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Alumni Authors 2024


Mika Song

Mika Song makes children's books about sweetly funny outsiders. A Friend for Henry by Jenn Bailey and illustrated by Mika received the Schneider Family Honor from the American Library Association. Her graphic novel for early readers Donut Feed the Squirrels was nominated for an Eisner award. She is Japanese American and Filipino. Her husband is Korean. Besides making books and hanging out with her family she runs a regular comics club for young readers in her Queens, NY neighborhood. Her Norma and Belly comic strip appears weekly on, a free kids comics newsletter that she started with Jen de Oliviera in March 2020.


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Kevin Sherry

Kevin Sherry is not only the talented author/illustrator of I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean, Acorns Everywhere!, and Turtle Island, among many other books for kids, but he is also a chef, puppeteer, and cyclist. You can find him in his awesome fort in Baltimore, Maryland, working, playing, and always creating. (from

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Jessica Khoury

Jessica Khoury is the author of many books for teens and young readers. Her stories have been translated into over a dozen languages and have been finalists for awards like the South Carolina Junior Book Award, the Ignyte Award, the Maine Student Book Award, the Oklahoma Sequoyah Masterlist, the Amelia Bloomer Project, and many more. Her bestselling middle grade debut The Mystwick School of Musicraft was named one of the Best Audiobooks of 2019 by Audible and is one of the Top 20 Most Listened-To children's books of all time.​

In addition to writing, Jess is also a fantasy cartographer and illustrator. Her artwork has appeared in NYT Bestsellers, video and tabletop games, and of course her own books.

Jess currently lives in Greenville, South Carolina with her husband and daughters. She spends free time hiking in the mountains, playing video games, and sketching new characters for new stories. (from


Steve Sheinkin

Steve Sheinkin is an acclaimed author of fast-paced, cinematic nonfiction histories, including Fallout, Undefeated, Born to Fly, The Port Chicago 50, and Bomb. His accolades include a Newbery Honor, three Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards, a Sibert Medal and Honor, and three National Book Award finalist honors. He lives in Saratoga Springs, New York, with his wife and two children. (from

Alumni Authors 2023

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. 

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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