About Our Authors


Auerbacher, Inge

Inge Auerbacher was born in Kippenheim, Germany, and she is a child survivor of the Terezin concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. She studied chemistry at Queens College of the City University of New York and worked for many years as a chemist in research and clinical work. She has received numerous awards for her writing and her work in promoting tolerance and human rights and has appeared many times on TV and radio, both in the U.S. and in Germany. She is the author of Beyond the Yellow Star to America, and Running Against the Wind.

Ault, Jennifer

Jennifer Ault has spent her career working in the field of giftedness. As an editor, she has worked on the books of some of the most eminent figures in gifted education, parenting, advocacy, and curricula, and her depth and breadth of knowledge of what it truly means to be gifted runs deep. She has a B.A. in English from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Jen is the principal editor for Royal Fireworks Press and has worked on many of the company’s books, including all of the books by Michael Clay Thompson. She is also the author of The Essential Guidebook for Parents of Gifted Children and My Twice-Exceptional Murphy.


Baum, Susan

Susan Baum

Susan Baum, Ph.D., is co-director of the International Center for Talent Development and director of the National Institute for 2E Research and Development at Bridges Academy. Professor Emeritus from The College of New Rochelle and an international consultant, Susan is published in numerous books, chapters, and articles in the areas of twice-exceptional students, primary-age gifted students, social and emotional factors affecting gifted students, and multiple intelligences. She served on the Board of Directors of the National Association for Gifted Children and is a past president and co-founder of the Association for the Education of Gifted Underachieving Students (AEGUS). She is a recipient of the Weinfeld Group’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in educating twice-exceptional children. She is a co-author of the book Creativity 1, 2, 3.

Bensen, Vidabeth

Vidabeth Bensen studied art in graduate school at Brooklyn College and later taught high school art in Brooklyn and on Long Island, New York. She spent more than two decades living overseas, including in Okinawa and in Morocco, where she worked at the American Embassy in Rabat as a graphic artist. In Germany she worked as an illustrator for the Giessen Military Community. She went back to teaching high school art in an American high school near Tokyo and then taught an elementary art program for gifted students in Seoul, Korea. After returning to the United States, she became an artist in residence for the Durham, North Carolina, schools, a position she held for eight years. She currently runs a screen printing class at Confratute, a world-wide conference in gifted education at the University of Connecticut every summer, and she continues to create original prints, cards, t-shirts, and hand-printed calendars using screen printing. She is the author of A Simple Guide to Screen Printing.

Birchak, Stephen

Stephen Birchak, Ph.D., (affectionately known as “Dr. Bird”) is a widely-known authority and speaker in the field of positive psychology who spent forty years in higher education. Educated at Adams State College in Colorado (M.A.) and the University of Northern Colorado (B.A. and Ed.D.), Dr. Birchak worked at Colorado University, Colorado Northwestern Community College, the University of Northern Colorado, and the University of Maine at Machias and was a professor of clinical mental health counseling for twenty-six years at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York. More than half a million people nationwide have attended his presentations and workshops at school districts and conferences. Dr. Birchak presents a solution-focused philosophy that asks parents, schools, and communities to work together to create peaceful environments. He also emphasizes how we can use positive psychology to strive to make better versions of ourselves every day. He has been honored with the New York State Champion of Character Award and the Friend of Education award by The School Administrators’ Association of New York. His highly influential books include How to Build a Child’s Character by Tapping into Your Own, The Jerk Whisperer, It’s Not a Crisis; It’s an Inconvenience!, and the children’s book The Bird and the Bear.

Black, Robert

Robert Black grew up in Indianapolis, where his parents were both high school math teachers. He attended Park Tudor School in Indianapolis (where his parents taught) from kindergarten through high school. He graduated from Vanderbilt University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and mathematics. He has been writing for children since the mid-1980s, when he worked on the Nickelodeon TV series You Can’t Do That on Television. He currently works as quality systems manager in California. He is the author of the math fiction book series Mathematical Nights, as well as a series of biographies about eminent mathematicians throughout history called Mathematical Lives. In addition, he is also the author of the historical novels Liberty Girl, Unswept Graves, and The Eyes of the Enemy.

