award for Even Monsters Need Haircuts. Matt lives on a small farm with his wife and son and over a dozen chickens.

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Kate Messner

Kate Messner

Kate Messner is the award-winning author of more than two dozen current and forthcoming books for kids. Her titles have been New York Times Notables Junior Library Guild, IndieBound, and Bank Street College of Education Best Books selections and have been honored withthe E.B. White Read Aloud Award, SCBWI Golden Kite Award, and two Crystal Kite Awards. A former middle school English teacher, Kate loves visiting schools and libraries to talk about books and writing. She lives on Lake Champlain with her family and loves spending time outside. Follow her on Twitter @KateMessner & visit www.katemessner.com

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Jane O'Connor

Jane O’Connor

Jane O’Connor graduated from Smith College and is an editor at a major publishing house. She is the author of the Fancy Nancy series which includes more than fifty titles, seven of which reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. She has also written two adult books for HarperCollins – Dangerous Admissions (Morrow 2007) and Almost True Confessions (Morrow 2013). Jane was born, bred and still lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her husband, Jim, and their canine companion, Arrow. Her two grown sons have fled Manhattan, however, and are both living in Los Angeles. *Sponsored by Harper Collins Publishers

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Jim O'Connor

Jim O’Connor



Jim O’Connor
grew up in Rochester and graduated from Brighton High School in 1963. His book What Was the Battle of Gettysburg? has special meaning for him, because his great, great uncle, Charles Spiesberger, also of Rochester, died at Gettysburg on Little Round Top. Jim is the author of other books in the Who Was…? series including Who Is Bob Dylan?, Where is the Grand Canyon?, and What Was Pompeii?. He is currently writing Where Was the World Trade Center? Jim lives with his wife, Jane, author of the Fancy Nancy series and the editor who first started the Who Was…? series, in New York City.

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Rose O’Keefe

Rose O’Keefe

Rose O’Keefe grew up in the suburbs of New York City, except for four years near Paris, France. After graduating from SUNY Potsdam, Rose moved to Rochester and discovered the beauty of the Genesee River Valley and Finger Lakes region on camping outings with family and friends. Rose has become a local historian with a focus on Frederick Douglass’ family’s life in Rochester from 1847-1872. Her latest book, Special Delivery, is a story set in 1851, showing what it would have been like to grow up in the Douglass family.

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Linda Sue Park

Linda Sue Park

Linda Sue Park is the author of many books for young readers, including the
2002 Newbery Medal winner A Single Shard. Her most recent book is Xander’s
Panda Party. Visit her website, www.lindasuepark.com and follow her on
Twitter @LindaSuePark.

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Matt Phelan

Matt Phelan

Matt Phelan is the illustrator of many books for young readers, including Xander’s Panda Party by Linda Sue Park, Flora’s Very Windy Day by Jeanne Birdsall, and The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron, winner of the 2007 Newbery Medal. He is the author/illustrator of the award-winning graphic novels The Storm in the Barn, Around the World, and Bluffton. His latest books include his first picture book as both author and illustrator, Druthers (September 2014), and Miss Emily by Burleigh Mutén (March 2014). Matt lives in Ardmore, Pennsylvania.

*Sponsored by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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James Preller

James Preller

James Preller’s appearance is sponsored by MacMillan. He is the author of the Jigsaw Jones mystery series, the novels Six Innings, Bystander, and Before You Go, as well as the picture books Mighty Casey and A Pirate’s Guide to First Grade. He lives in Delmar, New York. *Sponsored by Macmillan Children’s Publishing

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Robin Pulver

Robin Pulver

Robin Pulver was a lucky child. Her parents were readers, and they read to her. her aunt gave her a book for each birthday and Christmas. There was no TV in her house until she was 8 years old. She and her friends and made up plays and performed them. She loved words and language, diagramming sentences. Her teachers challenged and encouraged her. Many times she was told she should be an author, but she didn’t believe it. Authors, she thought, are famous dead people. But she was always exercising her writing muscle, writing journals, scrapbooks, and stories. When she was 9, she read Ann of Green Gables and had the revelation that with reading, we can live in many different worlds, as well as our own. So now she’s an author, and she’s not dead yet. She loves sharing her books with children.

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Sattler

Jennifer Sattler

Jennifer Sattler is the creator of the picture books Chick ‘n’ Pug, Chick ‘n’ Pug Meet the Dude, Pig Kahuna, PigKahuna Pirates!, and Sylvie. She is married and has two children and two dogs, both of which are part basset hound and thus aspire to be much bigger dogs than they really are. She lives in Saratoga Springs, New York.

*Sponsored by Bloomsbury Books for Young Readers

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Lisa Scott

Lisa Scott

Lisa Ann Scott is a former TV news anchor, who now enjoys making up stories instead of sticking to the facts. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and children where she works as a voice actor when not writing.

