New England SCBWI 2017
Expand & Diversify Your Portfolio
artwork by Sarah Lynne Reul
Expand & Diversify Your Portfolio
“Rebel-author” (Kirkus) Barry Lyga has published seventeen novels in various genres in his eleven-year career, including the New York Times bestselling I Hunt Killers. His books have been or are slated to be published in more than a dozen different languages in North America, Australia, Europe, and Asia. He’s written everything from coming-of-age (The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy & Goth Girl) to super-heroes (Archvillain) to graphic novels (Mangaman) to serial killers (I Hunt Killers) and beyond (The Secret Sea). His latest novel is BANG. Lyga lives and podcasts near New York City with his wife, Morgan Baden, and their nigh-omnipotent daughter. His comic book collection is a lot smaller than it used to be, but is still way too big.
Melissa Sweet is the illustrator of more than 100 children's books, including Balloons Over Broadway, a Sibert Medal winner, The Right Word and A River of Words, by Jen Bryant, both Caldecott Honor winners. Reviewers have described her unique mixed-media illustrations as "exuberant," "outstanding," and "a creative delight." Melissa’s new book, Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White, a New York Times Bestseller, is a fully illustrated biography including an afterword by Martha White. Her favorite quote by E. B. White is four simple words: “Be tidy. Be brave.” Melissa lives in Portland, Maine where she screams around town on her bicycle. For more information visit www.melissasweet.net.
Jane Yolen, often called "the Hans Christian Andersen of America," is the author of over 360 books. Her works, which range from very young rhymed picture books to novels for adults and every genre in between, have won an assortment of awards including two Nebulas, a World Fantasy Award, a Caldecott, the Golden Kite, three Mythopoeic awards, two Christopher Medals, the Jewish Book Award, the Kerlan Award, and the Catholic Library’s Regina Medal, as well as six honorary doctorates. She lives in Massachusetts in the winter and Scotland in the summer. She writes every day.
The Book Doctors
Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry are co-founders of The Book Doctors , a company dedicated to helping authors get their books published.
Arielle is the author of nine books, including The Secret Language of Color: The Science, Nature,
History, Culture and Beauty of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue & Violet. She is also an agent-at-large at the Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency, where for over 20 years she has been helping hundreds of talented writers become published authors. Lastly, Arielle co-founded the iconic company, LittleMissMatched, and grew it from a tiny operation into a leading national brand, which now has stores from coast to coast, everywhere from Disneyland to Disney World to Fifth Avenue in New York City.
David Henry Sterry is the best selling author of 16 books. His first memoir, Chicken, has been translated into a dozen languages and is being made into a film. His book, The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published, has helped hundreds of talented amateur writers become professionally published authors. He has appeared in the front cover of the Sunday New York Times Book Review, in The London Times, Wall Street Journal, and National Public Radio.
*these panelists are also Critique Faculty members
*Stephen Barr, Agent
Stephen Barr is a senior literary agent at Writers House, where he started out as an intern in 2008. He graduated from UCLA with an English Degree in 2007, then moved to New York City simply because of how cool Robert Downey, Jr. made publishing look in the film adaptation of Michael Chabon’s Wonder Boys. He represents a broad list of both children’s and adult books, and his clients include John Corey Whaley (Where Things Come Back), Maggie Thrash (Honor Girl), Katherine Roy (Neighborhood Sharks) and Thyra Heder (FraidyZoo, The Bear Report).
Betsy Bird is best known for the quirky, witty voice she brings to her highly-regarded blog, A Fuse #8 Production, which is hosted by School Library Journal. She is the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system, has served on the Newbery committee, and is the author or co-author of four books. Most recently, she has curated Funny Girl (Viking, 2017), a humor anthology written entirely by women for ages 9-12. Twitter: @fuseeight. Blog: http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/
Lisa Bunker has written stories all her life. Before setting up shop as a full-time author, she had a thirty-year career in non-commercial broadcasting, most recently as Program Director of the community radio station in Portland, Maine. Besides Maine, she has made homes in New Mexico, southern California, Seattle, and the Florida panhandle. She currently lives in Exeter, New Hampshire with her partner and her cat. She has two grown children. When not writing, she reads, plays piano and bass, runs, does yoga, and studies languages. Her debut novel, Felix Yz, about a boy merged with an alien, is due out from Viking Children’s in June 2017.
*Linda Camacho, Agent
Linda Camacho joined Prospect Agency in 2015 after a decade in publishing. After graduating from Cornell University, Linda interned at Simon & Schuster and Writers House literary agency, and worked at Penguin and Random House before making the leap to agenting. She also has an MFA in children's writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
She's seeking graphic narratives, MG, YA, and adult fiction across all genres (particularly romance/women's fiction and upmarket), along with select picture book writer-illustrators. Diversity of all types welcome (ethnicity, disability, sexuality, etc.).
