Authors' & Presenters' Bios


Animal Adventures is New England's largest, privately owned animal rescue center of its kind! We have been operating in Bolton, Massachusetts since 1997. We are a rescue center first. We take in hundreds of unwanted, or unable to be cared for, animals each year. Some, we are able to find homes for, and others will live here the rest of their lives. We receive zero state or federal funding and are 100% self sufficient. We are state and USDA licensed to keep all of our animals. We follow strict care guidelines and each animal's needs are met on a daily basis. 
Because we are not AZA all of our funding comes from you! Whether that be by visiting our center or having us at your party, all the money we makes comes from the work we do. Furthermore, we are not a 501(c)(3), and are not planning to be. We feel we can offer better services, and do more for our animals and our employees, by standing as a small business. Outside of the services we offer, any donations received are a huge help and we say Thank You to those that give regularly. Please take a few minutes to browse our site and see what we have to offer you! 

SEAN BIXBY   SeanBixby.com

I grew up in Merrimac, Massachusetts and began drawing at an early age. Inspiration came from the comic books I collected, the cartoons I watched and backyard I explored.  Years Later, my passion for art led me to the Hartford Art School, where I further developed my style. I found success with both 2D and 3D illustration. My sculptures have been featured at the prestigious Society of Illustrators in Manhattan and the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in Dover. My paintings landed my children’s books The Uncrossable Canyon and the upcoming sequel.  I am also an art educator currently teaching high school. 

Steve Blunt    steveblunt.com

Steve is a part-time music teacher, part-time singer/storyteller whose job is more full-time fun than most grown-ups are allowed to have. He started creating songs for children back in the mid-90’s, while working as a middle-school English teacher and raising a young daughter. Now he has four CD’s of (mostly) funny songs for kids & families. These days, he does a lot of performing at schools and libraries in New Hampshire (where I live) and throughout New England. In addition to original compositions, his shows feature traditional American and multicultural material that appeals to a wide audience. Keep on rockin’ and don’t be too cool to sing along!


Sherry Zentner Cerino received a Bachelors of Science degree from Syracuse University School of Nursing, as well as advanced certification in Leadership, Process Improvement and Nonprofit Management.  Ms. Cerino has practiced nursing for over 30 years, caring for patients in a variety of hospital and community settings including Pediatrics, Maternal Child Health, Intensive Care, Long Term Care, Special Needs and Rehabilitation. She has worked with many culturally diverse children and adults with medical needs and disabilities, developing her strong passion for respect and tolerance of differences.

LESLIE CONNOR    LeslieConnor.com

Leslie Connor has her own memories of the energy crunch of the seventies, and she got to thinking: What comes after the long lines at the pumps? What if the earth's supply of gasoline were to finally run out? She tried to imagine what it would look like: "I saw bicycles. And I saw them taking to the highways. I also saw a changing value of goods and services. Then Dewey showed up on my shoulder to tell the story of these kids home alone, trying to keep up with operating a busy bike-repair shop and coping with the unfamiliar condition of suddenly having something everybody else wants." Leslie is the author of many award-winning books for children, including Waiting for Normal, winner of the ALA Schneider Family Book Award, Miss Bridie Chose a Shovel, and Dead on Town Line, a young-adult novel in verse. She lives with her family in Connecticut.

NORAH DOOLEY  norahdooley.com

Norah Dooley is a storyteller, educator, critically acclaimed children’s author and creator of StoriesLive®, a high school storytelling curriculum and story slam program. She is the co-founder of massmouth.org and the Greater Boston Story Slam series.

As project director of StoriesLive® she created and implements a curriculum used to teach over 7,000 Greater Boston high school students to tell compelling first person narratives. As an adjunct faculty she teaches storytelling to undergraduates at Tufts and runs a Junior Seminar at Lesley University.  In January of 2014, she returned to lecture on storytelling and language acquisition in Tokyo, Japan as part of a multi-year grant funded by the Japanese government. www.norahdooley.com

Norah has an MEd in Creative Arts in Learning from Lesley University and a BFA in Painting from Tufts University/Museum School.  Described as an “… entrancing storyteller” by the Boston Globe Norah is sought after as a keynote speaker on literacy and storytelling. She’s been a featured storyteller in regional festivals; Cambridge River Festival, Newport Folk Festival, Albany River Festival, 3 Apples Storytelling Festival, MA and at the Clearwater Festival, NY. In 2013 she was invited to perform at the Exchange Place of the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough,TN.

