Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and the New York Times Best-selling author of twenty-four books, including The Crossover, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal, the Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor, The NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, and the Paterson Poetry Prize. Some of his other works include The Playbook: 52 Rules To Help You Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Of Life; the picture books, Animal Ark, Out of Wonder and Surf’s Up; and novels Booked, He Said She Said, and the forthcoming Solo. www.kwamealexander.com
Laurie Halse Anderson is the New York Times best-selling author who writes for kids of all ages. Known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity, her work has earned numerous national and state awards, as well as international recognition. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists. Laurie was honored with the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award given by YALSA division of the American Library Association for her “significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature…” www.madwomanintheforest.com
Kelly Barnhill is the author of four novels, most recently The Girl Who Drank the Moon, winner of this year’s Newbery Medal. The Witch’s Boy received four starred reviews and was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Awards. Kelly Barnhill has been awarded writing fellowships from the Jerome Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and the McKnight Foundation. Visit her online at www.kellybarnhill.wordpress.com or on Twitter: @kellybarnhill.
Judy Blume is a shining star in the literary universe. Adults as well as children will recognize such Blume titles as: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret; Blubber; Just as Long as We’re Together; and the five book series about the irrepressible Fudge. She has also written four novels for adults, Summer Sisters; Smart Women; Wifey and In the Unlikely Event, all of them New York Times bestsellers. More than 85 million copies of her books have been sold, and her work has been translated into thirty-two languages. A voice for children and children’s literature, she receives thousands of letters a year from readers of all ages who share their feelings and concerns with her. Visit her at judyblume.com or on twitter @judyblume
Barbara Bottner is the author of over forty books in all areas of children’s literature, including YA, middle grade, chapter and I Can Reads as well as her award-winning picture books, several of which have been animated and translated into multiple languages including French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Hebrew. Among her successful recent titles are Miss Brooks Loves Books (a New York Times best seller) and Priscilla Gorilla. Barbara is a highly-acclaimed teacher and mentor, who has helped launch the careers of many of our great children’s writers and illustrators including Laura Numeroff, Antoinette Portis and Peggy Rathmann. Visit www.barbarabottnerbooks.com
Peter Brown has written and illustrated seven picture books, including Mr. Tiger Goes Wild and My Teacher is a Monster, and illustrated two others. His books have earned numerous honors, including two E.B. White Awards, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award, a Children’s Choice Award for Illustrator of the Year, two Irma Black Honors, five New York Times bestsellers and his illustrations for Creepy Carrots, written by Aaron Reynolds, earned Peter a 2013 Caldecott Honor. His first novel for young people is The Wild Robot. Visit www.peterbrownstudio.com.
Bethany Buck is the Editorial Director of Bloomsbury Children’s Books. She was previously the Editorial Director of Sky Pony Press, the children’s imprint at Skyhorse publishing, and a literary agent with Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, representing children’s book authors and illustrators. Buck began her editorial career in the trade division at Scholastic, and was also Vice President, Publisher, in the children’s division of Simon & Schuster for many years.
Priscilla Burris is an author/illustrator and native Californian of Hispanic descent. Creating characters and images from ink, whether in the real world or digitally, Priscilla delights most in bringing out the element of expression, emotion and what’s bursting to be shared from heart and soul and life! She is enthusiastically involved in the SCBWI as National Illustrator Coordinator and advisor, as well as a member of their Board of Advisors, and the SCBWI Illustrator Committee. Learn more about Priscilla at www.priscillaburris.com.
Pablo Cartaya is an author, speaker, actor, and educator. He is the author of the multilingual middle grade novels The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora (starred Kirkus review) and the forthcoming Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish, both published by Viking Children’s Books. He holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, a BA from Loyola Marymount University, and currently serves as lead faculty at Sierra Nevada College’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults (Tahoe). Visit him at: www.pablocartaya.com
Susan Casey, author of Women Invent!, Kids Inventing!, and Women Heroes of the American Revolution, is a nonfiction writer who writes about ordinary people who do extraordinary things. As a frequent keynote speaker, she has presented at the Houston Forum, Edufest, UCLA Women’s Conference, Montana Educators Conference, and others. www.susancaseybooks.com
Nancy Castaldo was awarded the Crystal Kite for Sniffer Dogs: How Dogs (and Their Noses) Save the World. The title also garnered a Kirkus star, inclusion in the NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Books, Maine State Cream of the Crop List, NYC Reads 365, and Bank Street Best Books of the Year. Another nonfiction title, The Story of Seeds, has been equally acclaimed, achieving a star from Booklist and becoming a Junior Library Guild selection. Her recent title, Beastly Brains, received a star from Booklist upon its release in February. Nancy is the Regional Advisor for SCBWI Eastern NY region. Learn more at www.nancycastaldo.com Follow her twitter @NCastaldoAuthor, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
Jamie Weiss Chilton, Senior Agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Inc., represents all categories of children’s books, with a specific interest in picture books, board books and novelty, and teen novels. She is particularly drawn to contemporary stories with a unique perspective, thrillers, comedy, and reality-based science fiction.
