Picture Book Play Time

Friday, October 16, 2020, 10:00am

This year’s story hour at the Twin Cities Book Festival features authors from around the country and our own back yard! Join Sophie Blackall (If You Come to Earth), Djenane St. Juste (The Mermaid and the Whale), Jonathan Stutzman (The Night Is for Darkness), and Kao Kalia Yang (The Most Beautiful Thing) for the perfect jumpstart to any kid’s day!   Moderated by Lisa Von Drasek.  

Replay of this event is available throughout 2020!

Buy books by these authors at Red Balloon Bookshop!

Sophie Blackall has illustrated over 20 books, including the Ivy + Bean series and Ruby’s Wish. She is the recipient of awards such as the Caldecott Medal, the Ezra Jack Keats Award, and the Founders Award from the Society of Illustrators. Blackall wrote and illustrated her most recent project, the touching picture book If You Come to Earth (Chronicle Books), which has been lauded by Publishers Weekly‘s “a book that can be shared with strangers, visitors, friends old and new – a work in which differences build to reveal an inclusive human family on a single, precious planet.” Originally from Australia, Blackall now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Learn more at www.sophieblackall.com.

Djenane Saint Juste, a native of Haiti, is the Artistic Director of Afoutayi Dance, Music and Arts Company and a seasoned professional choreographer, dancer, actress, and vocalist specializing in Haitian traditional dance and folklore. She is the creator and instigator of the Annual Haitian Cultural Festival, and has brought exciting new themes and activities to engage participants in Haitian culture since its first appearance in 2009. A former faculty member in the world dance department at the Saint Paul Conservatory for the Performing Arts, she is an artist in residence at Hamline University and St. Olaf University. Djenane’s work towards the preservation of Haitian culture has been documented in works such as Lavil: Life, Love, and Death in Port-au-Prince (Voice of Witness, 2017). Her new picture book, The Mermaid and the Whalewas inspired by the Haitian folk song of “Lasirèn ak Labalèn.” Learn more at www. afoutayidmaco.com.

Jonathan Stutzman is an award-winning filmmaker and the author of acclaimed children’s books including the Tiny T. Rex series and Llama Destroys the World. He has writing credits on Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Emmy-winning variety show HitRecord on TV, in addition to being a contributing writer to HitRecord’s best-selling collection the Tiny Book of Tiny Stories (Vol 1–3). He has two new picture books out this year: The Night is for Darkness (Balzer + Bray), illustrated by Joseph Kuefler, and Butts Are Everywhere (G.P. Putnam Books for Young Readers), illustrated by Heather Fox.  He received his masters at Temple University for Film & Digital Media and lives in Palmyra, Pennsylvania.

Kao Kalia Yang is a Hmong-American writer who holds degrees from Carleton College and Columbia University. Yang is the author of The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, winner of the 2009 Minnesota Book Awards in Creative Nonfiction/Memoir, as well as The Song Poet, winner of the 2016 Minnesota Book Award in Creative Nonfiction/Memoir and a finalist for the Chautauqua Prize, a PEN USA Award in Nonfiction, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. She has also penned the award-winning children’s book A Map Into the World, and co-edited the collection What God is Honored Here?: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss By and For Indigenous Women and Women of Color.  Her latest releases are the picture books The Shared Room (University of Minnesota Press) and The Most Beautiful Thing (Carolrhoda Books). She lives in Minnesota with her family. Learn more at kaokaliayang.com.

Lisa Von Drasek is the Curator of the Children’s Literature Research Collections at the University of Minnesota Libraries, an internationally recognized archive of rare books, manuscripts, and original art. She is a children’s librarian with over 25 years experience in public library, school, and academic libraries, serving students, teachers, librarians, and caregivers. A book reviewer, Lisa has served on distinguished juries, including The New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books and the Newbery and Caldecott awards.