Meet the Authors

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Sunny SekiSunny Seki is the author/illustrator of four Japanese children's books: Yuko-chan and the Daruma Doll, which won awards from Paper Tigers and also rom Creative Child Magazine; The Last Kappa of Old Japan; The Little Kokeshi Doll from Fukushima; and The Tale of the Lucky Cat, which won awards from NAPPA Parenting Publishing and Creative Child Magazine.

Michael Smithis the author of many nonfiction and fiction books for all ages. Among his many award-winning titles are It Starts with a Raindrop, Relativity, Thomas the T. rex, and What in the World!, a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award Gold Medal Winner which provides an autobiographical account of his global exploration.  His new children’s book Earthwaves  reveals the fascinating and little-known culture of the Pacific Islander seafarers and their wayfinding techniques based on observing natural signs—the stars, the sun, the ocean swells, and the birds. Smith most often gets his writing inspiration from exploring remote regions with a small backpack and budget.


Mara Priceis an award-winning author and illustrator of children’s books. Mara wrote the bilingual picture book, Grandma's Chocolate/El chocolate de Abuelita, published by Arte Público Press/Piñata Books.  Grandma’s Chocolate received the 2011 International Latino Book Award for Best Bilingual Children’s Picture Book, the 2011 San Diego Book Awards Best Children’s Picture Book, and the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, Special Recognition.  Grandma's Chocolate is also a Tejas Star Book Award Finalist for 2011-2012. Mara is named among the  2011 Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch.

Jungmiwha S. Bullock, PhDis a social, political, and behavioral scientist, author, educator, philanthropist, and renowned social justice advocate who has appeared on NPR, ABC, BBC, TIME Magazine, Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, and more. Growing up as a child in a multilingual household of two distinctly beautiful heritages—African American and Korean—has largely motivated her life’s passion and dedication to help transform how we engage in topics about diversity outreach, international communication, and educational equality. She is an expert in the social sciences and international education, and holds advanced degrees from the University of Southern California, New York University, and Pennsylvania State University. Over the years she has enjoyed the unique privilege of leading local and national organizations and working with diverse educational institutions and international cutting-edge children’s programming, higher education initiatives, racial/ethnic and gender rights campaigns, and much more. Most recently her acclaimed children’s book, Am I Half Giraffe?—the first children’s book written in five languages, one book, one heartfelt diverse story—came to life because she speaks multiple languages and loves to inspire children around the world.


Brigitte Benchimol Born and raised in Paris, France, Brigitte Benchimol has a background in Journalism and Sociology. Her first career in Paris was as a freelance journalist and photographer. For the past eighteen years she has lived in Los Angeles, where she has studied Early Childhood Education and became a Director. Brigitte directed the Berlitz Language Center in Beverly Hills and in Pasadena. In addition to writing the Jadyn series, she used to own  and run two preschools and review children’s books for magazines.

Crystal Smith is the author of I am Hapa and Daddy, My Favorite Guy, winners of the Skipping Stones Honor Award, International Latino Book Award, the Mom’s Choice Gold Award and the Creative Child Magazine Book of the Year Award. Her upcoming new children’s book Oh No Chinese School is based on her own childhood experience.


Gladys Elizabeth Gladys Elizabeth Barbieri is a first grade teacher and author of award winning bilingual children's picture books. For more info visit: or

Icy Smith is an award-winning author and the founder of East West Discovery Press, which specializes in publishing and distributing multicultural and bilingual books in more than 50 different languages. Her acclaimed book, The Lonely Queue: The forgotten history of the courageous Chinese Americans in Los Angeles, was described by the Los Angeles Times as “a bilingual book that celebrates the Chinese American community of Southern California… with the intimacy of a family album and the authority of a historical monograph.” The Lonely Queue won the 2002 Clarion Award for best nonfiction book.

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Patty RodriguezPatty Rodriguez, unable to find bilingual first concept books she could enjoy reading to her baby, Patty came up with the idea behind Lil’ Libros. Mother of two and a community leader that enjoys empowering tomorrow’s young leaders at conferences and summits, can be seen on a Saturday morning cheering her oldest son at a soccer game. You can listen to her every morning on On Air with Ryan Seacrest.

Ariana Stein a graduate from California State University, Dominguez Hills, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. Ariana spent the first 8 years of her professional career in real estate management. She is also the founder of worldwide pet transportation company, 1-800-Pet-Taxi. Ariana knew shortly after her son’s birth that she wanted him to be bilingual. “Knowing one language is like having a simple single-purpose tool, knowing two languages is like having a Swiss army knife.” Since then, she has become a proponent of bilingual education and a strong supporter in dual immersion programs

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