Raúl Colón was born in New York City, studied art in Puerto Rico, and is the award-winning illustrator of over thirty books for children. Raúl has received a Golden Kite Award, a Pura Belpré Award, and both a gold and silver medal in the Original Art show. Some of his most beloved titles include Draw!, Gabito, Baseball Is, God Bless Our Troops, and Sugar Cane: A Carribbean Rapunzel .
Nick Confalone is a TV animation and children’s book writer in Los Angeles who has written for Disney, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Hasbro, and PBS. Together with his wife Chelsea, he has written two non-fiction Penguin Young Readers, Ocean Monsters and Helicopters. He has created short digital content on Instagram and Vine for top international brands. This is his second year teaching a website-building intensive for SCBWI. Learn more www.nickconfalone.com
Pat Cummings is the author/illustrator of over thirty-five books for young readers. She also edited the award-winning series Talking With Artists, which profiles prominent children’s book illustrators. She teaches at Parsons and Pratt, and her children’s book illustration class has a growing number of notable illustrator/authors among its graduates. Pat serves on the SCBWI Board of Advisors as well as on the boards of the Authors Guild, the Authors League Fund and the Authors Guild Foundation. Learn more about Pat at www.patcummings.com.
Lucy Cummins is a writer/illustrator, and full-time art director of picture books, middle grade books and young adult novels for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and Paula Wiseman books. She is the art director for numerous New York Times and international bestsellers. She is both art director and illustrator for Stuart Gibbs’s New York Times best-selling middle grade mysteries. Lucy made her author/illustrator debut in 2016 with her picture book A Hungry Lion, or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals. www.lucyruthcummins.com
Erzsi Deak is the founder of Hen&ink Literary Studio, an author, and an editor. She is an editorial agent, pushing her authors and illustrators to go the extra mile to achieve sometimes surprising insights and results. A two-time SCBWI Member of the Year awardee, Erzsi launched the SCBWI France chapter and later went on to run the international arm of the organization, building the SCBWI presence at the largest children’s book fair in the world in Bologna. For more information, please visit www.henandink.com.
Denise Deegan is a hybrid author with novels both traditionally and self-published. Denise’s coming-of-age, historical novel, Through the Barricades won the 2016 SCBWI Spark Award, an annual award that recognizes excellence in children’s books published through non-traditional publishing platforms. Denise’s novels have been published by Penguin, Random House, Hachette and Lake Union Publishing. The three novels in her contemporary young adult series, The Butterfly Novels, published by Hachette, were bestsellers in Ireland. Denise has just self-published the trilogy in territories where she retains rights. www.denisedeegan.wordpress.com.
Emma D. Dryden is the co-author of What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur? (Little Pickle Press) and founder of drydenbks, the premier children’s editorial and publishing consultancy firm she started after twenty-five years as a highly regarded editor and publisher. Emma’s edited over 1,000 books for young readers 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.
Chris Eboch is the author of over forty books for children, including nonfiction and fiction, early reader through teen. Her novels for ages nine and up include The Eyes of Pharaoh, a mystery in ancient Egypt; The Well of Sacrifice, a Mayan adventure; The Genie’s Gift, a middle eastern fantasy; and the Haunted series, about kids who travel with a ghost hunter TV show, which starts with The Ghost on the Stairs. Her writing craft books include Advanced Plotting and You Can Write for Children: How to Write Great Stories, Articles, and Books for Kids and Teenagers. Learn more at www.chriseboch.com.
Arielle Eckstut is the co-founder of The Book Doctors, a company dedicated to helping authors get their books published. She is the co-author of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published: How To Write It, Sell It, and Market It… Successfully (Workman, 2010). Arielle Eckstut has been a literary agent for over 20 years at The Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency. She is also the author of nine books and the co-founder of the iconic brand, LittleMissMatched.
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.
Marla Frazee was awarded a Caldecott Honor for All the World and A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever, and the Boston Globe Horn Book Award for Picture Book for her wordless book The Farmer and the Clown. She is the author/illustrator of The Boss Baby, now a DreamWorks animated feature film, and the book’s sequel The Bossier Baby, 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 upcoming picture book It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton. Visit marlafrazee.com.
