Career Builder: Bonnie Christensen

With Chester, art from A Single Pebble (Roaring Brook, 2013).

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Bonnie Christensen is the author and illustrator of the Schneider Family Book Award winner Django, World’s Greatest Jazz Guitarist (Roaring Brook, 2009) and Woody Guthrie: Poet of the People (Knopf, 2001), a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book and a New York Times Notable Book.

Her illustrations also appear in the London Folio Society’s edition of The Grapes of Wrath and nineteen children’s books.

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Career Builder: Janet Tashjian

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

What memories of your debut author experience stand out?

When Tru Confessions came out fifteen years ago, I had my very first book signing at a Borders Bookstore in Cranston, Rhode Island.

(A moment of silence for Borders, RIP.)

Lots of friends and family came, but I was utterly shocked to see my tenth grade English teacher,

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Career Builder & Giveaway: Janet Lee Carey

photo of Janet Lee Carey by Heidi Pettit

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Janet Lee Carey was raised in the redwood forests of California. In the whispering forest, she dreamed of becoming a writer.

She is the award-winning author of eight young adult novels including Dragonswood (Dial Books, 2012) which received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and School Library Journal. School Library Journal calls her work,

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Career Builder & Giveaway: Lisa Wheeler

Lisa at the release party for Boogie Knights


By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Lisa Wheeler is passionate about children’s books. “I love everything about them, including the smell.”

To date, Lisa has thirty titles on library shelves, with more to follow. She’s written picture books in prose and rhyme, an easy reader series, three books of poems, and creative nonfiction for the very young.

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Career Builder & Giveaway: Anna Myers

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Anna Myers says: The sixth child in a family of seven, I was born in west Texas. My oldest brother told me I was found in a tumbleweed. I knew he was teasing, but part of me wanted to believe the story.

“Our family moved back to Oklahoma when I was only six months old, and I grew up in central Oklahoma where I have lived all my life except for two years in New York State when I was a young woman.

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Career Builder & Giveaway: Rita Williams-Garcia

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Rita Williams-Garcia is the author of several acclaimed novels for young adults: Blue Tights (1987), Every Time a Rainbow Dies (2001), Fast Talk on a Slow Track (1991), Like Sisters on the Homefront (1995), No Laughter Here (2004), and Jumped (2009).

Like Sisters on the Homefront was also a Coretta Scott King Honor Book.

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Career Builder & Giveaway: Lupe Ruiz-Flores

Betty Boop & Lupe

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Author Lupe Ruiz-Flores was once an aerospace engineering technician. In her heart, however, she was always a writer. She has worked as a staff writer for a local newspaper and has ghost written short stories for a national magazine. Some of her poetry has been published in anthologies as well.

Lupe’s books include Lupita’s Papalote (kite),

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Career Builder: Phyllis Root

Phyllis with her daughter’s retired sled dog Cirrus

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Phyllis Root on Phyllis Root:

I was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and now live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where I’ve been for the last thirty-seven years. I’ve been writing for children for thirty-two years and have published over forty books, including picture books, middle grade novels, and non-fiction.

Big Momma Makes the World,

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Career Builder: Frieda Wishinsky

By Lena Coakley

Canadian author Frieda Wishinsky has written many acclaimed books for children including Please Louise, illustrated by Marie Louise Gay (Groundwood Books, 2007), which won the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, and Explorers Who Made It…Or Died Trying (Scholastic Canada, 2011), currently nominated for both the Hackmatack and Red Cedar children’s choice awards.

She grew up in New York City,

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Career Builder & Giveaway: Margaret Peterson Haddix

Margaret with young readers

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Margaret Peterson Haddix grew up on a farm near Washington Court House, Ohio, and is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio.

She worked as a newspaper reporter and community college instructor before her first book was published in 1995.

She has since written more than 30 books for kids and teens,

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