Board of Advisors

Ahrens2013bwKathleen Ahrens is the International Regional Advisor Chairperson (IRAC) and serves on the SCBWI Advisory Board. She overseas all the regions outside of the United States. She is also a Professor in the Department of English at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where she teaches courses in creative writing, literature, and linguistics. She is Vice-President & Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of Humanities, and is a prominent researcher in metaphor theory, exploring aspects of metaphor use in in the political domain. Prior to becoming the IRAC in 2008, she founded and served as Regional Advisor for Taiwan from 2001 to 2008, and concurrently served as the Assistant International Advisor from 2005 to 2008. In addition to her talks and publications on metaphor, she has published numerous articles on creative writing and gives invited talks around the world on creative writing and writing for children. She has served as the Director of the International Writers’ Workshop at HKBU from 2012 to 2017 and as the Programme Director for Hong Kong International Poetry Nights in 2013, and she also has served as a judge for a number of children's literature awards, including the Feng-Zi Kai Picture Book Award. She has published numerous short stories and translations and has two bilingual picture books, Numbers Do and Ears Hear, published with Sun Ya Press.


Kwame AlKwameAlexanderOnSidewalk (1000 x 1504)exander is a poet, educator, and the New York Times Bestselling author of 24 books, including THE CROSSOVER, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American literature for Children, the Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor, The NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, and the Paterson Poetry Prize. Kwame writes for children of all ages. Some of his other works include THE PLAYBOOK: 52 RULES TO HELP YOU AIM, SHOOT, AND SCORE IN THIS GAME OF LIFE; the picture books, ANIMAL ARK, OUT OF WONDER and SURF'S UP; and novels BOOKED, HE SAID SHE SAID, and the forthcoming SOLO. Kwame believes that poetry can change the world, and he uses it to inspire and empower young people through his PAGE TO STAGE Writing and Publishing Program.


halseandersonLaurie Halse Anderson is the New York Times best-selling children’s book author known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity.   Her work has earned numerous American Library Association and state awards. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists. Chains also made the Carnegie Medal shortlist in the United Kingdom. Laurie was the proud recipient of the 2011 Free Speech Defender Award given by the National Coalition Against Censorship and presented to her by her hero, Judy Blume.


bonnie baderBonnie Bader is the former Associate Publisher of Frederick Warne, where she oversaw the Peter Rabbit and Spot publishing programs, as well as the former Editor-in-Chief of Penguin Young Readers/Early Readers. She is currently the SCBWI PAL Advisor.

Barretttracyrt-330Tracy Barrett is the Regional Advisor Coordinator for the United States. She is the author of numerous books for young readers, including the award-winning biographical novel, Anna of Byzantium. Her most recent publications are two young adult novels, Dark of the Moon and King of Ithaka , and the four books in the middle grade series The Sherlock Files. Nonfiction includes The Ancient Greek World and The Ancient Chinese World ). She holds a B.A. with Honors in Classics from Brown University, and an M.A. and PhD in Medieval Italian Literature from the University of California, Berkeley.



judyblumeJudy Blume is perhaps the most popular author ever of works for upper elementary to junior high school readers, Judy Blume is the creator of honest, often humorous stories that focus on the concerns of teenagers. Her books, including those written for both younger and older audiences, have sold over seventy million copies around the world. Judy is also a longtime advocate of intellectual freedom. She has worked tirelessly with the National Coalition Against Censorship to protect the freedom to read. 

peter-brown-1Peter Brown studied Illustration at Art Center College of Design and moved to New York City to pursue a career as an author and illustrator of children's books. Since then he has written and illustrated seven picture books, and illustrated two others. His books have earned numerous honors, including two E.B. White Awards, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award, a Children’s Choice Award for Illustrator of the Year, two Irma Black Honors, five New York Times Bestsellers, and his illustrations for Creepy Carrots, written by Aaron Reynolds, earned Peter a 2013 Caldecott Honor.


priscilla-bio-photo3Priscilla Burris was born and raised in Southern California, and has been an artist from a very early age. Her education experience includes degrees in Fashion Illustration and Early Childhood Education. Priscilla has illustrated numerous books and materials for children, parents and teachers. Her works include Five Green and Speckled Frogs, which she wrote and illustrated, I Love You All Day Long, and Daddy All Day Long , written by Francesca Rusackas.

chris-cheng-hiresChristopher Cheng's most recent publications (created from his dining room table) include the picture books Sounds Spooky (illus. by Sarah Davis, see, Python (illus. by Mark Jackson), and New Year Surprise! (illustrated by Di Wu) and also the libretto for the children’s musical Pa’s Christmas Star. He wrote the storyline for a twenty-six part television animation series and was awarded the Lady Cutler Award for Services to Children’s Literature. He is an Australia Day Ambassador and also for the National Centre for Australian Children's Literature. He dwells with his wife in an inner-city terrace in Sydney Australia. 



