About Us

Founded by Rosanne Kurstedt, Ph.D., an educator and children’s book author, The Author Experience married two of her passions—education and children’s books. The idea for The Author Experience evolved when a confluence of events occurred. 

  • Rosanne was working with schools in East Harlem. 
  • Rosanne was working with authors to plan author visits.
  • A high schooler told Rosanne that he was really impacted by an author visit when he was in elementary school.

Rosanne wanted the students she worked with to reap the benefits of author visits too. She shared the idea with teachers and administrators in the schools in which she worked. They were super excited, but thought , why only do it for our school? This would be great for so many kids. And The Author Experience was born. 

When conceptualizing The Author Experience Rosanne leaned on her knowledge of literacy development. Research continually demonstrates the importance of the home-school connection, sharing stories, and book ownership in the development of children’s literacy skills. Rosanne made it a point to include those aspects within The Author Experience. Research also notes the importance of tradition. The 3-5 year partnership was established to support schools in their efforts to create a community of readers and writers and a school culture that celebrates sharing stories and the written word.

AE partners with schools that have at least 80% of their student population receiving free or reduced lunch. Partnership for schools is free but Title 1 funding can be used to support the partnership.

Mission/Key Principles

MISSION

The Author Experience partners with schools working with students facing socioeconomic challenges to build and sustain a culture of literacy—one that inspires a lifelong love and connection to the written word.
We do this by:
  1. connecting students with authors,
  2. supporting book ownership,
  3. sharing the power of stories, and
  4. engaging families.
The Author Experience organizes and funds in-school author visits that culminate with each child going home with a bagful of books, a writer’s notebook, and an enthusiasm to share their story.

KEY PRINCIPLES
  • All children deserve access to quality books.
  • Supporting young children’s appreciation of story and the written word is transformative.
  • Reading and writing can be joyful experiences especially when they are shared.
  • Everyone has a story to tell.
  • Engaging families is paramount to students’ literacy development.
AE partners with schools that have at least 80% of their student population receiving free or reduced lunch. Partnership for schools is free but Title 1 funding can be used to support the partnership.

Our Team

ROSANNE L. KURSTEDT, PH.D.
Founder and President

Rosanne has been an educator for over 20 years —first as a classroom teacher in NYC and then as a staff developer. She moved to Hong Kong with her family where she helped start an international school. After returning to the United States, she received her Doctorate from Fordham University in Language, Literacy, and Learning. She currently is an Adjunct Professor at Hunter College, writes for educational publishing companies, is the Associate Director of READ East Harlem, and writes children's books.

SUDIPTA BARDHAN-QUALLEN
Vice President

Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen is an award-winning children’s book author whose books include Duck Duck Moose (a CBC Children’s Choice Award Finalist), Tyrannosaurus Wrecks (a Junior Library Guild Selection), Brobot Bedtime, and Chicks Run Wild. She frequently speaks about the craft of writing at schools and conferences all around the world. She lives in Princeton, NJ with her husband, three children, and an imaginary pony named Penny. You can learn more about her and her books on her website sudipta.com. Follow her on Twitter @SudiptaBQ.

LIZA FLEISSIG
Board Member

Liza Fleissig is the co-founder of Liza Royce Agency (LRA), a cross-platform company that provides development, representation and strategic career management for clients in all media, from the most established to those developing their craft. Working on everything from picture book through adult literature, both fiction and non-fiction, Liza brings over 20 years of negotiating experience to the field. This background, along with connections rooted in publishing, movies and television, allows her to build on a mostly referral based clientele.

Liza is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees for a NYC based private preschool on the Upper East Side.

JULIE SEGAL-WALTERS
Secretary

Julie Segal Walters is a children’s book writer and the author of This is Not a Normal Animal Book. Before becoming a writer, Julie was the president and founder of Civic Action Strategies, a grassroots organizing and democracy development consulting firm. She worked in Kosovo, where she directed citizen engagement programs for U.S.. Julie is a lawyer and former Congressional lobbyist for civil rights and civil liberties. She is fluent in Spanish, has appeared as a commentator on Court TV, C-Span, NPR, and Univision, and taught courses at American University in lobbying and public policy advocacy. She is deeply committed to fostering literacy and social justice, and can usually be found advocating for her many favorite children’s books to anyone who will listen.

JENNY TUTEN, PH.D.
Board Member

Dr. Jennifer Tuten is Associate Professor, Literacy Education, at Hunter College--The City University of New York. For five years she served as Chair, Department of Curriculum and Teaching, one of the largest departments in the college. In addition she was appointed Acting Dean for The School of Education, 2015-2016. Currently she directs READ East Harlem/Hunter College, a collaborative, grant-funded professional development project uniting university literacy faculty with K-2 teachers and school leaders to support literacy teaching and learning. She teaches courses in literacy development and assessment, children’s literature and family/community partnerships. Her scholarship is practitioner-focused, closely aligned with the challenges and opportunities facing teachers as they strive to meet the needs of diverse literacy learners in urban schools. She has authored several books such as Teaching and learning in the (dis)comfort zone: A guide for new teachers and literacy coaches and the forthcoming Crossing literacy bridges: Collaborating with families of struggling readers. Prior to coming to Hunter College School of Education, she taught elementary and middle school in New York City, Hoboken, NJ, and London, UK.

Participating Partners

Coming Soon
Why Sharing Stories and Celebrating the Written Word Matter