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Meet the Festival’s Authors/Illustrators

Sarah Albee

Sarah Albee

 

Sarah Albee is the New York Times bestselling author of~more than 100 books for kids, ranging from preschool through middle grade. Her latest nonfiction middle grade title Why’d They Wear That? is about crazy fashions in history (National Geographic, 2015). She enjoys writing about topics where history and science connect, including Bugged: How Insects Changed History (2014) and Poop Happened: A History of the World from the Bottom Up (2010). When she isn’t writing books or visiting schools in person or via Skype, Sarah blogs about offbeat history at http://sarahalbeebooks.com

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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. Their most recent is THE BUK BUK BUK FESTIVAL, starring chicken author, Henrietta, with caricatures of RCBF authors, illustrators and attendees. If you have come to this festival before, you might recognize yourself in this book!

Mary Jane is also the award-winning author of a number of novels, including ONE-HANDED CATCH, WING NUT, ONE PLUS ONE EQUALS BLUE, GUITAR BOY and ASHES OF ROSES, which has been expanded in a new edition featuring Triangle Shirtwaist Fire pictures, a study guide, and an author interview.

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Aaron Becker, the creator of Journey and Quest, has made several memorable journeys in his lifetime. He’s lived in rural Japan and East Africa, backpacked through the South Pacific and Sweden, and most recently, ventured from the San Francisco Bay area to Amherst, Massachusetts, a town he now calls home with his wife, daughter, and lazy cat. To this day, his favorite destination remains his imagination, where you can often find him drawing secret doorways and magic lanterns.

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Beckhorn

Beckhorn

Kids, animals, and the outdoors . . . Sue Beckhorn’s award-winning middle grade novels and picture books revolve around these things. Her stories sweep from the dawn of time to the present, from myth to adventure. When not at her desk, she is happiest sharing her love of reading and writing stories with young people in her dynamic school visits. Ask her about her new “first dog” novel, inspired by the finding of the fossilized footprints of a boy and a wolf/dog? walking side by side in Chauvet Cave in France, to be published by Disney*Hyperion in 2016!

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Julie Berry

Julie Berry

Julie Berry grew up in western New York. She holds a BS from Rensselaer in communication and an MFA from Vermont College in writing for children and young adults. She now lives in southern California with her husband and four sons. Julie is the acclaimed author of The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place (2014, Roaring Brook) and All the Truth That’s in Me (2013, Viking). She also wrote The Amaranth Enchantment and Secondhand Charm (Bloomsbury) and the Splurch Academy for Disruptive Boys series (Penguin Books for Young Readers). Julie’s works appear in audio and international versions worldwide.

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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 began writing and illustrating over a quarter of a century ago, as if she knew what she was doing.  Her first book was painted using Rich Art school tempera paints on computer paper.  Sixteen books later she favors dry pastels and tubes of watercolor – expensive ones.  A Splendid Friend, Indeed received an inaugural Theodore Seuss Geisel honor award.  That was the beginning of the Goose&Bear series, which is up to six books.  She has toured Pennsylvania in ‘07 and ‘13 at the invitation of the PA One Book committee and has been on the Texas 2×2 list twice.

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Bluemle

Elizabeth Bluemle

Elizabeth Bluemle is an award-winning children’s book author as well as a writing teacher and the co-owner of the Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, Vermont. She blogs for Publisher’s Weekly about all aspects of children’s bookselling. Her latest book, Tap Tap Boom Boom, was a New York Times Editor’s Choice pick, an ALA Notable Book, a School Library Journal Top 100 Books of the Year Pick, and received a Charlotte Zolotow Honor award for outstanding picture book text. She loves the Rochester Children’s Book 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 Corner series and The Read-Aloud Scaffold: Best Books to Enhance Content Area Curriculum (Libraries Unlimited/ABC-CLIO) for educators. Her latest resource is Empowering Families: Practical Ways to Involve Parents in Boosting Literacy (Routledge). Judy writes about 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 History’s Mysteries series as well as historical action/adventure novels for her own series, Boys of Wartime. Her most recent work of nonfiction is Military Animals. 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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Alyssa Satin Capucilli

Alyssa Satin Capucilli

Alyssa Satin Capucilli is the author of over seventy-five books including Biscuit, the popular bestseller used to launch the My First I Can Read Series from HarperCollins. With over fifty titles in the series as well as over nineteen million books in print, Biscuit has been deemed a modern classic and has been translated into numerous languages worldwide. Spring 2016 celebrates the 20th anniversary of the first publication of Biscuit.
Once a professional dancer, Alyssa’s love of dance is embodied in her latest series, Katy Duck, illustrated by Henry Cole. Her non-fiction works include interactive photo essays, My First Soccer Game and My First Ballet Class.

