R.L. Stine at Columbine Elementary, May 2019. Photo credit: Boulder Book Store
Luke Flowers at Superior Elementary, May 2019. Photo credit: Tracy Huffman, Teacher Librarian, at Superior Elementary.
Authors Visiting Boulder - Fall 2019
Tom Watson Stick Cat: Two Cats to the Rescue FULLY BOOKED
About the Book: Perfect for fans of Big Nate, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and the Stick Dog books, Tom Watson's hilarious series continues with Stick Cat: Two Cats to the Rescue--a backyard adventure involving a curious baby, two daring cats, and a pack of hungry pups! Millie needs Stick Cat's help. When little Millie wanders off, Stick Cat needs to get her back. It's a rescue mission with too many obstacles to count. There's a runaway butterfly, a pole-vaulting adventure, and a growling beast in the woods. Yikes. And, of course, there's Edith. Oh, Edith. Will Stick Cat be able to navigate around her wacky plans, fragile ego and peculiar ways? Just when he's doubting his chances, five familiar dogs burst onto the scene to help this rescue mission succeed.
About the Author: Tom lives in Chicago with his wife, Mary, and their daughter, Elizabeth, and son, Jacob. They also have a dog named Shadow. Tom wanted to name the dog, “Put Your Shirt On.” It’s a long story. While we have your attention, Tom wants to declare something. He will not be the author of any other stick animal books. He will not, for instance, be writing a Stick Chicken book – even though that’s fun to say. Stick Chicken, Stick Chicken, Stick Chicken. There will be no Stick Donkey, Stick Cow or Stick Manatee books. There will be no Stick Giraffe books despite the fact that stick giraffes are totally fun to draw. In fact, Tom drew a stick giraffe in the fifth Stick Dog book, Stick Dog Tries to Take the Donuts. So, no more stick animal books. Tom’s having plenty of fun with dogs and cats.
About the Presentation: Tom prefers 3rd-7th graders and the more students the merrier! No A/V necessary, but he does need something to draw on (whiteboard, big pad of paper, etc.). Students should also have pencil and paper as Tom does a drawing demonstration! His presentation is about 45-50 minutes long and includes a 5-10 minute talk, 30 minutes of interactive drawing, and a Q&A for 5-10 minutes. Tom will sign and personalize books.
Katherine Rundell The Good Thieves AVAILABLE FOR SEPTEMBER 30
About the Book: From award-winning author Katherine Rundell comes a fast-paced, sharp-turning, and utterly thrilling adventure, one driven at its heart by an extraordinarily powerful evocation of the loyalty and love between a grandfather and his granddaughter. Fresh off the boat from England, Vita Marlowe has a job to do. Her beloved grandfather Jack has been cheated out of his home and possessions by a notorious conman with Mafia connections. Seeing Jack's spirit is broken, Vita is desperate to make him happy again, so she devises a plan to outwit his enemies and recover his home. She finds a young pickpocket, working the streets of the city. And, nearby, two boys with highly unusual skills and secrets of their own are about to be pulled into her lawless, death-defying plan. Katherine Rundell's fifth novel is a heist as never seen before--the story of a group of children who will do anything to right a wrong.
About the Author: Katherine Rundell is the author of Rooftoppers, Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms (a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winner), The Wolf Wilder, and The Explorer. She grew up in Zimbabwe, Brussels, and London, and is currently a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. She begins each day with a cartwheel and believes that reading is almost exactly the same as cartwheeling: it turns the world upside down and leaves you breathless. In her spare time, she enjoys walking on tightropes and trespassing on the rooftops of Oxford colleges.
Sharon Robinson Child of the Dream: A Memoir of 1963 FULLY BOOKED
About the Book: In January 1963, Sharon Robinson turns thirteen the night before George Wallace declares on national television "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" in his inauguration speech as governor of Alabama. It is the beginning of a year that will change the course of American history. As the daughter of baseball legend Jackie Robinson, Sharon has opportunities that most people would never dream of experiencing. Their family hosts multiple fund-raisers at their home in Connecticut for the work that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is doing. Sharon sees her first concert after going backstage at the Apollo Theater. And her whole family attends the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. But things don't always feel easy for Sharon. She is one of the only black children in her wealthy Connecticut neighborhood. Her older brother, Jackie Robinson Jr., is having a hard time to live up to his father's famous name, causing some rifts in the family. And Sharon feels isolated - struggling to find her role in the civil rights movement that is taking place across the country. This is the story of how one girl finds her voice in the fight for justice and equality.
About the Presentation: Sharon has a Powerpoint presentation and will bring her flash drive. Her presentation will require VGA connection, large projection screen, remote control to advance slides, podium, and microphone. There will also be a Q&A session and book signing.
