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WHO WE ARE 

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. 

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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.

NATIONAL ADVISORY COUNCIL

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.

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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.

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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.

GOVERNING BOARD

Kansas City civic leaders and activists
(+ Jon Scieszka)

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Marny Sherman

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

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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

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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

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Billie Howard Barnes

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

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Christine Fielder

Board Member The McDonnell Foundation

Community Activist/Volunteer

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Larry Taft

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

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Ethan Whitehill

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

STAFF

planning, designing, fundraising, & support

Pete Cowdin
founder/co-director

bitterman@rabbitholekc.org 

Debbie Pettid
founder/co-director

deb@rabbitholekc.org 

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Will Burnip
artist fabricator


Jordan Dean
sculpture team leader


Grant Kelso
artist fabricator

Mac McClanahan

metal team lead

Rosie Ralston
welder, metal fabricator

 

Scott Hobart

artist fabricator
 

Kelli Harrod

painter fabricator

 

Dylan King

general fabricator

Dennis Butt

sculptor/fabricator

Donald "Scribe" Ross
creative director exhibits
scribe@rabbitholekc.org

Travis Smorstad

lead carpenter
travis@rabbitholekc.org

Lindsey Foat
content and communications director

lindsey@rabbitholekc.org 

Betsy Thomas
office manager
betsy@rabbitholekc.org 

Kat Townsend

graphic designer
kat@rabbitholekc.org

Leigh Rosser 
fabrication & design lead
leigh@rabbitholekc.org


Greg Shuler
fab shop foreman
greg@rabbitholekc.org

Jordan Strickland Morris

special projects jordan@rabbitholekc.org 
 

Nic Kerns

general fabricator

nic@rabbitholekc.org

Blake Lowe

sculptor/fabricator

Ken Wheatley

sculptor/fabricator

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THE BUILDING

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SUPPORTERS

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NEWSLETTER

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RAB FAB STUDIO

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