SCBWI

Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Board of Advisors

Kathleen Ahrens serves as the International Regional Advisor Chairperson for SCBWI. She is a Professor in the Department of English and Director of the Research Centre for Professional Communication in English at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where she teaches creative writing and linguistics. She has two bilingual picture books, Numbers Do and Ears Hear, published with Sun Ya Press. She has served as a final round judge for the Feng-Zi Kai Picture Book Award and Hong Kong Picture Book Award and has been invited to give talks in Europe, Asia and the US on topics relating to language in children’s literature, picture book evaluation, and creative writing. She has also served as the Director of the International Writers’ Workshop (HKBU) and as the Programme Director for International Poetry Nights Hong Kong. She is a Fellow and former President of the Hong Kong Academy of Humanities, Chair of the Association for Researching and Applying Metaphor, member of the International Advisory Board for the Metaphor Lab Amsterdam, and member of the Board of Advisors for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She is represented by Erzsi Deak at Hen & Ink Literary Studio.
Laurie Halse Anderson is a New York Times best-selling author whose writing spans young readers, teens, and adults. Combined, her books have sold more than 8 million copies. Her new book, Shout, a searing memoir-in-verse, has received widespread critical acclaim and appeared on the New York Times best seller list for seven consecutive weeks. Laurie has been nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award three times. She was selected by the American Library Association for the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award and has been honored for her battles for intellectual freedom by the National Coalition Against Censorship and the National Council of Teachers of English. Find out more about Laurie by following her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, or by visiting her website.
Bonnie 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.
Tracy 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.
Judy 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’s love of characters and stories led him to study children’s book writing and illustration at Art Center College of Design. Since graduating from Art Center, Peter has published many books for children which have earned numerous honors, including a Horn Book Award, two E.B. White Awards, a Children’s Choice Illustrator of the Year Award, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book award, and many NY Times Bestsellers. His picture books include The Curious Garden, Children Make Terrible Pets, and Mr. Tiger Goes Wild. Creepy Carrots!, written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter, earned a Caldecott Honor. Peter’s first novel for children, The Wild Robot, was published in 2016, and its sequel, The Wild Robot Escapes, followed in 2018.
Priscilla Burris is an author/illustrator, gratefully serving SCBWI as the US Illustrator Coordinator & Advisor, and Portfolio Showcase Director for the International Conferences, winter and summer.  Priscilla is the illustrator for the Heidi Heckelbeck, Henry Heckelbeck, and the Humphrey’s Tiny Tales series. Recent books include Accordionly: Abuelo and Opa Make Music by Michael Genhart, 1-2-3 My Feelings and Me by Goldie Millar and Lisa Berger, Natsumi! by Susan Lendroth, and Hello School!, which she wrote and illustrated.
Dana Carey is an author/illustrator. She has served SCBWI France as Assistant Regional Advisor organizing webinars, writer/illustrator retreats, regional conferences, and workshops. As International Illustrator Coordinator, she advises SCBWI Illustrator Coordinators in regions outside the US. Dana also assists in the organization of the Portfolio Showcases for the International Winter and Summer Conferences. Each month, Dana interviews illustrators for The Postcard Post for the Sub It Club, a support group for authors and illustrators in the submission process.
Christopher Cheng‘s most recent publications (created from his dining room table) include the picture books One Tree (illus. Bruce Whatley), 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 ambassador for the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature as well as the federal government’s Australia Day Ambassador programme. He dwells with his wife in an inner-city terrace in Sydney Australia. More about Christopher at his website
Lesa Cline-Ransome has written numerous picture book biographies on notable figures such as Frederick Douglass, Helen Keller, Satchel Paige and Louis Armstrong and her books have garnered honors including A Jane Addams Honor, A Christopher Award, an NAACP Image Award, Kirkus Best Book,  A Kids’ Indie Next Pick and an Orbis Pictus Recommended Book. Her verse biography of Harriet Tubman, Before She Was Harriet received a Coretta Scott King Honor for Illustration.  Her debut middle grade novel, Finding Langston, was the 2019 winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction and received the Coretta Scott King Award Author Honor.  Lesa is the host of the KidLit TV show Past Present. She lives in the Hudson Valley region of New York with her husband, and frequent collaborator, James Ransome. Visit her at her website
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.
Pat Cummings is the author/illustrator of over forty books for young readers.  She also edited the award-winning series, Talking With Artists, which profiles prominent children’s book illustrators. Along with her classes at Parsons and Pratt, her annual Children’s Book Boot Camp brings writers and illustrators together with top editors, art directors and agents and have helped launch a growing number of notable picture book illustrator and authors. Pat serves on the boards of the Authors Guild, the Authors League Fund, The Authors Guild Foundation and as the Chair of the Founders Award Jury for the Society of Illustrators’ Original Art Show. She is also a member of The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). Pat’s latest books include her debut middle grade novel, Trace, from HarperCollins and Where is Mommy?, a picture book from Holiday House.
Matt 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.
Emma 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. Visit Emma at her website.  