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Peter Catalanotto

Peter Catalanotto

Peter Catalanotto has published 47 books for children, 17 of which he’s written, including Ivan the Terrier, Matthew A. B. C., Question Boy Meets Little Miss Know-it-All, Emily’s Art, Monkey & Robot and More of Monkey & Robot. In 2008 he was commissioned by First Lady, Laura Bush, to illustrate the White House Holiday Booklet. He currently teaches the first children’s book writing course offered at Columbia University. Since 1990, he’s visited over 1500 elementary schools in 40 states showing students his creative process from inspiration to final book.

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Cynthia Cotten

Cynthia Cotten

Cynthia Cotten loves to read, loves to write, and loves to share stories with young people. She is a native of Lockport, where her family has lived for more than 150 years, and where she and her husband live in a house on the banks of the Erie Canal.

 

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Bruce Coville

Bruce Coville

Bruce Coville has published over 100 books for children and young adults, including the international best-seller MY TEACHER IS AN ALIEN, and the UNICORN CHRONICLES series. His works have appeared in a dozen languages and won children’s choice awards in as many states. He has been a teacher, a toymaker, a magazine editor, a gravedigger, and a cookware salesman. He is also the founder of FULL CAST AUDIO, an audio book publishing company devoted to producing full cast, unabridged recordings of material for family listening. Mr. Coville lives in Syracuse, New York, with his wife, illustrator and author Katherine Coville.

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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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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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Grimes

Grimes

Nikki Grimes is the recipient of the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Her books include the New York Times best seller Barack Obama:Son of Promise, Child of Hope and the Dyamonde Daniel chapter-book series. She won the Coretta Scott King Award for Bronx Masquerade, and earned the Coretta Scott King Author Honor five times—for Jazmin’s Notebook, Dark Sons, Talkin’ About Bessie, The Road to Paris, and most recently, Words With Wings, which was also named an ALA Notable Book. Ms. Grimes lives in Corona, CA.

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Marsha Hayles

Marsha Hayles

Marsha Hayles was born in the other Rochester–the one in Minnesota–home to the Mayo Clinic. Her own interest in medicine spurred her to write Breathing Room, a historical novel set in 1940 about girls suffering from tuberculosis. She also writes picture books and is currently working on a novel for young people set in the American Civil War. When she’s not writing, Marsha likes to drive West to visit family and friends AND to eat her favorite burger at Steak N Shake.

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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.

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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 NY for 13 years. In 2000 he opened Monkeying Around Publishing, with a goal to provide fun and challenging dot-to-dot puzzles that entertain both young and old alike. His award-winning puzzles have become known for their variety of styles, artistry, and complexity as well as his recent 4 page fold-outs with over 2,000 dots each. So far David has published 18 books and has sold over a three quarters of a million books worldwide.
www.MonkeyingAround.com

 

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Michelle Knudsen

Michelle Knudsen

Michelle Knudsen is a New York Times best-selling author of more than 40 books for young readers, including the picture book Library Lion, the middle-grade fantasy novels The Dragon of Trelian and The Princess of Trelian, and the young adult novel Evil Librarian, which was awarded the 2015 Sid Fleischman Award for Humor. Her most recent book is the picture book Marilyn’s Monster, illustrated by the wonderful Matt Phelan. Michelle also works as a freelance editor and writing teacher, and is a member of the Writing for Young People MFA faculty at Lesley University. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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Kurtz

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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London Ladd

London Ladd

London Ladd was born and raised in Syracuse, New York.  Though comic books impacted his early life, he didn’t start drawing until his teens.  After graduating Syracuse University with a BFA in Illustration he launched his career painting murals, illustrating magazine articles and album covers. His big break came when he was hired to illustrate March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World, authored by Christine King Farris, the older sister of Martin Luther King Jr.  Since then London has illustrated Under the Freedom Tree, Lend a Hand: Poems About Giving and Frederick’s Journey: The Life Frederick Douglass.  London lives and creates in Syracuse.

