Minnesota Children's Book Festival
Authors and Illustrators
  Derek Anderson   Derek Anderson

Derek Anderson is the New York Times bestselling artist behind more than twenty-five books for children. He is the award winning illustrator of Little Quack by Lauren Thompson, Hot Rod Hamster by Cynthia Lord and his own Ten Pigs: An Epic Bath Adventure. Derek’s Croc And Ally books center around a grumpy crocodile, a happy-go-lucky alligator and the friendship they share. His forthcoming What About Harry? is about two bears that do everything together. When Sam builds bigger, swings higher and gets more attention, Harry no longer wants to play. But he soon realizes playing without Sam isn’t much fun.


  What About Harry?  
Marion Dane Bauer   Marion Dane Bauer

Marion Dane Bauer is the author of more than eighty books for young people, ranging from novelty and picture books through early readers, both fiction and nonfiction, books on writing, and middle-grade and young-adult novels. She has won numerous awards, including a Newbery Honor for On My Honor, several Minnesota Book Awards, a Jane Addams Peace Association Award for Rain of Fire, and the Kerlan Award from the University of Minnesota for her body of work. Marion was one of the founding faculty and the first Faculty Chair for the Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Among her most recent books are The Stuff of Stars, Winter Dance, and Little Cat’s Luck.


  The Stuff of Stars
Daniel Bernstrom   Daniel Bernstrom

Daniel Bernstrom is the author of the picture books Gator, Gator, Gator! and One Day in the Eucalyptus Eucalyptus Tree (Harper Collins). Daniel currently works as the Learning Resource Center Coordinator at Minnesota State College Southeast, where he tutors students in math, writing, and science. He received his MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University. He lives in Red Wing, Minnesota with his wife Heather, daughter LaVonne, and sons Grace and Haven.


  Gator, Gator, Gator!
  Aimee Bissonette   Aimée Bissonette

Aimée Bissonette was born in Pennsylvania, the sixth of seven children. Growing up, she moved many times (she attended 8 different schools before graduating from high school!), which led to a love of travel and storytelling. Aimée also loves dogs, sports, history, and anything outdoors. Her picture books include North Woods Girl (MHSP 2015); Miss Colfax’s Light (Sleeping Bear Press 2016); and Aim for the Skies: Jerrie Mock and Joan Merriam Smith’s Race to Complete Amelia Earhart’s Quest (Sleeping Bear Press 2018). More books are coming soon! Aimée lives with her husband, family, and dogs in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


  Aim for the Skies  
Heather Bouwman   H.M. Bouwman

H.M. Bouwman is the author of middle grade fantasy novels A Crack in the Sea (MN Book Award finalist, 2017) and the brand new A Tear in the Ocean (2019). Heather also writes the Owen and Eleanor series of early chapter books for emerging readers. She lives in St. Paul with her family, teaches creative writing at the University of St. Thomas, and does her part to support the St. Paul Public Library by consistently paying library fines for slightly overdue books.


  A Tear in the Ocean
  Drew Brockington   Drew Brockington

Drew Brockington has flown a Space Shuttle, repaired the International Space Station, and served in Mission Control; all during a week at Space Camp. He works at his drawing table while his children run around him and try to distract him from his drawings. He is the author and illustrator of the CatStronauts graphic novel series and his first picture book, Hangry, will debut in spring 2019. He lives with his family in Minneapolis.


  CatStronauts Mission Moon  
Emilie Buchwald   Emilie Buchwald

Emilie Buchwald is the author of award-winning children’s novels Gildaen and Floramel and Esteban. Under her maiden name, Daisy Bix, she wrote Buddy Unchained (The Henry Bergh Award) and At the Dog Park. Emilie is the co-founding publisher emeritus of Milkweed Editions. In 2006, Emilie founded The Gryphon Press to help children develop empathy for every animal life. Emilie is the recipient of the Kay Sexton Award for service to Minnesota’s literary community, the McKnight Artist of the Year Award, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, and the National Book Critics Circle Lifetime Achievement Award.


  Floramel and Esteban
Lisa Bullard   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. Lisa 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. Lisa grew up in small-town Minnesota and now lives in Blaine.


  My Family, Your Family
Rick Chrustowski   Rick Chrustowski

Rick Chrustowski lives and works in an old house in Minneapolis. One of the bedrooms is his studio. There are flower gardens in the yard to attract bees and butterflies and birds—subjects for future books! A few of his books are My Little Fox, Bee Dance, and Big Brown Bat. Visit his website for more about his books, school visits, and art residencies.