Stephanie Garber is the New York Times and Sunday Times best-selling author of the break-out, young adult fantasy Caraval which is one of the publishing success stories of 2017. When Stephanie isn’t writing, she teaches creative writing at a private college in northern California, where she’s been known to turn assignments into games and take students on fieldtrips that involve book signings. She can be found on Twitter @sgarbergirl, or Instagram @stephanie_garber. www.stephaniegarberauthor.com
Alex Gino loves glitter, ice cream, gardening, awe-ful puns, and stories that reflect the diversity and complexity of being alive. Alex’s debut, George, is the Stonewall and Lambda award-winning middle grade tale of Melissa, a transgender girl who the world sees as a boy named George. Alex is working on a new middle grade novel about baby sisters, deafness, racist police violence, and being in alliance with the people in your life. www.alexgino.com
Chris Grabenstein is the author of the #1 New York Tmes best-selling Lemoncello Library series, which began with the hilarious Mr. Lemonchello’s Library. He is the coauthor of several wildly funny and best-selling titles with James Patterson including I Funny, Treasure Hunters, House of Robots, Jacky Ha Ha, and Word of Mouse. The first book of his new series, Welcome to Wonderland; Home Sweet Motel is the recipient of this year’s Sid Fleischman Award for excellence in humor. www.chrisgrabenstein.com
Karen Grencik became a literary agent because of a man she admired. She wanted the world to know his story, so she set out to make that happen. In 2001 she accomplished her goal when Double Luck, Memoirs of a Chinese Orphan, written by Lu Chi Fa with Becky White, was published by Holiday House. Double Luck received many awards, including The Parents’ Choice Gold Award for Best Nonfiction. Karen’s next sale, George Hogglesberry, Grade School Alien, written by Sarah Wilson, was acquired by a brand new editor, Abigail Samoun, at Tricycle Press. George Hogglesberry went on to win the coveted Golden Kite Award for Best Picture Book Text. Many other award-winning titles followed. In June 2011 Karen joined forces with Abigail Samoun to open Red Fox Literary, LLC, a boutique agency that specializes in children’s book for all ages and genres. Karen has made the Top 10 Picture Book Agents list for the past four years, and she looks forward to helping authors achieve their dreams and to bringing many more enchanting children’s books to the bookshelves.
Bruce Hale is the author/illustrator of over thirty-five seriously funny books for kids. This Edgar-nominated author’s series include the popular Chet Gecko Mysteries, School for S.P.I.E.S., and Clark the Shark, which recently turned up in a McDonald’s Happy Meal (not the way you’re thinking). His Murder, My Tweet won a Little D Award for Humor Writing, and Snoring Beauty was one of Oprah’s Recommended Reads for Kids. www.brucehale.com
Deborah Halverson is the award-winning author of Writing New Adult Fiction and Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies, as well as the teen novels Big Mouth and Honk If You Hate Me, the picture book Letters to Santa. Formerly an editor at Harcourt Children’s Books, Deborah is a freelance editor specializing in young adult/middle grade fiction, New Adult fiction, and picture books. She is also the founder of the popular writers’ advice site DearEditor.com, and edits the SCBWI Market Survey. Learn more at www.DeborahHalverson.com.
Ellen Hopkins is a poet and the award-winning author of eleven New York Times best-selling young adult novels-in-verse and three adult novels. Her recent YA books include Traffik (McElderry Books) and the New York Times best-selling The You I’ve Never Known (McElderry Books). She is a current SCBWI Board member. Visit www.ellenhopkins.com.
Ramón Hurtado is a contemporary landscape and genre painter living in Los Angeles. He studied drawing and painting under Will Weston, Glenn Vilppu and Adrian Gottlieb while earning a BA at USC. He subsequently spent a year in Washington DC studying with Robert Liberace. His current work explores the everyday mysteries of life in Los Angeles. Ramón has exhibited at Principle Gallery, the National Cowboy Museum, the Autry National Center and the USC Fisher Museum. He currently teaches drawing and painting at the Safehouse Atelier and the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art. www.ramonhurtado.com
Stacy Innerst’s picture books have earned numerous honors including the BCCB Blue Ribbon, two Parents’ Choice Gold Medals, and a Smithsonian Notable Book Citation. His illustrations for The Music in George’s Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue, written by Suzanne Slade (Boyds Mills), received the 2017 Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Illustration. Visit www.stacyinnerst.com.
Zareen Jaffery joined S&S Books for Young Readers in February 2011, focusing on commercial and literary young adult and middle grade fiction, as well as teen nonfiction. Zareen works with a number of New York Times best-selling and critically acclaimed authors including Jenny Han, Lilliam Rivera, Claire Legrand, Octavia Spencer, and Andrew Solomon. In 2016, she began acquiring for Salaam Reads, an imprint that focuses on publishing books about Muslim children and families. Zareen served as a member of the CBC Diversity Committee, and is currently a co-chair of the Diversity within ALSC Task Force. Prior to Simon & Schuster, Zareen worked at HarperCollins Children’s Books and Hyperion books. Zareen is a graduate of New York University.
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, Linda Davick, Cynthia Rylant, Debra Frasier, Arthur Howard, Jan Thomas, Lauren Stringer, Mary Lyn Ray, Amy Schwartz, and K. L. Going.
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… and her true favorites are all of the above. Some clients include 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 others. Visit www.andreabrownlit.com.
