Readathon Graphic

We need your help to bring summer camp back for 10,000 students across the 5 boroughs!

New York Edge is bringing back in person camp with an exciting summer Readathon for students in elementary, middle and high schools. The Readathon will kick off with an event featuring authors, illustrators, and educators joining classes for read-alongs and discussions in June.  Most exciting of all–funds raised will also support the launch of a student book publishing initiative. Our students will have the opportunity to work with leading authors and illustrators to write and publish their own stories! Scroll down to see our participating authors.

By supporting our event, you make it possible for New York Edge to support students–and their working parents–to successfully return to school and to work. Thank you for standing with us as we work to ensure safe, enriching in-person after school programs in academics, sports, the arts, and college and career readiness for our city’s students.

Make it a storybook summer for our students by making a donation or becoming a sponsor! 

Readathon Authors

Julie Abe


Loryn Brantz

Jesse Byrd sunny days readathon

Jesse Byrd

Jen Calonita Misfits readathon

Jen Calonita


Trevor D - I am Me readathon

Trevor D.

Molly Dillon - yes she can readathon

Molly Dillon

Shane Evans - My Friend

Shane Evans


Rukhsanna Guidroz - leila in saffron readathon

Rukhsanna Guidroz

Erin Frankel Paula Heaphy readathon

Erin Frankel and Paula Heaphy

The Backboard is a Rectangle

Paul Johnson Jr.


Erika J. Kendrick - Squad Goals

Erika J. Kendrick

Laura Brown and Elly Kramer Trillium Sisters

Laura Brown and Elly Kramer

London Ladd - Frederick's Journey- The Life of Frederick Douglass readathon

London Ladd


Jarrett Lerner - Enginerds

Jarrett Lerner

Tara Lynn Mashi - My Real Name is Hanna readathon

Tara Lynn Masih

Raakhee Mirchandani - hair twins

Raakhee Mirchandani


Dwayne Reed - Simon B Rhymin readathon

Dwayne Reed

Uzo Unobagha Off to the Sweet Shores of Africa

Uzo Unobagha

Katie the catsitter

Colleen AF Venable; illustrated by Stephanie Yue


Justin Michael Williams - Stay Woke- A Meditation Guide for the Rest of us readathon

Justin Michael Williams

Jennifer L. Holm - the lion of mars

Jennifer L. Holm

Theanne Griffith - The Magnificent Makers

Theanne Griffith


Dusti Bowling - The Canyon's Edge

Dusti Bowling

Samantha Spinner and the Super Secret Plans

Russell Ginns

The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S.

David Levithan


Scott Reintgen - Talespinners series

Scott Reintgen

Ben Yokoyama and the Cookie of Doom

Matthew Swanson; illustrated by Robbi Behr

Zetta Elliot - Dragons in a Bag

Zetta Elliott


Hilo Book 1- The Boy Who Crashed to Earth

Judd Winick

Areli Morales; illustrated by Luisa Uribe Areli is a Dreamer

Areli Morales; illustrated by Luisa Uribe

Wala Kee Kee's School for Young Scientists

Jacqueline Walkes; illustrated by Vincent Spencer

April Harrison - Nana Akua Goes to School

Patricia Elam Walker and April Harrison


Holly Kowitt

Kelly Baptist


Edwidge Danticat

Julie Abe has lived in Silicon Valley, spent many humid summers in Japan, and currently basks in the sunshine of Southern California with never enough books or tea, where she creates stories about magical adventures. Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch is her debut novel. Visit her online at

Loryn Brantz is an American author and illustrator with a focus on feminism- and women-related topics. She wrote and illustrated the board book series Feminist Baby. She is also the creator of the webcomic series: Jellybean Comics and The Good Advice Cupcake.

Jesse Byrd is a 33-year-old African-American children’s book creator and dual-native of California and Louisiana. At 6 feet 8 inches tall, Jesse paid for his college education playing basketball at one of the top 10 Public Academic Universities in the country (UC Santa Barbara).

Jen Calonita graduated from Boston College where she majored in communications. This degree helped her land a job at a teen magazine where she got to interview several of her favorite movie and music stars! These days, Jen writes books for teens, including the Secrets of My Hollywood Life series.

