New England SCBWI 2016: The POWER of (RE) INVENTION

Springfield, Massachusetts
Friday, April 29, 2016

New England SCBWI 2016 


artwork by Julia Anne Young

New this year! 
SCBWI members who register up until February 29, 2016 
may have 1-2 books sold in the conference bookstore. 
(Conference book signing is still for FACULTY ONLY.)

To prevent conference communications from being marked as SPAM, 
please ADD the following email addresses to your contacts:

If you would like to learn more about the National
SCBWI (The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) 


*Important Parking Information*:

There is limited parking in the area due to construction. PLEASE plan on arriving early to the conference hotel so you have time to drop off your bags and continue on to parking. 

Possible Garages (free w/conference validation):

Sheraton Monarch Place Garage: 1 Monarch Place, Springfield MA
Columbus Center Garage: 150 Bridge St., Springfield, MA
Interstate 91 South Parking Garage: 1600 E Columbus Ave., Springfield MA
Interstate 91 North Parking Garage: 1870 E Columbus Ave., Springfield MA 
Riverfront Parking Lot: Hall of Fame Ave., Springfield, MA
Taylor Street Parking Garage: 41-43 Taylor St., Springfield MA

For $10 a day:

Tower Square Parking Garage located above Springfield Marriott

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


Patrick Carman

Patrick Carman is a New York Times bestselling children’s author with over four million books in print in 20+ languages across 30 titles. Some of his popular series include 39 Clues, Skeleton Creek, Floors, The Land of Elyon, and Voyagers. Many of Carman’s works are being developed for features and TV, including Floors for Disney, Evermore for Amblin, Thirteen Days to Midnight for Bold Films, and Escape the Room for Universal. Discover more at

Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Jarrett J. Krosoczka has been passionate about storytelling through words and pictures since he was a kid. He began his professional career by illustrating educational readers for a national publisher while still an undergraduate at Rhode Island School of Design. Then, just six months after graduation, Jarrett received his first contract for a trade book that he authored. Knopf Books for Young Readers published Good Night, Monkey Boy on June 12, 2001 and Jarrett hasn’t stopped or slowed down since.

Jarrett is a two-time winner of the Children's Choice Book Award for the Third to Fourth Grade Book of the Year and is the author and/or illustrator of more than twenty-five books for young readers. His work includes several picture books, the Lunch Lady graphic novels and Platypus Police Squad middle-grade novel series. Jarrett has given two TED Talks, both of which have been curated to the main page of and have collectively accrued nearly two million views online. He is also the host of The Book Report with JJK on SiriusXM's Kids Place Live, a weekly segment celebrating books, authors and reading. His work has been featured on the front page of The Boston Globe and on NPR's All Things Considered. Jarrett's books have also been recommended by national publications such as Newsweek, The New York Times and USA Today. His Punk Farm picture book and Lunch Lady series are both currently in development as feature films. Jarrett lives in Western Massachusetts with his wife, two daughters and their two pugs—Ralph and Frankie. Learn more at

Wendy Mass

Wendy Mass is the New York Times bestselling author of The Candymakers, along with eighteen other novels for young readers. They include A Mango-Shaped Space, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life (which was made into a feature film), 11 Birthdays, which was the first book in the bestselling Willow Falls series, and Every Soul a Star. Pi in the Sky and the Space Taxi series are her latest. She is currently writing the sequel to The Candymakers while building a labyrinth in her backyard. Not at the same time, of course. That’d be weird. Visit her at


Elizabeth Bluemle

Elizabeth Bluemle is the award-winning author of four picture books, including Tap, Tap, Boom, Boom, illustrated by G. Brian Karas, and How Do You Wokka-Wokka?, illustrated by Randy Cecil. She also contributes to Publisher Weekly’s popular ShelfTalker blog and is the co-owner of The Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, Vermont. Twitter: @ehbluemle. Websites:;

Donalyn Miller

Donalyn Miller is the Manager of Independent Reading and Outreach for Scholastic Book Fairs. She has taught fourth, fifth, and sixth grade language arts and social studies in Texas and was a finalist for 2010 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year. Donalyn is the author of The Book Whisperer and Reading in the Wild, the founder and facilitator of the #bookaday Twitter community, and the co-founder and co-facilitator of the popular The Nerdy Book Club blog. Twitter: @donalynbooks. Website:

Susannah Richards

No one loves to booktalk more than beloved children’s literature advocate Susannah Richards, Associate Professor of Reading and Language Arts at Eastern Connecticut State University. She served on the 2013 Newbery committee and is a popular speaker who frequently presents her favorite recent titles for youth at local, national, and international conferences. Twitter: @sussingoutbooks

Colby Sharp

Colby Sharp is a third grade teacher in downtown Parma, Michigan. He has four crazy kids and a wonderful wife. Colby is the co-founder of the Nerdy Book Club, co-founder and facilitator of several recurring Twitter chats, co-creator of The Yarn podcast, and co-founder and of Nerd Camp Michigan. In his spare time he coaches 8th grade football.

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:

Julie Bliven, Editor

Julie Bliven is an Associate Editor and Contracts Manager at Charlesbridge Publishing. She edits picture-book and middle-grade fiction and nonfiction. Some authors and illustrators she’s worked with include Paul A. Reynolds, Peter H. Reynolds, Anne Sibley O’Brien, Sarah S. Brannen, Melissa Stewart, and JaNay Brown Wood. Julie is particularly interested in nonfiction picture books that employ a fresh narrative voice as well as funny, contemporary, realistic middle-grade.
(Note: Julie has attended many previous NESCBWI conferences under the name Julie Ham).

Linda Camacho, Agent

Linda is a new agent with Prospect Agency. She attended Cornell University and in 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 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 (

Sara Crowe, Agent

I am an agent at Harvey Klinger, Inc. where I represent children's fiction and adult fiction. My clients include New York Times Bestselling authors Jonathan Maberry, Michael Northrop and Dan Wells, USA Today Bestselling author Jeff Hirsch, as well as Megan Frazer Blakemore, Laura Marx Fitzgerald, Nina LaCour, Lisa Schroeder, and Kristen Tracy.

