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Joyce Sidman

Joyce Sidman’s books have won a Newbery Honor (Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night) and two Caldecott Honors. Her book What the Heart Knows was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. In 2013, she received the NCTE Award for Excellence in Children’s Poetry for her body of work. When not writing or roaming the woods, she teaches poetry writing in schools with COMPAS.org of Saint Paul.

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Lauren Stringer

Lauren Stringer’s first picture book, Mud, won a Minnesota Book Award, IRA Children’s Choice Award, Crayola Kids Best Book of the Year Award, and was declared a “Flying Starts” by Publisher’s Weekly. Since Mud, Stringer has illustrated many award-winning picture books, including her own Winter is the Warmest Season, When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky, which won the McKnight Foundation Fellowship for writing in Children’s Literature, and Yellow Time.

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Stephanie Watson

Stephanie Watson is the author of the picture books Behold! A Baby (a 2016 Minnesota Book Award finalist), The Wee Hours, and Best Friends in the Universe (a 2019 Minnesota Book Award finalist). She also wrote the middle-grade novels Elvis and Olive and Elvis and Olive: Super Detectives, both Junior Library Guild selections. For over a decade, Watson has taught writing workshops to both children and adults and delivered a variety of keynote presentations on writing and creativity. She’d love to visit your school, library, or event to share ideas about writing stories.

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Kao Kalia Yang

Kao Kalia Yang is an award-winning Hmong-American writer. She holds degrees from Carleton College and Columbia University. Yang is the author of The Latehomecomer, The Song Poet, What God is Honored Here?: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss By and For Native Women and Women of Color, and the picture book A Map Into the World. In 2020, Yang has two more picture books coming, The Shared Room and The Most Beautiful Thing, and a collective memoir called Somewhere in the Unknown World. She lives in Saint Paul with her family. Yang is also an educator and public speaker.

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신 선 영 Sun Yung Shin

Sun Yung Shin was born in Seoul, Korea. She is the author of poetry/essay collections Unbearable Splendor (Minnesota Book Award); Rough, and Savage; Skirt Full of Black (Asian American Literary Award); editor of A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota; co-editor of Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption, and author of bilingual illustrated book for children Cooper’s Lesson. With poet Su Hwang she co-founded and co-directs Poetry Asylum, a poetry-centered organization that exists to create platforms and spaces for marginalized voices, and operates under three commitments: all language is political, no one is illegal, and poetry is a human right.

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Patricia Kirkpatrick

Patricia Kirkpatrick received the first Lindquist & Vennum Poetry Prize for Odessa and was awarded a 2013 Minnesota Book Award. Her new poetry collection, Blood Moon, is forthcoming. Kirkpatrick’s awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Bush Foundation, Jerome Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, the Loft, and Minnesota State Arts Board. Her poetry has been set to music by composers Carol Barnett and Libby Larsen. She has taught writing at many colleges, including the University of Minnesota MFA program, and conducted writing workshops, residencies, panels, and inservices in elementary classrooms, the Princeton Theological Seminary, and various school districts and libraries. As poetry editor for the literary journal Water-Stone Review (2001-2012), she worked with nationally known and emerging writers and solicited and published writing in Dakota and Ojibwe languages. A past board member of the Loft and Saint Paul Almanac, she serves on the executive board for the musical ensemble Cantus and works as a freelance editor and private teacher.

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Elizabeth Verdick

Elizabeth Verdick writes a mix of nonfiction and fiction for children. Her main reading audience is toddlers and preschoolers. She has also written nonfiction for elementary-age kids. Verdick is a graduate of Hamline University’s MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and she has taught picture-book writing classes and done manuscript critiques to help other writers with their craft.

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Mike Wohnoutka

Mike Wohnoutka is the author and illustrator of Little Puppy and the Big Green Monster and Dad’s First Day, both Minnesota Book Award finalists. He has illustrated more than 20 other children’s books, including Moo! winner of the 2014 Minnesota Book Award and the Star of the North Picture Book Award. Ever since he can remember, he knew he wanted to be an artist. His dad, who worked at the highway department, would bring home reams of paper that had highway plans on one side and were blank on the other. He was so excited to have all that paper to draw on he would fill each sheet with snowmobiles, baseball players, super heroes – everything he was interested in. Even though he was a trouble maker when he was in grade school, and thus gets a little nervous around principals, Wohnoutka still loves visiting schools and talking with students about creating books. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two children.

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Rachel L. Coyne

Rachel Coyne, a novelist and poet, is a graduate of the Perpich Center for Arts in Minnesota and Macalester College. She is a devotee of Pablo Neruda, a lover of Don Williams songs, and collects vintage editions of Jane Eyre. Her published works include the novels The Patron Saint of Lost Comfort Lake and Whiskey Heart, and a children’s book, Daughter, Have I Told You? She lives in Lindstrom.

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Anne Ursu

Anne Ursu is the author of several middle grade fantasies, including Breadcrumbs, an NPR Backseat Book Club pick, and The Real Boy, which was longlisted for the 2013 National Book Award. She is a recipient of the McKnight Fellowship and teaches at Hamline University’s Masters in Fine Arts in Writing for Children. Ursu lives in Minneapolis with her family and neurotic cats.

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