Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators




Silvia Acevedo is a children’s book author and winner of SCBWI’s Spark Award for excellence in independent publishing. She’s also co-founder of Fantasy Art Workshop’s Illustration Intensive, a week-long retreat for illustrators.  Silvia loves all things magical. She was thrilled when her mythological fantasy God Awful Rebel won the Spark, and she’s positively giddy that her short story will represent Wisconsin in the upcoming anthology Haunted States of America, a joint venture of Holt/Macmillan and SCBWI. Silvia also worked in publishing, most recently in Manhattan in Scholastic’s trade division. Before that, she guided programming at Inkluded, a non-profit championing diversity within publishing. She also interned at New York literary agency Writers House while leading the Wisconsin chapter of SCBWI.  Visit her at
Elana K. Arnold is the author of many books for and about children and teens. Her novel, Damsel, was a 2018 Michael L. Printz Honor award winner. Her novel What Girls Are Made Of was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award in Young People’s Literature and the winner of the Golden Kite Award, among other honors. Her middle grade novel A Boy Called Bat was a 2018 Global Read Aloud selection. Elana’s books have been listed on numerous best lists and earned many awards, including Junior Library Guild Selections, an ALAN pick, several selections for the Rise: A Feminist Book Project, a Westchester Fiction Award, a Bank Street Book of the Year, and a Gold Medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award. Elana holds a BA in comparative literature from the University of California at Irvine and a master’s degree in English and creative writing/fiction from UC Davis, where she has taught creative writing and adolescent literature. She teaches in the MFAC program at Hamline University and lives in Southern California.

Jessixa Bagley is a children’s book author-illustrator with a background in fine art and comics. She has had work featured in publications such as: New American Paintings, The Chicago Reader, Nickelodeon Magazine, and Highlights Magazine. Her first picture book, Boats for Papa, received numerous awards and accolades, including the 2016 SCBWI Golden Kite Award for best picture book text and a 2016 Washington State Book Award. Her picture book Laundry Day received a 2018 Ezra Jack Keats Honor Award for writing. Many of her picture books are also Junior Library Guild Selections. In her work, she often is drawn to animals and emotional themes often inspired by her own experiences. Alongside her books and comics, Jessixa also teaches and speaks about writing and illustration. She often illustrates for other writers and artistically collaborates with her husband, Aaron Bagley.
  Amy June Bates is the illustrator of over 50 books. Some of her books include The Dog Who Belonged To No One by Amy Hest; Bear in the Air by Susan Meyers; Ketzel, The Cat Who Composed by Lesléa Newman; Sweet Dreams by Jewel; and Hillary Clinton: Dreams Taking Flight by Kathleen Krull. In 2018, she published her first author-illustrated book, The Big Umbrella.
Lexie Bean (they/he) is a queer and trans multimedia artist from the Midwest whose work revolves around themes of bodies, homes, cyclical violence, and LGBTQIA+ identity. They are a Jerome Hill Artist Fellow, member of the RAINN National Leadership Council with 10+ years of facilitation experience, and a Lambda Literary Award Finalist for Written on the Body for their work with fellow trans survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Their debut novel The Ship We Built is noted as the first middle grade book at a major American publisher centering a trans boy to be written by one. Their work has been featured in Teen Vogue, the New York Times, The Feminist Wire, Ms. Magazine, Them, Logo’s New Now Next, Bust Magazine, and more.
Winsome Bingham is a soul food connoisseur and master cook (at dinner parties, reunions, and get-togethers). She is a teacher by trade, an author by choice, and a disabled military veteran by circumstance. She received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She has more than 15 years of teaching experience. You can find her writing on a deck while waiting patiently with a camera to capture a submarine shooting out of the water or acquiring and editing manuscripts that will one day find its placement on bookshelves around the world.
  Valerie Bolling is the author of Let’s Dance!, a 2021 SCBWI Crystal Kite award winner and CT Book Award finalist. In 2022 Valerie is happy to welcome Together We Ride (April) and Ride, Roll, Run: Time for Fun! (October). Sequels to these books (Together We Swim and Bing, Bop, Bam: Time to Jam!) as well as a Scholastic early reader series, Rainbow Days are slated for 2023.  A graduate of Tufts University and Columbia University, Teachers College, Valerie has been an educator for almost 30 years. She currently works as an Instructional Coach for Greenwich Public Schools and is on the faculty at Westport Writers’ Workshop. She is also a WNDB mentor and deeply immersed in the kidlit writing community, particularly involved with SCBWI, the 12X12 Picture Book Challenge, Black Creators HeadQuarters, and Diverse Verse.
