NESCBWI 2013 Conference Word-by-Word:The Art of Craft

Springfield, Massachusetts
Friday, May 03, 2013



Keynote Speakers

Sharon Creech, Newbery Award Winner

Sharon Creech is the author of the Newbery Medal winner WALK TWO MOONS, the Newbery Honor book, THE WANDERER, and the U.K.'s Carnegie Medal for RUBY HOLLER.  She has written twelve other highly acclaimed novels and three picture books. Her newest book is THE GREAT UNEXPECTED. After living in Europe for nearly twenty years, Ms. Creech and her husband now live in Maine.  You can visit her online at

Grace Lin, Author/Illustrator

Grace Lin is the author and illustrator of picture books, early readers and middle grade novels. Grace's 2010 Newbery Honor book WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON was chosen for Al Roker's Today Show Kid's Book Club and was a NY Times Bestseller. LING & TING, Grace's first early reader, was honored with the Theodor Geisel Honor in 2011. An Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award nominee for the US, most of Grace's books are about the Asian-American experience because she believes, "Books erase bias, they make the uncommon everyday, and the mundane exotic. A book makes all cultures universal." See more about Grace and her work at

Workshop and Critique Faculty


Linda Epstein, Agent
Linda P. Epstein is an Associate Agent at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. Prior to that Linda read manuscripts and queries at Folio Literary Management, interned at Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency and Meryl Zegarek Public Relations, and was a Community Relations Manager at Barnes and Noble where she set up author readings and signings as well as organized book groups and book fairs.

Stephen Fraser, Agent
Stephen Fraser joined the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency as an agent in January 2005. He worked most recently at HarperCollins Children’s Books, where he edited such creative talents as Mary Engelbreit, Gregory Maguire, Michael Hague, Ann Rinaldi, Kathryn Lasky, Brent Hartinger, Stephen Mitchell, and Dan Gutman. He began his career at Highlights for Children and later worked at Scholastic and Simon & Schuster. A graduate of Middlebury College in Vermont, he has a Master’s degree in Children’s Literature from Simmons College in Boston. He represents both children’s and adult books in a wide range of genres.

Karen Grencik, Agent
Karen Grencik joined forces with Abigail Samoun to open Red Fox Literary, a boutique agency that represents authors of picture books, chapter books, middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction. Red Fox Literary went viral overnight after launching in June 2011, and it is now considered one of the top boutique children’s book agencies in the United States.

Jennifer Laughran, Agent
Jennifer began her career in agenting after working as a long-time children's bookseller and buyer. She is also the founder of the extremely popular YA event series "Not Your Mother's Book Club". She joined Andrea Brown Literary Agency in 2007. Always on the lookout for sparkling YA and middle grade fiction with unusual and unforgettable characters and vivid settings, she is drawn to all kinds of books, whether realistic comedies or richly imagined magical adventures.

Quinlan Lee, Agent
Quinlan Lee brings to Adams Literary her experience as a published author of numerous books for young readers and more than 15 years of business and project management expertise. She has been a part of the Adams Literary team since 2008, representing clients in all genres from picture books to YA. She enjoys meeting others who share her love of children’s literature and is an active member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and a founding board member of the Charlotte Chapter of the Women's National Book Association (WNBA).

Lauren MacLeod, Agent
Lauren MacLeod joined the Strothman Agency in 2007 after graduating cum laude from Emerson College. Lauren’s primary interests are young adult fiction and nonfiction, middle grade novels, as well as highly polished literary fiction and narrative nonfiction.  She also works closely with the agency and its clients to create effective digital platforms and capitalize on the many opportunities presented by social networking.

Rubin Pfeffer, Agent

Rubin Pfeffer, literary agent, East/West Literary Agency. 35 years in book publishing. He worked at Harcourt Brace Jovanovich’s trade imprint, served at Pearson Education as senior vice president and chief creative officer, and was senior vice president and publisher of Simon and Schuster’s trade children’s programs.

Brooks Sherman, Agent

Brooks Sherman is on the lookout for adult fiction that runs the gamut from literary and upmarket to speculative (particularly urban/contemporary fantasy rooted in realistic settings, horror/dark fantasy, and magical realism), as well as historical fiction and crime fiction. On the children’s side, he is seeking middle grade novels of all genres (but particularly fantasy adventure and contemporary), and is open to YA fiction of all types except paranormal romance. He would especially love to get his hands on a dark and/or funny contemporary YA project. Recent sales include Chorus by Emma Trevayne (Running Press Kids, Spring 2014) and I Am Otter, a picture book written and illustrated by Sam Garton (Balzer + Bray, May 2014).

