Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

NY20 Faculty

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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 at @halseanderson, Instagram at halseanderson, and Facebook at lauriehalseanderson, or by visiting her website,
Derrick Barnes is the author of the critically acclaimed picture book Crown: An Ode To The Fresh Cut (Denene Millner Books/Agate Bolden) which won a multitude of literary awards:  two 2018 Ezra Jack Keats Awards,  the Coretta Scott King Author Honor, the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor, the Newberry Honor, and the Caldecott Honor. Derrick is also the author of the bestselling chapter book series Ruby and the Booker Boys (Scholastic). His 2011 middle grade hardcover classic We Could Be Brothers was rereleased in paperback in 2017 by Just Us Books. His latest book, The King of Kindergarten, was published by Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin in July of 2019 to great reviews and sales success.
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. He is the author of The Wild Robot and The Wild Robot Escapes. His newest picture book is Creepy Pair of Underwear, another collaboration with Aaron Reynolds. For more information, visit
Patrice Caldwell is an agent at the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and the founder & fundraising chair of People of Color in Publishing–a grassroots organization dedicated to supporting, empowering, and uplifting racially and ethnically marginalized members of the book publishing industry. Patrice was a children’s book editor before shifting to agenting. She represents middle grade through adult, fiction and nonfiction. In 2018, she was named a Publishers Weekly Star Watch honoree and featured on The Writer’s Digest podcast and Bustle’s inaugural “Lit List” as one of ten women changing the book world. Her anthology, A Phoenix First Must Burn–16 stories of Black Girl Magic, Resistance, and Hope–is out March 10, 2020 from Viking Books for Young Readers. Visit Patrice online at, Twitter @whimsicallyours, and Instagram @whimsicalaquarian.
Mary Cash is vice president and editor-in-chief at Holiday House Publishing, Inc. She has worked with Patricia Reilly Giff, the late Russell Freedman, Ethan Long, and James Ransome among many others. Some of the books she recently enjoyed editing are News from Me, Lucy McGee by Mary Amato, Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome, and 27 Magic Words by Sharelle Byars Moranville.

Lian Cho is a Taiwanese illustrator who is currently based in Brooklyn. She is a recent graduate of the School of Visual Arts where she illustrated Newbery Award winner Erin Entrada Kelly’s fantasy debut, Lalani of the Distant Sea in her junior year. Since graduating she has begun illustrating three picture book projects slated for release in 2020 and 2021 from Greenwillow Books and Dial Books for Young Readers. Lian loves creating charismatic characters in colorful compositions while exploring a variety of mediums and exciting narratives. 

