Meet the Authors
Debra A. Harkins
Debra Harkins grew up in Boston, MA. For 25 years she’s been teaching and practicing community psychology. In 2007, she founded Leading Change, a leadership development coaching and consulting firm specializing in diversity, leadership development, women’s growth and non-profit human service organizations. She lives in Newton with her husband and two mini golden doodles.
To learn more about Debra, check out her linktree: https://linktr.ee/debraharkins
Susan is a retired psychologist/administrator that is most proud of her son and two granddaughters. She has many interests, including paleontology and history, and started writing early in her life. Her first book was created at just ten years old about horses and was completed in a spiral notebook. Now that Susan is retired, she plans to focus more on writing. You can follow Susan Verzulli on Facebook and Instagram.
Carmen N. Veloria
Carmen N. Veloria is an associate professor of education at Suffolk University in Boston, MA. Her academic research, writing, teaching, and community service work focuses on issues of race, ethnicity, and language usage with respect to youth, schools, and community. In her spare time, she enjoys dancing, hiking, and lounging around with Bella. This is her first children’s book.
To learn more about Carmen, check out her linktree: https://linktr.ee/carmenveloria
Elizabeth CrounseElizabeth Crounse was born in Schenectady. She received degrees in Special Education and Educational Psychology from SUC at Geneseo and SUNY at Albany. She married and raised her four children in the Adirondacks, moved to NYC and Long Island for a bit, then returned to Schenectady with her husband. She has four grandchildren who she adores and she loves to travel, hike, and read.Her first book, “The View from the Fish Bowl,” was a young man she met early in her career. His name was Alan, and he had had a traumatic event in his teens and was left with debilitating injuries, yet he remained a funny, bright person who was delightful to be with. She witnessed many such resilient people as she meandered through a varied career in Human Services in clinical and administrative roles. She is a passionate advocate for Special Needs individuals and their right to live as unencumbered life as possible.
To learn more about Elizabeth, check out her linktree: https://linktr.ee/bethhudson
Mary M. Williams
Mary M. William is a certified social worker, who recently retired from the Boston Public Schools (BPS) where she served as district liaison for 26 years. She founded Homeless Education Resource Network (HERN) that continues to operate by BPS. She is also the co-founder of CEEDS4Change, a non-profit organization founded in 2018. She previously served as a board member of the Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) representing BPS. She is an alum of LeadBoston, a professional development program of the Boston Center for Community and Justice and is fluent in French-Creole as well as English. Mary lives between St. Lucia, West Indies and Randolph, Massachusetts.
To learn more about Mary, check out her linktree: https://linktr.ee/authormarywilliam
Byron Beaman is an Educator, Hip Hop Educator and Former Football Coach. He has over 20 years experience as both as an educator and coach. Byron has won numerous awards and recently received an award from the State of Massachusetts for his work with young people. He has also been recognized as “One of The Most Stylish People in Boston”. Byron loves art, museums, street art, style, sneakers, graffiti and all things Hip Hop Culture. He lives in Boston, MA. Follow him on instagram @MattapanMade.
Art by Macie is a business that she started in 2020 as a way of sharing her art with the world. Macie started out by drawing superheroes that were strong brave women. When Macie was 14 years old she had her first professional art experience and started face painting at a local flea market. She loved how happy it made people. It was then that she first considered turning her hobby into a business. Though it was a big dream for a 14-year-old; it wasn’t until she was 19 years old that she began designing board game artwork for a family business. It was then that Macie decided to begin working on a business of her own. A year later she launched the grand opening of her site “Art by Macie”. It was by chance introduction to Debra A. Harkins and Purple Owl Publishing that truly jumpstarted Macie’s artistic success.
“Art is what I love to do… it’s not just my job. It’s a passion and I’m truly grateful for the chance to use my love of illustrating to bring people’s stories to life!”
Barthelemy CharlesBarthelemy Charles is a citizen of St. Lucia, a small island development state located in the Caribbean. He grew up in a rural community where banana cultivation and harvesting were the main source of employment. He worked in the banana industry in various capacities for a period of about twenty years. It was primarily his interactions with banana farmers and the struggles they faced that sparked his interest in human development and social justice. He received his academic training in international development and human services at Brandeis University and Quincy college in MA. He has acquired additional knowledge and skills working with children who are experiencing homelessness and other disadvantaged populations. To highlight issues of social importance, he published his research and opinion pieces as a freelance writer/ contributor in the two main newspapers on the island of St. Lucia. He is also a musician and wishes to use audio/video production for public sensitization and social development. He has decided to take his work to another level by embarking on his first book project.
Chris K Pancoast
Chris K Pancoast earned his Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education. In addition, he’s completed four AA degrees in Early Childhood, Psychology, and Special Education. Chris lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and daughter. Chris is an advocate for children, teachers, and educational reform at the local, state, and national level. He has worked with youth for 28 years and has published two books: Why Play? Learning Through Play-the importance of play in Early Childhood and throughout life and Animal Tales ABCs- a heartfelt story about a boy named Charlie and his beloved alien friend, Cosmo who go on an “around the world” adventure learning about animal conservation, endangered species, and ways in which today’s youth can help protect them. You can learn more about Chris and his work surrounding play by visiting, www.whyplay60.org.
To learn more about Chris, check out his linktree: https://linktr.ee/chrispancoast
Desi Schell grew up in New York state, relocating to Florida in the 1980’s. For the last 22 years, she taught in public schools ranging from teen parent to gifted education programs. In 2021, Desi retired from teaching and partnered with Purple Owl Publishing for the purpose of bringing the Home Hotel series of children’s books to the public. She enjoys sharing her dozens of stories and shaping our youth in the process. Desi and her husband live in Florida most of the time, spending some time in North Carolina each year.
Kathy Hunter began teaching reading, and creative writing, in a two-room school house in Appalachia. She and her partner moved to New York City, and Kathy began graduate work in education and psychology at Bank Street College, and the New School of Social Research. During that time Kathy taught at a private school in New York, and was also teaching creative writing, reading enrichment, and remediation privately. Kathy and her husband moved to California where she became a curriculum development specialist and parenting instructor at the College of Marin. During this time, she lead personal growth groups and wrote a self-help book, ‘Discover Your Talents, and Fulfill Your Dreams,‘ and co-authored a popular site entitled, FriendlierWorld.com with writer Richard Geller. Most of her life Kathy has had one or two dogs, and decided it would be fun, and a challenge, to incorporate her skills as a reading instructor, with her love of dogs. That way, she knew that children could learn to read, and at the same time have fun reading to their dogs, cats, or even their favorite stuffy!
Yusuf Ali is a Bengali-born American comic, graphic designer and writer. A graduate of Suffolk University and Cambridge Rindge & Latin Academy, Ali has spent most of his life traveling the states, working various minimum wage jobs, volunteering for various non-profit organizations, and advocating for civil rights causes.
To learn more about Yusuf, check out his linktree: https://linktr.ee/yusufali2k