Category Archives: Visiting Authors

Women In Business: Conversation With A Female CEO

On Wednesday afternoon we welcomed writer and Hamlin parent Diana Kapp, and Megan Grassell, Founder and CEO of the clothing company Yellowberry. Ms. Kapp is the author of the recently released book Girls Who Run The World: 31 CEOs Who Mean Business.

Part biography, part business how-to, and fully empowering, this book is the perfect gift for future entrepreneurs…because you’re never too young to dream BIG! With colorful portraits, fun interviews and DIY tips, Girls Who Run the World features the success stories of 31 leading ladies of companies like Rent the Runway, POPSUGAR, and SoulCycle.

Megan Grassell is one of the CEOs featured in Ms. Kapp’s book. Ms. Grassell (now 24 years old) launched her company Yellowberry while she was still in high school.

If no one else was going to make bras specifically for young girls, then I would find a way to do it myself. In the middle of my junior year of high school at 17, I founded Yellowberry.

Below are some of the key points from their conversation:

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Nikki P. Cooper Speaks at Hamlin

On Monday students in grades K and 1 had the opportunity to meet children’s book author, Nikki P. Cooper.

Nikki P. Cooper is the author of Chocolate Covered Gratitude With Blessings on Top. It is a book that teaches children how gratitude for life’s simplest offerings can be the beginning of creating a life of purpose, abundance, and love. Nikki is the parent of Hamlin alum Anais Cooper ’19, owner of San Francisco’s first legacy business, Two Jack’s Nik’s Place (a restaurant), and the recipient of the 2019 NAACP Entrepreneur of the Year award. Her book will be available at our 12/7 Winterfest Book Fair.

Ms. Cooper read the illustrated story on a large screen while a couple of students joyously acted out the scenes.

To learn more about Ms. Cooper, please visit:

Author Dashka Slater Speaks At Hamlin

On Monday, author Dashka Slater spent the day and evening speaking with parents, faculty members, and students. All faculty members and Grade 8 students recently read her thought-provoking book, The 57 Bus.

The 57 Bus is a: riveting nonfiction book for teens about race, class, gender, crime, punishment, and tells the true story of an agender teen who was set on fire by another teen while riding a bus in Oakland, California.

Best-selling author Dashka Slater has been telling stories since she could talk. An award-winning journalist who writes for such publications as The New York Times Magazine and Mother Jones, she is also the author of nine books of fiction and non-fiction for children and adults.

Her New York Times bestselling true crime narrative, The 57 Bus has received numerous accolades, including the 2018 Stonewall Book Award from the American Library Association and the 2018 Beatty Award from the California Library Association. It was a YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award Finalist, an LA Times Book Award Finalist, and the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Young Adult Book of the Year, in addition to receiving four starred reviews and being named to more than 18 separate lists of the year’s best books, including ones compiled by the Washington Post, the New York Public Library, and School Library Journal.

Highlights of her visit included:

-A small group of Grade 8 students had lunch with Ms. Slater and were able to ask in-depth questions about: the writing process, interviewing people for the story, being unbiased as a writer, specific content choices, many other aspects about the book.

-With the Grade 8 students, Ms. Slater often created a back and forth discussion, engaging with our girls, as they shared their viewpoints on how the book was written.

-Ms. Slater led a conversation about the power of restorative justice with Hamlin faculty members.

-Ms. Slater explained how she sought to tell the “whole story,” for both the victim and the perpetrator, asking the reader to hold both stories at once.

-Ms. Slater cited that 1 and 250 people are transgender, about 1 million Americans, adding that 77% of transgender youth have been harassed at school.

-Ms. Slater cited that between 2003 and 2013, African American juveniles were more than 4 times as likely to be incarcerated as white juveniles for the same crime.

-Ms. Slater shared that she was surprised and heartened by the level of compassion that the two families (victim and perpetrator) showed each other throughout the book-writing process.

To learn more about Dashka Slater and her book, please visit:

Author Katherine Rundell Speaks At Hamlin

On Tuesday, Katherine Rundell dazzled students in Grades 3-5 with an eclectic presentation that stirred the imagination of everyone in the room.

Katherine Rundell is the author of RooftoppersCartwheeling in Thunderstorms (a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winner), The Wolf Wilder, and The Explorer. She grew up in Zimbabwe, Brussels, and London, and is currently a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. She begins each day with a cartwheel and believes that reading is almost exactly the same as cartwheeling: it turns the world upside down and leaves you breathless. In her spare time, she enjoys walking on tightropes and trespassing on the rooftops of Oxford colleges.

Highlights included Ms. Rundell:

-Describing swimming next to pink dolphins in the Amazon River

-Sharing the importance of including detailed descriptions of food when writing books

-Describing the taste of a tarantula as a mix of burnt hair and dirt

-Describing the way a wolf smells and breathes

A couple of Katherine Rundell quotes:

“Don’t let me people tell you that your stories are too unlikely.”

“A good book makes the world disappear, if you keep looking you will meet that book!”