Lesa Cline-Ransome’s first book was the biography Satchel Paige, an ALA Notable Book and a Bank Street College “Best Children’s Book of the Year.” She later created a number of picture book biographies including Young Pele, Words Set Me Free, Just a Lucky So and So, and Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams.  Her verse biography of Harriet Tubman, Before She Was Harriet received five starred reviews, was nominated for an NAACP image award, and 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.  The sequel, Leaving Lymon will be released in Spring 2020.  Many of Lesa’s books have been illustrated by her husband and frequent collaborator, James Ransome.
Sarah Davies was a publisher for 25 years before launching Greenhouse Literary in 2008. She’s open to all genres of fiction from chapter-book series through YA, and has lately been doing a brisk trade in non-fiction too. She also represents picture books and adult fiction by existing clients.  Among Greenhouse’s authors are New York Times best sellers Megan Miranda and Brenna Yovanoff, plus a host of writers with other accolades and starred reviews. In YA she seeks quality writing complementing a unique and hooky premise. In MG she enjoys classic-voiced fiction that packs an emotional punch. She’d love to see more international settings and under-represented authors – and any writing or concept that feels fresh, different and engrossing!  Sarah is a member of AAR.
Susan Dobinick is Senior Editor, Nonfiction at Bloomsbury Children’s Books where she works on projects ranging from picture books up through young adult (and the occasional adult to children’s adaptation). Some recent projects include Boston Globe-Horn Book Nonfiction Award winner This Promise of Change by Jo Ann Allen Boyce and Debbie Levy; National Book Award finalist 1919 The Year That Changed America by Martin W. Sandler; ALA Notable book Something Rotten by Heather L. Montgomery, and NAACP Image Award finalist We Are Not Yet Equal by Carol Anderson with Tonya Bolden. She’s always looking for new projects that feature original research, underrepresented histories, fascinating science, kid-friendly approaches, and unique crafting and formats.
Emma D. Dryden is the principal of drydenbks LLC (, a premier children’s editorial and publishing consultancy firm she founded after twenty-five years as a renowned editor and publisher. Emma has edited over one thousand books for children and young readers and consults with authors, illustrators, agents, editors, publishers, start-ups, and app developers. She is the co-author of the award-winning picture book What Does it Mean to be an Entrepreneur? (Sourcebooks) and is on the Board of Advisors for SCBWI. She is a sought-after teacher of writing craft, revision, the art and business of children’s books, and all aspects of children’s book writing and publishing. Follow Emma and drydenbks online at Twitter @drydenbks, on Facebook at, and through her blog “Our Stories, Ourselves.”
Chelsea Eberly is an agent at Greenhouse Literary Agency, where she represents authors of middle grade, young adult, graphic novels, and women’s fiction, as well as writer-illustrators of picture books. As a former Senior Editor at Penguin Random House, she edited award-winning and New York Times best-selling authors such as Tamora Pierce, Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Sarah J. Maas, Matt de la Peña, Mark Siegel, Julia Walton, Tae Keller, and Jessica Cluess to name a few. She has a deep understanding of how publishers think and is an expert advocate for her clients. Chelsea is also a Publishers Weekly Star Watch Honoree, which recognizes “the rising stars of the US publishing industry.” Follow her on Twitter at @chelseberly and discover more about what she’s looking for at
Melissa Frain is a senior editor at Tor Books, a division of Macmillan, where she acquires and edits bestselling and award-winning fiction for the Tor and Tor Teen lines. Authors she works with include Jennifer L. Armentrout, Kendare Blake, Cora Carmack, Charlotte Nicole Davis, Sarah Henning, Sara B. Larson, Kim Liggett, Veronica Rossi, and Kristen Simmons.

Ellen Goldsmith-Vein is the founder and CEO of The Gotham Group, the only major management/production company in Hollywood owned solely by a woman. Ellen and The Gotham Group represent some of the most creative minds in the entertainment industry including top directors, writers, producers, authors, illustrators, and publishers. Gotham has numerous relationships with publishing stalwarts such as Little, Brown and Simon & Schuster for film and television projects. Many publishers and literary agents look to Gotham to help find film and television homes for their material. As a producer, Ellen recently produced the film Stargirl, based on the best-selling novel by Jerry Spinelli. Gotham produced The Maze Runner franchise for FOX, as well as the Netflix 2018 film Kodachrome. Ellen was nominated for a Primetime Emmy and won an Annie Award for Creature Comforts, the US version of the acclaimed UK series.

Vashti Harrison is the author-illustrator of the New York Times best-selling book Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History and the illustrator of the Cece Loves Science series and Sulwe, written by Lupita Nyong’o. Vashti earned her MFA in Film/Video from CalArts and her BA from the University of Virginia. She has a background in cinematography and screenwriting and a love for storytelling. She is passionate about crafting beautiful stories in both the film and kidlit worlds.
Brett Helquist has illustrated many books for children, including the bestselling series, A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. He is also the illustrator of the picture books Guitar Genius: How Les Paul Engineered the Solid-Body Electric Guitar and Rocked the World by Kim Tomsic and Martina & Chrissie: The Greatest Rivalry in the History of Sports by Phil Bildner, among others. Visit him at
  Connie Hsu is an executive editor at Roaring Brook Press at Macmillan Publishing and a member of the Brooklyn Book Festival Children’s Planning Committee. Books on her list include the best sellers Be KindReal Friends, and After the Fall, Caldecott Medal winner The Adventures of Beekle, Caldecott Honor book Leave Me Alone!, and Sid Fleischman Humor Award winner Stella Diaz Has Something to Say.
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. Al 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 did too, 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.
Beth Kephart is the award-winning author of nearly thirty books, an award-winning teacher of memoir and fiction at the University of Pennsylvania, and the co-founder of Juncture Workshops. Her essays appear in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Catapult, Literary Hub, Ninth Letter, North American Review, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhere. More at
Kirby Kim is an agent with Janklow & Nesbit. He attended Pomona College and got his JD at UC Hastings College of the Law. Kirby got his first job in publishing working for Charlotte Sheedy Literary, at that time an affiliate of Sterling Lord Literistic. He’s been at Janklow & Nesbit for the last 5 years. Kirby represents both literary and commercial authors, for adults and children. He’s most interested in receiving manuscripts that straddle the fence a bit, with upmarket expression combined with a genre element or plot device. Some of his authors include Cecil Castellucci, Sherri Smith, Peter Bognanni, Seth Fishman, and Ben Tripp.  Kirby is currently a board member of the Asian American Writers Workshop.

