Colleen AF
Award Winning Author
Children’s, Middle Grade and Young Adult Graphic Novelist
Travels from: North Adams, MA & New York City

“Venable’s twisty plot swoops gleefully around Manhattan, touching on everything from animal activism to evolving relationships to a secret rescue mission, and combining to tell the story of one of the least boring summers ever.” — BookPage

Colleen AF Venable is the author of indie bestseller Katie the Catsitter graphic novel series with Stephanie Yue (nominated for 14 state awards), as well as the National Book Award Longlisted Kiss Number 8, a graphic novel co-created with Ellen T. Crenshaw. Her other books include The Oboe Goes Boom Boom Boom with Lian Cho, The Swayze Year with Meghan Daly, Mervin the Sloth is About to Do the Best Thing in The World with Ruth Chan, and the Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye series, also with Stephanie Yue. Colleen splits her time between Brooklyn, New York, and an old house in North Adams, Massachusetts that she’s rebuilding with friends. When she’s not writing books, she can be found working at animal rescues, rollerskating, building things, and getting very excited when she spots a frog.

Colleen AF's Featured Titles

Katie the Catsitter #3: Secrets and Sidekicks: (A Graphic Novel)

Random House Graphic |
Graphic Novel

What’s better than BFFs? Super sidekick BFFs! Katie can’t wait to have Beth join her for sidekick training! Until . . . it turns out Beth might be a way better sidekick than Katie! And now Beth and Marie are hanging out all the time, Jess is acting super weird, and Katie still needs to tell her mom about being a sidekick. Oh yeah, and giant robots are attacking the city. So. That’s not great.

Can Katie and 217 super-unusual cats work together to save the city (and seventh grade)? Or is Katie about to be in super trouble? Bonus: includes instructions to make your own friendship bracelet!

Looking for more cats and more fun?! Don’t miss Katie the Catsitter and Katie the Catsitter: Best Friends for Never!

Katie the Catsitter Book 2: Best Friends for Never: (A Graphic Novel)

Random House Graphic |
Middle Grade

Katie loves skating with the Wheelas and the fact that she’s officially a superhero sidekick. But now that school’s starting, everything’s changing. The Mousetress is getting blamed for things Katie knows she didn’t do. Sidekick training is NOT as exciting as she’d hoped. Katie’s best friend Beth is back in town and Beth’s new boyfriend is always hanging around (ugh!). Not to mention that all of Katie’s friends are mad at her. Fixing this will be harder than any skateboarding trick. But with the help of 217 slightly out of the ordinary cats, Katie’s going to try!

Can she clear the Mousestress’s name, uncover the real supervillain, and become the sidekick (and the friend) she’s always dreamed of being?

Don’t miss more Katie the Catsitters—Katie the Catsitter 1 and Katie the Catsitter 3: Secrets and Sidekicks!

The Oboe Goes Boom Boom Boom

Greenwillow Books |

No matter where you are, you can find the perfect instrument and join this band! A winning pick for young readers who adore books by Jory John, Mac Barnett, and Christian Robinson.

The band director knows everything about all the instruments, and he can’t wait to help find the perfect one for you. But an irrepressible young girl keeps interrupting with enthusiastic BOOM BOOM BOOMS on her drum. At least until the band director introduces one instrument that’s even louder.

This laugh-out-loud picture book from National Book Award–longlisted author Colleen AF Venable is packed with boundless energy and giggle-worthy jokes—as well as information about eight instruments commonly played in school bands. Illustrator Lian Cho’s exuberant artwork matches the text note for note and practically leaps off the page.

This joyous picture book will leave young readers eager to pick up an instrument and learn how to play! The Oboe Goes Boom Boom Boom celebrates music and will entertain young readers in the home and classroom alike.

Each child in the band is inspired by a real-life musician, and biographies are included at the end of the book.

Kiss Number 8

First Second |
Young Adult Graphic Novel

A 2019 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature Longlist Selection
A 2019 New York Public Library Best Books for Kids
A 2020 Tayshas Reading List Selection
A 2020 Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List Selection

Mads is pretty happy with her life. She goes to church with her family, and minor league baseball games with her dad. She goofs off with her best friend Cat, and has thus far managed to avoid getting kissed by Adam, the boy next door. It’s everything she hoped high school would be… until all of a sudden, it’s not.

Her dad is hiding something big―so big it could tear her family apart. And that’s just the beginning of her problems: Mads is starting to figure out that she doesn’t want to kiss Adam… because the only person she wants to kiss is Cat.

Kiss Number 8, a graphic novel from writer Colleen AF Venable and illustrator Ellen T. Crenshaw, is a layered, funny, sharp-edged story of teen sexuality and family secrets.


We Love Comics!

Colleen talks about where she grew up, how she broke into comics, and how kids can make their own books, too! The talk includes a reading, complete with many silly voices and sound-effects, plus an interactive non-fiction section focused on history, science, and animal facts connected to the book series. (For instance, with the Katie the Catsitter series, Colleen talks about the history of cats in the world, incredible cat feats, and the science of why cats are so amazing. With her Guinea Pig Pet Shop Detective series, she talks about how crimes have been solved in the past, what animals would make the best detectives, and the history of guinea pigs) The talk can be adjusted to be 30 min, 45 min, or an hour and includes audience participation to keep the kids engaged and a Q&A at the end.


We Love Music!

With the help of her informational picture book, The Oboe Goes Boom Boom Boom, Colleen talks about the science and history of music and brings actual instruments into the classroom—including drums, clarinet, trombone, ukulele, tap shoes, and more. The presentation includes a reading of the book with fun voices and audience participation and live music class. The talk can be adjusted to be 30 min, 45 min, or an hour and includes audience participation to keep the kids engaged and a Q&A at the end.


Hands On Mini-Comics Workshop!

This hands-on workshop will guide kids though character creation, world building, story structure, and will also include a lesson in paper-engineering as kids learn to fold their own mini books with a simple sheet of printer paper. This workshop works better with a smaller group so there is more 1:1 time with Colleen with each child and gives time at the end for kids to present their characters and stories to the rest of the group. This workshop runs 45 min to an hour.


Virtual Book Club Visit

Colleen loves to chat with book clubs virtually to discuss any of her books and answer any kid questions. The book club visits last between 15 min to 30 min and can be for any age from the youngest kids to teens.


We Read Banned Books

Aimed at teens, but can be modified for adults: A history of banned books in America and why it’s so important to fight against censorship. Includes a dramatic reading of Colleen’s often banned book, Kiss Number 8, as well as an overview of LGBTQ+ history. Perfect for LGBTQ+ groups and anyone looking to expand the viewpoint of their students. The talk can be adjusted to be 30 min, 45 min, or an hour and includes audience participation and a Q&A at the end.

Colleen’s Design Link

Info on National Pancake Day!

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Katie the Catsitter Series
(3 published with 3 more planned)
Nominated for 14 State Book Awards
#7 on the PW Bestseller list for June 2023
Numerous weeks on the Indie Bestseller List
PW Best Book
SLJ Best Book

The Oboe Goes Boom Boom Boom illustrated by Lian Cho
SLJ Best Book
Bank Street Best Book
Wisconsin state reading award nominee
Indie Next List
Junior Library Guild Selection

Kiss Number 8 illustrated by Ellen Crenshaw
National Book Award for Young People’s Literature Longlist (only the 5th comic to ever be nominated)
Eisner Nomination
2020 Mosaic Award
Great Graphic Novels for Teens Top 10
Quick Picks for Young Adult Readers Top 10
Prism Award Finalist
NYPL Best Books
Tayshas Reading List
Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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