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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, and the National Science Teaching Association named them for “Best STEM Book” awards. Her book Noah Webster’s Fighting Words, was named to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center 2018 Choices List, and Storm Codes won the Northeastern Minnesota Book Award Children’s Literature Honor. Maurer coauthored “Today’s Picture Book Biographies: Back Matter Matters” for The Horn Book online. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University and continues to study and speak about nonfiction children’s books and their inquiry-sparking curriculum connections. 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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Kristin Johnson

Kristin Johnson has won two Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grants (2013, 2015), a Mystery Writers of America Helen McCloy Award for mystery novel writing, two Loft Literary Shabo Awards for picture books (2007, 2011), and published nine books for children. She has also published numerous poems, articles, and short fiction in a variety of journals, including Dust and Fire, The Talking Stick Journal, and The Southwest Journal. She is a former radio host of KFAI’s Write On! Radio program. She lives in Minneapolis with her family and two dogs.

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Megan Maynor

Megan Maynor is a picture book author whose work has been featured in The New York Times Book Review. Her books include Ella and Penguin Stick Together, Ella and Penguin: A Perfect Match, The Sandcastle That Lola Built, and more titles forthcoming. Megan also visits schools and teaches writing for adults. She lives in her beloved home state of Minnesota with her family, including three children who lobbied long and hard for a pet rabbit. As it turns out, she quite likes the rabbit.

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Alison McGhee

Alison McGhee writes novels, picture books, poems, and essays for all ages. Her most loved books include the novels The Opposite of Fate, Shadow Baby, and Never Coming Back, along with Someday, the #1 New York Times bestselling picture book for adults. Her work has been translated in more than 20 languages. She also teaches creative writing and specializes in fun, intensive, exhilarating one-day workshops, each with a specific focus.

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Trisha Speed Shaskan

Trisha Speed Shaskan has written over 40 books for children, including the picture book Punk Skunks and Q & Ray graphic novel series, both illustrated by her husband and children’s book author and illustrator, Stephen Shaskan. For the past 20 years, she has taught a variety of creative writing classes to students at every level from kindergarten to graduate school. She has also been a literacy coach, run a tutoring program, and worked in a children’s library. Shaskan is an energetic teacher and presenter who loves to visit schools and libraries and share her passion for learning, creativity, books, and writing. Shaskan holds an MFA in creative writing. She currently teaches writing classes to children at The Loft Literary Center. She lives in Minneapolis with Stephen.

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Stephen Shaskan

Stephen Shaskan is the author and illustrator of several picture books including: Big Choo, Toad on the Road, Max Speed, and A Dog Is a Dog. He is also the illustrator of the picture book Punk Skunks and the Q & Ray graphic novel series, both written by his wife Trisha Speed Shaskan. He’s a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, an early childhood educator, and a music maker. Shaskan loves playing guitar and reading his books at library story times and talking to kids about creating books while visiting schools. He lives in Minneapolis with Trisha and their cat Eartha and dog Bea.

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Wing Young Huie

In his 40-year career, photographer Wing Young Huie has captured the complex cultural realities of American society. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, and his best-known projects, Lake Street USA and The University Avenue Project, transformed Twin Cities’ thoroughfares into six-mile galleries, reflecting the everyday lives of thousands of its citizens.

He is the first photographer to be honored with the McKnight Distinguished Artist Award (2018). Chinese-ness: The Meanings of Identity and the Nature of Belonging, his seventh and most personal book, was awarded a 2019 Minnesota Book Award. It is in classrooms and non-arts venues where his work has also had a deep impact, showing the many ways he’s photographically engaged thousands of strangers. He invites participants to discuss what they see in his photos before revealing back-stories that complicate and challenges perceptions. To aid teachers, he created a simple educational tool – “What Do You See?” – using his photos that are loaded with suggestion yet open to interpretation.

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Aimée Bissonette

Aimée Bissonette was born in Pennsylvania, the sixth of seven children. Growing up, she moved many times (she attended eight different schools before graduating from high school!), which led to a love of travel and storytelling. Bissonette also loves dogs, sports, history, and anything outdoors. Her picture books include North Woods Girl, Miss Colfax’s Light, and Aim for the Skies: Jerrie Mock and Joan Merriam Smith’s Race to Complete Amelia Earhart’s Quest. More books are coming in 2020 and 2021. Bissonette lives with her husband, family, and dogs in Minneapolis.

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