Keynote & Spotlight Speakers


KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Melissa Manlove

Melissa Manlove is an Executive Editor at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. She has been with Chronicle for 19 years. Her acquisitions encompass picture books, chapter books, nonfiction, graphic novels and novels in verse. When acquiring, she looks for fresh takes on familiar topics as well as the new and unusual. An effective approach and strong, graceful writing are important to her. She has 22 years of bookselling experience.



Lin Oliver is the co-founder of SCBWI, and served as its Executive Director since its inception fifty years ago. She is the author of over 65 children’s books, including the New York Times best selling Hank Zipzer books (with Henry Winkler), the New York Times best-selling Alien Superstar books, the Fantastic Frame series, and Little Poems for Tiny Ears, illustrated by Tomie dePaola. She is also a writer and producer of film and television for children including Corduroy (PBS), Wayside School (Nickelodean) and Harry and the Hendersons (Fox TV). Currently, she is also Managing Director of the SCBWI Impact and Legacy Fund, the charitable/community service arm of SCBWI.



Jennifer Rofe is an agent with Andrea Brown Literary. She works primarily in the middle grade and picture book spaces, and she especially loves working with author-illustrators and illustrators. Overall, she seeks masterful writing, distinct voice and perspectives, and richly developed characters. She currently accepts young adult queries through conference events or by referral only. Jennifer earned a BA in English and a minor in Social and Ethnic Relations with a focus on multicultural literature from UC Davis and has a background in secondary education.



Jaime Zollars is an illustrator-author whose clients include all five major publishing houses and several smaller ones. Her art has been recognized by American Illustration, Communication Arts, the SOI, and the SCBWI. Jaime has taught in the undergraduate illustration and the MFA in Illustration Practice programs at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and has served on several boards, including the LA SCBWI, the SI-LA, and ICON. She is currently the Illustrators Coordinator for the SCBWI Central-Coastal Region. Her first authored book, The Truth About Dragons, was published in 2020, and her most recent illustrated title, The Night Frolic, by Julie Berry, came out this year.



Kitty Donohoe was raised in California’s Central Valley and Yosemite National Park. She inherited her love of nature and fantasy from her Irish pioneer ancestors who homesteaded Yosemite in the late 1800’s. She attended UCLA receiving a BA, a Master’s in Education, and a multiple subject teaching credential. Her first book is How to Ride a Dragonfly.

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SPOTLIGHT SPEAKER: Mona Alvarado Frazier

After dedicating herself to working with incarcerated youth and raising three children as a single parent, Mona Alvarado Frazier can now fulfill her passions for writing and traveling. When she’s not exploring new destinations or putting pen to paper, you can find her lost in a good book, binge-watching K-dramas, or tending her succulent gardens and running after her two grand kitties. She is an active member of the SCBWI and the Macondo Writers Workshop, as well as a co-founder of LatinxPitch, an annual Twitter event. Mona's second YA novel debuts in December of 2024.



Karen Jameson is the author of lyrical picture books including Moon Babies, Woodland Dreams, Farm Lullaby, and Where the Wee Ones Go. Her recently released STEAM titles are Time to Shine, and A Llama is not an Alpaca. More stories are in the works! A retired teacher and active member of SCBWI, she holds a master’s degree in education. Lover of books, wildflowers, farmers’ markets and everything chocolate, Karen writes from sunny Southern California.



Patrice Karst is the author of the bestselling, contemporary classic The Invisible String, which has sold over 1.5 million copies and been translated into seventeen languages. Patrice has also written The Invisible Leash: An Invisible String Story Celebrating Love After the Loss of a Pet, The Invisible Web: An Invisible String Story Celebrating Love and Our Universal Connection, You Are Never Alone: An Invisible String Lullaby, The Invisible String Workbook:Creative Activities to Comfort, Calm and Connect, a therapeutic activity book co-written with Dana Wyss, Ph.D., The Invisible String Backpack, Ruby and Lonely and The Smile that Went Around the World.