She has been a classroom teacher, a middle school performing arts teacher, workshop and training leader, currently teaches storytelling as an adjunct faculty at Lesley and Tufts University and teaches in several adult and community education settings.   She is booked through Young Audiences ofMassachusetts and lives in Brookline, MA with her husband and a revolving subset of their 4 daughters.

2014 Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Suffolk University • Boston MA
2013 Creative Leadership Award • puppetshowplace.org • Brookline MA
2012 National Storytelling Networks•Oracle Award•storynet.org
2010 Recipient of the Brother Blue & Ruth Hill Award • LANES.org

Where I am coming from:
I grew up in NYC on Staten Island. We lived in a relatively rural area and the lady next door raised chickens-- hundreds of them. My sister and brother and I spent all our free time playing in the woods at Robin Hood,W.W.II combat and Knights of the Round Table, making bows,arrows,swords and scenarios. We were über geeks before there even were geeks.

When I was thirteen our family moved to the Boston area and I went to public school for the first time. Catholic parochial school had been the bane of my existence. There were sometimes as many as 60 students in a class and the teachers were harsh disciplinarians. Brookline public schools were a release and revelation.
After high school, I went to art school and worked at many jobs to support my "brilliant career" as a painter. I have been a cab driver, breakfast cook, bicycle courier, burglar alarm monitor, copy machine operator and waitress. But my favorite part time job was as a substitute teacher. While our children were young I went back to school and got a degree in education. It was in graduate school that I learned about storytelling as a vocation.

EYES ON OWLS    EyesOnOwls.com

Marcia and Mark Wilson founded Eyes On Owls in 1994 as an educational enterprise that brings wild owls to your school or group so you can learn more about your wild neighbors and their habitats. 

The owls we care for at Eyes On Owls are permanently disabled - that is they can't survive on their own in the wild. Many of the owls are survivors of collisions with vehicles. We give each owl a safe, clean, low stress home and all the mice they need to eat (owls don't eat plants, of course). Several times a week, we bring a selection of owls to a school or group program to help people learn about these fascinating birds.
We have federal and state permits to display the owls for educational programs. The owls ARE NOT pets. Our owls have sharp talons and beaks, special dietary and health requirements, as well as special housing we custom build for each bird. Non-flighted owls get handicapped ramps in their aviaries.
Eyes On Owls brings live owls to you and your group. Our facility is not open to the public - this way the owls get the rest and shelter they need to stay healthy.
Marcia and Mark Wilson bring live owls to their Eyes On Owls programs. They are shown with an 
Eurasian Eagle Owl (left) and a Snowy Owl (right). Photo by evanrichman.com


Who is Leland Faulkner? From an early age, Leland was exposed to a wide range of ethnic cultures. Born in Afghanistan to American Indian parents, one of his earliest memories is being placed on the foot of a gargoyle in the ruins of ancient Persepolis. He spent seven years on the coast of Tanzania, East Africa, has traveled to Asia an Europe, and credits the global community with stimulating his love for theatre. His exploration of the moving image and theatre has led him into mime, magic and myth as he has sought new and intriguing ways of expressing idea and story.

Beginning with movement theatre and evolving through new vaudeville and performance art, Leland was trained in the old world tradition of master and apprentice. He is a professionally trained film maker, mime, actor, and director. Leland studied with a variety of distinguished teachers including Tony Montanaro, Jacques Lecoq, and theatre masters from Italy and Japan. Leland received a Bachelor of Arts degree in film making from the Brooks Institute, in Santa Barbara, California, and continues to work on film and media projects. On the performance level, Leland has been a touring artist for over twenty years. He has performed throughout the United States, and has taught and performed at theatre festivals, in cultural exchange programs, for corporate sponsors, in commercial work, in theaters and schools.

JUDITH JANGO-COHEN    JangoCohen.com

Judith Jango-Cohen is the author of lively and lyrical books exploring topics from bees, to bionics, to Ben Franklin. Since the publication of Judith’s first book, Digging Armadillos, (Lerner, 1999) she has gone on to write thirty-six nonfiction titles for young readers in kindergarten through high school. She is also a journalist and writes news stories for Scholastic’s science magazines. The high quality of her writing has received recognition from the IRA/CBC with a Children’s Choices award for Real-Life Sea Monsters and by the NCSS/CBC for Chinese New Year, as a Notable Social Studies Trade Book. Titles have also been named as Best Children’s Books of the Year by the Children’s Book Committee at Bank Street College and have been recommended by the National Science Teachers Association.
Judith’s career began in the classroom after earning a degree in Biology. For nine years she used innovative techniques to excite children about learning and to help them develop critical and creative thinking skills. Judith’s talent for engaging children carried over into the literary world when she began writing. The inspiration for much of her work springs from her experiences as a naturalist and photographer while exploring swamps, canyons, deserts, and glaciers, and observing their myriad inhabitants.

