top of page


The Rabbit hOle was founded in 2015 by Pete Cowdin and Debbie Pettid, longtime artists and operators of the Reading Reptile, one of America’s most beloved children’s bookstores for nearly 30 years. 


Because of their reputation as innovators and their vast network of relationships throughout the publishing industry, The Rabbit hOle enjoys the support of hundreds of award-winning authors and illustrators from around the country, giving it unprecedented access to the licensed content and properties that will populate its exhibitions. In addition, Cowdin and Pettid bring with them an extensive and fiercely loyal following within Kansas City’s educational community.


comprised of some of the most influential authors and illustrators in the country  

Brian Selznick

Caldecott Medal winner and creator of The Invention of Hugo Cabret, adapted into Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning Hugo; Wonderstruck, also adapted into a film by Todd Haynes; and The Marvels. Selznick also illustrated The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins, a Caldecott Honor book.

Shane Evans

Illustrator of more than thirty picture books for children, including Chocolate Me! with Taye Diggs and The Way a Door Closes by Hope Anita Smith, a John Steptoe Award winner. He is the author and illustrator of Olu's Dream and Underground, a Coretta Scott King award winner.

Kate DiCamillo

Newbery Medal winning author of Flora & Ulysses  and The Tale of Despereaux and the recipient of a Newbery Honor for Because of Winn-Dixie. She also served as our third National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature 2014/2015. 

Linda Sue Park

Writer of both novels and picture books for young readers, including A Single Shard, the Newbery Medal winner, and the New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water. Her most recent titles are the Wing & Claw series, and Yaks Yak. She serves on the Board of Advisors for SCBWI and We Need Diverse Books. 

Daniel Handler

Writing as Lemony Snicket, he is responsible for numerous books for children, including A Series of Unfortunate Events which has been adapted into a film and a Netflix series. His first play, Imaginary Comforts, or The Story of the Ghost of the Dead Rabbit, was produced last fall at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. He is the winner of the gold medal.

Lisa Campbell Ernst

Celebrated Kansas City writer and illustrator of countless picture books, including The Turn-Around, Upside-Down Alphabet Book; Sylvia Jean Drama Queen; Goldilocks Returns;  and Stella Louella's Runaway Book. Her art is featured in the Children's Room at the Downtown Central Branch.


Dr. Michelle Martin

 Beverly Cleary Endowed Professor for Children and Youth Services in the Information School at the University of Washington. She is a renowned author, essayist, lecturer, book critic, and champion of diversity in children’s literature. Author of Brown Gold: Milestones of African-American Children’s Picture Books, 1845-2002.


Leonard Marcus

Author of more than 20 biographies, histories, interview collections, and inside looks at the making of children’s literature’s enduring classics. He is one of the world’s preeminent authorities on children’s books. He teaches at New York University and the School of Visual Arts.


Kansas City civic leaders and activists
(+ Jon Scieszka)


Marny Sherman

Board member of KC Symphony, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Center for the Visually Impaired, and Cristo Rey

Ambassador Scieszka.jpg

Jon Scieszka

The country’s first National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and author of The Stinky Cheese Man

Peter Sloan

Sr. Principal at HOK; Board member of DTC; KCGD Advisory Board member; Former President of AIAKC; Board member of BSC


Diane Power

Community Activist/Volunteer,

Former Executive Director, Ronald McDonald House Charities

Sonja Shaffer

Co-founder, Kids to the Rescue; Executive Director, University Academy Foundation

billie barnes.png

Billie Howard Barnes

Educator, The Pembroke Hill School; Board member, The Kansas City Public Library

christine fielder.png

Christine Fielder

Board Member The McDonnell Foundation

Community Activist/Volunteer

larry taft.jpg

Larry Taft

Executive Vice President, Director of Retail Operations- Citizens Bank and Trust

ethan whitehill headshot.png

Ethan Whitehill

Chief Marketing Officer and member of the Executive Committee at MERGE; Founder/CEO of Two West 


planning, designing, fundraising, & support

Pete Cowdin

Debbie Pettid

Kelli Harrod


Scott Hobart


Grant Kelso


Nic Kerns

general fabricator

Dylan King

general fabricator


Buchanan Londre

soft goods coordinator

Blake Lowe


Mac McClanahan

metal team lead

Clark Mills

general fabricator

Jordan Strickland Morris
special projects 

Rosie Ralston
welder/metal fabricator

Leigh Rosser 

fabrication/design lead

Greg Shuler

fab shop foreman

Travis Smorstad

lead carpenter

Betsy Thomas

office manager 

Ken Wheatley


Tom Winter

information technology


Bona Bones


Will Burnip


Dennis Butt


Eric Carver


Jordan Dean

sculpture team leader

Jacob Eckhardt

general fabricator

Lee Ernst

creative director

graphic design/branding

Lindsey Foat

content/communications director