Tiara Kittrell is an assistant editor at Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins and has been a member of the team since 2017. She graduated from UPenn with a BA in English and Psychology and was previously a marketing assistant at Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. Tiara is currently looking to acquire picture books, middle grade, and young adult fiction and nonfiction across all genres. She has a big ole soft spot for genre hybrids, stories that subvert their genres, and stories representing people of historically underrepresented backgrounds.
Emma Ledbetter is editorial director of picture books at Abrams Books for Young Readers. She joined Abrams in 2018 following eight years at Simon & Schuster. Emma has worked with award-winning and bestselling authors and illustrators such as Tomie dePaola, Christian Robinson, Jillian Tamaki, LeUyen Pham, and Molly Idle, and is honored to have edited many acclaimed picture books including Christian Robinson’s author-illustrator debut, Another; Sergio Ruzzier’s wonderfully offbeat Good Boy; and IdaAlways by Caron Levis and Charles Santoso. She looks for a wide range of fresh, insightful, diverse picture books, and is especially fond of Edward Gorey, Ruth Krauss, and Frances the Badger. See some of the books she’s edited and books she loves at; bonus points if you can decipher her Frances-related Twitter handle, @brdnjamforemma.
Marcia Leonard is a freelance children’s book editor, consultant, and author and serves as Senior Advisor for The Original Art, an annual exhibition of children’s book illustration at The Society of Illustrators in New York City. She was the first hire at Cricket magazine when it began publication in LaSalle, Illinois, and after moving to New York, she worked as an editor, agent, publicist, project manager, and book packager—all in the field of children’s publishing. She was also co-owner of Small Packages, Inc., serving as author, editor, and/or co-producer of over 150 books for young readers.
Peter Lerangis is the author of more than 170 books, which have sold more than 6 million copies and have been translated into 34 different languages. These include nine New York Times best sellers: all five books of The Seven Wonders series, all of his contributions in The 39 Clues series (co-authored with Rick Riordan, Gordon Korman, and Jude Watson), and The Dead of Night, Book 3 in The 39 Clues: Cahills Vs. Vespers series.  His novel Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am, a collaboration with Harry Mazer, was selected for the 2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults list. Peter is also the author of the YA novel wtf, and the Drama Club series. His novel Smiler’s Bones, was selected as a New Yok Public Library Best Books for Teens. Among his most popular titles are the Spy X and Watchers series, the two-book Antarctica adventure, a series of humorous chapter books (Abracadabra), two young-adult thrillers (The Yearbook and Driver’s Dead), and four middle-grade novels (Spring Fever, Spring Break, It Came from the Cafeteria, and Attack of the Killer Potatoes.
Kendra Levin is the editorial director of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Before joining the Simon & Schuster team in 2019, she spent fourteen years at Viking Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, where she edited a wide range of children’s literature including the National Book Award longlisted New York Times best seller SHOUT by Laurie Halse Anderson, New York Times best sellers Girls Who Code by Reshma Saujani and Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton, and many others. Her books have received such awards as the Printz Honor (The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry), the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award (Don’t Throw It to Mo! by David A. Adler), the Society of Illustrators Gold Medal (The Lost House by B.B. Cronin), and more. A regular contributor to Psychology Today, Kendra has been working with writers as a certified life coach for over a decade and is the author of self-help book The Hero Is You. Visit her at and follow her @kendralevin.
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 with the handle @planetalvina and is on Instagram @alvinaling.
