Contributor Bios

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Mindy Alyse

Mindy Alyse Weiss spends so much time writing humorous stories with heart, she usually has a laundry mountain large enough to fill a hundred violin cases. She lives in Florida, and is constantly inspired by her husband, daughters, an adventurous Bullmasador adopted from The Humane Society, and an adorable Beagle/Pointer mix who was rescued from the Everglades.

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Jenn Brisendine

Like Claudia, Jenn Brisendine has been known to correct an unintentional grammar slip-up or two…especially in her recent role as a middle school language arts teacher. Jenn has also taught literature, writing, and theatre in her adventures in the classroom; this quest, like the Kincaid children’s, has had some surprising turnabouts. For example, the teacher ended up learning quite a bit from her 5th and 6th grade students; they taught her what makes a great middle grade novel—from a modern-day-kid-reader point of view.…

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Samantha M. Clark

When Samantha M. Clark was 9, she packed her suitcase with a bear, chocolate, and books, and ran away. She got to the end of her road… then went home. Now she writes about other ordinary kids and teens in extraordinary situations. Her debut middle-grade novel, THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST, was published by Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster in 2018, and her most recent MG novels are ARROW (also Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster) and AMERICAN HORSE TALES: HOLLYWOOD (Penguin Workshop/Penguin Random House), part of the AMERICAN HORSE TALES series.…

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Meira Drazin

Reading From the Mixed-Up Files as a child in Toronto is one of the main reasons Meira Drazin always dreamed of living in New York City. Although she realized her dream and got to live in Manhattan for 18 years, she was disappointed to have never located the bed Jamie and Claudia sleep in at the Met.…

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Laurie J Edwards

As the oldest of four children, Laurie J. Edwards planned to run away when she was nine. She didn’t get far before she realized she’d miss her pet parakeet, so she slept on the back patio. That wasn’t the only time sheslept on concrete. Later in life, she spent a winter night on a sidewalk in Marseilles, France, sharing a heating grate with a homeless person.…

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Greg R Fishbone

Greg R. Fishbone writes galactic fiction from the parlor of a two-hundred year old antique home. He is the author of the Galaxy Games series, combining sports, science fiction, video games, and the end of the world.

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Kelly Garcia

Like Claudia, K.D. Garcia loves a good mystery. However, if she had run away, K.D. would’ve skipped right past the museum of art and dove into the museum of natural history. There, she would’ve focused on something spooky, like a mummy’s curse or the dark corner of the museum that might be haunted. After solving the mystery, K.D.…

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Robyn Gioia

When Robyn Gioia was a girl, she kept sneaking away to the Ohio State Museum to study the Egyptian mummy and the rock collection. It’s no wonder she grew up to be a teacher. Later, she ventured overseas to work in the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Puerto Rico, and South Korea. During a relocation to England, an eclectic group of writers took her in and taught her the craft of storytelling.…

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Jo Hackl

Jo Watson Hackl has been locked inside a library twice (mostly accidentally) but never has been able to manage sneaking into the Metropolitan Museum of Art for an overnight stay. Jo grew up in the piney woods of Mississippi surrounded by great storytellers. Her middle grade book, SMACK DAB IN THE MIDDLE OF MAYBE (Random House Children’s/Yearling Adventure) is about a girl who runs away to live in a treehouse in a ghost town and sets out on a clue-solving adventure.…

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Mike Hays

Mike Hays is from Kansas and is a tried and true flatlander by birth. He would most assuredly be obsessed with a statue of mysterious origins, especially if he could buy said statue on the cheap. He has worked as a molecular microbiologist for over 25 years, has coached high school sports, and writes middle-grade books.…

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Hillary Homzie

Hillary Homzie is the author of the tween novels, THE HOT LIST (S&S 2011) and THINGS ARE GONNA GET UGLY, as well as the comedic chapter book series ALIEN CLONES FROM OUTER SPACE, which is being made into an animated television series. She has also been privately coaching both published authors and aspiring authors for nine years, and during the summers teaches in the graduate program in children’s writing at Hollins University.…