Mary Ann Cappiello
As an Associate Professor of Language & Literacy at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Mary Ann Cappiello has a vast knowledge of children’s literature and is a leader in grouping children’s books into text sets to teach science and social studies. Mary Ann is the chair of the NCTE’s Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children committee and the co-author of two books for educators. She is also a founder and regular contributor to the popular blog, The Classroom Bookshelf, which is hosted by School Library Journal. Twitter
Mary E. Cronin
Author and educator Mary E. Cronin writes picture books, poetry and middle-grade fiction from her home on Cape Cod. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and she teaches English and Education at Fisher College in Boston and at Cape Cod Community College, as well as creative writing at Barnstable County Correctional Facility. Her poetry has been published in anthologies and magazines. Mary is active in writing and presenting about LGBTQ visibility in children’s literature. She was a finalist for the Katherine Paterson Prize in 2016 and was awarded the Ruth Landers Glass Scholarship in 2014. She is represented by Linda Camacho of Prospect Agency. You can reach her at http://www.maryecronin.com.
*Lucy Ruth Cummins, Art Director
Lucy is a writer and illustrator, and also a full time art director of picture books, middle grade books, and young adult novels for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and Paula Wiseman books. She is the art director for numerous New York Times and international bestsellers from authors and illustrators including Jenny Han, Morgan Matson, Andrew Smith, Tommy Wallach, Michelle Hodkin, Becca Fitzpatrick, Kenneth Oppel, Mark Pett, and Jon Klassen. She proudly serves as both art director and illustrator for Stuart Gibbs's New York Times bestselling middle grade mysteries. Lucy made her author-illustrator debut in 2016 with her picture book A Hungry Lion, or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals. Lucy is the youngest of six children. She was born in Canada (and lived in an actual log cabin!), raised in upstate New York, and currently lives with her little family in Brooklyn, New York. Her favorite food is the french fry.
*Kaylee Davis, Agent
Growing up in The Middle of Nowhere, Ohio, Kaylee’s lifeline to sanity was the local library where she nurtured her love of all things literary. Kaylee received B.A.s in English Literature and Sociology from Miami University, and she is certified in Copyediting from Emerson College. Her interests include MG, YA, and Adult fiction; particularly sci-fi, fantasy, thriller, contemporary, literary, and LGBTQ. She is drawn to exciting, thought-
provoking stories with a fresh perspective that explores what it means to be human. She loves plot twists, genre bending, unlikely allies, flawed heroes, and stories that are both literally and figuratively out of this world. Find her on twitter at
and online at
*Liz Kossnar, Editor
Liz Kossnar, Associate Editor, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Liz began her career in children’s publishing managing the review websites,
, but quickly transitioned into editorial at S&S BFYR. Over the past three years there, she’s worked with authors and illustrators such as Daniel Miyares, Emily Gravett, Jeff Mack, and Stuart Gibbs. She most enjoys fairy tale-inspired or whimsical tales, subversive tongue-and-cheek romps, and untold non-fiction stories—especially with diverse main characters.
Kevin L. Lewis
Kevin Lewis started out at New York City’s Book of Wonder. From there he moved on to Scholastic Inc. where he assisted on the SeeSaw school book club until landing a position at The Blue Sky Press, where he edited books by Cynthia Rylant, Mark Teague, Dav Pilkey, and acquired titles from Angela Johnson, Dan Yaccarino, Lynne Plourde and John Schoenherr. After several years at Blue Sky, Kevin accepted a position at Simon & Schuster where he worked with Laurie Halse Anderson, Lauren Thompson, Derek Anderson, Cynthia Rylant, Tony DiTerlizzi, Holly Black, Angela Johnson, Loren Long, Jim Benton, and Kadir Nelson, to name but a few. At around the same time, Kevin authored his first picture book and has since published half a dozen titles. In 2015, after twenty years in the industry, Kevin resigned his position at Disney/Hyperion. He lives with his husband and dog in a 200-year-old farm house in the Hudson Valley.
Kelly Light lives in New York but grew up down the shore in New Jersey surrounded by giant pink dinosaurs, cotton candy colors, and Skee-Ball sounds. She was schooled on Saturday-morning cartoons and Sunday funny pages. She picked up a pencil, started drawing, and never stopped.
Kelly is the author/Illustrator of the Louise series. Louise Loves Art (Fall 2014) and Louise and Andie, The Art of Friendship (Spring 2016) are the first two books in the series. Look for the upcoming Smiley Family Album in 2018. All books from Balzer and Bray.
Hazel Mitchell has always loved drawing and still cannot be reliably left alone with a pencil. She has illustrated many books for children including Imani’s Moon, One Word Pearl, Animally and Where Do Fairies Go When It Snows? Toby is her author-illustrator debut from Candlewick Press. Her work has received several awards and has been recognized by Bank Street Books, Learning Magazine, Reading is Fundamental, Foreword Reviews, NYCReads365, Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles Charlotte/Mecklenburg, Chicago and Maine State libraries among others. Originally from England, where she attended art-college and served in the Royal Navy, she now lives in Maine with her poodles Toby and Lucy and a cat called Sleep. She still misses British fish and chips, but is learning to love lobster.
