2020 FORUM ON ENGAGED READING ARCHIVE

 Lesa Cline-Ransome

 

Lesa Cline-Ransome

Author

www.lesaclineransome.com

Lesa Cline-Ransome is the acclaimed author of numerous award-winning picture books that celebrate in story, Satchel Paige, an ALA Notable Book and a Bank Street College “Best Children’s Book of the Year, Major Taylor: Champion Cyclist, Young Pele: Soccer’s First Star, Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass, Benny Goodman and Teddy Wilson, My Story, My Dance, Just a Lucky So and So: The Story of Louis Armstrong, Germs: Fact and Fiction, Friends and Foes, Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams and The Power of Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel Payne and Not Playing by The Rules: 21 Female Athletes Who Changed Sports.  Her verse biography of Harriet Tubman, Before She Was Harriet received five starred reviews, was nominated for an NAACP image award, and received a Coretta Scott King Honor for Illustration. Her debut middle grade novel, Finding Langston, was the 2019 winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction and received the Coretta Scott King Award Author Honor. The companion, Leaving Lymon released this year.  

Overground Railroad, Light in the Darkness: How Slaves Learned in Secret, Freedom’s School and Whale Trails: Before and Now are her titles that uncover the hidden stories in American history. 

Lesa’s books have received numerous honors and awards including NAACP Awards, Kirkus Best Books, School Library Journal Best Book, New York Public Library Best Book, ALA Notable, an NCTE Notable, CBC Choice Awards, two Top 10 Sports Books for Youth, an Orbis Pictus Recommended Book, an ILA Teacher’s Choice, a Jane Addams Award and a Christopher Award. She frequently collaborates with her husband, illustrator James Ransome. They are the proud parents of four children.  

 James Ransome

 
  

James Ransome

Illustrator

jamesransome.com

The Children’s Book Council named James E. Ransome as one of seventy-five authors and illustrators everyone should know. Currently a member of the Society of Illustrators, Ransome has received both the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration and the IBBY Honor Award for his book, The Creation. He has also received a Coretta Scott King Honor Award for Illustration forUncle Jed’s Barbershop which was selected as an ALA Notable Book and is currently being shown as a feature on Reading Rainbow. How Many Stars in the Sky? and Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt were also Reading Rainbow selections. PBS’s Storytime featured his book, The Old Dog. Ransome has exhibited works in group and solo shows throughout the country and received The Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance award for his book, The Wagon. In 1999 Let My People Go received the NAACP Image Award for Illustration and Satchel Paige was reviewed in Bank Street College of Education’s “The Best Children’s Books of the Year.” In 2001, James received the Rip Van Winkle Award from the School Library Media Specialists of Southeast New York for the body of his work.  How Animals Saved the People received the SEBA (Southeastern Book Association) Best Book of the Year Award in 2002 and the Vermont Center for the Book choseVisiting Day as one of the top ten diversity books of 2002.  In 2004 James was recognized by the local art association when he received the Dutchess County Executive Arts Award for an Individual Artist.  He has completed several commissioned murals for the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the Hemphill Branch Library in Greensboro, NC. He created a historical painting commissioned by a jury for the Paterson, NJ Library and a poster for the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Brown vs the Board of Education.  His traveling Exhibit, Visual Stories has been touring the United States since 2003.  His work is part of both private and public children’s book art collections.

“What makes illustrating books so exciting is that because each book has a special voice, my approach toward each is different. Whether it be through my choice of palette, design or perspective, there is always a desire to experiment and explore what makes each book unique.”

James lives in Rhinebeck New York with his wife Lesa Cline Ransome a writer of children’s books. They have collaborated on a number of books together including Satchel PaigeYoung PeleQuilt AlphabetBefore There Was Mozart and Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass. Their newest title, Light in the Darkness will be released in January 2013. They live in the Hudson Valley with their four children and one St. Bernard.

 Annie Barrows

 
  

Annie Barrows

Author

anniebarrows.com

Annie spent most of her childhood at the library. She wouldn’t leave, so they hired her to shelve books at the age of twelve. She attended UC Berkeley and received a B. A. in Medieval History. She knows more than the average person about 3rd century saints. Under the impression that a career in publishing meant she’d get to read a lot, Annie became a proofreader at an art magazine and later an editor at a textbook publishing company. In 1988, Chronicle Books hired Annie as an editorial assistant, from which platform she became successively assistant editor, managing editor, Editor, and Senior Editor. Somewhere in this trajectory, she acquired Griffin & Sabine, Chronicle’s first New York Times best seller.

In 1996, Annie received her Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Mills College and had a baby, a confluence of events that persuaded her to leave editorial work and move into writing. She wrote several non-fiction books on topics ranging from fortune-telling to opera before turning her attention to children’s books. In 2006, the first book in her children’s series, Ivy + Bean was published. This title, an ALA Notable Book for 2007, was followed by nine others. The Ivy + Bean series appears with some regularity on the New York Times best-seller list and a number of other national best-seller lists. The Ivy + Bean books have been translated into fourteen languages; in 2013 Ivy + Bean: The Musical premiered in the San Francisco Bay Area. A novel for older children, The Magic Half, was published by BloomsburyUSA in 2008. Its sequel, Magic in the Mix, came out in 2014.

In addition to her children’s books, Annie is the co-author, with her aunt Mary Ann Shaffer, of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which was published by The Dial Press in 2008. A New York Times best-seller, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society has been published in thirty-seven countries and thirty-two languages.

Annie lives in Northern California with her husband and two daughters.

 Sam Ricks

 
  

Sam Ricks

Illustrator

samricks.com

Sam Ricks is the Geisel Award-winning illustrator of the Mo Jackson book series. He has illustrated more than 20 books for children, including the Data Set Series (Little Simon), Eerie Elementary (Scholastic), and Stinkbomb and Ketchup Face (Putnam). Sam is a founding member of Cotopaxi, an outdoor gear and apparel company, where he currently serves as VP of Creative + Design. Sam lives with his family in Utah.

 Tara Westover

 
  

Tara Westover

Author

tarawestover.com

Utah Valley University's Presidential Lecture Series

Tara Westover is an American author. Born in Idaho to a father opposed to public education, she never attended school. An older brother taught her to read, and after that her education was erratic and haphazard, with most of her days spent working in her father’s junkyard or stewing herbs for her mother. She was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. After that first encounter with education she pursued learning for a decade, graduating magna cum laude from Brigham Young University in 2008 and subsequently winning a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. She received an MPhil from Trinity College, Cambridge in 2009 and in 2014 was awarded a Ph.D. in history. Currently, she is a Harvard Kennedy School Senior Research Fellow, working on projects related to media and political polarization.

In 2018, she published her memoir, Educated, which explores her struggle to reconcile her desire for education and autonomy with her desire to be loyal to her family. Educated was an instant commercial and critical success, debuting at #1 on The New York Times bestseller list and remaining on the list for more than two years. It was also a finalist for a number of national awards, including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. The New York Times named Educated one of the 10 Best Books of 2018, and the American Booksellers Association voted it the Nonfiction Book of the Year.

To date, Educated has sold more than 4 million copies and has been translated into 41 languages. President Barack Obama included Educated on his annual reading list, calling it “remarkable,” and Bill Gates listed it as one of his favorite books of the year, saying, “It’s even better than you’ve heard.” For her staggering impact, TIME magazine named Westover one of the 100 most influential people of 2018.