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Alumni Authors 2023

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David LaRochelle and Mike Wohnoutka

This dynamic duo, David LaRochelle (left) and Mike Wohnoutka (right), have achieved individual publishing success as well as literary achievements collectively. Five fantastic books have been the result when this talented team comes together.  Jointly, David has written and Mike has illustrated Moo!, This is Not a Cat, How to Apologize, See the Cat:  Three Stories About a Dog, See the Dog: Three Stories About a Cat and we know there is more on the way!  They have been honored with a Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, Minnesota Book Awards, Michigan’s Great Lakes, Great Books Award, the Bulletin’s Gryphon award and many more.  This pair visited Rochester for Authors in April individually in 2016 and 2017 and “are delighted to be returning to see old friends and make some new ones!"      


Kelly Starling Lyons

Kelly Starling Lyons is an award winning children’s author. Kelly’s work includes chapter books, easy readers, and picture books. Her wildly popular Jada Jones and Miles Lewis books have earned praise for celebrating an African-American girl and boy who love science, friends, and family. She is a 2021 Geisel Honor Award winner for her early reader book, Ty’s Travels Zip, Zoom! Kelly’s picture books are filled with hope, love, history, and family. 

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Barbara O'Connor

Barbara O’Connor is the author of award-winning novels for children, including Wonderland, How to Steal a Dog, and the New York Times bestseller, Wish. Drawing on her South Carolina roots, Barbara’s books are known for their strong Southern settings and quirky characters. In addition to seven Parents Choice Awards, Barbara’s distinctions include School Library Journal Best Books, Kirkus Best Books, Bank Street College Best Books, American Booksellers Association Best Books and ALA Notables. She has had books nominated for children’s choice awards in 38 states and been voted the winner by children in ten states. Barbara is a popular visiting author at schools and a frequent speaker at conferences around the country.


Christina Soontornvat

Christina Soontornvat is an award-winning author, engineer, and STEM educator. Her last name is pronounced SOON-TORN-VAT. (It rhymes with “Moon”-“Born”-“Lot".) Her many works for children include picture books and the Diary of an Ice Princess chapter book series. Her middle grade fantasy novel, A Wish in the Dark, and All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team were both named 2021 Newbery Honor Books.

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