Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators


Conference Home


Elizabeth Acevedo is the New York Times best-selling author of the groundbreaking teen novel The Poet X, which also won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction and Poetry and the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature. Her second novel, With the Fire on High, arrives this spring. A world-renowned poet, Elizabeth is a National Slam Champion, a Beltway Grand Slam Champion, and the 2016 Women of the World Poetry Slam representative for Washington, D.C. Elizabeth has performed at Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden, the Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts, South Africa’s State Theatre, Bozar in Brussels, and the National Library of Kosovo. Elizabeth has also delivered several TED Talks, and her masterful poetry videos have been featured in Latina Magazine, Cosmopolitan, the Huffington Post, and Upworthy.
Maria Barbo kicked off her editorial career at Scholastic Inc. and is currently a senior editor with HarperCollins Children’s Books, where she acquires high-concept books and series for young readers of all ages.
Sarah Barley is the editorial director of the young adult fiction program at Flatiron Books, a division of Macmillan Publishers. A few of her recent titles include the New York Times best sellers The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert, Caraval and Legendary by Stephanie Garber, and the Stonewall Book Award-winner and Walter Dean Myers Award Honor Book If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo. Her forthcoming titles include His Hideous Heart: 13 of Edgar Allan Poe’s Most Unsettling Tales Reimagined, edited by Dahlia Adler, Tin Heart by Shivaun Plozza, Semper Augustus by Mackenzi Lee, and Enchantée by Gita Trelease.
Phil Bildner is the author of numerous children’s picture books, including the Margaret Wise Brown Prize-winning Marvelous Cornelius, Martina & Chrissie, Twenty-One Elephants, The Soccer Fence, The Hallelujah Flight, and The Unforgettable Season. He is the author of the Rip & Red middle grade series and the co-creator of the New York Times best-selling middle grade chapter book serial Sluggers. Phil spends much of the year visiting schools around the country conducting writing workshops and talking process with students. In 2017, he founded The Author Village, an author booking business that now features a roster of several dozen authors and illustrators.
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
Priscilla Burris is an author/illustrator and the SCBWI US illustrator coordinator and advisor, as well as a member of the SCBWI Board of Advisors. Priscilla has illustrated many books and is the author-illustrator of Hello School!, published by Nancy Paulsen Books, and the illustrator for both the Heidi Heckelbeck (Simon & Schuster) and Humphrey’s Tiny Tales series (G.P. Putnam’s Sons).
Linda Camacho is an agent at Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency. She graduated from Cornell with a BS in communication and has held various positions at Penguin Random House, Dorchester, Simon and Schuster, Writers House, and Prospect Agency. She’s done everything from foreign rights to editorial to marketing to operations, and received her MFA in writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Linda is looking for MG and YA fiction across all genres. She’s also seeking select picture book and graphic novel writer-illustrators.
David Caplan is the VP, creative director for Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (LBYR), where he oversees the design and packaging of all books published by LBYR, including picture books, novelty, licensing/media tie-in, and middle grade and teen fiction. He’s fortunate to have had the honor of collaborating with many of the industry’s finest artists and authors on numerous award-winning and New York Times best-selling picture books and novels. David previously worked at Scholastic, Henry Holt, Simon & Schuster, and HarperCollins.
Nancy Carpenter is the illustrator of dozens of books for children including, Balderdash! by Michelle Markel (an NCTE Notable Children’s Book in Language Arts and CCBC Choices List); Queen Victoria’s Bathing Machine by Gloria Whelan (an ALA Notable children’s book and CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book); Apples to Oregon by Deborah Hopkinson (an ALA Notable children’s book and SCBWI Golden Kite Award winner); and Lucky Ducklings by Eva Moore (a Parent’s Choice Gold Award winner). Her multimedia approach to illustrating has generated numerous honors, including the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award and two Christopher Awards. You can visit her online at
Floyd Cooper has created more than one hundred children’s books and established himself as a master craftsman of children’s literature and illustration. He is the 2009 recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award for The Blacker the Berry. He has also received three Coretta Scott King Honors (Brown Honey and Broomwheat Tea, Danitra Brown, I Have Heard of a Land,) an NAACP Image Award (Mandela), the Jane Addams Peace Honor (Ruth and the Green Book), and the Simon Wiesenthal Gold Medal (Ben and the Emancipation Proclamation). Floyd has also received multiple ALA notables, numerous Bank Street College Book of the Year Honors, Parent’s Choice Honors, several Junior Library Guild Selections, and starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus, and School Library Journal.
