New England SCBWI 2015 Think Outside the Crayon Box!

Springfield, Massachusetts
Friday, April 24, 2015

New England SCBWI 2015 

Think Outside the Crayon Box!

artwork by Laura Jacques

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Printer friendly PDF version of the keynotes, critique staff, and faculty bios.


Christopher Cheng

Christopher Cheng is the award winning author of more than 40 children's books in print and digital formats including the picture books One Child, and the recently published picture books Sounds Spooky and Water, the historical fiction titles New Gold Mountain and The Melting Pot and the non-fiction titles 30 Amazing Australian Animals and Australia’s Greatest Inventions and Innovations. His narrative non-fiction picture book Python was shortlisted in the 2013 Children's Book Council of the Year awards and was noted as "Outstanding Merit" in the 2014 edition of Best Books of the Year for Children and Young Adults, selected by the Banks Street Children's Book Committee. In addition to his books, Christopher writes articles for online ezines and blogs and he wrote the libretto for a children's musical. He is co-chair of the International Advisory Board for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), an International Advisory Board Member for the Asian Festival of Children's Content (AFCC) and a recipient of the Lady Cutler Award for Children's Literature. He is also the director of the digital publishing company Sparklight. He presents in schools, conferences and festivals around the world and he established the international peer-voted SCBWI Crystal Kite Awards. He dwells with his wife in an inner-city Sydney terrace and is often heard to say that he has the best job in the world!

Jo Knowles

Jo Knowles is the author of Living With Jackie Chan, See You At Harry's, Pearl, Jumping Off Swings, and Lessons from a Dead Girl. Her newest book, Read Between The Lines, was called "masterfully woven" in a starred review by Kirkus. Some of her awards include two SCBWI Crystal Kite Awards, a New York Times Editor's Choice and Notable Book, the PEN New England Children's Book Discovery Award, an American Library Association Notable, Bank Street College's Best Books for Children (Outstanding Merit), and YALSA's Best Fiction for Young Adults. Jo has a master's degree in children's literature and teaches writing for young adults in the MFA program at Southern New Hampshire University. She lives in Vermont with her husband and son.

Dan Santat

Dan Santat is a New York Times bestselling illustrator (Because I'm Your Dad) a Society of Illustrators' The Original Art Silver Medal winner (Oh No! Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World), and is the author/illustrator of Sidekicks and the illustrator of Crankenstein by Samantha Berger. His new book, The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, is the winner of the 2015 Randolph Caldecott Medal and was named the Best Picture Book of 2015 by NPR, The Huffington Post, PBD Kids, and the Chicago Public Library. He is also the creator of the Disney animated series, The Replacements. Dan lives in Southern California with his wife, two kids, and various pets. His website is dantat.

Marvin Terban

Marvin Terban has been called a "master of children's wordplay" by ALA Booklist and "Mr. English for Kids" by the Children's Book of the Month Club. He is also Scholastic's "Professor Grammar". Nobody has written more books for children related to the basic language arts skills stressed in the Common Core than Marvin. He has published thirty-eight books, three of which have sold over a million copies each. He is a very long-time member of SCBWI and in 2005 was honored as "Member of the Year". He has the best job every year at the annual SCBWI Winter Conference in New York: He gives away the door prizes! He is well-known for his engaging, lively, and humorous presentations and has spoken at schools, colleges, and educational conferences all over the world. And he still keeps his long-time day job as an English and Latin teacher at a school in New York. He'll be back in his classroom on the Monday morning after the conference.

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. They are also co-authors of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published: How To Write It, Sell It, and Market It… Successfully (Workman, 2010). Arielle Eckstut has been a literary agent for over 20 years at The Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. She is also the author of nine books and the co-founder of the iconic brand, LittleMissMatched. David Henry Sterry is the best-selling author of sixteen books on a wide variety of subjects including memoir, sports, YA fiction and reference. His first book has been translated into ten languages, and his last book appeared on the front cover of The New York Times Book Review. They have taught their workshop on how to get published everywhere from Stanford University to Smith College. They have appeared everywhere from The New York Times to NPR's Morning Edition to USA Today.

Critique Faculty:

Rhoda Belleza, Editor

Rhoda Belleza received her BA in English and Communications from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Post-graduation, she wandered up and down the West Coast, stopping in almost every city along the way. Fortunately, none of them fit quite right. She finally found a home in Brooklyn where she lives, breathes, and eats fiction. She's the editor of Cornered: 14 Stories of Bullying and Defiance, and her work has appeared on the Before becoming an associate editor at Paper Lantern Lit, she was a copywriter, barista, shuttle driver, and writing instructor. She loves to feel the seasons change and is currently in a co-dependent relationship with her bicycle.

Julie Bliven, Editor

Julie Bliven is an Associate Editor at Charlesbridge Publishing. She edits middle-grade and picture-book fiction and non-fiction. Some authors and illustrators she’s currently working with include Paul A. Reynolds, Peter H. Reynolds, Anne Sibley O'Brien, Leeza Hernandez, and Natalie Dias Lorenzi. Julie graduated with an MA in Children's Literature from Simmons College. She is currently most interested in acquiring contemporary, realistic middle-grade fiction novels as well as non-fiction that makes the ordinary or well-known feel especially fresh. In her spare time, Julie teaches adult-ed writing courses at her local community center and enjoys city hikes and foolproof recipes.
(Note: Julie has attended many previous NESCBWI conferences under the name Julie Ham).

Kat Brzozowski, Editor

Kat Brzozowski is an associate editor at Thomas Dunne Books, a division of St. Martin's Press, where she has worked since 2009. She works on a wide range of young adult fiction, including new Fear Street books by R.L. Stine (the first, Party Games, came out in September 2014); Hello, I Love You, a love story set in the world of K-Pop (June 2015); Romancing the Dark in the City of Light, in which a troubled teen, living in Paris, is torn between two boys (October 2015);The Weight of Feathers, best described as The Night Circus meets Romeo and Juliet for teens (September 2015); In Real Life, set over one weekend in Vegas where a teen meets her online BFF IRL for the first time (2016); and Firsts, about a girl who gives classmates their perfect first time - until everything starts to fall apart (2016). Kat is looking for acquire young adult fiction across a wide range of genres, especially contemporary, realistic YA with a strong hook; dark, contemporary fiction (not too issues-y), mysteries, suspense, and thrillers; horror; and sci-fi (that's mostly rooted in this world; think Minority Report). She is especially interested in YA with crossover appeal. When she's reading YA, she looks for a strong sense of voice, multi-dimensional characters, and realistic dialogue.

