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Author Spotlight

Rachel and Nicole had been two ships passing in the night before they actually met in person. Mutual friends frequently would say, “Do you know Nicole? If not,  you need to meet Nicole.” They were threaded on an email from a bookseller and soon they were geeking out over self-publishing, book layouts, and smyth-sewn binding!  Rachel was super excited to put breathing practices and yoga shapes to Read Island.



Nicole Magistro is a professional reader and amateur mother living in Colorado's mountains. She owned a bookstore for 15 years, has written thousands of book reviews, and memorized a few too many bedtime stories. Her favorite place is the real Read Island, which inspired her debut picture book. As an author, Magistro won the Colorado Book Award, SCBWI Spark Honor, and a finalist for the Reading the West Book Award. 



Join a very brave girl and her furry friends on an adventure to Read Island! Through the power of imagination and the pleasure of reading, this curious trio set sail for a magical island made of books. On their way they discover a joyful collection of animals converging by sea and land, just in time for an unforgettable story hour. A rhyming celebration of nature, books and the importance of stories.

Rachel and Kwame met unexpectedly in Charleston, South Carolina. Kwame was starting his writing career and dined at her husband’s restaurant, Five Loaves Cafe. Kwame loved the menu’s popular three cheese tortellini with portobello mushrooms, baby spinach, and sundried tomatoes. They bonded over food and books. One of Rachel’s favorite items on her bookshelf is a signed copy of Kwame's first children's book, Indigo Blume and the Garden City, a heartwarming tale of a girl named Indigo who builds a rooftop garden to inspire her community. When Rachel approached Kwame about piloting MWMB, his response was enthusiastic. Because of this "YES!" text message, Rachel knew her passion and commitment to MWMB were leading her on the right path.


Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, publisher, Emmy® Award-winning producer, and #1 New York Times bestselling author of 40 books, including This is the Honey, Why Fathers Cry at Night, An American Story, The Door of No Return, Becoming Muhammad Ali (co-authored with James Patterson), Rebound, which was shortlisted for the prestigious UK Carnegie Medal, and The Undefeated, a National Book Award nominee, Newbery Honor, and Caldecott Medal-winning picture book illustrated by Kadir Nelson.


Kwame Alexander's first book Indigo Blume and the Garden City received a 2013 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Children's Literature. The story follows a nine-year-old girl named Indigo. She enters a contest, cleans up her community, and builds a garden with tall climbing beans.

Rachel and Leia met in Charleston, South Carolina, while her family was stationed at the Charleston Air Force Base. They both had preschool-aged children who attended the same karate studio. Even after Leia moved away, they stayed connected through her blog and Facebook. Rachel joined Leia's book launch team for her book Sister, which tells the story of a young girl's experiences with both the joy and grief of building a family through fostering and adoption. A few months later, Rachel pitched the idea of MWMB to Leia, and she introduced Rachel and Carly to publisher, Katie Otey, from Phoenix Media & Books. They all agreed the ideas of enhancing author visits and sparking sensory memories could revolutionize children's experience of storytelling. 

Leia M. Johnson has worked as a freelance writer and editor, an educator, a library clerk, and the president of an international women's empowerment nonprofit, while balancing life as a military spouse and mother of four. 

Leia M. Johnson’s heartwarming, Kirkus-starred book, Sister is a joyous exploration of building a family through fostering and adoption. Illustrated by S.J. Winkler and published by Phoenix Media & Books.


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