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Claudia May

Claudia May, Ph.D., is a storyteller, poet, educator, spiritual director, consultant, author, and specialist in Practical Theology and African American, Caribbean, and Ethnic American literature. Her work has been published by Oxford University Press, Taylor & Francis, Walter de Gruyter, Lexington Books, and Routledge, among others. She has contributed articles and poetry to Patheos, Radix, The Mennonite, Red Letter Christians, and other publications. May is an award winning author. She received a Gold Medal in the 2019 Illumination Book Awards in the Enduring Light Christian Children’s Book Category. This award acknowledges “exemplary Christian-themed books published since the year 2000.” May is an Associate Professor and Program Director of Reconciliation Studies, Bethel University, Saint Paul, Minnesota. She is a sought-after specialist in Reconciliation Studies and has more than two decades of experience working alongside, teaching, and learning from global practitioners of reconciliation.

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Patricia Bauer

Patricia Bauer recently retired after 38 years in education, where she shared her passion for history, music, art, and literature with students and staff. She has been a strong advocate for using picture books with older students and has presented many workshops for teachers on that subject. Bauer is the author of B is for Battle Cry: A Civil War Alphabet, illustrated by her husband, David Geister. She was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by MN Council for the Social Studies in 2017. She visits schools, libraries, and other venues to share her love and knowledge of history, literature, music, and art to audiences of all ages.

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Loretta Ellsworth

Loretta Ellsworth grew up in Mason City, Iowa. A former teacher and a graduate of Hamline University with a Master’s Degree in Writing for Children, she is the award-winning author of four young adult novels, The Shrouding Woman, In Search of Mockingbird, In a Heartbeat, and Unforgettable. Stars Over Clear Lake, historical fiction set in Iowa, is her first novel for adults. She lives in Lakeville, Minnesota.

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Aurora Whittet

Aurora Whittet started out as a wild red-haired girl in Minnesota dreaming up stories. Today, she has completed the young adult fantasy the Bloodmark Saga trilogy and children’s books Mama’s Knight: A Cancer Story of Love in honor of her own mother and How to Turn Your Mom into a Monster. Whittet is a national award-winning graphic designer and illustrator. How to Turn Your Mom into a Monster won Gold at the 2018 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award, a 2018 Eric Hoffer Grand Prize Finalist, and received Bronze at the 2018 Moonbeam Awards.

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Sarah Warren

Sarah Warren is an early childhood educator who graduated from the Loft Literary Center’s Master Track apprenticeship program. Her debut picture book, Dolores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant Workers was picked for the Amelia Bloomer Top Ten Book List and awarded a Jane Addams Peace Association Children’s Book Award honor. Her most recent picture book is Beyoncé: Shine Your Light. Warren’s family lives in Minneapolis with their dog, Bruce Valentine.

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Artika Tyner

Dr. Artika Tyner is a passionate educator, award-winning author, sought after speaker, and advocate for justice. She is committed to empowering others to lead within their respective spheres of influence. Tyner provides leadership development and career coaching for young professionals. She has also developed leadership educational materials for K-12 students, college/graduate students, faith communities, and nonprofits.

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Cynthia (C.M.) Surrisi

Cynthia (C.M.) Surrisi has a BFA, J.D., and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She is author of picture books and middle grade cozy mysteries that are enjoyed equally by adults: The Maypop Kidnapping, Vampires On the Run, and A Side of Sabotage. Her mysteries have received The Moonbeam Award and been nominated for an Agatha. Her picture book The Best Mother is a Junior Library Guild Selection. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, National League of American Pen Women, and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

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Lisa M. Bolt Simons

Lisa M. Bolt Simons has published 38 nonfiction children’s books, mostly with Capstone; two more will be published in 2020. She’s also published four middle grade “choose your path” novels as well as an adult history book. Simons has been the recipient of a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Writers in Children’s Literature Honorable Mention, a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant, an MNSCBWI Writing Mentorship, and a Shabo Award for Children’s Picture Book Writers through The Loft Literary Center. A wife to a fellow reader and a mom of boy/girl twins, Simons also loves to scrapbook and travel when she can.

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Candace Simar

Candace Simar is a Minnesota writer with a passion for history and her Scandinavian heritage. Her Abercrombie Trail Series received awards from the Western Writers of America. Shelterbelts is set in Otter Tail County, Minnesota and received finalist awards from the Willa Literary Awards in Historical Fiction. Her Escape to Fort Abercrombie is geared toward readers from age 12-100.

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Nathan Sacks

Nathan Sacks is a professional academic dissertation editor, children’s and young adult book writer, graphic novel translator, and occasional journalist. He was born and raised in Ames, Iowa and currently lives in uptown Minneapolis. He works on fiction, book-length nonfiction, and scholarly writing, and aims to provide fresh and original writing in a variety of genres while maintaining a distinctive authorial voice.

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