Linda Camacho, Agent

Linda is a new agent with Prospect Agency. She attended Cornell University and her time since graduation has created a great background for a career in agenting. She interned at Simon & Schuster and Writers House literary agency, worked at Penguin in production, and happily settled into children’s marketing at Random House before making the move. Simultaneously, she earned her MFA in creative writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She's especially interested in middle grade and young adult genre fiction, from light and humorous to dark and edgy. She also likes upmarket fiction (literary crossed with commercial appeal). Very select picture books will also be considered. You can find her on Twitter at @LindaRandom and on Prospect's web page (

Jen Carson, Editor

Jennifer Carson, Senior Imprint Editor, is a mom, wife, author, designer and writer. She holds a Bachelor's in Creative Writing and has published both fiction and non-fiction books and articles. She particularly enjoys Middle Grade and YA fantasy with out-of-this-world characters and a dash of humor. Her latest editing projects include: Deadwood, Silent Starsong, Last Child of Hamelin, The Earl's Childe, Little Miss Evil, Almost Magic, The House on Blister Hill and Freaks of Nature.

Jill Corcoran, Agent

Prior to becoming an agent, I worked at Mattel, LA Gear, Leo Burnett Advertising and my own company, LAUNCH! New Product Marketing. With an English degree from Stanford University and a Marketing and Finance MBA from the University of Chicago School of Business, I have marketed everything from Barbies to Disney toys, Kellogg's cereal to LA Gear shoes. But when I started writing books for children, and then agenting them, I knew I found my true calling. In August 2013, after four years agenting with the wonderful Ronnie Ann Herman of the Herman Agency, I decided to strike out on my own and create the Jill Corcoran Literary Agency. In September 2014, I was named Transmedia & Licensing Agent for EverWitt Productions. I am also the founder of A Path To Publishing apathtopublishing with Plot Expert Martha Alderson. Our goal for APTP is to ensure writers understand concept, plotting, character development, scene development, action and emotional arc development, as well as how to pitch their work to agents, editors, and readers. Come on over to our Facebook Group and talk with almost 2,000 authors, agents, editors and illustrators of both kidlit and adult books. And finally, I am a poetry anthologist. My book Dare to Dream...Change the World (Kane/Miller, 2012) was honored with the American Library Association 2013 Notable Books for a Global Society Award, a California Reading Association's 2012 Eureka! Silver Honor, and was named a Best Books of 2013 by Bank Street College of Education.

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 a BA in English Literature and a BA in Sociology from Miami University, and she is certified in Copyediting from Emerson College. As an Associate Literary Agent with Dee Mura Literary, Kaylee is particularly interested in science fiction, fantasy, middle grade, young adult, new adult, LGBTQ, steampunk, and literary. You can find her on twitter at @Kaylee_Davis_ and online at deemuraliterary

Linda Epstein, Agent

Linda Epstein is an Associate Agent at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in New York. She is currently looking for picture books (both fiction and non-fiction), middle grade and young adult fiction, and select adult fiction. For picture books, she's seeking commercial, quirky, and funny. Linda looks for off-beat stories that haven't yet been told, or familiar stories told in a new and innovative way. She likes realistic contemporary, sci fi, fantasy, speculative fiction, magical realism, legends, mythology, historical fiction, and mysteries on the kooky but cozy side. She is very interested in issues of identity, second chances, first love, feminism, upsetting the status quo and the weather. She's not interested in stories that might be described as "gritty and urban", or anything overtly political or religious, category romance, thrillers, horror, espionage, or anything with dead, missing, or maimed children.

Elena Giovinazzo, Agent

Elena Giovinazzo represents an array of award winning authors and illustrators from her seat at the offices of Pippin Properties, a boutique literary agency located in the heart of New York City. She's looking for writing that makes her laugh or takes her breath away.

Carter Hasegawa, Editor

Carter Hasegawa, associate 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 he 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, at which he still continues to work part-time when not at Candlewick. Some of his favorite non-Candlewick books include: The Notorious Benedict Arnold, Jellicoe Road, Ready Player One, Three Times Lucky, and many, MANY more. Basically anything that has a great voice, is a good story, and is "unputdownable."

Jim Hoover, Art Director

Jim Hoover is an Associate Art Director at Viking Children's Books specializing in fiction, picture books, and non-fiction. He has been working in the industry for sixteen years. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design in Illustration, Jim has been in publishing now for over fifteen years. He has designed and art directed well over a hundred titles including Ella, Tea Party Rules, Pretty Monsters, John Lennon: All I Want is the Truth, Stuck in the Middle, Mission Control: This is Apollo, Marching for Freedom, Titanic Sinks! and the children's book adaptation of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.

Jennifer Laughran, Agent

Jennifer Laughran is a Senior Agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency; she joined the agency in 2007 after many years as a bookseller and buyer for independent bookstores. 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. However, the common thread in her favorite stories is an offbeat world-view. 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.

Emma Ledbetter, Editor

Emma Ledbetter is an Associate Editor at Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Emma works on a variety of children’s books, with a particular passion for picture books of all stripes and voice-driven middle grade novels. Books she has edited include I Don't Like Koala by Sean Ferrell, illustrated by Charles Santoso, and The Backwards Birthday Party by Tom Chapin and John Forster, illustrated by Chuck Groenink.

Laurent Linn, Art Director

Laurent Linn, Art Director for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, began his career as a puppet designer/builder in Jim Henson's Muppet Workshop, creating characters for various productions, including the Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island films. With Henson over a decade, he worked primarily on Sesame Street, becoming the Creative Director for the Sesame Street Muppets, winning an Emmy Award. Currently, at Simon & Schuster, Laurent art directs picture books, middle-grade, and teen novels, including The Blessing Cup, by Patricia Polacco; All Different Now, by Angela Johnson, illus. by E. B. Lewis; DRAW!, by Raúl Colón; Better Nate Than Ever, by Tim Federle; and the Rot & Ruin YA series by Jonathan Maberry. Laurent is on the Board of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and is Artistic Advisor for the annual Original Art exhibit at the Society of Illustrators in New York. LaurentLinn Twitter:@LaurentLinn

Lauren MacLeod, Agent

Lauren E. MacLeod joined The Strothman Agency in 2007 after graduating from Emerson College with a BFA in Writing, Literature and Publishing. She specializes in young adult and middle grade fiction in addition to handling the Barbara Cooney Estate and foreign and subsidiary rights for the Strothman Agency. She is a full member of the Association of Authors Representatives. She lives in Nashville, TN and tweets under @Lauren_MacLeod

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 forthcoming novel Princess Juniper of the Hourglass (Philomel, 2015), and other books including Paradox (RH, 2013), Rules for Ghosting (Walker, 2013), Nowhere Girl (Walker, 2011), Ghost in the House (Candlewick, 2013), and Petey and Pru and the Hullabaloo (Clarion, 2013). 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 ajpaquette

Rebecca Podos, Agent

Rebecca Podos is an MG and YA agent at the Rees Literary Agency in Boston. Her debut YA novel, The Mystery of Hollow Places, is forthcoming from Balzer + Bray in 2016. A graduate of the Writing, Literature and Publishing Program at Emerson College, her fiction has been published in Glimmer Train, Glyph, CAJE, Paper Darts, Bellows American Review, Smokelong Quarterly and The Knicknackery.

