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Detroit Writing Room Speakers Series: Michigan Children's Book Authors

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The Detroit Writing Room

1514 Washington Boulevard

Suite 203

Detroit, MI 48226

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Meet top children's book authors and illustrators at The Detroit Writing Room's Speaker's Series on Feb. 11.

About this Event

Have an idea for a children's book, but don't know where to start? Or you're about to publish a storybook and could use some publicity advice from children's lit authors who've been in your shoes?

Join us on Feb. 11 from 7-9 p.m. for our second Detroit Writing Room Speakers Series featuring Michigan children's authors and illustrators! Maria Dismondy, Jean Alicia Elster, Amy Nielander, Lisa RoseDavid Small and Sarah Stewart will share their publishing journeys as children's book authors as well as tips for aspiring writers and illustrators. 

The talk will be moderated by Channel 4 News anchor Devin Scillian, who's authored 19 children's books! Enjoy a relaxing evening with drinks, meet-and-greet with the panelists and get signed copies of their children's books!

This event is for ages 21 and older.

A special thank you to the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Michigan chapter for partnering on this event! 

Meet the Moderator

Devin Scillian is equally at home on your television, on your bookshelf, and on your iTunes. School children, teachers and parents know him as the writer behind the Memoirs series including "Memoirs of a Goldfish," winner of the Wanda Gag Award as the nation's best read aloud book. Television viewers in Michigan and Ontario know him as their evening news anchor on WDIV-TV, NBC in Detroit. And music lovers know him as the winner of the prestigious Detroit Music Award for Best Country Performer. 

Devin is the author of 19 children’s books. His book "A is for America" became a national bestseller that even found its way beneath the White House Christmas tree. In 2004, First Lady Laura Bush invited him to read at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. His book, "Memoirs of a Goldfish” was chosen as the Michigan Reads book, and has won a slew of children's choice awards including New York, Maryland and New Hampshire. His other books include "Fibblestax," "Cosmo’s Moon" and "H Is For Honor." His newest title is "Back Roads Country Toads." In 2017, he was honored with the Gwen Frostic Award from the Michigan Reading Association for his contributions to literacy in Michigan.

Meet the Panelists

Award-winning author and founder of the publishing company, Cardinal Rule Press, Maria Dismondy inspires and educates others in the book industry. Her background in early education and research enables her to touch lives the world over while touring as a public speaker in schools, community forums and at national conferences. Maria has penned 10 books featuring topics ranging from anti-bullying to overcoming adversity to handling friendship trials and tribulations and beyond. When Maria isn’t working, she can be found embarking on adventures throughout Southeast Michigan and beyond, where she lives with her husband and three book-loving children. Find out more about Maria at MariaDismondy.com.

A 2017 Kresge Artist Fellow in Literary Arts and a former attorney, Jean Alicia Elster (BA,University of Michigan; JD, University of Detroit School of Law) is the author of the novel "The Colored Car" — for ages8 and older — published by Wayne State University Press and released in September2013. "The Colored Car" was selected asa 2014 Michigan Notable Book by the Library of Michigan. It was awarded the 2014 Midwest Book Award in Children’s Fiction by the Midwest Independent Publishers Association and was chosen as an Honor Book for the 2014 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People. Elster is also the author of the novel "Who’s Jim Hines?" — for ages 8 and older — published by Wayne State University Press and released in August 2008. Among other honors, "Who’s Jim Hines?" was selected as one of the Library of Michigan’s 2009 Michigan Notable Books. In addition, Elster is the author of the children’s book series “Joe Joe in theCity,” published by Judson Press. The first volume in that series, "Just Call Me Joe Joe," was released in October 2001. The remaining volumes are: "I Have A Dream, Too!" (May, 2002), "I’ll Fly My Own Plane" (September, 2002), and "I’llDo the Right Thing" (January, 2003). She was awarded the 2002 Governors’Emerging Artist Award by ArtServe Michigan in recognition of the series.  