Trevor D. is an American writer of books for children and youth, grades K-3. Her debut children’s book, I Am Me, introduces the main character, Jayden. This is the first book in the coming series which will feature Jayden as he endeavors through life, from the perspective of an African American boy. Trevor D. has made fostering literacy her mission. She’s recognized that brown and black boys are pulling up the rear when it comes to literacy and she is determined to shift the paradigm, one book at a time. She intends to use her platform to promote and advocate for more attention and focus to be given to fostering a love for reading and writing in African American boys, at the early stages in their academic journeys. Trevor D. has embarked on a quest to utilize her love for writing to create a space where the underrepresented can find books where the characters look like them and share a cultural connection. Her goal is to infuse representation in books that will ignite a passion for reading and promote positive self-images. Her intention is to inspire brown and black boys to seek to excel in life, in a diversity of areas, and not live into the stereotypes that have been set. While promoting a love for reading in African American boys, Trevor D. also hopes to give ALL children the gift of being able to see the world through the eyes of others. The gift of empathy is what allows us the ability to embrace our differences and similarities and use them to make the world a better place. -Trevor D.

Molly Dillon served in the White House from age twenty-three to age twenty-seven (until the end of the Obama Administration), most recently as a Policy Advisor for Urban Affairs, Justice and Opportunity in the Domestic Policy Council. In that role, she focused on civil rights policy, including criminal justice reform, LGBTQ rights, women’s equality, voting rights, human services, housing, labor, economic mobility, and urban communities. She previously served as an intern and a Policy Assistant in the same office. Originally from Highland Park, Illinois, she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Johns Hopkins University and holds a master’s degree in public policy from the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy. After the Administration, Molly continued her time in public service as a Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the New York Governor. Most recently, she has advised philanthropic foundations, non-profit organizations, and political campaigns. 

Shane W. Evans studied at Syracuse University School of Visual and Performing Arts and graduated in 1993 and began traveling the world. In addition to contract work in illustration, graphic design and web design for major companies, Evans has conceptualized and illustrated numerous children’s books. Many of the books have been featured in the media such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, NBA Inside Stuff, Reading Rainbow and Late Night with David Letterman. Shane has received much acclaim within the children’s literary field for his work on children’s books such as “Osceola,” “The Way The Door Closes,” “Shaq and the Beanstalk” and “Take It To The Hoop Magic Johnson.” His accolades range from being honored by First Lady Laura Bush at the 2002 National Book Festival, The Boston Globe-Horn Book Award and The Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Non-Fiction for Children.

Rukhsanna Guidroz was born in Manchester, England. With a Persian-Indian father and a Chinese mother, Rukhsanna was always drawn to traveling to faraway places. After studying French at King’s College, London, and political science at the Sorbonne, Paris, she left for the steamy shores of Hong Kong. There, she worked as a reporter for the Hong Kong Standard daily newspaper, and later as a producer of the current affairs show <i>Hong Kong Today</i> for RTHK’s Radio 3. She also wrote features for in-flight magazines for China Airlines, Qantas, and Emirates. Inspired by all her life experiences from Europe to Asia, and now to Hawaii, Rukhsanna has many written adventures to share.

Erin Frankel has a master’s degree in English education and is passionate about parenting, teaching, and writing. She taught ESL in Madrid, Spain, before moving to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband Alvaro and their three daughters, Gabriela, Sofia, and Kelsey. Erin knows firsthand what it feels like to be bullied, and she hopes her stories will help children stay true to who they are and help put an end to bullying. In her free time, you’ll find Erin hiking in the woods with her family and doggie, Bella, or getting some words down on paper wherever and whenever she can.

Paula Heaphy is a print and pattern designer in the fashion industry. She’s an explorer of all artistic mediums from glassblowing to shoemaking, but her biggest love is drawing. She jumped at the chance to illustrate her friend Erin’s story, having been bullied herself as a child. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Erika J. Kendrick is a former English teacher, national mental fitness speaker, and former NBA cheerleader. A graduate of Stanford University, she has an MBA in marketing and international business from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Writing and eating vegan cupcakes soothe her soul.