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Karen Latchana Kenney

If Karen Latchana Kenney could spend a night in a NYC museum, she’d pick the American Museum of Natural History with its blue whale model suspended from the ceiling. She thinks whales are pretty amazing. She’s written many books for kids about whales and other creatures, space, robotics, and much more. Her latest is about the longest living animals and plants on Earth, called Extreme Longevity: Discovering Earth’s Oldest Organisms.…

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Susan Koehler

Susan Koehler is a veteran educator, a lifetime literary enthusiast, and the author of several books for kids and teachers. DAHLIA IN BLOOM, her first novel for young readers, was a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2019, and NOBODY KILLS UNCLE BUSTER AND GETS AWAY WITH IT, a fast-paced contemporary mystery, was named Florida Writers Association 2022 Children’s Book of the Year.…

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S.A. Larsen

S.A. Larsen loves to explore imaginary passageways to hidden worlds with all sorts of creepy creatures. She also thinks cemeteries are cool. Her work includes the award-winning middle grade fantasy-adventure MOTLEY EDUCATION as well as her young adult fantasy-romance MARKED BEAUTY. She lives in the land of lobsters and snowy winters with her husband and four children.

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Chris Low

Chris Low is a children’s writer and elementary school teacher outside of Philadelphia, PA. He draws inspiration from the organized chaos of his special education classroom and the perpetually surprising wit of his own students. In addition to his middle-grade book projects, Chris has published several award-winning short stories with Highlights for Children and Spider magazine.…

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Ines Lozano

Ines Lozano is a children’s book writer who best aligns her creative style with Mrs. Frankweiler’s thinking in this quote: “…you should also have days when you allow what is already in you to swell up inside of you until it touches everything. And you can feel it inside you.” As such, Ines draws her kidlit fiction inspiration from personal experiences and her Latine upbringing.…

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Beth McMullen

For Beth McMullen running away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art was a real possibility. After all it was just a train ride away. But there was the problem of her beloved cat, who was not getting in that suitcase for all the treats in the world. So Beth turned her attention to making up stories about more agreeable pets and has been writing ever since.…

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Heather Murphy Capps

Heather Murphy Capps has always had a deep appreciation for comfort and elegance. She and Claudia would have run out of money quickly together but would absolutely have been on the same page about taxis and nice restaurants. And of course, solving mysteries about beautiful art. That said, Heather also appreciates Jamie’s love of complication, which is why she spent several years living in rural Kenya and then became a television news reporter, which involved standing for hours in the middle of hurricanes and political battles.…

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Rosanne Parry

Rosanne Parry knows all about hiding in museums, cheating at cards, and having a bossy big sister. She’s the author of the middle-grade novels HEART OF A SHEPHERD, SECOND FIDDLE, WRITTEN IN STONE, and THE TURN OF THE TIDE. She and her family live in an a very old house in Portland, Oregon where they are raising four children, three chickens and five kinds of fruit.

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Louise Prescott

Louise Prescott never ran away to a museum like Claudia. She was too busy snorkeling in the beach by her house, stepping on horseshoe crabs, and trying to catch slithery eels. But if she had run away, it would have been to the tiny public library up the street. It had nooks and crannies to sit in and get lost in a book.…

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Andrea Pyros

Andrea Pyros was born and raised in New York City, and she still regrets that she’s never spent the night in one of the city’s museums. Andrea now lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and their two children and works as a freelance writer for a variety of publications. She is the author of two middle-grade books, PINK HAIR AND OTHER TERRIBLE IDEAS (Capstone) MY YEAR OF EPIC ROCK (Sourcebooks).