*Monica Odom, Agent
Monica Odom is an agent at Bradford Literary Agency, where she represents nonfiction by authors and illustrators with demonstrable platforms in the areas of pop culture, science, history, business, social issues, race, feminism, illustration/art/design, food/cooking, humor, travel/adventure, self-help/self-reflection, and DIY/crafting/how-to, for all ages. Monica also represents select literary/upmarket commercial fiction, for all ages. In fiction, she likes to see original storytelling, incredible voice, compelling characters, and a vivid, detailed setting. If there’s a strong sense of narrative tension, that’s a plus. Monica is serious about the fact that We Need Diverse Books and is looking for authentic representation of all characters. Monica is also looking for graphic novels and picture books, but only by author/illustrators. She does not represent genre fiction.
*Christina Pulles, Editor
Christina Pulles, Senior Editor, joined Sterling Children’s Books in June 2015, and before that worked at Simon & Schuster’s Simon Spotlight imprint. Realistic middle grade, both contemporary and historical, holds a soft spot in her heart (recent projects include Howard Wallace, P.I. by Casey Lyall and Song of the Deep by Brian Hastings), but she is also seeking everything from clever, narrative picture books to unique nonfiction. While she’s open to magical realism or a fantastic bent to a story, she wouldn’t be the right editor for high fantasy or science fiction, and isn’t currently looking for YA fiction.
Janet Reynolds is the former General Manager and Book Buyer at The Blue Bunny Bookstore in Dedham, Massachusetts, where she spent 11 years sharing the mission and spirit of the store with the community. Now working part-time as the store’s Events and Promotions Manager, she embraces the challenge of finding the best time slot for each event and getting an enthusiastic audience in the room on every event day. Twitter: @BlueBunnyBooks Website: http://www.bluebunnybooks.com
*Eileen Robinson, Editor
Editor/Publisher Eileen Robinson loves the power of stories and helping authors revise. Coming from Scholastic and Harcourt—educational publishing, school and library, and working with trade, magazines, book fairs and clubs—she is now publisher of Move Books Children’s Publishing, editorial consultant (f1rstpages.com) and partners with Harold Underdown in Kid’s Book Revisions.
Christina Rodriguez is an award-winning children's illustrator of more than a dozen picture books, including several bilingual titles. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, she's a repatriated New Englander who lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island. http://www.christinarodriguez.com
John Schumacher (a.k.a. Mr. Schu) is the Ambassador of School Libraries for Scholastic Book Fairs and a lecturer in Rutgers University’s Department of Library and Information Science. He works diligently to put the right book in every child’s hand and is well known for promoting reading and children’s books on his blog. John served on the 2014 Newbery committee, the ALSC’s Children and Technology committee, the AASL’s Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, two Readers’ Choice award committees, and the School Library Month planning committee. Twitter
*Jessica Sinsheimer, Agent
Jessica Sinsheimer has been reading and campaigning for her favorite queries since 2004. Now an agent at the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency, she’s known for #MSWL, ManuscriptWistList.com, #PubTalkTV—and for drinking far too much tea.
Always on the lookout for new writers, she is most excited about finding picture books, YA, MG, upmarket genre fiction (especially women's/romance/erotica, thrillers, mysteries) and on the nonfiction side: psychology, parenting, self-help, cookbooks, memoirs, and works that speak to life in the twenty-first century. She especially likes highbrow sentences with lowbrow content, smart/nerdy protagonists, vivid descriptions of food, picture books with non-human characters,
and justified acts of bravery. You can follow her on Twitter at @JSinsheim.
*Marietta B. Zacker, Agent
Marietta B. Zacker is a partner at Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency. She was born in Puerto Rico to a Panamanian mother and Cuban father. Her Abuelo connected her to the wonders of storytelling at a very young age and she has made a career out of doing the same for others. She looks for visual and narrative stories that reflect the world we live in, not the bubbles in which we put ourselves. Diversity must be inherent and authentic, not trendy. Marietta is thrilled to champion soulful, insightful, well-crafted, literary or commercial projects aimed at any age group; books such as Factory Girl by Josanne La Valley, This Would Make A Good Story Someday by Dana Alison Levy, Abrakapow by Isaiah Campbell, Fenway & Hattie by Victoria J. Coe, Super Harwhal & Jelly Jolt by Ben Clanton, and Rutabaga Book illustrated by Bonnie Adamson.
*see Panelists above for additional Critique Faculty members
Julie Bliven is an editor and contracts manager at Charlesbridge where she has edited more than forty titles, including fiction and nonfiction board books, picture books, and middle-grade novels. She has worked with authors such as Anne Sibley O’Brien, Steve Jenkins, Peter and Paul Reynolds, and JaNay Brown-Wood. Julie holds an M.A. in Children’s Literature from Simmons College, mentors writers in the college’s M.F.A. program, and has taught writing courses at the Jewish Community Centers of Massachusetts. She is also a member of the Children’s Book Council Diversity Initiative.
Giuseppe Castellano, Art Director
Giuseppe Castellano is an Executive Art Director at Penguin Random House. He oversees the art and design of over two-hundred children’s books a year for seven different imprints. Giuseppe continues to be a guest speaker, critic, and visiting instructor at more than a dozen art schools nationwide.
