Bryan Collier, award-winning author and illustrator, has illustrated numerous children's books, including Coretta Scott King and Caldecott honor books Rosa by Nikki Giovanni, Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill, and Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport. His most recent book, I, Too Am America, was published in 2012.
Bryan Collier grew up in Pocomoke, Maryland, the youngest of six children. His interest in art was always encouraged both at home and at school. Author Doreen Rappaport, who has collaborated on a number of books with him, reports that she often has to go back and edit her text because Collier has "explained" some part of the story so well in the illustrations that the particular passage of text becomes superfluous. Today Bryan spends his time working on his book illustrations, creating his own studio pieces, and going into classrooms to talk with teachers, librarians, and students about books and art. "I get so much from those school visits. With the books I've been doing, I have this amazing opportunity to bring my art and the process of making artwork and books into the classroom. I ask the students to talk to me and talk to each other about how they feel and what their own experiences are. Basically I ask them to tell their own story. Then I ask them to tell their own story through art.”
As a young girl, Caldecott Honor medalist Denise Fleming used to spend hours in her father's workshop cutting, gluing, carving, and building things. Today she spends many hours in her own workshop, where she makes the paper that she uses to illustrate her picture books using a technique called pulp painting.. Fleming's writes and illustrates picture books for the younger child. She uses a lot of verbs, a lot of action words because I hope when people read my books, they will act out the books because I really think picture books are like small plays. Her books include In the Tall, Tall, Grass, In the Small, Small Pond, Time to Sleep, Alphabet Under Construction, Shout! Shout it Out!,and the 2012 release Under Ground. Denise’s workshop is in northern Ohio where she lives with her artist husband David, her daughter and a variety of critters.
In the 1990’s Friday evening speaker Judy Fradin began helping her late husband Dennis research and write the From Sea to Shining Sea state book series for Children's Press. The author of dozens of children's and YA non-fiction books, Judy Fradin has three books published in 2011-2012. They include Tornado! (National Geographic Kids), Stolen Into Slavery (National Geographic Kids) and Zora! (issued by Clarion in August 2012).
Judy Fradin is known as a passionate cheerleader for non-fiction and for her meticulous research, attention to detail and smooth, graceful writing. A former teacher, she LOVES visiting schools and libraries, sharing how an idea becomes a book as well as practical tips about writing non-fiction. She has spectacular slide shows for each of her Witness to Disaster books and for Five Thousand Miles to Freedom as well as her books about the Lewis and Clark expedition. Her Underground Railroad presentation features pictures she obtained for Bound for the North Star. Judy Fradin is a resident of Evanston, Illinois.
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, a 2011 release. 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. She lives with her husband, daughter, and dog in a rural area in the Santa Monica Mountains of southern California and often finds poetry in her own backyard
Mike Graf has written over 70 books for children. He has been writing stories ever since he was in elementary school. His first story was a legend he made up about the creation of thunder, lightning, and hail. Years later, as an elementary school teacher his classes ran a school weather station. This experience led him write his first published book, The Weather Report. It also landed him a consulting job with The Weather Channel. Now, years later, he has written several books on weather for children- both fiction and non-fiction. He also has several teacher's books and science kits published on weather. Mike’s national park The Adventures with the Parkers has received rave reviews from both children and adults. Most of his time is split between teaching, writing, and visiting schools. He lives in Chico with his family. When Mike has time, he enjoys biking, hiking, backpacking, camping, and of course, spending time in the national parks.
Allyn Johnston vice president and publisher at Beach Lane books, an imprint of Simon Schuster, has been working in children’s publishing in her native California since 1985. Among the authors and illustrators with whom she works are Mem Fox, Lois Ehlert, Marla Frazee, Cynthia Rylant, Debra Frasier, Arthur Howard, Jan Thomas, Avi, and M. T. Anderson. Recent titles she’s edited are New York Times bestseller Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury; and A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee and New York Times bestseller All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee, both of which received a Caldecott Honor. In an interview shortly before she began at Simon Schuster, Allyn stated, “I want to publish books that go into the heart of a family and into the most private moments between parents and their children… I like to imagine the books I've worked on as being present in the lives of children the way books were for me.” Allyn lives in San Diego with her husband and son.
Keynote speaker Anita Silvey, is a well-known editor and literary critic in the genre of children’s literature. She has served as Editor-in-Chief of The Horn Book Magazine and as vice-president at Houghton Mifflin where she oversaw children’s and young adult book publishing. She has also authored a number of books about children's literature, including 100 Best Books for Children, , 500 Great Books for Teens, Everything I Need to Know I learned in a Children’s Book, Children’s Books-A-Day Almanac and The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators. Anita also writes for children. The Plant Hunters: True Stories of Their Daring Adventures to the Far Corners of the Earth, was released in April 2012 She has devoted 40 years to promoting books that will turn the young—and their families—into readers. To do this she has appeared frequently on NPR, The Today Show, 60 Minutes, and radio programs in the United States and Canada to talk about books for children and teenagers. Publishers Weekly said that with regards to children's literature, ""It would be hard to find a more authoritative voice than Anita Silvey."
In a unique career in the children’s book field, Anita Silvey has divided her time equally between publishing and evaluating children’s books. Her lifelong conviction that “only the very best of anything can be good enough for the young” forms the cornerstone of all of her work.
Award winning writer Marilyn Singer has published over ninety books for children and young adults. Her genres are many and varied, including realistic novels, fantasies, non-fiction, fairy tales, picture books, mysteries and poetry. She likes writing many different kinds of books because it’s challenging and it keeps her from getting bored. Her recent book, Mirror Mirror earned numerous awards, including: the Cybil Award for Poetry, 2011, an ALA Notable 2011; an CLA/NCTE Notable, 2011 and six starred reviews. In addition, Marilyn’s 2012 publications include The Superheroes Employment Agency, Tallulah’s Solo, A Stick is an Excellent Thing, A Dog’s Day, and A Strange Place to Call Home. At the Festival Marilyn will co-host the Friday afternoon Poetry Blast with Kristine O’Connell George and give the Saturday morning keynote.
Marilyn and her husband currently live in Brooklyn, NY. Her interests include ballroom/Latin dancing, dog training, reading, hiking, bird-watching, gardening, playing computer adventure games, and going to the movies and the theatre. She’s also a major Star Trek fan. To find out more about Marilyn Singer and her writing life, go to her website http://marilynsinger.net/