Don't Miss These Award-Winning Authors Coming to Kalamazoo!

Oct 10, 2017 02:32:18 PM


Kalamazoo, MI –

The 40th Annual Mary Calletto Rife Youth Literature Seminar Featured Authors:
  • Mitali Perkins – 2017 National Book Award Top 10 Finalist 
  • Gary D. Schmidt – Two-Time Newbery Award Winner 
  • Javaka Steptoe – 2017 Caldecott & Coretta Scott King Award Winner 
  • Matt Faulkner – Comstock Honor Award 

Has this ever happened to you? Your favorite author, one that you have been dying to meet, visited your city and you missed it! Don’t let that happen, mark your calendar, set the alerts and get excited to see the following authors in Kalamazoo on November 16 & 17!

Mitali Perkins has written ten novels for young readers, including Rickshaw Girl (chosen by the New York Public Library as one of the top 100 books for children in the past 100 years) and Bamboo People (an American Library Association's Top Ten Novels for Young Adults). Her newest novel, Tiger Boy, won the Charlotte Huck Honor Award and the South Asia Book Award. She has been honored as a “Most Engaging Author” by independent booksellers across the country and selected as a “Literary Light for Children” by the Associates of the Boston Public Library. Perkins is also a 2017 National Book Award Top 10 Finalist.

Gary D. Schmidt is the author of more than fifteen books for children and young adults, including The Wednesday Wars, a 2008 Newbery Honor Award winner, and Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, which won a Newbery Honor award and a Michael L. Printz Honor award in 2005. His novel, Trouble, came out in spring 2008, and Okay for Now in 2012 - becoming a National Book Award Finalist. In God's Hands, a picture book co-authored with Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, was a runner-up for the 2005 National Jewish Book Award. His most recent picture book is The Rose in the Desert: The Story of Martin de Porres.

In addition to multiple “Best Book” lists, his work has been given a Horn Book Honor award and a Blue Ribbon award by the Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books. He has also authored or co-authored numerous textbooks, scholarly and academic books (including biographies of Katherine Paterson and Robert McCloskey), articles, and book reviews.

Javaka Steptoe is an eclectic young artist, designer, and illustrator, building a national reputation as an outstanding contributor to the genre of children’s literature. His debut work, In Daddy’s Arms I Am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers, earned him the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, a nomination for Outstanding Children’s Literature Work at the 1998 NAACP Image Awards, a finalist ranking for the Bluebonnet Award for Excellence in Children’s Books, and countless other honors. His books, Do You Know What I’ll Do? authored by Charlotte Zolotow and A Pocketful of Poems authored by Nikki Grimes, received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and the ALA Booklist. Hot Day on Abbott Avenue, written by Karen English, received the 2005 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. Steptoe is also the author/illustrator of The Jones Family Express. His most recent illustration projects include Rain Play by Cynthia Cotten, published in 2008, Amiri and Odette: A Love Story by multi-award-winning author Walter Dean Myers, the 2010 New York Times Bestseller, Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow (2011 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Honor Book), and Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (2017 Caldecott Award, 2017 NAACP Image Award Nomination for Outstanding Literary Work – Children, 2017 ALA Coretta Scott Award).

Matt Faulkner is an award winning children’s book author and illustrator. He has authored/illustrated more than 30 books for children including The Amazing Voyage of Jackie Grace, and A Taste of Colored Water, which received the Comstock Honor award by the Minnesota State University, was chosen as a finalist by the California Commonwealth Club for its 2009 Book award and was chosen as a winner in the pre-adolescent category by the National Storytelling Network. The NSNetwork also chose Independent Dames: What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution (written by Laurie Halse Anderson) as the winner of its adolescent category in 2009. Faulkner is also a contributing illustrator to such national periodicals as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Forbes and teaches illustration at the Art Academy University in San Francisco.

All four authors are featured speakers at the 40th Annual Mary Calletto Rife Youth Literature Seminar hosted by Kalamazoo Public Library. The Youth Literature Seminar will be held on Thursday November 16, and Friday November 17 at the Fetzer Center, 2350 Business Court, Kalamazoo, MI. Other speakers include K.T. Horning, Ed Spicer, Cindy Dobrez, and Lynn Rutan.

In addition, a special Meet the Author event will be held at Kalamazoo Public Library’s Central Library, 315 South Rose Street, Kalamazoo on Thursday, November 16, 6:30 pm. This event is free and open to the public. Mitali Perkins, Gary Schmidt, Javaka Steptoe and Matt Faulkner will speak about their work. Bookbug, a local independent bookstore, will have books for sale for signing. All ages are welcome.

For more information and to register for one, or both days of the 40th Annual Mary Calletto Rife Youth Literature Seminar, please visit

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