Jenne Abramowitz first discovered the power of stories when she was 4 years old and her parents took her to see a production of Maurice Sendak’s musical Really Rosie. Rosie’s chutzpah inspired Jenne to write stories and plays of her own, and to eventually leave her home in Texas for the glamour and bright lights of New York City, where she now works as a children’s book editor. Jenne is the author of SNOW DAY! SNOW PLAY! published by Scholastic Book Clubs. She lives, writes, and daydreams in Brooklyn, NY (just like Rosie!)
Hannah Barnaby began her career in books with an MA in Children’s Literature from Simmons College and a job as an editorial assistant at Houghton Mifflin Company. She went on to earn an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College, and served as the first Children’s Writer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library. Her first novel, WONDER SHOW, was a William C. Morris Award Finalist in 2013, and was also named to YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults list. She lives in Charlottesville, VA with her family.
Aaron Becker has spent much of his professional life as a conceptual artist for film studios, including Pixar, Lucasfilm, and ImageMovers Digital. Some of his film credits include A Christmas Carol, The War of the Worlds, and The Polar Express. A graduate of Pomona College with a BA in media studies and a minor in fine art, Aaron also studied illustration at The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He made his first foray into children’s books with his jacket illustration for N.D. Wilson’s DRAGON’S TOOTH, the first book in the “Ashtown” series, but his formal debut as picture book creator will come with JOURNEY, a magical wordless adventure, to be published by Candlewick Press in Fall 2013. Aaron currently has a companion book to JOURNEY called QUEST under contract with Candlewick, as well as a stand alone picture book called ASTRO-KNIGHTS, which will both publish in 2014. Aaron lives in Western Massachusetts with his wife and daughter.
Eileen Beha has an MFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University. She is a former middle school principal, who lives in Minnesota with her husband and two dogs–Tango and Daisy. In 2009, she published her first book, a middle grade novel called TANGO (BloomsburyUSA). It has been nominated to a number of state reading lists including South Carolina Book Award, the Keystone to Reading Award, and Washington’s Sasquatch Reading Award, among others. Audio rights were sold to Listening Library. Eileen has four grown children and three grandsons, and vacations regularly on Prince Edward Island, the setting for the irrepressible TANGO.
Alexandra Boiger was born in Munich Germany, and studied graphic design where her work as an assistant animator brought her first to England, and then to DreamworksSKG in the United States. The first picture book she illustrated, WHILE MAMA HAD A QUICK LITTLE CHAT, was published by the legendary Dick Jackson books, and was a Fall 2005 Book Sense Pick and a recipient of a Parents’ Choice Award. Most recently, she has illustrated TALLULAH’S TUTU, the first in the TALLULAH book series written by Marilyn Singer. Alexandra’s work has been named to various state reading lists including the Iowa Children’s Choice Master List, Chicago Library Best of the Best, and the Florida Sunshine State Young Readers Award, among others. She is proud to have been invited by Studio Ghibli to contribute an original piece of her work to be included in the Mary Blair Centennial Exhibition that opened in Japan and will travel throughout the world. Alexandra now lives with her husband and daughter in California.
Denise Brunkus has illustrated more than 60 books, most notably the “Junie B. Jones” series written by Barbara Park, which has sold over 40 million copies to date. She also illustrated READ ALL ABOUT IT!, written by First Lady Laura Bush and Jenna Bush, which went on to become a a New York Times Bestseller and a 2008 Amazon Best Picture Book. Her books have also been recognized with numerous state reading awards including the Young Hoosier Picture Book Award, the Keystone State Reading Award, and the South Carolina Picture Book Award, among others. Denise’s career as an artist has been vast and varied, with jobs ranging from copying illuminated manuscripts for a museum to airbrushing art on motorcycles. She’s designed stickers, toys, and greeting cards, and her illustrations have appeared in national magazines. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband.
Bonnie Christensen is a fine artist and printmaker who is on the faculty of Vermont College’s MFA Writing for Children and Young Adults program and teaches at St. Michael’s College, both in Vermont. She has illustrated 17 books for children, 9 of which she authored, including WOODY GUTHRIE: POET OF THE PEOPLE which received the 2002 Horn Book-Boston Globe Honor Award, a 2002 Parent’s Choice Gold Award, and was a 2002 Dorothy Canfield Fisher nominee and 2002 Oklahoma Book Award Finalist and DJANGO, WORLD’S GREATEST JAZZ GUITARIST, which received starred reviews from both SLJ and Booklist and was named a 2010 Schneider Family Award winner. Bonnie’s latest book FABULOUS: A PORTRAIT OF ANDY WARHOL has received starred reviews in both SLJ and Booklist. Her books regularly receive starred reviews and are named to best books lists such as those compiled by Kirkus, New York Public Library, Publishers Weekly, Horn Book, Booklist and the International Reading Association. Her fine art has been exhibited in both the United States and Europe. She lives in North Carolina.
Margaret Chodos-Irvine uses a variety of printmaking techniques to create innovative patterns, vivid colors, and uniquely textured imagery in her work. Her first picture book, BUZZ by Janet Wong, was published in 2000. This debut was recognized as a School Library Journal Best Children’s Book, a Children’s Cooperative Bulletin Council Choice, an LA Times Best Children’s Book, an ABA’s Pick of the Lists book, and an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award. Since then, her work has continued to be acknowledged with starred reviews and various other honors, including a 2004 Caldecott Honor Award for ELLA SARAH GETS DRESSED, which she both wrote and illustrated. Margaret lives in Seattle, Washington with her family.