David Bowles is the award-winning author and translator of more than two dozen books for children and teens, among them They Call Me GüeroMy Two Border Towns, and The Sea-Ringed World. His work has been published in multiple anthologies, plus venues such as the New York Times, School Library Journal, Translation Review, and the Journal of Children’s Literature. In 2019, David co-founded the activist movement Dignidad Literaria to fight for the literary and cultural dignity of Latinx people in US publishing and education. He presently serves as the vice president of the Texas Institute of Letters.

Martha Brockenbrough is an author of over twenty books for children and young adults. She graduated from Stanford University, where she studied English and Classics and was the editor in chief of the Stanford Daily. She has worked as a journalist, a teacher, the editor of, a question writer for Cranium and Trivial Pursuit, and now teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she serves as co-chair of the Writing for Children Young Adults department. A lifelong Seattle resident, Martha has written two books for adults and twenty-one books for young readers.

Mahogany L. Browne, selected as Kennedy Center’s Next 50, is the Executive Director of JustMedia, Artistic Director of Urban Word, and a writer, playwright, organizer, & educator. Browne has received fellowships from Arts for Justice, Air Serenbe, Cave Canem, Poets House, Mellon Research & Rauschenberg. She is the author of recent works: Vinyl Moon, Chlorine Sky, Woke: A Young Poets Call to Justice, Woke Baby, and Black Girl Magic. Founder of the diverse lit initiative Woke Baby Book Fair, Browne’s latest poetry collection Chrome Valley (Norton) due to drop Spring 2023 is a promissory note to survival. She is the first-ever poet-in-residence at the Lincoln Center and lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Kayla Cichello is an agent with Upstart Crow Literary, open to picture books through YA and illustrators. She’s searching for voices that can make her laugh and keep her turning the page, but above all else, voices that feel authentic and honest. Some of her clients include Ana Otaru, author of the upcoming picture book Masquerade for Grandpa (Atheneum/S&S, 2023), and a follow up in 2024, and author-illustrator Kirbi Fagan, illustrator of Summer of the Tree Army (Sleeping Bear, 2021). You can find more about Kayla’s taste at
Ernesto Cisneros is the nationally acclaimed author of Efrén Divided. He was born and raised in Santa Ana, California, where he still teaches.  As an author, he believes in providing today’s youth with an honest depiction of characters with whom they can identify. Efrén Divided is an Indies Introduce/Next Pick, Amazon Top MG of 2020 So Far list, and is a ProjectLit Selection, and winner of the 2020 Poppy Award in MG, 2 International Latino Book Awards, as well as the prestigious 2021 Pura Belpré Medal and an SCBWI Crystal Kite Award in 2021. Instagram: cisne.writes Twitter: @Author_Cisneros. Website:

Dhonielle Clayton is a New York Times best-selling author.  She’s written a myriad of books such as The Belles series, The Mirror: Shattered Midnight, and The Marvellers. She’s the co-author of Blackout and Whiteout, and the Tiny Pretty Things duology, a Netflix original series. She hails from the Washington, D.C. suburbs on the Maryland side. She taught secondary school for several years, and is a former elementary and middle school librarian. She is COO of the non-profit We Need Diverse Books, and President of Cake Creative, an IP story kitchen dedicated to diverse books for all ages. You can find her on social media @brownbookworm
  Brandy Colbert is the award-winning author of several books for children and teens, including Black Birds in the Sky: The Story and Legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, which was a finalist for the American Library Association’s Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction Award; Stonewall Book Award winner Little & Lion; and The Only Black Girls in Town. Her books have been chosen as Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selections and have been named to many best-of lists, including the ALA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults and Notable Children’s Books. Her writing has been published in the New York Times, and her short stories and essays have appeared in several critically acclaimed anthologies for young people. She is on faculty at Hamline University’s MFA program in writing for children and lives in Los Angeles.
