Faculty

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Selina Alko Born in Vancouver, Canada, Selina Alko moved to New York City over 20 years ago to pursue a career in illustration. Selina began her career by illustrating the New York City-themed children's books My Subway Ride and My Taxi Ride. She then tried her hand at writing and discovered she loved it! She is the author/illustrator of B is for Brooklyn, I’m Your Peanut Butter Big Brother and Daddy Christmas & Hanukkah Mama. Selina wrote (and co-illustrated with her husband Sean Qualls) The Case for Loving; The Fight for Interracial Marriage, which received three starred reviews and the NAIBA Award for Free Speech. Selina and Sean’s most recent collaboration, Two Friends; Susan B. Anthony & Frederick Douglass, came out in January. The couple currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, with their two children. 

Lisa Anchin owes much of her career to SCBWI. After receiving an MFA from the School of Visual Arts, she won the SCBWI Student Scholarship. The following year, her portfolio was selected for the SCBWI Illustration Mentorship program. She currently volunteers as the IC for the Metro NY chapter. Lisa lives in Brooklyn with her husband and studio cat. When not working in her studio, she can be found haunting one of the many cafes of the five boroughs, sitting with a bucket of tea and scribbling in a sketchbook. Lisa is the illustrator of A Penguin Named Patience by Suzanne Lewis (2015) and I Will Love You by Alyssa Satin Capucilli (2017). For more information, visit her at www.lisaanchin.com and on Instagram @lisa.anchin.

Bonnie Bader is the former Associate Publisher/Editor-in-chief at Grosset & Dunlap/Penguin Young Readers, where she edited many best-selling series including Here's Hank by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver, George Brown, Class Clown by Nancy Krulik, and The Fantastic Frame by Lin Oliver. In addition, Bonnie has edited many nonfiction picture books and leveled readers. She is also the author of several biographies including Who Was Martin Luther King Jr., Who Was Christopher Columbus, and Who Was Alexander Graham Bell. She is currently the Publishing Advisor for SCBWI as well as a member of the Board of Advisors.

Andrea Beaty is the author of thirteen books for kids including the New York Times bestsellers Ada Twist, Scientist and Rosie Revere, Engineer which is currently orbiting on the International Space Station as part of the StoryTimeFromSpace.org program. Learn more about Andrea at www.AndreaBeaty.com and on Pinterest @AndreaBeatyPint.

Tracy Barrett is the author of numerous books and magazine articles for young readers. She holds a Bachelor's Degree with honors in Classics-Archaeology from Brown University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval Italian Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. Her scholarly interests in the ancient and medieval worlds overlap in her fiction and nonfiction works. A grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to study medieval women writers led to the writing of her first novel, the award-winning Anna of Byzantium (Delacorte). Her most recent publications are The Song of Orpheus: The Greatest Greek Myths You Never Heard, a collection of little-known Greek myths; a retelling of Cinderella entitled The Stepsister's Tale; and the popular middle grade series The Sherlock Files. From 1999 to 2009, Tracy Barrett was the Regional Advisor for the Tennessee and Kentucky SCBWI regions. She is now SCBWI's Regional Advisor Coordinator.

Sarah Dotts Barley is Senior Editor at Flatiron Books, Macmillan's newest venture, where she is developing a YA fiction list. Some of Sarah's first Flatiron novels include If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo, American Girls by Alison Umminger, Caraval by Stephanie Garber and Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin. Prior to joining Flatiron, Sarah was an editor at HarperChildren's and HarperTeen. You can find Sarah on Twitter @The_SDB.

Peter 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, including Mr. Tiger Goes Wild and My Teacher is a Monster, 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.  His first novel for young people is The Wild Robot. Visit www.peterbrownstudio.com.

Kat Brzozowski is an editor at Swoon Reads/Feiwel & Friends. She acquires YA for Feiwel & Friends and edits crowdsourced YA manuscripts for Swoon Reads. Previously, she was an editor at Thomas Dunne Books, a division of St. Martin’s Press. She has worked on a wide range of young adult fiction, including Anna-Marie McLemore's When the Moon was Ours, which was longlisted for a National Book Award, and new Fear Street books in R.L. Stine’s best-selling series, which has sold over eighty million copies worldwide. Kat is looking to acquire young adult fiction across a wide range of genres, especially contemporary, realistic YA with a strong hook; dark, contemporary fiction (not too issues-y), mysteries, suspense and thrillers; and sci-fi that’s mostly rooted in this world. She is especially interested in YA with crossover appeal. When she’s reading YA, she looks for a strong sense of voice, multi-dimensional characters and realistic dialogue.