Pat Cummings is the author and/or illustrator of over thirty-five books for young readers. Along with teaching children’s book illustration and writing at Parsons and Pratt, she holds a summer Children’s Book Boot Camp that brings writers and illustrators together with top editors and art directors. She sits on the boards of the Authors Guild, the Authors League Fund, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and also serves as Chair of the Founders Award Jury for the Society of Illustrators’ Original Art Show. Her most recent picture book is Beauty and the Beast, retold by her husband, H. Chuku Lee, a founding member of NABJA. Her first middle grade novel, Trace,will be published in 2019. Both titles are with HarperCollins.
Christopher Paul Curtis is the author of nine books for young people, including Bud, Not Buddy; The Mighty Miss Malone; Elijah of Buxton; The Watsons Go To Birmingham—1963; and Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money. In addition to being translated into twelve languages and selling more than seven million copies, his work has been performed as an off-Broadway musical with a score written by Motown legend Lamont Dozier, a motion picture directed by Tony award-winning director Kenny Leon, and a world premier commission presented at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC with music written by Terrence Blanchard. In 2000, Curtis became the first African American male to be awarded the prestigious Newbery medal. His most recent book, The Journey of Little Charlie, was named a 2018 National Book Award finalist.
Sarah Davies was a publisher for twenty-five years before launching Greenhouse Literary in 2008. She’s open to all genres of fiction, from chapter book series through YA, and has recently been doing a brisk trade in nonfiction as well. 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 classically voiced fiction that packs an emotional punch. She’d love to see more international settings, under-represented authors—and any writing or concept that feels fresh and different! Sarah is a member of AAR.
Emma D. Dryden is the principal of drydenbksLLC (, 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,” in which she explores the intertwined themes of life and writing.
  Kate Egan began her career at Scholastic, then spent a decade as a freelance editor before becoming editorial director of KCP Loft, the YA imprint of Kids Can Press. Authors she’s worked with include Cynthia Lord, Tamora Pierce, and Suzanne Collins, as well as Kim Turrisi, Wendy Brant, Lindsay Champion, and Marci Lyn Curtis. Kate is also the author of a picture book, Kate and Nate Are Running Late! (illustrated by Dan Yaccarino), a middle grade series called The Magic Shop(with magician Mike Lane), and too many ghostwritten titles to count.
Andrew Eliopulos (né Harwell) is an executive editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books, focusing on middle grade, YA, and graphic novels. He is honored to work with such authors and illustrators as Noelle Stevenson, the New York Times best-selling author-illustrator of the Eisner Award-winning and National Book Award finalist title Nimona; Adam Silvera, New York Times best-selling author of the ALA Rainbow List Top 10 title, They Both Die at the End; Madeleine Roux, New York Times best-selling author of the Asylum series; Jimmy Cajoleas, author of the Southern Book Prize finalist title, Goldeline; Ethan M. Aldridge, author-illustrator of Estranged; Jerry Craft, author-illustrator of New Kid; Amie Kaufman, author of the Elementals middle grade series; and more. Andrew was named the 2016 Publishers Weekly Star Watch Superstar, and he is a member of the judging committee for the We Need Diverse Books Walter Grants.
Kait Feldmann joined Scholastic in May of 2014 and is now an associate editor at Arthur A. Levine Books, where she is building a list of picture books, graphic novels, and stories in translation from around the world. She is excited to be working with debut authors and illustrators such as Aida Salazar (whom she met at LA SCBWI), Molly Mendoza, Jon Lau, and Sarah Jung. Kait is a proud hapa (mixed-race Chinese) and founding member of People of Color in Publishing. She is a strong advocate for diverse representation on and beyond the page, and is particularly passionate about editing humorous and heartfelt stories featuring kids of color. Follow her on Twitter @kaitfeldmann.
Gilbert Ford has illustrated many New York Times best-selling middle grade novels, including The Secret Series, Three Times Lucky, Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, and A Snicker of Magic. He has also illustrated award-winning picture books, including Mr. Ferris and His Wheel, The Marvelous Thing that Came from a Spring, Soldier Song, and How the Cookie Crumbled.