Aubrey Poole, Editor

Aubrey Poole got her start as an editor correcting her friends’ grammar in high school, an effort which naturally guaranteed instant popularity. She is now an associate editor at Sourcebooks, acquiring children's books from picture books through young adult. Her first YA novel, Send by Patty Blount, was a Junior Library Guild pick. Her middle grade novel This Journal Belongs to Ratchet by Nancy Cavanaugh received a starred review from Kirkus, is a Florida State Book award winner and an NCTE Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts. Nancy's second novel, Always Abigail, is a 2015-16 nominee for the Texas Bluebonnet Award. Aubrey hopes to continue shamelessly courting librarians with her middle grade series The Ninja Librarians, which also received a starred review from Kirkus. Some of Aubrey’s authors include New York Times and USA Today bestseller Suzanne Brockmann, USA Today bestseller Juliana Stone, award-winner Mari Mancusi, award-winner Jen Calonita, Janet Gurtler, Natalie D. Richards, Anna Staniszewski and illustrator Tracy Dockray.

Martha Rago, Art Director

Named the Creative Director for RandomHouse/Golden Books Young Readers Group in January, Martha will have been in this new post a few short months at the time of this conference. But she has had a long career as designer and art director in children's books. As the associate creative director at HarperCollins for the past twelve years, she oversaw the development and design of HarperCollins picture books under the Harper imprint and those in the Rayo, Collins, Katherine Tegen imprint, the Balzer + Bray imprint, and the estate programs of C.S. Lewis and Shel Silverstein. Martha has worked with many established illustrators in her career, such as Eric Carle, Tomie dePaola, Peter McCarty, Mo Willems, Floyd Cooper, Peter Sis, Dan Yaccarino, Susan Jeffers, Pat Cummings, and Kadir Nelson. She loves to discover and support new talent as well, and in this past year has worked with newcomers Mike Curato, Ryan O'Rourke, Mike Lowry, Joseph Keufler, and Suzanne Kaufman, to name just a few.

Meredith Rich, Editor

Meredith is the digital editor for YA and NA at Bloomsbury Spark. Her previous experience includes e-first publishing, social media and marketing, years as a children's bookseller and professional storyteller, and now she gets to help authors tell their own stories. You can find her on twitter at @MeredithJHRich.
Bloomsbury Spark is a one-of-a-kind, global, digital imprint from Bloomsbury Publishing dedicated to publishing a wide array of exciting fiction eBooks to teen, YA and new adult readers. Our outstanding list features multiple genres: romance, contemporary, dystopian, paranormal, sci-fi, mystery, thriller, and we are always looking for new projects!

Kathleen Rushall, Agent

Kathleen Rushall joined Marsal Lyon in 2011. She represents writers for all age groups of children's literature, including picture books (fiction and non-fiction), middle grade, and young adult novels. Kathleen is also looking for fresh new adult, women's fiction, and romance projects. The most important element that draws Kathleen to any project is a strong voice and unforgettable characters.

Brooks Sherman, Agent

Brooks Sherman is a literary agent with the Bent Agency. He is a hands-on, editorial agent who delights in developing projects with his clients before bringing them to the attention of publishers. Brooks seeks projects that balance strong voice with gripping plot lines. (Stories that make him laugh earn extra points!) He is looking for middle grade fiction of all genres (particularly fantasy adventure and contemporary), humorous projects from author-illustrators, and young adult fiction of all types except paranormal romance. He would especially love to get his hands on a creepy and/or funny contemporary young adult project. Recent sales include the I Am Otter picture book series by Sam Garton, the YA historical fantasy trilogy A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess, the 5-book middle grade Egghead series by Paul Tobin, the Nova Project duology by Emma Trevayne, and picture book text for Edward Gets Messy by children's librarian Rita Meade.

Alison Weiss, Editor

Alison Weiss has recently joined Sky Pony Press as Editor, after six-and-half years at Egmont. Her focus is chapter books through YA. She loves everything from heartwarming middle grade to edge-of-your seat thrillers, and is especially eager to find a middle grade with a quirky family or a cozy feel, and a voice-driven, sweeping, romantic YA . She has worked with New York Times best-selling author Jessica Verday (Of Monsters and Madness), Agatha Award winner Penny Warner (The Code Busters Club series), YALSA-award winning Sarah Cross (Kill Me Softly and Tear You Apart), J&P Voelkel (The Jaguar Stones), Micol Ostow (Amity), Kristen Lippert-Martin (Tabula Rasa), Sasha Dawn (Oblivion), and Sarah McGuire (Valiant), among others. She also assisted on Christopher Myers's H.O.R.S.E., which won a 2013 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award and the 2014 Odyssey Award. Follow her on Twitter @alioop7.

Workshop Faculty:

Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander is a poet and author of eighteen books, including The Crossover, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. Other works include Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band (The 2014 Michigan Reads One Book Selection), and the YA novel He Said, She Said (a Junior Library Guild Selection). He is the founder of Book-in-a-Day, a student-run publishing program that has created more than 3000 student authors; and LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy project that builds libraries, trains teachers, and empowers children through literature. He visits schools and libraries, has owned several publishing companies, written for stage and television (TLC's "Hip Hop Harry"), produced jazz and book festivals, and taught in a high school. In 2015, Kwame will serve as Bank Street College of Education’s first writer-in-residence. Visit him at KwameAlexander.

Josh Alves

Josh Alves is a puzzle-loving, pictorial problem-solver with a penchant for propagating parables. He also loves alliteration and anything that leads to laughter. He's the illustrator for the hilarious Zeke Meeks series (Capstone) and has created graphics/animations for mobile games (7 Little Words for Kids, 7 Little Words Adventures, Red Herring) and interactive books (Baxter Beaver’s Bad Breath, Even A Mouse). Learn more at joshalves - Find him on facebook at joshalvesdraws and on twitter @joshalves. Josh is represented by Sadler Children's Literary.

Kristine Asselin

Kristine Carlson Asselin is the author of fifteen children's books for the elementary school library market, the most recent, What You Need to Know About Concussions, coming in 2015. She began her writing career penning short stories for her daughter before transitioning to writing a wide variety of non-fiction topics for elementary grades as well as young adult fiction and middle grade fantasy. Kris presents writing workshops at schools and libraries all over the state and loves talking about reading and writing with kids and adults. Her debut Young Adult novel, Any Way You Slice It, will be available from Bloomsbury Spark in Spring 2015.

