Laurie Halse Anderson is a New York Times best-selling author whose writing spans young readers, teens, and new adults. Combined, her books have sold more than eight million copies. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists, and Chains was short-listed for the prestigious Carnegie Medal. Laurie was selected by the American Library Association for the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award and has been honored for her battles for intellectual freedom. In addition to combating censorship, Laurie regularly speaks about the need for diversity in publishing. Find out more about Laurie by following her on Twitter at @halseanderson, Instagram at halseanderson, Facebook at writerlady, and Pinterest at halseanderson.
Josh Bank is the executive vice president of Alloy Entertainment (a division of WB Television). He manages the creative team on the east coast and is responsible for the development of the company’s entertainment properties. He has overseen the creation of hits such as The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants; Gossip Girl; Pretty Little Liars; Everything, Everything; and many more.
Marc Brown considers himself an illustrator who began writing to have something to illustrate. He studied illustration at the Cleveland Art Institute, and he went on to create more than 125 picture books for children. Among his most renowned books, the Arthur series became a #1 New York Times best seller and has won many awards. There are more than six million Arthur books in print in the United States alone. Marc is the executive producer of the television series Arthur, now in its twenty-first season on PBS. Arthur is the longest-running children’s animated series and has been acknowledged with the George Foster Peabody Award and eight Daytime Emmy Awards.
Peter Brown has written and illustrated many best-selling and award-winning picture books, including Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, Children Make Terrible Pets, and The Curious Garden. 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 and his newest picture book is Creepy Pair of Underwear, another collaboration with Aaron Reynolds. For more information, visit www.peterbrownstudio.com.
Russell Busse is an associate editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, where he works on picture book, middle grade, and young adult projects, as well as graphic novels and licensing programs. For picture books, he gravitates toward anything with a lot of heart and humor (an off-the-wall premise is a major plus). For middle grade and young adult, he looks for genre-bending stories that bring readers in immediately, with strong characters and unique twists. Among others, he has edited the CatStronauts series of graphic novels, picture books with Todd Parr, and has licensed books for Marvel, My Little Pony, and Teen Titans Go! Find him online at the creatively named account @r_busse.
Pat Cummings is the author/illustrator of over thirty-five books for young readers and editor of 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 classes list a growing number of notable illustrator/author graduates. Pat serves on SCBWI’s Board of Advisors and on the boards of the Authors Guild, the Authors League Fund, and the Authors Guild Foundation. She also serves as chair of the Founders Award Committee for The Society of Illustrators’ annual Original Art Show.
Mike Curato loves drawing and writing almost as much as he loves cupcakes and ice cream (and that’s a LOT!). He is the author and illustrator of the beloved polka-dotted elephant, Little Elliot. His debut title, Little Elliot, Big City (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, Macmillan), released in 2014 to critical acclaim, has won several awards, and is being translated into over ten languages. There are now three other books in the Little Elliot series: Little Elliot, Big Family; Little Elliot, Big Fun; and the latest addition, Little Elliot, Fall Friends. Meanwhile, Mike had the pleasure of illustrating Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian, and the recently released All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle.
Caitlyn Dlouhy is the vice president/editorial director of Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, Atheneum Books for Young Readers. Caitlyn likes to say she grew up reading in a tree–from that perch she could see the whole world… through the lens of books. She still believes books are children’s most important lens to the world and the oh-so-varied people in it, and her publishing choices reflect that. Caitlyn started her book publishing career at HarperCollins before landing at Simon & Schuster, where she’s been for over fifteen years. Her books have received great acclaim–from Newbery, Coretta Scott King, Pura Bel Pre and National Book Awards, to New York Times best sellers. A snippet of what Caitlyn has been up to: Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson, This Beautiful Day by Richard Jackson & Suzy Lee, Olivia the Spy by Ian Falconer, Bulldozer Helps Out by Candace Fleming & Eric Rohmann, Pablo & Birdy by Alison McGhee, and Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. A sneak peek at the spring includes: The Place Between Breaths by An Na, Click Clack I Love You by Doreen Cronin & Betsy Lewin, I Am Loved by Nikki Giovanni & Ashley Bryan, Checked by Cynthia Kadohata, and Sunny by Jason Reynolds.
