Website Staff Biographies
Mary Brigid Barrett
Site Director, Head Writer, and Chief Researcher of OurWhiteHouse.org
President and Executive Director of the NCBLA
Mary Brigid Barrett is a children’s book author and illustrator; a professional educator; and the founder, president, and executive director of The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance.
Her most recent books are: All Fall Down and Pat-A-Cake illustrated by LeUyen Pham, published by Candlewick Press Publishing; and Shoebox Sam illustrated by Frank Morrison, published by HarperCollins/Zondervan. Both All Fall Down and Pat-A-Cake were recently named by the esteemed education institution Bank Street College to its Best Children’s Books of the Year list. To find out more about Mary Brigid’s books and illustration work, visit her website MaryBrigidBarrett.com and her Facebook page.
Barrett taught children’s book writing and illustration, and professional practices for illustrators, at The Rhode Island School of Design. She is a guest lecturer at area colleges and universities and conducts writing and illustration workshops for children and adults.
Edie Ching is a lecturer for the University of Maryland, School of Information Studies. Mrs. Ching holds a Bachelor of Artsin American Literature from Middlebury College, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Harvard University, and a Master of Library Science from the University of Maryland. Mrs. Ching was a high school English teacher for eight years at Oyster Bay High School in New York, followed by a teaching position at Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii. A “Jill-of-all-Trades,” Mrs. Ching has been a program developer for computer-generated programs for the Mitre Corp in McLean, VA; a training specialist for the IRS; an instructor at Montgomery College, and an instructor of technical writing at the University of Maryland College Park. For several years she was the lower school librarian at St. Albans School for Boys in Washington, D.C., and set up a library for the Washington Latin Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Ching is an active member of The Children’s Book Guild in Washington, D.C.
Geri Zabela Eddins
Researcher and Writer, Site Editor, NCBLA Assistant Director, Program Director
Geri Zabela Eddins is Assistant Director and Program Director of the NCBLA. Geri is a voracious reader who has indulged a lifelong passion for the written word in her education, work, and volunteer experiences. She is thrilled to be actively engaged in promoting literacy through her communications, website, and project and event planning tasks for the NCBLA. Geri’s additional career experience includes over twenty five years as a technical writer and editor in the computer software industry. Her volunteer experience includes working with children in classrooms and tutoring ESL students at the town library. Geri holds both a BA and MA in English. She lives in Massachusetts.
Guest Writer, NCBLA Board Member
Daphne was a teacher for 20 years in grades 3-8 in Massachusetts, California, and Vermont. She began teaching when the whole language movement was at its height and studied with Donald Graves and Linda Rief at the University of New Hampshire for two summers. Throughout her teaching career she ran reading and writing workshops in her classroom. Daphne has led workshops in language arts and hands-on science education. She developed and wrote an after-school math/science education program for the Providence, Rhode Island schools. She was a California Mentor Teacher and a peer reviewer for The Reading Teacher. In January 2010 Daphne completed an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College. She currently divides her time between writing and small-scale organic farming.
Guest Writer, NCBLA Treasurer
Helen Kampion is a graduate of the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College, and also holds an MBA from Boston University. After a successful career in business, she became a writer of both fiction and non-fiction for young readers, including middle-grade novels and picture book biographies. Her picture book manuscripts have been recognized by The Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult & Children’s Writing sponsored by Hunger Mountain (Paddy Cats, Special Mention, 2015) and by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (Francesca’s Funky Footwear, Finalist, 2013). When she’s not at her desk busy writing or “treasurer-ing”, you can find her helping fellow authors with marketing events targeted to get their books into the hands of new readers, volunteering at the New England SCBWI conference, or teaching creative writing workshops for children.
Heather Lang loves to write about real women who overcame extraordinary obstacles and never gave up on their dreams. To research her books, she has explored the skies, the treetops of the Amazon, and the depths of the ocean. Her award-winning picture book biographies include Fearless Flyer: Ruth Law and Her Flying Machine; Swimming with Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark; Queen of the Track: Alice Coachman, Olympic High-Jump Champion; and Anybody’s Game: Kathryn Johnston, the First Girl to Play Little League Baseball. When Heather is not writing at her home in Lexington, Massachusetts, she loves to go on adventures with her husband and four children. Visit her HeatherLangBooks.com.
Reneé Critcher Lyons
Guest Writer, NCBLA Secretary
Reneé Critcher Lyons is an Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN. Serving as the Program Coordinator for the School Librarianship Program, she has published in Children and Libraries, YALS, School Library Connection, Public Library Quarterly, and the International Journal of the Book. The author of Teaching Civics in the Library (McFarland, 2015), she serves on national book award committees for the American Library Association, Nature Generation, and Children’s Literature Association. Her other books include Foreign-Born American Patriots: Sixteen Volunteer Leaders in the Revolutionary War (2013) and The Revival of Banned Dances: A Worldwide Study (2012).