  Bryan Collier is a beloved illustrator known for his unique style combining watercolor and detailed collage. He is a four-time Caldecott Honor recipient for Trombone ShortyDave the PotterMartin’s Big Words, and Rosa. His books have won many other awards as well, including six Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards. His recent books include By and By,ThurgoodThe Five O’Clock Band, and Between the Lines.
Pat Cummings is the author and/or illustrator of over 40 books. She also teaches children’s book courses at Pratt Institute and Parsons. Her summer Children’s Book Boot Camp introduces writers and illustrators to top editors, art directors, and agents. Pat serves on the boards of the Authors Guild, the Authors League Fund, the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, the Advisory Council of SCBWI, and as Chair of the Founders Award Jury for the Society of Illustrators’ annual Original Art Show. Pat’s most recent books include her debut middle grade novel, Trace, and the picture book, Where is Mommy? Find her at or on Twitter @PatCummingsBook.
  Emma D. Dryden established her premier children’s editorial and publishing consultancy firm, drydenbks, in 2010 after two decades as a highly regarded children’s book editor and publisher with Simon & Schuster and Random House. During her tenure as VP, Publisher of Atheneum and Margaret K. McElderry Books, she oversaw the annual publication of more than one-hundred hardcover and paperback titles. Over the course of her thirty-six-year career, Emma has edited more than 1,000 books for children and young readers, many of which have received numerous awards and medals, including but not limited to the National Book Award Honor, Newbery Honor, and Caldecott Honor, and which have hit bestseller lists in USA Today, the New York Times, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, as well as other national publications. Emma is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators’ Advisory Council. She teaches numerous writing and craft workshops around the world and can be found online at
Raissa Figueroa is a children’s book illustrator based in San Diego, California. She loves taking early morning walks to greet the sun before it rises and gathering inspiration from the beauty of nature that surrounds us.
Jane Friedman has spent nearly twenty-five years working in the book publishing industry, with a focus on business insights for authors. She is the editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential publishing industry newsletter for authors, which was named 2020 Media Outlet of the Year by Digital Book World. Learn more at
  Elena Giovinazzo is vice president and senior agent at Pippin Properties, although she always thought she’d be an English teacher. That is, until the day she realized (later than she cares to admit) that books came from someplace and that there were jobs in those places. She immediately set out to find one of those jobs. After attending the Publishing Institute at the University of Denver, she worked her way through positions in subsidiary rights and marketing, until she landed at Pippin in June of 2009 and never looked back. She has been mining the queries for gold and jewels ever since.
  TeMika Grooms is a writer and children’s book illustrator with a passion for sharing stories. She currently serves as the U. S. Illustrator Coordinator with a goal of supporting regional Illustrator Coordinators as they develop programs for their local members. Most recently, TeMika was selected to be a 2021 We Need Diverse Books Illustration Mentee and a member of the 2021 Cohort for the Highlights Foundation and The Brown Bookshelf Amplify Black Stories Program.  She illustrated the nonfiction book Save the Crash-test Dummies by Jennifer Swanson and she is anticipating the release of her next illustrated children’s book in 2022. Learn more about her work at
Deborah Halverson is the award-winning author of Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies and Writing New Adult Fiction, as well as numerous teen novels, books in a series for struggling readers, and a picture book. Formerly an editor at Harcourt Children’s Books and now a freelance editor specializing in picture books and Young Adult/Middle Grade fiction and nonfiction, Deborah has been working with authors—best-sellers, veterans, debut, and aspiring—for twenty-five years. She is also the founder of the popular writers’ advice site and serves on the advisory board for the UC San Diego Extension “Children’s Book Writing and Illustrating” certificate program.; Twitter: @Dear_Editor; Insta: deareditordotcom & deborahhalversonbooks; Facebook: DearEditorcom & DeborahHalverson.
 Pamela N. Harris is an author of books for young adults. A former school counselor by day, she received her BA in English and a Master’s in school counseling at Old Dominion University, her MFA in creative writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University, and a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision at William and Mary. Her debut novel, When You Look Like Us, is an Odyssey Award winner for Excellence in Audiobook Production for Young Adults, as well as the winner of SCBWI’s Golden Kite Award for Young Adult Fiction.  It is also an NAACP Image Award nominee (2022) for Outstanding Literary Work: Youth/Teens, and a 2022 Edgar Award nominee for Best Young Adult novel. Pamela’s next young adult novel, This Town is on Fire, is set to be released in 2023. 
