February 7 & 8th

A collaboration between District 65 Librarians and Evanston Skokie Foundation 65

K.A.Holt

6th Grade

Author website


Guadalupe Garcia McCall

7th Grade

Author Website

Padma Venkatraman

8th Grade

Author Website

Three women authors writing about the young adult experience, sharing voices and ideas.....

K.A. Holt, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, and Padma Venkatraman write books that deal with real issues, issues which our students wrestle with. Their stories open up new worlds with diverse characters and settings. All 6th, 7th and 8th grade students will be reading their work and will hear one of the authors on Friday February 7th. The Middle School Lit Fest at the Evanston Public Library on Saturday, February 8th will feature all three authors in addition to several local authors and is open to all middle schoolers in Evanston. The visit is sponsored by our Foundation 65. Alecia Wartowski, Executive Director states, " "Foundation 65 is committed to supporting literacy and the arts as we support educational equity within District 65. We are excited by the ways that this series will provide mirrors and windows for our children to see their own experiences or view new perspectives"

The District 65 middle school librarians planned the visit, carefully considering our students, curriculum, and interests while choosing authors that will allow our students to grapple with powerful ideas. Young Adult literature is a rich resource for our students. "By focusing on women who write novels in verse, we are showcasing the power of poetry to illustrate diverse experiences for our students," shares Kefira Philippe, Nichols Librarian and Chairperson of the 2020 Author visit.

From KA Holt's Website:

Redwood and Ponytail is a universal story of finding a way to be comfortable in your own skin, a story that will appeal to anyone who’s ever been unsure about the self they’re becoming.

From Lee & Low Books:

In a companion novel to her critically acclaimed Shame the Stars, Guadalupe Garcia McCall tackles the hidden history of the United States and its first mass deportation event that swept up hundreds of thousands of Mexican American citizens during the Great Depression.

From Padma Venkatraman's Website:

Oliver Twist meets Slum Dog Milionaire in this tale of four determined homeless children who make a life for themselves on the streets of an Indian city.


Foundation 65 is an independent grantmaking organization that invests in educator-led initiatives to advance educational equity through literacy and the arts.

Middle School Lit Fest

Saturday February 8th

10am -2pm

Evanston Public Library

1703 Orrington Avenue


Registration will open on Monday January 6 at 9 am

Click here to register

At the Lit Fest meet Padma Venkatraman, Guadalupe Garcia McCall and KA Holt as well as local young adult authors:

Kat Falls

Joelle Charbonneau

Joelle Charbonneau has performed in opera and musical theatre productions across Chicagoland. She’s the author of the New York Times and USA Today best selling THE TESTING trilogy (THE TESTING, INDEPENDENT STUDY and GRADUATION DAY), the fantasy duology DIVIDING EDEN and EDEN CONQUERED as well as the YA thrillers, NEED and TIME BOMB. Her books have appeared on the Indie Next List, on the YALSA Top 10 books as well as the YALSA Quick Picks for reluctant readers as well as dozens of state reading lists across the country. VERIFY is her newest near-future alternate history thriller. The sequel, DISCLOSE, will hit shelves in September of 2020.


Lisa Jenn Bigelow

Jessie Ann Foley

Jessie Ann Foley is the Printz honor-winning author of the young adult novels The Carnival at Bray, Neighborhood Girls, and Sorry for Your Loss. Her work has been named to best-of lists by Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, New York Public Library, YALSA, Entertainment Weekly, and many other outlets. Her fourth novel, You Know I’m No Good, is forthcoming from HarperCollins in Fall 2020. She lives with her family in Chicago, where she was born and raised.Find her on Instagram at @jessieannfoley.


Mary Winn Heider

Mary Winn Heider is a graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives in Chicago, where she writes books, acts in plays, and invents games for the Mystery League. She is the author of THE MORTIFICATION OF FOVEA MUNSON and the forthcoming THE CHICAGO HORRIBLES. Mary Winn’s first picture book, THE UNICORNS WHO SAVED CHRISTMAS also comes out this year.


Alyssa Wees

In between training in ballet and watching lots of Disney movies, Alyssa Wees grew up writing stories starring her Beanie Babies. Currently she works as an assistant librarian in Youth Services. She lives in the Chicagoland area with her husband and their two cats. Her debut novel is The Waking Forest.


Rosario Munda

Rosaria Munda grew up in rural North Carolina, where she climbed trees, read Harry Potter fanfiction, and taught herself Latin. She studied political theory at Princeton and lives in Chicago with her husband and cat.


Mimi Yu

Mimi Yu is the author of The Girl King. She was born and raised in rural upstate New York. She is an alumna of VONA/Voices. She received a BA in liberal arts from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA from the New School/Parsons School of Design. When she’s not writing, she enjoys gardening, quilting, boxing, and fostering kittens. She has five cats, one dog, and four planets in Aquarius. She currently resides in Chicagoland with her husband.