He is also the founder of The Illustration Department—an online school for illustrators. Learn more about his school by visiting
You are also welcome to visit Giuseppe's popular #arttips blog at
where he writes about the business and practice of illustration. Follow his #arttips on Twitter at
Alexandra Cooper, Editor
Alexandra Cooper is an executive editor at HarperCollins, where she focuses on YA novels with some picture books and middle grade sprinkled in. Among the books she has been fortunate to edit are the New York Times bestseller Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake; Printz Honor winner Jessie Ann Foley’s Neighborhood Girls; Kissing in America by Margo Rabb; and Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby. She is always looking for singular voices and exquisite prose, stories with undeniable hooks, and emotional authenticity.
Carter Hasegawa, Editor
Carter Hasegawa is an associate editor at Candlewick Press. In addition to his editorial work, he is a part-time bookseller at Porter Square Books and a part-time photographer at Long River Photo. His first book of photos, Employees Must Wash Hands: A Bathroom Reader in Photos, was published in February 2017 with Skyhorse Publishing. Some of his favorite non-Candlewick books include: The Notorious Benedict Arnold, Jellicoe Road, Ready Player One, Three Times Lucky, though there are many, MANY more. Basically, he loves anything that has a great voice, is a good story, and is "unputdownable."
Larissa Helena, Agent
Larissa Helena came to New York with a couple of suitcases, was deemed an Alien of Extraordinary Abilities in Publishing by the US government, ended up at Pippin Properties, one of the top literary agencies… and often wonders whether all of this is real or she’s a character in a movie. M.A. in Comparative Literature from the Sorbonne, Larissa dedicated her academic and professional career to Children's and YA books. Between Brazil and France, she worked as an Executive Editor, as a translator, and with International Rights. Larissa wants diverse narratives of all kinds: voices rarely seen in literature, unconventional stories, quirky characters. Her favorite kind of book doesn’t try to follow a trend or play by the rules. Her favorite genre? Genre bending.
Jennifer Laughran, Agent
Jennifer Laughran is a Senior Agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency, where she started in 2007 after a career in bookselling. Jennifer loves funny books, thrilling books, romantic books, books that make her cry, and all-around un-put-downable books... and her true favorites are all of the above.
Celia Lee, Editor
Celia Lee is an editor at Scholastic, where she works on everything illustrated for ages 0 through 8 on the Cartwheel, Readers, Little Shepherd, Branches and Orchard picture book imprints. While open to books from baby to second grade in both fiction and nonfiction, she is particularly interested in humor, character-driven picture books, creative storytelling, and innovative novelty. Diversity and inclusivity is a must. Celia is not the best match for middle grade or YA books at this time.
Lauren MacLeod, Agent
Lauren E. MacLeod joined The Strothman Agency after graduating from Emerson College with BFA in Writing, Literature and Publishing. She represents young adult and middle grade authors of all genres and is particularly seeking diverse voices. Clients include Jodi Meadows, New York Times bestselling author of My Lady Jane and The Orphan Queen series, Aminah Mae Safi, Sashi Kaufman, Hélène Boudreau and the Barbara Cooney Estate. She is a full member of the Association of Authors Representatives. She lives in Nashville, TN and tweets under @Lauren_MacLeod.
Julia Maguire, Editor
Julia Maguire is an editor at Knopf Books for Young Readers at Penguin Random House. She edits picture books and novels, both middle grade and YA. Her recent books include Finding Wild by Megan Wagner Lloyd illustrated by Abigail Halpin, 88 Instruments by Chris Barton, illustrated by Louis Thomas, Miss Paul and the President by Dean Robbins, illustrated by Nancy Zhang, Everyone We've Been by Sarah Everett and Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars by Martine Murray.
Allison Moore, Editor
Allison Moore is an associate editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers who edits everything from illustrated titles to middle grade and young adult novels. Her recent projects include City Shapes by Diana Murray and Bryan Collier, The Sweetest Sound by Sherri Winston, Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham, Be Who You Are by Todd Parr, and many books in the Dragonsitter, Space Taxi, Sweet Pea & Friends, Birdie, and Nuts series. Allison is interested in clever picture books with dynamic illustration styles and all-ages appeal; high-concept chapter books; and MG and YA novels that encourage readers to consider unexpected perspectives. You can find her on Twitter
Ammi-Joan Paquette, Agent
Ammi-Joan Paquette is a senior agent with Erin Murphy Literary Agency, representing all types of children’s and YA literature. She is also the author of the Princess Juniper series, for which book #2, Princess Juniper of the Anju, is newly out. Her other published works include the novels Paradox, Nowhere Girl, and Rules for Ghosting, and the picture books Bunny Bus, Ghost in the House, Petey & Pru & the Hullabaloo, and The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies/Mermaids. In her agent acquisitions, Joan is particularly drawn to richly voiced, unforgettable characters and settings, as well as tightly-paced, well-plotted stories with twists and turns that keep you guessing right until the end. Visit her on the web at
Lilla Rogers, Illustration Agent
Lilla Rogers is one of the most successful illustration agents in the industry, managing the careers of over three dozen high-caliber artists whose works you’ve undoubtedly seen in children’s books, magazines, and on scads of deliciously designed goods from bed linens and tote bags to journals and wall art. She is also the author of I Just Like to Make Things (Quarry), and co-founder of Make Art That Sells, the gold standard of art e-courses. She teaches her newest course, Illustrating Children’s Books, with highly-regarded children’s book art director Zoë Tucker.