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 one thousand books for young readers, including recipients of the Newbery Award, 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.
Kait Feldmann is an Associate Editor at Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic, where her focus is on picture books and international publishing. She joined Scholastic in May of 2014 and gained editorial experience assisting Executive Editors Tracy Mack, Michael di Capua, Cheryl Klein, and Andrea Davis Pinkney. A few of the titles she worked on include Newbery Honor-winner Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan, The Marvels by Brian Selznick, and Ice Cream Summer by Peter Sís. Kait is a strong advocate for diverse representation and is always looking for meaningful, character-driven stories with humor and heart. Follow her on Twitter @kaitfeldmann.
Julie Gribble is an author and the founder of KidLit TV. She produces works for children and the children’s literature community in both the United States and Great Britain. While a children’s literature fellow at Stony Brook Southampton, she founded KidLit TV to help children’s authors and illustrators connect with their audience by using new technologies to complement and promote their work. Julie has been nominated for two Emmy Awards and is a multi-award-winning writer, screenwriter, filmmaker, and producer. Her picture book, Bubblegum Princess, is based on a true story about Kate Middleton and was released on the day the first royal baby, whom we now know as Prince George, arrived. Julie sits on the Children’s Committee of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts: BAFTA-NY and is a member of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers, and New York Women in Film and Television. @JulieGribbleNYC @KidLit TV_NYC
Cathy L. Goldsmith is the president/publisher of Beginner Books & Dr. Seuss Publishing at Random House. She has been with Random House Children’s Books for forty years. For thirty-five of those years Cathy headed the art department, first as art director and then as vice president and associate publishing director. She is the only current Random House employee to have worked directly with Dr. Seuss, having done so on his last six books, including the perennial best seller, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
Kirsten Hall is president of Catbird, a boutique children’s literary and illustration agency. She has negotiated many hundreds of children’s book deals between authors, illustrators, and all of the major American publishers. Kirsten is also an author. Her ﬁrst book, Bunny, Bunny, was published when she was in seventh grade. And her first trade picture book—The Jacket—was a 2014 New York Times Notable! Kirsten opened Catbird’s wings in March 2014. She likens her agency, which specializes in picture books, to a creative playground. She is just as happy working with debut talents as she is best sellers. Kirsten works intimately with her clients to conceive and develop original story pitches. According to Publishers Marketplace, for the past several years Kirsten has been an industry leader in picture book sales.
Patti Ann Harris oversees the art and design for Orchard Books and the Cartwheel Books imprints. With more than twenty years’ experience designing children’s books, she has worked on many award-winning titles spanning a wide variety of formats, including novelty and interactive books for preschoolers and Caldecott Award-winning picture books. Patti Ann enjoys mentoring newcomers to the field as much as working with renowned illustrators and authors.
Vashti Harrison is part author/illustrator and part filmmaker. She is an artist originally from Onley, Virginia. Vashti has a background in filmmaking and a love for storytelling. She earned her BA from the University of Virginia as a double major in Media Studies and Studio Art, then went on to receive her MFA in Film and Video from CalArts, where she snuck into animation classes to learn from Disney and Dreamworks legends.There she rekindled a love for drawing and painting. Now, utilizing both skillsets, she is passionate about crafting beautiful stories for children and young adults in the film and kidlit worlds.