  My Little Fox
Debra Frasier   Debra Frasier

Having recently finished building a house and studio in Asheville, NC, Debra Frasier could not resist joining her colleagues when she heard of the Return of B4B! “The rest of the world does not seem to celebrate books quite like Minnesota does!!” Debra returns to Minnesota regularly for school visits, literary inspiration, and to hug beloved friends, but the upcoming summer is special as she will be on deck to help open the 10th Anniversary of the Alphabet Forest at the Minnesota State Fair! Ten Years!!! How is that possible? Because of YOU, the children’s book community in MINNESOTA!!


  A Fabulous Fair Alphabet
David Geister   David Geister

Minneapolis artist David Geister is a Marine Corps veteran and a storyteller with a paintbrush. He has created artwork for several historic sites, publications and private collectors. He is the illustrator of more than 20 picture books, including Storm’s Coming, written by Margi Preus, Grandpa Alan’s Sugar Shack, written by Alan and Kamie Page; and B is for Battle Cry: A Civil War Alphabet written by Patricia Bauer, his dear wife.

When he isn’t busy painting, Dave is a frequent visitor to schools, where he shares his passion for making art, playing with toy soldiers, and watching old monster movies.


  Grandpa Alan's Sugar Shack
Michael Hall

Michael Hall

Michael Hall is the author/illustrator of The New York Times bestseller, My Heart Is Like a Zoo, as well as the critically acclaimed Perfect Square, It’s an Orange Aardvark, Red: A Crayon’s Story, and Frankencrayon. Before becoming a children’s author, Michael was an award-winning graphic designer whose work has been widely recognized for its simple and engaging approach. His ninth picture book, Monkey Time, comes out in February of 2019, as does his first adult book, u&i, a love story in illustrated poetry.


Monkey Time
  Melanie Heuiser Hill   Melanie Heuiser Hill

Melanie Heuiser Hill is a graduate of Hamline University’s MFA program in writing for children and young adults. She lives in the Twin Cities with her husband and children. Giant Pumpkin Suite, her first novel, has received acclaim for its music, math, and pumpkin-growing themes. Look for her first picture book, Around the Table That Grandad Built, illustrated by Jaime Kim, available in 2019. Melanie enjoys speaking with young readers at schools, libraries, and festivals where, sometimes, she is accompanied by a cello.


  Giant Pumpkin Suite  
  Karen Latchana Kenney   Karen Latchana Kenney

Karen Latchana Kenney writes all kinds of children’s books about physics, biodiversity, conservation, and groundbreaking scientific discoveries. Being in nature inspires her to write. She lives in Minneapolis, MN, with her husband and son, and bikes, hikes, and gazes at the night sky in northern Minnesota any moment she can.


  Tuneful Tubes  
  David LaRochelle   David LaRochelle

David LaRochelle has been creating books for young people for over twenty-five years. His many picture book titles include Isle of You, The Best Pet of AllHow Martha Saved Her Parents from Green Beans, and Moo! He is the recipient of the Sid Fleischman Humor Award, multiple children’s choice awards, and a three-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award. A former elementary school teacher, David still visits many classrooms around the Midwest (and world!) each year, talking with students about books, writing, and illustrating. When he is not creating new books, he loves to read, play board games, and carve unique jack-o’-lanterns, which you can view at his website.


  Isle of You  
  Melina Mangal   Mélina Mangal

Mélina Mangal writes biographies and short stories for young people. SLJ says of her latest book The Vast Wonder of the World: Biologist Ernest Everett Just, “A must-purchase picture book biography of a figure sure to inspire awe and admiration among readers.” Mélina is also an elementary school library teacher. She enjoys being in nature and traveling with her family, using ideas and images from her voyages, her own childhood, and her students’ lives to shape her stories.


  The Vast Wonder of the World  
  Tracy Nelson Maurer   Tracy Nelson Maurer

Tracy Nelson Maurer did NOT like nonfiction books as a child. Why? They were boring! So, she’s made it her goal to write the kind of engaging nonfiction books she wanted to read back then. In addition to writing more than 100 books full of fun facts for schools and libraries, her recent releases include the award-winning picture-book biographies Noah Webster’s Fighting Words and John Deere, That's Who! Her newest title, Samuel Morse, That's Who!, will be released in June 2019. Tracy loves visiting schools and libraries to talk about books and writing.


  John Deere, That's Who!  
Megan Maynor   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 TogetherElla and Penguin: A Perfect Match, The Sandcastle That Lola Built, and more titles forthcoming. Megan also enjoys visiting schools and teaching writing for adults. She lives in her beloved home state of Minnesota with her family, including three children who lobbied long and hard to get a pet rabbit. As it turns out, Megan quite likes the rabbit.