David Linker is an executive editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University’s creative writing program as well as Oberlin College, Linker has worked in children’s publishing for more than two decades at places such as HarperCollins, innovativeKids, Disney Publishing Worldwide, and The Princeton Review.
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. Laurent is on the SCBWI Board of Advisors 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 and builder in Jim Henson’s Muppet Workshop, creating characters for productions including the Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island films. He eventually became the creative director for the Sesame Street Muppets, winning an Emmy Award.
Rafael López is the two-time #1 New York Times best-selling illustrator of Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You by Sonia Sotomayor and The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson. He secured two Pura Belpre Medals for illustration from the American Library Association and was honored with the Silver Medal from the Society of Illustrators New York. His work seeks to bring diverse characters to children’s books and he is driven to produce and promote books that reflect and honor the lives of all young people.
William Low has authored and illustrated Old Penn Station, a children’s picture book about the history of one of New York City’s most infamous buildings; Chinatown; Machines Go to Work; Machines Go to Work in the City; and Daytime Nighttime. His latest book is The Sinking of the Vasa: A Shipwreck of Titanic Proportions, written by Newberry Award-winner Russell Freedman. Visit him at
Lily Malcom is the V.P., 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 new 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, Dory Fantasmagory, Blue Sky White Stars, Dragons Love Tacos 2, and Life on Mars. Lily is on Twitter as @lil_design.
Kate Messner is passionately curious and writes books that encourage kids to wonder, too. Her titles include award-winning picture books like Over and Under the Snow, Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, and How to Read a Story; novels like The Seventh Wish, Breakout, and Chirp; the Fergus and Zeke easy reader series with Candlewick, Scholastic’s popular Ranger in Time chapter book series; and multiple works of nonfiction, including Insect Superpowers, The Next President, Tracking Pythons and the soon-to-be-released History Smashers series with Random House. Before becoming a full-time writer, Kate was a TV journalist and National Board certified middle school English teacher. Follow her on Twitter @KateMessner and check out her website,
Sally Morgridge is an editor at Holiday House. She loves working with authors on chapter books, middle grade, and YA. Recent highlights include YA fantasy debut Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West (Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of the Year) and middle grade mystery Ra the Mighty: Cat Detective (Edgar Award Nominee). An upcoming project she’s excited about is Middle School Bites, a middle grade series by SpongeBob SquarePants head writer Steven Banks. The best submissions to send her way will have distinct, memorable voices and fully realized characters. She’s also a big fan of sneaky mysteries, heart-stopping plots, funny writing, and beautiful imagery, and she is forever looking for properly shocking twists in literary novels.
Christopher Silas Neal is an award-winning author and illustrator of picture books including Over and Under the Snow with author Kate Messner, which was praised for its “stunning retro-style illustrations” (New York Times), Over and Under the Pond, Up In the Garden, and Down in the Dirt. Christopher’s author debut, Everyone was praised by Publisher’s Weekly as “simple, honest, lyrical”. His board book series (Animals Colors, Animal Shapes) received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus. Christopher creates book jackets, art for magazines, and posters. He speaks about his books, the art making process, and his career at schools, conferences, libraries, and book festivals across the country.
Chrissy Noh is the senior marketing director at Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, where she has marketed picture books, middle grade, and teen books for 12 years. Previously she was at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