Vashti Harrison is a #1 New York Times best-selling author-illustrator originally from Onley, Virginia. She has a background in cinematography and screenwriting and a love for storytelling. She received her MFA in Film and Video from CalArts where she rekindled a love for drawing and painting. Now, utilizing both skill sets, she is passionate about crafting beautiful stories for children and young adults in the kidlit world. She is the author and illustrator of the best-selling middle grade books Little Leaders, Little Dreamers, Little Legends, and the illustrator of the best-selling picture books Hair Love by Matthew Cherry, Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o – which received a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor – and Hello, Star, written by Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic. Vashti is also a two-time recipient of the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for Children.  I Love You Like Yellow, by Andrea Beaty, is her latest book. @vashtiharrison.
  Leanne Hatch is the author and illustrator of Unraveled and Rosie and the Pre-Loved Dress. She was a grand prize winner of the portfolio showcase at the 2021 SCBWI Winter Conference after winning awards at other national and regional portfolio competitions. That same year, she won the SCBWI Narrative Art award depicting the theme “Silver Lining.” With a background in fine art and fashion design, she has created textile patterns for many large apparel companies and currently designs accessories for a trendy teen retailer. She loves incorporating textures and unexpected color combinations into all of her projects.
  Donna Barba Higuera’s middle grade and picture books reinvent history, folklore, and or her own life experience into compelling storylines. She lives in Washington State with her husband, four kids, three dogs and a frog.  Her books include Lupe Wong Won’t Dance, El Cucuy Is Scared, Too!, and The Last Cuentista, and have won awards including: the Newbery medal, both Pura Belpré medal and honor, PNBA best book of the year award, and the Sid Fleischman award for best children’s humor book of the year.
   Carol Hinz is Associate Publisher of Millbrook Press and Carolrhoda Books, divisions of Lerner Publishing Group in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She’s passionate about picture books, poetry, and nonfiction for young people, and she enjoys working with authors and illustrators who explore innovative approaches in their storytelling and encourage readers to see the world in new ways. She has worked with authors including Carole Boston Weatherford, Kao Kalia Yang, Irene Latham, Charles Waters, Traci Sorell, Miranda Paul, NoNieqa Ramos, and Patricia Newman. Find her on Twitter: @CarolCHinz.
   Ellen Hopkins is the award-winning author of twenty nonfiction books for young readers, fourteen New York Times best-selling YA verse novels, two middle grade verse novels, and four novels for adult readers.  Her fifteenth young adult verse novel, Last Chance, will publish in 2023. Ellen lives with her extended family, two fabulous German shepherds, and a plethora of fish near Carson City NV.
   Natalie Lakosil is an agent at Irene Goodman Literary Agency. An honors graduate of the University of San Diego, California, Natalie holds a B.A. in Literature/Writing. For over a dozen years, she has championed and helped build the careers of numerous award-winning, critically acclaimed and best-selling authors. Natalie represents illustrators, all ages (0-18) of children’s literature, both fiction and nonfiction, as well as adult nonfiction and adult fiction in the areas of cozy mystery/crime, female-driven thrillers, and upmarket women’s/general fiction.
   Jessica Lanan is the author and illustrator of The Fisherman and the Whale, a Colorado Book Award finalist and the winner of the 2020 Bull-Bransom award for wildlife illustration. She is also the illustrator of many books for young people, most recently The Lost Package, which received four starred reviews and was selected as an ALA Notable Book and a Read Across America choice for 2021. Jessica enjoys working on both fiction and nonfiction but is especially passionate about projects that help young readers to discover the beauty and diversity of their world. Jessica has been a member of SCBWI since 2010 and is eager to share her knowledge with both new and experienced writers and artists. Her next author-illustrator project, Jumper, will be out in 2023 from Roaring Brook Press.
