KATHRYN APEL is a born-and-bred farm girl who's scared of cows. She lives among the gum trees, cattle, and kangaroo on a Queensland grazing property in Australia. Kat loves pumping poetry because she can flex her muscles across other genres, to bend (and break) writing rules. A trained teacher, Kat shares her passion for words at schools and festivals. Her writing is often inspired by classroom needs - and by the adventures of her two sons. Aside from trade-published books, including three verse novels and a rhyming picture book, her poetry has been published in One Minute Till Bedtime (Little, Brown 2016), and numerous other poems for children published in media around the globe.
JULIAN BERESFORD is a freelance illustrator based in England, UK specializing in Children's Illustrations. He grew up in the southwest of London, where he spent most of his childhood lost in his imagination, drawing constantly, and playing basketball. His first inspirations were British comics such as the Beano, Dandy and 2000 AD. He has completed an FDA Animation and Game Art degree and is currently undertaking MA in illustration. Julian resides in South Yorkshire where he creates illustrations inspired by the fantastical. His works are created by using pencils, watercolours and digitally.
DAWNELLE BREUM receives inspiration from her seven children, who are constantly busy and always keeping her learning. She is a former 1st grade teacher and foster parent, and writes for children in every spare moment she finds.
LAUREN ELFRING is both an artist and full-time middle school art teacher. She is a member of the organization Maryland Artists Anonymous which is a group of art teachers who meet monthly to make their own artwork and give moral support to each other in their artistic pursuits. The group exhibits their work together annually. Lauren lives in Baltimore, Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and two cats. If not spending time with her family, she is blasting music and painting in her home studio.
LUKE ELLINGTON works for a public library district in central Washington State, overseeing bookmobile and other outreach services to schools, retirement facilities and jails (juvenile and adult). While not anticipating a career in librarianship, he has fallen in love with the experience of encouraging children and children-at-heart to read, to write, and to share their creative products. He is the father of four daughters and has found much joy in sharing the reading and writing processes with them.
MELANIE GOODELL is a former teacher, and loves watching the excitement her kids show at learning how amazing planet Earth is! She grew up reading magazines similar to Prickly Pear Kids, and remembers feasting on the knowledge that each new issue brought. Melanie uses short stories to teach science, and believes that the concepts of science can be easily understood through short fiction, and are even more exhilarating when broken down.
ROLLIN JEWETT is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter, singer/songwriter, poet and author. His songs have won the International Music Software Trade Association (IMSTA FESTA) Award both in 2015 and 2016. His feature film credits include “Laws of Deception” and “American Vampire." Mr. Jewett’s poetry has recently been seen in Gathering Storm Magazine, Weasel Press, The Write Launch, and Door is a Jar Magazine. His plays have won several awards and have been produced all over the world. An avid photographer, Mr. Jewett’s photo art has also been published in several magazines online and in print.
BENITA GREEN LEE is an illustrator and writer. After graduating with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Michigan, she explored an eclectic variety of occupations, including singer-songwriter, online newswriter-producer, and auto show scriptwriter. Once settled in Colorado, Benita studied watercolor with artist Dottie Oatman, and immersed herself in painting. A member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Benita was mentored by illustrator Brooke Boynton-Hughes as a recipient of the 2017 Michelle Begley Mentor Program. Benita lives near the mountains with her husband, two children, and two dogs. Prickly Pear Kids is pleased to welcome her to its editorial staff as a Contributing Illustrator.
ELAINE LEE is a 19 year-old student in college and does graphic design and freelance writing on the side. She resides in sunny Southern California, where there is access to both the sea and the desert. Inspired by the cacti and critters who make the most out of their landscape, and the textures and shapes that the cacti feature, played a major role in designing her contribution to Prickly Pear Kids.
PAUL LOPEZ has been a freelance illustrator for 30 years and has also worked in the fine art field. Throughout his artistic career, he has worked on posters, books, and magazine illustrations. Paul enjoys expressing his admiration for wildlife. When he isn't in his studio painting, he enjoys relaxing in the outdoors.
VIVIAN MINEKER is a Taiwanese-American from Taipei and Portland, OR currently residing in Slovenia. As a freelance illustrator, she focuses on conveying emotions and the underlying narrative of each piece, in hopes to find a visceral connection with the audience. She works primarily in traditional mediums such as watercolor, acrylic, pen and graphite, and secondarily uses Adobe Photoshop to create and refine her work digitally.
NATALIE PANIASHVILI is a writer and former teacher of Russian Language and Literature. She was born in the country of Georgia, and has been living in The United States for the past 20 years. This has allowed her to fuse cultures and values, to grow in understanding, and in turn, to better understand herself.
DIANE PAYNE is the MFA Director at University of Arkansas at Monticello. Her most recent publications include: Obra/Artiface, Map Literary Review, Watershed Review, Tishman Review, Whiskey Island, Kudzu House Quarterly, Superstition Review, Blue Lyra Press, Fourth River, Cheat River Review, The Offing, Elke: A little Journal, Souvenir Literary Journal, Madcap Review and Outpost 19. Diane is the author of Burning Tulips (Red Hen Press) and co-author of Delphi Series 5 chapbook.
MARCIA LYNX QUALEY is a long-time resident of North Africa, and has written for the Egyptian children's magazine Rowayat Gemeza. She also runs the World Kids Literature website and translates literature for young people from Arabic to English.
MOLLY SCHAFER is an artist and cartoonist. She received an MFA in studio arts from The School of the Art Institue of Chicago as well as a BFA in Fine Arts from the Corcoran College of Art & Design. Molly's creative projects focus on the natural world. She mixes humor, anthropomorphism, and the life sciences to tell stories of often overlooked animals like bats, shrews, and bugs. Molly resides in sunny Delaware with her husband and son.
JUDY VALKO is an adjunct professor of Reading and a member of SCBWI. Born at a very early age, she evolved into a new life form who lives off children’s poetry, chocolate, and classic movies, and is undeniably destined to think in rhyme. (all the time!) Judy is a great fan of giggle poetry and extremely silly children. Probably best known for her 1st Place win in Box Hockey at the age of ten, she and her husband currently live in Arizona where they are owned, and well-kept, by their two rescue dogs.
KATIE WALSH is a teacher, freelance writer, adventure seeker, and believes in educating our children about sustaining a healthy world. Her work has been published on Sammiches and Psych Meds, Almost Fearless magazine, and Motherly.
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