Published Members

Meet our region's published authors and illustrators!


Sally Hobart Alexander

Sally Hobart Alexander became blind at 26 while teaching in southern California. Since, she earned an MSW, married, had two kids, and began publishing books—8 so far, including She Touched the World: Laura Bridgman: Deaf-Blind Pioneer. Six books were Junior Library guild selections, and one, Taking Hold: My Journey into Blindness won a Christopher Medal. Since 2000, Sally has taught in Chatham University’s MFA program and leads a Zoom writing group from her home.

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Suzanne Beaky

Illustrator Suzanne Beaky studied illustration at Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio. Her expressive illustrations are commissioned by children's book and magazine publishers worldwide. The Navigating Friendships book series has been awarded the Counselor’s Choice Award. THE ORIGINAL COWGIRL: THE WILD ADVENTURES OF LUCILE MULHALL was placed on the Amelia Bloomer List and the Massachusetts Book Award Must Read Books List. THE BUSY LIFE OF ERNESTINE BUCKMEISTER won the Comstock Best Read Aloud Book Award, ABC Best of Books Catalog pick, and Delaware Diamonds Award. She lives in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.

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Cathy Breisacher

Cathy Breisacher is an elementary school librarian and STEM teacher in Hollidaysburg. She has a Master’s Degree in Library Science and a Master’s Degree in Counselor Education. She is the author of picture books including Chip and Curly, the Great Potato Race and Cavekid Birthday, and a soon-to-be-announced title: Letters for Santa. She is represented by Liza Fleissig. Cathy lives in Central Pennsylvania with her husband. She enjoys hiking, kayaking, traveling and playing the piano.


Kelly Conroy

Picture book writer and poet Kelly Conroy is 50% silly, fun-loving, never-grow-up big kid and 50% hard-working, focused, analytical former actuary. Her poems appear in THINGS WE EAT, THINGS WE FEEL, and WHAT IS A FRIEND? by Pomelo Books and 10.10 POETRY ANTHOLOGY and TWO TRUTHS AND A FIB POETRY ANTHOLOGY by wee words for wee ones.


Erin Frankel

Erin Frankel loves to write books that bring more compassion and empathy to the world. She is the author of several picture books including the upcoming A PLATE OF HOPE (Random House Studio, 2024) her highly acclaimed WEIRD SERIES AND NOBODY! (Free Spirit Publishing, 2012/15) as well as her most recent picture book REMEMBERING BARKLEY (Albert Whitman & Company, 2020). She has an MA in English Education and is passionate about teaching and writing.


Marc Harshman

Harshman’s fourteenth children’s book, FALLINGWATER, co-written with Anna Smucker, was published by Roaring Brook in 2017 and was an Amazon Book of the Month, as well as a Junior Library Guild selection. A previous title, THE STORM, was a Smithsonian Notable Book for Children. Children’s books have been translated into Danish, Korean, Swedish, Spanish, and Japanese. His collection of poems, WOMAN IN RED ANORAK, won the 2017 Blue Lynx Prize and was published by Lynx House/University of Washington Press in 2018. Appointed in 2012, he is the seventh poet laureate of West Virginia.


April Hartmann

April earned her BFA in Illustration at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, and she has been illustrating books for more than 20 years. THE DREAM KEEPERS is her first book as a published author. Her illustrations can be found in children's books, magazines, games and toys, and even some children's products like cough medicine. She is a cat person and compulsive list-maker, and loves running, rock climbing, gymnastics, dancing and hiking. April currently lives in Washington, PA.


Rebecca Hirsch

Rebecca E. Hirsch is a scientist-turned-writer and the author of more than 90 books about science and nature for young readers. Her books have won the Green Prize for Sustainable Literature, the Blue Crab Young Reader Award, and the Riverby Award for Nature Writing. Rebecca writes from her home in State College, Pennsylvania, where she grows gardens and tends a flock of backyard hens. She is represented by Sarah Stephens at Red Fox Literary.


Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan

Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan writes for young and young-at-heart readers. Her stories inspire readers to have hope, take action, and laugh. Her books include Animal Allies: 15 Amazing Women in Wildlife Research and The Science and Technology of Leonardo da Vinci. She also creates crafts, stories, and recipes for magazines like Highlights for Children. She is proud to be represented by Miranda Paul from Erin Murphy Literary Agency.