   Michael La Ronn is the author of over 80 science fiction & fantasy books and self-help books for writers. He writes from the great plains of Iowa and has managed to write while raising a family, working a full-time job, and even attending law school classes in the evenings. You can find his fiction at and his videos and books for writers at 
   Tiff Liao is executive editor at Zando’s Young Readers initiative. Prior to joining Zando, Tiffany worked at Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, where she edited the instant #1 New York Times bestsellers Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley, Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, and its sequel Children of Virtue and Vengeance. She’s had the honor and joy of working with authors such as Dhonielle Clayton, Henry Lien, Lesley Livingston, Goldy Moldavsky, Tochi Onyebuchi, Margaret Owen, Jenn Reese, and Queer Eye star Karamo Brown.
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 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 Advisory Council 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.
   Kelly Starling Lyons is a founding member of The Brown Bookshelf, teaching artist, and award-winning children’s book author. She has written more than 20 books for young readers that span from easy readers to picture books and chapter books. Among her acclaimed titles are My Hands Tell a Story, Caldecott Honor winner, Going Down Home with Daddy, Christopher Award winner, Tiara’s Hat Parade, and Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People, Sing a Song: How Lift Every Voice & Sing Inspired Generations. She’s also the author of popular series including Jada Jones, Miles Lewis and Ty’s Travels which won a Geisel Honor Award for Zip, Zoom. Kelly lives in Raleigh and was named to Good Morning America’s 2021 Inspiration List: Who’s Making Black History. Learn more about her at
  Torrey Maldonado was born and raised in Brooklyn, growing up in the Red Hook housing projects. He has been a teacher for New York City public schools for over 25 years, and his fast-paced, compelling stories are inspired by his and his students’ experiences. His popular novels for young readers include What Lane?, which garnered many starred reviews and was cited by Oprah Daily and the New York Times for being an essential book to discuss racism and allyship; Tight, which won the Christopher Award, was an ALA Notable Book, and an NPR and Washington Post Best Book of the Year; and his very first novel, Secret Saturdays which has been in print for over ten years. Learn more at or connect on Instagram and Twitter @torreymaldonado.
Nanette McGuinness is the translator of 80+ books and graphic novels for children and adults from French, Italian, German and occasionally Spanish into English, including the well-known Geronimo Stilton Graphic Novels. Two of her translations, Luisa: Now and Then and California Dreamin’: Cass Elliot Before the Mamas & the Papas were chosen for YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens; Luisa: Now and Then was also a 2019 Stonewall Honor Book. Recently published translations include Makhno: Ukrainian Freedom FighterRosa ParksMagical History Tour #5, 7-9: The Plague, Gandhi, Vikings, and Titanic, and the critically acclaimed A House Without Windows. Upcoming in summer/fall 2022: Alice on the Run: One Child’s Journey Through the Rwandan Civil WarTIKI: A Very Ruff YearThe Sisters #8: My NEW Big SisterMagical History Tour #10-11First Steps on the Moon and Slavery; and LGBTQ YA manga Sirius. See more at
  Kayla Miller is the author and illustrator of the New York Times best-selling Click graphic novel series and co-author of its spin-off series Besties. They studied at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and graduated with a BFA in Illustration. Kayla currently lives and works in New York state, and when not writing or drawing, they enjoy watching bad movies, trying to cook new recipes, playing board games, and reading other people’s graphic novels.
  Jenin Mohammed is an author/ illustrator from Florida. She is represented by her fabulous agent, Christy Ewers, of the CAT Agency. Jenin’s kid lit illustration career took off shortly after winning the SCBWI Summer Spectacular Portfolio grand prize of 2020. Since then, Jenin has illustrated many editorial and kid lit picture books, such as Super Mom (April 2022), All the Places We Call Home (June 2022), and Song in the City (September 2022). She is currently writing a middle grade novel about the pains of being the eldest brother in a family full of younger, rambunctious sisters, which will be published by Macmillan in 2024.
  Penny Moore is a senior agent at Aevitas Creative Management who represents children’s literature, including chapter books, middle grade, young adult fiction, and select picture books. Though she’s interested in all genres, she’s specifically seeking inventive works featuring breakout voices and compelling plot lines that will make young readers feel seen and heard for the first time. Moore graduated from the University of Georgia with a double degree in Linguistics and Japanese Language & Literature. During her time as an undergraduate, she also studied comparative literature at top universities in Japan and South Korea. Penny joined Aevitas in 2018, starting in the industry as an assistant/associate agent at FinePrint Literary Management in 2014, then joining Empire Literary as an agent two years later, where she built out the children’s portion of the agency’s list.