After attending the Radcliffe Publishing Course, I started my career at The Wylie Agency in New York, and after two years, moved to their London office as a foreign rights agent. At Trident Media Group in New York, I was a Foreign rights manager and represented rights for Louis Sachar, Michael Ondaatje and Russell Banks. I joined Harvey Klinger in 2005 to build my own list and to develop a children's list for the agency.

TJ da Roza, Editor

TJ da Roza is the Editorial Director for Jolly Fish Press, and he'll take the seed of a manuscript and help it grow into a flower, or tree, or, yes, even a dragon. Many of his authors write in an awesome amalgamation of genres from literary/horror to contemporary/sci-fi to comedy/horror, and he nurtures and encourages what appear to be dichotomous relationships through editing. Most of his authors are also award-winners; some of their accolades include: The Gold Quill for best young adult novel, the Susan P. Bloom award, Utah Writer of the Year, SCBWI Mentorship Award, and numerous Amazon Best-Sellers.

Claire Dorsett, Editor

A lifelong bibliophile, Claire found a home at Roaring Brook Press after graduating from Cornell University with a BA in English, and moving to New York City to complete the Columbia Publishing Course. At Roaring Brook, she assists Vice President and Publisher Simon Boughton, and has had the pleasure of working on a range of projects including Steve Sheinkin's National Book Award finalist Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War, Lane Smith's middle-grade debut Return to Augie Hobble, and picture books The SkunkThere is a Tribe of Kids, and Ned The Knitting Pirate. Claire is currently working on a trio of books in partnership with the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and a picture book with Lita Judge. Both nonfiction picture books and quirky, offbeat picture books appeal to her. For older audiences, she particularly likes well-researched narrative nonfiction, and well-paced and thought-provoking YA.

Moe Ferrara, Agent

Becoming an agent was fitting for the girl who begged her dad to buy a book simply because "it has a hard cover." Growing up, she had a hard time finding YA books outside of Christopher Pike and R. L. Stine, so instead tackled Tom Clancy and her mom's romance novels. Though her path zigzagged a bit—music major to law school to various jobs throughout publishing—Moe was thrilled to join the BookEnds team in May of 2015 as a literary agent and subsidiary rights director.

A Pennsylvania native, she is the proud owner of one rambunctious guinea pig who is a master at stealing extra treats. When not reading, she is an avid gamer and always awaiting the next Assassin's Creed release.

Barry Goldblatt, Agent

Barry Goldblatt began his publishing career in 1989 at Dutton Children's Books, and worked for several companies before opening his own eponymous literary agency in September 2000. His current focus is on middle grade and YA, and adult F&SF.

Jim Hoover, Art Director

Jim Hoover is an Associate Art Director at Viking Children’s Books in New York. 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 hundreds of titles including Shy, Fish & Snail, Ella, Tea Party Rules, Dylan the Villain, 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.

Zaneta Jung, Editor

Zaneta Jung is an assistant editor at Sterling Children's Books. She is always looking to acquire witty picture books and humorous underdog middle-grade/YA manuscripts. When not working, you'll find her dancing and singing off-key.

Jennifer Laughran, Agent

Jennifer began her career in agenting after working as a long-time children's bookseller and buyer. She joined Andrea Brown Literary Agency in 2007 and is now a Senior Agent. She is always on the lookout for sparkling YA and middle-grade fiction with unusual and unforgettable characters and vivid settings. Jennifer is actively seeking diverse narratives, "outsider" perspectives, and loves a book that will make her laugh and cry simultaneously.

Celia Lee, Editor

Celia Lee is an editor for Scholastic’s Cartwheel imprint, which focuses on all kinds of books (cloth, board, and novelty) for the 0-5 market, as well as picture books on both the Orchard and Scholastic Press lists. After receiving her Masters in Publishing from NYU, Celia started working for Scholastic Reading Clubs on their Honeybee and Firefly flyers, immersing herself in all things cuddly, loud, and illustrated. She then moved on to Scholastic’s Trade group to be an editor, where she’s been working ever since. In her free time, Celia enjoys reading very random Wikipedia entries, hiking, and eating fun foods.

Kendra Levin, Editor

Kendra Levin is a senior editor at Viking Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, where she has spent a decade working on a wide range of children’s literature from picture books to young adult novels. Kendra also helps writers as a teacher and certified life coach ( Authors she edits include Deborah Freedman, Julie Berry, Janet Fox, Alwyn Hamilton, and others.

Talia Levitt, Agent (for illustrators)

After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design, Talia began working for Studio Goodwin Sturges headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island. She has the privilege of working with many talented illustrators including Daniel Miyares, Christine Davenier and Eric Puybaret. Talia also teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design in the continuing education department. In her spare time she can be found in her painting studio.

Lauren MacLeod, Agent

Lauren E. MacLeod joined The Strothman Agency in 2007 after graduating from Emerson College with BFA in Writing, Literature and Publishing. She specializes in young adult and middle-grade fiction (including Jodi Meadows, author of the Incarnate and The Orphan Queen series and Hélène Boudreau, author of the Real Mermaids series) 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.

Allison Moore, Editor

Allison Moore is an associate editor at Little Brown, Books for Young Readers. She works on a wide range of projects from PBs to MG and YA novels. Some of her recent/upcoming books include President of the Whole Sixth Grade and The Sweetest Sound by Sherri Winston, Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham, Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes, Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep! by Todd Tarpley and John Rocco, The Little Shop of Monsters by RL Stine and Marc Brown, and City Shapes by Diana Murray and Bryan Collier. She’s also worked on series including The Nuts, The Dragonsitter, Space Taxi, the Birdie books, Sweet Pea & Friends (The SheepOver), The Very Fairy Princess, and Look! A Book!, as well as many beloved works by Todd Parr and Sandra Magasmen. Allison is particularly interested in clever PBs with fresh stories and art styles that appeal to all ages; realistic MG and YA novels that encourage readers to open their minds and consider unexpected points of view and perspectives; and character-driven chapter books with original premises and a strong sense of voice. She also loves epistolary novels. Before joining LBYR, Allison interned at Bloomsbury, Barefoot Books, the Kneerim & Williams agency, and Simon & Schuster UK; worked at a bookstore and at her hometown library; and graduated from Boston University and the Columbia Publishing Course. Outside of work she also runs a book club at a local nonprofit serving immigrant youth. You can find her on Twitter @Allisonm610.