Bryan Collier grew up in Pocomoke, Maryland, the youngest of six children. His interest in art was always encouraged and he developed a unique style of painting that incorporated both watercolors and collage. His first book, UPTOWN, published in 2000, received a Coretta Scott King (CSK) Illustrator Award, as well as, an Ezra Jack Keats Award. The same year that FREEDOM RIVER which he illustrated received a CSK Illustrator Honor Award. He is the illustrator of MARTIN’S BIG WORDS, for which he received his first Caldecott Honor Award and a CSK Honor Award. He received his second Caldecott Honor Award in 2006 as well as another CSK Award for ROSA, written by Nikki Giovanni. He is also a NY Times Bestseller with BARACK OBAMA, written by Nikki Grimes, which reached the #1 spot in picture books during its 20 weeks on the list and received a 2009 NAACP Image Award for Best Children’s Book. For his most recently published book, a NY Times Bestseller, DAVE THE POTTER, written by Laban Carrick Hill, Bryan received his third Caldecott Honor Award, and his third CSK Award. Bryan lives in New York State with his wife and two daughters.
Quinette Cook lives in Minnesota with her family and has been drawing and writing and dreaming for as long as she can remember. At age six she announced that when she grew up she was going to be an author and an illustrator. Although she says she might never grow up, she did receive a degree in Commercial Art & Design from the University of Minnesota and an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Hamline University. Her YA novel in verse, GILT, received the 2012 SCBWI Work of Outstanding Promise Honor Book Award. When she’s not in her studio working on freelance projects, stories or poetry, or art, you can find her reading, working
in her garden, or taking long walks with her dog, Jazz.
Angela Dominguez was born in Mexico City, grew up in Texas and now lives in Northern California where she teaches children’s book illustration at the Academy of Art University when she’s not creating her own work. Since graduating with her MFA from the Illustration Academy at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco in 2007, Angela has made it her goal to have a career creating children’s books. She is well on her way! The first book she illustrated, AVA TREE AND THE WISHES THREE (Feiwel & Friends), was published in 2009. In 2013, Angela will make her debut as author and illustrator with the publication of LET’S GO HUGO (Dial Books for Young Readers) releasing in April and MARIA HAD A LITTLE LLAMA (Henry Holt & Co.) releasing in August. As a child, she loved reading books and making a mess creating pictures. Angela is delighted to still be doing both!
Whenever Frederick Edwards harks back to his Appalachian roots, he relishes in the familiar voices as much as the faces. Drawn to offbeat humor and having come across quirky people while working a succession of bad jobs, he is inspired to write about such absurdities as a three-inch-tall man living in a jar and a bum keeping house in a mausoleum. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Bowling Green State University where he was awarded the Devine Fellowship, and an MA in Literature from Marshall University where he was granted the Maier Awards upon winning first place in both Short Story and Personal Essay. Frederick has taught writing on the college level as well as for private schools. He has also been a guest lecturer at Kentucky’s Jesse Stuart Writing Workshop and has read his work at the Jackson Hole Writers Conference. Frederick lives with his wife and their growing number of animals on a farm in Kentucky.
Kathryn Erskine grew up in the Netherlands, Israel, South Africa, Scotland and Newfoundland as the child of a diplomat. After working as an attorney for 15 years, she decided life was too short to put off her dream of writing. So with the support of her family, she set out on her journey as an author. Her debut novel QUAKING was named a YALSA Top 10 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers and her second novel MOCKINGBIRD, was the 2010 National Book Award Winner for Young People’s Literature. Adding to the ever-growing recognition of Kathy’s body of work, her most recent novel, THE ABSOLUTE VALUE OF MIKE is a Junior Library Guild selection, an Amazon Best Book of the Month and a Summer 2011 Kids’ Next List recommendation. Kathy lives in Virginia with her husband and two children and a dog.
Howard Fine began drawing at the age of two, although as grew up, he wondered if he should turn his attention toward more practical endeavors like making it in the NBA, a plan that lasted until his freshman year of high school. Perhaps a career in the medical field was a better choice. With a plan to become a doctor or dentist, Howard went to Bucknell, where his future career took a turn to come full circle when he rediscovered his love of art. After attending the Philadelphia College of Art and working in advertising, and just before studying anatomy, physiology and other things dentists need to know, the lure of art pulled him back again. He got the chance to illustrate Margie Palatini’s hilarious, PIGGIE PIE, which became a bestseller. So now, Howard divides his time between his two careers: dentistry and illustration, both of which bring lots of smiles. His books include DINOSAILORS by Deb Lund, SNORING BEAUTY by Bruce Hale, and HAMPHIRE by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen among others.
