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Our authors and presenters are independent creators whose identities represent our diverse city. Their books for children and youth prioritize storytelling by and for People of Color, LGBTQIA+ and disabled communities. At the festival, you will have an opportunity to meet them, listen to their stories, and share in their creative practices. 

Featured Authors & Performers

Massiel Zaragoza


Brandon Green

Veteran bilingual educator, mom of four, & author of books,  “¡Somos Gemelas pero No Somos Idénticas! / We Are Twins but We Are Not Identical!” and “Mi Prima Isleña y Yo”


Brandi Green

C is for Champions is inspired by Brandon's experiences asa member of the first all African-American Little League team to win the United States Little League World Series. He is currently a catcher at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

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Lora McClain-Muhammad

Brandi is a social worker and writer. She shares her unique perspective as a Black woman with albinism to spread awareness about the condition. Her writing has been featured in NPR’s Code Switch and Madame Noire. “Golden Like Me” is her first children’s book.

Lora is the creator of the “I Need You To Know…” series and she is on a mission for the children and the culture! “ABC’s of Black Girl Magic”, “I Need You To Know”, and “The ABC’s of a Young King’s Greatness'' are the children's coloring books she created for black and brown children everywhere.


Juanita C. Hernandez

Juanita C. Hernandez is a Mexican-American author from Chicago. She wrote Elena and Lanudo, a bilingual book about her mother’s childhood in Mexico. Juanita believes our families stories are a gift and should be given life and space to share. Juanita is proud of her Mexican heritage and wants her mother’s story to be passed down to future generations.


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Darrin Collins


Judith Annique Françoise

Educator, scholar, international martial arts competitor, & author of a picture book series, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. Darrin recently published, “Native Invisibility” his first novel.


Zetta Elliott

Judith Annique is a Haitian American author based in Chicago. Her passion for writing stories that inspire, empower, and elevate others to go higher led her to write her first book, “Meet the Three Princesses”.


Miss Katie Sings

Zetta Elliott is a Black feminist writer of poetry, plays, essays, novels, and stories for children. She is the author of the acclaimed series, Dragons in a Bag and the novel Moon Walking.

Katie is a former teacher & musician promoting social-emotional learning, creativity, & justice

Dr. Jasmin Searcy-Pate, PhD


Dr. Jasmin Searcy-Pate is a Licensed Child Psychologist, and Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychology who has more than 13+ providing behavioral health services in Pediatric Health Psychology and Child/Adolescent Psychology.  Dr. Searcy-Pate was inspired to write her first children's mental health book, Olivia Takes A Mental Health Day in efforts to decrease stigmatization and continue normalizing children's mental health within Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities.


Hector Ivan Garcia

Paula Karll


Julian Randall

Paula M. Karll is an award-winning children's author, and educator with over 10 years of experience working with grades K -12. Paula's book, Ellie Meets The New Baby received the Mom's Choice Award.


Michael A. Brown

Julian Randall is a Living Queer Black poet from Chicago. A recipient of the Pushcart Prize and an NAACP Image Award, his most recent book is middle reader, Pilar Ramirez And The Escape from Zafa


Evelyn Sánchez-Toledo

Author of the award-winning series, What I Tell Myself First, and My Black Life Matters

Donna Mohamed

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Evelyn  is the author of three picture books, “Diego’s New America/La Nueva America de Diego”, “Bruna Bailando Por El Mundo/Bruno Dancing Around the World”, and “Las Aventuras de Ana la Abeja/The Adventures of Ana the Bee”.

Donna Mohamed is a first-generation Vietnamese living in Chicago. Although she believes we should not be defined by our appearance, we are an accumulation of our ancestors. She feels the burden of that line and writing allowed her to do something about it. “No one purpose or dream is sacred, but having one is. Thank you for reading mine.”



Being Bilingual Rocks!


Dennis Avelar


Being Bilingual Rocks! Is an interactive, one of a kind
experience (or experiences) created by Parents Choice Award Winners Alina Celeste and Mi Amigo Hamlet.


Pascuala Herrera

Guatemalan-American author of the award-winning YA novel, The Blue Q: The World As I See It


Am Bornfree

A Latinx immigrant, disabled mother, and author of the bilingual book, My Mom Rocks; Her Chair Rolls

Am's debut novel, Welcoming Mad Era is Book 1 of The Revolt Occult Series. The Revolt Occult is a social justice fantasy series about a coven of peculiar “magicians” who use their gifts to rectify modern injustices.


Abigail Silva

Nicole Davis


Nonku Kunene Adumetey

*RSVP Closed Walk-Ins Permitted as capacity allows*
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