We are pleased to announce that we will have two authors doing live, Zoom readings and presentations for all Neil Cummins students on Readathon Day!

IAN LENDLER will be returning this year to present to Grades K-3.  His newest book, The Fabled Life of Aesop, is a dramatic picture-book biography and concise anthology of Aesop’s most child-friendly fables tells how a child born into slavery in ancient Greece found a way to speak out against injustice by using the skill and wit of his storytelling—storytelling that has survived for 2,500 years. This book is stunningly illustrated by two-time Caldecott Honor winner Pamela Zagarenski. Visit his website for more information. You can also read more about him below.

DANIELLE SVETCOV will be returning this year to present to Grades 4-5. Danielle’s book, Parked, is the story of Jeanne Ann, a smart, stubborn girl, living in an orange van, and determined to find a permanent address before the start of seventh grade. Cal is awkward, sensitive, living in a humongous house across the street, and determined to save her. Jeanne Ann wants Cal’s help just about as much as she wants to live in a van. As the two form a tentative friendship that grows deeper over alternating chapters, they’re buoyed by a cast of complex, oddball characters, who let them down, lift them up, and leave you cheering. Your middle readers will love this book. Check out her website for more information about her.

Additionally, we’ve rounded up so many great reading websites and activities that you can share with your children to supplement their reading and reading-related activities at home. There are so many great readings by Oprah! Ray Romano! Eric Carle! Betty White! Melinda Long! Oliver Jeffers! And More! Check out our comprehensive document here.


ALEXANDRIA GIARDINO returns to Neil Cummins in 2020 to host a special writer’s workshop with our 4th grade students on Readathon day!  Alex lives in northern California, where she teaches writing, practices karate, and rides her mountain bike all over Mt Tam. Her first picture book, Ode to an Onion, was inspired by the poet Pablo Neruda. The book won the NCBR Young Children’s Literature Award for 2018, was a Junior Library Guild Selection and was shortlisted for the NCIBA Golden Poppy Award. Her next book, The Good Song, is due out in Fall 2020. For more information, you can visit her website.

IAN LENDER will be hosting several workshops and readings for Neil Cummins Students. For 3rd Graders, he’ll be conducting a graphic novels workshop. For the younger grades (K-2), Ian will be reading from a couple different books he’s authored. He’ll be reading from The First Dinosaur, The Absolutely, Positively No Princesses Book, One Day a Dot, and his series The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents which is a graphic novel that introduces Shakespeare to young readers. He’s won many awards for his books. He originally hails from Wallingford, Connecticut (“home of the steamed cheeseburger”). But after stints in New York City, London, and San Francisco, he now lives in San Rafael, CA (“home of normal cheeseburgers”). Ian has 1 wife (the maximum number allowed by law), 2 kids (the maximum number allowed by sanity), a dog (who’s currently making eyes at my turkey sandwich), a hammock (which is tragically not being occupied by me at the moment). More information on Ian can be found on his website.

DANIELLE SVETCOV, a district parent and author, will also be joining us on Readathon Day. Danielle is an agent at Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary, the author of middle-grade fiction Parked, a former magazine and newspaper writer, and a native San Franciscan. Her food-writing clients include: New York Times bestsellers Elyse Kopecky and Shalane Flanagan (Run Fast Eat Slow), Thomas McNaughton (flour + water), Russell Moore and Allison Hopelain (This is Camino), Evan and Sarah Rich (Rich Table), Michelle McKenzie (Dandelion & Quince), Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski (State Bird Provisions), Celia Sack (The Omnivore’s Keeper), among many others. Her first novel, Parked, is due out in February 2020 and we’re thrilled to have her join us for Readathon Day!

In addition to these Guest Authors, we’ve lined up many fun guest readers to join in classrooms including former District Librarian CAROL HALPERN, JEFF PETERSON from the Central Marin Police Department, retired and beloved teacher KATHERINE MARCUS, LARKY the HIPPO from the Larkspur Public Library, and more!


GENNIFER CHOLDENKO held a special assembly and reading for all Neil Cummins 3rd-5th graders and read from her newest book One Third Nerd as an exciting lead up to the Readathon.  Gennifer was the youngest in a family of four kids, where her nickname was “Snot-Nose.” Her quirky sense of humor made its debut at the dinner table when Gennifer was a very little kid. She is the author of many children’s books; including Notes from a Liar and Her DogIf a Tree Falls at Lunch Period and Al Capone Shines My Shoes.

ALEXANDRIA GIARDINO hosted a special writer’s workshop with our 4th grade students on Readathon day in 2019!  Alex lives in northern California, where she teaches writing, practices karate, and rides her mountain bike all over Mt Tam. Her first picture book, Ode to an Onion, was inspired by the poet Pablo Neruda and is a Junior Library Guild Selection for 2018.

MADELEINE DUNPHY is an educational consultant and author who specializes in endangered environments. She lived in Chiang Mai, Thailand where she taught environmental studies at two international schools. Madeleine has also taught special programs at the California Academy of Sciences, Lawrence Hall of Science, Museum of Children’s Art and at dozens of elementary schools in northern California. She has developed curricular materials for Folk Art International, California Academy of Sciences, Center for the Collaborative Classroom, and Earth Island Institute. She has written many books including Cat in the Night, Here is the African Savanna, Here is the Coral Reef, Here is the Arctic Winter, Here is the Tropical Rainforest, and more. She conducted a poetry workshop for 2nd Grade students and read to Kindergarten and First grades. Visit the Neil Cummins Library for copies of her books.

ELIZABETH SINGER HUNT is the author of twenty adventure and spy books for children including the award-winning Secret Agent Jack Stalwart chapter book series. This 14 book series has been named a ‘must read’ for boys by the British Education Secretary, serialized by BBC Radio, and featured on Virgin Atlantic Airways’ international flights. Millions of copies have sold, and it’s been translated into multiple languages. ​​Elizabeth has also written four books in the new Secret Agents Jack and Max Stalwart chapter book series, The Secret Agent Training Manual book and the middle grade Swamp Mysteries: The Treasure of Jean Lafitte. Elizabeth returned to Neil Cummins in 2019 to conduct a writer’s workshop for the 3rd Grade students.