Lin Oliver is the co-founder and executive director of SCBWI. She is also the author of over forty children’s books. With Henry Winkler, she writes the New York Times best-selling 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. This year marks the launch of their new comedy series, Alien Superstar, from Abrams Books, which debuted at #5 on the New York Times best seller list. Lin’s collection of poetry, illustrated by Tomie dePaola, the highly praised Little Poems for Tiny Ears is a becoming a perennial for babies and toddlers.  The fifth and final volume of her Fantastic Frame chapter book adventure series from Penguin Workshop is a Christmas, 2019, release. A much credited film and television writer-producer, Lin is also the recipient of the prestigious Christopher Award and the Eric Carle Mentor Award. Learn more at or follow Lin on Twitter @linoliver, or on Instagram @linoliver22.
Linda Sue Park has spent her whole life hunting for tools and tactics to trick herself into writing and revising stories—a quest that has resulted in more than two dozen books, including the 2002 Newbery Medal winner, A Single Shard, and the New York Times best seller A Long Walk to Water. She now shares those strategies at schools and conferences to help others delude themselves into becoming better writers. The daughter of Korean immigrants, she lives in western New York and is honored to serve on the advisory boards of SCBWI and We Need Diverse Books. Find Linda Sue on Twitter @LindaSuePark and at her website,
Ann Whitford Paul is the author of the revised and expanded Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide from Story Creation to Publication and of over twenty picture books, including the popular series If Animals Kissed Good Night, If Animals Said I Love You, If Animals Celebrated Christmas, and If Animals Went to School, with two more titles coming. Other books include Word Builder, Manaña Iguana (three more in this series), and, in print over twenty-six years, Eight Hands Round a Patchwork Alphabet.
Miranda Paul is an associate agent at the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. She is also the award-winning author of more than a dozen picture books including One Plastic Bag, Water is Water, Little Libraries, Big Heroes and Nine Months, a Boston Globe Horn Book Honor title for nonfiction. She is a co-founding member of the nonprofit organization We Need Diverse Books and currently serves as its mentorship chairperson. As an agent, she has her sights on globally-minded writers and writer-illustrators who are able to craft geeky-yet-wildly-entertaining manuscripts that bring science to lay audiences, make her laugh out loud, or have a strong social justice bent. She’d also love to represent novels, memoirs, or nonfiction projects that are philosophically and emotionally gripping.
Alexandra Penfold is a literary agent with Upstart Crow Literary Agency and the New York Times best-selling author of All Are Welcome, illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman. She represents works for all age ranges and across genres. Some of the books Alexandra has represented include SCBWI Golden Kite winner Boats for Papa by Jessixa Bagley, Be the Change by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus, illustrated by Evan Turk, and Quackers by Liz Wong. Clients include New York Times best-selling illustrators, Elizabeth Baddeley and Suzanne Kaufman, and authors, Bethany Hegedus, Adam Lehrhaupt, and Stephanie Ledyard, among others. Alexandra is the author of several books for children: Eat, Sleep, Poop, illustrated by Jane Massey, We Are Brothers, We Are Friends, illustrated by Eda Kaban, The Littlest Viking, illustrated by Isabel Roxas, and Food Truck Fest, illustrated by Mike Dutton. Find her on Twitter @agentpenfold or

