Authors Visiting Boulder - Spring 2019
March 21st - Luke Flowers A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister Rogers AVAILABLE
About the Book: Reminiscent of Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, this delightfully illustrated book features whimsical four-color art from Flowers and showcases the thoughtful values that Mister Rogers is best known for, which are just as relevant today as they were 50 years ago.
About the Illustrator: Luke Flowers has illustrated over 42 children's books, including his author/illustrator debut series Moby Shinobi, a Scholastic Easy Reader that has sold 800,000+ copies across three books since 2016. Luke's artwork explores a wide range of styles and techniques and has been featured in over 36 gallery shows in Los Angeles, New York, and Colorado. He also enjoys puppeteering, playing banjo, and going on adventures with his wife and three kids in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
About the Presentation: Luke's presentation starts with his journey to becoming a children’s book author/illustrator and he shares images of books he has worked on. He'll introduce A Beautiful Day and talk about how it came to be, then he'll read a few of his favorite poems. The presentation continues with an interactive activity that can either be a drawing demo or a scene-writing exercise, and he finishes with questions from the students!
April 10th - Elisa Kleven *multiple picturebooks* AVAILABLE
About the Author/Illustator: I write and illustrate picture books because I've never outgrown a deep childhood urge to enter a magical world. As a child growing up in Los Angeles, I used to wish that my huge, congested city were more like the places in the books that I loved - places where forests grew and seasons changed, where animals talked and anything was possible. I envied those characters who slid down rabbit holes, or visited with Charlotte and Wilbur, or flew with Peter Pan, or floated with Mary Poppins, or journeyed to Oz. My first picture book was published in 1988, and eighteen have followed. I'm very inspired as well by my children, Mia and Ben, my husband Paul, our two dogs and our cat. They all appear in many forms and disguises in my books! My family and I live in the town of Albany, California, next door to Berkeley and across the bay from San Fransisco. From our window, we can see the Golden Gate Bridge, and the boats on San Fransisco Bay.
About the Presentation: In pictures and words, I explore the concept of imagination with children. I begin with an interactive drawing and storytelling session which aims to stimulate both writing and art skills. Next, I present a slideshow and discuss some of the connections between childhood play and creative work, emphasizing how a childhood passion can become a career in adulthood. I talk about where ideas come from, how I research my books, and how mistakes and mess-ups can, with love and perseverance, become finished work. The process of making a picture book is also detailed, illuminated by original collages from my books, book dummies (practice books), and publishers' proofs. The presentation also focuses on the "miniature worlds" in my picture books, be they purely imaginary places or real cities. My aim is to encourage children to think up their own characters, settings, and stories -- the basics of fiction!
TBD – Kelly Jensen (Don’t) Call Me Crazy
We've been offered a visit from Kelly Jensen if we are able to put together a large event! A school-wide assembly with hundreds of students will convince the publisher to send her. This would be a good opportunity for any schools wanting to start a conversation about mental health with their students. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with declarations of interest!
About the Book: What does it mean to be crazy? Is using the word crazy offensive? What happens when such a label gets attached to your everyday experiences?
In order to understand mental health, we need to talk openly about it. Because there's no single definition of crazy, there's no single experience that embodies it, and the word itself means different things--wild? extreme? disturbed? passionate?--to different people.
(Don't) Call Me Crazy is a conversation starter and guide to better understanding how our mental health affects us every day. Thirty-three writers, athletes, and artists offer essays, lists, comics, and illustrations that explore their personal experiences with mental illness, how we do and do not talk about mental health, help for better understanding how every person's brain is wired differently, and what, exactly, might make someone crazy.
If you've ever struggled with your mental health, or know someone who has, come on in, turn the pages, and let's get talking.
About the Author: Kelly Jensen is a former librarian-turned-editor for Book Riot and Stacked. She's the author of It Happens: A Guide to Contemporary Realistic Fiction for the YA Reader. She loves black licorice and debating genre. Follow her on Twitter: @veronikellymars.
About the Presentation: Kelly is fantastic in front of a crowd, but mental health can be a tough topic. If there's enough interest, we'll collaborate with Kelly and the school to be sure we're setting up an event that will be approachable for teens and their teachers. This would likely be an in-conversation event.
Local Authors! Available Year-Round!
Martha Freeman **Multiple Series and Titles**
About the Author: Martha Freeman was born in Southern California in the days when dinosaurs were still a threat. At least that's what her three grown children will tell you.
After graduating from Stanford University, Martha worked as a newspaper reporter, copy editor, substitute teacher, college lecturer, advertising copywriter and magazine writer before finding her true calling as a writer of children's books. She has since written 23 books for children.