Priscilla Burris is an author/illustrator and native Californian of Hispanic descent. Creating characters and images from ink, whether in the real world or digitally, Priscilla delights most in bringing out the element of expression, emotion and what’s bursting to be shared from heart and soul and life! She is enthusiastically involved in the SCBWI as National Illustrator Coordinator and advisor, as well as a member of their Board of Advisors, and the SCBWI Illustrator Committee.  Learn more about Priscilla at www.priscillaburris.com.

Bryan Collier received his B.F.A from Pratt Institute in 1989. After seven years of trying to get published, in 1999, Uptown, which Collier wrote and illustrated, went on to win the Ezra Jack Keats Award and the Coretta Scott King Award. Bryan Collier went on to receive four Caldecott Honors for Martin's Big Words, Dave the Potter, Rosa and Trombone Shorty. In addition, Collier has won nine CSK Awards and Honors for such titles as I Too Am America, Knock, Knock and many others. In 2014, Collier was the U.S Han Christian Anderson nominee.

Pat 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 SCBWI Board of Advisors as well as on the boards of the Authors Guild, the Authors League Fund and the Authors Guild Foundation. Learn more about Pat at www.patcummings.com.

Lucy Cummins is a writer/illustrator, and full-time art director of picture books, middle grade books and young adult novels for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and Paula Wiseman books. She is the art director for numerous New York Times and international bestsellers from authors and illustrators including Jenny Han, Morgan Matson, Andrew Smith, Tommy Wallach, Michelle Hodkin, Becca Fitzpatrick, Kenneth Oppel, Mark Pett and Jon Klassen. She proudly serves as both art director and illustrator for Stuart Gibbs's New York Times best-selling middle grade mysteries. Lucy made her author/illustrator debut in 2016 with her picture book A Hungry Lion, or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals.

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 Belpré 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 MacLachlan, Ocean’s Child by Christine Ford and Chris Holland and Me, Frida by Amy Novesky. 

Adriana Domínguez has twenty years of experience in publishing. Prior to becoming an agent, she held various editorial positions, including Executive Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books and Children’s Reviews Editor at Críticas magazine, published by Library Journal. She is also a professional translator, a member of the Brooklyn Literary Council that organizes the Brooklyn Book Festival and one of the founders of the Comadres and Compadres Writers Conference in New York City. In 2009, she joined Full Circle Literary, and has since launched a number of award-winning children’s authors and illustrators from her east coast office. Adriana has a long trajectory of publishing underrepresented voices, and welcomes submissions that offer diverse points of view.

Emma D. Dryden is the co-author of What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur? (Little Pickle Press) and founder of drydenbks, the premier children’s editorial and publishing consultancy firm she started after twenty-five years as a highly regarded editor and publisher. Emma’s edited over 1,000 books for young readers and she consults with authors, illustrators, agents, editors, publishers, start-ups and app developers. During her tenure with Atheneum and McElderry Books, many of her titles hit national and international bestseller lists and received numerous awards and medals, including the Newbery Medal, Newbery Honor and Caldecott Honor. Emma’s on the Advisory Board of SCBWI; her blog “Our Stories, Ourselves” explores the intertwined themes of life and writing. Follow her Twitter @drydenbks; learn more at www.drydenbks.com.

Emily Easton is Executive Editor, Crown BFYR. She was formerly Publishing Director of the Walker imprint of Bloomsbury USA Children’s Group.