About the Author: Sharon Robinson is an acclaimed author of several works of fiction and nonfiction as well as an educational consultant for Major League Baseball. She is the founder of Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life, a baseball-themed national character education curriculum that helps empower students overcome obstacles in their lives. Since 1997, the program has reached over 22 million students and over 3 million educators. Robinson's widely praised nonfiction books about her father, baseball and civil rights icon Jackie Robinson, include Testing the Ice: A True Story About Jackie Robinson and Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America. Her other books include novels: The Hero Two Doors Down: Based on the True Story of Friendship Between a Boy and a Baseball Legend, Safe at Home, Slam Dunk! and Under the Same Sun. Prior to joining Major League Baseball, Ms. Robinson was an educator and taught at Yale, Columbia, Howard, and Georgetown University. She currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
Lora Koehler The Little Snowplow Wishes for Snow AVAILABLE FOR OCTOBER 10
About the Book: The little snowplow loves his job on the Mighty Mountain Road Crew, but the work he loves best is plowing snow. Throughout the year, he wishes for snow to come, but winter begins without a single flake in sight. As the weeks pass and the little snowplow's birthday approaches, he starts to wonder whether it will snow at all. Will the little snowplow's birthday dreams come true?
About the Presentation: Lora prefers K-4th grade grouped either by classroom or grade (30ish-90 students), but is happy to talk with 5th-6th about the writing process. Her presentation is 30-45 minutes long and can cover such topics as wishes vs goals, the writing process, writing careers, and how books are made. The only potential A/V requirement is connecting Lora's iPhone either via bluetooth or a lightning digital av adapter. She does need a big pad of paper and something to write with.
About the Author: Lora Koehler is a writer and children's librarian in Salt Lake City, where the sun seems to shine at least a little most days, and the mountain trails are a 10-minute drive. She loves hiking, biking, backpacking, skiing, or walking in the rain with her two hiking companion dogs, Milo and Nishka.
Authors Visiting Boulder - Winter 2020
Luke Flowers Unicorn Day AVAILABLE FOR FEBRUARY
About the Book: The unicorns are celebrating their favorite day of the year, complete with rainbows, cupcakes, butterflies, and all sorts of joyful things. But when it's revealed there's an impostor in their midst, the party comes to a screeching halt... Will the unicorns welcome all and continue their fun in all its glittery glory? A clever, colorful, and over-the-top picture book about unicorns, celebrations, and most importantly, friendship.
About the Author: Luke is an illuminator of the imagination that spends his days (and most nights) in his cozy creative cave illustrating and writing children's books. He lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
MarcyKate Connolly Hollow Dolls AVAILABLE FOR FEBRUARY
Grades: 4th - 8th
About the Book: Set in the same fantasy world as the Shadow Weaver duology, this series starter weaves a tale of secrets, power, and magic. Simone is a mind-reader. She knows a great many things, but she can’t seem to remember anything about her past. So when she gets the chance to search for her family, she sets off to find her home. When she stumbles across a man with two minds inside him—the real one, shoved deep down, and one of a body walker, someone who can take over a person’s body against their will—Simone is even more eager to leave her old life behind. As Simone dives deeper into her history, she learns truths she never could have imagined. But as those she loves start disappearing around her, Simone knows only she can stop the evil, before it’s too late.
About the Author: MarcyKate lives in New England with her family and a grumble of pugs. She graduated from Hampshire College (a magical place where they don’t give you grades) where she wrote an opera sequel to Hamlet as the equivalent of senior thesis. It was also there that she first fell in love with plotting and has been dreaming up new ways to make life difficult for her characters ever since.
Amy McCulloch Jinxed AVAILABLE FOR FEBRUARY
Grades: 4th - 6th
About the Book: Lacey Chu has always dreamed of working as an engineer for MONCHA, the biggest tech firm in the world and the company behind the “baku”—a customizable “pet” with all the capabilities of a smartphone. But when Lacey is rejected by the elite academy that promises that future, she’s crushed. One night, Lacey comes across the broken form of a highly advanced baku. After Lacey repairs it, the cat-shaped baku she calls Jinx opens its eyes and somehow gets her into her dream school. But Jinx is different than any other baku she’s ever seen...He seems real. As Lacey settles into life at school, competing with the best students in a battle of the bakus that tests her abilities, she learns that Jinx is part of a dangerous secret. Can Lacey hold on to Jinx and her dreams for the future?
About the Author: Amy was born in the UK, raised in Canada, and currently lives in London. She is also the author of The Oathbreaker's Shadow duology and The Potion Diaries series. She loves traveling the world, researching extraordinary settings and intriguing stories for future books.
Local Authors! Available Year-Round!
Please email email@example.com to enquire about local author visits!
Beth Anderson An Inconvenient Alphabet AVAILABLE
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).