Sharon Flake has worked in a foster care program, as a house parent for youth placed temporarily in shelters, and in public relations for the University of Pittsburgh. Her 1998 debut novel, THE SKIN I’M IN, was recognized with the prestigious Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent award. Since then, she has published many more books including MONEY HUNGRY and WHO AM I WITHOUT HIM?, both of which received Coretta Scott King Honor Awards. Her work has appeared on numerous best books of the year lists including YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers, YALSA Best Books for Young Adult Readers, LA Times Recommended Books for Teens, VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School, Book Sense Children’s Picks, and Booklist Editor’s Choice among others, and has been named to many state reading lists including the Texas Lone Star Reading List. Her books have also been used as a centerpiece for numerous school reading initiatives, such as those in New Orleans and Rochester, NY. Sharon grew up in Philadelphia and currently lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Steph Green has been writing ever since she first learned to put words to paper. For high school she attended a magnet school for writing, in college she majored in writing and went on to get an MFA in the writing program at the University of Pittsburgh. Steph has been invited to read her work at many events, including the Prague International Writers Festival and the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival’s Night of Fresh Voices. She was awarded first place in the Leslie Sander Prize for Fiction. However, it wasn’t until recently that she discovered a passion for writing for teens. Drawn by the immediacy, the intensity and pace of YA, Steph has completed her first YA novel, TELL EVERYONE WE’RE DEAD. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband.
N. Griffin is the author of THE WHOLE STUPID WAY WE ARE (Atheneum 2013), her fiction debut which received a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly. Her next book tentatively titled SMASHIE, is a middle-grade mystery that will be published in 2014 by Candlewick. She received her MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives outside of Boston with her beau and their dogs.
Judy Hoffman was reluctant to ever take a creative writing class in fear that it might dampen her enthusiasm. Instead she got a BS in Computer Science from Purdue University, and spent her life as an avid reader and a closet writer. JK Rowling’s success with the “Harry Potter” series finally gave her the confidence not only to write about magic and courage, but to believe in them as she sought to get her work published. Her debut novel, THE ART OF FLYING, will come out with Disney-Hyperion in 2013. When she’s not writing, Judy is a partner with her husband in their antique reclaimed lumber business. She lives about an hour outside of Chicago with her husband, two sons, two dogs and lots of inspiring views.
Lita Judge was born in Alaska. Her father was a soil scientist so her family moved to many remote places throughout the West. She spent summers with her grandparents, renowned ornithologists. So it is no surprise that the natural world plays such a big role in Lita’s books. After working as a geologist for a number of years, Lita pursued her true passion – art. She has illustrated several books written by other authors, but it is the books she has written and illustrated herself that have brought her the most satisfaction to date. ONE THOUSAND TRACINGS was the 2008 Winner of the IRA Children’s Book Award, an ALA Notable book, and a 2008 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Honor. BORN TO BE GIANTS was an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Medal Winner. Her books have appeared on Best Books of the Year lists by New York Public Library, the Smithsonian, and IRA Teacher’s Choice and been named to numerous state reading lists. Breaking from her nonfiction roots, Lita took a whimsical turn with RED SLED (Atheneum, November 2011) and the follow-up title RED HAT (Atheneum, March 2013). She lives in New Hampshire with her husband Dave.
Sylvie Kantorovitz was born in Casablanca and grew up in France (yes, she has an accent!) After studying at Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, she moved to the United States where she discovered (or re-discovered) the magic of children’s books. She has illustrated over two dozen books including the bestselling WHEELS ON THE BUS, a Raffi Song to Read. Sylvie is returning to the role of author, as well as illustrator, in her latest work, which includes THE VERY TINY BABY (Charlesbridge) and ZIG AND THE MAGIC UMBRELLA (Dial Books for Young Readers). She lives in Albany, NY with her extraordinary daughter, Samantha.
Paige Keiser was studying to be a fine artist at George Mason University when she discovered a book about N.C. Wyeth. Her interest in painting landscapes and still life subjects turned into a passion for illustration. She graduated with a BA in Studio Art, and went on to illustrate several picture books for children, including: WOW IT’S A COW, an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal award winner, THE LITTLE GREEN PEA, a 2009 National Best Books Award Finalist, and RAJ THE BOOKSTORE TIGER. Paige lives and works in Northern Virginia with a very astute Jack Russell Terrier who handles all business calls and late-night pizza deliveries to the studio.
Jane Kelley didn’t always want to write. At one time, she wanted to be an actress, but moving to New York allowed her the freedom to figure out what it was that she really wanted to be when she grew up. After trying to write in various genres, Jane discovered the voice of a tween girl, which just clicked with her, and so she began her first book NATURE GIRL (Random House), which published in 2010. She continues to hear middle grade voices, which was particularly fitting for her 2nd book, a ghost story called THE GIRL BEHIND THE GLASS (Random House). Her next book, THE DESPERATE ADVENTURES OF ZENO & ALYA, is a bit of departure. While still falling into the middle grade category, it features a spirited African gray parrot, and will be published by Feiwel & Friends in Fall 2013. Jane lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and daughter.
Peggy Kern grew up in the economically and racially diverse town of Westbury, NY. It is no accident that her work draws heavily on her experiences growing up there, and on her time spent living in Philadelphia, where she proudly volunteered with Philadelphia Futures, a non-profit that works with at-risk inner-city students. Peggy mentored two students through high school and into their senior year of college (Go Kyle and Marlena!). She is endlessly inspired by the young people who somehow manage to rise above their surroundings, their heads held high, their eyes bright with hope, despite living in the forgotten corners of America. Peggy is the author of two novels for the Bluford High Series: NO WAY OUT and THE TEST, published by Townsend Press and Scholastic. NO WAY OUT was chosen by the Detroit Public School System as a district-wide “must-read” and both were selected as YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. Her third novel, LITTLE PEACH, will be published by HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray in 2014. It explores child sex trafficking in the NYC area. When not scaring her husband by doing research in East NY in the middle of the night, Peggy works out of her apartment in Long Beach and scares her three-year-old daughter Abigail by pretending to be a monster.