Brian Floca was born and raised in Temple, Texas, and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He is the author and illustrator of numerous award-winning books for children, including Locomotive, winner of the 2014 Caldecott Medal and a New York Times bestseller; Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11Lightship; and The Racecar Alphabet. He has illustrated Avi's Poppy, winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award; Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan's Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring; Kate Messner's Marty McGuire novels; Lynne Cox's Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas; and the forthcoming Princess Cora and the Crocodile, by Laura Amy Schlitz. In addition to the Caldecott Medal, Brian's books have received four Robert F. Sibert Honor awards, a silver medal from the Society of Illustrators, and have twice been selected for the New York Times' annual 10 Best Illustrated Books list. Visit www.brianfloca.com

Sylvie Frank is the editor of award-winning and critically acclaimed books including Breathe by Scott Magoon; Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo; Miss Mary Reporting: The True Story of Sportswriter Mary Garber by Sue Macy, illustrated by C. F. Payne; Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy by Susan Vaught; and Storm by Donna Jo Napoli. Since joining Paula Wiseman Books in January 2013, Sylvie has been on the prowl for literary, character-driven middle grade and kid-focused, snappy picture books. She is drawn to diverse voices across all genres. One of her favorite pastimes is browsing agents’ and illustrators’ websites for new talent. When she’s not reading, Sylvie can be found running while listening to audiobooks.

Ken Geist is VP, Publisher of Orchard Books, Scholastic Press Picture Books, Cartwheel Books, Readers, Branches and Little Shepherd.  He has worked with some amazing authors and illustrators including Steve Antony, Tedd Arnold, Roz Chast, Caroline Jayne Church, Brian Collier, Elisha Cooper, Nikki Grimes, E.B. Lewis, Christopher Myers, LeUyen Pham, Sean Qualls & Selina Aiko, Chris Raschka, Matthew Reinhart, Robert Sabuda, Mark Teague and Calvin Trillin. He previously worked at Disney Publishing Worldwide, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux and Simon & Schuster. Ken lives in New York City with his family.

Andrew Harwell is Senior Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books, where he focuses on middle grade and young adult fiction and works with such authors as Noelle Stevenson, Adam Silvera, Madeleine Roux, Dan Gutman and more. Originally from Georgia, Andrew graduated from the University of Chicago and now lives in Brooklyn.

Ellen Hopkins is a poet and the award-winning author of eleven New York Times best-selling young adult novels-in-verse and three adult novels. Her twelfth YA is Traffik (McElderry Books, November 2015) and her third adult novel, Tangled, was released spring 2015. She is a current SCBWI Board member. Visit www.ellenhopkins.com.

Carrie Howland joined Empire Literary in 2016 after eleven years as an agent at Donadio & Olson, Inc. She represents young adult and middle grade, as well as the occasional picture book. Carrie’s background is in poetry, so beautiful language is one of the first things she looks for in any project. Also important are a strong voice and great story, which she’s looking for across genres. Her clients include Melissa Gorzelanczyk (Arrows, Delacorte/Random House Children’s), Chris Scofield (The Shark Curtain, Black Sheep/Akashic), and Sarah Prager (Queer, There and Everywhere/HarperCollins). Carrie is a member of the AAR and SCBWI. She holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Albion College. Carrie also volunteers as a foster for a local dog rescue and with deployed military men and women. She is a member of the New York Junior League, through which she teaches a third grade art class, and the executive board of the New York City Alumnae Chapter of Delta Gamma. Follow Carrie @ecarriehowland or visit www.ecarriehowland.com

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal, and was a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. Follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.

Eileen Bishop Kreit is the President and Publisher of Puffin Books, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, Penguin Random House.  A twenty-six-year veteran of the company, Eileen began her career in the sales department and has been heading up Puffin Books since 2004.  Eileen works with many authors such as Judy Blume, S.E. Hinton, Mildred D. Taylor, and the Roald Dahl estate. 

Arianne Lewin is an Executive Editor at G. P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Random House.  She edits picture books, middle grade novels and young adult fiction.  Her recent projects include Rachel Hawkins’s novel for middle-graders, Journey’s End, and the New York Times bestselling 5th Wave series by Rick Yancey.

Alvina Ling Alvina Ling is VP and Editor-in-Chief at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers where she’s worked since 1999. She edits children's books for all ages. She has worked with such authors and illustrators as Peter Brown, Bryan Collier, Ed Young, Grace Lin, Wendy Mass, Chris Colfer, Laini Taylor, Libba Bray, Barry Lyga, Holly Black, Sherman Alexie, and Matthew Quick. She is the co-founder and former chair of the CBC Diversity Committee. She is on Twitter as @planetalvina.

