Spotlight on Authors! Several great authors will be conducting breakout sessions and signing their new books!!!! Our “Shine on the Authors” appearances will include: Senator David Pryor, Darlene Bailey Beard, Gwendolyn Hooks, Carla Killough McClafferty, Shelly Stone, Tammy & Matthew Bronson and Joanne Burgess.
Also, Judy Young (our Sunday evening keynote) and Deb Logan (our Monday and Tuesday keynote) are published authors.

Former U.S. Senator from Arkansas, David Pryor, will be in the Butler Center Books booth signing copies of his autobiography, A Pryor Commitment. It brings to life from early memory the aspirations, troubles, and insights of a rich life and distinguished career in public service. Starting with small-town recollecitons, he moves swiftly through his years as a newspaper editor, a state representative in the Arkansas legislature, a Congressman in Washington, a two-term governor back in his home state, and 18 years in the United States Senate. He's currently teaching on the U of A Fayetteville campus, but we are hoping he can join us at the Monday luncheon and speak to us.

Children's book authors,Darleen Bailey Beard and Gwendolyn Hooks, will be speaking at the AAIM conference on April 20, 2009 in Rogers, AR. While they are in the Arkansas area, they are interested in doing school author visits at hugely discounted prices. (They normally charge $1100.00 per day for their out-of-state speaking plus milage both ways, but while they are in the area for the conference, their fees will be $900.00 per day--four presentations of your choice-- with no extra milage charge. If two schools want to book them for a half-day each--two presentations per school--their fees will be $450.00 per school. Too good of a deal to pass up! And they're not just speaking in Rogers but any school on the western half of Arkansas!)

You might remember them if you came to the AASL summer conference last July in Eureka Springs where they both spoke and Darleen did a keynote presentation. So if anyone is interested in having one (or both) of these fun, seasoned pros speak at your school or special event, doing either hands-on writing workshops or author talks/slide presentations, please contact them through their websites at: or and tell them you want their special AAIM price.

Gwendolyn Hooks, former math teacher lured by the magic of writing, is the author of 7 books for children, including both fiction and nonfiction. She has several personalized hands-on writing workshops, and has three new nonfiction books about underwater food chains.

Darleen Bailey Beard has a BA in Professional Writing and is the award-winning author of 5 books for children, all fiction, including a new chapter book that will be released in fall 2009. She has presented in hundreds of author visits nationwide and has over 30 hands-on writing workshops for both students and teachers. Both authors are available for teacher in-services, book fairs, and book-related events. For references, contact the AASL conference staff or contact any of the schools listed on their websites. Books will be available at the AAIM Conference for purchase, and Ms. Hooks and Ms. Beard will be autographing them.

Carla Killough McClafferty grew up in the small farming community of Tomberlin, Arkansas, where her parents farmed rice and soybeans. Many long, lazy days of her childhood were spent under the outstretched arms of a giant pecan tree. Her elementary school didn't have a library, using instead bookshelves under the windows that filled one wall of the classroom. She says, "To this day, libraries fill me with awe and appreciation." After high school, she graduated from Baptist Medical Center School of Radiologic Technology, and worked in local hospitals and clinics. She and her husband Pat have three children, Ryan, Brittney and Corey. Although Carla always loved to read, she had never written until the death of her youngest son, Corey. After his tragic loss, Carla began to write about the experience. The story of her journey through grief became the subject of her first book, FORGIVING GOD. Next, she turned her attention to writing nonfiction books for young readers. Today, C arla is a freelance author and speaker. It is her hope that readers of her books will be entertained, informed and inspired. She is currently a Regional Advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI.) Ms. McClafferty will discuss her newest book, An American Holocaust Rescuer: Varian Fry. This book reveals a little known story of an American Holocaust rescuer who helped refugees out of France in 1940-41. Varian Fry, a Harvard educated American journalist, volunteered to go to Marseilles, France in 1940 where he succeeded in arranging the escape of more than 2000 predominately Jewish refugees. Books will be available for purchase and Ms. McClafferty will be autographing them.

Shelly Stone, author of the suspense novel, The Napper, is a native of Harrison, Arkansas. She graduated from Harrison High School in 1989 and attended North Arkansas College in Harrison until 1991. She then transferred to MIssouri State Univeristy in Springfield, Missouri, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics, Summa Cum Laude, in 1993, and a Master of Science degree in mathematics in 1995. Shelly taught math at Harriosn High School from 1996 to 1999. She has been a full-time member of the math faculty at North Arkansas College from 1999 to present. Shelly is married to Scott Stone and the mother of two sons, Jonathan and Nicholas. She enjoys reading, writing, scrapbooking and spending time with her family.
The Napper is a suspense novel about child kidnappings that begin to take place in the small town of Cameron, Missouri. It is centered around a divorced mother of three named Holly Mathis. Children who attend the same day care center as her son begin to disappear, which rocks this quiet little town. Books will be available for purchase and Ms. Stone will be autographing them.