Hannah Bowman, Agent

Hannah joined Liza Dawson Associates in 2011. She has a B.A. from Cornell University, summa cum laude in English and magna cum laude in Mathematics. While a student, she spent four summers working in particle physics at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, before eventually deciding her true interest was books. In her free time, she writes her own fiction (mostly science fiction and fantasy) and plays the organ. Hannah specializes in commercial fiction for adults and teens, especially science fiction and fantasy, women's fiction, cozy mysteries, romance and young adult books in all genres. Hannah is also interested in nonfiction, particularly in the areas of mathematics, science and religion.


Carol Chu, Art Director, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

In 2007, Carol Chu joined Houghton Mifflin (not yet Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) as a senior designer. Since then, Houghton Mifflin has grown into Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Carol was promoted to Associate Art Director and currently is Art Director. She's responsible for overseeing the art direction and design of the paperback imprints as well as the franchise titles. She has worked with award-winning artists Yan Nascimbene, Seymour Chwast, Helen Munsinger, Mark Edward Geyer, and Eileen Christelow. Carol has illustrated two books of her own and likens the experiences to stepping through the looking glass. Before working at HMH, Carol designed at Random House, Pushpin and Time Inc. Her master's thesis was on the topic of propaganda in children's picture books.

Kristen Nobles, Art Director, Candewick Press

In 2004, Kristen Nobles joined Candlewick Press, one of the largest independent publishing companies in the world. As an art director, she has worked with award-winning illustrators Leslie Patricelli, Sophie Blackall, Matt Tavares, Yuyi Morales, John Rocco, Matt Myers and Jim LaMarche. Kristen loves a strong character, a unique style or retro look made new again, and looks for a new spin on traditional themes in children’s books. Before returning to the east coast, Kristen was a senior designer at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. Her passion for children's books has been passed down from her mother, an elementary teacher, and her grandmother, a librarian. 

Nicole de las Heras, Art Director, Random House

Nicole de las Heras is an award-winning designer who has been working on children’s books for fifteen years. She loves finding new talent, and thinks one of the most rewarding aspects of her job is pairing the right artist with the right project and watching it come to life. She began her design career at Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, and also held positions at North South/SeaStar Books and St. Martin’s Press before joining Random House Children’s Books as a Senior Designer in 2006, where she has worked with such artists as Ruth Sanderson, Emily Winfield Martin, Greg Call, Bob Dob, and Michael Welply. She designs both covers and interiors for a variety of formats, including picture books, middle grade novels, and young adult novels.


Taryn Albright, Spencer Hill Contemporary

Taryn Albright works as an editorial assistant with Spencer Hill Contemporary, a new imprint which publishes the full spectrum of Young Adult and New Adult contemporary titles--from light, sparkly comedies to darker, edgier dramas. She is also the freelance editor behind The Girl with the Green Pen, where her clients have sold to HarlequinTeen, St. Martin's, and Strange Chemistry, among others. Taryn came to the editorial side of publishing after two years interning with various literary agencies including Andrea Brown.

Elizabeth Carpentiere, Editor, FACES Magazine

Elizabeth Carpentiere has been the editor of FACES, a world cultures magazine for middle school readers, for more than 14 years. FACES is one of several award-winning magazines published by Cobblestone Publishing. During her tenure, the publication has received numerous honors and awards including being named a Parents’ Choice Honor Winner and the Most Improved Publication by the Educational Press Association.

Jennifer Carson, Editor, Spencer Hill Press

Jennifer Carson is an associate editor with Spencer Hill Press. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Creative Writing and is a fantasy writer herself. She enjoys Muppet style humor, fantastic settings and looking for magic in the everyday. She prefers reading stories with happy endings and books that beg to be read aloud.

Emma Dryden, Editor

Emma D. Dryden has 25 years of experience as an editor and publisher with major children’s publishing houses. Her company drydenbks ( provides editorial and publishing consultancy services to authors, illustrators, agents, and publishers. A consultant with eBook, app, and indie publishers, Emma speaks on craft and the digital landscape and is an SCBWI board member.