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Jeff Mack

Jeff Mack

Born in Syracuse, New York, Jeff Mack has written and illustrated a long list of award-winning picture books, chapter books, and early readers, including the Clueless McGee series, Good News Bad News, Hush Little Polar Bear, and, new for 2015, Who Wants a Hug? and Look!. He has also illustrated many books for other authors, including James Howe’s Bunnicula and Friends series and Eve Bunting’s Hurry! Hurry!. Now at home in Western Massachusetts, he travels widely visiting schools and libraries to talk with kids about creating books. Visit him at www.jeffmack.com.

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Matt McElligott

Matt McElligott

Matthew McElligott is the author of many books for children, including the Mad Scientist Academy series, Even Monsters Need Haircuts, Even Aliens Need Snacks, and the Benjamin Franklinstein series. He has the brain of an Apatosaurus and the dashing good looks of a Pachycephalosaurus. In spite of this, a beautiful woman named Christy married him and now helps him with all his books.

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Rosemary O'Keefe

Rosemary O’Keefe

Five books and ten years later, Rose O’Keefe is moving on from researching the life of the Frederick Douglass family in Rochester, NY. Rose is now looking at how the parents and grandparents of people like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth C. Stanton helped them become human rights advocates.
Rose O’Keefe grew up in the New York City suburbs and moved to Rochester after graduating from SUNY Potsdam. She went on to discover the beauty of the Genesee Valley and Finger Lakes regions before becoming hooked on local history.

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Linda Sue Park

Linda Sue Park

Linda Sue Park is the author of A SINGLE SHARD (winner of the 2002 Newbery Medal), the NYTimes bestseller A LONG WALK TO WATER, and many other picture books and novels for young readers. She knows that she will never be able to read every good book ever written, but she keeps trying anyway. You can follow her on Twitter @LindaSuePark.

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Matt Phelan

Matt Phelan

Matt Phelan is the illustrator of more than twenty books for young readers, including Flora’s Very Windy Day by Jeanne Birdsall, Xander’s Panda Party by Linda Sue Park, and The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron, winner of the 2007 Newbery Medal. He is the author/illustrator of the graphic novel The Storm in the Barn, which won the 2010 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction. His other graphic novels, Around the World and Bluffton, received five Eisner Nominations and state library awards from Pennsylvania and Virginia. Matt’s latest book is Marilyn’s Monster, a picture book written by Michelle Knudsen.

 

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James Preller

James Preller

James Preller grew up on Long Island, the youngest of seven children. He now lives in Delmar, NY, outside of Albany, with his wife and children (Nick, Gavin, Maggie). James first published in 1986. He is the author of many books for a wide age range, including A PIRATE’S GUIDE TO FIRST GRADE, SIX INNINGS, BYSTANDER, and the “Jigsaw Jones” and “Scary Tales” series. He travels to schools near and far as a visiting author, comfortable and “at home” with students K-8.

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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 and diagramming sentences. Teachers told her she should be an author, but she didn’t believe it. Authors, she thought, are famous dead people. Even so, she was always exercising her writing muscle, writing journals, scrapbooks, and stories. Now, low and behold, she’s the author of more than 20 picture books, including PUNCTUATION TAKES A VACATION, AXLE ANNIE, SATURDAY IS DADURDAY, and the brand new EAGER LEADERS: A Story about Prefixes. And she’s not dead yet! She loves sharing her books with children.

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Sattler

Jennifer Sattler

Jennifer Sattler is the award winning author of several picture books including Sylvie, Uh-Oh, Dodo! and the series Chick ‘n’ Pug and Pig Kahuna. Her books have received starred reviews from both Kirkus and the School Library Journal. Her latest in the Pig Kahuna series ” Pig Kahuna Who’s that Pig?” was released in May. Her newest in the Chick ‘n’ Pug Series ” Chick ‘n’ Pug Love Pug” will be out in early December.