In 1995, Martha's family moved from Sonora, California, to State College, Pennsylvania. Martha's book, The Year My Parents Ruined My Life, is loosely based on this move. In fact, Martha’s books are often inspired by her family.
You can see how hosting many many Thanksgiving dinners for large groups affected her writing if you read her Thanksgivig mystery, Who Stole Grandma's Million-Dollar Pumpkin Pie?, which is part of the Chickadee Court series, featuring Alex, Yasmeen and Luau, the ace detective cat. Pets – especially cats – have always been important to Martha. That's why almost every single one of her books has a cat as a character, and her First Kids mysteries feature a first dog with too much energy, Hooligan.
Martha recently moved to Boulder, Colorado, where she enjoys writing, running, making pies, entertaining her baby granddaughter and hiking.
About the Presentation: Martha likes to talk to kids of all ages, shapes and sizes. Usually, she makes them laugh. Sometimes, this is on purpose. So far, however, she has not burped into a microphone. Do not believe anyone who tells you otherwise.
I give a high-energy, low-tech, occasionally uproarious talk that emphasizes the joys of reading, writing and imagination. If the group size permits, we play a game that reinforces classroom lessons on the elements of story. It's especially fun to talk to students who have read my books. Their questions and comments are always interesting and sometimes pointed.
Most of my books are for students in second through sixth grades, but Mrs. Wow Never Wanted a Cow is for younger children, and A Thousand Reasons Never to Kiss a Boy is for middle school and high school. The Year My Parents Ruined My Life seems to work well for many age groups. I am also available to speak to parents, librarians, teachers, and writers.
Group size is flexible. Smaller groups give us more opportunity for interaction, but I have faced down auditoriums filled with eighth graders and lived to tell. Workshops are for 20 or fewer students.
Please email email@example.com to enquire about author visit rates!
Beth Anderson An Inconvenient Alphabet
About the Book: Do you ever wish English was eezeeyer to spell? Ben Franklin and Noah Webster did! Beth Anderson and the New York Times bestselling illustrator of I Dissent, Elizabeth Baddeley, tell the story of two patriots and their attempt to revolutionize the English alphabet. Once upon a revolutionary time, two great American patriots tried to make life easier. They knew how hard it was to spell words in English. They knew that sounds didn’t match letters. They knew that the problem was an inconvenient English alphabet. In 1786, Ben Franklin, at age eighty, and Noah Webster, twenty-eight, teamed up. Their goal? Make English easier to read and write. But even for great thinkers, what seems easy can turn out to be hard. Children today will be delighted to learn that when they “sound out” words, they are doing eg-zakt-lee what Ben and Noah wanted.
About the Author: Beth Anderson, a former English as a Second Language teacher, has always marveled at the power of books. With linguistics and reading degrees, her fascination with language, and a penchant for untold tales, she strives for accidental learning in the midst of a great story. Beth is drawn to stories that open minds, touch hearts, and inspire questions. Born and raised in Illinois, she now lives in Loveland, Colorado.
About the Presentation: Beth prefers grade level groups or smaller (~120 or less) rather than whole school assemblies. She uses a Power Point presentation to provide visuals. Presentations can be customized to fit the needs of your students! Here are some of the different formats:
- An interactive reading (15 min) + a short “from idea to book” overview (15 min) + Q&A.
- The journey from idea to book focusing on the writing process and the role of “connections." (3rd grade and up).
- any topic related to the writing process or book with Q&A for any age (a less formal option).
- Workshops on Making Characters Come Alive - basically, the concept of “show don’t tell” (with smaller groups).
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to enquire about author visit rates!
Stan Yan There's A Zombie in the Basement
About the Book: Stan’s own son’s fear of his zombie caricature artwork inspired this tale of Milo, a boy with an overactive imagination who won’t let his parents sleep because he thinks monsters in the basement are going to come up and get him. See how he overcomes his fears!
About the Author: Stan Yan is a Denver-based writer/illustrator, caricature artist and instructor. Yan grew up on Denver and went to school at the University of Colorado in Boulder where he got his bachelor’s degree in accounting. Yan’s life took the tragic turn into sales for the securities industry, where he wallowed in ethical poverty on-and-off for thirteen years. Yan took his frustrations out by penning graphic novels such as THE WANG. In 2005, Yan gave up on financial security and became a full-time freelance cartoonist, illustrating SUBCULTURE for Ape Entertaiment and Action Lab Danger Zone, creating comic strips for the financial and sales industry, drawing zombie caricatures, and picking up odd illustration and teaching jobs when folks felt agonizing pity for him. He helped to co-found the Squid Works comic creator cooperative, was a board member of the Colorado Alliance of Illustrators and is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).