Laurent Linn, Art Director for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, began his career as a puppet designer/builder in Jim Henson's Muppet Workshop, creating characters for various 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. Currently, at Simon & Schuster, Laurent art directs picture books, middle-grade, and teen novels, including Moon’s Almost Here, by Tomie dePaola; DRAW!, by Raúl Colón; Better Nate Than Ever, by Tim Federle; and the Rot & Ruin YA series by Jonathan Maberry. Laurent is on the Board of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and is Artistic Advisor for the annual Original Art exhibit at the Society of Illustrators in New York. He is also an author and illustrator: his illustrated teen novel is Draw the Line. Find him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter: LaurentLinn, and www.LaurentLinn.com 

Tahereh Mafi is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of the Shatter Me series.  She was born in a small city somewhere in Connecticut and currently resides in Santa Monica, California, with her husband, fellow author Ransom Riggs. She can usually be found over-caffeinated and stuck in a book. Shatter Me is her first series, with television rights optioned by ABC Signature Studios; Furthmore, her newest project, released August, 2016. Visit www.taherehbooks.com.

Stephen Mooser, President of the SCBWI, is the author of nearly sixty books for children. He began as the author of a number of reading programs including those for SWRL/Ginn, ABC, and Harcourt, but most readers know Stephen for his trade books, which began with the publication of 101 Black Cats (Scholastic) in 1975, and continues through his most recent series, Goofball Malone, Ace Detective. He has written in every genre: picture books (The Ghost with the Halloween Hiccups), to series books (The Creepy Creature Club; It's a Weird, Weird School), to nonfiction (Lights! Camera! Scream!), to novels (Elvis Is Back and He’s in the Sixth Grade).

Yuyi Morales was born and raised in Mexico, and has been a radio producer and children's book creator since coming to the United States. Her books which have won numerous awards and honors include Little Night and its Spanish edition, Nochecita, a 2008 ALA Notable Children's Book, and Just in Case: A Trickster Tale and the Spanish Alphabet Book, both published by Roaring Brook Press. Ms. Morales lives in Northern California. Visit www.yuyimorales.com

Edward Necarsulmer IV began his career in book publishing as an intern at Random House Books for Young Readers. He went on to assist Marilyn E. Marlow at Curtis Brown Ltd. and then joined McIntosh & Otis, Inc. in 2004 to oversee their children's literature business. He is known for cultivating strong new voices in teen & middle grade as well as picture books. He represents New York Times Bestselling, Newbery, and Caldecott winning authors, illustrators and estates. He is keen to continue to team up with authors and artists who wish to look beyond the obvious and strive for the exceptional.

Kristen Nobles joined Candlewick Press in 2004, one of the largest independent publishing companies in the world. As an art director, she has worked with illustrators Carson Ellis, Sophie Blackall, John Rocco and many others on award-winning books. Kristen graduated from the University of Buffalo with degrees in Communication Design and Art History, and has pursued further studies at SVA, Harvard, and Mass Art. She lectures and gives workshops regularly and has consulted for graduate illustration programs. Kristen loves a strong character, a unique style or retro look made new again, and looks for a surprising spin on traditional themes in children’s books. Before returning to the east coast, Kristen was a senior designer at Chronicle Books in San Francisco, CA. Her passion for children's books has been passed down from her mother, an elementary teacher, and her grandmother, a librarian. 

Chrissy Noh is the Marketing Director for Simon and Schuster BFYR, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Margaret K. McElderry Books, Beach Lane Books, Paula Wiseman Books, and Saga Press. She was formerly the Development & Marketing Manager at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.
 

Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s career as a children’s book author/illustrator began at the 2010 SCBWI-LA conference, where she was chosen for the Mentorship Program and discovered by Justin Chanda. Her illustrations have since appeared in books by Michael Ian Black, Judy Blume, Lauren McLaughlin, Rob Sanders and Aaron Reynolds. Debbie is author/illustrator of Where are My Books? (2015) and Sam & Eva (2017), both with Justin Chanda and Laurent Linn at Simon & Schuster. Debbie lives in Toronto with her husband Jeff, and is an avid board gamer and food doodler. Debbie was founder of Inkspot, one of the first websites for writers. Represented by Ginger Knowlton of Curtis Brown Ltd., Debbie writes middle grade novels in addition to creating picture books. For more info & her four upcoming 2017 books, see www.debbieohi.com/books. Debbie posts about reading, writing and illustrating books for young people at www.inkygirl.com and on Twitter at @inkyelbows.