Laura Brown is an early childhood expert, collaborates with businesses and organizations to create high quality educational media properties and products. She has written curricula and scripts and served as Content Expert and Research Director for series produced by Nick Jr., Disney Junior, Amazon Kids, DreamWorks Animation Television, PBS Kids, Universal Kids, and many others. A mother of three, she lives in Tenafly, NJ, but in another life, she would happily live in a tree house in the forest. 
Elly Kramer is currently the VP of Production & Development at Imagine Entertainment in their Kids and Family division and has created and led the development of numerous award-winning and highly-rated TV shows, online games, and innovative apps. As VP of Production and Development with Nickelodeon, she led the development of long and short-form content. She has also produced and developed over thirty-five shorts. Elly is a frequent speaker at film festivals and industry events. She lives in Los Angeles, CA.

London Ladd has illustrated numerous critically acclaimed children’s books including March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World (Scholastic), written by Christine King Farris, Frederick’s Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass (Disney/Jump at the Sun), written by Doreen Rappaport, as well as other titles.

Jarrett Lerner lives with his family in Medford, Massachusetts. You can visit him online at and find him on Twitter and Instagram @Jarrett_Lerner.

Tara Lynn Masih grew up on Long Island’s north shore, in the small harbor town of East Northport. After graduating from C.W. Post College, she moved to Boston and earned an MA in Writing and Publishing from Emerson College, where she taught freshman composition and grammar and tutored students with writing problems. She has worked as a publisher’s assistant to Pym-Randall Press; as an assistant editor to STORIES literary magazine; as an editorial assistant at Little, Brown’s college division; and as a book editor at Bedford Books/St. Martin’s Press, and was a freelance book packager, copyeditor, and proofreader for such companies as Houghton Mifflin, Ballantine Books, and Harvard University Press for over 30 years.
Tara has published fiction, poetry, essays, profiles, and articles (Confrontation, 
The Caribbean Writer, Hayden’ s Ferry Review, The Baltimore Review, Pleiades, 
Five Points, Natural Bridge), and her essays have been read on NPR.

Raakhee Mirchandani is an award-winning writer and editor and the author of Super Satya Saves the Day. When she isn’t writing, Raakhee is either organizing her book shelves, running races to raise money for kids with cancer, or styling her very curly hair with new oils and potions. She lives in Hoboken, New Jersey, with her husband and daughter, the inspiration for Hair Twins. She invites you to follow her on Twitter @Raakstar and on Instagram @RaakstarWrites.

Dwayne Reed is America’s favorite rapping teacher from Chicago. In 2016, the music video for his hit song, “Welcome to the 4th Grade,” went viral and has since been viewed nearly two million times on YouTube. When he’s not writing, rapping, or teaching, Dwayne can be found presenting at educator conferences across the U.S., or loving on his beautiful wife, Simoné.

Uzo Unobagha is a published author of children’s books. Published credits of Uzo Unobagha include Off to the Sweet Shores of Africa: And Other Talking Drum Rhymes.

Colleen Ann Felicity Venable is an author, designer, and maker. Her books include the National Book Award nominated YA graphic novel Kiss Number 8 (illustrated by Ellen T. Crenshaw) and her graphic novel series Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye (illustrated by Stephanie Yue) was nominated for an Eisner for Best Publication for Kids and awarded “Best Book” recognition from Kirkus Reviews, NYPL, Bank Street, and the Junior Library Guild. In 2017 she was named a Publisher’s Weekly StarWatch Top 5 Finalist.

Hi, I’m Stephanie Yue, and I draw things. I grew up in Atlanta, Beijing, and Hong Kong, and studied illustration in New York City. I got my start working at game design and animation studios while publishing my own comics. I’ve been working as a freelancer since 2008, taking on everything from comics lettering to sketch cards to coloring to website design. In 2010, I signed on with Barry Goldblatt Literary and I’ve been illustrating graphic novels, picture books, and chapter books for kids. You may even find my work in issues of SpongeBob Comics!