Stefanie Hohl

Stefanie Hohl is the author of The Remember Tree, Where is the Star, and the ABC See, Hear, Do series. She is passionate about writing, teaching kids, and chocolate. She has a Masters in Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Penn State and a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Stefanie lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and five children.

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Stacy Innerst

Stacy Innerst is a painter, children’s book artist, illustrator and educator. His books have received a host of starred reviews and have been honored with the 2020 Sydney Taylor Book Award (THE BOOK RESCUER), the New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award (RUTH BADER GINSBURG: THE CASE OF RBG VS. INEQUALITY), the SCBWI Golden Kite for Picture Book Illustration (THE MUSIC IN GEORGE’S HEAD) as well as several Gold Medals from the Parents’ Choice Awards. Originally from Los Angeles, he was raised in New Mexico and now makes his home and studio in Pittsburgh.


Pat Lewis

Pat Lewis is the artist behind several books, including "The Book of Massively Epic Engineering Disasters," "The Joke Machine," "101 Hilarious Pranks and Practical Jokes," and "Science Comics: Whales." He has also contributed cartoons, illustrations and puzzles to magazines such as Highlights, High Five, and Scout Life. Currently he is handling illustration duties for "Agents of S.U.I.T," a trilogy of graphic novels spun off from John Patrick Green's popular "InvestiGators" series.

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Carla Mooney

Carla Mooney is an award-winning children's author from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is the author of many nonfiction books and magazine articles for children and teens. She has won several nonfiction awards for her books. She loves writing about science and technology, nature and the environment, history, biography, business, current issues, health and medicine, and sports. Carla is also a regular STEM Tuesday contributor on the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors blog.


Sydelle Pearl

Sydelle Pearl is a storyteller who has worked as a children's librarian and an early childhood educator. Her books include ELIJAH'S TEARS: STORIES FOR THE JEWISH HOLIDAYS (Henry Holt, re-published by Pelican), BOOKS FOR CHILDREN OF THE WORLD: THE STORY OF JELLA LEPMAN (Pelican), HOPE SOMEWHERE IN AMERICA: THE STORY OF A CHILD, A PAINTING, AND A PRESIDENT (Twin Lights), and DEAR MR. LONGFELLOW: LETTERS TO AND FROM THE CHILDREN'S POET (Prometheus Books). She has performed in schools, libraries, and festivals. She has experience working with diverse populations of children and families to inspire them to wonder, discover, read, and learn.


Leah Pileggi

Leah Pileggi writes all genres of children’s books. Her middle-grade historical novel PRISONER 88 is an NCTE Notable Book and the 2016 Charlie May Simon Honor Book. Her children’s poetry has appeared in Hopscotch Magazine and Smartypantskidsmagazine.com, and her first-person pieces have been published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. She also writes screenplays. Leah co-founded Kate’s Kid Book Bash, a children’s book festival in Pittsburgh, to honor children’s author Kate Dopirak.


Michelle Vattula

Michelle was born in Boston but grew up in Erie, PA. After she received her Bachelor degree from Miami University of Ohio, she ventured back to Boston for her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Northeastern University. Michelle’s debut picture book is THE STALKING SEAGULLS (MacLaren-Cochrane). Michelle is represented by T.J Kirsch of JCH Literary. She currently lives in Pittsburgh with her Finnish husband, her two Golden Retrievers and two beautiful boys who are her true inspiration for writing.


Karen Lynn Williams

Karen Lynn Williams is the author of 17 books for children. GALIMOTO, reviewed with praise by the New York Times, was a Reading Rainbow feature book. FOUR FEET TWO SANDALS and MY NAME IS SANGOEL, co-authored with Khadra Mohammed, grew out of her volunteer work with refugees. Karen has a master’s degree in deaf education. She is an instructor for the low-residency MFA program in creative writing at Chatham University. She has also been an instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature and for Seton Hill University. When not writing, Karen enjoys hiking, biking, traveling and gardening. She currently lives in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.

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Amanda Zimmerman

Amanda Zimmerman has published articles in Highlights Magazine, Bicycle Times, Dirt Rag and Buffalo Spree. Her illustration credits include The Mollusks: A Guide to Their Study, Collection, and Preservation; Stories in the Rocks: Exploring Saudi Arabian Rock Art and Diego The Giant Galapagos Tortoise: Saving a Species from Extinction for Mims Childrens' Books. "Zimmerman’s realistic paintings invite readers into the times and places described, animating the tortoises and their saga.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)