Marla Frazee was awarded Caldecott Honors for All the World and A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever. She received the Boston Globe­­-Horn Book Award for her wordless picture book The Farmer and the Clown. She is the author-illustrator of The Boss Baby, now a DreamWorks animated feature film; the book’s sequel The Bossier Baby; and the fall 2018 picture book Little Brown; as well as many others. She is also the illustrator of The Seven Silly Eaters, the New York Times best-selling Clementine series, and the picture book It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton.
Jessica Dandino Garrison is a senior editor at Dial Books for Young Readers and has worked with New York Times best-selling and/or award-winning authors Jandy Nelson (I’ll Give You the Sun), Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (The War I Finally Won), Jack Cheng (See You in the Cosmos), Huntley Fitzpatrick (My Life Next Door), Deborah Underwood (the Here Comes Cat series), and Jacky Davis and David Soman (the Ladybug Girl series). Across all genres, Jess looks for nuanced and layered MG and YA fiction that has something to say. She seeks fresh voices, underrepresented points of view, a deep emotional pull, pacey storytelling, rich themes, and genre writing that transcends genre. A dose of moral ambiguity never hurts, nor does a shot of humor. Jess is drawn to character-driven picture books that meld humor and empathy.
Wendi Gu is a literary agent at Janklow & Nesbit Associates. She started her career as an intern at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates and continued working there as a literary assistant after graduation. She soon began representing her own fiction and nonfiction picture books, middle grade, and young adult titles with a special interest in girl power, family relationships, and the immigrant experience. For illustration, she enjoys elegant and eclectic color palettes and looks for nuanced character expression and dynamic composition.
Susan Hawk is a literary agent at Upstart Crow Literary. Her client list includes Alison Oliver (Baby Lit series and Moon), Ruth Spiro (Baby Loves Science series and Made by Maxine), Marcie Colleen (Super Happy Party Bearsseries and Penguinaut!), Lisa Tyre (Hope in the Holler), Rachael Allen (A Taxonomy of Love), and many more. She’s worked in children’s books for over twenty-five years. The past nine years sge worked as an agent; before that she worked as a director of marketing at Penguin Books for Young Readers and Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, and as a children’s librarian and bookseller. Susan is looking for books for children and teens in every category and genre, picture book through YA, including nonfiction and graphic novels. She’s passionate about stories with elegant, precise language; affecting, deeply drawn characters; and a strong sense of place. The thru-line in the projects she takes on is a generous, warm humor that underscores a way of looking at the world. Literary and commercial work is welcome; she loves to be surprised, and is actively seeking diversity in story as well as creators. Learn more at SusanSays and Upstart’s Instagram @upstartcrowlit.
Alyson Heller is a senior editor at Aladdin Books, and imprint of Simon & Schuster. She acquires picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and the occasional YA, but her heart is in contemporary middle grade. She is actively looking for middle grade reads that deal with “tougher” topics, strong female characters who kick butt and take names, and stories across all age ranges that represent the under-represented in our world today. She has been fortunate enough to work on a range of books from nonfiction (Life in Motion: Young Reader Editionby Misty Copeland, The Distance Between Us: Young Reader Edition by Reyna Grande, Never Caught: The Story of Ona Judge, George and Martha Washington’s Courageous Slave Who Dared to Run Away: Young Reader Edition by Erica Armstrong Dunbar and Kathy Van Cleve), to picture books (Cake by Sue Hendra, illustrated by Paul Linnet) to series (Thunder Girls, Goddess Girls for Aladdin QUIX, both by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams), to contemporary MG reads (Star-Crossedby Barbara Dee, Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls trilogy by Beth McMullen). Tweet her @EditorAlysonH.
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 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.
Varian Johnson is the author of nine novels, including The Parker Inheritance, which received four starred reviews and was named a 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award honor book, a Junior Library Guild selection, and a Spring 2018 Kids’ Indie Next List pick, among other accolades. His middle grade caper novel, The Great Greene Heist, has been named to over twenty-five state reading and best-of lists. In addition, Varian has written numerous novels and short stories for YA audiences. He was born in Florence, South Carolina, and attended the University of Oklahoma, where he received a BS in civil engineering. He later received an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, where he now serves as a member of the faculty.