Kathleen Rushall, Agent
Kathleen Rushall is a Literary Agent at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. She represents authors and illustrators for picture books (both fiction and non-fiction), middle grade, and young adult literature. When it comes to picture books, Kathleen loves to laugh and have her heartstrings pulled. She’s always open to seeing quirky character driven stories with heart, as well as a wide range of nonfiction. Kathleen is also actively looking for fresh middle grade and YA across all genres.
Leila Sales, Editor
Leila Sales is associate publishing manager at Viking Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, where she edits fiction and nonfiction for children and teens. Some of her recent books include Tricky Vic, by Greg Pizzoli, an unusual biography that was named one of The New York Times best illustrated children’s books of 2015; Dylan the Villain, by K.G. Campbell, a whimsically humorous picture book; The Forbidden Orchid, by Sharon Biggs Waller, a coming-of-age YA novel set in 1860s England and China; and The Last Kids on Earth, by Max Brallier, with illustrations by Douglas Holgate, a comedic middle-grade graphic novel set during the monster apocalypse. Leila is herself the author of a number of YA novels, most recently Tonight the Streets are Ours, as well as the middle-grade novel Once Was a Time. Learn more at leilasales.com, or follow her on twitter @LeilaSalesBooks.
Brooks Sherman, Agent
Brooks Sherman is a literary agent with the Bent Agency, having previously worked as a literary agent at FinePrint Literary Management and at publisher Henry Holt and Company. Before starting his career in publishing, Brooks spent several years working in the entertainment industry, and two years with the Peace Corps in West Africa. Brooks is a hands-on, editorial agent who delights in developing projects with his clients. He works with middle grade fiction of all genres (particularly fantasy adventure and contemporary), humorous projects from author-illustrators, and YA fiction of all types except paranormal romance. Find him on Twitter @byobrooks.
Harold Underdown, Editor
Harold Underdown is an independent editor and publishing consultant; he critiques and develops manuscripts and provides other editorial and consulting services for individuals and publishers. As an in-house editor, he worked at Macmillan, Orchard, and Charlesbridge, and has experience in trade and educational publishing.
Harold wrote The Complete Idiot's Guide to Children's Book Publishing, now in its third edition. He founded and runs "The Purple Crayon," a respected web site with information about the children's publishing world at www.underdown.org/.
He also speaks and gives workshops through the Highlights Foundation, SCBWI's national and regional conferences, and Kid’s Book Revisions (online and on-site tutorials, webinars, and workshops in partnership with Eileen Robinson) www.kidsbookrevisions.com/
Irene Vandervoort, Art Director
Irene Vandervoort is currently Art Director at Sterling Children’s Books. She began her design career as an intern and freelancer working with Fred Woodward and Gail Anderson at Rolling Stone, and then as a Senior Designer at WBMG design studio with Walter Bernard and Milton Glaser before joining Dutton Children’s Books as a Senior Designer in 2001. During her close to fifteen years at Penguin, she has worked with such artists as Sophie Blackall, Shane Rebenschied, Thor Wickstrom, Jed Henry, Hugh D’Andrade, Kelly Murphy, and Anna Bond. She designs both covers and interiors in a variety of formats including picture books, middle grade novels, and young adult novels.
Kristine Carlson Asselin
Kristine Asselin writes Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction. Her YA novel Any Way You Slice It (Bloomsbury Spark) is currently available and her debut middle grade, The Art of the Swap (co-authored with Jen Malone), will be published by Simon and Schuster in Spring 2018. Kristine is also the author of sixteen nonfiction children’s books for the elementary school library market. Kris critiques query packages under the alter ego @QueryGodmother and loves doing school visits for kids all over New England. She lives in North Central Massachusetts with her husband and daughter and spends a part of every day searching for a TARDIS to steal. Find her on twitter at @KristineAsselin.
Jeannine Atkins writes books about strong girls and women. Her historical verse includes Borrowed Names: Poems about Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C. J. Walker, Marie Curie, and Their Daughters (Holt), Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science (Atheneum) and Stone Mirrors: The Sculpture and Silence of Edmonia Lewis (Atheneum). She teaches writing in the MFA program at Simmons at the Carle. Her website is http://www.Jeannineatkins.com.
Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen is an award-winning author whose books include Duck Duck Moose, Chicks Run Wild, Tyrannosaurus Wrecks, the Merida chapter book series, and over forty more books. Her books have been named to the Junior Library Guild, the CBC Children’s Choice finalist list, the California Reader’s Collection, the Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year lists and the Amelia Bloomer list. Find out more about her and her books by visiting http://www.sudipta.com.
Molly B. Burnham
Molly B. Burnham is the author of the Teddy Mars series and the 2016 winner of the Sid Fleishman Humor Award. She grew up in Washington DC, but now lives in Massachusetts. At one time she studied theater but gave it up to write. She holds a Masters in Elementary Ed., and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She has taught emotionally challenged high school students, as well as kindergartners and third graders. During the day, she can be found writing, walking her dog, or hanging out with her two daughters and husband.
