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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 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. New works include World So Wide, a picture book forthcoming in January 2020, and a novel, The Opposite of Fate, which will be published in February 2020. 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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Mary Casanova

Once a can’t-sit-still reader, Mary Casanova now writes stories that matter and books readers can’t put down. She is the author of numerous award-winning books, from picture books (One-Dog Canoe) to books and book-inspired movies for American Girl (Grace); from middle grade adventure novels (Wolf Shadows and The Klipfish Code) as well as historical fiction for teens and adults (Frozen and Ice-Out). Her awards include the ALA “Notable,” Aesop Accolades by the American Folklore Society, Parent’s Choice Gold Award, Booklist Editor’s Choice, and two Minnesota Book Awards. When she’s not traveling for research or speaking, she’s “up north” on the Minnesota-Canadian border with her husband, Charlie, snowshoeing through deep woods, paddling a canoe, riding their horses down old logging trails, or reading a good book.

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John Coy

John Coy is the author of young adult novels, the 4 for 4 middle-grade series, and nonfiction and fiction picture books including Night Driving, Two Old Potatoes and Me, Hoop Genius, Game Changer, Their Great Gift, and My Mighty Journey: A Waterfall’s Story. He has received numerous awards for his work including a Marion Vannett Ridgway Award, a Charlotte Zolotow Honor, a Bank Street College Best Book of the Year, and the Burr/Warzalla Award for Distinguished Achievement in Children’s Literature. He has visited schools and libraries around the state discussing the process of creating a book, working with students and adults on writing, and answering all kinds of questions. He lives by the Mississippi River in Minneapolis and loves to travel.

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Kate DiCamillo

Kate DiCamillo is the author of many books for young readers. Her books have been awarded the Newbery Medal (Flora & Ulysses in 2014 and The Tale of Despereaux in 2004); the Newbery Honor (Because of Winn-Dixie, 2001), the Boston Globe Horn Book Award (The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, 2006), and the Theodor Geisel Medal and Honor (Bink and Gollie, co-author Alison McGhee, 2011; Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride, 2007). She is a National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Emerita, appointed by the Library of Congress. A native of Florida, she now lives in Minneapolis.

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