Avi is part of a family of writers extending back into the 19th century. Born in 1937 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 kids came along.
Helen Frost was born in Brookings, South Dakota,the fifth of ten children. She graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in Elementary Education and a concentration in English, with Philip Booth and W. D. Snodgrass among her teachers. She received her Masters degree in English from Indiana University in 1994. She is the recipient of a 2009 National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship.
Throughout her career, writing and teaching have been inter-woven threads. She has published poetry, children's books, anthologies, and a play, as well as a book about teaching writing. She has taught writing at all levels, from pre-school through university.
She has lived in South Dakota, Massachusetts, Scotland, Vermont, Alaska, Oregon, and California, and presently lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In Scotland, she taught at Kilquhanity House School, a progressive boarding school. In Alaska, she taught for three years in a one-teacher school in Telida, an Athabascan community of about 25 people, and later taught fifth grade in Ketchikan.
Her first collection of poetry, Skin of a Fish, Bones of a Bird, won the Women Poets Series Competition in 1993 and was published by Ampersand Press. Poems in that collection were also awarded the Robert H. Winner Memorial Award and the Mary Carolyn Davies Memorial Award by the Poetry Society of America. Her second poetry collection, as if a dry wind, was published by Pecan Grove Press in 2009.
Helen worked with the Fort Wayne Dance Collective for over 10 years as part of an inter-disciplinary artistic team in a violence-prevention program incorporating creative movement, percussion, visual arts, and writing. She has also worked with the Fort Wayne YWCA and the Fort Wayne Youtheatre to help high school students write about how they have been affected by violence. The students' writing was the basis of a play and an anthology, both entitled Why Darkness Seems So Light. That work led to the book, When I Whisper, Nobody Listens: Helping Young People Write About Difficult Issues(Heinemann, 2001).
Keesha's House, published in 2003 by Frances Foster Books / Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, was awarded a Michael L. Printz Honor in 2004. Frances Foster subsequently published Spinning Through the Universe in 2004, The Braid in 2006, Diamond Willow in 2008, Crossing Stones in 2009, Hidden in 2011, andSalt in 2013. These seven books are all novels-in-poems for children and young adults.
Monarch and Milkweed, published in 2008 by Atheneum, is a picture book illustrated by Leonid Gore. Step Gently Out, a picture book collaboration with photographer Rick Lieder, was published by Candlewick in 2012.
Helen lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She is married and has two sons. She enjoys travel, hiking, beaded gourd-work, kayaking, and raising and releasing monarch butterflies.
Jennifer A. Bell
Jennifer A. Bell is an illustrator whose work can be found on greeting cards, in magazines, and in multiple children's books. She studied fine art at the Columbus College of Art and Design and spent many years as a seasonal giftware and greeting card designer before becoming a children's book illustrator. Her titles include Too Shy for Show-and-Tell by Beth Bracken (awarded the Eric Hoffer Grand Prize in 2012), Little Dog, Lost by Marion Dane Bauer, the Stella Batts series by Courtney Sheinmel, When a Dad Says 'I Love You' by Douglas Wood, and My Pen Pal, Santa by Melissa Stanton.
She lives in Minneapolis MN with her husband, son, and cranky cat.
Lisa Von Drasek
Lisa Von Drasek is the Curator of the Children's Literature Research Collections . The CLRC, an internationally recognized resource in the field of children’s literature, contain six core collections and several smaller collections. They are the Kerlan Collection of Children's Literature, the Hess Collection of Dime Novels, Story Papers, and Series Books, the Paul Bunyan Collection, the Laura Jane Musser Collection of Oziana materials, and the Illustrated Treasure Island Collection. Lisa previously was the Children's Librarian of the Bank Street College of Education. She was the teacher/librarian for pre-k through 8th grade as well as a teacher of Children's Literature, Storytelling, and Children's Book Publishing 101. Lisa reviews children's books for The New York Times, Shelf Awareness and blogs at EarlyWord: The Librarian/Publisher Connection. She has served as a juror on The New York Times Best Illustrated, the Newbery Committee, The Ezra Jack Keats Award, Trudi Birger Prize (Jerusalem Book Fair) National Book Awards for Young People's Literature and American Library Association's Notable Children's Books.