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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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Tracy Nelson Maurer

Tracy Nelson Maurer has written more than 100 nonfiction and fiction books for children and young adults, including the picture book biographies John Deere, That’s Who! and Samuel Morse, That’s Who! Both books were Junior Library Guild selections; John Deere, That’s Who! was also named a “Best STEM Book” by the National Science Teachers Association. Another picture book biography, Noah Webster’s Fighting Words, was named to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center 2018 Choices List and received starred reviews from School Library Journal and Publishers Weekly. Her picture book Storm Codes won the Northeastern Minnesota Book Award Children’s Literature Honor in addition to other recognition.

Maurer coauthored “Today’s Picture Book Biographies: Back Matter Matters” for The Horn Book online and continues to study and speak about nonfiction children’s books and their inquiry-sparking curriculum connections. She has appeared on the Minneapolis KARE-11’s morning talk show and the PBS-affiliated Venture North program. Maurer holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University. She loves visiting schools and libraries to talk about books and writing!

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Nancy Loewen

Nancy Loewen grew up on a farm in southwestern Minnesota, surrounded by library books and cats. She’s published nearly 140 books for children and young adults. Four to the Pole (co-authored with polar explorer Ann Bancroft) and The LAST Day of Kindergarten were Minnesota Book Award finalists. Her Writer’s Toolbox Series received a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Association of Educational Publishers. Loewen has also received awards from The American Library Association, the New York Public Library, and the Society of School Librarians International. She lives in Saint Paul and has an MFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University. She likes to read, cook, take long walks, and photograph oddities from thrift stores.

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Susan Latta

Susan Latta holds an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Hamline University. She is the author of Bold Women of Medicine: 21 Stories of Astounding Discoveries, Daring Surgeries, and Healing Breakthroughs. She has written on history, biography, and geography topics for AppleSeeds and Faces magazines and contributed freelance projects to Heinemann Leveled Books and ABDO Publishing. She is the recipient of the Loft Literary Center’s Shabo Award for Children’s Picture Book Writers and frequently writes for Bookology online magazine. She lives in Edina with her husband and golden retriever, Hobbes.

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