Connie Hsu is an executive editor at Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan Publishing, a founding member of the Children’s Book Council Diversity Committee, and a member of the Brooklyn Book Festival Children’s Planning Committee. Her authors include Vera Brosgol, Ruth Chan, Angela Dominguez, Shannon Hale, Kathryn Otoshi, Dan Santat, Steve Sheinkin, Mariko Tamaki, Susan Tan, and Tillie Walden. She grew up in Huntsville, Alabama and graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Carmela Iaria is vice president and executive director of School and Library Marketing at Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House. Carmela joined Penguin in 2013 after fifteen years at Scholastic, where she worked directly with teachers around the country in the Book Club/Book Fair division. Her passion and expertise revolve around igniting children’s love of reading and partnering with teachers and librarians who share that same goal. Some of the books she has had the pleasure and privilege of working on include Last Stop on Market Street, Brown Girl Dreaming, The War That Saved My Life, Roller Girl, and Turtles all the Way Down, among many others.
Al Imparato is an imaging specialist at Simon & Schuster. He is an expert in book production and has been making pretty pictures for Simon & Schuster for over fifteen years. He started his career in the 1980s working at the Time-Life photo lab with iconic photographers such as Alfred Eisenstaedt, Gordon Parks, and Carl Mydans. As the technology advanced, he too advanced from the darkroom and cameras to Photoshop. Today, he works with illustrators such as Ian Falconer, Tomie DePaola, and a long list of the best-of-the-best authors and illustrators.
Aram Kim is a New York-based children’s book author/illustrator and picture book designer. She was born in Ohio, spent her childhood in South Korea, and now lives in Queens, New York. She likes bringing in distinctive South Korean flair to works she creates. Aram is a huge advocate for diversity in children’s literature, and a creator of the Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2018 poster. Her debut picture book, Cat on the Bus (2016), was included in Children’s Choice Reading List by ILA. Her second picture book, No Kimchi for Me! (2017), is a Junior Library Guild selection. Visit aramkim.com.
Renée Kurilla has illustrated many books for kids, including Orangutanka by Margarita Engle, The Pickwicks’ Picnic by Carol Brendler, and the Ada Lace chapter book series by Emily Calandrelli and Tamson Weston. Before transitioning to publishing, she was a lead artist at FableVision Studios in Boston for nearly ten years. Working alongside the many talented folks at FableVision, including Peter H. Reynolds, helped to rekindle her love for books and storytelling. You can find her work at www.kurillastration.com.
Cheryl Klein is the editorial director at Lee & Low Books, which publishes a wide array of children’s and YA books by and about marginalized people, particularly people of color. She is also the author of The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults (W. W. Norton); its previous self-published incarnation, Second Sight; and two forthcoming picture books. Prior to her work at Lee & Low, she spent sixteen years at Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, where she edited a number of best-selling and award-winning titles. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and can be found online at cherylklein.com and as @chavelaque.
Hilary Leung is a Toronto-based author/illustrator. Several years ago, Hilary self-published his first picture book, The Legend of Ninja Cowboy Bear. After meeting art director Patti Ann Harris at an SCBWI conference, Hilary sold a five-book series to Scholastic, which is due out in 2018. He’s also worked on projects for Story Planet, a nonprofit organization that encourages young people to create and tell their stories.
Tiffany Liao is an editor at Henry Holt Books for Young Readers. Previously, she was at Penguin Young Readers and HarperCollins Children’s. She’s had the pleasure of editing authors such as Tomi Adeyemi, Rhoda Belleza, K.D. Halbrook, Kristin Tubb, Jay Asher, Lesley Livingston, Simon Van Booy, and Henry Lien, among others. She acquires young adult and middle grade fiction of all stripes, as well as the occasional nonfiction title. A Bay Area native, Tiffany now resides in Brooklyn, where she continues to pine for a good avocado. She (mostly) tweets about bookish things at @tiff_liao.
Kendra Levin is an assocaite editorial director at Viking Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, where, since 2005, she has worked on a wide range of children’s literature, from picture books to young adult novels. She has edited New York Times best sellers, including Girls Who Code and Rebel of the Sands, and her books have received such awards as the Printz Honor (The Passion of Dolssa), the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award (Don’t Throw it to Mo!), the Society of Illustrators Gold Medal (The Lost House), and more. A regular contributor to Psychology Today, Kendra also helps writers as a teacher and certified life coach, and is the author of The Hero Is You, a grounded self-help guide to a healthier writing process. Visit her at kendracoaching.com and follow her @kendralevin.