Jerry Pinkney has been illustrating children’s books since 1964, illustrating over one hundred titles. His books have been translated into sixteen languages and published in fourteen countries, and he has been the recipient of a Caldecott Medal, five Caldecott Honors, and five New York Times “Best Illustrated Books.” He has received five Coretta Scott King Awards, and four Coretta Scott King Honor Awards. Furthermore, he has received numerous awards for his body of work. In 2003, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University; in 2010, the Doctorate of Fine Arts, honoris causa from the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, Lancaster, PA; and in 2012, an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Bank Street Graduate School of Education in New York. Jerry was also a United States nominee for the 1997 Hans Christian Andersen Illustration Medal, recognizing those whose complete works have made a lasting contribution to children’s literature. In 2013, he was the recipient of the Distinguished Arts Award at the Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Pennsylvania. 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.

Paul Rodeen is the founder of Rodeen Literary Management. Rodeen’s clients have received many accolades, notably, two Caldecott Honors; Peter Brown, for the picture book Creepy Carrots, and Lauren Castillo, for her picture book Nana in the City, and a Newbery Honor; Victoria Jamieson, for her graphic novel, Roller Girl. Two clients have also been awarded Ezra Jack Keats Honors; Julia Sarcone-Roach, a new writer honor, for picture book The Bear ate Your Sandwich, and Ryan Higgins, a new illustrator honor, for picture book Mother Bruce. And two clients have also received Theodore Seuss Geisel awards; Josh Schneider for Tales for Very Picky Eaters, and Ethan Long for Up Tall and High.
Sergio Ruzzier is a picture book author and illustrator who began his career in 1986. Sergio was born in Milan, Italy, in 1966, and began his career as an illustrator in 1986. His work has been awarded by American Illustration, The Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts, and The Society of Publication Designers. He won the Parents’ Choice Gold Medal for The Room of Wonders and for his illustrations for Why Mole Shouted. Sergio was also the recipient of the 2011 Sendak Fellowship. His early reader/comic book Fox+Chick: The Party and Other Stories received the 2019 Geisel Honor. Most recently he illustrated Ruth Krauss’ picture book Roar Like a Dandelion.
Judy Schachner can’t remember a time when she was not drawing and like most budding artists, she doodled on everything, including her father’s bald head. She drew herself into stories where she was the smartest in her class and into a family where mothers lived to be a ripe old age.  Described by the New York Times as “something like the James Joyce for the elementary school set,” Judy is the #1 New York Times best-selling author/illustrator of over 27 books for children including Stretchy McHandsome, the Skippyjon Jones series, Bits & Pieces, Sarabella’s Thinking Cap, Dewey Bob, Yo Vikings, The Grannyman, and Willy and May. She has won many awards including the first E. B. White Read Aloud Award.


Heidi E.Y. Stemple didn’t want to be a writer when she grew up. In fact, after she graduated from college, she became a probation officer in Florida. It wasn’t until she was twenty-eight years old that she gave in and joined the family business, publishing her first short story in a book called Famous Writers and Their Kids Write Spooky Stories. The famous writer was her mom, author Jane Yolen. Since then, she has published about twenty-five books, including Counting Birds, Fly With Me, You Nest Here With MeNot All Princesses Dress In Pink, and two Fairy Tale Feasts cookbooks, as well as numerous short stories and poems, mostly for children. Her website is
Nick Thomas is a senior editor at Levine Querido, a newly founded independent children’s book publisher, who loves to edit every type of book under the sun. Authors on the upcoming LQ launch list he has had the honor of working with include Darcie Little Badger, Eric Gansworth, and Donna Barba Higuera (the latter of whom he met through SCBWI)!
Doug Whiteman is the sole proprietor of The Whiteman Agency, a boutique literary agency representing around twenty authors and illustrators.  Doug has thirty-seven years of experience in the publishing industry, including fifteen years at the helm of Penguin Books for Young Readers.  His book-related experience also includes the management of a retail bookstore, several years as a sales rep, heading a trade sales department, and teaching in the NYU Masters in Publishing program.
Jane Yolen is the author of 379 books and at least half of those are picture books. (She’s also written two cookbooks, six graphic novels, well over eighty novels, ten music books, lots of nonfiction, plenty of poetry collections, and has edited anthologies of short stories and poetry.) Along the way her work has garnered a Caldecott, Caldecott Honor, three SCBWI Golden Kite Awards, three Mythopoetic Awards, two World fantasy awards, and many state awards. She has been given six honorary doctorates for her body of work from colleges and universities, as well as the Kerlan Award, the De Grummond Medal, Smith College Medal, the Catholic Library Regina Medal, the Jewish Book Award, and an award from the Massachusetts Senate. She was the first writer to win the New England Public Radio’s Arts & Humanities Award, and the first women to give the Andrew Lang lecture at the University of St. Andrews since the series began in 1927.
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 an agent at Gallt Zacker Literary Agency. She supports independent bookselling, believes in libraries, and takes pride in her work as a Latina in the world of publishing. Marietta seeks 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 a lesson. 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. Diversity in the story must be inherent and authentic, not trendy. She is thrilled to shine the spotlight on books like Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen, Queen Bee & Me by Gillian McDunn, Brown Baby Lullaby by Tameka Fryer Brown, and Joni: The Lyrical Life of Joni MitchelL by Selina Alko.