Bruce Coville is the author of over a hundred books for children and young adults, including My Teacher is an Alien, Into the Land of the Unicorns, and Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher. His books have appeared in a dozen languages, and have won children's choice awards in numerous states, including twice in California. Bruce is also the founder of Full Cast Audio, an audiobook publishing company devoted to producing full cast, unabridged recordings for family listening.

cummings_photoPat Cummings is the author/illustrator of over thirty-five books for young readers.  She also edited the award-winning series, Talking With Artists, which profiles prominent children's book illustrators. She teaches at Parsons and Pratt, and her children's book illustration class has a growing number of notable illustrator/authors among its graduates.  Pat serves on the boards of the Authors Guild, the Authors League Fund, The Authors Guild Foundation, and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.


Tomie-dePaola3002-copyTomie dePaola (emeritus) has been published for over forty years and has written and/or illustrated nearly two hundred and fifty books, including Strega Nona, 26 Fairmount Avenue, The Art Lesson, and Christmas Remembered and Little Poems for TIny Ears, written by Lin Oliver. Over fifteen million copies of his books have sold worldwide, and his work has been recognized with the Smithson Medal from the Smithsonian Institution, the Kerlan Award from the University of Minnesota for his "singular attainment in children's literature," and the Regina Medal from the Catholic Library Association.

matt_sidbrMatt de la Peña is the author of four critically-acclaimed YA novels—Ball Don't Lie, Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here, and I Will Save You—and the award-winning picture book A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis. This year he released his first middle grade novel, The Living. Matt received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his BA from the University of the Pacific.  He teaches creative writing at NYU and Vermont College and visits high schools and colleges throughout the country.


d3decd49c39e0a7e9d9a9d.L._V134236079_SX200_David Diaz was awarded the 1995 Caldecott Medal for illustrating Eve Bunting’s Smokey Nights, a story about a boy’s point of view of the Los Angeles riots in 1992. He received Pura Belpre Honor Awards for Diego: Bigger Than Life by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, César: ¡Sí, Se Puede! Yes, We Can! By Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, and The Pot That Juan Built by Nancy Andrews-Goebel. Recent books include Sharing the Seasons by Lee Bennett Hopkins, Before You Came by Patricia and Emily MacLaughin, Ocean’s Child  by Christine Ford and Chris Holland, and Me Frida by Amy Novesky.

emmaEmma Dryden Emma D. Dryden is the founder of drydenbks, a premier children’s editorial and publishing consultancy firm. Emma has edited over a thousand books for children and young readers and many of her titles hit bestseller lists in USA Today, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Publishers Weekly. Books published under Emma's guidance have received numerous awards and medals, including but not limited to the Newbery Medal, Newbery Honor, and Caldecott Honor.


jim giblinJim Giblin had two successful careers in children’s books, as an editor and then publisher at Clarion Books and then as an award-winning author.  Twelve of his titles, most recently Charles A. Lindbergh: A Human Hero and When Plague Strikes: The Black Death, Smallpox, AIDS have been named Notable Children's Books by the American Library Association. In 1996 he received the Washington Post–Children's Book Guild Award for Nonfiction for his body of work. Jim passed away in 2016.

hopkinsEllenEllen Hopkins  is a poet and the award-winning author of 20 nonfiction books for children and ten New York Times best-selling young adult novels-in-verse. Her most recent books include her eleventh YA novel, Rumble, and crossover novel, Collateral. Her latest work, The You I've Never Known, released in the Spring of 2017. Ellen lives near Carson City, Nevada with her husband and teenage son, a bottomless well of inspiration for her YA fiction.



Arthur Levine launched Arthur A. Levine Books (an imprint of Scholastic Inc) in 1997. He has introduced North American audiences to the work of great writers such as Markus Zusak,  Francisco Stork, Lisa Yee, Dan Santat, Trent Reedy, and of course, J. K. Rowling.  They also work with illustrators such as Shaun Tan, Richard Egielski, David Small, Komako Sakai, and Axel Scheffler. Arthur is also an author with recent books including Monday is One Day, illustrated by Julian Hector; and A Very Beary Tooth Fairy, illustrated by Sarah Brannen.