Tammy Carter Bronson developed a passion for writing books in elementary school. Since she didn’t have many books as a child, Tammy created her own stories at an early age and shared them with friends and family. As her writing skills progressed, her natural ability in art began to emerge and thrive as well. Her first children’s book, Tiny Snail, was published in 2000, and this ‘little engine that could of the forest’ has touched thousands of lives across the country. Since then she has written and illustrated a bilingual picture book called Polliwog, and she collaborated with her husband, Matthew, on an orchestra book for children entitled, The Kaleidonotes and the Mixed-Up Orchestra. Both Tammy and Matthew continue to write from their home in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Their session at AAIM will focus on how two picture book authors inspire children to unplug from digital media and connect with books. Tammy and Matthew will discuss why they developed their picture books (Tiny Snail, Polliworg, and Kaleidonotes), and how their writing process can connect children to the media center.

Joanne M. Burgess—Born and raised in Warwick, Bermuda, Burgess has been writing poetry, fables and songs for most of her life. Her new book, The Lizard and the Rock, is an illustrated fable of Bermuda’s discovery. She is author of The Lizard & the Rock. If you’re looking for a children’s book that will delight young children with its colorful imagery and also amuse older children and adults with its inspiring concepts then The Lizard & the Rock: A Fable of Bermuda’s Discovery is for you. The thematic layering takes in ideas about fate; individual struggle and triumph; and the longing for, or resistance to, change. This fable will act as a mirror into your own life. It’s not just the discovery of Bermuda, but the personal discovery of every person in their desire to live life authentically and fully. The story draws the reader emotionally, while appealing as well to the senses. Ms. Burgess can be reached at:

Additional Authors Joining Us At AAIM........

Marilyn Collins - An award-winning Arkansas author whose latest book, Write History Right, will be leading a session entitled “Saving Cherished Stories: If You Don’t Write the Story, Who Will?” In keeping with the conference theme, the workshop will focus on preserving the story of a special person or place that made a positive difference in one’s life. Based on the book, Write History Right, participants will take part in a relaxed and fun writing exercise to finish an often repeated comment, “I’ve always wanted to write a story about .” Attendees will leave the session with a kick start to their writing and the tools needed to create a successful book or memoir. Skills learned at the workshop can also be used to encourage students to capture the story of special persons in their lives – grandparents, teachers, or friend. Collins has written three history books and over 100 magazine and newspaper feature articles. She was a teacher and has held executive positions with the American Association of University Women, Washington National Cathedral Association, and the Beaufort (NC) Historical Association. She owned Wilson Collins Marketing & Management Consultants in the Washington, DC area and is currently a freelance writer and owner of CHS publishing. Collins is available for speaking engagements at conferences or workshops on a variety of topics related to history, writing, publishing, or marketing. Her books will be available for purchase. For more information about Ms. Collins and her workshops, please click on her name, which links to her Website.

Dr. Patricia Norton - Dr. Norton is author of a book series called Short Vowel Phonics. Patricia received her from the Univ. of Virginia in Charlottesville VA and worked as a family practitioner. Currently her work includes medical research along with development of a book series called Short Vowel Phonics. She is the very proud mother of two children. One of her children was a first-grade struggling reader. She will presenting a session entitled: "The Librarian and the First-Grade Struggling Reader".

Byron von Rosenberg will also be joining us on Tuesday for a session and will have his books available for purchase and book signing. Byron von Rosenberg is author of six books of poetry including I Don’t Want to Kiss a Llama!, Thinking Upside Down and Dale the Uniclyde. These are delightful rhyming poems that have entertained thousands of readers and encouraged many people to begin or resume writing. Byron lives in House Springs, Missouri. Visit his website at: to learn more and to contact him about author visits.

Mike Walker, a fellow school library media specialist, will conduct a session on Tuesday and be in the foyer of the convention selling and signing his book, Teacher to Teacher. Mike has been an English teacher in public schools for the past 28 years and a librarian for two years. He has taught in grades 6 through 12. Mike has been a member of the National Council of Teachers of English, The International Reading Association and the American Library Association. He won the Teacher of the Year at Gravette High School in the 2005-2006 school year, and wrote a weekly column about education in the local newspaper, The Gravette News Herald. Mike has also won awards for short story wrigint in Crowder College's Quill, a creative writing magazine, in 1986 and 1987, as well as had a one-act play "Someday" chosen to be performed by the drama department at NorthWest Arkansas Community College in 2006. He is currently the library media specialist in the Gravette Middle School.