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From growing up with gunshot holes outside of his bedroom window, to sharing the stage with Deepak Chopra, JUSTIN MICHAEL WILLIAMS knows the power of healing to overcome. He is an author, top 20 recording artist, and transformational speaker who is using music and meditation to wake up the world.
When he was younger, Justin always wanted to be a singer, but a lifetime of being bullied, teased, and abused, made him give up his dream. Then after a seminal moment with his dying grandmother, Justin woke up—and his debut album premiered in the top 20 of the iTunes charts next to Britney Spears and Taylor Swift. He has since been featured by Billboard,, SXSW®, and shared on stages alongside some of the most compelling leaders of our time, including Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra, and Chaka Khan.
With over a decade of teaching experience, Justin has become a pioneering voice of color for the new healing movement—between his podcast, keynotes, and motivational online platforms, Justin’s teachings have now spread to more than 40 countries around the globe.
Justin is dedicated to using his voice to serve. To being a beacon of hope for those who are lost, and to making sure all people, of all backgrounds, have access to the information they need to change their lives.
“When people wake up to their own brilliance—it’s like magic,”says Williams. ‘If my work and art can inspire people to do that, then I’ve fulfilled my mission.”
His first book, Stay Woke: A Meditation Guide for the Rest of Us, was released nationwide February 11, 2020. 

Jennifer L. Holm is a New York Times bestselling children’s author and the recipient of three Newbery Honors for her novels Our Only May Amelia, Penny From Heaven, and Turtle in Paradise. Jennifer collaborates with her brother, Matthew Holm, on two graphic novel series—the Eisner Award-winning Babymouse series and the bestselling Squish series. She lives in California with her husband and two children.

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Theanne Griffith can’t get you into the Maker Maze (only Dr. Crisp can do that), but she can tell you a lot of cool science facts. She is a brain scientist by day (no, she’s not a zombie) and a storyteller by night. She loves tinkering in the lab as much as she loves writing children’s books. She lives in New Jersey with her family and three cats. Visit her online at or on Twitter at @doctheagrif.

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Dusti Bowling is the award-winning, bestselling author of Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus, Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus, 24 Hours in Nowhere, The Canyon’s Edge, and the forthcoming Across the Desert and Aven Green chapter book series.

Dusti’s books have won the Reading the West Award, the Sakura Medal, a Golden Kite Honor, the William Allen White Children’s Book Award, and have been nominated for over thirty state awards. Her books are Junior Library Guild Selections and have been named best books of the year by the Chicago Public Library, Kirkus, Bank Street College of Education, A Mighty Girl, Shelf Awareness, and many more.

Russell Ginns is a writer and game designer who specializes in puzzles, songs, and smart fun. He has worked on projects for a wide variety of organizations and publications, including Sesame Workshop, Nintendo, Scientific American, and the Girl Scouts of America. Russell lives and writes in Washington, DC. To learn more about him, visit and follow @rginns on Twitter.

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David Levithan is the author and co-author of over twenty YA novels, many of them bestsellers. His first YA novel was Boy Meets Boy in 2003. For more about David and his books, you can check out his website

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Scott Reintgen is a former public school teacher and still spends summers teaching middle schoolers dark fiction and fantasy at Duke Young Writers’ Camp. The birth of his son has convinced him that magic is actually real. He lives in North Carolina, surviving mostly on cookie dough and the love of his wife, Katie. Scott is the author of the Nyxia Triad, and Saving Fable is his middle-grade debut. You can follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @Scott_Thought.

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Author/illustrator, husband/wife duo Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr are co-creators of the critically acclaimed and exuberantly illustrated mystery series The Real McCoys, the forthcoming Cookie Chronicles series (spring 2021), and the picture books Sunrise Summer; Babies Ruin Everything, and Everywhere, Wonder—in addition to 60 or so self-published books for children and adults.

Matthew and Robbi spend their summers running a commercial salmon fishing operation on the Alaskan tundra and the rest of the year writing books, visiting schools, speaking at conferences, and living in the hayloft of an old barn on the Eastern Shore of Maryland with their four kids and no pets.