Tracey Baptiste

Tracey Baptiste is the author of the young adult novel Angel's Grace (Simon & Schuster, 2005), and the forthcoming middle grade novel The Jumbies (Algonquin YR, 2015). She has also written several nonfiction books for middle grade readers, including biographies of Madeleine L'Engle and Jerry Spinelli. Tracey is also an editor at Rosen Publishing. You can connect with Tracey by following her on Twitter @TraceyBaptiste, or on Facebook at Tracey Baptiste Writes.

Tracy Barrett

Tracy Barrett has written both fiction and non-fiction set in the past (as well as contemporary novels) for middle-grade and young-adult audiences. Credits include the popular Sherlock Files series, as well as the award-winning Anna of Byzantium, The Stepsister's Tale (starred reviews, Kirkus and PW) Dark of the Moon (starred review, Kirkus), King of Ithaka (starred review, SLJ), and others. Until recently, Tracy taught Italian language, literature and civilization at Vanderbilt University. She recently made her eighteenth parachute jump as research for a young-adult novel. Tracy was SCBWI's Regional Advisor for the Midsouth for ten years and is currently SCBWI's Regional Advisor Coordinator. She was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to study medieval women writers (leading to Anna of Byzantium) and won the SCBWI Work-in-Progress Grant in 2005. She has taught courses on writing for children and on children's literature at various institutions.

Kevin Barry

Kevin Barry is a writer, illustrator, and educator. He is grateful that the world of children's literature has afforded him the chance to wear all three hats at the same time. (His head is often very hot). Kevin is the recipient of the 2014 R. Michelson Gallery Emerging Artist award and is honored to have had his work hanging in the same gallery as many illustration giants.

Alice Bauer

A.C.E. Bauer is the author of two middle grade novels, No Castles Here and Come Fall; and a young adult novel, Gil Marsh. Her books have been chosen for the ALA Rainbow List and CCBC Choices Books, and have received starred reviews in Kirkus Reviews and Publisher's Weekly. Born and raised in Montreal, she spends most of the year in Connecticut, and much of the summer on a lake in Quebec.

J.L. Bell

J. L. Bell is a writer specializing in the history of the American Revolution in New England. He assisted Jason Rodriguez in editing Colonial Comics: New England, 1620-1750 (Fulcrum, 2014), as well as writing scripts for that anthology. John has published fictional comics in other anthologies, as well as prose stories and articles. His first book was Soap Science, a book of science experiments, and in a former career he edited Bill Nye's first book for young readers.

Sarah Brannen

Sarah S. Brannen is the author and illustrator of Uncle Bobby's Wedding, Madame Martine and the forthcoming Madame Martine Breaks the Rules. She has illustrated over a dozen other picture books, including Feathers: Not Just For Flying by Melissa Stewart. Sarah has worked in watercolor ever since a trip to Venice she took just after graduate school. Desperation to capture the light forced her to learn instantly.

Leslie Bulion

Children's Poet and Author Leslie Bulion teams a life-long love of poetry and a science background in her gruesomely funny, award-winning poetry collections: At The Sea Floor Cafe; Hey There, Stink Bug!; and her brand new Random Body Parts: Gross Anatomy Riddles in Verse. Her middle-grade novels The Universe of Fair, Uncharted Waters, and The Trouble With Rules all incorporate science into fiction. Leslie's book honors include Bank Street College, Parents' Choice, NSTA Outstanding Trade Books, ABC, and the Children's Africana Book Award.

Katie Carroll

Katie L. Carroll is a mother, author, and editor. Her YA fantasy Elixir Bound has been described as 'The Lord of The Rings' with a YA fiction twist. She is also the author of a picture book app called The Bedtime Knight. Her latest project is a collaborative, serialized middle grade mystery called The Great Connecticut Caper, which is being released chapter-by-chapter starting in January 2015 through the CT Humanities. Katie worked as a puzzle magazine editor for Penny Publications for eight years before becoming a book editor for MuseItUp Publishing. For more about Katie, visit her website and blog at katielcarroll or follow her on Twitter @katielcarroll.

Melanie Cataldo

I began pursuing an illustration career in 2011 and recently completed illustrating a book for Candlewick Press. I received a BFA in illustration from Syracuse University and an MFA in graphic design from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. My illustration work incorporates both traditional and digital elements. I utilize the computer as an art crafting tool and hope to share my knowledge of digital media with other illustrators.

Sona Charaipotra

An entertainment and lifestyle journalist published by The New York Times, People,, Cosmopolitan and other major national media, Sona Charaipotra is the co-founder of CAKE Literary, a boutique book development company. She studied journalism and American Studies at Rutgers before getting her masters in screenwriting from New York University (where her thesis project was developed for the screen by MTV Films) and her MFA from the New School. When she’s not hanging out with her writer husband and two chatter-boxy kids, she can be found poking plot holes in teen shows like The Vampire Diaries--for work, of course. Her debut, the YA dance drama Tiny Pretty Things (co-written with Dhonielle Clayton), is due May 26, 2015 from HarperTeen. Find her on the web at SonaCharaipotra, or on Twitter: @sona_c

Dhonielle Clayton

Dhonielle Clayton hails from the Washington, D.C. suburbs on the Maryland side. She earned an MA in Children's Literature from Hollins University and an MFA in Writing for Children at the New School. She taught secondary school for several years. Now, she is a librarian at Harlem Village Academies and co-founder of CAKE Literary, a creative kitchen whipping up decadent - and decidedly diverse - literary confections for middle grade, young adult, and women's fiction readers. Her debut novel Tiny Pretty Things with Sona Charaipotra hits shelves in 2015 from Harper Teen, and her debut fantasy series The Belles from Disney/Hyperion comes out in 2016. She is represented by Victoria Marini at ICM/Gelfman Schnieder. Twitter: @brownbookworm

Kate Conway

Young Adult novelist, K.R. (Kate) Conway, has been a professional journalist since 1999. She is also an editor, graphic designer, and critique partner for other writers. She often can be found teaching the devious art of telling lies for money to impressionable young people (i.e. she teaches fiction craft classes for teens and adults). She serves on the Board of Directors for the Cape Cod Writers Center and was named 'Writer in Residence' of the Sturgis West high school in Massachusetts. Her debut, self-pubbed novel Undertow frequents the Amazon bestseller lists and was added to high school summer reading lists and teen book clubs. It has spawned fan fiction, won top-pick awards from reviewers and librarians, and drawn reluctant readers into a twisted tale of murder and mayhem set on Cape Cod. Conway, who holds a BA in dangerous weirdos from Mount Holyoke College, also drives a 16-ton school bus filled with her cursing, iPod-toting target audience simply because she likes the torture. She lives on Cape Cod with two opinionated kids, a fishing-obsessed husband, and an assortment of mismatched pets. Her website offers a peek into her twisted psyche: capecodscribe

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 Early Childhood Education. Mary's time-travel novel Menders was awarded the Ruth Landers Glass Scholarship at the 2014 NESCBWI Conference. She is thrilled to be co-presenting with her wife Bonnie Jackman, school counselor and endless source of middle school anecdotes.