Elizabeth Cody Kimmel grew up in Westchester County and later Brussels, Belgium. From a very early age she was a zealous reader, buyer, and admirer of books. She has written more than 30 books, a wide variety of both fiction and non-fiction, and ranging from young picture books to middle grade novels. Her books reflect many of her passions including her love of Antarctica in the non-fiction, Golden Kite Honor book, ICE STORY: SHACKLETON’S LOST EXPEDITION, her love of penguins in her picture books, MY PENGUIN, OSBERT, and OSBERT IN LOVE, her love of snow and dogs in the middle grade novel BALTO THE GREAT RACE, and her love of ghost stories in her “Suddenly Supernatural” series, beginning with SCHOOL SPIRIT. Her work has been named to NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers and various state reading lists. Beth’s recent novel, THE REINVENTION OF MOXIE ROOSEVELT received an SLJ starred review, and has been included on numerous state reading lists. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her daughter and beagle, Henry.
Amy Goldman Koss assumed that when she grew up she’d get some miserable job and would only get to do anything interesting in the wee bits of her free time. Happily things turned out differently. Amy writes (almost daily) in her sunny, triangular office 27 steps from her sliding back door. She has written 14 teen novels, 4 pictures books, a whole slew of newspaper articles and countless shopping lists. Her books, including THE GIRLS, SIDE EFFECTS and POISON IVY among others, have been named to numerous Best Books of the Year lists and honored with various state reading awards. Born in Detroit, Michigan, Amy now lives in Los Angeles with her family, pets and phobias.
Alexandria LaFaye has published eleven novels, including the Scott O’Dell Award winning WORTH. She published her first picture book, WALKING HOME TO ROSIE LEE in 2011. She recorded her novel WATER STEPS for Full Cast Audio in 2010. In addition to her work as an author she’s a professor of creative writing and children’s literature. During the academic year, she teaches at Greenville College, returning to the graduate program in Children’s and Young Adult Literature at Hollins University every summer. She lives in Illinois with her daughter Adia and their dog Dixie.
Frané Lessac was born in New Jersey, but has traveled extensively all her life, which enabled her to create books based on her worldwide journeys. Attracted by the beauty of Montserrat, she moved to the small Caribbean island that inspired her first picture book, MY LITTLE ISLAND, which was a Reading Rainbow feature title. Since then, she has written and/or illustrated more than 35 books, including CAPITAL!: WASHINGTON D.C. FROM A TO Z, and THE DONKEY OF GALLIPOLI which received a Kirkus starred review, and is on the USBBY Outstanding International book for Young People list. She’s the Illustrator Liaison for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators for Australia/New Zealand and served on the Executive Committee of the Australian Society of Authors. In 2010 she was awarded Australia’s prestigious Muriel Barwell Award for Distinguished Service to Children’s Literature. Her work has been on exhibition in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, and London. Frané lives in West Australia, with her husband, children’s book author Mark Greenwood, and their two children.
Steve Light grew up in an enchanted place known as New Jersey. He went on to study Illustration at Pratt Institute, he also studied with Dave Passalacqua. Upon graduating he did some corporate illustrations for companies such as: AT&T, Sony Films, and the New York Times Book Review. Steve Light then went on to design buttons that were acquired by the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum. He has published many children’s books by Abrams, Candlewick Press, and Chronicle Books. Steve’s books include: I AM HAPPY, PUSS IN BOOTS, THE SHOEMAKER EXTRAORDINAIRE, UNCLE SAM, TRUCKS GO, TRAINS GO, DIGGERS GO, THE CHRISTMAS GIANT and ZEPHYR TAKES FLIGHT, as well as two Hello Kitty books that he engineered. HAVE YOU SEEN MY DRAGON?, a counting book, will be out in 2014 from Candlewick Press. Steve Light has also had his Steve Light Storyboxes produced by Guidecraft. Steve lives in Manhattan with his wife and cat, they all love drawing and telling stories.
James Lipnickas is a recent graduate from the School of Visual Arts Illustration program. He has always loved children’s books and has an extensive collection. James’ whimsical and mysterious creatures are created with an inventive imagination and love of nature. “In my head creatures are always crawling around.” In 2012, James’ piece ‘Creature Transport’ won an award at the Society of Illustrators Student Scholarship Competition. He also has 4 pieces in the 3×3 2012 Illustration Annual that comes out this fall. James lives with his wife and daughter in New York.
Lisa Luedeke fell in love with writing in high school. At the University of New Hampshire, she took as many fiction writing courses as she could, and published in the school’s literary magazine, but didn’t begin to write her first novel until nearly a decade later. In between, she taught high school and edited professional books for English Teacher’s at Heinemann. She never forgot her writing dream, though. Her first YA, SMASHED published with McElderry Books in August 2012. She lives in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire with her husband and young daughter, where they ski, swim, hike and hang out at their local bookstore, The Toadstool.
