Katie
Award Winning Children’s Author
Non-Fiction & Fiction Children’s Writer & Illustrator
Travels from: Cleveland, OH

“A sweeping biography of an influential woman…and Mazeika’s text deftly balances her subject’s varied career. The illustrations have soft edges and strong, textured colors…” — Kirkus Reviews

Katie Mazeika is an award-winning author and illustrator specializing in telling stories based on real people and events. She is passionate about highlighting disabled voices in her work.

Her author/illustrator debut, “Annette Feels Free: The True Story of Annette Kellerman, World-Class Swimmer, Fashion Pioneer, and Real-Life Mermaid,” was a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection, a CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book, a Banks Street Best Book of the Year, 2023, and a Northen Lights Book Award winner. She is also the illustrator of numerous other books, including three books in the Chicken Soup for the Soul: Babies series. Her upcoming books include “Beulah Has a Hunch! Inside the Colorful Mind of Master Inventor Beulah Louise Henry”(2023) about prolific and neurodivergent inventor Beulah Henry, and “Maybe Just Ask Me”(2024), loosely based on Katie’s own childhood experiences as a kid who wore an eyepatch.

As a picture book creator, Katie believes all children should see themselves in books and that neurodiversity and disability should be talked about openly rather than treated as something to be ashamed of.

When she’s not drawing, writing, or visiting schools and libraries, Katie enjoys gardening or reading other people’s books. Katie currently lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

Katie's Featured Titles

Beulah Has a Hunch!: Inside the Colorful Mind of Master Inventor Beulah Louise Henry

Beach Lane Books |
Children’s Biographies

Meet Beulah Louise Henry, a girl with a knack for problem-solving who grew up to be a world-famous inventor, in this captivating picture book biography for fans of Just Like Rube Goldberg and The Girl Who Thought in Pictures.

Growing up in the 1890s, when Beulah Louise Henry spotted a problem, she had to find a solution, turning it around and around in her mind until…aha! She had a hunch—what she called the inventions she came up with to solve the puzzles she saw all around her.

Beulah’s brain worked differently. She had hyperphantasia, which meant she saw things in extreme detail in her mind, as well as synesthesia, which caused words and numbers and even music notes to show up as different colors in her brain. Beulah’s unique way of seeing the world helped her think up vivid solutions to problems—her hunches came to her fully formed with gears whirring and wheels spinning. She invented everything from a new and improved parasol to cuddly stuffed animals and from ice cream makers to factory machinery. Beulah’s inventions improved daily life in lots of ways, earning her the nickname “Lady Edison,” and she became one of the most prolific inventors in American history.

Chicken Soup for the Soul BABIES: Playdate!: (With Bear, Too?)

Charlesbridge |
Children’s

Chicken Soup for the Soul Babies imparts good values through heartwarming and humourous stories to help little ones put their best foot forward.

Bear is bigger and clumsier than Squirrel’s small woodland friends. But when Bear asks to play too, Squirrel refuses to leave him out. Despite a bumpy start, the new friends find an activity they can ALL do together.
This story hones in on a particular aspect of making new friends—being kind to all and not leaving others out.

Sweet and silly, Chicken Soup for the Soul BABIES makes lessons easy and fun for the littlest readers.

Annette Feels Free: The True Story of Annette Kellerman, World-Class Swimmer, Fashion Pioneer, and Real-Life Mermaid

Beach Lane Books |
Children’s

Discover the incredible true story of “The Original Mermaid,” Annette Kellerman, a girl who wanted to dance, swim, and feel free—and who grew into a woman who fought for the right to do just that!

Annette loved to dance and twirl and pirouette. But when she got sick and had to start wearing braces on her legs, Annette stopped dancing. Until, one day, her dad took her swimming. Annette could finally dance again—in the water! She water danced her way to England, where she performed water ballets, attempted daring dives, and competed in swim races. When she competed against men (and won!), she realized it wasn’t fair that women had to swim in full skirts, so she made her own swimsuit, and fought for the right to wear it.

Experience the journey of an independent and determined young woman, who swam, danced, dove, and designed so she could live her life feeling free.

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Grades 2 and up: All About Biographies

Katie will go through the steps of writing and illustrating a picture book biography, starting with research. She’ll go over primary, secondary, and surprise sources using examples from ANNETTE FEELS FREE and BEULAH HAS A HUNCH. Katie will discuss how and where to find facts, how to tell if a source is reliable, and why Wikipedia is NOT a good source. (Katie will even share her secret on how to use Wikipedia the right way.)
Next, Katie will ask “What do we do with the facts?” She’ll share how she turns facts into a full story with a beginning, middle, and satisfying ending. She’ll also discuss how she looks for the individual within those facts and brings their character, personality, and story to life with illustrations. Again, using examples from ANNETTE FEELS FREE and BEULAH HAS A HUNCH.
This is a great presentation for a large group or assembly and can be tailored to accommodate any age above 2nd grade. (45-60 min)

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All ages: The Life of a Picture Book-from idea to the printed page (Can be paired with a reading and Q&A).

Katie will read one or two of her books and discuss how a book gets made and everyone involved. She’ll include a (virtual) peak behind the scenes of her studio space. Katie will share early text drafts, revisions, first sketches, and initial artwork. This presentation emphasizes that even professional writers and artists spend time revising and redrawing to produce what is printed on the page. This presentation would work for a large or small group. (45-60min.)

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PreK-K: Everyone Has Big Emotions! (paired with a reading)

PreK-K: Everyone Has Big Emotions! (paired with a reading)
Katie will read EVERYONE SHARES (EXCEPT CAT) and EVERYONE SAYS PLEASE (EXCEPT CAT). Then the group will talk about all the feelings Cat expresses in both books. Afterward, students spend time drawing their own favorite animal’s big emotions. Great for a smaller group! (30-50min.)

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4th grade and up: Annette and Beulah at the turn of the 20th Century (with book readings and Q & A)

Katie will discuss the lives of Annette Kellerman and Beulah Henry in detail beyond the books. They were born only a year apart and spent parts of their lives in the same city. Katie will compare and contrast how the time period and environment shaped each woman. She will also discuss with the students how each woman responded to their disability.
Lastly, the students will take the facts and add some creativity with a writing prompt: Imagine Annette and Beulah if they were born in the 21st Century. What would they be doing, where would they live, and what would they be like?

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4th grade and up: Windows, Mirrors, and Sliding Glass Doors (book reading and Q&A included)

Katie will start by introducing her favorite books as a young reader. She’ll discuss why these were favorites and talk about her own childhood disability. Katie will introduce to students the concept of books as “Windows, Mirrors, and Sliding Glass Doors.” Then students will list their favorite books and which category they fit into. All students will be invited to share their list and discuss their book picks. This presentation can work for small or large groups.

Annette Feels Free Curriculum Guide

Honors, Awards & Recognition

CBC Notable Social Studies Book
Banks Street Book List, Best Books of the Year 2023
Northern Lights Book Award
JLG Gold Standard Selection

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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