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Mark Shulman

Mark Shulman

Mark Shulman was a wee lad on his mother’s knee in Rochester, when he said he wanted to be an author of books “like these,” pointing his bottle of milk in the general direction of the Dr. Seuss books. His mother wisely suggested that before such a quest, Mark should work in radio, create advertising, give tours of New York, and etc. Our hero heeded mother’s wise advice, and didn’t start writing books until he was old. Now very old and scrambling to catch up with his more energetic peers, Mark writes every kind of kid’s book you can think of. And some you can’t.

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Joe Sottile

Joe Sottile

Joe Sottile believes that poetry can save the planet. His motto is: Poetry promotes literacy and laughter. He has written two poetry books for kids and adults. He has also contributed to two Chicken Soup books. He loves visiting schools and homeschool organizations.

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Aaron Starmer

Aaron Starmer

Aaron Starmer is the author of Dweeb (Delacorte, 2009), a tale of five brainy boys who are imprisoned in the basement of their school and have to escape; The Only Ones (Delacorte, 2011), a dark fable about a group of kids who discover they are the only people left on earth; and The Riverman (FSH 2014), the first volume of a trilogy about a girl who claims she visits a parallel universe where a nefarious being is stealing the souls of children. Aaron is a graduate of Drew University and NYU and lives in Hoboken, NJ, with his wife and daughter.
*Sponsored by Macmillan Publishing Company

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Tanya Lee Stone

Tanya Lee Stone

Tanya Lee Stone has received many awards for her work for kids and teens, including the Sibert Medal, Flora Stieglitz Straus Award, NAACP Image Award, YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction, Boston Globe-Horn Book, Amelia Bloomer, and Jane Addams honors. Her books include Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors?, Courage Has No Color, Elizabeth Leads the Way, Almost Astronauts, Sandy’s Circus, and The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie. Her next picture book will be The House that Jane Built: A Story about Jane Addams. She visits schools and talks to kids about the research and writing process.

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Matthew McElligott

Matthew McElligott

Larry Tuxbury is the author of Benjamin Franklinstein Lives!, Benjamin Franklinstein Meets the Fright Brothers, and Benjamin Franklin Meets Thomas Deadison. When not reanimating famous inventors, he enjoys a nice cup of tea, quiet walks along the Hudson, and smashing evil wherever it may lurk.

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Sally Valentine

Sally Valentine

Sally Valentine is a native Rochesterian. After teaching math for 25 years in the Rochester City School District, she is now off on a tangent of writing. Her love for kids, books, and Rochester led her to write a series of novels for intermediate grade kids, which are each set in a different Rochester landmark. When not writing, she can be found reading, solving puzzles of all kinds, or walking around beautiful western

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Vivian Vande Velde

Vivian Vande Velde

Vivian Vande Velde is the author of more than thirty books, ranging from picture books to novels for teens. Her books have won national recognition, including the Edgar Award, the Anne Spencer Lindbergh Prize in Children’s Literature, and several state reading awards, voted on by students. Internationally, her books have been translated into French, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, Japanese, Thai, Chinese, and Indonesian. In 2012, Heir Apparent was chosen to be the Greater Rochester Teen Read Book. Her latest book, Frogged, is for middle grade students.

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Ellen Stoll Walsh

Ellen Stoll Walsh

Ellen Stoll Walsh has 17 books in English and 13 in other languages. Her first two books were in pen and ink, but since then she has been working in cut paper collage. Ellen is currently working on a story that is written around prepositions. She has often used paint spots and snow, but for her new book she is also using a lot of paper that she’s painted herself. Ellen’s new book has mice since people seem to be fond of them.

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Lisa Wheeler

Lisa Wheeler

Lisa Wheeler is the author of 33 children’s books, including Pet Project: Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses and Dino-Boarding. Her awards include The Michigan Mitten, Texas Bluebonnet, and the Theodore Geisel Honor given by the American Library Association. Lisa shares her Michigan home with one husband, one dog, and an assortment of anthropomorphic characters.

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From the Festival Directors

Sibby and Kathy caught reading 1

Come celebrate the 18th Annual Rochester Children’s Book Festival, recipient of Writers & Books’ Big Pencil Award for 2011! Please join us on Saturday, November 15th, 2014, from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM in the Flynn Campus Center at Monroe Community College.

This will be a magical day packed with activities, presentations, and meeting those who write and illustrate books for children, tweens and teens. Busy Bookworm offers craft activities; author and illustrator presentations take place in both the Brighton Room and in Excellus Presentation Place; and your favorite authors and illustrators read stories in Genesee Valley Parent Magazine’s Read to Me Corner. In the Mall, chat with our more than 40 Festival participants!

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