Briggs, Susan

Susan Briggs studied politics, philosophy, and economics at Oxford University. She has written two social history books about Britain, one of which is a history of the BBC until the outbreak of World War II. Lady Briggs is also the co-author with her husband Asa, Lord Briggs of Lewes, of a history of the first twenty years of Punch Magazine. She is the author of The 幸运彩票中奖分析软件 Front War Years in Britain, 1939–1945, a collection of hundreds of ephemera from World War II.

Briggs, Asa

Asa Briggs, Lord Briggs of Lewes, (1921-2016) was a renowned historian. He is the author of a trilogy of books about the social history in the Victorian era in England.

Butler, W. Barkley

W. Barkley Butler is a biologist and Professor Emeritus at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Prior to that he was head of the Biochemistry Laboratory of the Michigan Cancer Foundation. He has had a lifelong fascination with nature and science, and especially with ants, the study of which he believes provides children with the ideal introduction to the scientific method. He is the author of Amazing Ants: Simple Sidewalk Science.


Champion, Barbara

Barbara Champion has a degree in interpreting and has been working with special needs children since 1999, both through her work and with her own family. Her students include those who are deaf/hard of hearing, nonverbal, autistic, and those with special needs such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and others. She is the author of the Hand Talk series of books for children, which are designed to teach them sign language.

Chris, Jerry

Jerry Chris, Ed.D., taught English, humanities, and Theory of Knowledge in Southern California for forty years. Throughout his career, he specialized in the extremes of the student ability spectrum—the gifted and talented, as well as reluctant and disadvantaged learners. He served as International Baccalaureate Coordinator at Mission Viejo High School from 1985 until 2008. In 1991 he became the first president of the California International Baccalaureate Organization (CIBO), the prototype for all the sub-regional groups in I.B. In 1998 he co-authored a senate bill that provided funds for teacher training within the California I.B. organization. He also served as an I.B. site visitor, evaluating I.B. school applicants; a Theory of Knowledge workshop leader, training both new and experienced TOK teachers; a TOK examiner; a school exam inspector; and an applicant school consultant. Dr. Chris has presented workshops on a variety of topics—including Socratic seminars, brain-compatible learning, differentiation, and critical thinking—at teacher training institutes and schools throughout North America, including the University of Southern California and Harvard University.

Among Dr. Chris’s many awards are three-time Mission Viejo High Teacher of the Year, California – Orange Region (GATE) Teacher of the Year, Disney Creative Challenge County Teacher of the Year, and the Crystal Apple from NBC. At the 2004 annual California Gifted Conference, he was given the Award of Recognition for a career of dedication to gifted education. He is the author of Classical Ethics in the Modern Classroom, A Beginner’s Guide to the Socratic Seminar, 30 Ways to Bring Philosophy into Every Classroom, 60 Ways to Assure Success for Your Gifted Children, Brain Launch and Other Perfectly Awesome Stories, Dreamers Who Can, and Double Vision.

Claassens-Hopstaken, Saskia

Saskia Claassens-Hopstaken is a life coach, trainer, and author in The Netherlands, where she writes books that aim to teach young gifted children strategies for coping with their overexcitabilities and intensities. She is the author of The Intenso Family Goes to a New School.

Crawford, Brian

Brian Crawford is a teacher who has taught students at all levels from sixth grade to college undergraduate. He received his undergraduate degree in French and German from the University of Georgia. He spent a year studying at the Université Jean-Moulin Lyon III in Lyon, France, and has dual master’s degrees in French literature and modern German culture from Indiana University. While an undergraduate and graduate student, Brian took a deep academic interest in the Holocaust and its impact on literature and film. He is a multilingual humanitarian with extensive experience in Rwanda spearheading education initiatives. He is the author of The Weaver’s Scar: For Our Rwanda.


de la Garza, Phyllis

Phyllis de la Garza is an award-winning author of more than a dozen published books, both fiction and nonfiction, about the Old West. She is a book reviewer for True West and Chronicle of the Old West, she has been a member of both Western Writers and Mystery Writers of America, and she has been a SPUR Award finalist. She is the author of the historical fiction novels Charissa of the Overland and Camels West, as well as a collection of biographical stories entitled Silk and Sagebrush: Women of the Old West.

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