2023 Virtual School Visits
The following authors and illustrators are donating virtual school visits to Title 1 Schools in Rhode Island during the month of March, 2023.
Middle Grade books
Janae Marks is the critically acclaimed author of middle grade novels From the Desk of Zoe Washington, A Soft Place to Land, and On Air with Zoe Washington. She has an MFA in Writing for Children from The New School, and lives in Connecticut with her family. Learn more at janaemarks.com
Rajani LaRocca was born in India, raised in Kentucky, and now lives in the Boston area, where she practices medicine and writes award-winning books for young readers, including the Newbery Honor winning middle grade novel in verse, Red, White, and Whole. She’s always been an omnivorous reader, and now she is an omnivorous writer of fiction and nonfiction, novels and picture books, prose and poetry. She finds inspiration in her family, her childhood, the natural world, math, science, and just about everywhere she looks. www.RajaniLaRocca.com
When asked what inspires her novels, Dee Hahn often speaks about her own life experiences and her passions. She likes to incorporate themes of forgiveness and redemption in her novels, as well as self-discovery. Whenever she gets the opportunity, she’ll also try to sneak in the mention of ravens or lemon pie (two of her favorite things). The Grave Thief is Dee's first novel, and fantasy will always be the genre of her heart. deehahn.ca/
Abby Cooper is the author of middle grade novels Sticks & Stones, Bubbles, and Friend or Fiction. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, their son, Benny, and miniature poodle, Louis. A former teacher and school librarian, her favorite things in the world (besides writing) are getting and giving book recommendations and sharing her love of reading with others. In her spare time, she likes eating cupcakes, doing puzzles, and watching a lot of bad reality TV. abbycooperauthor.com
Mark Oshiro is the award-winning author of the young adult books Anger is a Gift (2019 Schneider Family Book Award), Each of us a Desert, and Into the Light, as well as their middle grade books The Insiders and You Only Live Once, David Bravo. They are also the co-author (with Rick Riordan) of the upcoming Percy Jackson novel centered on Nico di Angelo and Will Solace. When not writing, they are trying to pet every dog in the world. markoshiro.com
Claudia Guadalupe Martínez has lived in Mexico, Texas, California Massachusetts and Illinois. The core of her childhood memories are set in El Paso, Texas. This dynamic of growing up between borders inspires her writing. Her books include: The Smell of Old Lady Perfume, Pig Park, Not a Bean, Spirit Untamed: The Movie Novel, and Still Dreaming. Her work has garnered her two Texas Institute of Letters Best Young Adult Book Awards, a Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, an Américas Award Commendation, Library Guild Award and multiple starred reviews. When she is not working on her books, Claudia uses her graduate degree in English Education from the University of Illinois to teach writing at the college level.
Picture Books & EARLY READERS
Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, M.S.Ed, is a Philadelphia-based, award-winning children’s book author. As an inaugural fellow with the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC), she also developed foundational curricular frameworks for youth and adult anti-racist programming. Her picture books and middle grade fiction, which feature young Black and Muslim protagonists, have been recognized as the best in children’s literature by Time Magazine, NCTE, and NPR, and she is a 2021 Irma Black Award Honor author. Her picture book Your Name Is a Song was named a NEA Read Across America book.
Carrie Finison writes picture books with humor and heart, including Dozens of Doughnuts (Putnam, 2020), a Junior Library Guild selection; and Don’t Hug Doug (Putnam, 2021), an ALA Notable Children’s Book, which received starred reviews from both Kirkus and Publishers Weekly. Her most recent picture books are Lulu & Zoey: A Sister Story (Running Press Kids, 2022), and Hurry, Little Tortoise, Time for School! (Random House Studio, 2022). www.carriefinison.com
Nancy Churnin is an award-winning children’s book author based in North Texas who writes about heroes and heroines that inspire children to heal the world. She won the 2021 National Jewish Book Award and 2022 Sydney Taylor Honor for Dear Mr. Dickens. She also won two Sydney Taylor Notables, for A Queen to the Rescue, the Story of Henrietta Szold Founder of Hadassah and Irving Berlin, the Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing and the South Asia Book Award for Manjhi Moves a Mountain. nancychurnin.com
Award-winning author Laurie Wallmark writes picture book biographies of women in STEM as well as fiction. Her books have earned multiple starred trade reviews, been chosen as Junior Library Guild Selections, and received awards such as Outstanding Science Trade Book, Best STEM Book, Crystal Kite Award, Cook Prize Honor, and Parents’ Choice Gold Medal. Her titles include Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine, Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code, Hedy Lamarr's Double Life, Numbers in Motion, Code Breaker, Spy Hunter. Laurie has an MFA in Writing from VCFA. She is a former software engineer and computer science professor. www.lauriewallmark.com
Remy Lai writes and draws for kids. She is the author and illustrator of the critically acclaimed Pie in the Sky, Fly on the Wall, and Pawcasso. Her latest books are the junior graphic novel series Surviving the Wild. She lives in Brisbane, Australia, where she can often be found exploring the woods with her two dogs—Poop Roller and Bossy Boots. Sometimes, she eats ice cream for breakfast
Kari Allen is an elementary teacher at a local independent school where every day she gets to share stories with kids. Kari’s early readers, SlJ star reviewed Maddie and Mabel, and Maddie and Mabel Take the Lead are Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selections. Her debut picture book The Boy Who Loved Maps will be out this summer. She has an MA in the Teaching of Writing and one of her favorite things is to help kids fall in love with words.
In addition to writing award-winning and critically acclaimed YA books, Nora Shalaway Carpenter is a Certified Yoga Teacher and the author of the picture book Yoga Frog and its companion mini book, Yoga Frog: Reflections from the Lily Pond. Before earning her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, she taught many, many children’s yoga classes. Visit her at noracarpenterwrites.com.
Emeline Lee is an author of children's literature. Her debut picture book, Bonnie's Rocket, illustrated by Alina Chau and published by Lee & Low, is a STEM-friendly story set during the Apollo 11 moon landing. She studied English literature and environmental sustainability at Columbia University and now works in the renewable energy sector in New York City. Find her on the web at emelinelee.com
Kathryn Holmes is the author of the Class Critters chapter book series, which includes Tally Tuttle Turns Into a Turtle, David Dixon’s Day as a Dachshund, and Madison Morris is NOT a Mouse!. Her next book, and her middle-grade debut, is The Thirteenth Circle, co-written with MarcyKate Connolly and scheduled for winter 2024. Kathryn also wrote the young adult novels The Distance Between Lost and Found and How It Feels to Fly. A graduate of The New School’s MFA in Creative Writing program, Kathryn works as a freelance dance journalist, among other writing gigs.
Andi Diehn works as a children’s book editor and marketer at Nomad Press. She has written eleven nonfiction books and a fictional picture book about mental wellness called Mama's Days (December 2022, Reycraft Books). She has six more nonfiction picture books scheduled to release over the next two years. Andi also works as a bookseller at her local indie in rural New Hampshire, where she lives with her husband, three sons, and lots of pets. andidiehn.com
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