Most recently, Elster was selected to be a member of the 2020-2022 Live Coal Gallery/Knight Foundation collaborative and the 2019 Live Coal Collective and was the guest speaker for the Young Authors’ Festival 2019 at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Elster was honored with a 2017 Kresge Artist Fellowship in Literary Arts, awarded by Kresge Arts in Detroit, a program of The Kresge Foundation. In 2012, she was selected as the inaugural visiting author for The Lori Lutz Visiting Artist Series at The Roeper School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She was awarded residencies at the internationally acclaimed Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest, Illinois, in 2001,2003, and 2005.

Amy Nielander graduated from College for Creative Studies in Detroit. Before becoming a picture book author illustrator, she worked as a product designer and digital sculptor in the automotive industry. Her first wordless picture book, “The Ladybug Race,” received international recognition as a finalist entry in the Silent Book Contest. The story exhibited at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and received a Bronze Medal Book Award in the Children's Picture Books All Ages Category by Independent Publisher. Her second picture book, “Grama’s Hug” (Page Street Kids), earned a starred review from Booklist and will be available Jan. 28. Information about school visits and more can be found at amynielander.com.

Lisa Rose’s chapter book series “Star Powers” was published by Rourke Educational Media. Her first picture book “Shmulik Paints the Town” (Kar-Ben Publishing, 2016) was a PJ Library Selection in May 2016. It was sent to over 26,000 homes in North America and will again be a PJ Librarian selection 2020. “A Pocket Picture” was released this September, and Lisa has three more picture books that will be published in2020-21.  She also wrote short stories for an app called Amazon Rapids designed for at risk readers.

Lisa founded the Missing Voice Picture BookDiscussion Group, whose mission is to highlight new picture books featuring diversity and little-known subjects on a monthly basis. She’s also led writing workshops at the Farmington Hills Library, Michigan Writers Conference, Michigan Library Association, Society of Children’s Book Writers andIllustrators, and Nerd Camp. Lisa has a BA from the University of Michigan and a MA in Reading from Oakland University. She was a first grade teacher for many years in Highland Park and Pontiac. Most recently, she serves as a Reading Specialist in Pontiac.  Lisa likes to swim, eat ice cream and practice yoga. But not at the same time. Most importantly, she is the mother of a visually-impaired child.

David Small was born and raised in Detroit. He attended Cass Tech and Mumford High Schools, then took his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Wayne State and his MFA from Yale. To date he has illustrated more than 50 picture books for children and two graphic novels for adults. His picture books have earned him a Caldecott Medal, two Caldecott Honors, two Christopher Medals and a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators. His graphic memoir "Stitches," a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award Finalist, has been translated into 12 foreign languages. Both "Stitches" and his graphic novel "Home After Dark" received the American Library Association’s Alex Award for best novels published for adults that are also suitable for young adult readers.   

Sarah Stewart was born in Corpus Christi and spent most of her early life in Texas. A published poet, lifelong diarist and dedicated gardener, she is the author of seven acclaimed children’s books, all illustrated by David Small. Among her numerous literary honors, her book "The Gardener" was a Caldecott Honor Book; it also earned a Christopher Award, which is given annually to celebrate works of art that affirm the highest values of the human spirit. 

Both Sarah and David have received the Michigan Author Award, in 2007 and 2015 respectively. They make their home in an 1833 manor house on a bend of the St. Joseph River in southwest Michigan. With the help of Amish neighbors, Sarah has restored the gardens, orchard and grounds of their home. David’s studio, an 1890s farmhouse overlooking the river, is just a short walk from home. Their archives have recently found a permanent home in the Special Collections of the Waldo Library at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.

About The Detroit Writing Room

The Detroit Writing Room is an event and co-working space to work and write. Whether you’re working on the next Great American novel or a business plan, the DWR has over 25 professional writing coaches to help with all your writing needs. We also host book talks, writing workshops, open mic nights and private events. Visit detroitwritingroom.com to sign up for coaching, memberships, events and more.

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The Detroit Writing Room

1514 Washington Boulevard

Suite 203

Detroit, MI 48226

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Contact the organizer to request a refund.

Eventbrite's fee is nonrefundable.

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