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
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”
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.
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.
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.
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 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
Author of the award-winning series, What I Tell Myself First, and My Black Life Matters
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!
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.
Guatemalan-American author of the award-winning YA novel, The Blue Q: The World As I See It
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.
Nonku Kunene Adumetey