Arthur A. Levine is head of Arthur A. Levine Books, 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!)
Gail Carson Levine is an accomplished writer. Her first book for children, Ella Enchanted, was a Newbery Honor Book. Levine’s other books include, Ever, a New York Times best seller; Fairest, a Best Book of the Year for Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal, and a New York Times best seller; Dave at Night, an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Young Adults; The Wish; The Two Princesses of Bamarre; A Tale of Two Castles; and the six Princess Tales books. She is also the author of the nonfiction books, Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly and Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink, as well as the picture books Betsy Who Cried Wolf and Betsy Red Hoodie. Levine’s latest is The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre.
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, where he was the creative director for the Sesame Street Muppets, which won him an Emmy Award. Currently, at Simon & Schuster, Laurent art directs picture books, middle grade, and teen novels, including the Andy & Sandy series by Tomie dePaola; DRAW! by Raúl Colón; the Anna, Banana series by Anica Mrose Rissi, illustrated by Meg Park; and the Rot & Ruin YA series by Jonathan Maberry. Laurent is on the SCBWI Board of Advisors and is artistic advisor for the annual Original Art exhibit at the Society of Illustrators in New York. He is also the author and illustrator of Draw the Line, a YA novel the New York Times calls ‘epic.’ Find him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter: @LaurentLinn, and www.LaurentLinn.com.
Lily Malcom is the vice president, executive art director of Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Random House. As an art director, she has had the privilege to work with many talented illustrators, among them Corinna Luyken, Judy Schachner, David Small, Jon Agee, Jerry Pinkney, Erin E. Stead, Tao Nyeu, and Zachariah OHora. Lily enjoys working with long-time professionals as well as first-time illustrators. She is always on the lookout for unique, memorable characters and stories with a strong visual narrative. Some recent titles from Dial are The Book of Mistakes, All’s Faire in Middle School, Sarabella, Blue Sky White Stars, Dragons Love Tacos 2, and Life on Mars.
Donna Mark is creative director at Bloomsbury Children’s Books, where she oversees art and design for picture books, middle grade fiction and nonfiction, and teen novels. She enjoys the collaborative process of bookmaking and has had the good fortune of working with numerous award-winning illustrators and authors from around the globe.
Barbara McClintock is the author and illustrator of the Adele & Simon series of books, as well as The Fantastic Drawings of Danielle; Cinderella; Dalia; Animal Fables from Aesop; The Heartaches of a French Cat; and her most recent: The Five Forms; Emma and Julia Love Ballet; and Lost And Found: Adele & Simon in China. She illustrated the popular The Gingerbread Man, and has written and/or illustrated over forty books in total. She began her career illustrating books for Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock television series. Her books have received five New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books awards, three ALA Notable Book awards, a Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor, a China Times Best Children’s Books list selection, a Sidney Taylor Gold Medal, two Junior Library Guild Selections, and a Golden Kite Honor award. Her book Mary and the Mouse, the Mouse and Mary is a bestselling title in Japan, and many of her books are in print in over a dozen languages. You can find her online at barbaramcclintockbooks.com.
Erin Murphy founded Erin Murphy Literary Agency in northern Arizona in 1999 and relocated it to southern Maine in 2016. As head of the agency, she works to shape a sense of community; as an agent, she is focused on not just publishing books, but building careers. She represents writers and writer-illustrators of picture books, novels for middle graders and young adults, and strong nonfiction.
Daniel Nayeri is the publisher of a new imprint at Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. Previously, he was publisher at Workman Publishing Company, where he oversaw a team of designers, editors, and inventors in the pursuit of creating “art objects for great and terrible children.” Before that, he was digital editorial director at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, editor at Clarion Books, and before that, a professional pastry chef. Daniel was born in Iran and spent a couple of years as a refugee before immigrating to Oklahoma at age eight with his family. He is the author of several books for young readers, including The Most Dangerous Book; Straw House, Wood House, Brick House, Blow: Four Novellas; and How to Tell a Story.