To learn more about Ms. Rundell and her books, please visit:

Author David Shannon Visits Hamlin

On Wednesday we welcomed acclaimed author and illustrator, David Shannon. He spoke with our girls about where ideas come from, did some of his beloved drawings, and answered student questions. Mr. Shannon also read his newest book, Mr. Nogginbody Gets a Hammer.

David Shannon was born in Washington, D.C, in 1959. He grew up in Spokane, WA. David liked to draw as soon as he could hold a crayon. He went to Hutton Elementary school where his teachers soon realized that if they let David draw murals it would keep him from disrupting class and their classroom would have some pretty good art on the walls, too. David eventually graduated from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena where he majored in Illustration. In He sold his pickup truck and moved to New York City in 1983 to start a career in editorial illustration. David’s work appeared in many magazines and newspapers, including Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times, as well as numerous book jackets and posters. In 1988 he illustrated his first children’s book, How Many Spots Does a Leopard Have?, by Julius Lester. (Btw, Leopards have two spots – dark ones and light ones.) After illustrating several books by other authors, David was encouraged to try writing his own stories. His first book was How Georgie Radbourn Saved Baseball, which was named a New York Times Best-illustrated book in 1994. In 1999 the semi-autobiographical story, No, David!, received a Caldecott Honor. David has written and/ or illustrated over 35 books for children. He lives in Los Angeles with his Wife, Heidi and his daughter, Emma.

To learn more, please visit:

Author of “Mastering Civility” Speaks At Hamlin

On Monday, Wanda M. Holland Greene welcomed Dr. Christine Porath, who spoke with faculty members about her book, Mastering Civility: A Manifesto For The Workplace. Our faculty read the book over the summer, so this was the perfect way to start 2019 with a focus on this year’s theme, What You Do Matters.

Christine Porath is Associate Professor of Management at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. Dr. Porath travels the world working with leading organizations such as Google and the International Monetary Fund to help them solve the vexing problem of incivility.

Dr. Porath shared the following insights (among others):

-People who are treated poorly in the workplace are much more likely to: decrease their effort, not work as much, and quit.

-Those who experience incivility perform worse than those who are treated with respect.

-Even people who witness incivility are impacted and perform worse at their jobs.

-Rudeness/incivility is on the rise.

-Stress is the #1 reason why people say they are rude to others.

-Doing the little positive things makes a difference in the workplace. These include: smiling, saying hello, listening attentively, sharing credit, thanking people publicly and with written correspondence. These actions can create waves of positivity that can continue throughout the day and improve an organization holistically.

-People judge you first on the warmth of your personality.

-Studies have shown that civil people have a higher social status and a larger/broader human network.

To assess your own civility in the workplace and learn more about Dr. Porath’s work, please visit:




Author Gennifer Choldenko Visits Hamlin

On Tuesday, The Hamlin School welcomed acclaimed children’s author Gennifer Choldenko.

Ms. Choldenko is best known for her Tales from Alcatraz series, which has sold more than 2 million copies. Book #1: Al Capone Does My Shirts was a Newbery Honor Book and the recipient of twenty other awards. Book #4: Al Capone Throws Me a Curve is due out in 2018. BookPage said of her most recent novel, Chasing Secrets: “Choldenko’s ability to research obscure yet intriguing topics is uncanny, and as she did with the popular Al Capone trilogy she turns a tough topic into a high interest read … a compelling work of historical fiction.” Gennifer lives with her loyal husband and naughty dog in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Ms. Choldenko shared her passion for writing historical fiction. After facing several years of having books rejected by publishers, she came up with the idea of writing about kids who lived on Alcatraz. She spoke about the importance of doing extensive research to really learn about a subject. She interviewed former guards, their children, and even former prisoners, to acquire detailed information. During her entertaining presentation she covered a wide range of Alcatraz-related topics ranging from how much money Al Capone spent on silk underwear, to the special rules of convict baseball.

Ms. Choldenko also shared her four favorite writing tips with our girls. They are:

1. Fill your head with information (research and learn as much as you can before writing)

2. Write your ideas down (even if they come at strange times)

3. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes (they happen)

4. Give yourself a new chance every day


Drew Daywalt and Scott Campbell Visit Hamlin

On Tuesday, Drew Daywalt and Scott Campbell spoke with lower school students.

Drew Daywalt is an award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling children’s author whose books include The Day the Crayons Quit, The Day the Crayons Came Home, and The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors.

Scott Campbell creates paintings, illustrations, comics, kid’s books and video games. He has published numerous comics and created paintings that have appeared in galleries and publications around the world.

Mr. Daywalt and Mr. Campbell shared a humor-filled presentation and talked about their creative process. When developing the character Sleepy (from Sleepy, the Goodnight Buddy), the two spoke on the phone, discussing various ideas for the illustration. Mr. Campbell then sketched 40-50 different versions of Sleepy before coming up with the final depiction. On the writing side, Mr. Daywalt spent a month editing the story until he was very happy with the narrative. Mr. Daywalt also shared that the main character in Sleepy was modeled after his 9-year old son.

The two men read Sleepy to the girls and demonstrated how to do a couple of drawings from the book. The assembly was a tremendous hit, our students were cheering and very excited to get a behind the scenes look at how books are created.

To learn more about Mr. Daywalt and Mr. Campbell, please visit: and