Carter Hasegawa, Editor, Candlewick Press

Carter Hasegawa, assistant editor at Candlewick Press, came to children's publishing in a roundabout way. After a decade of working in grocery, followed by a two-year stint in textbook publishing, he left everything behind to follow his passion for children's books and went back to school to get his MA in Children's Literature from Simmons College. Since 2008, he's been a children's bookseller at various independent bookstores in Seattle and in Cambridge, which he still continues to do part-time when not at Candlewick. Some of his favorite books include, The Knife of Never Letting Go, Jellicoe Road, Cinder, The False Prince, and many, MANY others. Basically anything that has a great voice, is a good story, and is "unputdownable."

Julie Ham, Editor, Charlesbridge

Before completing an MA in Children's Literature from Simmons College, she interned with the Houghton Mifflin children's book department and served as a teacher's assistant to both nonfiction and fiction creative writing courses at Simmons. A lover of books and the creative people who write, illustrate, and publish them, Julie feels that she works in one of the best industries around. When she's not editing or considering a new manuscript, she plays in a women's basketball league in the Boston area.

Marcia Amidon Lusted, editor/author

Marcia Amidon Lusted has written over 70 books, most of them series titles for school and library publishers, as well as over 350 magazine articles. She is the assistant editor for Cobblestone Publishing's six children's magazines, as well as an instructor for the Institute of Children's Literature.

Melissa Miller, editor

Melissa Miller is an Associate Editor at Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Children’s books.  She edits both literary and commercial projects—from middle grade to young adult novels. She seeks original voices wed to strong concepts and manuscripts with a vivid sense of place.  She acquires realistic and genre fiction alike, but she has a soft spot for fresh, character-driven fantasy and richly imagined worlds—the kind of books you want to jump into and live in because the real world simply isn’t as fun as the author’s world.  Books that she works on include the Pretty Crooked series by Elisa Ludwig and the forthcoming MILA 2.0 series by Debra Driza.

Adah Nuchi, editor

Editorial Associate, Harcourt Children's Books, a New York City-based hardcover imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Harcourt’s rich heritage includes fiction for teens and tweens, picture books, and occasional narrative nonfiction.

Monica Perez

Monica is an executive editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers in Boston. She has edited children's books for the very youngest babies (this book is safe to teeth on!) up through young adult novels, both fiction and nonfiction. She currently oversees programs of books in series, such as Curious George, and board books, working with authors and illustrators such as Eileen Christelow, Helen Lester, Lynn Munsinger, and Susan Meddaugh. Prior to her career at Houghton, she worked at Candlewick Press, and before that attended the Radcliffe Publishing Course. She has a degree in archaeology that she puts to use whenever enjoying her National Geographic magazine. Her love of children's books, however, starting at age 3, is put to good use on a daily basis!

Aubrey Poole, Editor, Sourcebooks

Michelle Poploff, Editor, Delacorte Press

Michelle Poploff is Vice President and Executive Editor at Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, a Division of Random House.  She earned her Bachelor’s Degree at Queens College in Flushing, NY with a major in English and a minor in Communications.  Her list of books include Newbery Honor Book Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson, Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award Winner for New Talent Brendan Buckley’s Universe and Everything In It by Sundee T. Frazier, Suck It Up by Brian Meehl, and Faith, Hope, and Ivy June by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.

Kiffin Steurer, Editor, Philomel

A graduate of the Sarah Lawrence MFA program and a hillbilly from West Virginia, Kiffin edits and assists with both picture books and novels. His claims to fame are the Super Human series by Michael Carroll, the upcoming picture book Pirates Don’t Take Baths by John Segal, his collection of Hummel figurines, and his dashing good looks.

Alison Weiss, Associate Editor, Egmont

Alison Weiss joined Egmont in 2008 as a sort of jack-of-all trades, but quickly made her way to editorial. As a kid, it was not unusual to find her huddled under the covers on a Saturday morning with a stack of books, rather than downstairs watching cartoons. The Boxcar Children, anything E.B. White ever wrote, and Betty MacDonald’s Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books made frequent appearances.

Alison is looking for high-concept, compelling writing that will sweep her into another world. She is especially eager to find books that will make her cry (in the best possible way, of course), strong contemporary middle-grade fiction with all the hallmarks of the classics that feel like old friends, and a middle-grade or YA novel that will set her on a great clue hunt and keep her guessing to the final pages.

