2018 SSEF Book Festival Details

Schedule of Events for Children’s Book Festival

8:30AM – Sign in opens for Sandy Springs public school families to win the Grand Attendance Prize worth $1000 – A full day of assemblies that connect the fun and excitement of science with the power of nonfiction writing by Jodi Wheeler-Toppen.

8:45AM – 9:00AM –  Book Character dress-up parade led by Disney and other characters

9:00AM – 11:30AM – Arts & Crafts with a “literary” theme

9:00AM – 11:30AM – Author and Illustrator tents open for presentations, Q & A and book signing

9:00AM – 11:30AM – Little Shop of Stories open to sell books

Author and Illustrator Lineup for Literacy Event
October 13th — Free and Open to All!

City Springs, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs
8:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Irene Latham is a highly decorated author of more than a dozen current and forthcoming poetry, fiction and picture books for children and adults, including two novels for children: Leaving Gee’s Bend and Don’t Feed the Boy. Her multiple awards include: the 2016 ILA Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award; the 2011 ALLA Children’s Book of the Year award for Leaving Gee’s Bend; Alabama State Poetry Society’s Book of the Year and the 2008 Independent Publisher’s Award. Latham serves as poetry editor for the Birmingham Arts Journal. While she writes in multiple genres, all her books have one thing in common: animals!


Sandy Springs local, Surishtha Sehgal, a university professor, and Kabir Sehgal, multi-Grammy Award winning producer, are authors of the New York Times bestselling picture book, A Bucket of Blessings, with an afterword written by Maya Angelou. It was adapted into a stage production at the Alliance Theatre. Their books, The Wheels on the Tuk Tuk and Festival of Colors are respectively on the 2016 and 2018 list of “Books All Young Georgians Should Read” by the Georgia Center for the Book. They have written six children’s books together. Forthcoming releases include Thread of LoveP is For Poppadoms and Mother Goes to India.



Atlanta area author, Diane Z. Shore is an award-winning author of 11 books and anthologies for young readers, including “This is the Dream” (2006), a compelling, boldly illustrated book that chronicles episodes before, during and after the civil rights movement in America. The Georgia Center for the Book selected this work for their inaugural list of “25 Books All Young Georgians Should Read” in 2010. Shore’s first picture book, BUS-A-SAURUS BOP, a rollicking, rhyming, read-aloud, won the 2004 Children’s Choice Award.




Local Atlanta-area author Jodi Wheeler-Toppen is sure to inspire and enhance a love of science in children and adults. Author of over 20 science books for students and teachers and a finalist for the 2017 AAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books, her work showcases exciting ways to use science in our day-to-day lives. Her books for “curious kids” feature everything from imploding to edible science experiments and much more! Her latest work, Dog Science Unleashed: Fun Activities to do with your Canine Companion, outlines fun and pup-friendly activities to help kids learn what makes dogs tick.

Wheeler-Toppen will provide the Sandy Springs public school with the best attendance at the Literacy Event a grand prize of a full day of assemblies that connect the fun and excitement of science with the power of nonfiction writing. This prize is worth $1000!



Illustrator Laura Freeman is a New York City transplant living in Atlanta. She illustrated over 20 children’s books, including Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly, selected as a Children’s Book All Young Georgians Should Read in 2018. She also illustrated the Nikki & Deja series by Karen English, and received six Junior Library Guild Selections for the series. Her clients include HarperCollins, Scholastic Magazines, The New York Timesand National Geographic Books. In addition to illustrating books and editorial content, her art can be found on a wide range of products, from dishes and textiles to greeting cards. Laura received a BFA from the School of Visual Arts.



Ebony Glenn is an Atlanta-based illustrator who brings stories to life with whimsical imagery. Demonstrating a passion for the arts and great storytelling, she advocates for diversity in children’s books while creating illustrations that foster a love of reading in young people. Her book, Mommy’s Khimar, is about  book about a young Muslim girl who spends a busy day wrapped up in her mother’s colorful headscarf. Ebony is theproud recipient of the 2018 Wonders of Childhood Focus Fellowship, an award given by AIR Serenbe, a nonprofit artist residency program. Her clients include Simon & Shuster, HarperCollins and Scholastic. To satisfy her need to make new things, Ebony loves to create joyful and heartwarming crafts.


Featured Storyteller

Mama Koku of The Wren’s Nest

Donna Kokumo Buie, (aka. Mama Koku), is a Master Storyteller and children’s writer.  She is also an educator who has taught children at all age levels, from pre-school to high school. Koku is a member of the Kuumba Storytellers of Georgia, The National Association of Black Storytellers, and the Southern Order of Storytellers.  She is the Official Teller of Coretta Scott King Book Awards Book Fair.  Mama Koku is a “Rambler” for The Wrens Nest House Museum, a Featured Teller for Everybody Wins Atlanta, and a Teaching Artist for Fulton County School’s Teaching Museums.


Little Shop of Stories will be on site at the Literary Event and books by our featured authors and illustrators will be available for purchase and for signings.