Allyn Johnston is VP & publisher of Beach Lane Books, a San Diego-based imprint of Simon & Schuster. Among the authors and illustrators with whom she works are Mem Fox, Lois Ehlert, Marla Frazee, Jeanette Winter, Jonah Winter, Linda Davick, Cynthia Rylant, Arthur Howard, Debra Frasier, Jan Thomas, Lauren Stringer, Mary Lyn Ray, Amy Schwartz, and K. L. Going. Beach Lane will be ten years old in 2019.
Jarrett J. Krosoczka is an author/illustrator who creates books with humor, heart, and a deep respect for his young readers—qualities that have made his titles perennial favorites on the bookshelves of homes, libraries, and bookstores. First published at the age of twenty-three, Jarrett now has dozens of published books to his credit. Titles include several picture books, his wildly popular Lunch Lady graphic novels, the Platypus Police Squad middle grade novels, and the latest Star Wars™: Jedi Academy books. Jarrett shares his own story of growing up among family addiction in his young adult graphic memoir, Hey, Kiddo, (National Book Award Finalist). He is a two-time winner of the Children’s Choice Book Awards in the Third-to-Fourth-Grade-Book-of-the-Year category, and has been a finalist for the prestigious Will Eisner Comic Industry Award.
Jennifer Laughran joined Andrea Brown Literary Agency in 2007 after a long career as a bookseller, buyer, and event coordinator. Always on the lookout for sparkling YA and middle grade fiction with unusual and unforgettable characters and vivid settings, she loves funny books, thrilling books, romantic books, books that make her cry, and all-around un-put-downable books. Some clients include beloved and award-winning author-illustrators like Giselle Potter, Don Brown, Raul the Third, and Phoebe Wahl; middle grade authors like Daniel Pinkwater, Kate Messner, Alex Gino and Linda Urban; YA authors like Erin Jade Lange, Paula Stokes, Karen Rivers and Ellen Emerson White, among many others. She also has a publishing podcast called the “Literaticast.” Visit for more information.
Kevin Lewis is an agent with the Erin Murphy Literary Agency, primarily focusing on writer-illustrators and diverse voices. Kevin has been a publishing professional for more than twenty-five years and has held positions at Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, and Disney. He has edited such best-selling and award-winning writers and illustrators as Cynthia Rylant, Mark Teague, Dav Pilkey, Angela Johnson, Laurie Halse Anderson, Matt Cordell, Lauren Thompson, Derek Anderson, Jane Dyer, Tony DiTerlizzi, Holly Black, Loren Long, LeUyen Pham, and Kadir Nelson, to name but a few. In addition to editing, he has written close to a dozen picture books, including Chugga Chugga Choo Choo and My Truck is Stuck.
Tricia Lin is an assistant editor at Aladdin Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. She acquires picture books and middle grade novels for Aladdin, as well as young adult novels for Simon Pulse. At Aladdin, she has had the privilege of working with wonderful authors such as Jenn Bishop, Kate Hannigan, and Kevin Sands. Tricia holds a BA in politics from New York University. Follow her on Twitter at @triciaelin.
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 Little Star and the Big Mooncake by Grace Lin; Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Bryan Collier; Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton and Tom Lichtenheld; The Wild Robot by Peter Brown; Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes; The Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer; Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert; 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.
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/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.
Wendy Loggia is a senior executive editor at Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, where she edits middle grade and young adult fiction. Contemporary stories about friendship and family are evergreen favorites, and she also loves magic and whimsy (secret passages below a bookshop? Messages in ancient bottles? Bring it!), and there’s always room on her list for a top-notch mystery. She’s constantly on the search for amazing love stories and nail-biting thrillers that make teens put down their phones (unless they’re reading on them). Wendy has worked with New York Times best-selling authors Ann Brashares, Libba Bray, Lauren Kate, Kiersten White, and Nicola Yoon, and is looking forward to publishing two very different YA debuts in 2019: Erin A. Craig’s House of Salt and Sorrows,and Erin Stewart’s Scars Like Wings.On Twitter follow @wendyloggia and @delacortepress, and on Instagram, @delacortepress and @delacortepresskids
William Low has authored and illustrated Old Penn Station (2007), a children’s picture book about the history of one of New York City’s most infamous buildings; Chinatown (1997); Machines Go to Work(2009); Machines Go to Work in the City(2012); and Daytime Nighttime(2015). His latest book is The Sinking of the Vasa: A Shipwreck of Titanic Proportions(2018) written by Newbery Award-winner Russell Freedman.