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 middle-grade 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:

Rebecca Podos, Agent

Rebecca Podos is an agent at the Rees Literary Agency in Boston, representing YA and MG authors like Rin Chupeco, Mackenzi Lee, Ashley Herring Blake, Emily Ross, Kenneth Logan and more. Rebecca is particularly interested in Young Adult and Middle-Grade fiction featuring complex female relationships; beautifully written contemporary; sci-fi, fantasy, historical and horror with a strong focus on character; romance with more at stake than “will they/won’t they”; and LGBTQ books across all genres. Her own debut YA novel, The Mystery of Hollow Places, was recently published by HarperCollins Children’s/Balzer + Bray.

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 recently started as a children’s and young adult editor at Hachette’s JIMMY imprint after six years at Sourcebooks. Her first middle-grade project, This Journal Belongs to Ratchet by Nancy Cavanaugh, received a Starred review from Kirkus and is on numerous state reading lists. Nancy’s second novel, Always Abigail, is a Texas Bluebonnet nominee. Recently Aubrey’s forthcoming YA novel Breaking Sky by Cori McCarthy received multiple Starred reviews and was optioned for film by Sony Pictures. Some of Aubrey’s authors include New York Times and USA Today bestseller Suzanne Brockmann, USA Today bestseller and RITA nominee Juliana Stone, award-winner and RITA nominee Patty Blount, award-winner Jen Calonita, Natalie D. Richards, Natasha Preston, and Anna Staniszewski.

Eileen Robinson, Editor

An editor for over 20 years, Eileen Robinson has worked as an Executive Editor at Scholastic and Editorial Manager at Harcourt helping new writers get their foot in the door. Later she became an editorial consultant, giving workshops at conferences, webinars, and retreats at Highlights with Harold Underdown. She recently launched Move Books, MG publisher, with a focus on inspiring more boys to read for pleasure.

Kathleen Rushall, Agent

Kathleen comes to the Andrea Brown Literary Agency after agenting for nearly five years with the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. She represents writers and illustrators for picture books (both fiction and non-fiction), middle grade, and young adult literature. 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, having previously worked as a literary agent at FinePrint Literary Management and at publisher Henry Holt and Company. Before starting his career in publishing, Brooks spent several years working in the entertainment industry, and two years with the Peace Corps in West Africa. Brooks is a hands-on, editorial agent who delights in developing projects with his clients. He works with middle-grade fiction of all genres (particularly fantasy adventure and contemporary), humorous projects from author-illustrators, and YA fiction of all types except paranormal romance. Find him on Twitter: @byobrooks.

Kate Sullivan, Editor

Kate Sullivan is an Air Force brat. Her tiny military library in Brussels, Belgium had no YA section, so she only read science fiction and fantasy. She wrote her undergraduate thesis on Roald Dahl. In eight years at Little, Brown, she worked with legends Cecily von Zeigesar, Cornelia Funke, and Margaret Stohl, and acquired and edited New York Times bestsellers The Duff by Kody Keplinger and The Finishing School series by Gail Carriger and award-winners such as Ash by Malinda Lo and Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher. Her passion is for LGBT literature and science fiction. She is currently a senior editor at Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, where she works on both literary and commercial, weird and not-as-weird, middle-grade and young adult books.

Harold Underdown, Editor 

Harold Underdown is an independent editor and publishing consultant; he critiques and develops manuscripts and provides other editorial and consulting services for individuals and publishers. As an in-house editor, he worked at Macmillan, Orchard, and Charlesbridge, and has experience in trade and educational publishing. Harold wrote The Complete Idiot's Guide to Children's Book Publishing, now in its third edition. He founded and runs "The Purple Crayon," a respected web site with information about the children's publishing world at He also speaks and gives workshops through the Highlights Foundation, SCBWI's national and regional conferences, and Kid’s Book Revisions (online and on-site tutorials, webinars, and workshops in partnership with Eileen Robinson):

Irene Vandervoort, Art Director 

Irene Vandervoort is currently an Associate Art Director at Sterling Children’s Books. She began her design career as an intern and freelancer working with Fred Woodward and Gail Anderson at Rolling Stone, and then as a Senior Designer at WBMG design studio with Walter Bernard and Milton Glaser before joining Dutton Children’s Books as a Senior Designer in 2001. During her close to fifteen years at Penguin, she has worked with such artists as Sophie Blackall, Shane Rebenschied, Thor Wickstrom, Jed Henry, Hugh D’Andrade, Kelly Murphy, and Anna Bond. She designs both covers and interiors in a variety of formats including picture books, middle grade novels, and young adult novels.

Alison S. Weiss, Editor 

Alison S. Weiss is an editor at Sky Pony Press. Her focus is chapter books through YA. She’s especially eager to find a middle grade with a cozy feel, and a voice-driven, sweeping, romantic YA. She's worked with New York Times best-selling author Jessica Verday (Of Monsters and Madness), Agatha Aqard winner Penny Warner (The Code Busters Club series), YALSA-Award winning Sarah Cross (Kill Me Softly and Tear You Apart), ITW Award Finalist Kristen Lippert-Martin (Tabula Rasa), Mike A. Lancaster, Kristina McBride, Jessica Taylor, Amalie Howard, and Sarah McGuire, 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:

Sarah Albee

Sarah Albee’s latest nonfiction, middle-grade book is called Why’d They Wear That? (National Geographic, 2015). Her two previous NF books were Bugged: How Insects Changed History (Walker, 2014) and Poop Happened: A History of the World From the Bottom Up (Walker, 2010). She has five new nonfiction books under contract. Sarah also writes fiction, including several middle-grade series published pseudonymously with Simon and Schuster. She began her career as an editor at Sesame Street. She blogs about offbeat history at

Kristine Carlson Asselin

Kristine Carlson Asselin writes Young Adult and Middle-Grade fiction. Her YA novel Any Way You Slice It (Bloomsbury Spark) is currently available and she was excited to recently announce her debut middle-grade, The Art of the Swap (co-authored with Jen Malone) has recently sold to Simon and Schuster for publication in 2017. Kristine is also the author of sixteen nonfiction children’s books for the elementary school library market. Kris does query package critiques under the alter-ego @QueryGodMother and loves doing school visits for kids all over New England.