Michelle Cusolito

Michelle Cusolito has worked as a naturalist, classroom teacher, and curriculum developer. She earned a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Lesley University. Her lyrical, non-fiction picture book, Frog Frenzy, caught the eye of Jill Corcoran, who is now her agent. As Chairperson of a PTO Cultural Committee, Michelle hires author and illustrator presenters. She is also the science education consultant for a STEAM grant awarded to her local library titled, "My Own Backyard" (MOBY™). Visit her website: michellecusolito

Ernie D'Elia

Ernie D'Elia's earliest memories involve art. In between bad 70's TV shows, he could be found with pencil in hand among stacks of papers. The creative urge stayed with him, and he attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago. He discovered the amazing world of children's publishing and now is a published member of SCBWI.

Marissa Doyle

Marissa Doyle is the author of the Leland Sisters series of YA historical fantasies (Holt/Macmillan) as well as adult romances from Entangled Publishing. She is a founding member and current president of the Young Adult chapter of the Romance Writers of America and an Administrator on the SCBWI Blueboards. She is also an unabashed history geek, gardener, quilter, and mom of three splendid young adults and two tyrannical but adorable house rabbits. Visit her online at marissadoyle and at her teen history blog, nineteenteen

Chris Eboch

Chris Eboch writes fiction and non-fiction for all ages, with over thirty published books for children. Her novels for ages nine and up include The Genie's Gift, a middle eastern fantasy; 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 chriseboch. Chris also writes novels of suspense and romance for adults under the name Kris Bock; read excerpts at krisbock.

Jaimie Engle

Jaimie M. Engle is an award-winning middle-grade author from Melbourne, Florida. Before releasing her debut novel Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light she ran a body shop, modeled bikinis, danced in the Aloha Bowl halftime show, and managed a hip-hop band. Her young adult novella placed honorable mentions in the 2013 L. Ron Hubbard's Writer's of the Future contest and she placed second in the 2012 Space Coast Writer's Guild short story competition. She is represented by Pam van Hylckama Vlieg of D4EO Literary. Engle offers a coaching & editing service for aspiring writers at awriterforlife. Learn more about her books and download free stuff at jaimiengle.

Jan Fields

Jan Fields has written over thirty books for educational publishers including Capstone, Heinemann, and ABDO; twenty-eight of them were fiction. She has written fiction, non-fiction, plays and poetry for educational testing companies. And she's the author of over twenty-five cozy mystery novels for adults. She's the editor of the popular free electronic newsletter, The Children's Writer's eNews, from the Institute of Children's Literature. She has also written fiction, non-fiction and poetry for many children's magazines and educational magazines.

Stevie Fitzgerald

Stevie Fitzgerald is a Staff Attorney at the Authors Guild, where she reviews hundreds of book contracts a year. She is also the co-author of the 4th edition of Business and Legal Forms for Authors and Self-Publishers, which will be released by Allsworth Press in Spring 2015.

Deborah Freedman

Deborah Freedman was an architect once, but now prefers building worlds in picture books. She is the author and illustrator of New England's 2014 Crystal Kite winner, The Story of Fish & Snail; other books include Blue Chicken and the recently released By Mouse & Frog. Deborah lives in a colorful house in southern Connecticut, where she is busy at work on her next books.

Chris Friden

Chris Friden is a writer who, having used Scrivener extensively for the past three years to write his own manuscripts, enjoys sharing his best practices and teaching both beginning and advanced Scrivener seminars.

Josh Funk

Josh Funk lives in New England with his wife and many many children. He is the author of the forthcoming picture books (all written in rhyme) Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast (Sterling, 2015), Dear Dragon (Viking/Penguin, 2016), and Pirasaurs! (Scholastic, 2016). Josh is terrible at writing bios, so please help fill in the blanks. Josh enjoys _______ during ________ and has always loved __________. He has played ________ since age __ and his biggest fear in life is being eaten by a __________. Find out more information at papajfunk, on Twitter @papajfunk, on Facebook at Josh Funk Books, or at the end of the F section at a library in the future (time machine required).

AC Gaughen

AC Gaughen is the author of the Scarlet Trilogy (Scarlet, Lady Thief and Lion Heart, from Bloomsbury USA). She serves as the Director of Girls’ Leadership for Boston GLOW, a non-profit organization that creates opportunities to encourage and engage teen girls in the greater Boston area. She holds a Masters degree in Creative Writing from St. Andrews University in Scotland and a Masters in Education from Harvard University.

Miriam Glassman

Miriam Glassman is the author/illustrator of Call Me Oklahoma! (Holiday House, 2013), selected as one of the NYPL's '100 Top Children’s Books of 2013', and named one of '100 Magnificent Books' by School Library Journal. She is also the author of a middle-grade novel, Box Top Dreams (Delacorte), a 2001 Young Hoosier Book Award Nominee, and the picture book, Halloweena (Atheneum) illustrated by Victoria Roberts. Miriam has also worked as a children's book reviewer for Publishers Weekly, in children's book marketing at Little, Brown, and Company, and in children's book services at the Weston Public Library. She received her master's degree in teaching from Simmons College, and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Sandra Horning

Sandra Horning's newest picture book, The Biggest Pumpkin, was released by Pelican Publishing in the fall of 2014. Her picture book The Giant Hug (Knopf) was a Junior Library Guild selection and has been translated into five languages. Her beginning reader Chicks! was published by Random House in 2013. She has had a different editor and publisher for each book, and all have been published without an agent. To learn more about Sandra, visit sandrahorning.

Justina Ireland

Justina Ireland enjoys dark chocolate, dark humor, and is not too proud to admit that she’s still afraid of the dark. She lives with her husband, kid, and dog in Pennsylvania. She is the author of Vengeance Bound and Promise of Shadows. Visit her at JustinaIreland

Bonnie Jackman

Bonnie Jackman is a middle school guidance counselor in Orleans, Massachusetts. Bonnie has a Master of Social Work degree from Simmons College in Boston. An LICSW, she has counseled preschoolers through high schoolers, in school settings, mental health clinics, and in private practice. A shameless fan of Broadway show tunes, Bonnie runs both the GSA at her school as well as 'Musical Mondays', an afterschool group for kids who love Broadway musicals. Married to writer Mary E. Cronin, she knows her way around a middle-grade character, middle school humor, and a bunch of writers talking shop.