Kara Levin is a first time children’s book author and clinical psychologist. Dr. Levin’s debut picture book, Soldier, won the 2016 SCBWI Spark Award, an annual award that recognizes excellence in children’s books published through non-traditional publishing platforms. Kara juggles being a psychologist, writer, and mother of twin seven-year-old sons. Visit www.littlewoodenflute.com.
Kendra Levin is an executive editor 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 bestseller Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton, Printz Honor winner The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry, Theodor Seuss Geisel award winner Don’t Throw It to Mo! by David A. Adler, Society of Illustrators Gold Medal winner The Lost House by B.B. Cronin, and the work of authors including Janet Fox, Deborah Freedman, and others. 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 www.kendracoaching.com and follow her @kendralevin.
Arthur A. Levine Books launched in 1997, is celebrating twenty years as 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 L.A.!)
Tricia Lawrence is the “Pacific Northwest branch” of EMLA—born and raised in Oregon, and now lives in Seattle. After twenty-two years of working as a developmental and production-based editor (from kid’s books to college textbooks, but mostly college textbooks), she joined the EMLA team in March 2011 as a social media strategist. As an agent, Tricia represents picture books/chapter books that look at the world in a unique and unusual way, with characters that are alive both on and off the page, and middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction that offers strong worldbuilding, wounded narrators, and stories that grab a reader and won’t let go. www.trishlawrence.com
Arianne Lewin is an Executive Editor at G. P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Random House. She edits picture books, middle grade novels and young adult fiction. Her recent projects include Rachel Hawkins’s novel for middle-graders, Journey’s End, and the New York Times bestselling 5th Wave series by Rick Yancey.
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, winning an Emmy Award. Currently, at Simon & Schuster, Laurent art directs picture books, middle-grade, and teen novels, including Moon’s Almost Here, by Tomie dePaola; DRAW!, by Raúl Colón; Better Nate Than Ever, by Tim Federle; and the Rot & Ruin YA series by Jonathan Maberry. Laurent is on the Board of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and is Artistic Advisor for the annual Original Art exhibit at the Society of Illustrators in New York. He is also an author and illustrator: his illustrated teen novel is Draw the Line. Find him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter: @LaurentLinn, and www.LaurentLinn.com.
Michelle Markel is the author of several notable nonfiction picture books, including The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau, (PEN Steven Kroll Picture Book Writing Award), Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 (Jane Addams Flora Stieglitz Award; Orbis Pictus Honor), Tyrannosaurus Math (Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choice). Her latest title is Balderdash: John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books. Michelle teaches classes in writing for children at UCLA Extension’s Writers Program, gives lectures, workshops and school presentations, and is a founding member of the Children’s Authors Network. Visit her website at www.michellemarkel.com.
M’Ladies of the Book is a critique group consisting of Alison Berka, Amanda Conran, Darcey Rosenblatt, Elizabeth Shreeve, Lisa Schulman and Shannon Ledger. Most of the group met over a decade ago at SCBWI events. Focusing on Middle-Grade and Young Adult fiction they meet regularly at their local independent bookstore, Book Passage, in the San Francisco Bay Area. When they came together all were beginning their writing careers. This summer all but their newest member will have at least one book published. Led by Darcey Rosenblatt, they will discuss the ups and downs, secrets, and celebrations of their unique literary marriage.
Stephen Mooser, President of the SCBWI, is the author of nearly sixty books for children. He began as the author of a number of reading programs including those for SWRL/Ginn, ABC, and Harcourt, but most readers know Stephen for his trade books, which began with the publication of 101 Black Cats (Scholastic) in 1975, and continues through his most recent series, Goofball Malone, Ace Detective. He has written in every genre: picture books (The Ghost with the Halloween Hiccups), to series books (The Creepy Creature Club; It’s a Weird, Weird School), to nonfiction (Lights! Camera! Scream!), to novels (Elvis Is Back and He’s in the Sixth Grade).
Vanessa Brantley Newton is a picture book creator, whose joyful works include such titles as Mary had a Little Glam, The Youngest Marcher, and Let Freedom Sing. When she read Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, it was the first time she saw herself in a children’s book. It was a defining moment in her life, and has made her into the artist she is today. As an illustrator, she includes children of all ethnic backgrounds in her stories and artwork. She wants all children to see their unique experiences reflected in the books they read, so they can feel the same sense of empowerment and recognition she experienced as a young reader. Visit www.vanessabrantleynewton.com.
Lin Oliver is a children’s book author and writer-producer of television series and movies for children. With Henry Winkler, she writes the New York Times best-selling book series Hank Zipzer: World’s Best Underachiever, which is also a hit television series on the BBC, and its spin-off chapter book series Here’s Hank. She is the author of the Who Shrunk Daniel Funk quartet, and Sound Bender and The Shadow Mask, adventure/science fiction middle grade novels she coauthored with Theo Baker. She has written two highly praised poetry collections Little Poems for Tiny Ears and Steppin’ Out: Jaunty Rhymes for Playful Times, both illustrated by Tomie dePaola. Lin’s newest work is the high-octane chapter book series The Fantastic Frame. She is the co-founder and Executive Director of SCBWI, and a recipient of The Christopher Award. Visit www.linoliver.com and @linoliver on Twitter.