 

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Lisa Scott

Lisa Scott

Lisa Ann Scott is a Western New York native, living in Batavia, NY. She is a former TV news anchor who now enjoys making up stories instead of sticking to the facts. Her debut middle grade novel School of Charm was released by Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins in 2014. Kirkus reviews calls it a “Poignant, inspiring debut novel of loss, belonging and being true to yourself.”

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Mark Shulman

Mark Shulman

Mark Shulman’s first published story was in the City East newspaper in 1978, when he was still at East High. Once he got hooked on the sight of his name in print, he embarked on a quest to get published EVERYWHERE: yearbooks, subway doors, petitions, magazine ads, radio scripts, TV commercials, rent checks, and finally, books. Mark’s written a dozen dozen books mainly for kids and immature adults. They’re fun. He usually is, too.

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Heidi Stemple

Heidi Stemple

Heidi Stemple didn’t want to be a writer when she grew up. In fact, after she graduated from college, she became a probation officer in Florida. It wasn’t until she was 28 years old that she gave in and joined the family business, publishing her first short story in a book called Famous Writers and Their Kids Write Spooky Stories. The famous writer was her mom, author Jane Yolen. Since then, she has published 20 books.

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Mark Teague

Mark Teague

Mark is an author and illustrator of more than 50 books, including The Sky Is Falling!, The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf and thew bestselling How Do Dinosaurs series by Jane Yolen. He lives in eastern New York with his wife and two children.

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Tebbetts

Tebbetts

Chris Tebbetts is the author and co-author of many books for young readers. Titles include the New York Times #1 best-selling MIDDLE SCHOOL series and PUBLIC SCHOOL SUPERHERO with James Patterson; the STRANDED series with Jeff Probst; the young adult novel M OR F? with Lisa Papademetriou; and THE VIKING series. He is a native of Yellow Springs, Ohio, a graduate of Northwestern University, and a current resident of Hinesburg, Vermont.

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Peggy Thomas

Peggy Thomas

Peggy’s nonfiction writing is driven by her curiosity. Whether it’s wondering about the ‘earthier’ side of George Washington, or how elephants think, she hopes to spark children’s curiosity as well. Research has taken her deep into dusty archives, down the Peruvian Amazon, and occasionally has compelled her to practice “fear factor” research; whatever it takes to connect her readers to the world around them. A frequent speaker in schools and libraries, Peggy can be reached at www.Peggythomaswrites.com

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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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Vande Velde

Vande Velde

Vivian Vande Velde is the author of three dozen books for children and teens, including 8 Class Pets + 1 Dog / (divided by) 1 Squirrel = Chaos (winner of the 2013/2014 Beverly Cleary Children’s Choice Award in Oregon); Heir Apparent (winner of the 2001/2002 Anne Spencer Lindbergh Prize in Children’s Literature; and Never Trust a Dead Man (winner of the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery of 2000).  This year she has been awarded the New York Library Association’s Empire Award for her “significant contribution to literature for young people.”

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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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Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen, often called “the Hans Christian Andersen of America,” is the author of over 350 books including OWL MOON, THE DEVIL’S ARITHMETIC, and HOW DO DINOSAURS SAY GOODNIGHT. Her works, which range from very young rhymed picture books to novels for adults and every genre in between, have won an assortment of awards including two Nebulas, a World Fantasy Award, a Caldecott, the Golden Kite, three Mythopoeic awards, two Christopher Medals, a nomination for the National Book Award, the Jewish Book Award, the Kerlan Award, and the Catholic Library’s Regina Medal, as well as six honorary doctorates.  She lives in Massachusetts in the winter and Scotland in the summer. She writes every day.

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From the Festival Directors

Sibby and Kathy caught reading 1

Come celebrate the 19th Annual Rochester Children’s Book Festival, recipient of Writers & Books’ Big Pencil Award for 2011! Please join us on Saturday, November 7th, 2015, 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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