Our 2015 Featured Community Members Celebrating Literacy and Learning

Every month KidLit TV celebrates books and reading by choosing a Featured Expert and Featured Member to discuss their views and passions about children’s literature and to share brilliant advice for parents, teachers and librarians looking for ways to encourage their kids to read.

These are the members of the community that we featured in 2015! To learn more about each of them, click the links below. And STAY TUNED each month next year — one of our featured members could be YOU!

Featured Experts

Emma Walton Hamilton 


Emma Walton Hamilton is a best-selling author, educator, editor, and writing coach. Emma has co-authored over twenty children’s books with her mother, Julie Andrews, seven of which have been on the New York Times best-seller list, including the #1 best-selling series The Very Fairy Princess. Emma’s own book for parents and caregivers, Raising Bookworms: Getting Kids Reading for Pleasure and Empowerment,premiered as a #1 best-seller on Amazon in the literacy category and has won several awards including a Parent’s Choice Gold Medal, and silver medals from the Living Now and IPPY Book Awards. Emma is a faculty member and directs both the Southampton Children’s Literature Fellows program and the Young Artists and Writers Project.

Mira Reisberg

Claire-OBrien-2-412x292The publishing world is a scary place for many authors and illustrators, but just like a child grows up with parents, teachers and classmates, you don’t have to go into the world alone. Doubts in your mind can turn into fears, but don’t let those doubts or fears stop you in your tracks. There are many doors of opportunity to help in your journey and The Children’s Book Academy is one door that every author and illustrator should open.

Katie Davis

Claire-OBrien-3-412x292Katie Davis, author of Kindergarten Rocks!—a book that Georgia’s education department gave to every pre-school in the state— and a spectacular entrepreneur who has sold over 750,000 copies of her books, is KidLit TV’s Featured Expert this month.

Katie is a lively, free-spirited writer who Graduated from Boston University with a photo-journalism degree. She started her entrepreneur journey when she opened her own business called Dirty Dishes, and sold beautiful hand-painted ceramics nationwide. Her business expanded and soon there were order forms piling up, one after another. Her Dirty Dishes business was thriving, but Katie wanted to do more. She licensed her designs and turned her focus to writing.

Julie Danielson

1-412x215Looking for the latest information on what’s happening with the who’s who of children’s literature? If so then KidLit TV’s Featured Expert Julie Danielson is here to help. Julie is the founder of 7-Impossible Things Before Breakfast, a children’s literature website focused on illustration and picture books. On her creative blog, Julie conducts many interviews and features about authors and illustrators, some veteran and others aspiring. We have been fans of Julie’s website and you’ve probably seen us share many of her articles here in the past. We’re happy we were able to catch this busy blogger for an interview to share with you all.

Amanda Boyarshinov 

22-412x232Education is important in every child’s life, but we all know the key, especially in early education, is reading. KidLit TV understands that not every child absorbs information the same way. To show our support for learners with diverse needs all around the world, KidLit TV interviewed Amanda Boyarshinov on literacy. There are many activities you can do with your kids when fostering an educational atmosphere, but Amanda shares a few tips and tricks that she’s learned in her many years of teaching and being a mom of three kids of her own.

Mia Wenjen 

Copy-of-Copy-of-Copy-of-Featured-Member-412x232As the first multimedia website that connects parents, teachers, and librarians to the world of children’s literature, KidLit TV is an ardent supporter of Pragmatic Mom, a parenting, education and literature blog founded by Mia Wenjen, who is also a co-founder of Multicultural Children’s Book Day. On Pragmatic Mom, you’ll find topics including educational apps for kids, special needs resources, kids book clubs, and book reviews. As our Featured Expert Mia opens up about why she created Pragmatic Mom, offers diverse book recommendations, and so much more.

Featured Members 

Taurean J. Watkins 

Featured-Member-2-412x292Tauren J. Watkins has been a member of the KidLit TV community for almost a year. He delights his fellow members with trailers he makes for his favorite books with animal protagonists. Also, his extensive knowledge of sourcing music for book trailers has made him a great asset to the group. He truly goes above and beyond to help support writers who are in need of inspiration or a kick-start to their writing.

Claire O’ Brien

Claire-OBrien-412x292When it comes to the creative arts, Claire O’Brien is a true renaissance woman. She writes, she illustrates, and she creates beautifully dynamic animations. Online she portrays herself as an aspiring Picture Book Author and Illustrator, but she is much more than that. She has been an aspiring author and illustrator since the early 2000s when she worked as a fundraising assistant for the United Kingdom’s National Center of Children’s Books, Seven Stories.