Jennifer Jacobson

Jennifer is the author of many books for children including the early-reader series Andy Shane and the Very Bossy Dolores Starbuckle (Junior Library Guild Selection, Chicago Public Library's Best Children's Book), the young adult novel Stained (ALA Best Book for Young Adults, Publisher's Weekly Best Children's Book, New York Public Library Best Books for the Teen Age), the bestselling middle grade, Small as an Elephant (Indie Next List Selection, International Reading Association Young Adults' Choice, Parents' Choice Gold Award Winner) and her newest launch: Paper Things. Jennifer, two-time winner of the Lupine Award for Young Readers, lives in Maine, and when not writing provides trainings in Writer's Workshop for teachers.

Mike Jung

Mike Jung is the author of Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2012) and has contributed essays to the anthologies Dear Teen Me (Zest, 2012) and Break These Rules (Chicago Review Press, 2013). Mike is a happy client of Erin Murphy Literary Agency agent Ammi-Joan Paquette, sings and plays ukulele with the EMLA house band, Erin Murphy's Dog, and lives in Oakland, CA with his long-suffering family. He's immensely proud to be a founding member of the We Need Diverse Books team.

Marty Kelley

Marty Kelley is currently a children's author and illustrator but has, in the past, been a second grade teacher, a baker, a cartoonist, a newspaper art director, a drummer in a heavy metal band, a balloon delivery guy, an animator, and lots of other things. Some of his books are: Fall Is Not Easy; The Rules; Winter Woes; Summer Stinks; Spring Goes Squish!; Twelve Terrible Things; The Messiest Desk; and Fame, Fortune, and the Bran Muffins of Doom. He’s currently working on four different books for four different publishers and doesn't sleep much.

Jane Kohuth

Jane Kohuth began her love affair with children's books before she could walk. At her preschool entrance interview, she introduced herself and her sister as Frances and Gloria - Russell Hoban's iconic badger characters (she got in). She's also a big fan of Scrabble and GRE analogies, but has found that writing for kids is the most fun of all. Jane has a degree in English and Creative Writing from Brandeis University as well as a master's degree in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. She loves to write about sensitive kids and goofy animals, but will tackle most subjects as long as she can make the words sing. Jane's first book, Ducks Go Vroom was a Parents Magazine Best Book of 2011. She is also the author of the picture books Estie the Mensch (a PJ Library Book) and Duck Sock Hop (Kirkus Critic's Pick, Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book 2013, NYPL 10 Best Read-Alouds of 2012, a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of 2013, called "charming" by the New York Times). Her early reader, Anne Frank's Chestnut Tree, published by Random House in September, 2013, was named a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People. She frequently brainstorms with her husband, who, conveniently, has the sense of humor of a four-year-old. You can find out more about her and her books at janekohuth.

Trisha Leaver

Patricia Leaver is the author of Creed (Flux), The Secrets We Keep (FSG/ Macmillan) and the forthcoming novel Sweet Madness (Merit Press). She is a member of the SCBWI, the Horror Writers Association, and the YA Scream Queens - a group of nine female authors who are deathly serious about their horror.

Grace Lin

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 a New York Times Bestseller and Grace's first early reader, Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same, was honored with the Theodor Geisel Honor in 2011. Grace's newest book is Ling and Ting: Twice as Silly and she is hard at work on another novel.

Jen Malone

Jen Malone writes books for tweens and teens. Her debut middle grade novel, At Your Service (Simon & Schuster), was published in 2014. Next up is the co-written series You're Invited (S&S, 2015 and 2016) and three young adult titles with HarperCollins, beginning with Map To The Stars (Summer 2015). Jen is the Author-in-Residence at a middle school outside Boston, an adjunct professor at Boston University, and teaches creative writing workshops for tweens at libraries and schools throughout New England.

Barbara Mariconda

Barbara Mariconda has over thirty books to her credit including an Edgar nominated middle grade novel, a picture book that was a National Best Books and Children's Choice finalist, a Moonbeam Award Gold Medal winner, and a middle grade novel named a 2013 Children's Book Committee/Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year. Her critically acclaimed YA novel, Bird with the Heart of a Mountain was most recently published by Skyscape, and she also has an historical fantasy trilogy for tweens, The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons by HarperCollins. Additionally she's authored five professional books for teachers published by Scholastic, as well as numerous children's songbooks and musicals for the educational market. She has served on the creative staff of the Sesame Street Music Magazine in collaboration with Children's Television Workshop. She is co-founder of 'Empowering Writers', an educational publishing and professional development company that has published over sixty resources for teachers all over the globe and has provided professional development to hundreds of thousands of teachers across North America.

Richard Michelson

Michelson has published twenty children’s books, and was the only non-African-American finalist for the 2013 Harlem Book Fest Wheatley Award. He received the 2009 Sydney Taylor Gold Medal, plus three Skipping Stones Multicultural Awards. He has been a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award and the National Jewish Book Award. Busing Brewster, written in the voice of a black child bussed to an all-white school was one of the New York Times eight notable children's books of 2010. Michelson has appeared on many Diversity panels, most recently at Simmons College for the Children’s Book Council Diversity Committee. He owns R. Michelson Galleries.

Hazel Mitchell

Author/Illustrator Hazel Mitchell is originally from England and now lives and works in Maine. Her childhood was spent in a seaside town in Yorkshire. She can't remember a time when she wasn't drawing, and still can't be left reliably alone with a pencil. When she wasn't drawing, she was riding horses or rambling along the beautiful Yorkshire coast. After attending art college in the UK, she spent several years in the Royal Navy and then worked as a graphic designer. Now she's doing what she always dreamed of - creating books for children. Her first trade book was published in 2011 and latest books include Imani's Moon, One Word Pearl and 1,2,3 by the Sea. Her first book as author and illustrator, Toby, will be published in 2016 by Candlewick Press. Her work has been recognized by Bank Street's Best of Children's Books, Society of Illustrator's of Los Angeles, Foreword Reviews and Learning Magazine. She is represented by Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown, NYC. See more of her work at hazelmitchell, or online in all the usual places.

Stephen Mooser

Stephen Mooser is the author of more than sixty books for children, which range across multiple genres including picture books, non-fiction, chapter book series and middle grade novels. His latest book, Class Clown Academy, is independently published and accompanies his online virtual school classclownacademy. He is co-founder and President of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Dan Moynihan

Dan Moynihan is the author-illustrator of Hiding Dinosaurs (Holiday House, 2015). His comics and art have appeared in Nickelodeon Magazine, Giant Robot, Boston Children's Museum, and many other places. Dan sometimes teaches classes in illustration and watercolor painting. He has even dabbled in improv comedy at ImprovBoston. Dan lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Lynda Mullaly Hunt is the author of One for the Murphys (which has made twenty-two state lists) and Fish in a Tree (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin). She is also the co-director of the NESCBWI Whispering Pines Retreat held every March in Rhode Island. Aside from speaking at schools and conferences for teachers and/or writers around the country, she is now working on her third middle grade novel which is due out fall, 2016.