  James Mustelier is an agent with The Bent Agency. He is looking for a range of commercial and literary fiction and nonfiction. In commercial fiction, he seeks compact horror and mysteries with big hooks and intricate plotting. He’s drawn to grounded sci-fi and fantasy that features high stakes that touch on contemporary issues. In nonfiction, he looks for a vivid look into subcultures and events he might not otherwise have cause to explore. In YA and MG, he’s interested in epic fantasy, grounded sci-fi, and irreverent retellings of fairy tales, classic myths, and historical events. He is specifically seeking stories written from diverse perspectives and/or draw from underrepresented cultures.
  Debbie Ridpath Ohi is an author-illustrator and an SCBWI success story; she received her first children’s book contract from Justin Chanda at Simon & Schuster as a result of entering the 2010 SCBWI Portfolio Showcase. Debbie is the author and illustrator of Where Are My Books? and Sam & Eva (Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers). Her illustrations appear in books by Judy Blume, Michael Ian Black, and Linda Sue Park, among others. Her most recent book is I’m Sorry, the newest in the I’m… picture book series about emotions, written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie. Debbie is currently working on a middle grade novel as well as a new solo picture book. You can find out more about Debbie at, on Twitter at @inkyelbows, and on Instagram at @inkygirl (art) / @inkyelbows (Bookstagram).
Sophie Paas-Lang is a designer at Tundra Book Group, which she joined in 2021 after years of designing covers and typesetting books for adults. As an illustrator herself, she relishes the creative opportunities working on children’s books provides. She has a knack for matching illustrators to manuscripts and loves discovering new talent. She is passionate about fostering a love of reading in young people with the help of beautiful and engaging artwork. 
  Colleen Paeff is an award-winning author. She received a bachelor’s degree in set design for theater from California State University, Fullerton, before becoming a bookseller, preschool teacher, and newspaper columnist. (She never did become a set designer!) Eventually, she figured out how to combine books, kids, and writing into one career––as a children’s book author. Her debut picture book, The Great Stink: How Joseph Bazalgette Solved London’s Poop Pollution Problem (illustrated by Nancy Carpenter), was named a 2022 Robert F. Sibert Informational Fiction Honor Book and won the 2022 Golden Kite Award for Nonfiction Text for Young Readers. Look for her second book, Rainbow Truck (co-written with Hina Abidi and illustrated by Saffa Khan) from Chronicle Books in August of 2023. Colleen lives in Los Angeles, CA and Brooklyn, NY. Learn more about her at or on Instagram and Twitter @ColleenPaeff.
  Baptiste Paul is the award-winning author of The Field, To Carnival, I Am Farmer: Growing an Environmental Movement in Cameroon and Climb On. His works have garnered many starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, and School Library Journal, and several titles have been translated into multiple languages. He loves writing stories inspired by his childhood in Saint Lucia, and featuring words from his native language, Creole. Baptiste is also a mentor for We Need Diverse Books and the co-author of several works with Miranda Paul, including their newest collaboration, Peace. He lives in Wisconsin with his family. More at
  Miranda Paul is an award-winning author of more than a dozen fiction and nonfiction books for children. She has received starred reviews and Junior Library Guild distinction for several titles, including One Plastic Bag, Water is Water, I Am Farmer, Nine Months, and Little Libraries, Big Heroes. Her book, Whose Hands Are These? was an ILA Teacher’s Choice and her edited poetry collection, Thanku: Poems of Gratitude, was a 2020 ALA Notable title for all ages. Miranda is a frequent presenter at schools around the world, and has presented at the Library of Congress Young Readers Center with environmental activist Isatou Ceesay. She is a co-founding member of We Need Diverse Books. Miranda is also an Associate Agent with Erin Murphy Literary Agency, Inc. More at
  Daria Peoples is an author and illustrator. Her first job was at nine years old in the children’s section of her hometown library in Paso Robles, California. She worked a little, but she mostly read picture books. Daria loved basketball, drawing, and painting. Her dad gave her art lessons in their garage on Rose Lane, and Daria’s mom rescued her first self-portrait from the kitchen trash can and had it professionally framed the next day. Today, it hangs in her parents’ living room as a reminder that our life’s purpose almost always introduces itself to us as a child. Daria earned a BA in English from UC Santa Barbara, where she found herself shelving books in the library once again and reading the writings of many notable authors. After earning a Master’s in Education and ten years of teaching, Daria became a full-time author and illustrator.