Carrie Banks

Carrie Banks is Supervising Librarian and Director of the Child's Place for Children and Teens with Special Needs at Brooklyn Public Library. The Child’s Place provides library services to all children in the library and in community settings such as transitional housing, hospitals, congregate foster care homes and juvenile detention facilities. In 2014 Ms. Banks wrote the book Including Families of Children with Special Needs, Revised Edition, which highlights research-based practices and resources for creating inclusive environments and programs for children and teens. Carrie is also a visiting Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute teaching Including Children and Youth with Disabilities in Library Services. She has been active in the American Library Association for many years and is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the Association for Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies.

Sarah S. Brannen

Sarah S. Brannen is the author and illustrator of Madame Martine, Madame Martine Breaks the Rules, and Uncle Bobby’s Wedding. She illustrated the award-winning Feathers: Not Just For Flying as well as over a dozen other picture books.

Calef Brown

Calef Brown is author and illustrator of a dozen books for children including Polkabats and Octopus Slacks: 14 Stories (1998) Dutch Sneakers and Fleakeepers: 14 More Stories (2000),Tippintown: A Guided Tour (2003); Flamingos on the Roof: Poems and Paintings (2006), winner of the Myra Cohn Livingston Award for Poetry; Hallowilloween: Nefarious Silliness (2010), Boy Wonders (2011), Pirateria (2012) and most recently Hypnotize a Tiger (2015). Using engaging and nonsensical characters, Brown crafts narrative story-poems with accompanying paintings and drawings. In interviews, he has cited wordplay, dreams and the rhythms of music as inspirations.

Nancy Castaldo

Nancy Castaldo is the author of many nonfiction books including, Sniffer Dogs: How Dogs (and Their Noses) Save the World, Mission Polar Bear Rescue, and The Story of Seeds: From Mendel's Garden To Your Plate, And How There's More Of Less To Eat Around The World. Nancy is also the RA of SCBWI Eastern NY and a reviewer for the Historical Novel Society.

MarcyKate Connolly

MarcyKate Connolly is an author and nonprofit administrator who lives in New England with her husband and pugs. She’s an SCBWI member, and her upper middle-grade fantasy novels, Monstrous and Ravenous are published by HarperCollins Children’s Books. She used to be the most disorganized writer ever, then Scrivener came along and revolutionized her writing life. She’s been a Scrivenervangelist ever since.

K.R. 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 was named “Writer in Residence” of the award winning Sturgis West high school in Massachusetts in 2014. Her self-pubbed YA series has spawned fan fiction, won top-pick awards from reviewers and librarians, and was added to high school summer reading lists as well as frequenting the Amazon bestseller lists. In 2015, Conway’s Urban Fantasy novel, Undertow, was selected by Barnes and Noble as one of their Seven Terrifying Summer Reads, as well as appearing in Girl’s Life Magazine, Publisher’s Weekly, and Teen Ink. She lives on Cape Cod as a beach bum / bus driver with her two kids, husband, and mismatched pets.

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 at Fisher College in Boston and at Cape Cod Community College. Her poetry has been published in anthologies and magazines. Mary is active in writing and presenting about GLBT visibility in children’s literature. She is thrilled to be co-presenting with her wife Bonnie Jackman; together they have raised their daughter and spent their careers in education.

Linda Crotta Brennan

Linda Crotta Brennan is the award-winning author of over twenty books for young people, including Flannel Kisses, Marshmallow Kisses, and The Black Regiment of the American Revolution. Her recent title, When Rivers Burned: The Earth Day Story, was selected as an Outstanding Science and Notable Social Studies Trade Book of the year by the Children’s Book Council. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Presidency, part of Lerner’s Presidential Powerhouses series, will be out in January.

Paul Czajak

Paul Czajak got an ‘F’ with the words “get a tutor” on his college writing paper and after that, never thought he’d become a writer. But after spending twenty years as a chemist, he knew his creativity could no longer be contained. Living in Massachusetts with his wife and two little monsters, Paul has rediscovered his passion for writing and looks forward to sharing his stories for years to come. To find out more about Paul, and to read his blog, visit

Ernie D'Elia

Ernie D'Elia is an illustrator and member of SCBWI since 2007. He has recently reinvented his work and is now working in 3-D sculptural illustration. He is represented by Danielle Smith of Red Fox Literary.

Stacy DeKeyser

Stacy DeKeyser has long experience on both sides of the red pencil. She is the author of five books for children, including One Witch at a Time and The Brixen Witch (S&S/McElderry). Her books have been included in the Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best, the Bank Street College of Education Best Books of the Year, Amazon Editors' Picks, Kirkus Review's  New and Notable Books for Children, and various state award lists. She is also an experienced freelance proofreader and copyeditor for academic, trade, and self-publishers, with clients such as Ten Speed Press, Stanford University Press, and Lerner Publishing. Visit her website at

Erin Dionne

Erin Dionne has written 5 novels for tweens, most recently Ollie & the Science of Treasure Hunting (Dial, 2014). Her book Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking was an Edgar award finalist for 2013. She's been teaching for over 15 years and making stuff up for as long as she can remember.

