top of page

Alumni Authors 2022

erica perl.jpeg

Erica S. Perl

Erica S. Perl is the author of popular and critically acclaimed books for young readers. Erica writes picture books - including CHICKEN BUTT!, GOATILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS and FEROCIOUS FLUFFITY - early readers, transitional chapter books, and chapter books – TRUTH OR LIE!, ARNOLD AND LOUISE, and the CRAFTILY EVER AFTER (written as “Martha Maker) series. Erica is a crowd-pleasing presenter at schools, libraries and community events. She honed her skills working as a trial lawyer in New York City, and also worked for many years for First Book, the national non-profit organization that provides books to children in need. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her family. (from


James Burks

James has written and illustrated numerous books for kids including his new graphic novel series Agent 9 (PenguinKids/Razorbill) and his long running six book graphic novel series Bird and Squirrel (Scholastic/Graphix) which has been translated into Czech, Spanish, French, Castilian and even Farsi (the pirated edition in Iran). His other books include Gabby and Gator (Yen Press), Beep and Bah (Carolrhoda), Pigs and a Blanket (Disney/Hyperion), and When Pigs Fly (Disney/Hyperion). (from


Gennifer Choldenko

With more than 2 and a half million books sold, Choldenko’s best known Tales from Alcatraz series, has been called “A cornerstone series in contemporary children’s literature.” Al Capone Does My Shirts—the first book in the series—was a Newbery Honor Book and the recipient of twenty other awards. All four books in the series were Junior Library Guild selections and garnered many starred reviews. Gennifer’s newest novel: Orphan Eleven came out May 26. Publisher’s Weekly has said this about Orphan Eleven: “This uplifting tale of hope, survival and belonging has all the ingredients to become a beloved middle grade book.” (from


Varian Johnson

Varian Johnson is the author of several novels for children and young adults, including The Parker Inheritance, which won both Coretta Scott King Author Honor and Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor awards; The Great Greene Heist, an ALA Notable Children’s book and Kirkus Reviews Best Book; and the graphic novel Twins, illustrated by Shannon Wright, an NPR Best Book. (from

Alumni Authors 2021

Beth Ferry

Our K-1 author was Beth Ferry, author of Fox and Rabbit, Stick and Stone, and many other wonderful books. Learn more at her website

Jennifer Holm

Grades 2-3 met Jennifer L. Holm, author of Babymouse and Squish as well as lots of other great books. Her website is .

Jeffrey Brown

Jeffrey Brown visited grades 4-5. His books include the Star Wars Jedi Academy adventures and the Lucy & Andy Neanderthal series. Visit his website to learn more about him.

Science Experiments inspired by 2021 Authors in April books

Victoria Jamieson

Victoria Jamieson visited middle school virtually, explaining her books like Roller Girl and When Stars are Scattered. Check out her website

More Alumni 

Alumni Authors 2020 (Our Virtual Year)

Angela Dominguez

Grade K-1: Angela Dominguez was born in Mexico City and grew up in the great state of Texas. She now resides on the east coast with her boyfriend, Kyle, and petite dog, Petunia. She is also the author and illustrator of several books for children and a two-time recipient of Pura Belpré Illustration Honor. Her debut middle grade novel, Stella Díaz Has Something To Say, was a New York Public Library and a Chicago Public Library pick for Best Books for Kids in 2018, Sid Fleischman Award winner, and an ALA Notable. When Angela is not in her studio or visiting schools, she teaches at the Academy of Art University, which honored her with their Distinguished Alumni Award in 2013.

Mary Amato

Grade 2-3: Mary Amato is an award-winning children’s and YA book author, poet, playwright, and songwriter. Her books have been translated into foreign languages, optioned for television, produced onstage, and have won the children’s choice awards in Ohio, Minnesota, Utah, and Arizona. She teaches popular workshops on writing and the creative process around the country. (info from 

J.J. and Chris Grabenstein

Chris Grabenstein is the New York Times bestselling author of the Lemoncello series, the Wonderland series, the award-winning Haunted Mystery series, and The Island of Dr. Libris. He is also the co-author (with James Patterson) of the #1 Bestsellers I Funny, House of Robots, Treasure Hunters, Jacky Ha-Ha, Word of Mouse, Pottymouth and Stoopid, and many others. J.J. (Myers) Grabenstein is the co-author of SHINE! with her husband, the award-winning #1 New York Times best-selling author, Chris Grabenstein. SHINE! is the first book she’s ever written. But it’s not the first book she’s ever read. In fact, you can hear J.J. read you several of her husband’s books as the narrator for the audio versions of The Crossroads (An "Earphones Award" winner), The Hanging Hill, The Smoky Corridor, and The Black Heart Crypt from his haunted mysteries series as well as The Explorer's Gate, a fantasy set in New York City's Central Park. (from

Watt Key

Middle School: Watt Key is an award-winning author from Alabama. While enjoyed by all ages, his novels and essays are widely used in elementary and middle grade classrooms for their success with young reluctant male readers. His debut novel, Alabama Moon, was published to international acclaim in 2006. Alabama Moon won the 2007 E.B. White Read-Aloud Award, the 2006 Parent’s Choice Gold Award. is listed on the ‘100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time’ list by Time Magazine, and has been translated into eight languages. All of Watt’s books are highly awarded and widely used in school curriculum. (info from

bottom of page