Judith’s school and library programs weave together her three passions and areas of expertise: teaching, writing, and nature exploration. During her visits students participate in fast-paced, interactive programs that incorporate a multi-sensory approach. The presentations include activities involving role-play, music, movement, sound effects, photos, and puppets. Children, teachers, and parents have enthusiastically embraced Judith’s programs, inviting her back year after year. Not only are students riveted, they are discovering ways to improve their writing in the context of Science and Social Studies. After the visit Judith distributes materials to teachers to reinforce the concepts she presented.

MICHAEL G. LAFOSSE    Origamido.com

Michael G. LaFosse is best known as a paper maker and paper folding artist. He has been practicing the art of Origami for over 40 years, and has been teaching it for over 30 years. Michael is internationally regarded as one of the top origami masters in the world today.

Born in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, he was fascinated by sea shells and studied to become a biologist. This is evident in his works - many of which have been shown in the Louvre in Paris, and several of which are currently on display at the Art & Nature Center's Idea Studios at the newly re-opened Peabody Essex Museum in Salem.

His training in Biology took him to Tampa, and he will return to Florida in the spring of 2004, to study Everglades animals and plants that he intends to re-create in folded handmade paper. His exhibit will travel, and will first be shown at the Morikami Museum in Del Ray Beach, Florida.

A similar internship in 1997 at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson created a spectacular show attended by over 40,000 people. Many of his works from that show are displayed in his hardcover book, "ORIGAMIDO - Masterworks of Folded Paper"

CYNTHIA LORD    CynthiaLord.com

My life as a writer began at age four with a song collaboration with my sister (I couldn't write, so she did the actual writing). The song was called "Ding Dong the Cherries Sing," and we forced anyone within a 12-mile radius to listen to us sing it, over and over and over.
It went like this:
"Ding-dong, the cherries sing, 
Tra-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la 
Ding-dong, the cherries sing, 
Tra-la-la-la-la DING, DING!"
OK, so I wasn't exactly headed for the Grammy awards. . . .

My parents not only suffered through my songs about warbling fruit, they were generally quite tolerant of my other forays into art, music, and literature. Ear-splitting clarinet practices, countless trips to the library, and incomprehensible early drawings. My mother still has a few of those drawings on which she wrote captions like: "Cynthia says this is a goat."
I was a daydreaming, shy child, and I will always be grateful for the time and room my parents gave me to be myself.
My favorite books when I was very young included HAPPY, a story my mother bought at the grocery store about a kitten who is found under the hood of a school bus, PEPPERMINT, a story about a kitten nobody wants who is adopted by a little girl (Can you tell I wanted a pet very badly?), FANTASTIC MR. FOX by Roald Dahl, and WINNIE THE POOH by A. A. Milne.
The first pencil-and-paper writing I remember doing was on a birthday card I gave to my grandfather. I was probably five years old, and my mother handed me a pristine, white envelope and told me to write Grandpa's name on the front.
And I did. In huge, gangly letters that covered the whole envelope, I wrote "ED" in blue pen.
I was proud of it, until I saw my mother's face. She had meant me to write "Grandpa" in small, lady-like letters, but since there wasn't another envelope, she said it would have to do.
My grandfather laughed when he saw my envelope. It was the first and only time I ever heard him laugh with complete abandon, until he had tears in his eyes. When he looked at me all he said was "thank you," but he meant it, and I was proud to have written something that made him laugh.
I grew up in rural New Hampshire beside a lake. We ice skated in the winter and spent most of the summers swimming and cannonballing off the dock into the water. My sister was my first friend, and one of our favorite things to do was to turn over our rowboat and find toads, whom we treated to surfboard rides and visits to the "Toad Motel" we created using trowels and paper cups in my mother's loam pile.
But we couldn't keep the toads more than a few minutes, so my sister and I finally ("Please, please, please, Mom? We proooooomise we'll take care of it!") talked my mother into a real pet. Spotsie the turtle lived in a tank that included a little island and a plastic palm tree, and loved bites of raw hamburger and deep-sea adventures in the kitchen sink and the bathtub.

KEITH MUNSLOW    KeithMunslow.com


Growing up as the youngest amid a boisterous family of five children in West Warwick, RI, Keith spent most of his waking minutes lost in a world of his own creation. “I can’t remember a time when I didn’t like to draw,” he says. “I would draw at the kitchen table with my sister Judy all the time. I loved drawing monsters, motorcycles and haunted houses the most. I’d draw a big house with a lot of windows and then draw different spooky creatures in each window.”