Matt Forrest Esenwine

Matt Forrest Esenwine has had numerous adult poems published in various independent collections over the years, including the Tall Grass Writers Guild’s Seasons of Change, Trigger Warning: How Poetry Saved My Life, Metamorphosis Publishing’s Visions, and The 5-2: Crime Poetry Weekly. In 2012 his poem, Apple-Stealing, was nominated by the Young Adult Review Network (YARN) for a Pushcart Prize. A member of SCBWI, his children’s poems can be found in Lee Bennett Hopkins’ anthology, Lullaby and Kisses Sweet (Abrams Appleseed, 2015), J. Patrick Lewis’ The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry (National Geographic Children's Books, 2015); and Kenn Nesbitt's One Minute Till Bedtime (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2016), among others. His debut picture book, Flashlight Night (Boyd’s Mills Press), has a scheduled Fall 2017 release.

Terry Farish

Terry Farish is a writer with a passion for writing the stories of people from many cultures. Her novel, Either the Beginning or the End of the World, (Carolrhoda Lab) is the story of a Cambodian-American girl who falls in love with an Army medic returned from Afghanistan. She wrote the free-verse novel The Good Braider, a YALSA and SLJ Best Book for young adults. Her picture books include The Alleyway (Carolrhoda), illustrated by Oliver Dominguez, set in Lawrence, MA, and Joseph's Big Ride (Annick) illustrated by Ken Daley about a boy from South Sudan. Through the New Hampshire Humanities Council, Terry leads literacy programs with refugees and immigrants. She teaches yoga at Gateway in Portsmouth, NH.

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, By Mouse & Frog, and, coming in Fall ’16, Shy. Deborah could talk books all day if you let her, and there’s not much she likes better than being in a roomful of people who feel the same way. She lives in a colorful house in southern Connecticut, where she is busy at work on her next books.

AC Gaughen

Annie (AC) Gaughen is the author of the Scarlet Trilogy and the upcoming Elementae series, both with Bloomsbury USA. She loves bad movies, terrible music, and beautiful books, and believes this is a product of having entirely too much education, including a masters in Creative Writing from St. Andrews University and a masters in Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education. You can find her on the web at, and @acgaughen on Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram!

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.

Jess Keating

As a zoologist turned middle-grade and picture book author, Jess Keating has been sprayed by skunks, bitten by crocodiles, and been a victim to the dreaded paper cut. Her debut novel, How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes are Untied was released in 2014, followed by two sequels. Her playful nonfiction picture book, Pink is for Blobfish, was published by Knopf in February 2016, and her picture book biography Shark Lady will be published in 2018 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. She has a Masters degree in Animal Science and a growing collection of books that are threatening to take over her house. She lives in Ontario, Canada, where she loves hiking, watching nerdy documentaries, and writing books for adventurous and funny kids. Jess is also the creator and host of Youtube's Animals for Smart People, an educational channel for science lovers of all ages.

David A. Kelly

David A. Kelly is an established children's book author, travel writer and technology analyst. He's the author of both the Ballpark Mysteries series and the Most Valuable Players series of chapter books from Random House. Mr. Kelly is also the author of the early reader, Babe Ruth and the Baseball Curse, and the picture book Miracle Mud: Lena Blackburne and the Secret Mud that Changed Baseball. He has written about travel and technology for the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Sun Times, and many other publications. He's currently the business travel expert for Click to view Mr. Kelly's website.

Amitha Knight

Amitha Jagannath Knight is a graduate of MIT and Tufts University, where she earned her medical degree. In 2012, she received the PEN New England Children’s Book Discovery Award. She is a We Need Diverse Books team member, and an advocate for children with disabilities. While her parents were originally from South India, Dr. Knight was born and raised in the United States. She has lived in Texas and Arkansas and now lives in the Boston area with her one husband, two children, and two cats.

Jo Knowles

Jo Knowles is the author of six novels, including 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.

Tara Lazar

Street magic performer. Hog-calling champion. Award-winning ice sculptor. These are all things Tara Lazar has never been. Instead, she writes quirky, humorous picture books featuring magical places that everyone will want to visit. Her latest release is Normal Norman from Sterling Children's Books, with other books from Aladdin/S&S, Random House and Disney*Hyperion. She's a member of the Rutgers University Council on Children's Literature and the founder of Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo), the picture book writer's answer to NaNoWriMo. Tara lives in New Jersey with her husband, two daughters and 2,749 stuffed animals.

Trisha Leaver

Trisha Leaver lives on Cape Cod with her husband, three children, and one rather disobedient black lab. She is a chronic daydreamer who prefers the cozy confines of her own imagination to the mundane routine of everyday life. She writes Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, Psychological Horror and Science Fiction and is published with FSG/Macmillan, Flux/Llewellyn and Merit Press. She is a member of the SCBWI, the Cape Cod Writers Center, and the YA Scream Queens – a group of nine female authors who are deathly serious about their horror. To find out more about her, please visit her website at

Cynthia Levinson

I write middle-grade nonfiction, much of it with a focus on social justice. In addition, I've written nonfiction articles for magazines, including Faces, Appleseeds, Dig, and Cobblestone. My debut book, We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March, won multiple awards, including IRA Young Adult Nonfiction, Jane Addams, Golden Kite Honor, Orbis Pictus Honor, and YALSA Finalist. My two most recent books are Watch Out for Flying Kids: How Two Circuses, Two Countries, and Nine Kids Confront Conflict and Build Community and Hillary Rodham Clinton: Do All the Good You Can. Previously, I worked in state-level education policy for long-range planning, curriculum, and technology. Living in both Austin and Boston, I’m involved in two wonderful SCBWI communities.

