Betty C. Tang is 2023 National Book Award Longlistee of Parachute Kids, an instant Indie Books bestseller. She is also the New York Times bestseller illustrator of the Jacky Ha-Ha graphic novel. Betty earned her BFA from CalArts and after a successful animation career, she is now passionate about creating meaningful books for children. She loves squirrels and hates roaches. Born in Taiwan, she currently lives in Los Angeles, California. Visit her at bettyctang.com.
Courtney Stevenson joined the Quill Tree Books team in 2016, and has been lucky to work on such amazing books as The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day, and Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, as well as many new editions of titles on the team’s rich backlist. She is proud to have on her own list That’s What Friends Do by Cathleen Barnhart, Midnight at the Shelter by Nanci Turner Steveson, and Money Out Loud by Berna Anat. Courtney is most excited by young adult and middle grade manuscripts that have a literary bent, clever voice, diverse cast of characters, and perhaps some vibrant historical details. You can find her on twitter at @courtney_ps.
Savannah Brooks will present "Using Facts in Fiction." She started in agenting as an intern with the Jennifer De Chiara team in 2017, moving to associate agent in 2018. In 2022, she joined the incredible team at KT Literary as an agent, where she represents all of kid lit (PB, CB, MG and YA) and adult contemporary fiction, romcoms, thrillers/mystery/suspense, and horror. She’s especially interested in stories that teach her something new, add to a larger sociopolitical conversation, and highlight underrepresented identities and cultures. She earned her MFA, focused in creative nonfiction, from Hamline University and her BS in marketing management from Virginia Tech and worked on the editorial side of publishing for two years prior to joining JDLA. As well as agenting, she works as a publishing and literature lecturer at the University of Minnesota and a teaching artist at the Loft Literary Center. She lives in Minneapolis and can regularly be found at one of Minnesota’s 11,842 lakes—yes, even in winter. Website: https://www.sblitagent.com/, https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/savannah-brooks/, Twitter: @SBLitAgent
Lucy Hamilburg will present: "Best Practices for Querying an Agent." She is looking for picture books, middle grade, and young adult fiction. She recently reopened the third generation of her family’s Literary Agency, The Hamilburg Agency. Formerly, as a teacher, she worked toward the goal of motivating young people to love books. Lucy put great time and passion into curating a classroom library with a core foundation of equity and inclusion. Teaching allowed Lucy to pass on her love of books to her students and to instill in them that special sense of connection to story, to see themselves in the characters. As an agent, she uses her experiences to create long-lasting relationships with her clients, editors, and publishers, to represent work that amplifies voice-driven stories, and most importantly, inspires and sustains life-long readers. When she is not agenting, she loves spending time with her dog, Cowboy, discovering new restaurants, reading, exploring local bookstores, taking improv classes, and watching reality TV! https://www.thehamilburgagency.com/, https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/lucy-hamilburg/
Lauren Rille will discuss: Ask Me Anything: From Agents and Acquisitions to Proofs and Printing. Bring your questions for a conversation with Lauren Rille. She's is an Art Director at Simon & Schuster, where she works with the Beach Lane, Atheneum, and McElderry imprints. Before joining S&S, Lauren was a designer at Sterling and Harcourt Children’s Books. Some books she’s designed include the most recent edition of Are You There God, it’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume, cover illustration by Debbie Ohi; In Every Life by Marla Frazee; the New York Times best-selling Noodle and the No Bones Day by Jonathan Graziano, illustrated by Dan Tavis, The Antlered Ship by Dashka Slater, illustrated by the Fan Brothers; Scraps by Lois Ehlert; Best In Snow by April Pulley Sayre; and the New York Times best-selling Bear Series by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman. Lauren's debut picture book, I Feel Teal, illustrated by Aimee Sicuro, published in 2018 by Beach Lane Books. Lauren loves the collaborative process of working with editors and illustrators, and she’s always on the lookout for new talent. Website: https://www.laurenrille.com/, Twitter: @ElBoogieSparks, Instagram: elboogiesparks, Twitter: @ElBoogieSparks
Lisa Johnston Hancock will present "ProCreate 101". Her illustrations have appeared in art galleries, museums and magazines, winning prestigious awards over the years. In addition to working as a full time artist, she spent many years teaching art to both children and adults. Lisa spent her childhood exploring the forests of Alabama, identifying every creature that she found. Her process is still inspired by the natural world, but today she typically has her two children by her side. With her trusty iPad, she now enjoys crafting stories and whimsical illustrations for children’s books. When not drawing, you can find Lisa tinkering with her guitar or relaxing outside with her two cats, watching the hummingbirds and bees pollinate her garden. Lisa calls the Los Angeles area home, where she lives with her family. Instagram: @lisajohnstonhancock, Twitter: @LisaJHancockArt, Facebook: @LisaJohnstonHancockArt, YouTube: @LisaJohnstonHancock
Scott Sussman is an award winning author of picture books and middle-grade novels. His picture book Fred and the Monster won an Independent Publisher Award in 2015, and his picture book Silly the Seed was featured on the hit TV show “Total Bellas.” His middle grade novel The Shining Adventures of Shelpa McStorm was picked as one of Ten Favorite Adventure Novels by Only Passionate Curiosity. Highlights Magazine published his story, “Where’s Your Hair, Bear?” in March 2022. He was a faculty speaker at SCBWI’s 2019 Summer Conference, is an active SCBWI member, and holds a degree in Creative Writing from the University of California, Long Beach. He’s done thousands of presentations at schools, libraries, and bookstores from Los Angeles to New York and also internationally. WEBSITE: scottsussmanbooks.com, FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/scottsussmanbooks, INSTAGRAM: scott.sussman, TWITTER: @scottsussman