Annie Cardi is the author of The Chance You Won't Return, which was named a Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year for 2015. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College and a BA from the University of Virginia. In her free time, she enjoys running, baking, and spending too much time on Tumblr. Annie lives near Boston with her husband and a portrait of a sea captain.
Sheela Chari is the author of several books for young readers, including Finding Mighty (Spring 2017), and Vanished, which was an Asian/ Pacific-American Library Association (APALA) Children’s Literature Honor Book, an Edgar nominee for best juvenile mystery, and an Al’s Book Club Pick on the Today Show. She has taught writing courses at New York University, Boston University, and the Rye Arts Center. She currently serves on the APALA children’s literary award committee. Sheela lives in New York with her family. You can visit her online at http://www.sheelachari.com.
Zombie teacher. Amateur gardener. Debut author. Tami Charles writes picture books, middle grade, young adult, nonfiction, and enjoys the occasional work-for-hire project. Her picture book Freedom Soup debuts with Candlewick in winter 2018. Her middle grade novel, Like Vanessa, debuts with Charlesbridge in spring, 2018. She also has two more books forthcoming with Candlewick and Charlesbridge, but has been sworn to secrecy. She has served as a public school educator for the past 14 years, with "writing for the standards" being her teaching specialty. Tami is represented by Lara Perkins, of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. She resides in Central New Jersey with her husband, son, and a family of deer who take pleasure in annihilating her garden.
Janet Costa Bates
Janet Costa Bates writes picture books, poetry and middle grade. Her picture book, Seaside Dream, received Lee and Low’s New Voices Honor Award. Her stories have also received awards from Highlights Magazine and Pockets Magazine. In her other life, she works at colleges and universities as a career coach in between spending time enjoying family. Fun fact: The Boston Public Library chose Seaside Dream to be included in its mural for its recently redesigned Children’s Room.
Christopher Denise is an award-winning children’s book illustrator. His first book, a retelling of The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship, was pronounced “a stunning debut” by Publishers Weekly. Since then, Chris has illustrated more than twenty five books for children, including Firefly Hollow by Alison McGhee, Following Grandfather by Rosemary Wells, Oliver Finds His Way by Phyllis Root, Baking Day at Grandma's by his wife Anika Denise, Lucy’s Lovey by Betsy Devany, and some in Brian Jacques’ acclaimed Redwall series. His books have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list and have been recognized by Bank Street College of Education, Parents’ Choice Foundation, and the Society of Illustrators Annual Exhibition. Christopher Denise lives in Rhode Island with his family.
Anika Denise is a children’s book author and poet. When not writing tales of vroom and doom, she can be found zipping around her hometown of Barrington, Rhode Island in her Monster Minivan or reading not-so-scary stories to her kids. Her most recent picture books include Monster Trucks (Harper 2016), illustrated by Nate Wragg; and Baking Day at Grandma’s (Philomel 2014), illustrated by her husband Christopher Denise. She has several more coming soon, including Starring Carmen (Abrams 2017), the first in a new picture book series illustrated by Lorena Alvarez; and The Best Part of Middle (Christy Ottaviano Books 2018), illustrated by Chris. Anika and Chris live in a little house near the sea, with their three daughters, overgrown vegetable gardens, pesky squirrels, and a slew of imaginary friends. Visit Anika online at anikadenise.com and on Twitter @AnikaDenise.
Erin Dionne is the author of five books for middle grade readers, most recently including Ollie and the Science of Treasure Hunting (Dial Books 2014). She's been teaching writing at the college level for over 15 years and serves on the board of The Writers' Loft in Sherborn, MA.
Megan Dowd Lambert
Megan Dowd Lambert graduated from Smith College and earned an MA in Children’s Literature at Simmons College, where she now teaches. Her book Reading Picture Books with Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking About What They See (Charlesbridge 2015) introduces the Whole Book Approach storytime model that she developed in association with The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. She writes for Kirkus Reviews, The Horn Book, and Embrace Race and won a 2016 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor for A Crow of His Own illustrated by David Hyde Costello (Charlesbridge 2015). Nicole Tadgell illustrated her newest picture book, Real Sisters Pretend (Tilbury House 2016). Megan lives with her family, including six children ages 2-20, in Massachusetts.
Terry Farish is the author of Either the Beginning or the End of the World, a 2016 Maine Literary Award winner. She is also the author of the novel in verse, The Good Braider, selected as an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults. Her recent picture book, Joseph's Big Ride, about a boy from South Sudan, is set in Portland's Kennedy Park. In 2016, the New England Reading Association awarded Terry with a Special Recognition Award for her work "writing about immigrants coming to our country in hopes of finding promise and possibility in their new home."
A. C. Gaughen
A. C. Gaughen is the author of Scarlet, Lady Thief, Lion Heart and the upcoming Elementae series. She serves on the board for the non-profit Boston GLOW, creating opportunities to encourage and engage teen girls in the Greater Boston area. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from St. Andrews University in Scotland and a Masters in Education from Harvard University.