Brian Lies

Brian Lies is the award-winning author / illustrator of the NY Times bestselling "bat series,” including BATS AT THE BEACH and BATS AT THE LIBRARY.  He has had a hand in over two dozen other books, which have been nominated for numerous state book awards, and  have been featured on NPR’s "Weekend Edition Saturday” and The Martha Stewart Show.  His next picture book,Gator Dad, will be released on May 3rd, and follows a stay-at-home dad and his three kids through a playful and unorthodox day.  When not working on stories, Brian can usually be found visiting elementary schools around the country, or researching recipes for obscure foods.  See more at  Twitter: @BrianLiesbooks

Jen Malone

Jen Malone spent ten years as an international workshop facilitator, delivering three-hour presentations on global citizenship to groups from 20-600 and ranging from a hippy commune in Switzerland to the Canadian Parliament. These days she presents at writing conferences around the country on top of her own author engagements. Jen is a middle-grade and young adult author whose most recent releases include the You’re Invited series (MG, Simon & Schuster) and Wanderlost (YA, HarperCollins), which launches this month. You can learn more about her and her books at

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 also teaches classes in illustration and watercolor painting. He recently completed an MFA in illustration from the Hartford Art School. Dan lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Lynda Mullaly Hunt is the author of One for the Murphys (which has made twenty-four state lists) and Fish in a Tree (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin). After 12 years, she has just stepped down as the co-director of the NE-SCBWI Whispering Pines Retreat held every March in Rhode Island. In addition to 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. Visit her at

Anne Sibley O'Brien

Anne Sibley O’Brien ( has illustrated thirty-two books, fifteen of which she also wrote - and her most recent picture book is one she wrote but didn't illustrate. Her first novel comes out next year from Scholastic. She has received the Aesop Award, the Africana Book Award, and two Asian/Pacific American Literature Awards, as well as the Maine Library Association's Katahdin Award for lifetime achievement. Her passion for multiracial, multicultural and global subjects was kindled by her own experience of being raised bilingual and bicultural in South Korea. She writes the SCBWI Bulletin column, "The Illustrator's Perspective," and reflects on race, culture and children's books at "Coloring Between the Lines" (

Erica Orloff

After publishing over 20 novels for adults, including Freudian Slip (nominated for best contemporary romance by Romantic Times), Erica Orloff penned the award-winning middle-grade fantasy trilogy The Magickeepers (Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky) under the pen name Erica Kirov. She also writes young adult novels, including Illuminated and In Dreams (both from Penguin). Her books have been noted in US Weekly, Cosmopolitan, and American Girl, among many other publications; they have been translated into 12 languages (most recently Russian and Lithuanian!). Erica is also a published essayist/memoirist, including the Pushcart-nominated essay Choose Me on motherhood following loss. An editor and ghostwriter for over two decades, and co-owner of Editing for Authors and its sister company, publisher Dragon Tree Books, she is an in-demand speaker and presenter on writing and publishing, as well as offering her ground-breaking workshop on voice, The Power of Story, which she has presented for audiences from the fourth grade on up through post-graduate educators. Formerly the Writer-in-Residence at Clover Hill High School, Erica travels around the country both in person and via Skype to speak to kids of all ages, encouraging writing, literacy, and the power of words. She may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ericaorloff.

Courtney Pippin-Mathur

Courtney grew up in a small East Texas town where the days stretched for forever. She combatted boredom with reading, talking to clouds and trees and exploring her grandmother’s farm. She now lives on the East Coast where she has three kids and writes and illustrates picture books and (still) reads a lot. She is never bored, the days go by a lot faster now and she still talks to her garden. Her first book was published in 2013, Maya was Grumpy, Flashlight Press, and her second, Dragon Rules, is scheduled for Spring 2017 from Little Simon, S&S.

Francine Puckly

Francine Puckly is a contemporary YA writer, management consultant, trainer and blogger who has applied five-year planning strategies to her own career and has used them to help clients achieve their long-term goals. Francine is a long-time member of SCBWI. She co-directed the 2007 and 2008 SCBWI New England conferences and coordinates local writing events and workshops in her role as Assistant Regional Advisor for NESCBWI. Her publishing credits include more than 50 humor essays which have appeared in numerous regional magazines and newspapers. For more goal-setting strategies, visit Francine and her writing colleagues at and

Cindy L. Rodriguez

Cindy L. Rodriguez is a former newspaper reporter turned public school teacher. She is now a middle school reading specialist but previously worked for the Hartford Courant and the Boston Globe. She lives in Connecticut with her daughter and rescue mutt. When Reason Breaks, her debut novel, was released with Bloomsbury in February 2015.

Sergio Ruzzier

Sergio Ruzzier is a picture book author and illustrator. He was born in Milan, Italy, in 1966, and began his career as an illustrator in 1986. In 1995 he moved to New York City, where he’s been creating pictures and stories for national and international magazines and book publishers. His work has been awarded by American Illustration, The Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts, and The Society of Publication Designers. He won the Parents’ Choice Gold Medal for The Room of Wonders and for his illustrations for Why Mole ShoutedHe was a recipient of the 2011 Sendak Fellowship. Sergio is represented by Jennifer Laughran of Andrea Brown Literary Agency. You can follow Jennifer's blog and her tweets.

Natasha Sass

Natasha Sass is a PAL member and writes under the pen name Ansha Kotyk. She focuses her writing on high concept stories for boys and girls who love fantastic adventures. Before kids, her career was in technical support and training; breaking down complicated technical material in a way that is accessible to all students. Now she enjoys analyzing and breaking down the writing craft in manageable pieces to share and inform her audience in the process of writing great fiction. She is a strong supporter of indie publishing. Her first novel, Gangsterland, is available through independent booksellers as well as the large retailers. Visit her website to read more:

Anna Staniszewski

Anna Staniszewski is the author of several books for young readers including the My Very UnFairy Tale Life, Dirt Diary, and Switched at First Kiss series, all published by Sourcebooks, as well as the picture book Power Down, Little Robot, illustrated by Tim Zeltner and published by Macmillan. She was a Writer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library and a winner of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award. Currently, Anna teaches at the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College in Boston.

Heidi EY Stemple

Heidi E.Y. Stemple never wanted to be a writer like her mother, author Jane Yolen. She wanted to work in law enforcement. So she did. Eventually, though, she gave in and joined the family business. After 20 published books including some in rhyme, some nonfiction, and some cookbooks, in addition to a whole bunch of poems and short stories, she admits writing may be more than a hobby. She lives and writes in Massachusetts on the family farm where she calls owls every December for the Audubon Christmas Bird Count.