Lin Oliver is a children’s book author and writer-producer of television series and movies for children.  With Henry Winkler, she writes the New York Times best-selling book series Hank Zipzer: World’s Best Underachiever, which is also a hit television series on the BBC, and its spin-off chapter book series Here’s Hank.  She is also the author of the Who Shrunk Daniel Funk quartet, and Sound Bender and The Shadow Mask, adventure/science fiction middle grade novels she coauthored with Theo Baker.  Her picture book debut was the highly praised poetry collection Little Poems for Tiny Ears, illustrated by Tomie dePaola. Lin’s newest work, the high-octane chapter book series The Fantastic Frame, was just out this spring.  She is the co-founder and Executive Director of SCBWI, and a recipient of The Christopher Award. Learn more at www.linoliver.com.

Sara Pennypacker is the author of seventeen children's books, including the New York Times best-selling Clementine series, Summer of the Gypsy Moths, Pierre in Love, Sparrow Girl and The Amazing World of Stuart. She has also contributed four books to the venerable Flat Stanley series. Her books have won numerous awards, including a Golden Kite Award and a Christopher’s Medal, many children’s choice state awards, and have appeared on many 'Best Books' lists. Visit Sara at www.sarapennypacker.com.

Erica S. Perl is the author of picture books, novels, and plays. Her books include Goatilocks and the Three Bears, Ferocious Fluffity, King of the Zoo, When Life Gives You O.J., and Aces Wild. Her books have been on state book award lists in states including FL, MN, VA, MA, RI and her home state of Vermont. Yay, kids! Thanks, librarians! She was formerly the VP, and Director of Publisher Relations at First Book. Erica visits schools, libraries, conferences, and festivals to talk about the creative process, revision techniques, and more. Visit www.ericaperl.com.

Beth Phelan is a literary agent at the Bent Agency. She represents middle grade, young adult and select adult fiction, as well as the occasional cookbook. In April 2016, she launched #DVpit, a Twitter pitch event that showcases works by marginalized writers looking for agents and/or publishers. Recent deals include Ashley Woodfolk’s YA debut Unraveling Lovely (Delacorte, 2018), Kheryn Callender’s MG debut Hurricane Child (Scholastic, 2018) and Kathryn Ormsbee’s second YA novel Tash Hearts Tolstoy (S&S BFYR, 2017). Beth is drawn to voice and emotional resonance in young adult contemporary, surprising new worlds in YA and MG fantasy, and strong literary voices in middle grade. She is particularly fond of stories with smart humor and a touch of the bittersweet. Find Beth at bethphelan.com, thebentagency.com, on Twitter at @beth_phelan and Instagram at beth_phelan. You can find out more about #DVpit at dvpit.com and on Twitter at @DVpit_.

Andrea Davis Pinkney is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of the novels Bird in a Box and With the Might of Angels, a book in the Dear America series. Andrea has also written the illustrated books Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down; Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride, a 2010 Jane Addams Honor Book and School Library Journal Best Book of the Year; the Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book, Let it Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters; Duke Ellington, a Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Honor Book; and Boycott Blues: How Rosa Parks Inspired a Nation, a featured selection on Oprah and Friends radio. Additionally, Andrea is a publishing executive, and was named one of the “25 Most Influential Black Women in Business” by The Network Journal. Andrea lives in New York City with her husband and frequent collaborator, award-winning illustrator Brian Pinkney, and their two children. Visit www.andreadavispinkney.com.

Greg Pizzoli is an author and illustrator of several picture books, including The Watermelon Seed, which received the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award. His first nonfiction picture book, Tricky Vic, was a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year, an Amazon Best Book of the Year, and a Kirkus Best Book of the Year. Greg’s editor discovered his work at an SCBWI conference. Greg lives in Philadelphia with his wife, their dog and two cats. Visit Greg Pizzoli online at www.gregpizzoli.com, and on Twitter and Instagram @gregpizzoli.

