Guest Authors

Announcing Our Readathon 2023 Authors

GUS D’ANGELO will share with us his book, National Parks A to Z. Through the magic of words, drawings, photos, and sound, we’ll travel into the great outdoors to experience the beauty and thrill of our magnificent National Parks. We’ll hike though Badlands, explore Mammoth Cave, climb rocks at Joshua Tree, and paddle across Voyageurs. And while we move from park-to-park, we’ll learn about the land’s natural and cultural history inspired by the words of Park Rangers, field scientists, accessibility activists, and Tribal Nation members. Fill up your water bottle and lace up your hiking boots. It’s time to embark on an outdoors adventure to inspire the next generation of parks lovers and protectors!

RACHEL LEVIN will be sharing a fun presentation discussing ways to be safe around animals in nature, which references her book Look Big: And Other Tips for Surviving Animal Encounters of All Kinds. Students will marvel at exploring the animals that live in their neighborhoods: house flies, squirrels, ants and even deer! Rachel delivers a fun, interactive presentation that brings kids awareness and connection to nature—closer to their hearts and minds. Pre-order her newest book, Who Ate What: A Historical Guessing Game for Food Lovers.

BONNIE TSUI will be bringing us a TRUE story of the first woman to surf Mavericks—with, Sarah and the Big Wave: The True Story of the First Woman to Surf Mavericks. Some of the largest, and wildest waves in the world are no match for Sarah, as she daringly surfs them to the crowd’s astonishment. Bonnie will use visual aids and fun storytelling to bring this book to life for students, maybe inspiring a few future surfers along the way. Kids will love to hear about this amazing story of courage, which happened right here in the Bay Area!

DANIELLE SVETCOV will share with us her book, Parked, which 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. Middle school readers will love this book. In her literary agent role, Danielle’s 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. Danielle is a Larkpur Corte Madera School District parent.


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. For more information, please visit her website.

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. Please visit her website.

ALEXANDRIA GIARDINO hosted 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 book, The Good Song, was published during the fall of 2020. For more information, you can visit her website.

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 Swamp Mysteries: The Treasure of Jean Lafitte (best suited for middle schoolers). Elizabeth conducted a writer’s workshop for the 3rd Grade students. Please visit her website.

MATT KIRK shared his brand new, hot off the presses book, Silly Willy Backs it Up, for our Kindergarten audience. A garbage truck that will delight children while also empowering them to effectively process and problem-solve. Join Willy as a wonderful day takes an unexpected turn when a conflict with a friend sets Willy down a path to figure out just what went wrong and how to make it right. Matt is a LCMSD parent, and this is his first published book. 

IAN LENDLER hosted several workshops and readings for Neil Cummins Students. He presented his newest book, The Fabled Life of Aesop, a dramatic picture-book biography and concise anthology of Aesop’s most child-friendly fables. It 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. For the younger grades (K-2), Ian read from several books he has authored, including 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 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.

In addition to these Guest Authors, we hosted 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!