Alison is Egmont’s resident Twitter correspondent (@EgmontUSA) and hosts monthly Q&A sessions with teen writers at


Sarah Albee, author

Sarah Albee’s most recent nonfiction book is called Poop Happened! A History of the World from the Bottom Up. Her next nonfiction book, due out in Fall 2013, is tentatively titled Bugged: How Insects Have Affected Human History. She has also published fiction titles from preschool through middle grade, and has a history blog at You can visit her Pinterest boards at

Jeannine Atkins, author

Jeannine Atkins writes books about history for children and teens, including Borrowed Names: Poems about Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C. J. Walker, Marie Curie and Their Daughters. She teaches Children’s Literature at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a graduate course in writing for children at Simmons College. You can learn more on her website at

Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, author

Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen is the author of over thirty books for children, ranging from thirteen picture books to over a dozen nonfiction books for young readers to a newly-contracted chapter book series called Spectacles of Destiny. Her titles include Hampire!, The Worst Twelve Days of Christmas, Half-Pint Pete the Pirate, Pirate Princess, and Chicks Run Wild. She speaks at conferences, educator events, and schools across the country, teaching the craft of writing to children and adults.

Stacy Barnett Mozer, author

Stacy Barnett Mozer is a middle-grade writer. She founded the SCBWI of Lower Fairfield and is the critique group coordinator for NESCBWI. Stacy has a Masters in Elementary Education from New York University and spends her days teaching third grade. She lives with her husband and two children in Stamford, Connecticut and blogs at

Carlyn Beccia, illustrator

Carlyn Beccia has been creating digital art since the days of dot matrix printers. She is author of Digital Painting for the Complete Beginner.  Beccia's children’s books have won numerous awards including the Golden Kite Honor recipient for picture book illustration, the International Reading Association's Children's and Young Adult Book Award for Intermediate-Nonfiction and the Cybil Award for Non-fiction picture book.

Scott Blagden, author

Scott grew up in Foxborough, Massachusetts, and now makes his home on the coast near Cape Cod, where he enjoys being a dad to his teenage twins. His ultra-edgy debut young adult novel, Dear Life, You Suck, comes out with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in March 2013.

Sarah Brannen, author/illustrator

Sarah S. Brannen wrote and illustrated Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, which was the 8th most-challenged book in the U.S. in 2008.  She also illustrated The Very Beary Tooth Fairy; Sarah’s Journal; The Ugly Duckling; Mathias Franey, Powder Monkey; The Pig Scramble; Digging for Troy and The ABC Book of American Homes. She has also illustrated several educational books.

Ed Briant, author/illustrator

Author and illustrator Ed Briant has illustrated or written (or both) eight books, and creates the popular weekly comic strip, TALES FROM THE SLUSH PILE. His most recent book, I AM (NOT) THE WALRUS, a young adult novel, was published by Flux in July 2012. He teaches Creative Writing at Rowan University in New Jersey.

Christine Brodien-Jones, author

Christine Brodien-Jones is the author of middle-grade fantasy novels THE OWL KEEPER (2010), THE SCORPIONS OF ZAHIR (2012) and THE GLASS PUZZLE (2013), all published by Delacorte/Random House.  She's represented by Stephen Fraser.  Christine studied writing at Emerson College, and has been a journalist, editor and teacher.  She and her husband Peter live in Gloucester, Massachusetts and Deer Isle, Maine.

Leslie Bulion, author

Leslie Bulion's two award-winning poetry collections HEY THERE, STINK BUG! (Charlesbridge 2006) and AT THE SEA FLOOR CAFE (Peachtree 2011) and her upcoming RANDOM BODY PARTS: GROSS ANATOMY RIDDLES IN VERSE (Peachtree 2014) combine research, established and invented poetic forms, and gross-out humor to explore science with kids ages 6-100. Her other books include UNCHARTED WATERS (Peachtree 2006), THE TROUBLE WITH RULES (Peachtree 2008) and THE UNIVERSE OF FAIR (Peachtree 2012), illustrated by Frank Dormer.

Laurie Calkhoven, author

I am the author of nearly 50 books for young readers. Currently I write for American Girl’s new Innerstar University series along with historical action/adventure novels for my own series, Boys of Wartime. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, I was the Editorial Director of the Teen People Book Club and an Executive Editor with the Scholastic Book Clubs.

