A wonderful part of the WES Book Fair is a special guest author that hosts a presentation for WES students about his or her work and the process behind it. This year we were honored to have Ellen Oh, author of the Texas Bluebonnet Award nominated middle-grade novel Spirit Hunters and its sequel, The Island of Monsters, as well as the highly-acclaimed, young-adult Prophecy trilogy (Prophecy, Warrior, and King). She is also the co-founder of We Need Diverse Books, the groundbreaking, grassroots non-profit organization.
Growing up in Brooklyn, Ellen loved horror books, perhaps in part because her parents took her to a terrifying werewolf movie when she was only four years old. Ellen was mesmerized! As a young teen, she loved reading Agatha Christie mysteries and Stephen King novels, especially Cujo and Salem’s Lot. Her high school English teacher encouraged her to write creatively, but Ellen didn’t pursue a career in writing right away. She attended college at New York University and then studied law at the Georgetown University Law Center. For years, she practiced corporate and entertainment law, but she no longer does and doesn’t miss it all!
It was a 2000 article in Time magazine about Genghis Khan that jump-started Ellen’s writing career and ignited her obsessive fascination with ancient Asian history, especially Korean history. Ellen loves martial arts films, adores K-pop, thinks Avatar: The Last Airbender series is the best-animated show ever created, randomly quotes lines from The Princess Bride, and knows that Krispy Kreme doughnuts are her kryptonite.
Previous guest authors have included 2015 Newbery Medal winner Kwame Alexander; Los Angeles Times Book Prize and Boston Globe/Horn Book Award winner author Candance Fleming; the illustrator of the popular Ivy & Bean series of books, Sophie Blackall; and the Tallulah series illustrator Alexandra Boiger. WES has a wonderful history of inspiring our student authors with hands-on workshops led by these renowned authors and illustrators.