Zetta Elliott was born in Canada and moved to the United States in 1994. Her poetry has been published in several anthologies, and her plays have been staged in New York and Chicago. Her essays have appeared in the Huffington Post, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly. She is the author of over twenty-five books for young readers, including the award-winning picture books Bird and Melena’s Jubilee. She is also a contibutor to We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices, published by Crown Books for Young Readers. Elliott is an advocate for greater diversity and equity in publishing. A longtime resident of Brooklyn, she currently lives in Illinois.

Judd Winick is an American comic book, comic strip and television writer/artist and former reality television personality. Winick first gained fame for his 1994 stint on MTV’s The Real World: San Francisco, before earning success for his work on comic books as Green Lantern, Green Arrow, and Pedro and Me, his autobiographical graphic novel about his friendship with Real World castmate and AIDS educator Pedro Zamora. He created the animated TV series The Life and Times of Juniper Lee, which ran for three seasons on Cartoon Network.

Areli Morales Romero was born in Puebla, Mexico, but was raised in New York City. She is a DACA recipient, and Areli Is a Dreamer is her debut children’s book. A graduate of CUNY-Brooklyn College with a bachelor’s degree in childhood bilingual education, she currently works as a substitute teacher. One day, Areli hopes to have her own classroom, where she can teach children to value the power of storytelling and empower them to share their own stories. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her family.

Jacqueline Walkes is a native New Yorker and one of four siblings. Her mother was a nurse at the Brooklyn V.A. Hospital, NY. Her father was a member of the United States Army where he served for 22 yrs. He fought in the Vietnam War and Korean War. Jacqueline grew up in many different places due to her father being in the Army and her family was able to travel with him. One of the many places she lived was Germany where Jacqueline and her family lived for six years. She speaks and understands some German and can count in four different languages

Jacqueline earned a Master of Science Education at Brooklyn College, Brooklyn New York. She became a teacher for the New York City Dept. of Education and retired in October 2016. By December 2016 she began working for a Non-Profit Oraganiztion which has one of the largest after school programs in New York. Jacqueline Walkes lives in Far Rockaway, New York and has two children and three Grandsons.

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Tricia Elam Walker is the author of the novel Breathing Room, among other publications. She is an award-winning fiction and nonfiction writer, cultural and fashion commentator, and blogger who has written for National Public Radio, the Washington Post, Essence magazine, HuffPost, and more. She practiced law for sixteen years prior to teaching writing in Washington, DC, and Boston. Tricia is an assistant professor of Creative Writing at Howard University and is working on several projects, including children’s books, plays, and a second novel.

April Harrison, a renowned folk artist, is the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award-winning illustrator of Patricia C. McKissack’s final picture book, What Is Given from the Heart, which received four starred reviews and which the New York Times Book Review called an “exquisite story of generosity.” Her work appears in the public collections of Vanderbilt University, Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, the Atlanta Housing Authority, and the Erskine University Museum and in many private collections.

Holly Kowitt has written more than fifty books for younger readers. Her newest book is The Principal’s Underwear is Missing, a hilarious story for 8-12 year olds heavily illustrated with cartoons. She is also author of the bestselling series, The Loser List.

She grew up in Evanston, Illinois and graduated from Brown University. She lives in New York City, where she enjoys cycling, flea markets and West coast swing dancing.

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Kelly J. Baptist won the Ezra Jack Keats/Kerlan Memorial Fellowship for her YA novel-in-progress, Young. While visiting the Kerlan Collection, Kelly had the privilege of studying the dialogue techniques of the great Walter Dean Myers. Fast-forward a few years, and Kelly was fortunate enough to meet Myers at a literary event in Florida. A native of southwest Michigan, Kelly enjoys life with her husband and five children, who give her plenty of inspiration for writing. Though her busy family life often results in having to type with one hand, Kelly is committed to using the written word to inspire and transform lives. Find her online at

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Edwidge Danticat was born in Haiti in 1969 and came to the United States when she was twelve years old. She graduated from Barnard College and received an M.F.A. from Brown University. She made an auspicious debut with her first novel, Breath, Eyes, Memory, and followed it with the story collection Krik? Krak!, whose National Book Award nomination made Danticat the youngest nominee ever. She lives in New York.

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