Lin Oliver is the co-founder and executive director of SCBWI, a worldwide organization of over 25,000 writers and illustrators of children’s books. She is also a prolific children’s book author. With Henry Winkler, she writes the New York Times best-selling book series Hank Zipzer: World’s Best Underachiever, which has sold over four million copies.Their chapter book series, Here’s Hank, is also a New York Times best seller. Her two collections of poetry, both illustrated by Tomie de Paola, are the highly praised Little Poems for Tiny Ears, and the newly released Steppin’ Out: Jaunty Rhymes for Playful Times. Her newest work is a chapter book series, The Fantastic Frame, five illustrated adventure books set in the world’s great paintings. She is a recipient of the prestigious Christopher Award and the Eric Carle Mentor Award. Learn more at www.linoliver.com or follow Lin on Twitter @linoliver, or on Instagram @linoliver22.
Molly O’Neill is an agent with Root Literary. For the past fifteen years she has held various roles inside the publishing industry: she was an agent at Waxman Leavell Literary Agency; an editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books (where she acquired Veronica Roth’s juggernaut Divergent series); the head of Editorial at Storybird, a publishing/tech start-up; and a member the School & Library Marketing departments at both HarperCollins and Clarion Books. She loves the creative process and early-stage project development, is invigorated by business strategy and entrepreneurial thinking, and is fascinated by the intersections of art, commerce, creativity, and innovation. Molly is especially passionate about the people behind books, and takes pride in discovering talented authors and illustrators, expanding the global reach of their work, and finding new ways to build connections among creators, readers, stories, and their champions. Learn more at mollyoneillbooks.com.
Linda Sue Park sees the first draft as a necessary evil to be willed into existence so she can reach her true love, revision. She is the author of many books for young readers, including A Single Shard, awarded the Newbery Medal in 2002, and the long-running New York Times best seller, A Long Walk to Water. Her most recent works are the books in the Wing & Claw trilogy. Forthcoming: Fatal Throne, a YA collaborative novel, May ’18. Twitter: @LindaSuePark. Website: www.lindasuepark.com.
Eileen Robinson is an independent editor/publisher who loves the power of stories and helping authors revise. She was an executive editor for Scholastic, has worked in educational publishing, school and library, and worked with trade, magazines, book fairs and clubs. She now owns f1rstpages.com, partners with Harold Underdown in Kid’s Book Revisions, and is publisher of Move Books Children’s Publishing.
Jill Santopolo is the editorial director of Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, where she edits many critically-acclaimed, award-winning, and best-selling books, including A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff, The Secret Sky by Atia Abawi, It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going! and She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton (the second illustrated by Alexandra Boiger), The Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron, A Dance Like Starlight by Kristy Dempsey and Floyd Cooper, and Peanut Butter & Cupcake! by Terry Border. Jill is also the author of the Alec Flint Mysteries, the Sparkle Spa series, the Follow Your Heart books, and the internationally best-selling adult novel The Light we Lost. When she’s not writing or editing, Jill is a thesis advisor at The New School in their MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults and has been on the faculty of the Columbia Publishing Course. www.jillsantopolo.com @jillsantopolo
Dan Santat is an award-winning New York Times best selling author/illustrator who has published over seventy books for kids. His titles include the 2015 Randolph Caldecott Medal winning book, The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, the New York Times best-selling titles, Are We There Yet? and After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again. He is also the recipient of the Silver Medal for outstanding illustration from the Society of Illustrators for Oh No! Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World. He has collaborated with many authors including Mo Willems, Dav Pilkey, Mac Barnett, Aaron Reynolds, Michael Buckley, Tom Angleberger, and Gennifer Choldenko. Dan is also the creator of the hit Disney animated series, The Replacements. Visit him at www.dantat.com
Sara Sargent is an executive editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books, where she publishes platform-driven fiction and nonfiction in the picture book, middle grade, and young adult categories. Previously she was an Editor at Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Sara has worked with New York Times bestselling authors Laurie Hernandez, Abbi Glines, Ainsley Earhardt, Rosamund Hodge, and Lisa Maxwell; internationally bestselling author Lily Collins; National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti; and social media influencers StacyPlays, Matthew Espinosa, and Arden Rose. Sara received her Master of Science in journalism from Northwestern University.