Flaming Snot Rockets! Jim's writing is a four-color Venn diagram of superheroes, nerds jokes, awkward conversations, and over-the-top action.
A designer by day and writer by night, he has presented about writing, internet marketing, and being human to the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, the Cape Cod Writers Center, NESCBWI, and TEDx. He is a regular contributor to Project Middle-Grade Mayhem and holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
As a zoologist turned middle grade and picture book author, Jess Keating has been sprayed by skunks, bitten by crocodiles, and has been a victim to the dreaded paper cut. Her My Life is a Zoo series earned two Kirkus stars, a Red Maple nomination, a Rocky Mountain Book Award nomination, and a spot on the LA Times Summer Book Pick List.
Her quirky nonfiction picture book series kicked off with Pink is for Blobfish, with a sequel, What Makes a Monster, to follow in 2017. Her first picture book biography, Shark Lady, will also be published in 2017. Jess is also the creator, writer, and host of Animals for Smart People, a hilarious and engaging Youtube series about animals, science, and nature.
While exploring the fabric of the universe by writing YA and MG novels, Heather runs The Writers' Loft, a supportive writing community in Sherborn, MA. She believes that writing is too hard to do alone and encourages anyone who needs a critique partner or a quiet place to write to stop by the Loft. Look for her 2017 YA new releases: Blindspot (as HG Kelly), and The Surge, co-authored with Ansha Kotyk. @HeatherGKelly
Trisha Leaver lives on Cape Cod with her husband, three children, and one rather disobedient black lab. She is a chronic daydreamer who prefers the cozy confines of her own imagination to the mundane routine of everyday life. She writes Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, Psychological Horror, Science Fiction, and Historical Fiction and is published with FSG/Macmillan, Flux/Llewellyn and Merit Press. To find out more about her and her upcoming projects, please visit her website: http://www.trishaleaver.com
Brian Lies is the author and/or illustrator of over two dozen books, including his NY Times bestselling bat series (Bats at the Beach, Bats at the Library, etc.), and most recently Gator Dad. Brian's work has won numerous awards, has been translated into many languages, and has been featured on the Martha Stewart Show. He lives in Duxbury, MA with his family and two cats.
Jen Malone writes fun and flirty YA travel romances with HarperCollins and humorous "girl power" MG adventures with Simon & Schuster and Random House. Recent releases include The Sleepover, Wanderlost, and Follow Your Art. She once spent a year traveling the world solo, met her husband on the highway (literally), and went into labor with her identical twins while on a rock star's tour bus. These days she saves the drama for her books. You can learn more about Jen and her books at http://www.jenmalonewrites.com and about her freelance editing services at http://www.jenmaloneedits.com. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @jenmalonewrites.
Susan Lynn Meyer
Susan Lynn Meyer’s acclaimed books for children have won more than twenty awards, including the Jane Addams Peace Association Book Award, the Sydney Taylor Honor Award, the Charlotte Huck Honor Award, Massachusetts Book Award Finalist, and Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year. Her novels Black Radishes and Skating with the Statue of Liberty were inspired by stories she grew up hearing about her father’s childhood escape from Nazi-occupied France and experiences as a war refugee in New York City. Her picture book, New Shoes, an NAACP Image Award Nominee, is about two African American girls who find an inventive way to foil Jim Crow laws. Susan lives with her family in Massachusetts and teaches literature and creative writing at Wellesley College.
Jennifer E. Morris
Jennifer is an award winning illustrator and children’s book author. She has illustrated picture books, children’s magazines, greeting cards, party ware and educational materials. SCBWI awarded her the Don Freeman Memorial Grant in 2007. She has authored and illustrated four Scholastic reader books, the best selling of which, May I Please Have a Cookie? has sold over one million copies. Her eleventh book was published this spring. It's entitled Little Red Rolls Away and was written by Linda Whalen.
Lynda Mullaly Hunt
New York Times bestselling author, Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s novel, Fish in a Tree, is an ALA Schneider Family Book Award winner, an ALA Notable Book, a Global Read Aloud Choice, a SLJ Best Book, a Nerdy Winner, a SCBWI Crystal Kite winner, and will soon be a stage show in NYC. Her first novel, One for the Murphys (both published by Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin), is the winner of The Tassy Walden Award, is an ABA New Voices Pick, a Nerdy Book Winner, and a Scholastic Book Clubs Editor’s Choice Book. Lynda’s books have appeared on 37 state award lists and will be published in 22 languages. She was also a proud director of the SCBWI Whispering Pines Retreat for 13 years.
Burleigh Muten is the author of Miss Emily, a middle grade verse novel about the mischievous and playful Emily Dickinson, who never retreated from the children in her life. She is the author of four other children's books, has been a classroom teacher, and keeps her connection with children through school visits and writing workshops for young authors. Inspiring young people to enjoy writing is one of her passions.
