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Kurtis Scaletta

Kurtis Scaletta is the author of several novels for young readers including Mudville, Mamba Point, The Tanglewood Terror, The Winter of the Robots, and Rooting for Rafael Rosales. He also wrote the Topps League series. Scaletta was born in Louisiana, but moved a lot as a kid. He lived in five states and three foreign countries before graduating from high school. One place he lived, Monrovia Liberia, is the setting of Mamba Point which is the only quasi-autobiographical book he has written. He attended the University of North Dakota and the University of Maine before moving to Minneapolis. He now lives in the Victory neighborhood with his wife, son, and three striped cats.

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Caren B. Stelson

Caren Stelson is a Minneapolis writer for children and young adults, with a passion for nonfiction. Her work explores stories that struggle with issues of war and peace. Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story is such a book, revealing the horrors of nuclear war and Sachiko Yasui’s long arc toward peace. Stelson visited Nagasaki, Japan five times to research and interview Sachiko’s story. Sachiko was longlisted for a 2016 National Book Award, honored as a 2017 Minnesota Book Awards Finalist for Middle Grade Literature, won the ALSC Robert F. Sibert Honor Award for Informational Books, and was presented with the 2017 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award for Books for Older Children. Her new picture book, A Bowl Full of Peace, is forthcoming in May 2020.

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Kelly Barnhill

Kelly Barnhill is the author of four novels, most recently The Girl Who Drank the Moon, winner of the Newbery Medal. The Witch’s Boy received four starred reviews and was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Awards. Barnhill has been awarded writing fellowships from the Jerome Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and The McKnight Foundation. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and three children.

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Nancy O’Brien Wagner

Nancy O’Brien Wagner is a historian and partner at Bluestem Heritage Group, a museum consulting firm. In addition to her consulting work, she works as an independent writer. Her article “Awfully Busy these Days” about the role of Minnesota Red Cross women in France during World War I was a winner of the Solon J. Buck award for best article in Minnesota History magazine. This article was the foundation for her book, Alice in France, published in 2017. This book documents the letters and experience of her great-aunt who served in France during WWI as a Red Cross volunteer. Wagner has been honored with three St. Paul Heritage Preservation awards, and her book Alice in France was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award.

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Marion Dane Bauer

Marion Dane Bauer has published over 100 books, ranging from board books and picture books through early readers, both fiction and nonfiction, books on writing, middle-grade, and young-adult novels. She is the editor of the ground-breaking collection of gay-and-lesbian-themed short stories, Am I Blue? Coming Out from the Silence. She was one of the founders and the first Faculty Chair of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Her novel, On My Honor, was a Newbery Honor book in 1987, and her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

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Sarah Ahiers

Sarah Ahiers has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University and lives in Minnesota with her dogs and a house full of critters. She has a collection of steampunk hats and when she’s not writing she fills her time with good games, good food, good friends, and good family.

Ahiers writes young adult and middle grade novels and occasionally dabbles in picture books. Fantasy is her favorite genre, though she sometimes can be found playing around with horror and other things that go bump in the night. She is the author of Assassin’s Heart and Thief’s Cunning, both of which were Minnesota Book Award finalists.

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Nicole Helget

Nicole Helget is the multigenre author of six books for adults and young readers. She and her work have been recognized in People magazine’s “Critic’s Choice,” as a Barnes and Noble “Discover New Writers” selection, as a Minnesota State University “Distinguished Alumni,” and with many literary and service grants, nominations, and awards. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and is pursuing a Master of Public Policy concentrating in rural arts, education, and environmental issues. With her family, she lives in St. Peter where she works as a teacher, editor, and manuscript and story consultant.

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Margi Preus

Margi Preus is the author of the Newbery Honor book Heart of a Samurai; the Minnesota Book Award winning West of the Moon; Shadow on the Mountain, a Notable Book for a Global Society, and The Bamboo Sword, which Bookpage called “historical fiction at its best.” Her newest, The Clue in the Trees, is the second in the Enchantment Lake mystery series. Her books have won multiple awards, landed on many “best of” lists, including the New York Times Bestseller list, been honored as ALA/ALSC Notables, selected as an NPR Backseat Book Club pick, chosen for community reads, and translated into many languages.

Preus enjoys traveling, speaking, and visiting schools all over the world. At home in Duluth, she likes to hike, ski, paddle, or sit quietly with a book in her lap.

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Bao Phi

Bao Phi was born in Saigon and raised in Minneapolis. He has been a spoken word poet for more than two decades, with two published collections of poems, Sông I Sing and Thousand Star Hotel. His first children’s picture book, A Different Pond, illustrated by Thi Bui, was published in 2017. It earned seven starred reviews, a Caldecott Honor, Ezra Jack Keats New Writer and New Illustrator Honors, The Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, the Charlotte Zolotow Award for Excellence in picture book writing, and a spot on many books of the year lists. He was named by Minnesota Monthly as Best Author 2016 and an Artist of the Year and Author of the Year by City Pages, 2017 and 2018. He works at the Loft Literary Center and lives in Minneapolis with his daughter.

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