Sara Shandler is senior vice president and editorial director at Alloy Entertainment, where she oversees AE’s publishing list and its editorial staff. She has edited many best-selling and critically-acclaimed novels, ranging from mega-hits Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and Everything, Everything to award winners: The Sun is Also a Star, If I Was Your Girl, and American Street. She began her publishing career as the author of the #1 New York Times best seller Ophelia Speaks and holds a BA. from Wesleyan University.
Brooks Sherman is a literary agent with Janklow & Nesbit Associates. He client list includes #1 New York Times best seller Angie Thomas (The Hate U Give), New York Times best seller Adam Silvera (They Both Die at the End), Morris Award winner Becky Albertalli (Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda), acclaimed author/illustrator Sam Garton (I Am Otter), and many more. Brooks is currently on the lookout for middle grade fiction of all genres (especially fantasy and contemporary), young adult fiction of all genres except paranormal romance, and character-driven picture books with an emphasis on humor. Across all categories, he seeks projects that balance strong voice with gripping plot–ones that make him laugh earn extra points! He is particularly drawn to stories that elevate marginalized voices and where contemporary social issues are either prominently centered or woven into the worldbuilding; he prefers nuanced narratives over “issue books.” You can find him sharing publishing perspectives and horrible puns on Twitter at @byobrooks.
Mark Siegel is the creative and editorial director of First Second Books, Macmillan’s graphic novel house. Alongside First Second, Mark is the author and illustrator of several award-winning picture books and graphic novels, including Seadogs, Long Night Moon, To Dance, Moving House, and Sailor Twain, which author John Irving called “a gripping novel with compelling characters, enhanced by haunting, erotically charged artwork.” Mark’s latest project is the collaborative graphic novel 5 Worlds, an epic science fiction series for young readers. The New York Times Book Review hails it as “ . . . a bang-zoom start to a series that promises to be epic in both the classical and internet senses of the word. . . this is a capital-S Saga.”
Erica Rand Silverman is a senior agent at Stimola Literary Studio and is primarily interested in books for and about children. She joined the publishing industry after a decade-long career as a high school teacher and dean. At the moment, Erica is focused on adding new and established author-illustrator talent to her client list. Some forthcoming titles include Shanda McCloskey’s debut Doll-E 1.0 (Little, Brown), I Am Human by Susan Verde (Abrams), Finn’s Feather illustrated by Zoey Abbott (Enchanted Lion Books), Mapping Sam by Joyce Hesselberth (Greenwillow Books), Mika Song’s Picinic With Oliver (HarperCollins) and Chris Gall’s Go for the Moon (Roaring Brook Press). Follow the studio on Instagram @stimolaliterarystudio.
Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi. Her debut novel The Hate U Give is a #1 New York Times best seller and was acquired by the Balzer + Bray imprint of HarperCollins Publishers in a thirteen-house auction. It has received starred reviews from eight literary journals, one of the highest amounts received for a young adult novel, and will be published in over twenty countries. The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly both called it required reading. Film rights have been optioned by Fox 2000 and Temple Hill Productions with George Tillman attached to direct and Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg attached to star. Thomas holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in hip hop.
Nick Thomas is an editor with Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, where he started as an editorial assistant. He also held positions with Bloomsbury, Chicken House, and David Fickling Books before returning to his AALB roots. He edits middle grade and young adult books, and looks for stories that change something about you by the time you’re finished.