Cat Michaels 

Cat-412x292This month’s Featured Member is author Cat Michaels, who has been a helping hand in the literacy world and the KidLit TV community. Cat has been writing stories since she was in elemetary school and has never stopped. She earned an M.S. degree in special education from the University of Kansas, and has spent over two decades helping students from kindergarten to college and even serving at a community college as a writing coach to support students with Asperger’s syndrome and learning disabilities.

Michelle Blood

Michele-Blood1-412x275Michele Blood, founder of New Jersey Writer, LLC, has always had a passion for helping and delighting her clients. Michele runs New Jersey Writer, LLC to help clients who come to her with a problem that needs to be solved. Whether that problem consists of a marketing plan or an article that needs to be written, Michele is always there to lend a helping hand.

Christine Miziarz

11-412x215Do you have twenty seconds to spare? If so we’re happy to tell you that Christine Maziarz, a.k.a. 20SecondsWithMC, is the KidLit TV Featured Member this month! Christine is one of the kid lit champions who runs her own YouTube Channel featuring twenty second videos. We love how she’s mashing up Minecraft with literacy, is an advocate of online safety for kids, and encourages kids to learn about technology. We learned a ton from our interview with Christine and we hope you do, too!

Rhonda Patton 

Copy-of-Featured-Member-1-412x232Rhonda Patton is a children’s book author and a mother of two children: a teenager and a four-year-old. The Croak 500, Rhonda, and her husband Chester McDaniel’s website, is where you can find stories that teach kids how to survive bullying. Chester helps Rhonda illustrate the characters in all her books, and he also co-writes a few of the stories with her.

Michelle Eastman 

Copy-of-Copy-of-Featured-Member1-412x232Michelle Eastman is author and founder of Picture Book Pass It On. She talks about the importance of literacy in the classroom, her favorite DIY and crafting projects, and how you can get involved with PBPiO – which is entirely different from PiBoIdMo, in case you didn’t know!

Featured Team Members

Kim Vij 

Claire-OBrien-1-412x292Kim is a Pinterest expert, and shares KidLit TV’s content with her 1.6 million followers. You might know Kim from her popular blog, The Educator’s Spin On It, but she’s also an early childhood educator, speaker, and author of “100 Fun and Easy Learning Games for Kids”. We are pleased to have Kim Vij on our team, overseeing our Pinterest boards. And you, our followers, love her for it, too! She’s more than tripled our followers and we’re having tons of fun. If you haven’t already, check out Kim’s fabulous KidLit TV Pinterest boards!

Kristin Ammerman 

FEATURED-TEAM-MEMBER-412x275Want to do a writing exercise with your kids, but are short on time? Want to teach your child how to create a character?

If so, then you’ll like the writing activity that our featured team member, Kristin Ammerman, came up with. Kristin is a working mom who has been writing in her “spare time” for years. Kristin relates well to Tara Lazar whose blog tag line is “Writing for Kids While Raising Them.”

In this article, Kristin shares how all parents and caregivers can invent fictional characters with kids using the “Shared World” technique. Unlike Fan Fiction which uses characters and the world, “Shared World” or “Shared Universe” uses only the world. Kristin recommends doing this to get kids interested in creative writing.

Sarah Shipley 

r-412x215Looking for literary activities to keep your kids reading? Need a new strategy for your reluctant reader? KidLit TV’s team member Sarah Shipley gives tips on encouraging your kids to read with step-by-step instructions for making a Bookworm, and she shares a simple hands-on activity for creating visual motivators for readers.

Sarah is a writer, teacher and homeschooling mom. She uses her skills to curate exciting and current content for the KidLit TV website. Sarah is a member of Eugene Writers Anonymous and has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul as well as multiple parenting magazines both online and in print. In her free time she likes to write YA sci-fi and children’s fantasy novels.

Kassia Graham 

Featured-Member-Kassia-Graham-412x232Making crafts with your kids or students is a great way to get them interested in reading and to teach them about different forms of art and culture. If you’re interested in making crafts with your kids, KidLit TV team member Kassia Graham has the perfect tutorial for you. Kassia is KidLit TV’s Media Director, and she helps produce our original shows and specials. How’d she get so crafty? She majored in art at New York City’s prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.

Tracey M. Cox

Copy-of-Featured-Member-1-412x232KidLit TV’s Featured Team Member Tracey M. Cox talks about yummy books, perfect for Thanksgiving! Tracey helped Julie Gribble launch the KidLit TV Facebook Group in 2014. She has written several picture books, founded a book festival, is a liaison to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators in her region, and participates in several author critique groups.

Who will be our 2016 community members? Stay Tuned …

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