Handsprings 2024: Faculty

Keynote Speakers

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Lesa Cline-Ransome

Lesa Cline Ransome is the author of numerous non-fiction and historical fiction titles for picture book, chapter book, middle grade and young adult readers and her work has been named to ALA Notable Books and Bank Street Best Children’s Book lists. A 2022 NAIBA Legacy Award recipient, Lesa has received numerous honors and awards including NAACP Awards, Jane Addams Honor, Christopher Award, Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, Coretta Scott King Award Author Honor, Kirkus Best Book, New York Public Library Best Book, SLJ Best Book, CBC Choice Awards, two Top 10 Sports Books for Youth, and an Orbis Pictus Recommended Book. She is currently an SCBWI Advisory Council member and host of KidLitTV's Past Present: Giving Past Stories New Life. She lives in the Hudson Valley region of New York with her husband and frequent collaborator, James Ransome and their family.

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Diane Stanley

Diane Stanley is the author and illustrator of beloved books for young readers, including The Silver Bowl, named a best book of the year by Kirkus Reviews and an ALA Booklist Editors’ Choice; The Cup and the Crown; The Princess of Cortova; Saving Sky, winner of the Arab American Book Award; Bella at Midnight, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year and an ALA Booklist Editors’ Choice; The Mysterious Case of the Allbright Academy; The Mysterious Matter of I. M. Fine; The Chosen Prince; and Joplin, Wishing. Ms. Stanley has written and illustrated numerous picture books, including three creatively reimagined fairy tales, The Giant and the Beanstalk, Goldie and the Three Bears, and Rumpelstiltskin’s Daughter, and an award-winning series of picture book biographies. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Agents

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Hilary Harwell, KT Literary

As a proud member of the KT Literary family, Hilary represents children’s and young adult authors. She joined the team in 2016 as an assistant to both Kate and Sara and began taking on her own clients in 2017. Hilary is a graduate of the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she earned a degree in Anthropology. She went on to work in the back office of a major Swiss Investment Bank for eight years before deciding to trade numbers for letters. When not reading or editing or writing stories of her own, Hilary likes to hike the Rockies with her family and dreams of one day owning her own horses. As an agent, Hilary partners with her growing list of clients to develop their projects in preparation for submission and strategizes to help them build long-term writing careers as published authors. She’s highly communicative, empathetic, and supportive as an agent–tailoring her approach to each client’s unique needs, acting as a strong advocate, and helping them navigate the business side of publishing their work. She’s actively acquiring middle grade and young adult projects across all genres; picture books, chapter books and graphic novels.

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Susan Hawk, Upstart Crow Literary*

Susan Hawk has worked in children’s books for over twenty-five years. Her clients include Rachael Allen, J.M.M. Nuanez, Paul Acampora, Sarah Lariviere, graphic novelist Rachel Elliott, author-illustrator Denis Angelov, and Ruth Spiro. Before agenting, Susan worked in the Children’s Marketing departments of Penguin Books for Young Readers, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers and North-South Books, where she managed campaigns for many books and authors including Eric Carle, Mary E Pearson, Richard Peck and Joan Bauer. She’s also been a children’s librarian and bookseller, and spent some time in Dutton Editorial, acquiring select picture book and YA projects for that list. *Remote (Zoom) Faculty Member

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Sally Kim, Andrea Brown Literary Agency*

Based in San Francisco, California, Sally M. Kim is an Associate Agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency. She is looking to represent a wide range of children’s book authors, illustrators, and author-illustrators from picture books up through middle grade. Drawn to stories with a distinct voice and unexpected wit, Sally's favorite books showcase aggressive pacing and punchy, emotionally resonant endings. When it comes to illustration, Sally gravitates towards versatile artists using traditional mediums and those with a unique take on color, texture, perspective, and thoughtful details. Please query Sally with your work in the following categories: picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and graphic novels. Across the board, Sally is especially eager to see authentic explorations of underrepresented cultures, relationships, and identities. *Remote (Zoom) Faculty Member

