Authors & Illustrators 2017

R. W. and Zoë B. Alley

R. W. and Zoë B. Alley are partners in both life and art! R. W. Alley is the internationally-known, award-winning illustrator of over one hundred books for children, including Michael Bond’s Paddington Bear books, Garth Stein’s Enzo books, Kate McMullan’s Pearl and Wagner books and the popular Elf-Help series. Recently he has written and illustrated a series of four picture books describing the fantastical adventures of four siblings: Mitchell, Annabelle, Clark, and Gretchen. Zoë B. Alley is the author of two award-winning children's picture books, both illustrated by her husband: There's a Wolf at the Door and There's a Princess in the Palace, as well as her work on Garth Stein’s Enzo books. Together, they are also the parents of two quite wonderful children. They live in Barrington, RI.

Selina Alko & Sean Qualls

Selina Alko and Sean Qualls have created an impressive list of popular children’s books in collaboration as well as independently. Together they wrote and illustrated The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage and illustrated Two Friends, written by Dean Robbins. Sean and Selina’s most recent illustration collaboration is Why Am I Me?, written by Paige Britt, a colorful, vivid celebration of our shared humanity and an homage to their home borough of Brooklyn

Mira Bartok

Mira Bartók is an artist and writer, and the creator of The Wonderling: Songcatcher, the first book in an illustrated middle-grade fantasy series. She is also the author of The Memory Palace, a New York Times bestselling memoir and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography. She has written numerous books on ancient and indigenous cultures for children (The Ancient and Living Stencil Series), and her writing for adults has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, noted in The Best American Essays series and has appeared in many literary journals, magazines and anthologies. She lives in Western Massachusetts with her musician/producer husband and their little bat-eared dog Sadie.

Marc Brown

Best known as Arthur's creator, author/illustrator Marc Brown has been working with the beloved aardvark for over twenty-five years. Born one night when Brown was telling a bedtime story to his son, Arthur soon evolved into the book Arthur's Nose, published in 1976. Since then, Brown has written and illustrated more than thirty Arthur and D.W. books, and has illustrated many other books. Brown lives in Massachusetts with his wife and daughter. He also has two grown sons. Brown's own childhood and the experiences of his three children are his main inspiration for the Arthur stories.

Gaia Cornwall

Gaia Cornwall is an artist and illustrator whose creative work has been both educational and a representation of social issues. After graduating from Lincoln School in 1997, Gaia earned her BFA in animation and film from the Pratt Institute in 2001. Post-graduation, she has had success in a variety of creative roles: producing a film festival, animating cartoons for network television and film, and working on a documentary. As a designer for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., Gaia worked in service of women’s access to healthcare. She has also found time to work on several passion projects. For fourteen years, she has produced the annual Oscar nominee portraits for Eleni’s Bakery in New York City, and her prints have also been sold at West Elm. Currently, Gaia is working independently as an illustrator, surface designer, and picture book writer in Providence, Rhode Island. She recently taught a workshop on animation techniques at the New England Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference. In 2017, Gaia published Jabari Jumps!, her first children’s book as author and illustrator.

Charise Mericle

Charise Mericle Harper is the author and illustrator of the Just Grace and Fashion Kitty series and picture books such as Cupcake, Mimi and Lulu, and If Waffles Were Like Boys. She lives in New York with her husband and their two children. Charise loves creating art and stories, petting her cat, drinking coffee, and eating pie. Visit her at

Alan Katz

Alan Katz has written more than 35 books for young readers, including Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs, Don’t Say That Word!, The Day the Mustache Took Over, and poetry collections including OOPS! Alan was the recipient of the North Carolina Children’s Book Award, Colorado Children’s Book Award, Utah Children’s Poetry Award and other state honors. He is also a six-time Emmy-nominated writer for The Rosie O’Donnell Show, numerous animated series, the Grammy Awards and Tony Awards, various Nickelodeon shows, specials and game shows. He has also created hundreds of comic books, trading card sets, web series and other special projects for kids and their parents.

Kara LaReau

Respected editor Kara LaReau collaborated with Scott Magoon on Ugly Fish, Rabbit and Squirrel, and for Roaring Brook Press, Otto: The Boy Who Loved Cars. She is also the author of two new series — The Infamous Ratsos, chapter books illustrated by Matt Myers, and The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters, a middle grade trilogy illustrated by Jen Hill.

She lives in Providence with her husband, son, and their cat.

David Macaulay

David Macaulay's detailed illustrations and sly humor have earned him fans of all ages. His books have sold more than three million copies in the United States alone, and his work has been translated into a dozen languages. His many awards include the Caldecott Medal and Honor Awards, the Boston Globe Horn Book Award, the Christopher Award, and the Washington Post Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award. He was a two-time nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award and received the Bradford Washburn Award, presented by the Museum of Science in Boston to an outstanding contributor to science. He was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 2006. Macaulay delivered the esteemed 2008 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture, an honor bestowed on him by the American Library Association. David Macaulay lives with his family in Vermont.

