Becky Z. Dernbach graduated with honors from a fancy liberal arts college in 2008, just in time for the economy to crash. She has spent the past four years working a series of odd jobs, studying Spanish in Mexico, running from grizzly bears and maybe the mob in Montana, and writing a lot. She is currently a substitute teacher in the Minneapolis Public Schools and communications coordinator for Occupy Homes MN. Children’s books are her favorite thing.
Eva Rose Cohen is a Minneapolis-based artist who uses traditional illustration media like colored pencils, ink pen, and chalk pastels to make work that is lively, playful, and contemporary. Eva grew up in St. Paul, MN, and after graduating from Brown University in Providence, RI in 2009, she returned to the Twin Cities to work as an artist and to do other kinds of socially engaged work. She also creates album art, creative event posters, and other art for musicians and shows her work in a range of venues around the Twin Cities.
Connie Gretsch has a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and Art Therapy from Adler Graduate School in Richfield, Minnesota. She also holds a Masters degree in Creative Arts Integration into the Curriculum from Lesley University in Massachusetts. She is a licensed Special Education: EBD, Art and Life science teacher. Connie is also a Licensed Parent Coach. After receiving her master’s degree in MFT and Art Therapy, Connie has further developed her skills in using the arts as a therapeutic tool. She is currently developing a program to help victims of foreclosure and eviction. She considers this population is suffering from the acts of political violence in this country. Saving her home from greedy and deceitful bank practices has turned out to be the hardest fight Connie has ever had to face. She has joined forces with Occupy Homes MN and believes that with their support she will triumph in the end.
Dan P. Moore is the author and illustrator of “Mark Twain Was Right,” as well as several self-published graphic novels. He is a proud member of Occupy Homes MN and thinks bankers are thieves.
Kathleen Murphy-Andrus is an artist, community organizer, and educator. She currently works as a bilingual assistant educator at Richard Green Central Park School in Minneapolis. Though she has drawn portraits, caricatures, and comics for years, this is her first time illustrating a book. For the future, she has aspirations of becoming a school counselor and illustrating many more children’s books.
Caylin Crawford is a Minnesota native who currently lives in St. Paul with her two dogs, Molli and Macy. She works at the University of MN and, in her spare time, is fighting Freddie Mac for her house, organizes for Occupy Homes MN and volunteers at the wildlife rehabilitation center.
Cat Salonek is a full time organizer with Occupy Homes MN. She got involved in the movement as the direction of Occupy went from public spaces to the homes of Minneapolis families. Social justice and community organizing are her passions as she has devoted much time and energy to the cause. Cat enjoys creating meaningful and accessible opportunities for community members to get involved. She played a key role in creating momentum around several home occupations and is looking forward to participating in a national network of home defenders.
Mark R. Brown is a photographer, videographer and reporter with a passion for multimedia storytelling. Mark has five years of experience as a photojournalist at weekly and daily newspapers in Oregon, Iowa and California. He currently works as a staff photographer for the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN.
Jillia Pessenda Bovino enjoys a hat full of tricks which, depending on the day, may include urban farmer, organizer, performer, puppeteer. Her theatrical work has been performed in spaces ranging from warehouses (Seattle Artist Lofts, Casket Arts) to art galleries (The Henry), to rooftops (Bedlam Theatre) to puppet stages (Heart of the Beast). She is absolutely delighted to participate in this collaborative book-making process by arranging and choreographing puppets on the page!
Bill Panks is primarily a musician at heart, but enjoys all things creative, including writing, photography and graphic design. Some of his noteworthy accomplishments include completing a National Novel Writing Month novel in 2011 and composing a piece for a piano quartet for a fundraising concert for Women Against Military Madness in 2009, which he also helped coordinate. He enjoys hiking, biking, running, reading and tossing the old Frisbee with friends.