Betty can’t wait to be a first-grade witch. But on the first day of school, her classmates start calling her “Itty Bitty” because she’s small and still uses her kinder-broom. Betty doesn’t like the nickname—or how it makes her feel itty-bitty inside. So she comes up with a BIG idea to prove herself: winning the Halloween Dash.
Trisha Speed Shaskan was born in Winona, Minnesota, a Mississippi River valley town, where she soon became fond of spelling “M-i-ss-i-ss-i-pp-i!” In second grade, she won 2nd place in the Spelling Bee and she received the embossed dictionary to prove it! Trisha enjoyed words, stories, and writing, which became life-long interests. But she also played basketball at the park, caught tadpoles in the creek, and skateboarded across town. Today, Trisha still loves words and exploring, both of which contribute to her passion for writing children’s books, literature, teaching, and youth work. She has spent twenty years working with children and teens both in and out of school as an educator, youth worker, and literacy coach. She has taught storytelling or creative writing to students at every level from kindergarten to graduate-school. Currently, Trisha teaches writing classes to children at The Loft Literary Center. Trisha has written over thirty books for children. She received her MFA in creative writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Trisha lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her husband Stephen Shaskan, who illustrated the picture book Trisha wrote Punk Skunks. Trisha and Stephen enjoy the company of their cat Eartha, and their dog, Bea.
Xindi Yan grew up in a small city called Wuhu in China, and like Betty, she was always the smallest in her class. Standing a little shy of five feet, she still can't reach the high shelves in grocery stores and sometimes finds that shoes made for kids fit her best. But her size didn't stop her from chasing her big dreams of being a published artist in New York City. Xindi is the illustrator of Sylvia Rose and the Cherry Tree by Sandy Shapiro Hurt and the Craftily Ever After series by Martha Maker. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and hopes to have a puppy one day.