Achieving dreams is always possible—even big dreams, like becoming a first-time college graduate and starting two new careers at an age when most people think about slowing down. In 2009, Kathy Peach uprooted her life and moved from her home of 52 years in Middle Tennessee to Chandler, Arizona, with her husband, Bobby. She pursued her life-long dreams of earning a college degree and publishing a children's book.

Kathy Smith was born in Nashville, Tennessee. She attended a small elementary school in Williamson County where reading and writing stories were a favorite pastime. After graduating Franklin High School, she met her husband, Bobby Peach. They were graced with two daughters, Tiffany and Amanda, and later four grandchildren. After successful careers in banking and project management, Kathy knew it was time to follow her vision and attend college. She moved to Arizona to be near daughter Amanda, and enrolled in Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Since then, the adventures have not stopped.

It was during the community college experience that three life-changing events happened: attending a children's literature class, attending a psychology 101 class and an invitation to enroll in Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University. Peach grew up writing stories and hoped that one day she could be a published author. It was during the children's literature class where she was introduced to a method of writing quality children's literature whereby children could believe in a life that holds limitless possibilities. As part of the psychology class, Peach learned of theorists such as Albert Bandura whose work in self-efficacy taught that everyone has the capability to achieve. It was through Barrett, The Honors College that the two concepts were united and her first children's picture book, The Tiniest Tumbleweed, was created.

Peach graduated from Arizona State University in December 2014, with a degree in Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education and has begun her new teaching career as a Head Start teacher in Phoenix.



Alex Lopez is a self-taught artist whose career initially developed in the video game industry, where he worked for SEGA, 2K Games and Konami. He has also provided artistic production and management services for Disney Interactive, Dynamite Comics and Stanford University. Lopez is proficient with numerous print, digital and multimedia genres and currently serves as an art director, building and training artistic teams. Residing in the Silicon Valley in California with his wife and identical triplet daughters, Alex has a strong passion for enhancing his skills as an artist; yet his true joy comes from spending time with his wife and children. He is also the illustrator of Gator, Gator, Second Grader (Classroom Pet…Or Not?) by Conrad J. Storad.



Conrad J. Storad is an award-winning author and editor of more than 50 science and nature books for children and young adults, including the “USA Best Book” Rattlesnake Rules, the ONEBOOKAZ for Kids 2012 selection Arizona Way Out West & Witty, and Gator, Gator, Second Grader (Classroom Pet…or Not?). He holds an undergraduate degree in mass media communication from the University of Akron and a master’s degree in mass communication/science journalism from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.