Sarah McCabe is an associate editor at Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. She acquires teen books and the occasional middle grade with a focus in the science fiction/fantasy genres. She particularly gravitates toward darker, character-driven stories that discuss “big picture” questions like morality and the nature of good and evil. Recent and upcoming books she’s edited include Lisa Maxwell’s New York Times best seller The Last Magician, Emily Suvada’s This Mortal Coil, and Nicki Pau Preto’s Crown of Feathers. Follow her on Twitter @SarahRMcCabe.
Cornelius Minor is a Brooklyn-based educator who has worked with thousands of students and hundreds of teachers on five continents. Cornelius has taught in the Bronx and Brooklyn and has worked with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project to bring child-centered instruction to all students. His love for comics and admiration for youth culture fuels his approach to teaching. You can connect with him on Twitter at @MisterMinor.
Kelly Murphy grew up in the swamps of southern New England, so it’s no mystery why mystical and dark things still have a strong hold on her. Working predominantly with traditional and mixed media, Kelly places great emphasis on value and color to create a connection with her audience. She currently serves as a senior faculty member at the Rhode Island School of Design.
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 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 Steppin’ Out: Jaunty Rhymes for Playful Times. Her newest work is the chapter book series The Fantastic Framefive illustrated adventure books set in the world’s great paintings. Lin is a recipient of the prestigious Christopher Award and the Eric Carle Mentor Award. Learn more at www.linoliver.comor 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 her website
John Parra is an award-winning illustrator of many books for young readers, including Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos by Monica Brown, named a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book, and Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans by Phil Bildner, which won the SCBWI Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Illustration. His other awards include the ALA Pura Belpré Honors and the Christopher’s Award. Additionally, his books have appeared on Bank Street’s and Smithsonian Magazine’s Best Children’s Books of the Year lists. John’s most recent book, Hey Wall: A Story of Art and Community, with author Susan Verde, was released this past Fall 2018.To learn more visit
Elizabeth Partridge’s nonfiction books for young adults combine social justice, politics, and patriotism. Her books have won numerous awards, including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the ALA Michael L. Printz Award honor, and the SCBWI Golden Kite. Partridge has been a National Book Award finalist and has twice been awarded the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award. Her latest book, Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam, focuses on the men and women who served in Vietnam, as well as the political and social turmoil created by the war.
Rubin Pfeffer is the founder of Rubin Pfeffer Content, LLC, a literary agency focused on children’s content, representing industry luminaries, award winners, and exciting new talents. Previously, Rubin served as president and publisher of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Trade, working with world-renowned writers and illustrators of adult and children’s literature. As SVP and chief creative officer of Pearson, Inc., Pfeffer coordinated programs between Penguin and Pearson’s educational products and services. Later, he joined Simon & Schuster as SVP and publisher of children’s books, overseeing such fine imprints as Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Atheneum, McElderry Books, and the launching of Beach Lane Books.
Tanusri Prasanna is an agent at Foundry Literary + Media representing children’s books and YA. She is looking for well-plotted middle grade and young adult fiction (both contemporary and fantasy) written with heart and humor, and children’s nonfiction across ages. She also finds it hard to resist smart, funny, and meaningful picture books. Across ages and genres, she is passionate about championing books that appreciate and reward children for being the intelligent, curious, and discerning readers they are. Tanusri holds a PhD in jurisprudence and human rights law from Oxford, and an LLM from Harvard Law School. As an immigrant with a family filled with people of varied backgrounds (including Slytherin!), she is always actively seeking books that feature diverse voices, protagonists, and settings. You can learn more about Tanusri at follow her on Twitter @TanusriPrasanna.
Sean Qualls’ books and illustrations often explore history and nonfiction subjects. His fine art focuses on race and identity and the intersection of history and mythology, ultimately examining how we create our own identities or allow them to be scripted for us. Sean’s most recent books include Why Am I Me?, The Case for Loving,and Two Friends,all of which he illustrated with his wife, illustrator/author Selina Alko. He has also illustrated Emmanuel’s Dream(Schneider Award recipient), written by Laurie Ann Thompson; Giant Steps to Change the World,written by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee; and Before John Was a Jazz Giant(Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor), written by Carole Boston Weatherford.