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Christie Megill, The CAT Agency*

Christie Megill joined The CAT Agency in 2022 after interning with Writers House, Triada US, and Cardinal Rule Press. She’s overjoyed to be working with artists and children’s book authors, offering long-term support in their careers and creative journeys. Christie comes from a background in elementary education and before pursuing education, she previously worked as an editorial assistant at an academic press in New York City, as a volunteer at the Housing Works Bookstore in SoHo, and as a bookseller at the bygone Borders Books and Music in Columbus Circle. She holds a BA in English Literature from Fordham University. When she’s not losing herself in a good book, she can be found making butter-laden desserts, exploring new museums, and hiking in the woods with her three children. *Remote (Zoom) Faculty Member

Presenters

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Chris Eboch

Chris Eboch is the author of over 100 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 used in many schools; The Genie’s Gift, a middle eastern fantasy; and the Felony Melanie series featuring the characters from the movie Sweet Home Alabama as teenagers. Her writing craft books include You Can Write for Children: How to Write Great Stories, Articles, and Books for Kids and Teenagers, and Advanced Plotting.

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James E. Ransome

James E. Ransome has been honored with the 2023 Children's Literature Legacy Award by the American Library Association in recognition of his exceptional contributions to Children's Literature. With a career spanning over 33 years, James has illustrated more than 70 books. Ransome's remarkable talent has garnered him numerous accolades, including the prestigious Coretta Scott King Awards, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, ALA Notables, a Jane Addams Award, and NAACP Image awards. He resides in New York state alongside his wife and frequent collaborator, author Lesa Cline-Ransome.

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RJ the Story Guy

RJ (Mirabal) the Story Guy’s first writing endeavor was a fantasy series for adults, The Rio Grande Parallax trilogy, winning awards in the New Mexico/Arizona (NM/A) Book Awards. His recent books for children, Trixie The Brown Dog books, won several honors including finalist for the 2020 Next Generation Indies Book Awards (an international contest). The first two books for his trilogy for teen readers/YA, Dragon Train Quest, placed twice in the 2021 and 2023 New Mexico Press Women Awards as well as NM/A awards contests for those same years. He has sold his books in-person since 2012.

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Kit Rosewater

Kit Rosewater lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her partner and two small children who are bent on destroying the universe. She is the author of Books 1-3 in The Derby Daredevils, an illustrated middle grade series out through Abrams. Her debut YA, All's Fair in Love and Field Hockey, comes out in Spring 2025 through Penguin Random House. Kit has been a high school theater and English teacher, a bookseller, a Children’s Literature academic, and a creative writing instructor for adults.

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Khadijah VanBrakle

Khadijah VanBrakle is a long-time member of SCBWI-NM. Her debut Contemporary YA novel, Fatima Tate Takes the Cake, was released in June 2023 by Holiday House. FATIMA TATE was a 2024 NAACP Image award finalist in the Outstanding Youth/Teen literature category. Her second, standalone YA novel is due out in 2025. She holds an undergraduate degree in Accounting and a half-finished MBA. As someone who is both Black American and Muslim, Khadijah's mission is to encourage everyone to tell their stories, especially those from underrepresented communities.

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Susan Wider

Santa Fe resident Susan Wider is the author of It’s My Whole Life: Charlotte Salomon: An Artist in Hiding during World War II, winner of the 2022 National Jewish Book Award for Young Adult Literature. Susan's graduate degrees are from The Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and from the University of New Mexico. She has written for Orion, THE Magazine, The Fourth River, and Wild Hope magazine, among others. Before becoming a full-time author, she held senior management positions at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, The Santa Fe Institute, and Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute. Earlier in her career she taught English for the French Chamber of Commerce in Normandy, France. Susan is represented by Rosemary Stimola at Stimola Literary Studio.