Eric Luper tried to escape his literary destiny by going to chiropractic school. Soon he discovered that, although he made a great doctor, his heart was somehow wrapped around putting words onto paper. Although he has treated scores of professional athletes, pop stars, rap artists, rock performers, and movie stars, he was happiest when his first young adult novel, BIG SLICK, was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 2007. Since then he has published two more young adult novels, BUG BOY (FSG) and SETH BAUMGARTNER’S LOVE MANIFESTO (Balzer + Bray). He made his middle grade debut with JEREMY BENDER VS. THE CUPCAKE CADETS (Balzer + Bray), which published in May 2011. Audio rights to both LOVE MANIFESTO and CUPCAKE CADETS have been sold to Brilliance Audio and Listening Library, respectively. Eric lives in Albany, New York with his wife, Elaine and their children, Ethan and Lily. He still works as a chiropractor, but he always manages to find time to write—usually after everyone else has gone to sleep.
George McClements is the inspiration behind many Norse legends and sonnets. He is also a talented and funny children’s book author and illustrator who enjoys writing about himself in the third person. His first book JAKE GANDER: STORYVILLE DETECTIVE was published in 2002 followed by a half dozen more, including THE NIGHT OF THE VEGGIE MONSTER which was featured on the Rachael Ray Show (the segment can be viewed here) and DINOSAUR WOODS, which was chosen by Indie booksellers for the Summer 2010 Kids’ Next List, as well as being named a Bank Street Best Books of the Year and CCBC Choice. He lives in Glendale, California with his saintly wife and two sons, who influence many of George’s books.
Even though Kerri McDermott doesn’t fit at the kids table anymore, she adores picture books. Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Kerri’s sense of adventure has moved her to many places including New Orleans, Colorado and Grand Cayman. She now lives in beautiful San Francisco where she earned an MFA in Illustration at the Academy of Art. For her next adventure, Kerri is looking forward to diving into the world of children’s books where we’re sure that she’ll find her seat at the table to be the perfect fit! She has a knack for finding the humorous side of things. For Kerri, the sign of a good illustration is always one that makes her laugh out loud. This is what she hopes her work will do for you, too.
Jill McElmurry grew up in Los Angeles, Taos, and Santa Barbara. She studied art at SUNY Purchase and the School of Visual Arts in New York for a short while, but she’s been drawing and painting on her own for a very long time. Her father worked as a character designer for Walt Disney, Quartet Films, and Jay Ward Productions, her mother was a fashion illustrator in New York and California, her grandfather was a scenic painter for RKO Films (along with Byron L. Crabbe, he did the matte painting for the 1939 classic King Kong) and her grandmother was a dainty devotee of the terpsichorean art (LA Times, 1921) with the Theodore Kosloff Company. When Jill’s first book, MAD ABOUT PLAID, was published in 2000, SLJ said …. innovative and delightful, this tale may just cause a new fashion sensation. Since then, she has written and/or illustrated more than 14 books, which regularly receive starred reviews and have been recognized as Booklist Editor’s Choice, Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book, Sydney Taylor Notable, and ASPCA Henry Bergh Human Heroes Award, as well as being named to various state reading lists. LITTLE BLUE TRUCK and LITTLE BLUE TRUCK LEADS THE WAY, both written by Alice Shertle have recently been adapted as board book and big book editions. Her recent book WHO STOLE MONA LISA? written by Ruthie Knapp, was included by Kirkus on their list of Best Books of 2010. When not producing books, Jill enjoys canoeing, painting, house renovation, and relaxing with her husband and dogs on their Higglety Pigglety Farm in New Mexico.
Stephen Mooser grew up in Fresno, California and has lived in Laguna Beach California, New York City and Bar Harbor Maine. He currently can be found in Santa Monica, California. He is the author of more than 60 books for children from picture book titles such as THE GHOST WITH THE HALLOWEEN HICCUPS, to nonfiction, LIGHTS! CAMERA! SCREAM!, series and chapter books, THE ALL-STAR MEATBALLS, THE TREASURE HOUNDS, THE CREEPY CREATURE CLUB, GOOFBALL MALONE, and novels such as THE HITCHHIKING VAMPIRE and IT’S A WEIRD, WEIRD SCHOOL. A former filmmaker and treasure hunter many of his adventures have found their way into his books. Among the awards he has received is The Christopher Medal for The New York Kids Book and a 2010 Eric Carle Honor Award as a Mentor. He is co-founder of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and currently serves as the organization’s President.
Robert Neubecker has been an illustrator for thirty years and has drawn for nearly everything in print and now, increasingly, for the web. His work regularly appears in Slate.com, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. His first picture book, WOW! CITY! was published in 2005. It was named an ALA Notable Book, and launched a series that includes WOW! AMERICA!, WOW! SCHOOL! and most recently, WOW! OCEAN!, which received a PW starred review and was chosen by Indie Booksellers for the Summer 2011 Kids’ Next List. Robert’s growing book credits include THE COURAGE OF THE BLUE BOY, I GOT TWO DOGS, MONSTERS ON MACHINES, SOPHIE PETERMAN TELLS THE TRUTH, and WHAT ARE LITTLE BOYS MADE OF?. He lives in the little town of Park City, Utah, with his wife, two great kids, lizards named Brutus and Samantha, a couple cats, some mice, lots of fish and a large German Shepherd dog named Alta.