Linda Sue Park began her writing life as a poet and believes that the many years of composing poetry have had a greater effect on her work than anything other than reading. She is the author of A Single Shard, awarded the Newbery Medal in 2002, and A Long Walk to Water, which has been on the New York Times bestseller list for over a year and a half, as well as many other titles for young readers, including rhyming picture books. Her newest works are Wing & Claw and Yaks Yak. Learn more at www.lindasuepark.com.
Miranda Paul is an award-winning children’s author of both fiction and nonfiction. Her creative nonfiction picture books One Plastic Bag and Water is Water were both named Junior Library Guild selections, and her bedtime romp 10 Little Ninjas was an Amazon Best Book of the Month. Her titles have received starred reviews from School Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly in addition to being named to several award and state reading lists. Forthcoming titles in 2017 include Blobfish Throws a Party, Are We Pears Yet? and The Great Pasta Escape. Miranda is a co-founding member and current mentorship chair for We Need Diverse Books™. Learn more at www.mirandapaul.com.
Nancy Paulsen is the President and Publisher of Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers. The imprint publishes fifteen books a year and focuses on eye-opening, often funny picture books and middle grade fiction from diverse and distinct voices, especially stories that are inventive and emotionally satisfying. New York Times bestsellers she has edited include National Book Award and Newbery Honor Winner Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt, and Miss Maple’s Seeds by Eliza Wheeler. Other award-winning titles include Coretta Scott King Honor Winner Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson and E.B. Lewis; Looking at Lincoln by Maira Kalman and Leaves by David Ezra Stein.
Alexandra Penfold began her career in publishing as a children’s book publicist at Simon & Schuster. For eight years she served as an editor at Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster working on award-winning books for young readers of all ages. She is currently a literary agent with Upstart Crow Literary representing children book authors and illustrators as well as select adult projects. She’s especially drawn to projects that make her laugh, think and feel. 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, and the forthcoming titles: Food Truck Fest, illustrated by Mike Dutton and The Littlest Viking, illustrated by Isabel Roxas. Visit her at www.alexpenfoldbooks.com and follow her on Twitter @AgentPenfold
Rubin Pfeffer has 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 S&S BFYR, Atheneum, McElderry Books and the launching of Beach Lane Books. Pfeffer founded Rubin Pfeffer Content, LLC, a literary agency focused on children’s content, representing industry award-winners and luminaries. RPC Content takes great pride in introducing new, emerging, and diverse voices in children’s writing and illustrating to the children’s books community. Visit www.rpcontent.com.
LeUyen Pham is a best-selling author/illustrator and the creator of over ninety books for children. Over her career, she has illustrated books with such notable personalities as Academy Award winner Julianne Moore, Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu, and actress Marlo Thomas. Her many books include the best-selling series The Princess in Black written by Shannon and Dean Hale, New York Times Best-selling Grace for President by Kelly DiPuccio, the Alvin Ho series by Lenore Look, and Vampirina Ballerina by Anne Marie Pace, soon to be a Disney channel series. She has also illustrated a number of graphic novels, including The Prince of Persia and Templar by Jordan Mechner, co-illustrated by her husband Alexandre Puvilland, and the soon-to-be-released Real Friends, by Shannon Hale. Her own books include best-selling Big Sister, Little Sister, A Piece of Cake, and her latest The Bear Who Wasn’t There. www.leuyenpham.com
Joy Preble is the author of a medium-long list of young adult novels including the Dreaming Anastasia series, the Sweet Dead Life series, and Finding Paris. Her newest novel, It Wasn’t Always Like This, was called “epic and addictive” by Beautiful Creatures’ author Kami Garcia and “a suspenseful treat with a gooey romantic center” by the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. She teaches writing at Writespace Houston and is also the Children’s Specialist at Houston’s Brazos Bookstore. Visit Joy at joypreble.com or follow her on Twitter @joypreble
Sean Qualls is an award-winning, Brooklyn-based, children’s book illustrator, artist and author. His books include: Giant Steps to Change The World by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis-Lee, Little Cloud and Lady Wind by Toni Morrison and her son Slade, and Before John Was a Jazz Giant, for which he received a Coretta Scott King Illustration Honor. Sean also created the art for Dizzy by Jonah Winter and most recently Freedom Song (The Story of Henry “Box” Brown) by Sally Walker. His work has received two Blue Ribbon citations from the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. Sean draws inspiration from an array of influences such as movies, television, childhood memories, aging and decaying surfaces, architecture, nature, folk art, fairy tales, Americana, black memorabilia, outsider art, cave paintings, collectibles, African art, golden books, vintage advertisement graphics, mythology, science fiction, and music. He lives in lives in Brooklyn with his wife, illustrator/author Selina Alko. Visit www.seanqualls.com.
