Ed Masessa

Authors

Born in nineteen something, I am the second oldest of 10 children. I was raised in the small town of Middlesex, NJ and attended Rutgers University. As anyone who has met me can attest to, I live by the mantra “Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.” Formerly employed as a grease monkey, office cleaner, fast food manager, forklift operator, warehouse supervisor, sales rep, and automotive purchasing manager, I retired from Scholastic Book Fairs in 2016 where I was responsible for selecting many of the books that appeared on the fairs. While on the surface, it appears that I was unqualified for such a critical role, I earned my stripes through hard work and LOTS of reading – and I mean LOTS!

Twenty or so years ago, I turned to the wonderful memories of my childhood and began to write. My second book, The Wandmaker’s Guidebook, had a nine-week run on the NY Times Bestseller list, two weeks at #1!  Now a full-time writer, I remain active in the Kidlit community by participating in library, reading, and writing conferences throughout the year, and by visiting schools to share my writing techniques with students. And I am an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

What was your favorite book as a child?

Big Red by Jim Kjelgaard

Who are your favorite children’s authors?

Jack Gantos, Neal Shusterman, and Jennifer Holm

Available for School Visits:

I love doing school visits! I can do up to three presentations in the same day that include grades 1-2 for picture books and early readers and grades 3-6 for my writing process and novels. Presentations can be customized from 20-45 minutes and only a laptop with a projector is needed (plus a microphone for large audiences). Fees are highly flexible.

Location:

Visit Ed at:

GET IN TOUCH ABOUT ED

Specialties:

Creative Process:

I need to write outdoors. There’s something about sitting in a park, or near a lake, or by the gently rolling waves of the Florida surf that allows my mind to wander and opens it to unconstrained thoughts. This is especially helpful since I am an extreme pantser – that is, I write by the seat of my pants. I find it impossible to create an outline other than a general synopsis of the beginning, middle, and end of a book. I am constantly amazed at what has taken shape on the page at the end of my writing block of time. I love when I can look at my words and say, ‘Wow! I never saw THAT coming!’

I also hand-write everything and every project has its own notebook. My first pass at revision is when I sit down to type what I’ve written into a word doc.

Awards and honors:

The Wandmaker’s Guidebook:
#1 NY Times bestseller for four weeks
ALA Quick Pick for Young Adults

Wandmaker:
Parent’s Choice Award for “Fun Stuff”

Wandmaker’s Apprentice:
Florida Book Awards gold medal in the middle grade category

Scarecrow Magic:
starred review from PW

Published books:

Backpack Kitty Goes to Camp (early reader)
Travel-size Pups Around the World (early reader)
Mixed-up Pups (early reader)
Real Life Monsters (non-fiction)
Wandmaker’s Guidebook (novelty)
Wandmaker (novel)
Wandmaker’s Apprentice (novel)
Time Traveler’s Journal (novelty)
Scarecrow Magic (picture book)
Pumpkin Magic (picture book)
There Was an Old Dog Who Needed a Nap (forthcoming picture book)
Snowman’s Big Adventure (forthcoming picture book)


Kathlyn Kirkwood

Authors

Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Kathlyn J Kirkwood is the author of Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round: the Story of an Everyday Activist and the Making of the Martin Luther King Holiday.

A retired college professor, Kathlyn focuses on writing for children and volunteering with under-priveleged 3rd and 4th grade students in the Nashville area. She has developed several innovative workshops that use trade books to help young people learn about the world beyond their immediate surroundings, and to inspire them with a love of reading.

What is your favorite food?

Memphis barbecue!

What is your favorite thing to do for fun?

Inspiring and mentoring third and fourth graders! I have teamed up with my beloved husband, Alan, to bring books to life for elementary students. We affectionately call ourselves Mama and Papa K, and we feed their young hearts, minds, souls, and bodies. Yes, we eat together metaphorically and literally!

My goal is to use my life experiences and love of books to birth young activists—to help them see that they are 100% capable of changing the world for the better, starting with themselves.

GET IN TOUCH ABOUT KATHLYN

Location:

Visit Kathlyn at:

Forthcoming books:

Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round: The Story of an Everyday Activist and the Making of the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, Versify/HMHCo., Fall 2021

Available for School Visits:

Kathlyn and her husband Alan form “The Team Kirkwood Literacy Lab”, which brings books to life for elementary-age children through holistic engagement with text. Each story is a starting point for exploring the world, learning life skills, and developing the unique interests of each child.

Working with a wide variety of sponsors, they design activities that expand students’ horizons in multiple ways: finding a new city on a map, eating new foods, learning the lost art of the handwritten thank you note, hearing new music, and more. Their commitment to underprivileged children is simple: loving guidance to see a world beyond their immediate circumstances.