photo-4Laurent Linn is Art Director at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers where he collaborates with both noted and new illustrators on picture books, middle-grade, and teen novels. He is also author and illustrator of the critically acclaimed young adult novel, Draw the Line. Additionally, he is Creative Advisor for the annual Original Art exhibit at the Society of Illustrators in New York. Laurent began his career as a puppet designer/builder in Jim Henson's Muppet Workshop, creating characters for productions including the Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island films. With Henson over a decade, he worked primarily on Sesame Street, becoming the Creative Director for the Sesame Street Muppets, winning an Emmy Award.


lsp_72dpi_rgb_200pxLinda Sue Park has written novels, picture books and poetry for young readers, including A Single Shard, winner of the 2002 Newbery Medal, and the New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water. Her most recent title is Xander’s Panda Party, an ALA Notable picture book. Reading used to be her favorite activity, but it is now her second-favorite: Do not ask her about her new grandbaby unless you have time to look at several hundred photos.

SusanPatroncreditSonyaSonesSusan Patron specialized in Children's Services for 35 years at the Los Angeles Public Library before retiring in 2007, the same year The Higher Power of Lucky was awarded the John Newbery Medal. Translated into a dozen languages, the novel is the first in the Hard Pan Trilogy.  Patron and her husband René divide their time between Los Angeles and a cabin in the high desert of the Eastern Sierras. 


360w_pinkney_headshotJerry Pinkney has illustrated over one hundred titles and has been the recipient of five Caldecott Honor Medals, a Caldecott Medal, and five the New York Times "Best Illustrated Books." He has received five Coretta Scott King Awards, and four Coretta Scott King Honor Awards. He has received numerous awards for a body of work. The Society of Illustrators in New York, NY has presented Jerry with four gold medals, four silver medals, the Hamilton King Award, and in 2006 their Original Arts Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2011, he was elected into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame.

Ruta_E._SepetysRuta Sepetys was born and raised in Michigan in a family of artists, readers, and music lovers. Her award-winning debut novel, Between Shades of Gray was inspired by her family's history in Lithuania and is published in 40 countries. Her new novel, Salt to the Sea released in fall 2016 and was named the 2016 Golden Kite winner for Fiction. Ruta lives with her family in Tennessee.


Melissa StewartMelissa Stewart is the award-winning author of more than one hundred and fifty nonfiction books for children, including Feathers: Not Just for FlyingNo Monkeys, No ChocolateUnder the Snow; A Place for Butterflies; and Animal Grossapedia. Melissa also maintains the blog Celebrate Science.

LisaYeePicLisa Yee's debut novel, Millicent Min, Girl Genius, won the first Sid Fleischman Humor Award in 2004. Since then, she has written ten more novels including Stanford Wong Flunks Big-TimeAbsolutely Maybe, and Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally), plus books for American Girl. Lisa’s lastest YA novel is The Kidney Hypothetical . . . Or How to Ruin Your Life in Seven Days.


d51921c1adfd0ad8956e39.L._V391256903_SX200_Jane Yolen, often called "the Hans Christian Andersen of America," is the author of over three hundred and fifty books, including Owl MoonThe Devil's Arithmetic, and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? Her books and stories have won an assortment of awards—two Nebulas, a World Fantasy Award, a Caldecott, the Golden Kite Award, three Mythopoeic awards, two Christopher Medals, a nomination for the National Book Award, and the Jewish Book Award, among others. Six colleges and universities have given her honorary doctorates. 

CeciliaYungCecilia Yung is executive art director and vice president at Penguin Books for Young Readers where she oversees illustration and design for two imprints, G. P. Putnam's Sons and Nancy Paulsen Books. She is fortunate to have worked with some of the major illustrators of children’s books, but the highlight of her work is to discover and develop new talent. She is on the Board of Advisors of SCBWI, as well as a member of its Illustrators’ Committee.



zachCheryl Zach has published around 50 books with publishers such as Bradbury, MacMillian, Avon, Bantam, Berkley and more, mainly for young adults and middle grades, some titles for adults. A military brat, Cheryl changed schools ten times in twelve years. She has lived in southern CA, TN, TX, KY, on the Gulf Coast of MS, GA, Germany, and Great Britain. She has visited most of the other states and several other countries, and does speaking engagements all across the country.

Paul-O.-Zelinsky-headshot-Photo-Credit-Susan-KuklinPaul O. Zelinsky is the illustrator of Anne Isaac's Dust Devil and creator of the now-classic interactive book called The Wheels on the Bus. His retelling of Rapunzel was awarded the 1998 Caldecott Medal. RumpelstitlskinHansel and Gretel and Swamp Angel with different authors all garnered Paul a Caldecott Honor.



board of advisors