His work has been seen in VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS (BlueWater Productions / Storm Comics / Tidal Wave), THERE’S A ZOMBIE IN THE BASEMENT (Squid Works Kids), DENVER COMIX, KITE TALES, the RMC-SCBWI annual calendar, THE QUEUING DEAD (British zombie anthology), POP CULTURE CLASSROOM, and THE WESTWORD, among many others.
About the Presentation: Includes fun, interactive monster drawing workshop. Presentations are generally 40 minutes long, can be divided into K-2nd and 3rd-5th grade groups depending on number of students. Groups 100 or less is suggested. Please email email@example.com to enquire about author visit rates!
Kim Tomsic The 11:11 Wish
About the Book: Megan Meyers has a foolproof plan to reinvent herself at her new school. Good-bye, dorky math nerd; hello, friend magnet! But her first day at Saguaro Prep starts off weird to the tenth power. When she's dared to "make something exciting happen," Megan is thrown into the middle of an epic power struggle between the two seventh-grade Spirit Captains. So with nothing to lose, Megan wishes for "some magic" as her classroom's cat clock chimes 11:11--and is granted an enchanted teen magazine promising miracle makeovers and sure-fire secrets for winning friends and crushes. But magic can have dangerous side effects, and as her social life grows exponentially worse, Megan begins to wonder if wishing was ever a purrfect idea.
About the Author: Kim Tomsic was “made” in France, born on an American military base in Italy, and has lived in various parts of the United States. She has been the new-girl at many schools which is probably why she is now a declared extrovert and enjoys helping others connect. Although Kim admires nice shoes, she’s super-awkward in heels and can usually be found in flip-flops and on her way to a yoga class.
Fast facts: Kim is a reader, writer, dreamer, believer, exclamation point abuser, lover of peanut M&Ms, devourer of ling-hi-muis, and fan of all things children’s literature. She is active with the SCBWI and serves as Co-RA for the Rocky Mountain Chapter. Kim is also on the Board of Directors for the Friends of Haiti, a 501 (c) 3 charity organized to provide Haitian students the opportunity to go to school. Kim claims two super-powers: parallel parking and fierce loyalty. She has one husband, two children, and two dogs—all keep her laughing.
About the Presentation: Her free school visit presentation is fun and interactive. It lasts for one hour and is ideal for 3rd -6th graders. It includes a fun talk and slide show about an author's life, her inspiration, the book, and STEM since the protagonist uses the scientific method to try and solve the mystery of the magical consequences. Student volunteers wear lab coats as we go through the scientific method!
Leah Gilbert A Couch For Llama
About the Book: The Lago family really loves their couch, but all good things come to an end, and the family must replace it. As they drive home with their brand-new couch, it falls off their car and into a fieldEwhere a llama adopts it. Can the family get its furniture back "and" keep llama happy?
About the Author: Leah grew up just blocks from Lake Michigan in a small Wisconsin town, with a deep love of art, books, and The Lake. After earning her bachelor's degree in illustration and graphic design, she moved to Colorado where she has worked as an illustrator and designer at a greeting card company for the past ten years. She currently lives in the Denver area with her husband and a fluffy puppy, and still has a deep love of art, books, and The Lake... and the mountains, too.
Lija Fisher The Cryptid Catcher
About the Book: After Clivo Wren’s archaeologist father dies mysteriously, the newly orphaned thirteen-year-old finds out the truth: his dad was no archaeologist. He was actually a cryptid catcher, known for finding elusive beasts like the bloodsucking chupacabra. His goal: discover the one extraordinary cryptid whose blood grants immortality—before the knowledge falls into the wrong hands.
The mission remains unfinished, and now there’s only one person who can take the renowned cryptid catcher’s place: Clivo. He may not know the first thing about monster hunting, but he’s willing to give it a try—because anything beats staying home with his salsa-crazy aunt and her neurotic cats.
About the Author: Lija Fisher was born in Istanbul, Turkey and raised at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. She graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a BFA in Performance Studies and has performed in regional theatres across New York, Florida, Alaska and Colorado. In 2017 she was a Writer in Residence with Aspen Words. Lija has lived in London, LA and NYC but now calls Colorado home. The Cryptid Catcher is her first novel.
Previous School Visits
October 29th 2018 - John August Arlo Finch Series
October 23rd 2018 - Molly Brooks Sanity & Tallulah
October 17th 2018 – Alison McGhee Dear Sister
October 5th 2018 - Kevin Henkes A Parade of Elephants
October 2nd 2018 - Melissa Savage The Truth About Martians
September 24th 2018 - Emily Whitman The Turning
September 5th 2018 - Ellen Hopkins People Kill People
August 24th 2018 - Kelly deVos Fat Girl on a Plane