Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

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.


  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 was the Midsouth Regional Advisor for ten years and is now SCBWI’s 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 Marabel and the Book of Fate, Freefall Summer, and The Song of Orpheus: The Greatest Greek Myths You Never Heard. She has been awarded the SCBWI Work-in-Progress Grant and a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. She holds a B.A. with Honors in Classics from Brown University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval Italian Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in Nashville, TN.


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.


PriscillaBurrisPHOTO bwPriscilla Burris is an author/illustrator, passionately serving SCBWI as the US Illustrator Coordinator & Advisor, and Portfolio Showcase Coordinator for the International Conferences, winter and summer.  Priscilla is the illustrator for the Heidi Heckelbeck and Humphrey’s Tiny Tales series. Recent books include Edgar’s Second Word by Audrey Vernick, Maggi and Milo by Juli Brenning, Mom School and Dad School by Rebecca Van Slyke, and Grandma’s Tiny House by JaNay Brown-Wood.


  Dana Carey is an author/illustrator. She has served SCBWI France as Assistant Regional Advisor organizing writer/illustrator retreats, regional conferences, workshops and webinars. She earned a degree in Fine Arts and Graphic Design and later, a teaching certificate. Now she teaches English to adults and university students. Between classes, Dana dedicates as much time as possible to writing and illustrating. She also writes reader reports for international acquisitions for French publishers. Dana interviews illustrators for a monthly blogpost called The Postcard Post for the Sub It Club, a support group for authors and illustrators. Based on a picture book dummy submission, she was accepted by the Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature for attendance at the One-on-One-Plus conference in 2015.


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! (illus. 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.


brucebw2Bruce 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.


  matt_sidbrMatt de la Peña is the New York Times Bestselling, Newbery Medal winning author of six young adult novels (including Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here and The Living) and two picture books (A Nations Hope and Last Stop on Market Street). In 2016 he was awarded the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Award. Matt received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his BA from the University of the Pacific, where he attended school on a full athletic scholarship for basketball. de la Peña currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his family. He teaches creative writing and visits high schools and colleges throughout the country.


emmaEmma D. Dryden is co-author of the award-winning picture book, What Does it Mean To be an Entrepreneur? (Sourcebooks) and founder of drydenbks, a premier children’s editorial and publishing consultancy firm. Emma’s publishing career began at Viking and Random House, and eventually became VP, Publisher of McElderry Books and Atheneum (Simon & Schuster). She’s edited over 1,000 books for children and young readers, many of which have won prestigious awards and appeared on national and international bestseller lists. Under the drydenbks banner she edits children’s books; consults with and coaches authors, illustrators, agents, and foreign publishers; is a creative consultant for children’s eBook, app, and indy publishers; is a writing instructor and workshop speaker; and keeps a blog called “Our Stories, Ourselves” which explores the links between living our lives and creating our art.


  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 in 1997, and is celebrating twenty years as a literary imprint of Scholastic Inc. This imprint introduced North American audiences to the work of great writers such as Markus Zusak, Francisco Stork, Lisa Yee, Dan Santat, and of course, J. K. Rowling, and continues that tradition, proudly publishing books by Emma Donoghue, Daniel Jose Older, Mike Jung, Martha Brockenbrough, Sarah Moon, and Eric Gansworth. About thirty percent of the books the imprint publishes are fully-illustrated, working with a group of artists that include the incomparable Shaun Tan and Kate Beaton, well-known masters such as Richard Egielski, David Small, and Komako Sakai, and talented illustrators at the start of their careers such as Tony Piedra, Caroline Hadilaksono and Jean Kim.  Arthur is also an author whose most recent book is What a Beautiful Morning, illustrated by Katie Kath (whom he met at SCBWI LA!)


  photo-4Laurent Linn, Art Director at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, collaborates on picture books, middle grade, and teen novels with both celebrated and new illustrators such as Tomie dePaola, Vashti Harrison, and Raúl Colón. He is also the author/illustrator of the critically acclaimed young adult novel, Draw the Line, and is the Artistic 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, eventually becoming the Creative Director for the Sesame Street Muppets and winning an Emmy Award.