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Natalie Rompella

Like Claudia, Natalie Rompella also tried to solve a great mystery–she and her friend attempted to find the whereabouts of Amelia Earhart during 3rd grade recess. Unfortunately, fifteen minutes was not enough time. Now Natalie is grown up and is currently writing her own middle-grade mystery. She is the author of 12 trade books, including her first middle grade novel, COOKIE CUTTERS & SLED RUNNERS; a writing workbook, SECRETS OF STORYTELLING; and more than 50 works for the educational market.…

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Jonathan Rosen

Jonathan Rosen is a transplanted New Yorker, who now lives with his family in sunny South Florida. He spends his “free” time being a volunteer coach and chauffeur for his three kids. Some of Jonathan’s fondest childhood memories are of discovering a really good book to dive into. His favorite of all time is Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.…

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Melissa Roske

Having grown up in NYC, Melissa Roske spent many happy hours wandering through The Met, but never spent the night (those pesky security guards!). That didn’t stop her from having other adventures, though. She moved to Europe and landed a job as a journalist, interviewing Belgian politicians, British pop stars, and Australian soap opera actors.…

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Shifa Saltagi Safadi

Shifa Saltagi Safadi is always running, but not away from anything…rather to a quiet corner where she can read a good book in peace. When she’s not correcting grammar and teaching ELA to her middle school students or reviewing books on her Muslim bookstagram @muslimmommyblog, you can find her tapping away at her keyboard and inventing her own adventures with Syrian Muslim American main characters like herself and her four kids.…

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Lisa Schmid

Much like Claudia, Lisa Schmid has always loved a good mystery. At four years old, she went door to door interviewing “suspects” when her favorite stuffed animal went missing. Fortunately, Big Blue was eventually found safe and sound, and no arrests were made. Lisa is the author of OLLIE OXLEY AND THE GHOST: THE SEARCH FOR LOST GOLD.…

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Gail Shepherd

Gail Shepherd passed away in February 2020. In addition to being a beloved contributor for Mixed-Up Files, Gail wrote long-form profiles and investigative pieces and an award-winning restaurant column for New Times in Palm Beach County. Her columns appeared in the Best American Food Writing. She was also an investigative journalist for Palm Beach Free Press.…

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Jennifer Swanson

Jennifer Swanson dreams of one day running away to the Museum of Science and Industry- then maybe she could look at all the exhibits and try out all the gadgets without competing for them with her kids. An author of thirty nonfiction science books for grades 3-6, Jennifer’s goal is to show kids that Science Rocks!…

STEM Tuesday

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Christine Taylor Butler

Christine Taylor-Butler has been a prolific consumer of public
libraries from an early age. A consummate tinkerer it was deemed
advisable she study engineering at MIT for job security. Years later she made a break for the corporate door and delved into children’s literature hoping to write stories about talking animals when a sneaky editor at Scholastic conned her into writing non-fiction for children.…

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Callie Dean

Callie Dean is a musician, writer, educator, and program evaluator. She teaches applied research at Eastern University and is passionate about the role of the arts in effecting community transformation. She lives in Shreveport, La., with her husband and two sons.  She is the director of CYBER.ORG, a STEM education organization with a national network of more than 25,000 K-12 teachers.…

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Andi Diehn

Andi Diehn grew up near the ocean chatting with horseshoe crabs and now lives in the mountains surrounded by dogs, cats, lizards, chickens, ducks, moose, deer, and bobcats, some of which help themselves to whatever she manages to grow in the garden. You are most likely to find her reading a book, talking about books, writing a book, or discussing politics with her sons.…

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Jenna Grodinski

Jenna Grodzicki is the author of more than twenty fiction and nonfiction children’s books. Her books include Wild Style: Amazing Animal Adornments (Millbrook Press 2020) and I See Sea Food: Sea Creatures That Look Like Food (Millbrook Press 2019), the winner of the 2020 Connecticut Book Award in the Young Readers Nonfiction Category.…

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Mike Hays

Mike Hays is from Kansas and is a tried and true flatlander by birth. He would most assuredly be obsessed with a statue of mysterious origins, especially if he could buy said statue on the cheap. He has worked as a molecular microbiologist for over 25 years, has coached high school sports, and writes middle-grade books.…

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Sue Heavenrich

Sue Heavenrich writes about science for children and their families, from space to backyard ecology. Bees, flies, squirrel behavior—things she observes in her backyard and around her neighborhood—inspire her writing. A long line of ants marching across the kitchen counter generated one of her first articles for kids. If you can’t find her at the keyboard, check the garden.Her most recent book is  Diet for a Changing Climate (2018).