Melissa Stewart

Melissa Stewart is the award-winning author of more than 150 nonfiction books for children, including Feathers: Not Just for Flying, which is the 2015 New England Crystal Kite Award recipient. She maintains the Celebrate Science blog ( and serves on the board of advisors for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Jane Sutton

Jane Sutton is the author of five picture books, including The Trouble With Cauliflower (Dial), Esther’s Hanukkah Disaster (Kar-Ben) and most recently, What’s Up With this Chicken? (Pelican, 2015); three middle-grade novels, including Me and the Weirdos (Houghton Mifflin, ALA-CBC Children’s Choice Award, Utah Children’s Book Award) and one YA novel. Several titles have been translated into French and one, into Italian. She is a writing tutor for elementary through college students and teaches a children’s book writing class at Lexington Community Education.

Holly Thompson

Holly Thompson (, a graduate of the NYU Creative Writing Program, is author of the young adult verse novels The Language Inside and Orchards, and the middle-grade verse novel Falling Into the Dragon’s Mouth (Henry Holt). She is also author of the novel Ash, the picture book The Wakame Gatherers, the forthcoming picture book Twilight Chant, and editor of Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction—An Anthology of Japan Teen Stories. A native of Massachusetts and a longtime resident of Japan, she teaches creative writing in the U.S., Japan and places in between.

Padma Venkatraman

Padma Venkatraman is the award-winning author of three critically acclaimed novels. Her latest, A Time to Dance (Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin) was released to 5 starred reviews (Kirkus, Booklist, SLJ, VOYA and BCCB) and received numerous awards: ALA Notable, IRA Notable, Kirkus Best Book, NYPL Top 25, IBBY outstanding, etc. Her two earlier novels, Island's End and Climbing the Stairs, were also released to three or more starred reviews, were both ALA/Yalsa Best Books, CCBC choices and Booklist Editor’s Choice BBYA and won several other honors and awards. Padma Venkatraman is American, has a doctorate in oceanography and lives in Rhode Island. Visit her at and

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:

Sharon Abra Hanen - Open Mic Co-Coordinator - Sharon is a poet and library-loving writer of picture books, poems, and middle-grade novels, in which chocolate, night, grappling hooks, jazz music, and popcorn feature with statistically improbable frequency. She also works as a creative coach and consultant for artists, writers, and deep-thinking businesses. An Open Mic fan since her first NESCBWI conference, she hopes everyone who finds the idea of performing their work a bit scary will give it a try and find out how much fun it really can be. Her website is and she's on Twitter @wellfedpoet.

J. L. Bell - Panel Moderator - J. L. Bell is an author of both fiction and nonfiction for young readers, in both prose and comics form, as well as history for grown-ups. His publications include a science-activity book, a 600-page government of Gen. George Washington's work in Massachusetts, and an examination of the first thirty years of the character Dick Grayson. He is a past Regional Advisor and conference director for SCBWI's New England region.

Sandy Budiansky - This is Sandy's fourth year serving as co-registrar for this conference. She writes books for teens and has an MFA from Simmons in Writing for Children. She has watched every incarnation of Degrassi (for research purposes, of course).

Joannie (Felde) Duris - Joannie Duris has published stories and articles in several national children’s magazines. Her debut book, B is for Berkshires, explores the science, history, and culture of western MA from A to Z, showing that concept books are for all ages. A longtime SCBWI member and regional conference volunteer, she leads a critique group in Concord, MA. She studied geology before moving on to a career in psychiatric nursing, and spent ten years working with young children in a hospital setting. A New England transplant, Joannie spent much of her childhood in Japan. She lives in central Massachusetts with her husband and spoiled cats—where she can occasionally be seen chasing black bears away from her birdfeeders. For more info:

Greg R. Fishbone - Greg R. Fishbone has served since 2002 as Assistant Regional Advisor and Webmaster for the New England regions of SCBWI and is a two-time former regional conference co-chair. He also founded the Class of 2k7 debut author marketing cooperative, which spawned several 2kClass followup groups. Greg's debut middle-grade novel, The Penguins of Doom, was published in 2007 by Blooming Tree Press. In 2011, he published Galaxy Games: The Challengers  with the Tu Books imprint of Lee & Low Books. He currently lives in the Boston area with his wife and two daughters.

Josh Funk Conference Co-Director Josh is the author of Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast (Sterling), as well as the forthcoming picture books Dear Dragon (Viking/Penguin 2016), Pirasaurs! (Scholastic 2016), This Isn't Jack and the Beanstalk (Two Lions, 2017), and more. In addition to coordinating the New England SCBWI Conference, Josh is also a board member of The Writers' Loft in Sherborn, MA. Find out more information at, Twitter @joshfunkbooks.

Susan Garrett - Bookseller Coordinator - Susan writes middle-grade and young adult fiction, usually preferring to challenge her characters with outlandish settings or situations. When she is not writing, she is reading, baking or volunteering with children.

Alicia Gregoire - A/V Coordinator - Alicia writers young adult contemporary fantasy and realistic fiction and is on the Board of Directors of The Writers' Loft in Sherborn, MA. When she's not busy writing, she's taking way too many photos of her two cats.

Katherine Quimby Johnson - Kathy is Co-RA of New England SCBWI. A freelance editor and copyeditor, she holds an MFA from VCFA, teaches in the Professional Writing Program at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont, and is a Scholar for the Vermont Humanities Council.

Loretta Kappinos - Loretta has been a nurse for fifteen years in the Springfield area. She spent more than a decade pretending she wasn’t a writer, until one day she discovered a passion writing for teens. Today, Loretta can be found educating nurses and blogging about her adventures. In 2011, Loretta co-authored the book, Springfield Tornado: Stories From the Heart to help raise money for local tornado relief. She’s an avid reader of Young Adult fiction (mostly realistic) and running addict. Learn more about Loretta on her Face Book page or find her coordinating volunteers at the 2016 NESCBWI conference.

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. @HeatherGKelly

Margo Lemieux - Co-Regional Advisor - Margo Lemieux is the author of eight books, illustrator of five, and is currently a professor in the art & graphic design department at Lasell College. She is an exhibiting artist, printmaker, and poet.