Ann Martin

Ann M. Martin is the author of the iconic and beloved The Baby-Sitters Club series which has sold over 176 million copies and inspired a generation of young readers. Her acclaimed novels include Belle Teal, the Newbery Honor book A Corner of the Universe, Here Today, A Dog’s Life, and On Christmas Eve. Family Tree is her new quartet, which brings the past and the present together one girlhood at a time, and shows readers the way a family grows. She lives in upstate New York.

Barbara McClintock

Barbara McClintock is the author and illustrator of the Adele and Simon series of books, as well as the Fantastic Drawings of Danielle, Cinderella, Dalia, Animal Fables from Aesop, The Heartaches of a French Cat, and her most recent The Five Forms, Emma and Julia Love Ballet and Lost And Found/Adele & Simon in China. She illustrated the popular The Gingerbread Man, and has written and/or illustrated over 40 books in total. Her books have received five New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books awards, three ALA Notable Book awards, a Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor, a China Times Best Children's Books list selection, a Sidney Taylor Gold Medal, a Junior Library Guild Selection, and a Golden Kite Honor award. Barbara is on the board of directors of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. She was chair of the Original Art Show at the Society of Illustrators in 2016. You can find her online at

Cathryn Mercier

Cathryn Mercier serves as Director of the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College and the Director of the Children’s Literature graduate degree programs and has held a variety of roles with the college since 1985. She co-authored three biocritical studies of young adult authors and her professional leadership includes roles with the Caldecott Committee, the Newbery Committee, the Sibert Committee, and chairmanship of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award Committee. Mercier has been an advisor to the MacArthur Foundation, currently serves on the National Youth Ambassador Committee of the Children’s Book Council, and is a founding member of Children’s Books Boston.

Susannah Richards

Susannah Richards is an associate professor of education at Eastern Connecticut State University where she teaches courses in English Language Arts and Childrens’ and Young Adult Literature. Her areas of expertise include the Schoolwide Enrichment Model-Reading and a focus on literacy and literature, through which she serves as a reviewer of books for youth and a consultant to publishers. She lives in a house of books, was a member of the 2013 John Newbery Award Committee and regularly reviews and presents on books and English Language Arts strategies for highly able readers and writers.

Jon Scieszka

Jon Scieszka is the author of The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!, The Stinky Cheese Man, the Frank Einstein series, and about a bazillion more books. Scieszka was named the nation's first National Ambassador of Young People's Literature in 2008, and he's not letting anyone forget about it.

Melissa Sweet

Melissa Sweet has illustrated more than eighty children’s books, including the Caldecott Honor books The Right Word and A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams both written by Jen Bryant. She also wrote and illustrated Tupelo Rides the Rails; Carmine: A Little More Red, which was a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book; Balloons Over Broadway, a picture book biography that was named a 2011 Publishers Weekly Best Nonfiction Picture Book; and Some Writer, The Story of E. B. White listed on Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best Books of 2016. When she is not in her studio, Melissa can be found taking an art class, hiking with her dogs, or riding her bicycle. She lives with her family in Rockport, Maine.

Chris Van Allsburg

Chris Van Allsburg won Caldecott Medals for his lavishly illustrated books Jumanji (1982) and The Polar Express (1986). Van Allsburg's books are known for their mysterious stories and whimsically dreamy images. He was one of the most prolific and successful children's illustrators of the 1980s and 1990s. His other books include Ben's Dream (1982), The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (1985), The Wretched Stone (1991), and Zathura, a follow-up to Jumanji, in 2001. Jumanji was made into a movie in 1995, starring Robin Williams and Kirsten. A holiday film based on The Polar Express was released in 2004, with Tom Hanks as the train's conductor.

Sarah Weeks

Sarah Weeks has written more than fifty picture books and novels for children and young adults including the bestselling novels, Pie, Save Me a Seat and So B. It – which is now a feature length film. In addition to writing, Sarah is an adjunct faculty member in the prestigious Writing Program at the New School University in New York City and she teaches a master class at Columbia University’s Teachers College. Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, she splits her time between her homes in Nyack, NY and Callicoon Center, NY. She is married to Jim Fyfe, a high school history teacher. She has two grown sons and a step-daughter. For more information about Sarah and her books please visit her at and on Twitter @authorweeks.

Steven Weinberg

Steven Weinberg writes and illustrate kids’ books about dinosaurs, roller coasters, beards, chainsaws, basically all the fun stuff. His books have been called "thrillingly shameless" by the NY Times, "guaranteed to fuel readaloud energy" by Publisher's Weekly, and "the best thing to ever happen to me", by one very sweet first grader in Washington, DC. He lives in the Catskills with his wife Casey Scieszka, his dog Waldo, and their bed and bar called the Spruceton Inn that they all run together in the backyard.


Over the past thirty years, Waldo has been everyone’s favorite tall, bespectacled explorer, dressed in red and white stripes. He has been many places, including the land of dragon flyers, a Jurassic arena of sports-loving dinosaurs, the set of black-and-white movies in Hollywood, and now he’ll be stopping by the Rhode Island Children’s Book Festival. Remember to be on the lookout!

Meagan Lenihan



Kickoff Event

Author Form

Book Festival Flyers to print. Help promote the Festival by posting or distributing flyers.

Black and White