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Lisa Bullard

Lisa Bullard is the author of more than 100 books for young readers. Her offerings range from picture books to nonfiction titles to a middle grade mystery. Her novel Turn Left at the Cow was a Maud Hart Lovelace Award nominee for the 2017-2018 school year. Bullard enjoys doing school visits and is a long-time writing teacher at the Loft Literary Center. Her Writing Road Trip blog, carried by Bookology magazine, offers tips for teaching writing to young people. She grew up in small-town Minnesota and now lives in Blaine.

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Sean Jensen

Sean Jensen was born in South Korea, but he was raised in California, Massachusetts, and Virginia, mostly on or near military bases. Given his unique background, he’s always been drawn to storytelling, a skill he developed at Northwestern University and crafted for the last 16 years, almost exclusively covering the NFL. During his career, he’s fostered strong relationships with athletes in multiple sports, and he’s earned distinctions from the Illinois Associated Press, Minnesota Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists, Pro Football Writers of America and Associated Press Sports Editors. In 2006, he received a special achievement award from the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Initially inspired by his two children, he created the Middle School Rules series, which tells the inspirational, childhood stories of professional athletes. He’s humbled each time he’s provided an opportunity to speak to children about values emphasized in the books, such as gratitude, kindness, and perseverance.

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Claudia May

Claudia May, Ph.D., is a storyteller, poet, educator, spiritual director, consultant, scholar, and award-winning author. She is a 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. Her children’s book, When I Fly With Papa, received a gold medal at the 2019 Illumination Book Awards in the Enduring Light Christian Children’s Book Category, a gold medal in the Midwest Book Awards’ Religion/Philosophy/Spirituality category, and first place in the 2019 Purple Dragonfly Award Category: Picture Books, 6 and Older. Her recent poetic work, “Slice,” published in Families, Systems, & Health explores how nineteenth century African American slave mothers endured invasive surgeries after surviving arduous labors. May is an Associate Professor and Program Director of Reconciliation Studies, Bethel University, Saint Paul, Minnesota. She has more than two decades of experience working alongside 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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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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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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Yvonne Pearson

Yvonne Pearson is a writer and clinical social worker who lives in Minneapolis. Her picture book, Sadie Braves the Wilderness, was published in 2017. She has also published 16 non-fiction books for children. Pearson’s poetry has appeared in Split Rock Review, Talking Stick, Main Street Rag, Wolf Head Quarterly, Open to Interpretation, Chrysalis, Sidewalks, Literary Mama, and other publications. She is a 2018 Loft-McKnight Writing Fellow and has received a Loft Creative Non-Fiction Award, the Shabo Award in children’s literature, and two Minnesota State Arts Board grants. She has also written for newspapers and magazines.

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