Kathleen O’Dell was a Publisher’s Weekly Flying Start with the publication of her middle grade novel, AGNES PARKER…GIRL IN PROGRESS, which was also one of the Bank Street Best Books of the Year, and IRA-CBC children’s choice. This was followed by several other books including her YA novel, BAD TICKETS, which received a Booklist Starred review and was named one of their Top Ten Women’s History Books for Youth, and was included in Capitol Choice list of noteworthy titles, as well as a third Agnes Parker book, AGNES PARKER….KEEPING COOL IN MIDDLE SCHOOL which received a Kirkus Starred review. Her latest middle grade novel, THE AVIARY is being published by Knopf. Kathy lives in Southern California with her husband, Tim.
Despite the oft-quoted adage to write what you know, Anne Marie Pace has never been a bear, a vampire, or a ballerina. She is the author of NEVER EVER TALK TO STRANGERS and A TEACHER FOR BEAR, both published by Scholastic Book Clubs; and VAMPIRINA BALLERINA, illustrated by LeUyen Pham, was just published by Disney-Hyperion in August2012. With other children’s writers, she publishes The 4:00 Book Hook, a free email newsletter for adults who share books with kids, with a subscription base of over seven hundred parents, teachers and librarians. Someday, she hopes to write books about what she does know: whistling, baking blue-ribbon-winning chocolate chip cookies, and schlepping kids around in a minivan, if she can find a way to make any of that interesting. She lives with her family in Virginia.
As a child, Margie Palatini loved classic books like ALICE IN WONDERLAND, LITTLE WOMEN and THE WIZARD OF OZ…..and tv shows such as Warner Brothers cartoons, particularly a bunny called Bugs, as well as a crazy redhead named Lucy. It’s no wonder that she grew up to become an author of over 3 dozen outrageously funny books. Margie graduated from Moore College of Art and Design and went on to become an art director in an advertising firm before turning to writing. So not only does she write, she illustrates, too! Her books include like PIGGIE PIE, BED HEAD, THE WEB FILES, SWEET TOOTH, and MOOSETACHE among others, and have been honored with awards and accolades like ALA Notable, BookSense Pick, Best Book of the Year lists by Newsweek, SLJ, and CBC, IRA Children’s Choice Award and many others including reading awards in over 30 States. Margie lives with her family in New Jersey.
Julie Paschkis has illustrated over twenty books since she committed herself to art full time in 1991. Her work has been recognized with many accolades and honors over the years. NIGHT GARDEN: POEMS FROM THE WORLD OF DREAMS by Janet Wong was a 2000 New York Times Best Illustrated Book. YELLOW ELEPHANT by Julie Larios received a 2006 Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Award Book. Many of her books have been named to Best Books of the Year list including GLASS SLIPPER, GOLD SANDAL by Paul Fleischman, which a NY Times Notable Book, a BookSense Pick, a New York Public Library 100 Best Book, and a Kirkus Best Book for 2007. Julie’s work also frequently receives starred reviews in Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal, Kirkus and other publications. With MOOSHKA (Peachtree) and APPLE CAKE (Harcourt), Julie adds author to her list of creative accomplishments. She lives in Seattle with her husband.
Richard Peck has come a long way from his childhood in Decatur, Illinois, but his youth there is never too far behind. The influences of those years are ever present in his books – middle American towns “where it’s hard to be a stranger”, young people who “were never more than five minutes from the nearest adult”, and the deep sense of roots. It is these influences that he connects to the realities of the world that his readers find themselves. He has written over 40 novels, and has received numerous awards and honors for his work including the Edgar Allan Poe Award, a two-time National Book Award Finalist, the ALAN Award, a Scott O’Dell Award, a Newbery Honor and the Newbery Medal among others. In addition, he has received the Medallion for the University of Southern Mississippi, the Margaret A. Edwards Award and a National Humanities Medal (the first children’s author to be so honored) for his body of work. He now lives in New York City. In addition to writing, he spends a great deal of time traveling around the country attending speaking engagements at conferences, schools and libraries.
LeUyen Pham has illustrated over 50 books that include board books, picture books, chapter books, and graphic novels. Her work has been recognized with numerous honors including the Society of Illustrators Los Angeles Bronze Medal in Children’s book category, and Best Books of the Year lists in publications such as Kirkus Reviews, Horn Book Magazine, Comic Book Resources among others. She is also a New York Times Bestseller with both GRACE FOR PRESIDENT written by Kelly DiPucchio, and FRECKLEFACE STRAWBERRY AND THE DODGEBALL BULLY written by Julianne Moore, both of which made appearances on the Children’s Picture Book list. Born in Vietnam, LeUyen came to the United States at the end of the Vietnam War when she was only two. She studied illustration at The Art Center College of Design, and for a short period of time worked at DreamWorks Animation as a layout artist, before turning to illustration full time. She lives with her husband (who is also an artist) and two sons in San Francisco.