Brian Pinkney is the illustrator of several highly-praised picture books including The Faithful Friend, In the Time of the Drums, and Duke Ellington. He is a graduate of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and holds a master’s degree in illustration from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.  Brian has won numerous awards including two Caldecott Honors, four Coretta Scott King Honors and a Coretta Scott King Award, and the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award. He has been exhibited at The Art Institute of Chicago, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, The Detroit Institute of Art, The Cleveland Museum of Art, The School of Visual Arts, and The Society of Illustrators.  He has been published by Greenwillow Books, Hyperion Books for Young Readers, Little, Brown and Company, Feiwel & Friends, Harcourt Children’s Books, Simon & Schuster, and Random House. His work has also appeared in New York Times Magazine, Women’s Day, Business Tokyo, Ebony Man, and Instructor.
Eileen Robinson has worked with children’s writers all over the world for over twenty years. Former Executive Editor at Scholastic and Editorial Director at Harcourt, she has acquired published works from the U.K. and Italy, and created original works for the U.S. markets. One of the very few African-Americans to own an imprint, she is the founder of Move Books, and consultant and editor for Reycraft Books. She also serves on the Connecticut Digital Library Board helping connect new voices with readers, as well as working to amplify the voices of people of color.
   Sharismar Rodriguez is a senior art director at Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, where she designs and art directs creative picture books and graphic novels with her team for Feiwel & Friends, FSG Books for Young Readers, Henry Holt BYR and Roaring Brook Press imprints. She graduated from Parsons School of Design and has been part of the children’s publishing industry for over a decade with numerous award-winning and noteworthy titles. Some of her recent work includes Outside, Inside by LeUyen Pham, Oddbird by Derek Desierto, and the New York Times bestseller The One and Only Sparkella by Channing Tatum, among many others.
  Becky Rodriguez-Smith has been a graphic design professional for 18 years and has helped thousands of independent authors and musicians bring their creative visions to life. As the Director of Design Services at BookBaby, the nation’s fastest-growing self-publishing company, she inspires and mentors a team of designers dedicated to transforming raw manuscripts and cover concepts into professional published books.
   Veronica Rossi is the NY Times and USA Today best-selling author of fiction for young adults. Her books have been published in over 25 countries and been optioned for film and series development. Her latest novel, Rebel Spy, is the historical reimagining of “355,” a female spy operating during the American Revolution. Veronica graduated from UCLA and then went on to study fine art at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, she now lives in Northern California with her husband, two sons, two dogs, and many, many books.
   Jasmin Rubero is an art director with Kokila, an imprint of Penguin Random House. She has designed books by critically acclaimed and best-selling artists and authors, including the New York Times best-selling Ladybug Girl series by Jacky Davis and David Soman; Pura Belpré Award winner Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes by Juan Felipe Herrera, illustrated by Raul Colón; and Junot Díaz’s debut picture book Islandborn, illustrated by Leo Espinosa.
   Karol Ruth Silverstein (she/her/disabled) is an award-winning children’s book author and screenwriter. She’s been an active member of the SCBWI for over 20 years. Karol’s debut young adult novel, Cursed (Charlesbridge Teen), was loosely drawn from her experience of being diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at thirteen. A funny, frank and unsentimental take on the “sick kid” genre, Cursed won the prestigious Schneider Family Book Award in 2020. Karol has identified as disabled since the age of 21 and is active on the Writer’s Guild of American West’s Disabled Writers Committee. Originally from Philadelphia, Karol now lives in West Hollywood with two ridiculously fluffy cats. She is powerless over cat hair. Learn more about her on Twitter @KRSilverstein, Instagram @KRSilverstin2019 and at
  Marikka Tamura is an art director and designer at Penguin Books for Young Readers where she works for two imprints, G. P. Putnam’s Sons and Nancy Paulsen Books. Over her more than twenty-five years in the industry, she’s lucky to have worked with many of the pillars of children’s literature and is equally excited to work with up-and-coming artists. She is a published author. She lives and works in New York City.
