Joanna Bradshaw taught English for five years before becoming the Dean of Students at East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy. As the Dean, she focused her work on educational equity. She transformed the school’s punitive discipline system into one of restorative justice, and worked to increase dialogue about race and inequity in the school’s charter management system. In 2014, she received San Mateo County’s Honored Teacher award for her commitment to social justice in education. Following her Dean role, she became the Director of Education for The Reset Foundation, an organization creating alternatives to prison for young men in the system. She designed Reset’s holistic, interdisciplinary program and ran the program pilot. Currently, Joanna works at Nearpod, an interactive educational technology company, where she design student content and teacher professional development projects.
Dave Butler lives in an old house and works in a study where one of the biggest bestsellers of the twentieth century was written. He has kept the room’s original shag carpet and wood-veneer walls. He likes games, guitars, languages, and, most of all, his family. Dave lives in Provo, Utah. You can find him on the Web at davidjohnbutler.com.
Ernesto Cisneros was born in the gang-ridden and often marginalized part of Santa Ana. By adolescence, he began questioning his place in the world. In his senior year in high school, he discovered a love of literature that continued to grow. However, it was not until he began teaching kids with similar backgrounds to himself that he learned about the value and need for literary diversity. And that is when he began writing books for children. He believes in creating realistic (often flawed) characters with everyday struggles. His book, The Writing on the Wall is the fictional, but very personal story of his life growing up on Santa Ana. Learn more about Ernesto’s work at www.ernestocisneros.com.
Kim Culbertson is the author of the YA novels Songs for a Teenage Nomad (Sourcebooks 2010), Instructions for a Broken Heart (Sourcebooks 2011), which was named a Booklist Top Ten Romance Title for Youth: 2011 and also won the 2012 Northern California Book Award for YA Fiction, Catch a Falling Star (Scholastic 2014), The Possibility of Now (Scholastic 2016), which was named a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year (2017 edition), and The Wonder of Us (Scholastic 2017). Much of her inspiration comes from her background teaching high school since 1997. In 2012, Kim wrote her eBook novella The Liberation of Max McTrue for her students, who, over the years, have taught her far more than she has taught them. Kim lives in Northern California with her husband and daughter. You can learn more about Kim at her website, kimculbertson.com.
Jill Davis is a children’s author and executive editor for Katherine Tegen Books, a division of HarperCollins Children’s Books. Her work includes The First Rule of Little Brothers and Orangutans are Ticklish. In addition, she was the editor of Elizabeth Partridge’s Printz Honor winner John Lennon: All I Want Is Truth and NBA finalist This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie. She edits picture books, middle-grade fiction, and teen fiction.
Mandy Davis‘ first novel, Superstar will be published in the summer of 2017 by HARPER (An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers). She received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University where she won an award for her critical thesis The Way to the Chair: Zen and the Practice of Writing. Mandy is represented by Jennifer Laughran at Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Before being bitten by the writing bug, Mandy was an elementary school teacher, a record store clerk, and once she even sold hamburgers on the sidewalk. When she’s not writing, Mandy can usually be found taking pictures or playing games of some sort. She also sings at least twice a day. Mandy spent her childhood and early adult life in Indiana. She currently writes, games, sings (and lives) in Minnesota with her partner Tony and their two ridiculous cats. Learn more about Mandy at mandydavis.com.
Marilyn Hilton is the author novels and nonfiction. She has also published numerous articles, devotions, short stories, and poems in literary and consumer magazines, and has contributed to various compilations. Her work has won awards including the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, a Jane Addams Peace Association Children’s Honor Book Award, the Sue Alexander Award, and the Associated Writing Programs Intro Journals Award. She holds a MA in English/Creative Writing and has worked for several years in the computer software industry as a technical writer and editor. Her books include Full Cicada Moon, and Found Things. Find out more about Marilyn and her books at www.marilynhilton.com.
Ann Jacobus earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, writes children’s and YA fiction, and teaches writing. She also volunteers weekly on a suicide crisis line. She’s published short fiction, essays and poetry in anthologies, journals, and magazines, and her debut YA thriller, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light, was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2015. San Francisco is home to her and her family. Learn more about Ann at her website, www.annjacobus.com.
Patricia Newman is the author of several books that connect young readers to scientific concepts in the news, such as the upcoming Zoo Scientists to the Rescue (Fall 2017) and Sea Otter Heroes: The Predators That Saved an Ecosystem. In her free time, she enjoys nature walks, the feel of garden dirt between her fingers, and traveling. She lives in Northern California with her husband. Learn more about Patricia at www.patriciamnewman.com.
Mitali Perkins (mitaliperkins.com) has written ten novels for young readers, including You Bring the Distant Near (nominated for the National Book Award), Rickshaw Girl (chosen by the New York Public Library as one of the top 100 books for children in the past 100 years), Bamboo People (an American Library Association’s Top Ten Novels for Young Adults), and Tiger Boy (winner of the Charlotte Huck Honor Award and the South Asia Book Award.) She was honored as a “Most Engaging Author” by independent booksellers across the country and selected as a “Literary Light for Children” by the Associates of the Boston Public Library. Mitali was born in Kolkata, India before immigrating to the United States. She has lived in Bangladesh, India, England, Thailand, Mexico, Cameroon, and Ghana, studied at Stanford and U.C. Berkeley, and currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Raina Telgemeier is the author and illustrator of the graphic novels Smile, Drama, and Sisters, all #1 New York Times bestsellers. She also adapted and illustrated four graphic novel versions of Ann M. Martin’s Baby-sitters Club series, and has contributed short stories to many anthologies. Raina’s accolades include two Eisner Awards, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, a Stonewall Honor, and many Best Of and Notable lists. Her newest graphic novel is Ghosts. Raina lives and works in San Francisco, CA. You can learn more about Raina and her books at goraina.com.
Ashley Walker is an author with a strong background in science. In her early career, she taught and worked as a computational scientist at UC Berkeley, the University of Edinburgh, and Glasgow University, as well as at NASA Ames. Her scientific work has appeared in Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Bioacoustics, Advances in Biological Sonar and more. She has also worked as a citizen scientist – teaching in schools and scouting programs, and hosting ecological projects for organizations like US Fish and Wildlife. Currently, she is pursuing an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts.
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