Check Out These Awesome Book Festival Titles!

Commerce Loves Reading Book Festival -- March 19, 2016



          Featuring the very talented...

Julie Berry:  "I dreamed of being many things – a marine biologist, a chemist, a mother, a gymnast, a Solid Gold Dancer – but always, writing was on the back of my mind. Whatever else I might be or do, I hoped writing would be part of the mix."

Ava Dellaira:  “My first memory of writing is as a 2nd grader. I had been assigned to write a poem about the things I liked and why. I started out pretty unassumingly: “I like rainbows because they are pretty. I like kittens because they are soft.” And then I wrote, “I like my Mom—” but I couldn’t come up with the end of the sentence. I remember it vividly because it was my first awareness of that space between a feeling, and the language that we have to name it. No words seemed big enough.”

Jeff Garvin:  “While studying at Chapman University, Jeff won awards for classical guitar and visual storytelling before graduating with a BFA in Film. As the front man of his rock band, 7k, Garvin released three albums and toured the United States. When the band dissolved in 2011, Jeff, who had always written short stories and lyrics, found his passion in full-length fiction.”

Sandra C. Lopez:  “Born and raised in Hawaiian Gardens, CA, Sandra C. López is one of today's influential Latina authors in Young Adult literature. Her first novel, Esperanza: A Latina Story, was published in March 2008 WHILE she was still in college. Shortly after that, she wrote the follow up title, Beyond the Gardens, starring her inspirational heroine...  She was named as one of "2011 Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch" by Latino Stories.”

Gretchen McNeil:  She’s been an opera singer and a clown, perhaps an ideal mix for a writer of teen horror and suspense.  Her first book, Possess, is about a teen exorcist and her second book, Ten, is about ten teens trapped on a remote island with a serial killer.  The horror continues in her Don’t Get Mad series, pitched as “John Hughes with a body count.”  You’ll want to read these, just not in the dark! Ken Min: born in Los Angeles and studied illustration at Art Center, College of Design. He has storyboarded for various commercials and animated TV shows such as The PJs and Futurama. His illustration work has been recognized numerous times by the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI). In 2012, the first picture book he illustrated, Hot, Hot Roti For Dada-Ji, received the Picture Book Honor Award for Literature from the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA).

Isabel Quintero:  “In 2003 married my husband Fernando, in (where else?) a library.  In addition to writing young adult literature, poetry, and fiction,  I teach English at a couple community colleges, freelance writer for the Arts Council of San Bernardino County, am a member of PoetrIE (a literary arts organization who’s working to bring literary arts to the communities of the IE), and an avid pizza and taco eater. Pizza being my favorite food, and tacos a close second. You can read about why I write in my first blog post, titled, ‘Why I Write.’”

Luis J. Rodriguez:  "The son of Mexican immigrants, Luis J. Rodriguez began writing in his early teens and has won national recognition as a poet, journalist, fiction writer, children's book writer, and critic. Currently working as a peacemaker among gangs, Rodriguez helped create Tia Chucha's Café & Centro Cultural, a multiarts, multimedia cultural center in the Northeast San Fernando Valley."
Kirk Scroggs:  "In kindergarten, Kirk's teachers were so impressed with his demented drawings of zombies, witches and monsters that they often called his parents and even recommended a few "experts" take a look at Kirk's work.  Thankfully, for Kirk's poor Mother, he grew out of his monster kick and went on to study film at the University of Texas which inspired him to move to sunny Los Angeles to pursue his dream of working retail and living in a luxury un-air-conditioned apartment.  After years of reassessment, reflection and hard work, Kirk has finally realized his true calling... drawing demented pictures of zombies, witches and monsters.”

Robyn Schneider:  “My brain loves to come up with weird hypothetical questions, like, ‘what if you waited your whole life to experience some terrible tragedy only to have it be the best thing that ever happened to you?’ or ‘what if your mom saved your dad from a big bad evil while she was pregnant with you, and now it’s your fate to save the world?’ or ‘what if some mostly-extinct disease became an epidemic again?’ For any of the questions that I think are interesting enough, I start to imagine the people those things might happen to, and what their lives might be like, and suddenly I have an idea for a novel.”

Alan Lawrence Sitomer:  A California Teacher of the Year award winner and founder of The Writer’s Success Academy, Alan says, “… my ideas come from a deep part of me that wants to inspire other people to be the best they can be, no matter the adversity they face nor the hurdles they are forced to climb. Life can be lonely and we all face incredible challenges.  One of the biggest hopes for my books is that they leave people with the sense of a voice inside their head that encourages them to find the strength to battle on when times get tough. In my books, the good guys win.”

Andrew Smith:  "...ever since his days as editor of his high school newspaper [Andrew Smith knew] that he wanted to be a writer. After graduating college, he experimented with journalistic careers... but found it wasn't the kind of writing he'd dreamed about doing.  So, he bounced around the world and from job to job, working at various times in a metals mill, as a longshoreman unloading bananas from Central America and imported autos from Japan, in bars and liquor stores, in security, and as a musician... Throughout his life, Smith continued to write, but never considered seeking publication until challenged into it by lifelong friend, author Kelly Milner Halls.

Ann Redisch Stampler:  “My forays into other careers notwithstanding, I have always wanted to be a writer, and have always, ever since I was first able to write, had notebooks and file folders and bankers’ boxes full of stories, and pieces of stories, and fragments of novels, and random paragraphs. As a teenager, I saw myself as smart and socially hopeless. Now I see myself as less smart and less hopeless, but I’m still basically the same person I’ve always been; I’m just a lot happier about it.”

Shelley Moore Thomas:  "When I was little, I was one of those kids that had messy handwriting. Really, really messy. As a matter of fact, it is only marginally better now, but I have learned how to decipher it most of the time. Ironically, even though putting pencil to paper neatly was torture, I loved writing. I was the kind of kid who wrote poems as gifts to people......the kind of kid who read fairy tales and adventures stories.....the kind of kid who still remembers writing her first book report ever, on The Story of Ferdinand the Bull."
Jen Wang:  "a cartoonist and illustrator, Jen Wang is a co-founder and organizer for Los Angeles based comics festival Comic Arts LA."  "I make trivial observations on Twitter. I post photos of my black and white polydactyl cat Stella on Instagram. I post updates about my pottery projects on my ceramics blog."


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