Kellie Celia, Walden Pond Press

Kellie Celia is the marketing communications manager for Walden Pond Press, Walden Media's publishing division. Over the past six years, she has countless hours working on school and library outreach for Walden's books and films. Notable school and library book campaigns on which Kellie has worked include Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu and Newbery-Honor winning Savvy by Ingrid Law and notable film campaigns include Bridge to Terabithia and Charlotte's Web.

Pat Lowery Collins, author/artist

Picture book author Pat Lowery Collins has also written three young adult historical novels, Just Imagine, Hidden Voices, and Daughter of Winter, and one semi-historical fantasy, The Fattening Hut. Among her honors are The Julia Ward Howe Award and ALA Amelia Bloomer and Rainbow selections.  Daughter of Winter was a Must Read Finalist for the 2011 Mass Book Award.

Gaia Cornwall, illustrator

Gaia Cornwall works as an illustrator in Providence, Rhode Island. A graduate of Pratt Institute, her body of work includes animation for network television and  film, illustration for online interactive games, websites, magazines, murals, and products. Her hand drawn images tend to be realistically rendered, but with a whimsical touch, often employing patterns, botanical elements, and mischievous children.  Learn more at

Michelle Cusolito, author

Michelle Cusolito earned a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction focused on integrating arts in the curriculum. A 4th grade teacher and curriculum developer for 10 years, she’s now a critique group coordinator, School Committee Member, and Adjunct with Lesley University.  As Chairperson of a PTO Cultural Committee, she hires author and illustrator presenters. She blogs at Polliwog on Safari (

Janet Doucette

Janet Doucette, LMHC, is a licensed psychotherapist and executive coach with over 20 years of experience in information technology and 15 years in psychotherapy. She has used traditional as well as cutting edge mind body techniques to help athletes, professionals, writers and others achieve success in their personal and professional lives.

Katie Davis, author

Katie Davis won SLJ’s 2012 Trailee Award, creating two of four category finalists. She supports literacy through her products for children's writers/illustrators (webinars, online courses, tutorials, eBooks, weekly podcast and newsletter) and as monthly guest on Good Morning, Connecticut. Katie’s the author/illustrator of nine books, including How to Promote Your Children's Book: Tips, Tricks, and Secrets to Create a Bestseller.

Karen Day, author

Karen Day is a writing teacher and author of middle grade novels TALL TALES, NO CREAM PUFFS and A MILLION MILES FROM BOSTON. Her novels have appeared on numerous lists, including Bank Street Educators Best Books of the Year and the Texas Librarian Association’s Bluebonnet Master Reading List. You can reach her at:

Natalie Dias Lorenzi, author

Natalie Dias Lorenzi is a teacher, librarian, mother, wife and traveler. She has lived in seven US states, three foreign countries, and traveled to more places than she can count (and she can count pretty high). Flying the Dragon is her first novel. Visit Natalie at (no passport required).

Pegi Deitz Shea, author

Pegi Deitz Shea has published more than 400 articles, poems, essays and books for readers of all ages. A two-time winner of the Connecticut Book Award, she has also won awards from the IRA, ALA, NCTE, NCSS and other organizations. She teaches Writing for Children and Young Adults at the University of Connecticut and through the Institute of Children's Literature. She's presented at hundreds of conferences, schools and libraries across the country.

Erin Dionne, author

Erin Dionne teaches, moms, and writes humorous contemporary novels for tweens. Her new book, MOXIE AND THE ART OF RULE BREAKING (Dial Books), will be available in July 2013.

Chris Eboch, author

Chris Eboch is the author of 13 books for young people. Her novels for ages nine and up include The Eyes of Pharaoh, a mystery in ancient Egypt; The Well of Sacrifice, a Mayan adventure; and the Haunted series, which starts with The Ghost on the Stairs. Her book Advanced Plotting helps writers fine-tune their plots. Learn more at or check out her writing tips at

Greg Fishbone, author

Greg R. Fishbone is an author of galactic fiction for young readers, including the Galaxy Games series of humorous middle grade sci-fi novels from the Tu Books imprint at Lee & Low Books. Greg also serves as an Assistant Regional Advisor for the New England regions of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, is a two-time NESCBWI conference co-director, and founder of the Class of 2k7 debut author group. Visit his website at for more information.