Ellen Hopkins is a former journalist, poet, and the award-winning author of 20 nonfiction books for children, thirteen NY Times bestselling young adult novels, and four novels for adult readers. Her debut middle grade novel, Closer to Nowhere, publishes October 2020, and she’s excited to navigate new waters. Ellen lives with her extended family, one German shepherd, a rescue cat, and too many fish to mention, near Carson City NV. 
Arthur Levine is the President and Editor-in-Chief of Levine Querido, a vibrant new independent publisher distributed by Chronicle Books. Levine Querido is born of a fervent mission to give voice to a uniquely talented, exceptionally diverse group of authors and artists, a career-long passion of its founder. Launching in August 2020, LQ’s debut list will contain works by Daniel Nayeri, Eric Gansworth, Donna Barba Higuera, Mike Jung, Darcie Little Badger, Donna Freitas, Kristen Mai Giang, Shirley Chan, Martha Brockenbrough and Gabriel Alborozo. Arthur’s life as an author will also reach a milestone with a new picture book in Fall 2020, Nate Gadol and the Hanukkah Magic, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes and published by Candlewick Press. 
Alvina Ling is VP and Editor-in-Chief at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (a division of Hachette Book Group) where she has worked since 1999. She edits children’s books for all ages, from picture books to young adult. She has edited such books as A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin; Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Bryan Collier; Shark Vs. Train by Chris Barton and Tom Lichtenheld; Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin, The Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer, The Wild Robot by Peter Brown, Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes, The Candymakers by Wendy Mass, The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, and The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. She Tweets  and is on Instagram. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Venus.
Laurent 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 a Newbery and Pura Belpré award-winning author of picture books, middle grade, and YA fiction. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling Merci Suárez Changes Gears, which won the 2019 John Newbery medal and the 2018 Charlotte Huck honor. Her other books include: Burn Baby Burn,Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, and The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind. Her picture books include Mango, Abuela and Me, and Tía Isa Wants a CarMeg’s works have been called “heartbreaking,” “lyrical” and “must haves for every collection.”  Her work examines how cultures intersect, as seen through the eyes of young people. When she is not writing, Meg works on community projects that support girls, Latino youth and literacy. She lives with her family in Richmond, Virginia.
Linda-Sue Park is the author of many books for young readers, including the 2002 Newbery Medal winner A Single Shard and the NY Times bestseller A Long Walk To Water. Her most recent title is Prairie Lotus, a historical fiction middle-grade novel. She serves on the advisory boards of We Need Diverse Books and the Rabbit hOle national children’s literature museum project. Linda Sue knows very well that she will never be able to read every great book ever written, but she keeps trying anyway.
Susan 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.
Jerry 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 Sepetys is an internationally acclaimed, #1 New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction published in over sixty countries and forty languages. Sepetys is considered a “crossover” novelist as her books are read by both teens and adults worldwide. Winner of the Carnegie Medal, Ruta is renowned for giving voice to underrepresented history and those who experienced it. Ruta credits SCBWI for launching her career.
Melissa Stewart is the award-winning author of more than 180 science books for children, including Seashells: More than a Home, (illus. Sarah S. Brannen); SCBWI Golden Kite Honor winner Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers: Celebrating Animal Underdogs, (illus. Stephanie Laberis); Can an Aardvark Bark?, (illus. Steve Jenkins, Caldecott Honoree); No Monkeys, No Chocolate, (illus. Nicole Wong); and SCBWI Crystal Kite winner Feathers: Not Just for Flying, (illus. Sarah S. Brannen). She is the co-author, with Marlene Correia, of 5 Kinds of Nonfiction: Enriching Reading and Writing Instruction with Children’s Books. Melissa also maintains the highly-regarded blog Celebrate Science.
Patricia Wiles is the SCBWI’s Director of Regional Team Management. She supports the work of SCBWI headquarters and its Regional Teams worldwide by managing information and communications, overseeing the work and activities of U.S. and International teams during the Summer and Winter International Conferences, counseling and supporting Regional Team members, and working with the Leadership Committee and Advisory Board to ensure the success of all SCBWI Regional Teams. In addition to writing books for young readers, her essays have aired on public radio and appeared in magazines such as Writer’s Digest and The Writer, and she has received several awards from the Kentucky Press Association for her work in print journalism.
Lisa 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 over 20 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 her website.
Cecilia 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.
Cheryl 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. She founded the Midsouth Region serving as RA for 9 years, and then for eleven years was the USA – RAC.
Paul O Zelinsky, creator of the now-classic interactive book The Wheels on the Bus, received the Society of Illustrators’ Original Art Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018, as well as the Carle Honor for Illustration. Among his other recognitions are one Caldecott Medal (for his retelling of Rapunzel) and three Caldecott Honors. He is known for a breadth and variety of artistic styles, from Beverly Cleary’s Dear Mr. Henshaw to Kelly Bingham’s Z is for Moose, to the Toys series of books with Emily Jenkins. All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah, also a collaboration with Jenkins, was given the Sydney Taylor Award in 2019. In addition to his activities with SCBWI, Paul serves as co-chair of PEN America’s Children’s and Young Adult Book Committee. 


Last updated: March 2020.