Festival Faculty 2015

AviAvi (photo by Katherine Warde) is part of a family of writers extending back into the 19th century. Born and raised in New York City, Avi was educated in local schools, before going to the Midwest and then back to NYC to complete his education. Starting out as a playwright—while working for many years as a librarian—he began writing books for young people when the first of his children came was born. Winner of many awards, including the 2003 Newbery Award for "Crispin: the Cross of Lead" two Newbery Honors, two Horn Book awards, and an O’Dell award, as well as many children’s choice awards, Avi frequently travels to schools around the country to talk to his readers. Among his most popular books are "Crispin: The Cross of Lead," "The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle," "Nothing But the Truth," the "Poppy" books, "Midnight Magic," and "The Fighting Ground." Avi’s most recent book is "Sophia’s War."

Lois ElhertLois Ehlert, has created numerous inventive, celebrated, and bestselling picture books, including "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom," "Lots of Spots," "Boo to You!", "Leaf Man," "Waiting for Wings," "Planting a Rainbow," "Growing Vegetable Soup," "Nuts to You," "Feathers for Lunch," and "Color Zoo", which received a Caldecott Honor. Her most recent book, "The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life" (released in March 2014) provides a moving, intimate, and inspiring inside look at her colorful picture book career.

Peter BrownPeter Brown (photo by Gwen Schroeder) has always loved telling stories. Growing up in New Jersey, he told stories by drawing whimsical characters and scenes from his imagination. As a teenager, he fell in love with writing, and told his tales with words. While studying illustration at Art Center College of Design, Peter’s love of both words and pictures led him to take several courses on children’s books, and before long he knew he’d found his calling. Peter’s books have earned him numerous awards, including a Caldecott Honor (2013) for "Creepy Carrots!", two E.B. White Awards and an E.B. White Honor, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book award, a Children’s Choice Award for Illustrator of the Year, two Irma Black Honors, and five New York Times bestsellers.

Jennifer L. Holm (photo by Todd Rafalovich) is a New York Times bestselling children's author and the recipient of three Newbery Honors for her novels "Our Only May Amelia," "Penny from Heaven," and "Turtle in Paradise." Jennifer collaborates with her brother, Matthew Holm, on two graphic novel series: the popular Babymouse series and the bestselling Squish series. She is also the author of several other highly praised books, including the Boston Jane trilogy. She lives in California with her husband and two children.

Rebecca Kai Dotlich is a poet and picture book author of such titles as "What is Science?" (a 2006 Subaru SB&F prize finalist), and "Lemonade Sun" (an American Booksellers "Pick of the Lists"). Her work is featured widely in poetry anthologies and textbooks. Rebecca promotes children's poetry, giving presentations and workshops to students, teachers, librarians and writers. A native Hoosier, Rebecca lives in Indiana.

Marc Tyler Nobleman is the author of Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman (multiple starred reviews; ALA Notable) and Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman (inspired a TED talk; covered by NPR's All Things Considered). Upcoming picture books include Thirty Minutes Over Oregon (nonfiction) and The Chupacabra Ate the Candelabra (fiction, perhaps obviously). He has been invited to speak at schools and conferences internationally (from Chile to Tanzania) and blogs about adventures in publishing (from research victories to promotional gambles) at Twitter: @MarcTNobleman.

Award-winning poet Kristine O’Connell George is one of the principal voices in contemporary children’s poetry. Kristine has been a part of the festival from the beginning with the publication of her first highly-acclaimed book, "The Great Frog Race." Her most recent publication is "Emma Dilemma." In addition to writing (which she loves!), George has more hobbies than free time: tennis, golf, hiking, photography, collage, watercolors, gardening, sewing ... She is a voracious reader and books keep company with craft and art projects in every corner of her house.

Editor Allyn Johnston has been working in children’s publishing in her native California for almost 30 years. She is currently vice president and publisher of Beach Lane books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster founded in 2008 and located on a flower-filled lane in San Diego. Among the authors and illustrators with whom Allyn works (and has worked) are Mem Fox, Lois Ehlert, Marla Frazee, Cynthia Rylant, Debra Frasier, and Avi.

CAROLINE ARNOLD is the author and/or illustrator of more 150 books for children. Her books are inspired by her love of nature and by her travels. She has two blogs. To learn about her art and writing process go to Caroline Arnold Art and Books. For her travel writing go to The Intrepid Tourist. Caroline loves to visit schools and libraries to talk about her books and the writing and illustrating process. On Friday you will have an opportunity to take look inside Caroline Arnold’s creative process in a hands-on workshop featuring fun projects and classroom activities linked to her books, including A Day and Night in the Rain Forest in her new Habitat series.


Thurber, an English bulldog, is the University's mascot.

He is named after Clarence Howe Thurber, University president from 1933-37.

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