  The Sandcastle That Lola Built
  Sheila O'Connor   Sheila O'Connor

Sheila O’Connor is the critically acclaimed author of Sparrow Road, winner of the International Reading Award, and Keeping Safe the Stars, as well as novels for adult readers including Where No Gods Came, winner of the Michigan Prize for Literary Fiction and the Minnesota Book Award. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Sheila also writes poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction for audiences of all ages, She is a professor in the Creative Writing Program at Hamline University, where she also serves as Fiction Editor for Water~Stone Review.


  Until Tomorrow, Mr. Marsworth  
  Laura Purdie Salas   Laura Purdie Salas

Former teacher Laura Purdie Salas has written more than 125 books for kids, including Snowman - Cold = Puddle, Meet My Family!, the Can Be… series (Bank Street Best Books, IRA Teachers’ Choice), BookSpeak!  (Minnesota Book Award, NCTE Notable), and If You Were the Moon. Laura shares inspiration and practical tips with educators about poetry, nonfiction, and more.


  Snowman - Cold = Puddle  
Joyce Sidman   Joyce Sidman

Joyce Sidman’s books have won a Newbery Honor (Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night) and two Caldecott Honors, and she has received the NCTE Award for Excellence in Children's Poetry for her body of work. Her latest book, The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science, was recently named a Booklist Top Ten Sci-Tech Book of the Year. When not writing or roaming the woods, she teaches poetry writing in schools.


  The Girl Who Drew Butterflies
  Lauren Stringer   Lauren Stringer

Lauren Stringer’s first picture book, Mud, by Mary Lyn Ray, won many awards including the Minnesota Book Award and was declared a "Flying Start" by Publisher's Weekly. Since Mud, Lauren has illustrated many celebrated books, including Scarecrow and Snow by Cynthia Rylant, Our Family Tree by Lisa Westberg Peters, and Tell Me About Your Day Today by Mem Fox. She also writes her own picture books: Winter is the Warmest Season, Yellow Time, and When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky, which won a McKnight Foundation Fellowship. Lauren’s latest book is The Shape of the World, A Portrait of Frank Lloyd Wright.


  The Shape of the World  
C.M. Surrisi   C.M. Surrisi

Cynthia M. Surrisi is a middle grade and picture book author. She has a BFA, JD, and MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and has taught writing for children and young adults at all levels. Her middle grade series, The Quinnie Boyd Mysteries: The Maypop Kidnapping (2016), Vampires on The Run (2017), and A Side of Sabotage (2018), won a Moonbeam Award, and her picture book, The Best Mother, (Abram’s, 2018) was a Junior Library Guild Selection.  She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, The Authors Guild, and the National League of American Pen Women.


  A Side of Sabotage
Catherine Thimmesh   Catherine Thimmesh

Catherine Thimmesh is the Sibert Medal-winning author of Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon. Her newest book, Camp Panda: Helping Cubs Return to the Wild, introduces readers to the scientists working hard to preserve pandas in their natural habitat, which is dwindling. The popular Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women, was recently released with a great deal of new content to honor its twentieth anniversary. Catherine lives and writes in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.


  Camp Panda
Phuoc Thi Minh Tran   Trần Thị Minh Phước

Trần Thị Minh Phước spent 10 months in a refugee camp in Malaysia before coming to America. In 1984, after a 50-hour Greyhound trip from California, she came to a land called Minnesota, where she believed that she could find the precious treasures in life—education and a safe environment. As the first Vietnamese librarian in Minnesota, respected storyteller, and award-winning author, she has shared her experiences and knowledge of Vietnamese culture at various events, throughout the state and beyond.


  My First Book of Vietnamese Words
  Elizabeth Verdick   Elizabeth Verdick

Elizabeth Verdick writes a mix of fiction and nonfiction for children. Her new book Small Walt and Mo the Tow, is a follow-up to last year's Small Walt, a story about a plucky little snowplow facing a big blizzard (inspired by Minnesota winters). Her board book series "Best Behavior" features a new title this year, Worries Are Not Forever. She has an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Hamline University in St. Paul.


  Small Walt and Mo the Tow  
Stephanie Watson   Stephanie Watson

Stephanie Watson’s picture books include Best Friends in the Universe (illustrated by LeUyen Pham), Behold! A Baby (a 2016 Minnesota Book Award finalist, illus. by Joy Ang) and The Wee Hours (illus. by Mary GrandPré). She’s also the author of two middle-grade novels, Elvis & Olive and the sequel, Elvis & Olive: Super Detectives, both Junior Library Guild selections. She loves doing school and library visits, to speak about writing and creativity, and to encourage the next generation of authors.


  Bests Friends in the Universe by Hector and Louie
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