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About The Author & Illustrators

joan_okeiJoan Barton Barsotti (1939 - 2010)

Award-winning Author, Presenter, Storyteller…

Joan Barsotti lived in an orchard, in a log cabin, in front of a forest. She wrote and published children’s picture books and was a popular visiting author at elementary schools throughout Northern California. She was a presenter at California Kindergarten Conferences, Nevada Reading Week Conferences, a California School Library Conference, and many clubs and organizations.

Barsotti received her BA Degree in Child Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. She and her husband Gael own an Apple Hill orchard and juice mill in Camino, California. She was a happy grandmother whose six grandchildren, from four years old to twenty-two, provided unlimited and interesting ideas for her stories and characters. Barsotti’s books are all based on real events. She saw beauty and excitement in the people and world she knew and then enjoyed researching that which she did not know. She found writing in itself to be exciting and even relished doing the rewriting! She loved to share the magic of writing and book publishing with schoolchildren. She visited many, many schools in Northern California and Nevada.

Joan Barsotti was a proud member of the following organizations: Independent Book Publishers Association, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, California School Library Association, California Kindergarten Association and the Northern California Publishers and Authors.

Click HERE for more information on Joan's life and philanthropy.


carol mathis1Carol Mathis

Award-winning Artist, Columnist, Friend ...

During her lifetime Carol Mathis lived in three California towns rich in historical lore — Nevada City, Coloma, and Placerville. Carol was a highly respected artist who enjoyed doing oil paintings and was well known for her historical drawings of the surrounding gold country area. Carol was also an accomplished writer, her articles often appearing in the Mountain Democrat newspaper and Around Here magazine.

Mathis chose to do oil painting illustrations for the first four picture books by Barsotti. The poetry book, the fifth one, is a collection of bright watercolor illustrations. Children love Carol’s illustrations and are fortunate to be able to see them again in Andrew and Nana on Safari, a revised edition of Christopher and Grandma on Safari.


alpen-kelly-cropAlpen Kelley

Award-winning Canadian Artist, Photographer, Teacher, Cousin …

Alpen Kelley lives on Hornby Island, Canada, and in San Miguel Allende, Mexico, with her two Jack Russell Terriers. She is an artist and photographer who has been on expeditions in Nepal, Argentina, Ecuador, and Baffin Island and is an accomplished kayaker, climber, and QEMTW.  Kelley’s paintings appear in collections in Canada, Austria, Switzerland, Mexico, USA, England, France, and Norway. She is a world traveler and speaks fluent English, French, and Spanish.

Okei-san: The Girl from Wakamatsu is Kelley’s first children’s book. It is for older students. She chose to do the illustrations as drawings, using black with touches of red.

In 2005 Barsotti and Kelley traveled to Japan with People To People International and visited Aizu-Wakamatsu, the city where Okei lived. Research by the author, Barsotti, and artist, Kelley, includes information collected from local families and historians, and also from friends in Japan.

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