Because there was a piano in the house, and his older siblings had blazed the trail, he began playing from a young age. It wasn’t until an older brother came home from studying jazz improvisation at Berklee College of Music that Keith learned some of the basics of music theory. He began tapping out songs on the keyboard, and, influenced by the songwriting of Randy Newman and the lyrical genius of artists like Bootsy Collins, Little Richard and Professor Longhair, that the spark of music took fire.

By high school, Keith was writing his own songs, playing drums as well as piano, and playing in bands with friends. He continued drawing, creating whimsical cartoon drawings to amuse himself. After a two-year stint at Swain School of Design, he worked as an illustrator and then hit the road with Big Nazo, a puppet and mask touring company.

In the early 90s, he moved to Providence, RI, and engaged in the thriving arts community there. In the 1990s, Keith helped found AS220, a non-profit arts incubator in downtown Providence. He served on AS220’s board of directors for 18 years, and also developed the Youth Arts Conference, which brought inner city students to work in AS220’s resident artists’ studios. It was from AS220’s stage, that in 2006 Keith launched The Empire Revue, a high-energy variety show featuring sketch comedy, music, improvisation, and special guest performers. Now in its eighth year, The Empire Revue continues to attract standing room only crowds on the first Sunday of every month. The Empire Street neighborhood around AS220 thrives now, and city leaders refer to it as the “Arts and Entertainment District.”

Also in the 90s, Keith added music education to his repertoire. Over the years, Keith Munslow has entertained thousands of children and adults at festivals, concerts, schools and libraries throughout New England – and beyond. Keith has made numerous recordings for children and families, including Accidentally On Purpose, and Dressed Up for the Party, both of which garnered Parents’ Choice Awards and national radio play. His newest album, Tiny Destroyer (2015), features stories and songs reflecting the chaos and humor of everyday family living. 
In addition to his one-man show for kids and families, Keith performs with the New Orleans-flavored blues band, Superchief Trio, and in a hilarious duo show with GRAMMY Award-winning performer Bill Harley. Their joint album It’s Not Fair to Me (2013) gained wide acclaim. Together, the duo also perform an annual benefit show for the Rhode Island Food Bank.

Keith created an acclaimed multi-day literacy enrichment program called “Build-a-Book”, which he has conducted at numerous schools throughout New England. With his natural enthusiasm for story writing, Keith guides students in the creation of class generated stories, complete with illustrations. He also conducts workshops in many disciplines, including: songwriting, illustration, and comedy and theatrical improvisation. Keith is performing arts instructor for the renowned TALL University after school program in Central Falls, RI. Utilizing a multi-disciplinary approach, TALL University integrates arts and literacy, with an eye towards enhanced reading, writing, and communication skills.

Keith also teaches and performs musical improv at The Providence Improv Guild (www.improvpig.com). As a composer, Keith has created original music for Perishable Theatre’s Shows for Young Audiences, as well as main stage productions, Manton Avenue Project, and choreographer Heidi Henderson. For over a decade, Keith was a principal performer and musical director for Big Nazo, an international puppet and mask theater group based in Providence.

With an unstinting commitment to creativity and collaboration, Keith continues to search for new opportunities to combine his interests in the performing arts, literacy and community building. He resides in Providence with young son, Luc.

RICHARD SOBOL    RichardSobol.com

Since graduating from Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University Richard has used the art of photography to visit 45 countries and produce visual narratives.

His photographs from these disparate worlds have been published in: Time, National Geographic, Newsweek, People, Paris Match, Bunte, Stern, The New York Times, and Photo District News. As he added text to these stories he has since published eleven books for children and adults.

As a result of his unique set of skills he is frequently called upon by international wildlife protection agencies and conservation groups to document wild areas and travels regularly to Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.

Most recently he has worked closer to his home as he documented the design and construction of architect Frank Gehry’s Stata Center project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 
Together with commentary by Gehry and Nancy Joyce, the project manager, this story is told in the book, Building Stata, published by the MIT Press and in Construction Zone, published by Candlewick Press.

His photographs have been exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum New York, The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, The Aidekman Arts Center Tufts University, The Weiner Gallery Brown University, Paul Mellon Arts Center Wallingford Ct, Reynolds Ryan Gallery New Orleans La, and the Peabody Essex Museum Salem Mass.
Current works in progress includes stories on Humpback Whales in Cape Cod, elephant twins in Thailand, a town run by monkeys, and rescuing moon bears in China.