Kelly Starling Lyons is an award-winning children’s book author and founding member of The Brown Bookshelf, a team of authors and illustrators dedicated to raising KSL-headshotawareness of black children’s book creators. As a kid, she rarely saw children of color featured in stories for young readers. Her mission is to make sure kids today have a different reality. Her books include NEATE: Eddie’s Ordeal; CCBC Choices-honored picture book, One Million Men and Me; Ellen’s Broom, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book, Junior Library Guild and Bank Street Best selection; Tea Cakes for Tosh and Hope’s Gift, Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People and One More Dino on the Floor, a Scholastic Reading Club pick. Learn more about her here.

Vanessa Brantley Newton  is a self-taught artist with a great passion for children’s books and fashion illustration. As an illustrator, she includes children of all ethnic backgroundsVanessaheadshot in her artwork so that every child sees their unique experience reflected in the stories they read. She celebrates self-love and acceptance of all cultures through her work, and hopes to inspire young readers to find their own voices. Vanessa has illustrated over 30 books, and has written and illustrated the picture books Let Freedom Sing and Don’t Let Auntie Mabel Bless The Table. Learn more about her here.

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