About Us

Don-Tate-Media-Photos-2Don Tate is an award-winning author, and the illustrator of numerous critically acclaimed books for children, including The Cart That Carried Martin, (Charlesbridge); One Hope’s Gift, (Penguin); Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite (Charlesbridge); She Loved Baseball (HarperCollins); and Ron’s Big Mission, (Penguin). He is also the author of It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started To Draw, an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor winner. Don lives in Austin, Texas, with his family.

Visit Don at http://www.dontate.com/.


Kelly Starling Lyons is a children’s book author whose mission is to transform moments, memories and history into stories of discovery. Her books include CCBC Choices-honored picture book, One Million Men and Me, Ellen’s Broom, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor book, Junior Library Guild and Bank Street Best selection, Tea Cakes for Tosh, a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People and winner of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Award for Juvenile Literature (sponsored by the AAUW of North Carolina) and Hope’s Gift, an IRA/CBC Children’s Choices selection, Storytelling World Award winner and SIBA Okra Pick.  A native of Pittsburgh, Kelly lives in North Carolina where she facilitates a book club that celebrates African-American children’s book creators of today and the past. [Photo Credit: Zack E. Hamlett, III]

Learn more about Kelly at http://www.kellystarlinglyons.com.


Tameka Fryer Brown (a native of Miami, Florida) has called Charlotte, North Carolina home for the past 19 years. Brown’s first literary accomplishment as a children’s book writer came when she was awarded one of two First Prizes in the 2008 Cheerios® Spoonfuls of Stories® New Author Contest. In the Fall of 2010, her debut picture book, Around Our Way on Neighbors’ Day, was published by Abrams Books for Young Readers. In 2013, the New York Board of Education purchased over 69,000 copies of Around Our Way for its library system.

My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood is Brown’s second picture book. It was published in March of 2013 by Viking Children’s Books/Penguin, and illustrated by CSK winner Shane W. Evans. It is the story of a creative boy named Jamie and his emotion-filled day — expressed through the metaphor of color. Written in rhythmic free verse, it also contains themes of family, sibling conflict, self-awareness, and standing up for one’s self.

My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood is a 2014 Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book (for outstanding writing in a picture book), a Bank Street College Best Book of 2014, a CCBC Choices Best Book of 2014, a 2013-2014 Abilene ISD Mockingbird Award nominee, a 2014 SIBA Book Award nominee, a 2014-2015 Star of the North Picture Book Award nominee, and is on the prestigious New York Public Library’s 2013 list of 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing.

[Photo Credit: D. E. Photography]

Check out Tameka’s website at http://www.tamekafryerbrown.com

Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich’s debut novel for teens, Eighth-Grade Superzero, will be released on January 1, 2010 by Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic.

She has written for various magazines, including American Baby, Healthy Kids, Word up! Rap Masters, Right On!, and Scholastic Instructor and now does a monthly column, “Faves on a Friday”, at AuthorsNow! She has been a PR writer, grant writer, developed curricular materials, and has 10+ years of experience in youth development and literacy education, at community organizations and in New York City schools. She was an Echoing Green Foundation Fellow, working with adolescent girls in creative arts and literacy.

Olugbemisola studied the teaching of writing at the Teachers College Reading & Writing Project at Columbia University. She received her M.A. in Educational Communication and Technology from New York University, with a concentration in Adolescent Literacy and English Education, and her B.Sc. from Cornell University in Communication and Africana Studies.

Olugbemisola was the ‘new kid’ at school many times, in more than one country, and currently lives with her family in Brooklyn, NY, where she loves walking and working on crafts in many forms.

For more about Olugbemisola’s debut visit her at http://www.olugbemisola.com.

Gwendolyn Hooks is the author of sixteen books for children. She writes both fiction and nonfiction to encourage children to explore their world. As a child, Gwendolyn was forced to explore whenever her Air Force father transferred to another base. “It was hard always being the new girl in class,” Gwendolyn remembers about those moves. But she could count on a trip to the library to ease the transition.

Gwendolyn graduated from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with a degree in Secondary Education-Mathematics. She taught in Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Now she writes from her home in Oklahoma City.
Her recent books are the eight-book series, The Pet Club Stories (Stone Arch Books 2011), Bobby’s Big Bear Hunt (Red Chair Press 2010), and The Best Shoes (Bebop Books 2011).

For more about Gwendolyn, visit her at www.GwendolynHooks.com



Crystal Allen
* Crystal was born in a military hospital in Germany because her dad was in the Army.
* She is the youngest of five children.
* Crystal was corn-shucking and multiplication queen of her entire third grade class.
* She is ambidextrous, which means she can write with both hands.
* She wore a wig to school her entire fifth grade year because she hated her hair.
* In high school, Crystal taught everyone in her choir to do the robot and they performed it    in a concert.
*Her most recent book is, The Laura Line (Balzar and Bray 2013).

Crystal is married, has two sons, and lives in Sugar Land, Texas.

For more about Crystal, visit her at www.crystalallenbooks.com



Varian Johnson is the author of four novels, including My Life as a Rhombus, which was named to the Texas Library Association Tayshas High School Reading List and the New York Public Library “Stuff for the Teen Age” list, Saving Maddie, a Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book and his first middle grade, The Great Greene Heist. He holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and lives outside of Austin, TX with his family.

Learn more about Varian at http://www.varianjohnson.com/.

PaulaPaula Chase-Hyman doesn’t mind being known as a Jane of all trades, Queen of none. But a single theme has followed throughout her career in communications—keeping her finger on the pulse of teen culture. From starting her own mentoring group at Annapolis Senior High School in ’94 to coaching her Green Hornet cheerleaders to Grand Champion (ahem, twice), Chase-Hyman refuses to squash her inner teen diva. Luckily, her long memory for all things young led to a career writing young adult novels.

Paula’s Del Rio Bay series, which helped introduce Dafina’s YA line, debuted in March 2007.

Visit Paula at http://www.paulachasehyman.com/.


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