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, Hope’s Gift, an IRA/CBC Children’s Choices selection and Storytelling World Award winner and One More Dino on the Floor, a Scholastic Reading Club pick. Her chapter book series debuted in September with two titles, Jada Jones: Rock Star and Jada Jones: Class Act. A native of Pittsburgh, Kelly lives in North Carolina where she facilitates a book club for kids that celebrates Black 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 over 20 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. To date, it has sold more than 100,000 copies, largely thanks to New York’s Board of Education.

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 Random House, 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.

Brown’s third picture book, Brown Baby Lullaby (illustrated by A.G. Ford, published by FSG/Macmillan), is due to be released in the fall of 2019.

[Photo Credit: D. E. Photography]

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

Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich is the co-author of the NAACP Image Award-nominated TWO NAOMIS, (Balzer and Bray/HarperCollins), a Junior Library Guild Selection. TWO NAOMIS received starred reviews from Kirkus, School Library Journal; Publishers Weekly called it “warm, upbeat, and satisfying. She’s also author of the middle grade novel Eighth-Grade Superzero (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic), a Notable Children’s Book for a Global Society (IRA), a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People, and an Amazon Best Book of the Month, now available in paperback. She’s looking forward to the release of her forthcoming books, THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT (Scholastic, 2018), and NAOMIS TOO (HarperCollins, 2018).

She has written for various magazines, including American Baby, Healthy Kids, Word up! Rap Masters, Right On!, and Scholastic Instructor. She​ writes for Brightly and Heinemann’s Digital Campus, and has contributed to The Journey Is Everything: Teaching Essays That Students Want To Write for People Who Want To Read Them, Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices, and Break These Rules: 35 YA Authors on Speaking Up, Standing Out, and Being Yourself. She is a We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) team member and teaches writing at The Loft and Gotham Writers.
She has 10+ years of experience in youth development and literacy education, at community organizations and in New York City schools.

Olugbemisola was the ‘new kid’ at school many times, in more than one country, and lives with her family in NYC where she writes, makes things, and needs to get more sleep. She loves to visit with readers and writers like you; until then, find her online at olugbemisolabooks.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/.

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 8.51.58 AM.pngTracey Baptiste is the author of the MG Jumbies series including RISE OF THE JUMBIES (2017) and THE JUMBIES (2015). Both were Junior Library Guild selections and named to several “best of” end-year lists including Brightly, Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, NPR, and New York Magazine. In 2018, look out for an official Minecraft novel. She is also the author of the YA novel ANGEL’S GRACE, and several nonfiction books for children such as THE TOTALLY GROSS HISTORY OF ANCIENT EGYPT. Ms. Baptiste is on the faculty at Lesley University’s MFA program in Creative Writing, and works as a freelance editor for various publishing companies as well as running her own editorial company, Fairy Godauthor.

You can find Tracey at: www.traceybaptiste.com

imagesJerry Craft has illustrated and/or written close to two dozen children’s books and board games. He has just completed a middle grade novel called: “The Offenders: Saving the World While Serving Detention!” — an action / adventure story co-written with his two teenage sons and is designed to teach kids about the negative effects of bullying. His work has appeared in national publications such as Essence Magazine, Ebony, and two Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Jerry is also the creator of Mama’s Boyz, an award-winning comic strip that has been distributed by King Features Syndicate to almost 900 publications since 1995. Jerry has won five African American Literary Awards. You can find Jerry at http://www.jerrycraft.net/.

Paula 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. Luckily, her long memory for all things young led to a career writing novels for children.Portrait 4 Head shot

Paula’s Del Rio Bay series helped introduce Dafina’s YA line in March 2007 and was among the first of many popular fiction titles featuring Black protagonists.  She’s now also writing middle grade fiction. Her MG, So Done, will debut from Greenwillow Publishing summer 2018.

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



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