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Karen Latchana Kenney

Karen Latchana Kenney loves to write books about animals, and looks for them wherever she goes—from leafcutter ants trailing through the Amazon rain forest in Guyana, where she was born, to puffins in cliff-side burrows on the Irish island of Skellig Michael. She especially enjoys creating books about nature, biodiversity, conservation, and groundbreaking scientific discoveries—but also writes about civil rights, astronomy, historical moments, and many other topics.…

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Kirsten W. Larson

Kirsten W. Larson used to work with rocket scientists at NASA. Now she writes about both science and history for kids. She is the author of 25 nonfiction books, including the Robotics in Our World series (Amicus). Calkins Creek will publish her debut picture book, WOOD, WIRE, WINGS: Emma Lilian Todd Invents an Airplane (illus.…

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Margo Lemieux

A recently retired professor of art, Margo is devoted to seeing that the A stays in STEAM. Science & technology need the heart that comes with art. It was lack of heart that led to the ecological crisis we have today. The process of creativity is closely related to that of scientific inquiry.

She is a  published picture book writer and illustrator, editor, poet, and amateur ukulele player.…

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Lydia Lukidis

Lydia Lukidis is the author of 48 trade and educational books, as well as 31 e-Books. Her latest STEM book, THE BROKEN BEES’ NEST (Kane Press, 2019), was nominated for a CYBILS Award, and her forthcoming STEM book, DEEP, DEEP, DOWN: The Secret Underwater Poetry of the Mariana Trench will be published by Capstone in 2023.…

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Maria Marshall

Maria is a children’s author, blogger, and poet passionate about making nature and reading fun for children. She was a round 2 judge for the 2018 & 2017 Cybils Awards. And a judge for the #50PreciousWords competition since its inception. Two of her poems are published in The Best Of Today’s Little Ditty 2016 and 2014-2015 anthologies.…

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Heather L Montgomery

Heather L. Montgomery writes for kids who are wild about animals. The weirder, the wackier, the better. An award-winning educator, Heather uses yuck appeal to engage young minds. She has a B.S. in biology and an M.S. in environmental education and has written a dozen nonfiction books including How Rude! Real Bugs Who Won’t Mind Their Manners (Scholastic) and her upcoming Something Rotten: A Fresh Look at Roadkill(Bloomsbury).

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Carla Mooney

Carla Mooney loves to explore the world around us and discover the details about how it works. An award-winning author of numerous nonfiction science books for kids and teens, she hopes to spark a healthy curiosity and love of science in today’s young people. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, three kids, and dog. When not writing, she can often be spotted at a hockey rink for one of her kids’ games.…

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Shruthi Rao

Shruthi was that kid who actually enjoyed writing essays in school! She wrote her first novel when she was eleven. It was an Enid Blyton rip-off. It was terrible (so she says). She didn’t write stories for a long time after that. Instead, Shruthi got a Master’s degree in Energy Engineering from one of the top schools of India, and worked in the IT industry for four years.…

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Janet Slingerland

Janet Slingerland grew up studying animals and conducting science experiments before pursuing a degree in electrical engineering. She spent 15 years writing code for things like submarines, phones, and airplanes before deciding to share her passion for knowledge and STEM with others. Janet now has more than 20 published books for readers in grades K through 12, including Explore Atoms and Molecules!…

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Susan Summers

Susan started her career as a zookeeper and enjoyed working with polar bears, wolves, and owls – to name just a few of her favorite animals. Interest in science and nature firmly took hold and she followed that career by becoming a wildlife biologist. In this engaging field, she was able to participate in research on a variety of wildlife, including bears, bats, and fabulous birds!…

Photo of Jennifer Swanson

Jennifer Swanson

Jennifer Swanson dreams of one day running away to the Museum of Science and Industry- then maybe she could look at all the exhibits and try out all the gadgets without competing for them with her kids. An author of thirty nonfiction science books for grades 3-6, Jennifer’s goal is to show kids that Science Rocks!…