Laurie Flynn

A regional coordinator for Reach Out and Read by day and a writer by night, Laurie Flynn has been reviewing Middle Grade and Young Adult novels for Kirkus for two years. In May of 2011, she received her MFA in Children's Literature from Simmons College, where she had the privilege of being taught by both Vicky Smith and NESCBWI's own Jo Knowles. She loves to read, talk and tweet about fabulous books for young readers!

Michelle Fontaine

Michelle Fontaine earned her MBA in 2002 from Assumption College. With 20 years of experience in the corporate marketing environment, and 10 years as an entrepreneur, she is well-versed, experienced and poised to make you shine! Focusing on the latest trends in social media, Michelle is first and foremost a teacher, speaker and manager of social media and Internet strategies.

AC Gaughen, author

AC Gaughen fights like a girl, whether it's on the pages with her tough-girl heroines in Young Adult fiction or inspiring teen girls in Boston to find their self-confidence with the non-profit Boston GLOW.  SCARLET is her first novel.

Gail Gauthier, author

Gail Gauthier is the author of eight books for children and young adults, including an ALA Notable Book. She was first exposed to management concepts while working for a management development agency. She has maintained the blog Original Content for more than ten years, where she began a time management project in 2012.

Hilary Weisman Graham, author

In addition to being a novelist, Hilary Weisman Graham is also an award-winning filmmaker, screenwriter, and TV producer whose two features films and numerous shorts have garnered awards and played in art-houses and film festivals around the world.

Melanie Hope Greenberg, author

Author-illustrator of 16 published books reviewed in PW, Kirkus, SLJ, NYT. Artist in residence, Eric Carle Museum's 2011 NEA grant.  "Drawn in Brooklyn" and solo exhibitions, Brooklyn Central Library. Selected raffle artist 2011 TLA conference. Award winning blog. SCBWI NY Metro steering committee member.  Keynoter, panelist, workshop presenter, picture book manuscript / dummy / portfolio critiquer, SCBWI regional conferences.  Judge, 2005 Golden Kite Award, 2006 Magazine Merit Award.

Kami Kinard, author

Kami Kinard is the author of The Boy Project: Notes and Observations of Kara McAllister (Scholastic, January 2012).  Her poetry, stories, articles, and essays have appeared in periodicals for children and adults. Kami also works as a teaching artist for South Carolina schools, and teaches writing courses for continuing education programs. She lives with her family in Beaufort, South Carolina.

Sarah Lamstein, author

Sarah Lamstein has published a collection of folktales from Nepal, a novel Hunger Moon, and four picture books, the latest of which, Big Night for Salamanders, was named a Smithsonian Notable Book for Children and a Massachusetts Book Award “Must-Read."  Sarah has an MFA in Writing from Vermont College.

Janet Lawler, author

Janet’s first picture book, If Kisses Were Colors (Dial), was a CBOMC selection and has been translated into four languages. Tyrannoclaus (HarperCollins) appeared in CBOMC and Scholastic’s SeeSaw Book Club. She has been published by Sterling, Little Simon, Jumping Jack Press, Amazon Children’s Publishing (formerly Marshall Cavendish), and National Geographic. Janet loves to write about family, nature, and silly things. Please visit for more information.

Cynthia Levinson, author

A former teacher and curriculum consultant, Cynthia writes nonfiction, on a wide range of topics, for children's magazines and the trade book market. Her debut middle-grade nonfiction book, We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March, was recognized as an ALA Notable Book, a Finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults, and an Orbis Pictus Award Honor Book, among other honors. She divides her time between Boston and Austin.

Kate Messner, author

Kate Messner is the award-winning author of more than a dozen current and forthcoming books for young readers. Her first novel, The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z., won the 2010 E.B. White Read-Aloud Medal for Older Readers, while its follow-up, Sugar and Ice (Walker/Bloomsbury, 2010), was a Junior Library Guild selection. Kate is also the author of the popular Marty McGuire chapter book series and Silver Jaguar Society mysteries with Scholastic. Her picture books with Chronicle Books include SeaMonster's First Day and Over and Under the Snow, an E.B. White Read-Aloud Honor Book and NY Times and ALSC Notable book. Kate is a former middle school English teacher who also wrote REAL REVISION: AUTHORS' STRATEGIES TO SHARE WITH STUDENT WRITERS, a book about the revision process for teachers and writers (Stenhouse, 2011). Kate lives on Lake Champlain with her family, where she enjoys spending time outside biking, hiking, swimming in the summer, skiing and skating in the winter. Of course, she also loves curling up with a good book any day of the year. Follow her on Twitter @KateMessner and learn more at her website (