Sean Qualls is an award-winning, Brooklyn-based, children’s book illustrator, artist and author. His books include: Giant Steps to Change The World by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis-Lee, Little Cloud and Lady Wind by Toni Morrison and her son Slade, and Before John Was a Jazz Giant, for which he received a Coretta Scott King Illustration Honor. Sean also created the art for Dizzy by Jonah Winter and most recently Freedom Song (The Story of Henry “Box” Brown) by Sally Walker. His work has received two Blue Ribbon citations from the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, and has created illustrations for magazines, newspapers, and advertisements. Sean draws inspiration from an array of influences such as movies, television, childhood memories, aging and decaying surfaces, architecture, old buildings, nature, folk art, fairy tales, Americana, black memorabilia, outsider art, cave paintings, collectibles, African art, golden books, vintage advertisement graphics, psychology, mythology, science fiction, music, and literature. He lives in lives in Brooklyn with his wife, illustrator/author Selina Alko and their two children Ginger and Isaiah. Visit www.seanqualls.com.

Daniel Salmieri is a two-time New York Times best-selling illustrator from Brooklyn. His books include Dragons Love Tacos, Meet the Dullards, Robot Sauce and Those Darn Squirrels. His work has been recognized by The Society of Illustrators and American Illustration. Visit www.danielsalmieri.com.

Cynthia Leitich Smith is the New York Times and Publishers Weekly best-selling, award-winning YA author of the Tantalize series, the Feral trilogy and several acclaimed children’s books. She was named a Writer of the Year by Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers in recognition of Rain Is Not My Indian Name. Cynthia is on the faculty of the VCFA MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She also serves on the advisory board of We Need Diverse Books. The Austin chapter of SCBWI has instituted the Cynthia Leitich Smith Mentor Award in her honor. Visit www.cynthialeitichsmith.com and www.cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com.

Sonya Sones has written six YA novels in verse: Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy; What My Mother Doesn’t Know and its companion, What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know; One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies; To Be Perfectly Honest; and her latest, Saving Red. She has also written a novel in verse for grownups called The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus, which was optioned by Michelle Pfeiffer. Her books have been honored with a Christopher Award, the Myra Cohn Livingston Poetry Award and the Claudia Lewis Award for Poetry. But Sonya was especially thrilled when she learned that she was on the American Library Association’s list of the Most Frequently Challenged Authors of the 21st Century. When she’s not writing, she loves photographing authors. She lives near the beach in California with her husband and the two most adorable kittens in the world. No, really. Visit www.sonyasones.com.

Andrea Spooner acquires and edits a wide range of fiction titles for ages 3 through 17, with a special interest in artistically distinctive picture books. She is also seeking middle grade and young adult novels with boy appeal, as well as literary fiction, historical fiction and ambitious, genre-bending narratives (rather than straightforward genre fiction). For picture books, she would like to see substantive stories with strong storytelling, re-readability and emotional resonance. Some of her projects include the 2010 Caldecott Medal-winning picture book The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney, the 2011 Caldecott Honor title Me . . . Jane by Patrick McDonnell, Dinotrux by Chris Gall, The Drowned Cities by Printz Medal-winner Paolo Bacigalupi, Ask the Passengers by Printz Honor author A.S. King and What We Found in the Sofa and How it Saved the World by debut novelist Henry Clark. Andrea also oversees the best-selling James Patterson publishing program for young readers, including his Middle School, Maximum Ride, Witch & Wizard, Confessions and I Funny series. A graduate of the Radcliffe Publishing Course, Andrea joined LBYR in 2003.

Marcia Wernick is a partner and literary agent at Wernick & Pratt Agency, LLC.  She began her career over twenty years ago working in subsidiary rights and still attends the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.  The agency represents authors and illustrators on a wide range of children's books spanning all age groups and genres.  Marcia works with both writers and illustrators, from picture book authors and/or illustrators through young adult writers.  Her clients range from emerging talent to award winners and include Zebo Ludvicek, Anna Raff, and Ed Masessa, as well as Mo Willems, Bryan Collier, and Diane Stanley. 

