Gigi Amateau is the author of the young adult novel, A Certain Strain of Peculiar (Candlewick Press, 2009), a 2010 Bank Street College Children's Book Committee 2010 Best Children's Books of the Year and VOYA Review Editor's Choice for 2009. She also wrote the middle-grade novel, Chancey of the Maury River (Candlewick Press, 2008), a William Allen White Masters List title. Her debut young adult novel, Claiming Georgia Tate (Candlewick Press, 2005), was selected as a Book Sense Children's Pick, a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, and a VOYA Review Editor's Choice. She contributed to the acclaimed anthology, Our White House: Looking in Looking Out (Candlewick Press, 2008). She serves as Treasurer of the Board of Directors for James River Writers. Gigi is a native of Mississippi, grew up in Mechanicsville, VA, and graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in Urban Studies and Planning. She lives in the city of Richmond, VA with her husband and daughter.
Winner of the 2009 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award among many other honors, author and artist Floyd Cooper brings to life stories, poems, songs, and works of nonfiction detailing centuries of the African-American experience.
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1956, Cooper first tried his hand at illustration as a three year old. As he noted on the Teachers at Random Web site, "My earliest recollection of actually doing drawing is on the side of my father's house." While Cooper's father continued his work, his young son found a stray piece of drywall and began drawing the picture of a "duck of some sort," as Cooper recalled. Though he had to ultimately erase this piece of artwork, he has been drawing ever since.
In addition to creating images to pair with the works of writers such as Patricia C. McKissack, Nikki Grimes, Amy Littlesugar, Joyce Carol Thomas, Margaret Wise Brown, Calvin Ramsey, and Carole Boston Weatherford, Cooper has also penned several original, self-illustrated books (Coming Home: From the Life of Langston Hughes, Mandela: From the Life of the South African Statesman, Cumbayah, Jump!:From the Life of Michael Jordan, Willie and the All-Stars) all of which feature African-American themes. "Giving kids a positive alternative to counteract the negative impact of what is conveyed in today's media is a huge opportunity," he remarked on his home page in discussing his work in children's literature.
A frequent presenter at schools, Floyd lives in Easton, PA, with his wife/agent Velma, football son Dayton, and music and art son Kai.
Kim Norman's first picture book, Jack of All Tails, was released by Dutton, a Penguin imprint, in 2007. Crocodaddy (Sterling) debuted as the May 2009 feature for the Children's Book of the Month Club. In fall of 2010 Ten on the Sled spent weeks on Barnes and Noble's Top Ten bestseller list. All Kinds of Kittens was also published in 2010. In 2011, Sterling will publish Kim's first nonfiction works: a pair of sticker books published in partnership with the American Museum of Natural History: Time Traveling with Dinosaurs and A World of Whales. 2012 will see the debut of I Know a Wee Piggy Who Wallowed in Brown, illustrated by Henry Cole, (Dutton). Kim is represented by the Andrea Brown Literary Agency in California.
Kim Norman grew up in Virginia Beach, but most summers she spends a few weeks in Maine, where many of her relatives live. A Maine lake was the inspiration for the setting of her Crocodaddy. Kim and her husband have two sons, to whom her book, Ten on the Sled, was dedicated. The Normans live in Smithfield, VA, in a little house shaded by giant pecan trees.
Lynne Farrell Stover
Lynne has over thirty-five years of experience as an educator. She has been a classroom teacher, gifted education educator, and library media specialist. Currently she is a teacher consultant at the James Madison University Center for Economic Education. A frequent presenter at state and regional conferences and a regular contributor to LibrarySparks magazine, she is also the author of five teacher resource books, including From Snicket to Shakespeare: Connecting Contemporary Tales to the Classics(Upstart, 2006) and Fantastic Social Studies Lessons Using Literature(Pieces of Learning, 2007).
Lynne graduated from Madison College with a double major in art and library science. Her master's degree from James Madison University is in Library Science & Educational Media.
Francis Eugene Wood
Francis Wood began writing professionally in 1980 when his first article appeared in Sports Afield magazine. After publishing many articles in his favorite outdoor sporting magazine and winning a national writing prize for an article submitted to Outdoor Life magazine, Francis turned his attention to the writing of books.
He began writing his award-winning Nipkins trilogy in 1992 and finished it in 1994. It was published and released over ten years later in three volumes. In 1993 Francis wrote a Christmas story titled, The Wooden Bell. Published in 1996, it is now in its fifth printing and has sold thousands of copies. The success of The Wooden Bell enabled Francis and his wife, Chris, to form their own publishing company, Tip-of-the-Moon, in 1997. Together, they have now published 21 books.
Francis' books have won many design and writing awards over the years. Sixteen of his books have been nominated for Virginia Literary Awards in Fiction. The Nipkins and The Snowpeople won the 2003 and 2004 international competition, Communicator Awards of Distinction in Writing. Francis' book release for 2010 was The Keeper of the Tree, a timely and uplifting story. His forthcoming releases, The Toymaker's Son, and a novel, The Enchantment of Nebulon Grey, will be released in 2011 and 2012.
Francis was born in Farmville but grew up in Brunswick County near Lawrenceville, VA. He moved to Farmville with his family in 1971. Francis and Chris have a blended family with five children and two grandchildren. The couple can be heard each day on radio station WFLO where Francis is General Manager and Chris is Program Director and Bookkeeper. They live in a log cabin on the family farm near Sheppards in Buckingham County.