Dawn Metcalf, author

Dawn Metcalf is a writer, blogger and public speaker with a penchant for dark chocolate and colored Post-It Notes. Her debut novel, Luminous (Dutton, 2011) and upcoming Twixt Novels (Harlequin Teen, 2013) have been incredible learning experiences in the craft of writing and she’s proud to Pay It Forward as a NESCBWI member and presenter.  Share insights, inspiration, and geekery on her website,

Hazel Mitchell, illustrator

Award winning illustrator Hazel Mitchell is originally from England. She now lives and works from her studio in Central Maine, but still misses fish and chips and mushy peas, (although she’s learning to love lobster). She has two dogs, two horses, one cat and several snow shovels. Find her recent books and stuff online at

Lynda Mullaly-Hunt, author

Lynda Mullaly-Hunt is the author of a middle grade novel, ONE FOR THE MURPHYS, (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin) which won the New Voices in Children’s Literature: Tassy Walden Award. She’s the Director of the annual SCBWI Whispering Pines Writers’ Retreat. She’s taught both elementary school and Scenario Writing for nearly ten years. Ms. Mullaly-Hunt’s next novel, ALPHABET SOUP will be released from Penguin in Spring, 2014. Find her online at

Lesléa Newman, author

Lesléa Newman is the author of many books that challenge gender stereotypes including HEATHER HAS TWO MOMMIES, A FIRE ENGINE FOR RUTHIE, THE BOY WHO CRIED FABULOUS, and DONOVAN'S BIG DAY. OCTOBER MOURNING: A SONG FOR MATTHEW SHEPARD, a novel-in-verse for teens has recently been published by Candlewick Press. She teaches at Spalding University's brief-residency MFA in Writing program.

Elisabeth Papademetriou, author

Lisa Papademetriou is the author of several middle grade and YA novels, including M or F?, Siren’s Storm, Fury’s Fire, and her current series Confectionately Yours. She has worked in an editorial capacity for Scholastic, Alloy, HarperCollins, and Disney Press. To learn more about or connect with Lisa, check out her blog at or follow her on twitter @axyfabulous.

Dana Rau, author

Dana Meachen Rau has written more than 300 books for children, spanning subjects of reading, science, history, biography, and hobbies. Dana also worked as an early reader editor for Children’s Press before launching into her writing career. Her most recent early readers include Corn Aplenty (Random House, 2009), Flip Flop! (RH, 2011), and Robot! Go, Bot! (RH, 2013).

Catherine Reef, author

Catherine Reef has written more than forty nonfiction books for children and adults. Her honors include the Joan G. Sugarman Children's Book Award for Walt Whitman; the Sydney Taylor Award for Sigmund Freud: Pioneer of the Mind; and a Golden Kite Honor for Ernest Hemingway: A Writer's Life. Her titles consistently appear on lists of "best" and "notable" children's books.

Diana Renn, author

Diana Renn’s young adult novel, TOKYO HEIST, was published by Viking/Penguin in 2012. Her essays and short fiction -- for adults and for young readers -- have been published in a variety of magazines, including The Writer, Writer's Digest, YARN (Young Adult Review Network), Literary Mama, Lit 103.3: Fiction for the Ears, The Indiana Review, and Cricket Magazine for Children. She lives outside of Boston with her husband and son, and is working on her next novel. She also runs a group blog for kidlit mystery fans called Sleuths, Spies & Alibis.

Christina Rodriguez, illustrator

Christina Rodriguez is a former Air Force Brat, past RISD scholarship winner, current award-winning Latina illustrator with over a dozen children's picture books to her credit, and most importantly: a repatriated New Englander who now lives, works, & devours books in Providence, Rhode Island. Read about her illustration adventures at

Leila Roy, author

Leila Roy has always loved children's books, but she really got serious about them during her six-year stint at Cambridge's Curious George goes to WordsWorth (sadly now closed). After moving back to her home state of Maine and starting her library career, she started the blog Bookshelves of Doom and got heavily involved in the Kidlitosphere. She was one of the original contributors to Guys Lit Wire, has served on various Cybils panels since the award's inception, and has written for the Kirkus Reviews blog since 2010.