Tina Athaide is a children’s book author who writes stories to capture the texture and richness of a wide scope of cultural experiences, recent or distant, with the hope to open readers’ hearts. Her books include the award-winning middle-grade novel Orange For The Sunsets, about the expulsion of Asian Indians from Uganda in 1972. (HarperCollins/Tegen 2019) The picture book, Meena’s Mindful Moment, about a young girl who learns to calm her hurly, burly hullabaloo with some mindful techniques. (Page Street Books 2021) And a collection of early readers: Best Friends, Pran’s Week of Adventure, Yum, Apples!, Flora’s Box, and At The Firehouse With Dad. (Lee and Low Book/Bebop) Website: https://www.tinaathaide.com/, Facebook: Tina Athaide Instagram: tinaplansandplots, Twitter: @tathaide
Laura Taylor Namey is the New York Times bestselling author of A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow, a Reese Witherspoon YA Book Club pick, as well as A British Girl’s Guide to Hurricanes and Heartbreak, When We Were Them, and The Library of Lost Things. A proud Cuban American, she can be found hunting for vintage treasures and wishing she was in London or Paris. She lives in San Diego with her husband and two children. Website: https://www.laurataylornamey.com/, Twitter: @LauraTNamey, Instagram: laura_namey
Sara Schonfeld will do written critiques for our event. She joined HarperCollins in 2019 after starting her publishing career at Penguin Random House. She works on picture books up through teen. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Summa Cum Laude/Phi Beta Kappa with a dual major in English and Hispanic Studies and a minor in creative writing, including courses in children's literature, copyediting, and screenwriting. When she’s not reading (which is what she does most of the time!) she loves watching anything Marvel, kickboxing, or baking. An author herself, Sara has an editorial style all about expressing the author's intentions and helping readers understand and access that vision. Her process is grounded in asking questions, and she enjoys working from editorial letters to margin comments down to line-edits. While her wishlist includes picture book up to teen, She's searching primarily for middle grade and teen. I'm looking for diverse voices as I build my list, and aim to center authors and stories that have too often been marginalized. What She's Looking For: She loves books that draw her in with engaging and cinematic voices, compelling characters, relationships that propel the narrative, and engaging hooks. She’s also a big fan of "feel-good" reads or adventure-style stories that introduce young readers to important themes such as self-confidence, acceptance, and love. For teen, this means she’s searching for rom-coms and sibling or friendship stories. In middle grade, she’s looking for something that really captures the ridiculousness of being a tween. A light-hearted mystery, adventure that gets out of hand, or middle school friendship/crush story would probably be a good fit for me! In all age levels and genres, she especially loves stories that have underlying themes that validate, encourage, and inform readers on issues of identity, responsibility, and choice.
Charlotte Greenbaum will offer written Graphic Novel Dummy critiques. Charlotte will Charlotte E. Greenbaum is an editor and visual artist with a BFA in Printmaking from Washington University in St. Louis. Currently, she is a Senior Editor at ABRAMS Books, where she focuses on graphic novels. Since 2017, Charlotte has worked on amazing projects like The Night Eaters trilogy by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda, DUNE: The Graphic Novel by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, Batcat by Meggie Ramm, and Save It for Later by Nate Powell. She is also the in-house editor for Surely Books a line that is dedicated to expanding the presence of queer creators in the graphic novel space. When she’s not editing or drawing, Charlotte can most likely be found at the barn, surrounded by horses.
Lara Perkins will provide written Portfolio Reviews. Lara represents NYT and Indie bestselling and award-winning authors and illustrators of picture books, middle grade, and YA fiction and nonfiction. In picture books, she is drawn to fiction and nonfiction stories that help all kids feel seen and understood. In YA and MG, she’s wide open across genres. She relates to outsiders and loves to be swept away—by a great voice, a hooky mystery, an unexpected romance, or a unique take on a classic story. As the daughter of a refugee, she appreciates books that engage with the world outside of the U.S. in some way. Lara has a BA in English and Fine Arts from Amherst College and an MA in English Literature from Columbia University, where she studied feminist and postcolonial theory. Prior to joining ABLA in 2010, she studied architecture at a graduate level at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and began her career in publishing as an assistant at the B.J. Robbins Literary Agency. https://www.laraperkins.com/
Alex Robertson (she/her) will do written Picture Book Dummy critiques. She has been an editor at Candlewick Press for five years. She works on everything from picture books to YA novels—with authors such as Laurenne Sala, Allan Wolf, and Phoebe Sinclair. She’s interested in texts with a strong narrative and an emphasis on empowered female characters, and in the MG/YA realm she’s looking for light fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary texts. When she’s not editing, Alex enjoys going for runs and visiting plant nurseries.
Lindsay Auld will provide written critiques for Picture Books, Middle Grade and Young Adult pages. She started at Writers House in the West Coast office, and has worked with a wide range of New York Times bestsellers, award-winners, and debut authors and illustrators. After studying literature at Bowdoin College, she joined Teach for America before beginning her publishing career at Harcourt Children’s Books and then Writers House. She’s seeking books in the picture book, middle grade, and young adult categories, including illustrated and graphic novel submissions. She’s particularly drawn to mysteries, fantasy, historical fiction, friendship stories, romance, magical realism, adventure, and books with humor--light or dark or both.