Meet this year’s Reading Rock Stars-Austin Authors!

On Friday, October 24th, the day before the Texas Book Festival Weekend, authors from across the country will present their works in our six Reading Rock Stars elementary schools in Austin, thanks to generous support from H-E-B’s Tournament of Champions, the Wright Family Foundation, and the ECG Foundation. Each child receives an autographed copy of the author’s book, and a set of books are also given to the school library. Learn more about Reading Rock Stars.

Meet the authors!

Katherine ApplegateKatherine Applegate is the author of many children’s books, including the Newbery Award-winning novel The One and Only Ivan, the picture book The Buffalo Storm, and the best-selling Animorphs series. She lives in California.










Mac Barnett -- PhotoMac Barnett is the author of several award-winning books for children, including President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen, and Extra Yarn, illustrated by Jon Klassen, which won a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award and a Caldecott Honor. Mac Barnett lives in California.










Andrea Beaty -- PhotoAndrea Beaty is the author of many books for children, including The New York Times bestselling Rosie Revere, Engineer as well as Iggy Peck, Architect, Dorko the Magnificent, and Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies. She lives near Chicago.










Monica Brown -- PhotoMonica Brown is the award-winning author of many magical, fun, multicultural books for children, including Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match/Marisol McDonald no combinaTito Puente, King of Mambo/el rey del mambo, and a the new Lola Levine chapter book series. Lola Levine is Not Mean is forthcoming from Little Brown & Co. in Fall 2015 to be followed by Lola Levine is a Drama Queen in Winter 2016. Find out more at or at Monica Brown, Children’s Author on Facebook.








Tad Carpenter -- PhotoTad Carpenter is an illustrator, writer, designer and teacher. Tad has worked with clients ranging from Target, Macy’s, Adobe, Nick Jr. and Hallmark Cards to name a few. He has written and illustrated a number of children’s books intended for all ages. He has also been lucky enough to show his work in galleries all over the world. Tad lives in Kansas City, Missouri with his wife Jessica, who is also a designer.









Arree ChungArree Chung has worked in video games as a designer and art director. He received his ninja training at Art Center College of Design. When he is not practicing his ninja moves, you can find him playing basketball or riding his bike. Ninja! is the first book he has written and illustrated. Arree lives in the San Francisco Bay area with his family.









Carolyn Dee Flores -- PhotoCarolyn Dee Flores (Trinity University) is a rock musician/composer, turned computer analyst, turned children’s book illustrator. Dale, dale, dale / Hit It, Hit It, Hit It : Una fiesta de números / A Fiesta of Numbers, written by René Saldaña Jr., is her latest book. Carolyn’s debut book Canta, rana, canta / Sing, Froggie, Sing is about an underwater singing frog and is currently on the Tejas Star 2014 Reading List. Her second book, Daughters of Two Nations, won a 2014 Skipping Stones Honor Award for excellence in multicultural literature.








Keith Graves -- PhotoKeith Graves is the author and illustrator of many hilarious picture books for children, including Chicken Big, Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance, and the upcoming The Monsterator, the latter from Roaring Brook Press. Keith lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Nancy, and twins, Max and Emma.










Varian Johnson -- PhotoVarian Johnson is the author of three novels for young adults, including My Life as a Rhombus andSaving Maddie. Varian Johnson is also is a co-founder of The Brown Bookshelf website, which highlights new voices in African-American children’s literature. He lives with his family near Austin, Texas, where he designs bridges as a civil engineer. For more information, please visit his website at or follow him on Twitter at @varianjohnson.








Michelle_Knudsen -- Photo

Michelle Knudsen is the author of Evil Librarian, The Dragon of Trelian and The Princess of Trelian, as well as the best-selling picture book Library Lion, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes; Argus, illustrated by Andréa Wesson; and Big Mean Mike, illustrated by Scott Magoon. Michelle Knudsen lives in Brooklyn, New York.













LondonLaddLondon Ladd traveled to Virginia to walk in Frank, James, and Shepard’s footsteps. He listened to the crashing waves at Sewell’s Point, looked out over the walls of Fort Monroe, and stood beneath the branches of the Emancipation Oak. He was determined to honor the three men – and all the runaways who courageously pursued their freedom. London is the illustrator of Oprah: The Little Speaker by Carole Boston Weatherford and March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World by Christine King Farris. He lives in Syracuse, New York.









Libby Martinez -- PhotoLibby Martinez is the co-author of two children’s picture books – I Pledge Allegiance (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers) and Bravo, Chico Canta! Bravo! (Groundwood Books). Her mother, the award-winning author Pat Mora, was her writing partner for both of these books. Prior to becoming a children’s book author, Libby worked in the Texas political arena, served as the director of school and community partnerships for the Philadelphia Zoo, and founded a strategy consulting practice. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and Stanford Law School, and now lives in Colorado with her husband and a cat named Squirrel. You can visit her online at








Pat MoraPat Mora is the author of more than forty-five books for all ages. She has published poetry, nonfiction, and children’s books, some in bilingual formats and Spanish editions. An educator and literacy advocate, in 1996, she founded Children’s Day, Book Day/ El día de los niños, El día de los libros (often known as Día), a year-long family initiative that honors children and connects them with bookjoy. Annually, across the country, April book fiestas reach out creatively to all children and families in all languages. Pat, a native of El Paso who now lives in Santa Fe, is the mother of three grown children and a sweet, Austin granddaughter.








Rene Saldana, Jr. -- PhotoRené Saldaña, Jr. is the author of several books for young adults. His most recent title is Dale, dale, dale: Una fiesta de números/Hit It, Hit It, Hit It: A Fiesta of Numbers (Carolyn Dee Flores, illustrator), a bilingual counting book celebrating Mexican American fiestas that includes piñatas and friends and family. With Erika Garza-Johnson, he co-edited Juventud!, an anthology of short fiction and poetry for young adults. He teaches in the College of Education at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, where he lives with his family.









Jon Scieszka -- PhotoJon Scieszka is the author of the New York Times bestselling Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor. He has sold more than 11 million books, including The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid TalesThe True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, the Time Warp Trio series, Guys ReadSpaceheadz, and Battle Bunny with Mac Barnett. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.










Bob SheaBob Shea has written and illustrated over a dozen picture books including the popular Dinosaur vs. Bedtime and the cult favorite, Big Plans, illustrated by Lane Smith. His characters and animations have appeared on Nick Jr, Playhouse Disney and PBS Kids. Shea spends his days writing, drawing and having “conversations” with NPR.











Duncan Tonatiuh -- PhotoDuncan Tonatiuh’s first book, Dear Primo, won the 2011 Pura Belpré Honor for Illustration, and Diego Rivera won the 2012 Pura Belpré Illustration Award. Tonatiuh lives in Mexico.