Erica Orloff

After publishing over twenty novels for adults, Erica Orloff penned the award-winning middle-grade children's fantasy trilogy The Magickeepers (Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky) under the pen name Erica Kirov. She also writes young adult novels, including the 2014 release In Dreams (Penguin), about an insomniac teen who discovers she is the daughter of the Greek god Morpheus, and Illuminated, about the hunt for the origins of a rare book by a young woman and her first love. Erica's books have been noted in Us Weekly, Cosmopolitan, and American Girl, among many other publications; they have been translated into eight languages. Erica is also a published essayist/memoirist, including the Pushcart-nominated essay Choose Me on motherhood following loss. An editor for over two decades, and co-owner of Editing for Authors, and its subsidiary, Dragon Tree Books, she is a frequent lecturer on writing, independent publishing, and creativity. She may be reached at ericaorloff.

Denise Ortakales

Denise Ortakales is Co-Illustrator Coordinator for NESCBWI. She has illustrated five picture books in her unique sculpted-paper style, including Good Morning, Garden by Barbara Brenner, and she has written one, The Legend of the Old Man of the Mountain, published by Sleeping Bear Press. She has also created many illustrations for children's magazine. She lives with her family in Laconia, NH.

Elisabeth Papademetriou

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Papademetriou is the author of Middle School: My Brother is a Big, Fat Liar and Homeroom Diaries (both with James Patterson), the Confectionately Yours series, and many other novels for middle grade readers. Her books have appeared on the Bank Street Best Books of the Year list, the NYPL Books for the Teen Age and the Texas Lone Star Reading List, among others. She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. HarperCollins will release her upcoming novel, A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic, in January 2016. Her website is lisapapa, and she also produces a website for Grammaristan's #1 Diva, ivanacorrectya (coming December 2014).

Laura Pauling

Laura Pauling writes about spies, murder, and mystery. She's the author of the exciting young adult Circle of Spies Series, the Prom Impossible Books, and the time travel mysteries, Heist and A Royal Heist. She's been writing for almost ten years and reached her million words. She's been attending the NESCBWI conference for almost five years and finds support and an unending wealth of knowledge in her author-marketing group, the Indelibles. She's passionate about overcoming the down times and holding onto the excitement while writing and running a small business as an Indie author.

Mitali Perkins

Mitali Perkins (mitaliperkins) has written nine novels for young readers, including Rickshaw Girl (chosen by the New York Public Library as one of the top 100 books for children in the past 100 years) and Bamboo People (an American Library Association's Top Ten Novels for Young Adults, starred in PW as "a graceful exploration of the redemptive power of love, family, and friendship.") Mitali was born in Kolkata, India and grew up in Northern California. Her newest novel is Tiger Boy (April 14, 2015 | Charlesbridge).

Mark Ricketts

Mark Scott Ricketts has worked as a writer and an illustrator for a variety of comics publishers including Marvel Comics (Iron Man: The Singularity), Dark Horse Comics (Hellboy: Weird Tales, Lazarus Jack), and Image Comics (Nowheresville, Night Trippers). He has also contributed to educational graphic novels for McGraw-Hill. He recently released his first children's picture book Adventures in Vacationland with Islandport Press.

Cindy Rodriguez

Cindy L. Rodriguez is a former newspaper reporter turned public school teacher. She now teaches as a reading specialist at a Connecticut middle school but previously worked for the Hartford Courant and The Boston Globe. She and her young daughter live in Plainville, Connecticut. She is represented by Laura Langlie. Her debut novel, When Reason Breaks, was published by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books in February 2015.

Ruth Sanderson

Ruth Sanderson is perhaps best known for her fairytales, such as The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Rose Red and Snow White, Cinderella, Goldilocks, Papa Gatto, and The Snow Princess. Her latest book is A Castle Full of Cats, and she is currently working on illustrations for a new edition of The Golden Key by George McDonald. Ruth lives in Easthampton, MA, and teaches in the summer MFA in Children's Book Writing and Illustrating program at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA.

Heidi EY Stemple

Heidi 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 the family business, publishing her first short story in a book called Famous Writers and Their Kids Write Spooky Stories. The famous writer was her mom, author Jane Yolen. Since then, she has published twenty books including Not All Princesses Dress In Pink, Dear Mother, Dear Daughter, the Unsolved Mysteries from History series, and two Fairy Tale Feasts cookbooks, 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.
Her website is HeidiEYStemple.

Steve Swinburne

Steve Swinburne is an author and photographer who has published more than twenty-five books, mostly non-fiction, for young readers. His most recent title is Sea Turtle Scientist, a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Scientists in the Field book. In 2016, Scholastic will publish Safe in a Storm, a poetry book about how animals protect their young during a storm. Steve holds a degree in biology and English from Castleton State College in Vermont, has worked as a park ranger in a number of national parks, and has traveled to Africa, Borneo, St. Kitts and Yellowstone for book projects. Steve makes his living traveling, writing, photographing and visiting schools to share his adventures with students and teachers. He lives in Vermont with his wife, Heather. You can learn more about Steve and his books and school visits at steveswinburne

Nicole Tadgell

Nicole Tadgell is an award-winning African American illustrator for children. Her expressive illustrations portray childhood life for children of all races. Nicole’s work has been featured in The Encyclopedia of Writing and Illustrating Children’s Books, her watercolor paintings have been exhibited at area museums and galleries, and in group showings at the Eric Carle Museum. She has taught workshops at previous NESCBWI conferences, at the Worcester Art Museum, and local colleges.

Padma Venkatraman

Padma Venkatraman is the award-winning author of three critically acclaimed novels: Climbing the Stairs, Island's End and A Time To Dance. A Time To Dance was released in 2014 to 5 starred reviews (in Kirkus, Booklist, SLJ, VOYA and BCCB) and has already accrued several honors (Indiebound summer pick, Booklist Top 10 art book, Booklist Editor's Choice BBYA, Kirkus BBYA).

Lea Wait

Maine author Lea Wait writes middle grade historical novels that mix actual and fictional Mainers in historically real situations. Her latest historical, Uncertain Glory, set during the first two weeks of the Civil War, is about two boys who really did publish a town newspaper then, a 12-year-old girl spiritualist, and a young African American boy. Lea also writes the Shadows Antique Print and Mainely Needlepoint series for adult readers; her two latest are Shadows on a Maine Christmas and Twisted Threads. Lea invites readers to friend her on FB and Goodreads, and check leawait for teachers' guides and more information about her books.