Melanie Crowder **Multiple Series and Titles** AVAILABLE
Ages: Middle Reader - Teen
About the Author: Melanie Crowder is the acclaimed author of several books for young readers, including Audacity, Three Pennies, An Uninterrupted View of the Sky, A Nearer Moon, and Parched, as well as the new middle grade duology The Lighthouse Between Worlds. Melanie lives under the big blue Colorado sky with her wife, two kids, and one good dog.
Julie Danneberg **multiple fiction and non-fiction titles** AVAILABLE
About her Presentations: Julie's standard presentation is a fun powerpoint that takes listeners through the writing process of getting ideas, prewriting, drafting and revision. She also shares how a story becomes a published book. These presentations last about 45 -50 minutes each and can be done for larger groups of students. Julie can also adjust her presentation to add topics they're learning in class. She is also available for writing workshops with smaller groups of students and can adjust lessons to fit your school's needs.
About the Author: Julie lives in Boulder, Colorado with her incredibly intelligent and handsome husband! (He made her say that). She also has two kids who are all grown up and don’t live at home anymore. She is a third generation Colorado native. Her grandmother was the daughter of a miner and grew up in some of our state’s most famous mining towns. She has lots of hobbies and loves to read, garden, bike, travel, listen to music, and sew. Sometimes, if she's really lucky, she can do more than one hobby at a time, like working on a quilt while flying on an airplane or listening to music while she gardens. She still hasn't figured out how to read while riding her bike, though.
Lija Fisher The Cryptid Catcher AVAILABLE
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.
Martha Freeman **Multiple Series and Titles** AVAILABLE
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.
Leah Gilbert A Couch For Llama AVAILABLE
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.
Claudia Mills **Multiple Series and Titles** AVAILABLE
About the Author: Claudia Mills was born in New York City. Her mother was an elementary school teacher who loved to write. When Claudia was six years old her mother gave her a blank notebook and told her that this was to be her poetry book. So she began to write poetry. This was the beginning of Claudia's life as a writer. She received her B.A. degree from Wellesley College, her M.A. degree from Princeton University, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University. She also received an M.L.S. degree from the University of Maryland, with a concentration in children's literature. Since 1991 she has taught philosophy, first as an assistant professor at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, then as an assistant professor and now as an associate professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She has two children, Christopher and Gregory, and one cat named Snickers.
Laura Perdew **Multiple Titles** AVAILABLE (These visits will include a speaking fee.)
Grades: 1st - 8th
About the Author: Laura is an author, writing consultant at CU Boulder, and former middle school language arts and social studies teacher. She has written over 30 books for the education market on a variety of topics including the wetlands conservation, biodiversity, and animal adaptations. One of those, Biodiversity: Explore the Diversity of Life on Earth, earned a starred review from Booklist and is a Junior Library Guild Selection. She is also the author of The Fort, a picture book that celebrates the power of imagination and compromise, and the magic of a fort. She lives in Boulder with her husband and twin boys.
About the Presentation: Laura has written many nonfiction books. This is ironic because she didn’t much like writing OR reading nonfiction when she was a kid. But now she does! And she wants to get students excited about nonfiction too. Her presentations are geared toward helping kids find the hook and the fun in researching and writing. Laura offers other presentations as well, including one that teaches about force, motion, work, and simple machines through the wacky machines designed by Rube Goldberg (based on her book, Crazy Contraptions, Nomad Press, October 2019). She’s also happy to tailor presentations to suit the needs, abilities, and interests of teachers and students.
Kim Tomsic The 11:11 Wish and Guitar Genius AVAILABLE
About The 11:11 Wish: 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 Guitar Genius: This is the story of how Les Paul created the world's first solid-body electric guitar, countless other inventions that changed modern music, and one truly epic career in rock and roll. How to make a microphone? A broomstick, a cinderblock, a telephone, a radio. How to make an electric guitar? A record player's arm, a speaker, some tape. How to make a legendary inventor? A few tools, a lot of curiosity, and an endless faith in what is possible. Featuring richly detailed, dynamic illustrations by Brett Helquist, this unforgettable biography will resonate with inventive readers young and old.
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 11:11 Wish 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!
About the Guitar Genius Presentation: Kim's presentation will be a 40-minute talk about Guitar Genius with a focus on curiosity, innovation, and perseverence. The presentation is ideal for 2nd - 6th graders. After the 40-minute talk, she will do 10-15 minutes of Q&A, and then stay and sign any books!
Stan Yan There's A Zombie in the Basement AVAILABLE
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, and can be divided into K-2nd and 3rd-5th grade groups depending on number of students. Groups 100 or fewer is suggested.
Previous School Visits
May 20, 2019 - Luke Flowers Unicorn Day
April 10, 2019 - Elisa Kleven *multiple picture books*
March 21st, 2019 - Luke Flowers A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister Rogers
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