Dana Meachen Rau
Over the past 20 years, Dana Meachen Rau has written more than 340 books for PreK to high school readers, including early readers, picture books, biographies, cookbooks, and nonfiction on scientific, historical, geographical, and other popular topics. Recently, she has turned her focus to middle-grade and young adult fiction. She received her BA in Creative Writing at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Besides freelancing as a children’s author, Dana has also worked as an editor and illustrator. She is currently teaching creative writing classes at the Warner Theatre Center for Arts Education and undergraduate writing classes at the University of Hartford. http://www.danameachenrau.com
Nova Ren Suma
Nova Ren Suma is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the YA novel The Walls Around Us, which was a finalist for an Edgar Award and was named the #1 Kids’ Indie Next Pick for Spring 2015, an ALA 2016 Best Fiction for Young Adults title, and a Best Book of 2015 by The Boston Globe, NPR, School Library Journal, the Chicago Public Library, and The Horn Book. She also wrote the YA novels Imaginary Girls and 17 & Gone and the middle-grade novel Fade Out. She has an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and currently teaches in the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in New York City and is at work on a new YA novel coming in 2018 from Algonquin Young Readers.
Dee Romito is a former elementary teacher and middle-grade author of The BFF Bucket List, with future releases No Place Like Home, co-author of Best.Night.Ever, and The Italy List coming 2017-2018 (Aladdin/S&S). She blogs about writing at WriteforApples.com, is Co-Advisor of Buffalo-Niagara Children’s Writers and Illustrators, and is a big-time Scrivener fan. And while she does her best to be a grown-up most of the time, giggling with her BFFs is still one of her all-time favorite things. You can visit her website at DeeRomito.com.
Ruth Sanderson has illustrated over 80 books for children, and her fairy tales have received much critical acclaim. Her original oil paintings from The Twelve Dancing Princesses are now in the permanent collection of the Norman Rockwell Museum, where she had a solo exhibition in 2013. Her latest book is The Golden Key, a Victorian fairytale by George MacDonald, which she illustrated in scratchboard for a middle grade audience. A longtime SCBWI member, Ruth served as a NE Illustrator Coordinator for a number of years. She is currently the co-director of an MFA in Children's Book Writing and Illustrating, offered during summer terms at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. She lives in Massachusetts with her family. Her website is http://www.ruthsanderson.com.
Natasha Sass as Ansha Kotyk writes middle grade fantasy and young adult science fiction. She has worked as conference chair for the New England Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators regional conferences where she also teaches workshops. She is a strong proponent of indie publishing, especially to market, and creating a living-wage career writing what you love. Her books are available anywhere books are sold. Her latest YA novels are co-written with HG Kelly and will be available in 2017. Sign up for her newsletter to receive free short stories and early access to new releases at http://www.anshakotyk.com. Twitter: @AnshaKotyk, Facebook: @author.ansha.kotyk
Heidi E.Y. Stemple
Heidi Stemple didn’t want to be a writer when she grew up. In fact, after she graduated from college, she became a probation officer in Florida. It wasn’t until she was 28 years old that she gave in and joined her mother, author Jane Yolen, and both her brothers in the family business. Since then, she has published 20 books as well as numerous short stories and poems, mostly for children.
Heidi lives on an old tobacco farm in western Massachusetts where she writes, reads, cooks, sews, and once a year, calls and counts owls for the Audubon Christmas Bird Count.
Melissa Stewart is the award-winning author of more than 150 nonfiction books for children, including No Monkeys, No Chocolate; Feathers: Not Just for Flying; and Summertime Sleep. She maintains the blog Celebrate Science (http://celebratescience.blogspot.com) and serves on the board of advisors for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. http://www.melissa-stewart.com
Tara Sullivan is an award-winning author of Young Adult novels that address current human rights issues. She was born in India and spent her childhood living in Bangladesh, Ecuador, Bolivia, and the Dominican Republic with her parents, who were international aid workers. Her first book, Golden Boy, was selected as a YALSA top-ten book of 2013, a best book of the year by Kirkus Reviews and The Wall Street Journal, and won the 2014 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People Award. Her most recent novel, The Bitter Side of Sweet has garnered five starred reviews: School Library Connection, School Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus, and Publisher’s Weekly and was ranked 5Q3PJS by VOYA. Tara currently lives and writes in Massachusetts.
Elly Swartz is a middle-grade author. Her debut novel, Finding Perfect (FSG October, 2016) is a story about a twelve-year-old girl named Molly, friendship, family, OCD, and a slam poetry competition that will determine everything. It took thirteen years, numerous drafts, many Twizzlers, loads of hugs, and much unconditional love, to find her way to YES. Elly lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with her husband, two sons and beagle named Lucy. If you want to connect with Elly or learn more about what she’s working on next, reach out to her on http://www.ellyswartz.com, Twitter @ellyswartz or Facebook
Chris Tebbetts is the author and co-author of many books for young readers. Titles include the #1 New York Times bestselling Middle School series, as well as Public School Superhero, with James Patterson and illustrator Laura Park; the New York Times bestselling Stranded series with Jeff Probst; the young adult novel M OR F? with Lisa Papademetriou; and The Viking series. His work has received children’s choice awards in Oregon and Hawaii, as well a Sunshine State Young Readers Award nomination, and a nod on the New York Public Library’s annual list of Books For the Teen Age. He is a native of Yellow Springs, Ohio, and currently lives in Hinesburg, Vermont.
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