Tim Weed

Will Poole's Island, Tim Weed’s debut novel for young adult readers, was published by Stephen Roxburgh at Namelos Editions in 2014. Tim is the winner of a Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Award, and his short fiction and essays have appeared in Colorado Review, Gulf Coast, The Morning News, Backcountry Magazine, Writer’s Chronicle, Fiction Writer’s Review, National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel, and many other magazines and reviews. Kirkus Reviews has called Will Poole's Island "immersive," a "riveting portrayal of early Colonial New England." Read more at

Teri Weidner

Teri Weidner has been illustrating picture books for over 25 years, and has just written her first picture book, Always Twins. Her watercolor and colored pencil animals have accompanied words by many talented authors including Margaret Wise Brown and Jan Karon, and her artwork has been included in the Society of Illustrator’s Original Art show. A RISD graduate, she is an adjunct professor at the New Hampshire Institute of Art, and teaches a picture book illustration class at Sanctuary Arts in Eliot, Maine. View her work at teriweidner.

Marcia Wells

Marcia Wells taught middle school for a decade before becoming a full-time writer. The first novel of her new MG series Eddie Red Undercover is a police whodunnit filled with art thieves, chess moves and map puzzles. The book (Mystery on Museum Mile) won the Indies New Voices Award, as well as TIME’s Top Five Kid Books for Summer 2014. The second book in the Eddie Red series (Mystery in Mayan Mexico) comes out Spring 2015. Last year she toured the eastern seaboard with fellow authors Kwame Alexander and Kate Samworth as part of Houghton Mifflin's 'Middle Grade Mania' Tour.

Ellen Wittlinger

Ellen Wittlinger has published fourteen YA and middle-grade novels which have been translated into a dozen languages. Her novel, Hard Love, was a Michael L. Printz Honor winner. She is currently finishing work on a screenplay which is being developed by El Matador Films.

Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen, often called "the Hans Christian Andersen of America" (Newsweek) and the "Aesop of the Twentieth Century" (New York Times) is the author of well over 350 books, including Owl Moon, The Devil's Arithmetic, and the How Do Dinosaurs books. Her work ranges from rhymed picture books and baby board books, through middle grade fiction, poetry collections, non-fiction, and up to novels and story collections for young adults and adults, and have won an assortment of awards, including two Nebulas, a World Fantasy Award, a Caldecott, the Golden Kite Award (twice), two Christopher Medals, a nomination for the National Book Award, and the Jewish Libraries Award. She is also the winner (for body of work) of the World Fantasy Association Lifetime Achievement Award, Science Fiction Poetry Association Grand Master Award, Catholic Library's Regina Medal, Kerlan Medal from the University of Minnesota, du Grummond Medal, Smith College Alumnae Medal and the New England Public Radio's Arts and Humanities Award. Six colleges and universities have given her honorary doctorates.
If you need to know more about her, visit her website at:janeyolen

Volunteer Bios:

Hayley Barrett - Volunteer Coordinator - Hayley writes picture books and is working on a tween novel. She's on the board of The Writers' Loft and hosts their monthly Snack-n-Scribe. Each meeting features a signature cookie. You should come. In her spare time, Hayley rides horses and volunteers at a therapeutic riding farm. She lives outside of Boston with her husband and two children. She is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Find her on Twitter at @hayleybwrites or at

Joannie (Felde) Duris - As the Door Prize Coordinator for the NESCBWI conference, Joannie is always looking for new and fun ways to surprise people with a prize. Her debut non-fiction children’s book, B is for Berkshires, will be released from Islandport Press in March 2015. Find out more at joanduris. Joannie is a psychiatric nurse who has had stories and articles published in several national children's magazines, and on Boomwriter. She enjoys writing funny early chapter books that feature unique, quirky characters. A longtime SCBWI member, she also leads a critique group in Concord, MA. She lives in central Massachusetts with her husband and extremely spoiled cats.

Susan Garrett - In her role as Bookseller Coordinator, Susan Garrett gets to enjoy two favorite things - the heft of real books in her hands and the warm and cluttered ambiance of an independent bookstore. When she is not reading or counseling children, Susan writes the kinds of novels she loves best - ones featuring feisty characters encountering unusual adventures.

Heather (Gerry) Kelly - Conference Co-Director - 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.

Deborah Kreiser - Deborah is the Book Signing Coordinator for the NESCBWI conference. She writes and freelance edits in MetroWest Boston, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. Her debut YA novel, Three Wishes, was published by Astraea Press in April 2014. When not on her laptop, Deborah sings a cappella, runs half-marathons, and works as an elementary school librarian.

Stacy Mozer - Stacy Barnett Mozer is the critique group coordinator and ARA for NESCBWI. She is a middle-grade writer. 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. You can find more about Stacy at stacymozer and sportygirlbooks.blogspot. To find out more about open NE critique groups visit nescbwicritiques.blogspot.

Natasha Sass - Conference Co-Director - Natasha Sass lives in Massachusetts where she writes upper middle grade and young adult fiction as Ansha Kotyk. Gangsterland, her first novel, spent three weeks in the top ten of hot new releases in children’s books about bullies, and is a story about a boy, a bully and a magical comic book that transports its readers to the gangster era of the 1920′s. Book #2 in the Ink Portal series (Apocalypse Junction) follows the friends on a Geo-caching treasure hunt in a mysterious haunted mountain range; it will be out later this year. In addition to volunteering for NESCBWI, she was a founding host for #mglitchat, currently works with the Emblazon middle grade marketing group and is a champion for self-publishing. Follow her on twitter: @anshakotyk or on her website: anshakotyk.

Pam Vaughan - Conference Photographer - Pam writes picture books whose characters literally come to life, and middle grade sports stories featuring female athletes. While pursuing an English degree from Brandeis University, Pam managed to play three sports. She has been coaching, writing and playing sports ever since. Pam lives in central Mass with her husband, two daughters and a slight obsession with the Word of the Day. If she isn't writing, she is probably playing ice hockey or running in the trails with arguably the smartest (and cutest) dog in the world.

Jean Woodbury - Transportation Co-ordinator - Jean Woodbury spent her childhood on the island of Galveston, Texas, home to the pirate Jean Lafitte, and taught school in Hawaii before moving to Massachusetts and becoming a college dean. She joined SCBWI after retiring and began writing historical fiction focused on America’s cultural diversity. Jean has been a volunteer for NESCBWI since 2007.



Contact Information

  • Conference Co-Directors: 
    Natasha Sass
    Heather Kelly
    and Marilyn Salerno

    Registrars: Shirley Pearson & Sandy Budiansky
    Volunteer Coordinator: Hayley Barrett

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    Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place
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Payment Instructions

  • If you have chosen to pay by check, please send your payment, along with your confirmation number or a copy of your registration invoice to:
        SCBWI New England
        c/o Marilyn Salerno

        30 Midfield Drive
        Rockland, MA 02370
    Remember that registration and payment for Manuscript and Portfolio Critiques happens offline.

    Conference cancellations before February 24, 2015 will be refunded in full.
    After February 24, 2015, refunds will only be given when proof is given to support military service or a death in the family.
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