Kelly Starling Lyons shares her journey to become an author with students during last year’s Authors in April.

Kelly Starling Lyons shares her journey to become an author with students during last year’s Authors in April.

Photo provided by Authors in April

Acclaimed authors to visit Rochester for Authors in April

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published April 17, 2024


ROCHESTER — Four authors and illustrators will come to town this month for the Authors in April program.

The public is invited to kick off this year’s program by participating in a free community scavenger hunt April 20-27 in downtown Rochester. The scavenger hunt sheets — which are available at or by scanning the QR codes at participating businesses — will lead people to various businesses downtown, where they will find an Author’s In April book. Families will then “collect’ letters highlighted on the books and unscramble them to decode a secret message that will lead to the final stop. Organizers said clues don’t have to be collected in any particular order, or even on the same day. Upon completion of the hunt, kids will be given a prize.

“We have 30 businesses participating, and all the clues will be Authors In April books from the past 41 years,” Authors in April board President Jenny DeCuir said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The Authors in April Board selects the authors to participate in the program each year.

This year’s authors will come to town April 29-May 3 to visit schools, give presentations to students and sign books. Author Mika Song will visit kindergarten and first grade students, Kevin Sherry will meet with second and third grade students, Jessica Khoury will visit fourth and fifth grade students, and Steve Sheinkin will meet with middle school students in Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township. This year, local high school students have the opportunity to meet Khoury and Sheinkin during a “Career Cafe” at their schools.

“We really love to see when an author connects with a student — whether it’s an illustration, a book or what they say about their career,” DeCuir said.

To help subsidize program costs, there is an online auction April 23-29 and a banquet April 29 at The Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township, which the authors will attend. Adults and students in ninth grade and above can purchase tickets to the banquet in three levels — $55 for general admission, $75 with their name in the program, or $100 with their name in the program and seating at an author table. For more ticket information, visit

“It’s a great opportunity for people in the community to come and hear the authors,” said Jamie Rawcliffe, an Authors in April board member. “Coming to the banquet or participating in the auction helps us to continue this program and supports us continuing to bring kids and authors and illustrators together.”

There will be an Authors in April Autograph Party 4-6 p.m. May 1 at the Rochester Hills Public Library for the public to meet the authors, purchase books on-site and have books autographed. The autograph party is free, and registration is not needed.

Founded in 1984 by a small group of local community leaders, Authors in April Inc. coordinates the Rochester-area Authors in April program — which is now a yearlong effort on the part of Rochester Community Schools,  private school parents and educators, and the Rochester Hills Public Library to bring highly regarded children’s authors to the community’s elementary and middle school students.

In the early years, three authors were invited to visit elementary school students over a period of three days. The program has since expanded to include middle schools, the authors’ stay was lengthened to five days, and just last year, the authors were also invited to connect with local high school students.

“It is a fabulous opportunity for students to get to meet the people behind the books,” said Rawcliffe. “They read books all the time, they listen to books in class, but to see that these are the people who created these things and learn how they got involved (is special). So often they share stories about how they started writing stories when they were kids, and they realized this was something they could do as a career.”

Organizers say the Rochester-based Authors in April program is now the only one of its size and scope in the country.

“This is a unique program to Rochester. I don’t think a lot of people realize that we’re a local group and we’re only doing this here. … We’re bringing these people in to spend a whole week here meeting with our students,” Rawcliffe said.

The goal, according to DeCuir, is to promote literacy by encouraging students to become lifelong readers, improve their own creative writing ability, and develop greater appreciation, understanding and discernment for quality literature and art.

“It’s our way to give back to the community,” she said.

To learn more about Authors in April, visit