Quressa Robinson joined the D4EO Literary Agency in 2016 after working as an editor for five years. She represents a wide range of literature in the adult and YA market and is actively building her client list. Quressa was an acquiring editor at St. Martin’s Press, where she edited both fiction and nonfiction. Her acquisitions include Certain Dark Things (a Publishers Weekly Fall Announcement Top 10 Pick and B&N Staff Pick) and The Beautiful Ones, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia; Spells of Blood and Kin (which received a starred PW review) by Claire Humphrey; and The Atlas of Forgotten Places by Jenny D. Williams. She is an alumnus of the University of California Santa Cruz, and Columbia University’s MFA program. www.d4eoliteraryagency.com
John Rocco is the author and illustrator of Wolf! Wolf!, winner of the Borders Original Voices Award for best picture book; Moonpowder; Super Hair-O and the Barber of Doom, and Blackout, a New York Times Best Book of the Year, and the winner of a Caldecott Honor. Rocco also illustrated Whoopi Goldberg’s Alice and the covers for Rick Riordan’s multi-million copy internationally best-selling series Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Kane Chronicles, and The Heroes of Olympus. Most recently, Rocco illustrated the #1 New York Times Bestsellers Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods and Greek Heroes. www.roccoart.com
Jennifer Rofé has been an agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency for ten years. She represents projects ranging from picture books to YA, with middle grade being her soft spot. Some of Jennifer’s clients include Meg Medina author of the Pura Belpré Award-winning novel Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass and Burn Baby Burn; Christina Diaz Gonzalez, author of The Red Umbrella and A Thunderous Whisper; Joy Preble, author of The Sweet Dead Life series; Crystal Allen, author of How Lamar’s Bad Prank won a Bubba-Sized Trophy and the forthcoming Mya series; Kathryn Fitzmaurice, author of the middle grade The Year the Swallows Came Early; and Denise Doyen, author of the picture book Once Upon A Twice. Jennifer also represents author/illustrators Eliza Wheeler (Miss Maple’s Seeds) and Mike Boldt (I Don’t Want to be a Frog). Visit www.andreabrownlit.com.
Aisha Saeed is a founding member of We Need Diverse Books. Her novel Written in the Stars was listed as one of the 30 best YA books of all time by Paste Magazine, a best book of 2015 by Bank Street Books, a 2016 YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, and was awarded the top ten books all Young Georgians Should Read 2016. Her middle grade novel will be published in summer 2018. Aisha is also a contributing author to the anthologies Love Inshallah, Faithfully Feminist, and the forthcoming YA Anthology Our Stories, Our Voices in Summer 2018. Visit www.aishasaeed.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 Tikes bestselling author Laurie Hernandez, New York Times bestselling author Abbi Glines, New York Times bestselling author Rosamund Hodge, National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti, actress Lily Collins, and social media influencers Matthew Espinosa and Arden Rose. Sara received her Master of Science in journalism from Northwestern University. You can find her online at sarasargent.wordpress.com.
Tammi Sauer is a full time children’s book author has sold twenty-nine picture books to major publishing houses including Disney*Hyperion, HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Penguin Random House, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, and Sterling. In addition to winning awards and garnering starred reviews, Tammi’s books have gone on to do great things. Chicken Dance has been made into a musical and is currently on a national tour, Nugget & Fang was a featured book at the 2015 Scholastic Book Fair, and Your Alien, an NPR Best Book of 2015, was recently released in Italian, Spanish, Korean, and French which makes her feel extra fancy. Visit www.tammisauer.com.
Ruta Sepetys is an internationally acclaimed author of historical fiction published in over fifty countries and thirty-six languages. Sepetys is considered a “crossover” novelist as her books are read by both students and adults worldwide. Her novels, Between Shades of Gray, Out of the Easy, and Salt to the Sea are all New York Times bestsellers and are currently in development for film and television. Ruta is an SCBWI success story and two-time recipient of the Golden Kite Award.
