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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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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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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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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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Caren B. Stelson

Caren Stelson is a Minneapolis writer for children and young adults, with a passion for nonfiction. Her work explores stories that struggle with issues of war and peace. Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story is such a book, revealing the horrors of nuclear war and Sachiko Yasui’s long arc toward peace. Stelson visited Nagasaki, Japan five times to research and interview Sachiko’s story. Sachiko was longlisted for a 2016 National Book Award, honored as a 2017 Minnesota Book Awards Finalist for Middle Grade Literature, won the ALSC Robert F. Sibert Honor Award for Informational Books, and was presented with the 2017 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award for Books for Older Children. Her new picture book, A Bowl Full of Peace, is forthcoming in May 2020.

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Marion Dane Bauer

Marion Dane Bauer has published over 100 books, ranging from board books and picture books through early readers, both fiction and nonfiction, books on writing, middle-grade, and young-adult novels. She is the editor of the ground-breaking collection of gay-and-lesbian-themed short stories, Am I Blue? Coming Out from the Silence. She was one of the founders and the first Faculty Chair of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Her novel, On My Honor, was a Newbery Honor book in 1987, and her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

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Margi Preus

Margi Preus is the author of the Newbery Honor book Heart of a Samurai; the Minnesota Book Award winning West of the Moon; Shadow on the Mountain, a Notable Book for a Global Society, and The Bamboo Sword, which Bookpage called “historical fiction at its best.” Her newest, The Clue in the Trees, is the second in the Enchantment Lake mystery series. Her books have won multiple awards, landed on many “best of” lists, including the New York Times Bestseller list, been honored as ALA/ALSC Notables, selected as an NPR Backseat Book Club pick, chosen for community reads, and translated into many languages.

Preus enjoys traveling, speaking, and visiting schools all over the world. At home in Duluth, she likes to hike, ski, paddle, or sit quietly with a book in her lap.

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