Author Bios

Alex Stephenson

Alex Stephenson is a licensed professional counselor, author, and artist. He has served as a therapist for the Cherokee Nation since 2014.  Alex has written and illustrated books on friendship, acceptance, anxiety, and treating others compassionately, with the goal of helping children and parents discuss difficult topics in a comfortable way.

The First Fire is the third Cherokee children’s book that Alex has collaborated on with his coauthor and longtime friend, Brad Wagnon.

Alfreda Beartrack-Algeo

Alfreda Beartrack-Algeo is a storyteller and poet as well as an artist and illustrator. She is a member of the Lower Brule Lakota Nation, Kul Wicasa Oyate, Lower Brule, South Dakota, where she grew up surrounded by her tiyóspaye, her circle of family and friends. Alfreda uses various art forms as a means to tell her stories. Alfreda says, “It is a very sensitive and beautiful experience to be a storyteller. There is a story in everything I create, from the smallest rock to the mightiest mountain.

Brad Wagnon

Brad Wagnon is a lifelong resident of the Gideon Community and an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He is a graduate of Tahlequah High School and Northeastern State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Native American Studies. Brad taught Cherokee History, Culture and Language at Tahlequah High School for 10 years and has worked for Cherokee Nation Community and Cultural Outreach since June 2015. Brad’s position as Community Outreach Coordinator put him in contact with Cherokee citizens all over the United States.