Ruth Sanderson, author/illustrator

Ruth Sanderson is an award-winning author/illustrator well known for her beautiful fairy tale picture books, including THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESES, CINDERELLA, and GOLDILOCKS. She is the director of the Certificate in Children's Book Illustration program at Hollins University in Virginia.

Natasha Sass (aka Ansha Kotyk), author

Natasha Sass is a published author of both Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction under the pseudonym Ansha Kotyk.  She is a co-host of the weekly twitter chat #mglitchat and blogs at Potsnpens. In her past incarnation (before children) she was a technical support specialist who also trained staff on how to use various computer applications. Check out her Wordpress website at

Vicky Smith

Vicky Smith is the Children's & Teen Editor of Kirkus Reviews. She is also an instructor at the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College. She once held a world record for longest team read-aloud, which proves that any idiot who can read Guinness can break a world record.

Donna Spurlock

Donna Spurlock is the Director of Marketing at Charlesbridge Publishing where she has been publicizing and promoting books for young readers for seventeen years. Donna began her career in the book industry as a clerk at Rizzoli Bookstore, matching customers with great books for over six years and eventually becoming the buyer at their Boston store. She thinks that working in the children’s book world is just about the happiest accident she’s ever had.

Brenda Reeves Sturgis, author

Brenda Reeves Sturgis is the author of 10 Turkeys in the Road, Amazon and Scholastic, 2011. She is also the author of No Fun in the Sun for Santa, First Ideas Corp, 2013, and The Lake Where Loon Lives, forthcoming from Islandport Press, 2014. In 2007 her manuscript Touchdown won first place in Smart Writers, and 10 Turkeys in the Road received and honorable mention. She is represented by Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary. Brenda lives on a lovely little lake with her husband Gary and daughter Stacie, and is the mother of 3 grown children, and the grandmother of 5 grandchildren.

Nova Ren Suma, author

Nova Ren Suma ( has an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and was a fiction fellow with the New York Foundation for the Arts. She is the author of IMAGINARY GIRLS (Dutton, 2011) and DANI NOIR (Aladdin, 2009), recently rereleased as FADE OUT (Simon Pulse, 2012). Her new YA novel, 17 & GONE, is forthcoming from Dutton in March 2013.

Nicole Tadgell, illustrator

Nicole has presented a similar topic at NESCBWI’s April 2006 conference as a two hour intensive, and at the Worcester Art Museum. She has taught children’s book related workshops at the Worcester Art Museum, as well as being a guest lecturer at Fitchburg State College, Wheaton College, the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, and numerous public schools and libraries across New England. "Nicole Tadgell is an award-winning watercolor illustrator of over 20 books for children, including First Peas to the Table, In the Garden with Dr. Carver, both by Susan Grigsby, Josias, Hold the Book by Jennifer Reismeyer Elvgren, and A Day with Daddy by Nikki Grimes."

Peggy Thomas, author

For twenty years, Peggy Thomas has been writing picture books, middle grade and YA nonfiction, including the award-winning picture book biography, For the Birds: the Life of Roger Tory Peterson. Most recently she used her research skills to dissect the art and craft of nonfiction in Anatomy of Nonfiction: Writing True Stories for Children, with co-author Margery Facklam, and is the author of the Anatomy of Nonfiction blog.  See her books at

Linda Urban, author

Linda Urban is the author of the middle grade novels A Crooked Kind of Perfect, Hound Dog True, and The Center of Everything, and the picture book Mouse Was Mad.  She has ten years experience as marketing director for an independent bookstore and ten more years experience as a mom of voracious readers.  A frequent workshop leader, Linda has been on the faculty at the Pacific Northwest Children’s Book Writing Conference, numerous SCBWI conferences, the New England Young Writer’s Conference at Bread Loaf.

Padma Venkatraman, author

Padma Venkatraman is the author of two novels, CLIMBING THE STAIRS and ISLAND'S END, both of which were released to starred reviews and received other honors and awards.

Teri Weidner, illustrator

Teri Weidner has been illustrating picture books for 25 years. Her watercolor and colored pencil animals have accompanied words by many talented authors including Margaret Wise Brown and Jan Karon. A RISD graduate, she teaches a picture book illustration class at Sanctuary Arts in Eliot, Maine. View her work at


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    Conference cancellations before March 15, 2013 will be refunded in full. After March 15, 2013, refunds will only be given when proof is furnished to support military service or a death in the family.

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