Stacy Barnett Mozer - Stacy Barnett Mozer is the NESCBWI ARA who organizes the region's critique groups. She's also a middle-grade author, a third grade teacher, and a mom. Her debut novel, The Sweet Spot, was published in June 2015. Visit Stacy online at You can follow her on twitter at @SMozer.

Deb O'Brien - Ask-A-Mentor Co-Coordinator - Deb O'Brien writes and illustrates children’s books. She has several completed picture book manuscripts and a middle-grade book under construction. She is actively seeking an agent. You can see some of her work at Deb is a member of SCBWI, The Writers’ Loft, and several writer/illustrator critique groups. She recently created the award winning costumes for the 2015 International Interior Design Association of New England fashion show.

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 magazines. She lives with her family in Laconia, NH.

Milanka Reardon - Milanka Reardon has recently joined Denise Ortakales as co-Illustrator Coordinator for NESCBWI. She is a graduate of the Children’s Book Illustration and the Natural Science Illustration Certificate programs at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her illustration of a dragon bridge won first place in the unpublished division in the NESCBWI poster showcase in 2012. She lives in Uxbridge, Massachusetts and is excited to be serving the southern half of our region.

Sally Riley - Sally has been Regional Advisor in New England since December 2003. She completed her M.F.A. in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts in January 2003.She is also active in ASTAL (Alliance for the Study and Teaching of Adolescent Literature) at Rhode Island College. She contributed two biographies for children in Women of the Ocean State, 25 Rhode Island Women You Should Know, published in 2013. Sally currently lives in Rhode Island where she writes picture books, middle-grade fiction, and nonfiction biographies.

Sera Rivers - Sera Rivers is an editor and writer for Responsive Classroom, Center of Responsive Schools. She received her Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children from Simmons College. Her graduate studies included the critical analysis of children’s literature and two mentorships with editors on writing young adult novels. Her writing interests include incorporating historical events and figures into the societal issues adolescents face today. Sera resides in Western Massachusetts where she is the NESCBWI Western MA Kidlit Meet Up coordinator. She is the volunteer coordinator for the conference.

Marilyn Salerno - Co-director - Marilyn is the Co-RA of SCBWI New England, writes nonfiction magazine articles, picture books and middle-grade.

Pam Vaughan - Pam Vaughan has been a teacher of life lessons through sports for over 17 years. She is now the owner and director of PV team consulting where she runs workshops on mental toughness (leadership and teambuilding). Her website is if you need to see more about Pam's achievement's, workshops and clients. Pam also writes picture books and middle-grade. She has been the NESCBWI conference photographer for the last two years and is a board member of The Writers' Loft. Pam has attended many NESCBWI conferences, the SCBWI Whispering Pines Retreat, the Simmons College Children's Literature Summer Institute and earned honorable mention recognition from Susanna Leonard Hill and Writer's Digest.

Kristen Wixted - Critique Coordinator - Kristen writes middle-grade and young adult novels, lives in central Massachusetts and cares for a menagerie of animals and children, both real and fantastical. She is good at growing flowers, making pasta, and driving through Harvard Square.

Jean Woodbury - Transportation Coordinator - Jean Woodbury spent her childhood on the island of Galveston, Texas, home to the pirate Jean Lafitte, and taught school in Hawaii during its last plantation days. She eventually moved to New England and became a college dean. A conference volunteer for NESCBWI since 2007, Jean writes literary nonfiction based on America’s cultural diversity.

Julia Anne Young - Julia Anne Young is a Boston-based illustrator. As a child, she learned to read so she could explore more fairy tales. When she wasn't drawing, Julia was inventing worlds in her backyard, playing with imaginary friends — and, in second grade, telling her classmates she was a witch. She grew up, but that magic-loving kid stayed with her! After attending Simmons College, Julia worked as Captain of Creative Services at FableVision Learning (Peter H. Reynolds' educational company). In 2012, she began assisting Reynolds as his studio manager. He inspired her to focus on her own artwork, and she decided to wholeheartedly pursue a career in illustration. She has loved the journey ever since. Website:

Julia created the NESCBWI 2016 Spring Conference logo. 

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.


Contact Information

  • Conference Co-Directors: 
    Heather KellyJosh Funk and Marilyn Salerno

    Registrars: Shirley Pearson & Sandy Budiansky
    Volunteer Coordinator: Sera Rivers

    Find us on Facebook at
    Follow us on twitter @nescbwi  Join the conversation, use hashtag #NESCBWI16

    Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place
    (413) 781-1010
    One Monarch Place
    Springfield, Massachusetts 01144
    (Rooms at $119.00 USD per night)

    In addition to this conference hotel, for your convenience we have also reserved space at the Springfield Marriott, directly across the street from the Sheraton. Rooms are available at the Marriott for $135.00 USD per night. Please call (800) 228-9290 and ask to make a reservation in the Springfield Marriott SCBWI New England Regional Conference Room Block.

    To prevent conference communications from being marked as SPAM, please ADD the following email addresses to your contacts:

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

    Conference cancellations up until February 29, 2016 will be refunded in full. 
    After February 29, 2016, refunds will only be given when proof is given to support military service or a death in the family.

    All 3 days: Member Price: $290, Non-Member Price: $340
    2 days - Fri/Sat: Member Price: $225, Non-Member Price: $275
    2 days - Sat/Sun: Member Price: $230, Non-Member Price: $280
    2 days - Fri/Sun: Member Price: $175, Non-Member Price: $225
    Friday only: Member Price: $85, Non-Member Price: $110
    Saturday only: Member Price: $140, Non-Member Price: $165
    Sunday only: Member Price: $90, Non-Member Price: $115
    Critique: Member Price: $50, Non-Member Price: $55
    Agent Quick Query (AQQ): Member Price: $25, Non-Member:$30
    Career Consultation: Member Price: $40, Non-Member Price: $45
       (payment by AMEX, Discover, MC, VISA, or check)

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