  Dustin Thao is a Vietnamese American writer based in New York City. He graduated from Amherst College with a B.A. in Political Science, and is currently in a PhD program at Northwestern University where he studies critical media literacy. He writes contemporary fiction, and his debut novel You’ve Reached Sam is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestseller.
   Kim Tomsic received her MFAC from Hamline University and teaches creative writing at two universities. Kim is the author of the Crystal Kite award-winning novel, The 11:11 Wish which was followed by The 12th Candle (Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins). Her critically acclaimed nonfiction picture book, Guitar Genius: How Les Paul Engineered the Solid Body Electric Guitar and Rocked the World (Chronicle Books) illustrated by Brett Helquist, was a Junior Library Guild selection, a Texas Topaz list selection, a New York Public Library Best Book of 2019, and a National Science Teachers Association Best STEM book of 2019.  Her 2021 nonfiction picture book, The Elephants Come Home (Chronicle Books) illustrated by Hadley Hooper, received the Norman A. Sugarman Children’s Book Biography Honor. It was a CYBILS Finalist, a Bluegrass Award Finalist, a Keystone to Reading Finalist, and a Crystal Kite finalist. It was featured on the Bologna BRAW Amazing Bookshelf of top 100 publishing gems from around the world and also named by Imagination Soup as a Best Nonfiction Picture Book of 2021. Kim’s next novel, an epistolary titled The Truth about 5th Grade, was co-written with Reuben Award winning cartoonist, Mark Parisi and will be published by HarperCollins in Summer 2023. 
 Namrata Tripathi is Founder and Publisher of Kokila. Previously, Namrata held editorial positions at HarperCollins, Disney-Hyperion, and Simon and Schuster She is the editor New York Times bestsellers Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry and Vashti Harrison and Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi and Ashley Lukashevsky; the Newbery Honor-winning middle grade novel The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani; and the National Book Award Finalists Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley, Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay, and The Legend of Auntie Po by Shing Yin Khor. Namrata grew up in Afghanistan, India, Canada, Pakistan, Germany, and Poland, and has happily called New York City home for the last twenty-five years.
   Antoinette Van Sluytman is a speculative writer, graphic designer, junior literary agent, part-time museum and writing convention volunteer, and freelance illustrator with a background in traditional fine art, having attended many local art shows in San Diego, California. While studying for her bachelors in graphic design at The NewSchool of Architecture and Design as an honors student, Antoinette works as a part-time literary assistant at the Irene Goodman Literary Agency, helping illustrators and writers with highlight campaigns and editorial development. Antoinette also volunteers at the African Diaspora Museum & Research Center and at writing nonprofit organization, WriteHive, as a diversity ally, artist professional in residence, and moderator. Antoinette considers herself an entrepreneurial scholartist who advocates for countering literary hegemony through speculative radicalism and diverse narratives within the mediums of art and writing.
Deloris “Dela” Wilson is the founder of Axle Impact Studios, where she seeks to decolonize development efforts through the redirection of capital, cultural influence, and opportunity.  She has worked across eight countries to maximize corporate impact, seed public innovation in post-colonial states, design support for inclusive entrepreneurship, and implement equitable strategies for organizational leadership. Her strategies have been applied across technology start-ups designing for social change, emerging and established non-profits creating sustainable funding models, and non-governmental organizations that seek to contemporize impact through international markets, changing cultural norms and increased expectations of constituencies. Dela is a sought-after advisor on strategic and operational design, narrative strategy, inclusive product development, and leadership development with a unique lens that bridges operational structures with empathy–understanding that the personal is professional and helping businesses navigate impactful approaches to social change. Follow her journey at
   Margot Wood is a publishing professional with over ten years of experience working for Big 5 and indie publishers. She’s worked for HarperCollins (where she started Epic Reads), Oni Press, and now as VP of Sales at TKO Presents. Her debut young adult novel, Fresh, was published in 2021 from Abrams Books.