Laura Rankin’s first book, THE HANDMADE ALPHABET, was named a Boston Globe-Horn Book honor for illustration. Since then she has gone on to write and/or illustrate over a dozen other books, including FLUFFY AND BARON, a book that was inspired by her childhood in East Aurora, NY and which has been strongly supported by Scholastic Book Fairs and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. A number of Laura’s books including RUTHIE AND THE (NOT SO) TEENY TINY LIE, A BALLOON FOR ISABEL written by Deborah Underwood, and HOW TO DRIVE YOUR SISTER CRAZY by Diane Z. Shore have been honored with various state awards such as Maine’s Lupine Award, the Arkansas Diamond Honor Award, and the Garden State Children’s Book Award. Laura graduated from the University of New Hampshire where she majored in drama. She has always created books, though. In fact, she still has a collection of stories from her “early period” (ages 5-11) that her mother saved for her. Laura lives in Easton, Maryland.
Former librarian and children’s book reviewer Augusta Scattergood has devoted her life and career to getting books into the hands of young readers. Her reviews and articles have appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, Delta Magazine, the SCBWI Bulletin and other publications. Her debut novel GLORY BE (Scholastic Press, January 2012) draws on some of her own remembrances of growing up in Mississippi. Augusta is also an avid blogger. Augusta’s next novel, THE WAY TO STAY IN DESTINY, also acquired by Scholastic, will publish in 2014. She and her husband split their time between Madison, New Jersey and St. Petersburg, Florida.
Ian Schoenherr grew up in rural New Jersey and attended art school at The Cooper Union in New York City. After he graduated, an editor who had been his creative writing teacher in high school asked him to illustrate a book jacket, and then to illustrate his first picture book, NEWF written by Marie Killilea. Since then, he has illustrated several books written by other authors, including LITTLE RACCOON’S BIG QUESTION. His most recent books, which he both wrote and illustrated, are CAT AND MOUSE which was included in the New York Public Library’s 2008 list of 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, READ IT, DON’T EAT IT which received an SLJ Starred review and was included in the New York Public Library’s 2009 list of 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, and DON’T SPILL THE BEANS which also received an SLJ Starred review. His second-grade teacher wrote on his report card, “He works neatly and conscientiously – a real plodder”, and while he claims he’s not very neat now, the rest of the description still fits. He shares an old house in Woodside, New York, with his partner, Kathy, and their cats, Buzz and Pistachio, who keep the mice away.
Fran Cannon Slayton is the author of the middle grade novel, WHEN THE WHISTLE BLOWS (Penguin/Philomel, 2009). Described by Kirkus as “an unassuming masterpiece,” When the Whistle Blows was a finalist for state book awards in Virginia, Alabama, Maryland and Indiana, and was chosen to represent Virginia and West Virginia at the 2010 National Book Festival. Fran holds both a B.A. in psychology and religious studies and a J.D. from the University of Virginia. A former child sexual abuse prosecutor and legal publisher, she is a frequent presenter at writers and teachers conferences, schools and universities. The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities recently awarded Fran a Residential Fellowship giving her visiting faculty status at the University of Virginia. Besides writing, some of the things that give her great joy are family, friends, community, red velvet cake and rich, wondrous silence.
Pamela Curtis Swallow’s first book was published in 1986. She’s been writing ever since, and for a wide reading audience—elementary, middle grade, and young adult. Her fiction and non-fiction books include: GROUNDHOG GETS A SAY (Putnam/Scholastic); IT ONLY LOOKS EASY (Roaring Brook Press/Scholastic); the Melvil and Dewey Series (Libraries Unlimited), which includes an activity guide entitled MELVIL AND DEWEY TEACH LITERACY: A WRITER’S NOTEBOOK (Scholastic), a guide for aspiring young writers; WADING THROUGH PEANUT BUTTER (Scholastic); NO PROMISES (Putnam/Scholastic); and LEAVE IT TO CHRISTY (Putnam/Scholastic). Pam recently completed a biography of her relative, Ellen Swallow Richards, founder of Ecology. Currently she’s revising TANGLED LINES, her fifth middle grade novel. In addition to writing, Pam has spent many years as a teacher and school librarian.
Larissa Theule has a background in theatre, a Masters in Education, and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she was a recipient of the In a Nutshell Short Story Award. She writes pictures books, short stories, and middle-grade fiction, and having grown up on three different continents has a special fondness for fish out of water stories. Her first book, FAT AND BONES, was sold to Carolrhoda Lab in 2012. She now lives with her family in Shanghai, China, where she enjoys walking the city, learning Mandarin, and sitting down with a well-timed cup of coffee.
Sarah L. Thomson has published more than twenty-five books for young readers. A versatile writer, she has created fiction and nonfiction, poetry and prose, fantasy and realism, for age levels from kindergarten through high school. Her books include an adventure about two friends who rescue a dragon’s egg, a picture book biography of Abraham Lincoln, and a novel about a real-life vampire, along with poetry for picture book readers and nonfiction I-Can-Read titles about tigers, whales, sharks, gorillas, and snakes. DRAGON’S EGG was the winner of the Maine Lupine Award, and her most recent YA novel, MERCY, was selected as one of Barnes and Noble’s top ten YA books of 2011. Before writing full time, Sarah worked for nine years as a children’s book editor for HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. She now lives in Portland, Maine, with her daughter and her two cats. Her daughter helps with inspiration, and her cats help by lying on the piece of paper she needs most.