Martha Rago is the executive creative director for Random House Children’s Books. She oversees the art department for all imprints within Random House Children’s Books, which includes Knopf, Delacorte, Doubleday and Random House trade, brand and licensed publishing. At the start of her career as an assistant designer, Martha’s projects introduced her to the legendary Eric Carle and Tomie dePaola which planted the seed of her passion for the picture book. A designer and art director for many years, Martha has worked with a wide variety of artists and finds the collaborative process continually inspiring, whether launching the career of a new discovery or working with an established talent.
Matt Ringler is a senior editor at Scholastic specializing in chapter book, middle grade, and YA fiction. He works on the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine, The Puppy Place series by Ellen Miles, and the Two Dogs in a Trench Coat series by Julie Falatko. His YA list include New York Times best-selling author Goldy Moldavsky’s Kill the Boy Band and No Good Deed, plus It’s Not Me, It’s You and The Date to Save by Stephanie Kate Strohm.
Alexander Slater has been with Trident Media Group since 2010. For many years he oversaw the foreign rights sales of all of Trident’s young adult and children’s projects, which includes the work of R.J. Palacio and Louis Sachar. Now with his own list, he’s kept his focus on YA and middle grade with an eye towards contemporary fiction, light fantasy, narrative nonfiction, and any work in general that expands the ideas of representation in children’s literature. Particularly, his manuscript wish list includes graphic novels, stories that blend genres, and historically underrepresented voices. Some of his clients today include Keah Brown, Jodi Kendall, Adam Perry, and SCBWI’s 2017 Emerging Voices Award Winner Anuradha D. Rajurkar.
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 Me, Not 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
Mekisha Telfer is an associate editor at Roaring Brook Press (Macmillian), where she is building a list of picture books, middle grade, and young adult novels. She got her start in publishing in 2014 as an editorial assistant with Simon & Schuster BFYR/Salaam reads, and has also worked briefly at Glasstown Entertainment. Some titles she’s had the privilege of working on include the New York Times best-selling series To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi, The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi, and Stuart Gibb’s Moon Base Alpha series. Mekisha is committed to supporting unrepresented voices and is always on the hunt for character-driven stories with a mix of humor and heart.
Julia E. Torres is a veteran language arts teacher and librarian in Denver, Colorado. Julia serves teachers around the country by facilitating teacher development workshops rooted in the areas of culturally responsive teaching, anti-racist educational practices, equity and access in librarianship, and education as a practice of liberation. She facilitates reading and writing workshops with students locally and around the country with the goal of empowering them to use literacy to fuel resistance and positive social transformation. Julia serves on several local and national boards and committees promoting educational equity and progressivism. She is the current NCTE secondary representative-at-large, a Heinemann Publications Heinemann Fellow, and Educator Collaborative book ambassador. Teaching, aside from her family, is Julia’s greatest love. Connect with Julia on Twitter @juliaerin80
Weslie Turner is an Associate Editor at Imprint, where she edits children’s books for all ages, including young adults. She loves identity-specific stories from underrepresented creators and especially enjoys original speculative fiction, fantasy, and science fiction. Weslie was previously an assistant editor at Arthur A. Levine Books at Scholastic, where she worked on the Dactyl Hill Squad series by New York Times-bestselling author Daniel José Older, Unidentified Suburban Object by We Need Diverse Books founding member Mike Jung, the Cleo Edison Oliver series by Coretta Scott King Award-winner Sundee T. Frazier, and Sparrow by Sarah Moon. You can follow her on Twitter @WeslieTurner.
Susan Van Metre is the executive editorial director of Walker Books, a new division of Candlewick Press. Previously she worked at Abrams, where she founded the Amulet Books imprint and edited El Deafoby Cece Bell, the Origami Yoda series by Tom Angleberger, the Internet Girls series by Lauren Myracle, They Say Blueby Jillian Tamaki, and the Questioneers series by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts.
Annie Won is the illustrator of The Whispering Rabbit and The Shoemaker and the Elves (Little Golden Books), as well as In the Quiet, Noisy Woods (Doubleday Books). Her illustrations appear in Spider and Ladybug magazines,and her next book from Scholastic will appear in the fall of 2019. Annie teaches illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and at Queens College.
Jane Yolen’s 370th book was published last year, 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, two 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.