Virtual Author Talks


July Virtual Authors


Author Kate DiCamillo

happy pig running in green grass


Tuesday, July 9 at 2 PM


     Join us for a visit to Deckawoo Drive with everyone’s favorite adventure loving pig, Mercy Watson! Newbery Medal winning author Kate DiCamillo will be sharing the stories behind the creation of her early chapter book series, the original Mercy Watson, and the follow up series, Tales from Deckawoo Drive. We will also be celebrating the publication of the final book in the Mercy Watson series! Mercy is selfish and impulsive, but no matter how much trouble she gets in, Mr. and Mrs. Watson continue to love her and see her in the best possible light. Young readers love to join along in her hilarious adventures, taking comfort in the fact that their parents and guardians will love them no matter what as well. BYOBT – Bring Your Own Buttered Toast!

     This program is presented in partnership with the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts.


Register now! 



 Author Max Brallier 

book cover with teenagers


Tuesday, July 16 at 2 PM


     Would you survive a zombie apocalypse? Join us to talk with New York Times bestselling author Max Brallier about The Last Kids on Earth, both the book series and the animated series on Netflix. In this virtual event, Max will share how he came up with the different monsters and villains as well as the unique ways that Jack and his friends figure out to defeat them. Ever since the monster apocalypse hit town, average thirteen year old Jack Sullivan has been living in his tree house, which he’s armed to the teeth with catapults and a moat, not to mention video games and an endless supply of Oreos and Mountain Dew scavenged from abandoned stores. But Jack alone is no match for the hordes of Zombies and Winged Wretches and Vine Thingies, and especially not for the eerily intelligent monster known only as Blarg. So Jack builds a team: his dorky best friend, Quint; the reformed middle school bully, Dirk; Jack’s loyal pet monster, Rover; and Jack’s crush, June. With their help, Jack is going to slay Blarg, achieve the ultimate Feat of Apocalyptic Success, and be average no longer! Can he do it?

     This program is presented in partnership with the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts.


Register now! 



  Author Elizabeth Acevedo

photo of author wearing a colorful sweater


Tuesday, July 23 at 2 PM


     You’re invited to learn about the power of poetry with Elizabeth Acevedo! 

     In this exciting author conversation and Q&A, Acevedo will provide a short reading from her National Book Award winning and New York Times bestselling novel-in-verse, The Poet X serving as the backdrop to this amazing chat! The Poet X is about an Afro-Latina heroine who tells her story with blazing words and powerful truth. Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her Mami finding out. But she still can’t stop thinking about performing her poems. Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

     This program is presented in partnership with the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts.


Register now!



  Author Dan Santat

Author photo with book cover of children looking at large building


Tuesday, July 30 at 2 PM


     Join this year’s winner of the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, Dan Santat, as he inspires tweens and teens to tell their own stories through graphic novels. 

     His winning book, A First Time for Everything, is a graphic memoir based on his own awkward middle school years and the trip to Europe that changed his life. Dan Santat began drawing as a young boy and although he first studied microbiology, he pursued his passion in illustration. He spent many hours as a child and teenager teaching himself to draw by copying illustrations from comic books until he developed the unique, recognizable style that we see today. His talk will inspire listeners to draw their own story as well as give them practical tips on the creation of graphic novels.

     This program is presented in partnership with the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts.


Register now!


August Virtual Authors



Smithsonian Curator, Dr. Jennifer Levasseur

book cover with outer space and astronauts in full suit


 Wednesday, August 7 at 2 PM


     You’re invited to virtually step inside one of the greatest international achievements with a behind-the-scenes guide to space exploration with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum curator Dr. Jennifer Levasseur. 

     Revealing a new perspective into the world of space exploration and the daring astronauts who make it possible, Dr. Levasseur will guide you through the Smithsonian’s Behind the Scenes at the Space Station and take you on a once-in-a-lifetime virtual tour of the International Space Station. You will learn what the astronauts do once they make it to the space station, from experiments to repairs and so much more! 

     Have you ever wondered if plants could grow in outer space? Or how the space station doesn’t break down in outer space? Or how astronauts go to the toilet in microgravity? Behind the Scenes at the Space Station is a treasure trove of information. Did you know that during a 24-hour period, the space station completes 16 orbits of Earth and the astronauts on board see 16 sunrises and sunsets every day? Or that the International Space Station is so enormous that it was launched in pieces and constructed in orbit? 

     Brimming with astonishing visuals, step-by-step explanations of everyday space work in action, and job profiles of the adventurous people who make it happen, Dr. Levasseur’s tour Behind the Scenes at the Space Station is the perfect way to spend an hour and experience life in space. Register now for your all-access pass to a spectacular home in space!

     This program is presented in partnership with the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts.


Register now!



Irena Smith, PhD



book cover with college pennants


Thursday, August 15 at 2 PM


     Another college application season is around the corner, and stress is already beginning to ratchet up for teens and their parents. You’re invited to join us for this must-watch talk by Irena Smith, PhD. You will hear about constructive and healthy ways to approach the college application process, preserve your relationship with your teen, and help them define success on their terms instead of chasing the elusive “golden ticket.” 

     Irena is a former Stanford Admissions Officer who has spent 18 years advising accomplished, tightly-wound students in Palo Alto and around the world. She saw firsthand the extreme measures parents took to help their children gain admission to highly selective colleges and the toll it took on the children as well as on their parents. 

     At the same time, Irena’s own children struggled with developmental delays, learning differences, severe depression, and anxiety. She kept her double life—successful college counselor at work, anxious mom at home—tightly under wraps for years until a stunning realization: she was exactly like the anxious parents of the students she worked with, all of whom were equally terrified about their children's future. Irena’s memoir, The Golden Ticket: A Life in College Admissions Essays, which candidly explores her personal as well as professional life, was published in 2023, and she has since devoted her time to speaking out about hard things: the heavy burden of generational expectations, teen and young adult mental health, and the importance of embracing a broader, more generous vision of what it means to succeed. To learn more about Irena’s personal experience as a parent, professional experience as a college admissions officer, and leave with tips on how to help your child approach the application process in practical, healthy ways–register now!

     This program is presented in partnership with the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts.


Register now!



 Novelist, Shelby Van Pelt

blue background with octopus and woman watching it in a tank


Thursday, August 15 at 2 PM


     We invite you to join us as we chat with the amazing New York Times bestselling author Shelby Van Pelt about her beloved novel Remarkably Bright Creatures. You don’t want to miss this deep-dive exploration of friendship, reckoning, hope, and so much more! 

     Remarkably Bright Creatures is a luminous debut novel about a widow’s unlikely friendship with a giant Pacific octopus reluctantly residing at the local aquarium—and the truths she finally uncovers about her son’s disappearance 30 years ago. After Tova Sullivan’s husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she’s been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in the Puget Sound over 30 years ago. As she works, Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine, but wouldn’t dream of lifting one of his eight tentacles for his human captors—until he forms an unlikely friendship with Tova. Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova’s son disappeared. As his affection for Tova grows, Marcellus must use every trick his old, invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it’s too late. 

     Charming, compulsively readable, and full of wit, Shelby Van Pelt’s debut novel is a beautiful exploration of friendship, reckoning, and hope–a reminder that sometimes taking a hard look at the past can help uncover a future that once felt impossible. Register now for a conversation you just don't want to miss!

     This program is presented in partnership with the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts.


Register now!