Kelly Sonnack is a Senior Literary Agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. She represents works for all age ranges and a wide assortment of genres. Some of the novels Kelly has represented include SCBWI Sue Alexander winner and NYT bestselling Sharon Cameron’s newest, The Forgetting (Scholastic), David Elliott’s novel-in-verse Bull which received seven starred-reviews (HMH/Houghton), and Courtney Stevens’ upcoming Dress Codes for Small Towns (HC/HarperTeen). Picture books she’s sold include Mustache Baby written by Bridget Heos and illustrated by Joy Ang (HMH/Clarion), Ashlyn Anstee’s Are We There Yeti? (S&S), and Alastair Heim’s No Tooting at Tea (HMH/Clarion). She also represents graphic novels including James Burks’ Bird and Squirrel series (Scholastic/Graphix) and Mike Lawrence’s Star Scouts series (Macmillan/First Second). She has a strong list of illustrator clients including Joy Ang, Kimberly Gee, Simone Shin, and Kim Smith. Kelly teaches and is on the Advisory Board for UC San Diego’s certificate in Writing and Illustrating for Children and is the founder of the City Heights Young Writers Workshop. @ksonnack agentsonnack
Michael Stearns is the founder of Upstart Crow Literary, an agency specializing in children’s literature. A former editorial director for HarperCollins, he has edited hundreds of best-selling, award-winning novels and picture books for children, including A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly; Gone and Hunger by Michael Grant; Whales on Stilts! By M.T. Anderson; the Young Wizards series by Diane Duane; the Chet Gecko mysteries by Bruce Hale; and a whole slew of books by Bruce Coville, Jane Yolen, and others. He also runs a book packager called the Inkhouse, where he co-created the #1 best-selling series Fallen, the international best-selling Bliss bakery trilogy, as well as a dozen other titles. Under the pen name Carter Roy, he is the author of the award-winning middle grade fantasy adventure trilogy the Blood Guard. www.upstartcrowliterary.com
Javaka Steptoe, once a model and inspiration for his father, the late award-winning author/illustrator John Steptoe, New York Times best-selling author/illustrator Javaka Steptoe has established himself as an outstanding talent in his field. His beautiful biography of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Radiant Child, was this year’s Caldecott recipient, and winner of the Coretta Scott King Illustration Award. Other notable titles include What’s Special About Me, Mama? and Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow. Javaka uses everyday objects to deliver reflective and thoughtful collage creations filled with vitality, playful energy, and strength. www.javaka.com
David Henry Sterry is the best-selling author of sixteen books, the co-founder of The Book Doctors and the co-author of The Essential Guide To Getting Your Book Published. His first book was translated into a dozen languages and his last book appeared in the front cover of the Sunday New York Times Book Review. He’s been featured everywhere from The London Times to The Wall Street Journal to NPR’s Morning Edition.
Melissa Stewart is the award-winning author of more than 180 nonfiction books for children, including Can an Aardvark Bark?; No Monkeys, No Chocolate; and Feathers: Not Just for Flying. She maintains the blog Celebrate Science (www.celebratescience.blogspot.com) and serves on the board of advisors for the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators. www.melissa-stewart.com
Nova Ren Suma is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of the YA novel The Walls Around Us, which was a finalist for an Edgar Award and was named a Best Book of 2015 by The Boston Globe, NPR, School Library Journal, the Chicago Public Library, and The Horn Book. She also wrote the YA novels Imaginary Girls and 17 & Gone and the middle grade novel Dani Noir, and her next novel is forthcoming from Algonquin Young Readers in 2018. She has an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and has been awarded fiction fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo. She currently teaches the Writing for Children & Young Adults MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Visit her online at novaren.com.
Cynthia Surrisi is the author of the middle grade series The Quinnie Boyd Mysteries published by CarolRhoda: The Maypop Kidnapping (2016), Vampires On the Run (2017), and A Side of Sabotage (to be published 2018). The Maypop Kidnapping received the Gold Medal Moonbeam Children’s Book Award for Middle Grade Mystery for 2016. She has a BFA, JD, and MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She teaches Writing for Children and Young Adults at UNCA in the Great Smokies Writing Program. Visit cmsurrisi.com, on Twitter and Instagram @csurrisi, and on Facebook @cmsurrisi.
Marvin Terban is a popular children’s book author and veteran teacher. Called “a master of children’s wordplay” by ALA Booklist and “Mr. English for Kids” by the Children’s Book-of-the-Month Club, he has written thirty-eight best-selling books about the English language. Three of them have sold more than one million copies each. He is also Scholastic’s “Professor Grammar.” A long-time member of SCBWI, he was voted Member of the Year in 2005. Known for his lively, informative, and fun presentations, he is a popular speaker at conferences across the United States and abroad.
Kate Testerman founded KT Literary in early 2008, after more than a decade in New York publishing. While she concentrates on middle grade and young adult fiction, the agency also represents adult genre fiction, including romance, science fiction, and fantasy, as well as some select narrative nonfiction for teens. Her clients include Maureen Johnson, Stephanie Perkins, Amy Spalding, Trish Doller, Ellen Booraem, Susan Adrian and Matthew Cody. Kate’s interests range from contemporary drama, urban fantasy and magical realism, to adventure stories and romantic comedies. KT Literary is committed to finding diverse stories and Own Voices. Kate is an active member of the SCBWI and AAR, and blessed (or cursed) with a surfeit of optimism. www.ktliterary.com
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.
Kim Turrisi began her career in film and television. After a year of on-set production, Kim segued to the development side of the business. First working as a development executive at Columbia-Tri-Star and eventually shepherding many projects in family entertainment for Disney, Viacom and Hallmark. Kim created and wrote an online web series for which she won a Daytime Emmy. She wrote for ABC Family’s webisode series, Pretty Dirty Secrets, an internet companion piece to smash hit Pretty Little Liars. As the Director of Special Projects for the Society of Book writers and Illustrators, reading children’s literature is a big part of her job. Her debut YA novel Just a Normal Tuesday is loosely based on the author’s own experience. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @kimmyt22. Check out her website www.kimturrisi.com.