Weslie Turner is an assistant editor at Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic. She has worked on children’s books for all ages, including The Lotterys Plus One by New York Times bestselling author Emma Donoghue, Unidentified Suburban Object by Mike Jung, the Cleo Edison Oliver series by Coretta Scott King Award winner Sundee T. Frazier, and the forthcoming YA novel Sparrow by Sarah Moon. She is most interested in diverse middle grade and young adult fiction, especially those with original fantasy and/or science fiction elements.
Harold Underdown is a children’s book editor who has worked both independently and in-house. He does manuscript editing and consulting with authors and publishers, runs The Purple Crayon website (www.underdown.org), and teaches workshops on writing and publishing topics via Kid’s Book Revisions (www.kidsbookrevisions.com). He is also the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books.
Eric Velasquez is an illustrator who was born in Spanish Harlem and grew up in Harlem. He earned his BFA from the School of Visual Arts and has been illustrating for over thirty years. His first picture book, The Piano Man by Debbie Chocolate (Bloomsbury), won the Coretta Scott King-John Steptoe Award for New Talent. In 2010, Eric was awarded an NAACP Image Award for his work in Our Children can Soar. Eric also wrote and illustrated Grandma’s Records and its follow up Grandma’s Gift, which won the 2011 Pura Belpre’ Award for illustration and was also nominated for a 2011 NAACP Image Award. Eric’s latest book, Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford has gathered rave reviews. Eric Velasquez lives and works in New York. He teaches book illustration at FIT (The Fashion Institute of Technology) in New York City. For more information please visit his website EricVelasquez.com.
Phoebe Yeh is a vice president and co-publisher at Crown Books for Young Readers, Random House. She worked with Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen on The Magic School Bus series and with Walter Dean Myers for twenty years. She edited Monster, which was the first Printz winner and the New York Times best-selling series Big Nate by Lincoln Peirce, and The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani. For Crown, she has edited The Catawampus Cat by Jason Carter Eaton, illustrated by Gus Gordon; Lucy & Andy Neanderthal by Jeffrey Brown; Flying Lessons and Other Short Stories in partnership with We Need Diverse Books, edited by Ellen Oh; and Dear Martin by debut author Nic Stone.
Jane Yolen has written close to two hundred picture books–fairy tales, concept books, story books, board and novelty books, family stories, historical picture books, rhymed and unrhymed. Her picture books have won the Caldecott Medal and Caldecott Honors, Golden Kites, and have been on just about every ‘best of’ list you can imagine, and hit the New York Times and Publisher’s Weekly best seller lists, too.
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.
Marietta Zacker is the owner of Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency. She is a literary agent who has worked with books, authors, and illustrators throughout her career – studying, creating, editing, marketing, teaching, and selling. She supports independent bookselling, believes in libraries, and takes pride in her work as a Latina in the world of publishing. She is always on the lookout for visual and narrative stories that reflect the world we live in, not the bubbles in which we put ourselves. She loves books that make readers feel and shies away from those that set out to teach the reader a lesson. Whether she is reading a young adult novel, a middle grade novel, or a picture book, Marietta looks for a book in which young readers can identify with the actions and reactions of the characters, not the perspectives of the author or illustrator. She aims to shine the spotlight on soulful, insightful, well-crafted, literary or commercial projects aimed at any age group. Some of the books she is championing during 2018 include This Is It by Daria Peoples-Riley, Sometimes You Fly illustrated by Jennifer Black Reinhardt, Trace by Pat Cummings, It Wasn’t Me by Dana Alison Levy, and the Narwhal & Jelly series by Ben Clanton.
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 Toys Meet Snow (written by Emily Jenkins). Paul is co-chair of PEN America’s Children’s and Young Adult Book Committee, and a juror for the Ezra Jack Keats Award. His website is www.paulozelinsky.com and his Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/paulozelinsky.illustration. On Instagram and Twitter he is @paulozelinsky.