Meg Medina is an award-winning author who writes picture books, middle grade, and young adult fiction. She has earned the Ezra Jack Keats Award and the Pura Belpré award, and has been a finalist for the Kirkus Prize and the Los Angeles Book Prize. Her titles include Tía Isa Wants a CarYaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, and Burn Baby Burn.  Meg is a founding member of We Need Diverse Books and serves on its advisory board. She is also the co-founder of Girls of Summer, a curated summer reading list and blog. When she is not writing, Meg works on community and national projects that support girls, Latino youth and/or diversity in children’s literature. In March 2014, she was recognized as one of the CNN 10 Visionary Women in America. In 2014, she was named one of Latino Stories Top Ten Latino Authors to Watch.  In 2017, she was listed among Southern Living Magazine’s “Southerners of the Year” for her work to support reading and girls in Richmond, VA.


  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 is an internationally acclaimed author of historical fiction published in over fifty countries and thirty-six languages. She is considered a “crossover” novelist as her books are read by both students and adults worldwide. Ruta is an SCBWI success story and two-time recipient of the Golden Kite Award.  Follow her adventures at
Cynthia Leitich Smith is a New York Times and Publishers Weekly best-selling, multiple award-winning children’s-YA author and writing teacher. Her acclaimed books for teens include the Tantalize series, the Feral trilogy, and Hearts Unbroken (all Candlewick). Her acclaimed books for children include Jingle Dancer, Rain is Not My Indian Name, and Indian Shoes(all HarperChildren’s). She also is well published in short-form writing. Her latest appears in The Hero Next Door(Random House); Thanku Poems of Gratitude(Millbrook); and I Remember: Poems and Pictures of Heritage(Lee & Low). Cynthia is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, a core faculty member on the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts, an honorary advisory board member of We Need Diverse Books and a member of the SCBWI Board of Advisors. In 2014, the Austin SCBWI chapter instituted the Cynthia Leitich Smith Mentor Award.

Melissa StewartMelissa Stewart is the award-winning author of more than 180 science-themed nonfiction books for children, including Can an Aardvark Bark?, illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Steve Jenkins; No Monkeys, No Chocolate, illustrated by Nicole Wong; and the SCBWI Crystal Kite winner Feathers: Not Just for Flying, illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen. She is the co-author, with Nancy Chesley, of Perfect Pairs: Using Fiction & Nonfiction Picture Books to Teach Life Science, K-2 and Perfect Pairs: Using Fiction & Nonfiction Picture Books to Teach Life Science, Grades 3-5. Melissa also maintains the highly-regarded blog Celebrate Science (


LisaYeePicLisa Yee‘s debut, Millicent Min, Girl Genius, won the first Sid Fleischman Humor Award in 2004. Despite her stellar procrastination skills, she’s manage to pen 19 novels for young people include Warp SpeedStanford Wong Flunks Big-Time, the Bobby series, and several American Girl books. Lisa has also helps select and write reviews for NPR’s Best Children’s Books of the Year. The Kidney Hypothetical is Lisa’s latest YA. Her bestselling DC Super Hero Girls series features original novels about Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Katana and others. Lisa credits SCBWI for helping her get her start in publishing. Visit Lisa at

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 creator of the now-classic interactive book, The Wheels on the Bus. His retelling of Rapunzel was awarded the 1998 Caldecott Medal. His Rumpelstitlskin garnered a Caldecott Honor, as did two other picture books he illustrated. He has illustrated numerous popular books for children of different ages, from Beverly Cleary’s Dear Mr. Henshaw to Kelly Bingham’s Z is for Moose, to the Toys series of books with Emily Jenkins.