Matthew Winner is an elementary library media specialist in Elkridge, Maryland. He is the co-founder and content director of All The Wonders, a children’s literature website and more, and host of the All The Wonders podcast, a weekly podcast where Matthew talks to authors, illustrators, award winners, up-and-comers and everyone in between. Matthew is represented by Danielle Smith of Red Fox Literary. For more information, connect with Matthew on Twitter at @MatthewWinner or online at MatthewCWinner.com

Jane Yolen, often called "Hans Christian Andersen of America," is the author of over three hundred books, including Owl Moon, The Devil's Arithmetic and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?, plus seven books of adult poetry. She lectures around the world, and has won an assortment of awards: two Nebulas, a Caldecott Medal, three Mythopoeic Awards, among others. She was the first woman to give the St. Andrews University’s Andrew Lang lecture since the series began in 1927. Six colleges and universities have given her honorary doctorates. Her website: www.janeyolen.com.

Cecilia Yung is Art Director & 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.

Paul O. Zelinsky has illustrated thirty-odd books for children, written some of them, and been awarded numerous honors, including the Caldecott Medal for Rapunzel and three Caldecott Honors. His most widely-known book is probably the movable Wheels on the Bus; the most recent is Z is for Moose (written by Kelly Bingham), which received a star from all six star-giving trade journals. Paul is co-chair of PEN America's Children's and Young Adult Book Committee, and a juror for the Ezra Jack Keats Award. Visit www.paulozelinsky.com.

Bloggers:

Martha Brockenbrough is the author of a growing collection of books for young readers: the YA novels The Game of Love and Death and Devine Intervention, and The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy, a picture book. Both are with Arthur A. Levine at Scholastic, as is her forthcoming picture book, Love, Santa, as well as two Bigfoot picture books written jointly with Samantha Berger. Martha also wrote the nonfiction middle grade Finding Bigfoot for Feiwel & Friends. In addition to her work on SCBWI's Team Blog, she is the founder of National Grammar Day and author of the hilarious grammar guide Things That Make Us [Sic]. Martha has worked as a journalist for over twenty years and as a content strategist and marketer for more than a decade. Visit www.martha-brockenbrough.squarespace.com and on Twitter @mbrockenbrough.

Jolie Stekly is a freelance writer and novelist, teacher, fitness instructor and former SCBWI co-Regional Advisor of the Western Washington Chapter. She now directs the fall retreats for the region. One of Jolie’s greatest honors was being awarded SCBWI’s 2009 Member-of-the-Year.

Don Tate is an award-winning author, and the illustrator of The Cart That Carried Martin (Charlesbridge), Hope’s Gift (Penguin), Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite (Charlesbridge) and Ron’s Big Mission (Penguin). He is also the author of It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw (Lee & Low Books, 2102), an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor winner. His most recent titles include The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch (Eerdmans, 2015) and Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton (Peachtree, 2015), winner of the Ezra Jack Keats Award and Christopher Award. Don is a member of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, created to address the lack of diverse, non-majority narratives in children’s literature. Visit www.dontate.com.

Jaime Temairik’s debut picture book, How to Negotiate Everything, written by award-winning novelist Lisa Lutz, was published in 2013. She’s part of SCBWI’s TEAM BLOG, which covers SCBWI International Conferences (TEAM BLOG also covers Smothers Brothers songs). During the summer, Jaime teaches Illustrating Children's Picture Books for the University of Washington Extension program and she plans to blog about the class (and the doughnuts she brings to class) at www.cocoastomp.blogspot.com.

Lee Wind, M.Ed., is the official blogger for SCBWI (www.scbwi.blogspot.com) and Captain of SCBWI’s Team Blog. His award-winning personal blog, I’m Here. I’m Queer. What The Hell Do I Read? has had over 1.3 million visits and is one of only four sites linked from the American Library Association’s Rainbow Books website. His interviews and articles about children’s literature, social media and diversity are widely published, and he has moderated panels at KidLitCon, the CA School Library Association, The LA Times Festival of Books and SCBWI Conferences. A writer of picture books through young adult, he is represented by Danielle Smith of Red Fox Literary. Visit www.leewind.org.