Lisa Wheeler is the award-winning author of over 35 children’s books including Even Monsters Need to Sleep and the popular Dino-Sports series. Lisa’s book, The Christmas Boot, is the 2017 SCBWI Golden Kite Award winner for Picture Book Text. Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum is the 2017 Michigan Reads! One Book, One State Children’s Book Program recipient. Her other awards include The Michigan Mitten, Texas Bluebonnet, and the Theodore Geisel Honor given by the American Library Association. Check out Lisa’s website at: www.lisawheelerbooks.com
Suzanne Morgan Williams has given hundreds of school and library presentations across the US and Canada. A former teacher, she creates programs for pre-K through adult—from demonstrating Chinese inventions, to writing with veterans, to assemblies on sharing your story—that actively connect her books to her readers. Suzanne doesn’t wait for invitations or funding to come to her. She finds them. www.suzannemorganwilliams.com
Kat Yeh is the award-winning author of middle grade novels, The Truth About Twinkie Pie (an NPR Best Book of 2015) and The Way to Bea (coming Sept, 2017) from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, as well as the picture book, The Friend Ship, from Disney-Hyperion. Kat will be delivering the Crystal Kite keynote address, an honor bestowed on the recipients of SCBWI’s Crystal Kite Award. Learn more about Kat at katyeh.com. P.S. You pronounce her last name YAY!
Eugene Yelchin is one of those unique people who is both writer and illustrator. As an illustrator, his picture books include the ALA Notable Won Ton and its sequel, Won Ton and Chopstick, (written by Lee Wardlow), and Heart of a Snowman (Written by Mary Kuryla). His newest picture book, The Spring Hare, is both written and illustrated by Eugene. Yet Breaking Stalin’s Nose, his illustrated novel, won the Newbery Medal for excellence in writing. This year, his illustrated novel, The Haunting of Falcon House, was awarded The Golden Kite in middle grade fiction. www.eugeneyelchinbooks.com
Cecilia Yung is Executive Art Director & Vice President at Penguin Books for Young Readers where she oversees illustration and design for two imprints, G. P. Putnam’s Sons and Nancy Paulsen Books. She is fortunate to have worked with some of the major illustrators of children’s books, but the highlight of her work is to discover and develop new talent. She is on the Board of Advisors of SCBWI, as well as a member of its Illustrators’ Committee.
Paul O. Zelinsky has illustrated thirty-odd books for children, written some of them, and been awarded numerous honors, including the Caldecott Medal for Rapunzel and three Caldecott Honors. His most widely-known book is probably the movable Wheels on the Bus; the most recent is Z is for Moose (written by Kelly Bingham), which received a star from all six star-giving trade journals. Paul is co-chair of PEN America’s Children’s and Young Adult Book Committee, and a juror for the Ezra Jack Keats Award. Visit www.paulozelinsky.com.
Sona Charaipotra is a journalist and author who has written for everyone from The New York Times to TeenVogue. The co-founder of CAKE Literary, a boutique book packager with a decidedly diverse bent, she spends much of her time poking plot holes in shows like Pretty Little Liars— for work, of course. She’s the co-author of the dance dramas Tiny Pretty Things and Shiny Broken Pieces. She’s proud to serve as VP of content for We Need Diverse Books. Find her on Twitter @sona_c, or on the web at www.SonaCharaipotra.com
Jolie Stekly is a freelance writer and novelist, teacher, fitness instructor and former SCBWI co-Regional Advisor of the Western Washington Chapter. She now directs the fall retreats for the region. One of Jolie’s greatest honors was being awarded SCBWI’s 2009 Member-of-the-Year.
Jaime Temairik’s debut picture book, How to Negotiate Everything, written by award-winning novelist Lisa Lutz, was published in 2013. She’s part of SCBWI’s TEAM BLOG, which covers SCBWI International Conferences (TEAM BLOG also covers Smothers Brothers songs). During the summer, Jaime teaches Illustrating Children’s Picture Books for the University of Washington Extension program and she plans to blog about the class (and the doughnuts she brings to class) at www.cocoastomp.blogspot.com.
Lee Wind, M.Ed., is the official blogger for SCBWI (www.scbwi.blogspot.com) and Captain of SCBWI’s Team Blog. His award-winning personal blog, I’m Here. I’m Queer. What The Hell Do I Read? has had over 2 million visits and is one of only four sites linked from the American Library Association’s Rainbow Books website. His interviews and articles about children’s literature, social media, and diversity are widely published, and he has moderated panels at KidLitCon, the CA School Library Association, The LA Times Festival of Books and SCBWI Conferences. A writer of picture books through young adult, he is represented by Danielle Smith of Lupine Grove Creative. Visit www.leewind.org.