Jim Aylesworth's experiences as a teacher eventually led him to writing children's books. His students' enjoyment of his stories encouraged him to persist in pursuing his dream of being a children's book writer. It was in the classroom that he realized the power of books. He says, "I have seen a room full of children sit still and pay attention to a good book when it may be the first time they've been still at the same time all day." Aylesworth found himself wanting to be a bigger part of this world of children's stories. And so he decided to write his own books, and has stuck with this goal ever since.
2010 Authors and Presenters
The following authors, illustrators, and entertainers will be presenting at the 2010 Festival.
E.E. Charlton-Trujillo won the prestigious Delacorte Dell Yearling Award in 2004 for her first novel "Prizefighter En Mi Casa." Since then it has also won the Parents' Choice Silver Honor, a National Council for the Social Studies Notable Book, and the NYC Public Library Teenage List. Her second novel "Feels Like Home" received critical praise and earned her yet another NYC Public Library Teenage List Award. Charlton-Trujillo recently co-edited the feature film, "Night Fliers" and finished her third novel.
Debbi Chocolate, a former editor of children’s books, is the author of more than twenty picture books, including, "The Piano Man," which received the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award, and "Talk, Talk: An Ashanti Legend," winner of the Parents’ Choice Award. Her books have been featured on Reading Rainbow television and Sesame Street. Her purpose for writing is always the same: she writes to entertain and share her vision of life’s hope, it’s beauty, and its promise. She lives outside Chicago with her family.
Esme Raji Codell is a professional readiologist™ who thinks children's trade literature is our best hope for equalizing education in America. Anyone who says they care about kids and schools and doesn't read aloud is lying, or about to make the discovery of a lifetime. I'm a woman on a mission. Let me rock your pedagogical world.
Janice Del Negro is an educator with a focus on youth services in public libraries, as well as an accomplished storyteller. Del Negro is actively involved with children’s books as a reviewer as well as a writer. Her folktale retellings have been recorded for audio and have also been adapted in to print. She is the author of picture books as well as a collection of supernatural talks for young adults. She is an Assistant Professor of Library and Information Science at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois.
Anjali Forber-Pratt is an elite wheelchair racer and doctoral student in the College of Education at the University of Illinois. She holds two bronze medals from the Paralympic Games in Beijing, China and welcomes the challenge of the Paralympic Games in London 2012. Anjali enjoys traveling for speaking engagements around the country and volunteering with local organizations for kids with disabilities. She is in the midst of launching a Color, Learn and Play book aimed at educating young aspiring Paralympians on the variety of sports they can play and to teach young children that disabled people can play sports too!
Judith Fradin’s writing career began in the late 1980's as a researcher for her husband Dennis' books. She unearthed the true story of Ida B. Wells-Barnett, a courageous woman who crusaded against lynchings in the United States. From there, Judy and Dennis went on to co-write over three dozen books, including several featuring fascinating female historic figures: Sacagawea (Lewis and Clark's legendary tour guide); Mary Church Terrell (a civil rights activist); and Daisy Bates, who mentored the nine African American teens braving their way into Little Rock's Central High… and into history. The talented Fradins are currently at work on the National Geographic series "Witness To Disaster."
Will Hobbs is the author of 17 novels for upper elementary, middle school, and young adult readers, as well as two picture book stories. In outdoor stories that appeal to both boys and girls, Hobbs has readers discovering wild places, sharing adventures with people from varied backgrounds, and exploring how to make important choices in their own lives. A former reading and language arts teacher, Will has been a full-time writer since 1990. His books have won many awards including the California Young Reader Medal and the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Young Adult Mystery. He lives with his wife Jean in Durango, Colorado.
Dan Keding has worked in schools as both a concert artist and also in residency, doing in-depth classes for children of all ages in storytelling and folk music. He has conducted hundreds of workshops on storytelling for teachers, storytellers, librarians, and other professionals. He has appeared at conferences across the country including three appearances at the National Storytelling Conference, The Once Upon a Time Conference at Kent State University, and the Society for Storytelling Conference in England. Dan was inducted into the National Storytelling Network’s Circle of Excellence in 2000.
Sara Latta writes about science and medicine for children and young adults. She is also working on a historical novel for young adult readers. Sara is also a Central Illinois network representative for the Illinois chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and a member of the National Association of Science WRtiers and The Authors Guild. Check out her website for more information about Sara, her books, and useful resources for children's writers.
Alice McGinty is the author of 38 children’s books to date, she writes fiction and non-fiction for children. “Language is like music, each word with its own sound, rhythm, and meaning. When I write, I play with words and ideas, and put them together to create something exciting and new!” Alice is the recipient of a 2002 and 2005 Champaign-Urbana Community Schools Foundation grant and has been a guest author, keynote speaker, conference presenter, and writing instructor.
Jenny Meyerhoff often read a book a night as a child. In third grade, she read, "Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret," twenty-one times. Her first attempt at a children’s book, "The Leprechaun Who Never Found a Pot of Gold," was written when she was in first grade. From that moment on, Jenny has dreamed of becoming a professional children’s book writer. Jenny studied creative writing at the University of Michigan, and received her master’s degree in education at Northwestern University. She then became a kindergarten teacher because, in addition to loving children’s books, Jenny enjoys sitting on the floor. Jenny is now a full-time writer and a full-time mom, which means that she never sleeps. She lives in Riverwoods, Illinois, with her husband and three children.
Patricia Hruby Powell was born and raised in Arlington Heights, Illinois. She was educated at the London School of Contemporary Dance (diploma), the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (BFA in Dance and MS in Library and Information Science), and Temple University (MFA in Dance). She is a recipient of awards and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Illinois Arts Council, Ragdale Foundation, Illinois State Library, Temple University, and Creative Arts Institute, Patricia makes her home in Champaign –Urbana, where she lives with her husband Morgan Powell (a composer and jazz trombonist), one yellow lab, Jazzabelle, and “one fat cat who looks like a raccoon," Billie (named after Billie Holiday). She is an author, storyteller/dancer, illustrator, and librarian.