Jackie Urbanovic’s first book that she wrote, as well as, illustrated, DUCK AT THE DOOR, was published in January 2007 and immediately appeared on the New York Times Bestseller list. The sequel, DUCK SOUP, also appeared on the New York Times Bestseller list and was an independent bookseller’s BookSense Top 10 pick. The third Duck book, DUCK AND COVER, was published in January 2009, shortly before DUCK AT THE DOOR was featured in the Kohls Cares for Kids campaign in May 2009. The fourth book in the series, SITTING DUCK was published in Winter 2010 and the first I Can Read book, DUCKS IN A ROW, featuring Max and his friends, was published in Winter 2011. Her most recent book, NO SLEEP FOR THE SHEEP, written by Karen Beaumont, received an SLJ Starred review. Jackie lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her own menagerie of animals.
Kristi Valiant got in trouble in the 4th grade for drawing too much, a vice that surely helped her graduate magna cum laude from Columbus College of Art and Design in Illustration. She now illustrates for such publishers as Random House, McGraw-Hill, Albert Whitman & Co, and Accord Publishing, among others. Some of the recent books she has illustrated are THE GOODBYE CANCER GARDEN by Janna Matthies (Albert Whitman) and Cecilia Galante’s early chapter book series “Little Wings” (Random House). In 2013, Kristi will make her debut as author and illustrator, with the publication of PENGUIN CHA-CHA (Random House). Kristi lives in Indiana with her husband, daughters, and a room full of hippos and monkeys.
Jean Van Leeuwen is the author of more than fifty children’s books, ranging from pre-school picture books to middle-grade novels. Her Easy-to-Read Oliver and Amanda Pig series has won numerous awards, including a Theodor Geisel Honor Book for AMANDA PIG AND THE REALLY HOT DAY. The New York Times praised the series as “stories as timeless as the truths of childhood.” Jean also has a strong interest in American history, and has published both historical picture books and historical fiction for older readers. Her novel, CABIN ON TROUBLE CREEK, was nominated for eight state awards. One of her greatest pleasures has been working on a picture book, CHICKEN SOUP, with her illustrator-son, David Gavril. Publishers Weekly called it “a marvel of suspense and silliness.” An early book of hers, THE GREAT CHEESE CONSPIRACY, the tale of a gang of New York City mice who plot a cheese heist, has just been reissued as a “Marshall Cavendish Classic.” And a new picture book, FIVE FUNNY BUNNIES, will come out in the spring of 2012. Jean grew up in Rutherford, New Jersey, and was a children’s book editor in New York for many years. The mother of two grown children, she lives with her husband in Chappaqua, New York.
Steven Weinberg began putting drawings next to words in his first grade journals. Although he has moved on to different mediums (using a lot less scrawling crayons), and his spelling has greatly improved, his love of telling stories with pictures is just as strong. His first book, TO TIMBUKTU: NINE COUNTRIES, TWO PEOPLE, ONE TRUE STORY, an illustrated travelogue written by his girlfriend, Casey Scieszka, was published in 2011 by Roaring Brook Press. It is the story of Steven and Casey’s first two years out of college when they travelled, worked, and lived from Beijing to Timbuktu. The book received a Publisher’s Weekly starred review, and Booklist called it a road map for teens itching to get out into the world. Steven is focusing on writing and illustrating picture books as he rekindles those first grade memories. His first picture book, REX FINDS AN EGG! EGG! EGG!, has just been sold and will be published by Margaret K. McElderry Books. He also works on a variety of advertising, illustration, and mural projects from his studio and home in Brooklyn, NY.
Growing up in Oklahoma, Terry Widener would walk to the movies almost everyday during the summer, sometimes seeing the same movie three or four times. Then he’d go home and draw the images he’d seen. In grade school, when required to do a book report, he would include an illustration. And he didn’t realize that what his art teacher, Mrs. Homer was teaching him about drawing and painting, would one day become his life’s work. Making pictures for books. In high school and college he divided his time between art classes and playing on the school’s golf teams. After earning a BFA in graphic design at the University of Tulsa, he had the choice of becoming an art director at an ad agency or an assistant golf pro at a golf course. He choose art because it paid fifty-dollars a month more. After moving to Texas in 1981, Terry began his illustration career. For the next fifteen years he worked with editorial, advertising and corporate clients. Then in 1996 he was asked to illustrate a picture book. That first picture book, LOU GEHRIG: THE LUCKIEST MAN written by David A. Adler and published by Harcourt, received a number of awards including a Boston Globe – Horn Book Honor Book. Since then he has illustrated over 30 books which have been recognized by many state reading lists, ABA, SCBWI, ALA, and a number of best book lists. Terry’s newest book, YOU NEVER HEARD OF WILLIE MAYS?! written by Jonah Winter, published by Schwartz & Wade was released in January of 2013. A November 2013 release is scheduled for THE KITE THAT BRIDGED TWO NATIONS, written by Alexis O’Neill, to be published by Calkins Creek.
Mo Willems, a 6 time Emmy Award winning writer, received a 2004 Caldecott Honor Award for his first picture book, DON’T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS! Since then, he has received two additional Caldecott Honor Awards, for KNUFFLE BUNNY: A CAUTIONARY TALE and for KNUFFLE BUNNY, TOO: A CASE OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY. The NY Times named Willems “the biggest new talent to emerge thus far in the 00′s” in the world of children’s books. In 2007, the first two titles in his Elephant and Piggie early reader series were published, which were awarded the Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal in 2008 and 2009 and a Geisel Honor in 2011. The last book in the Knuffle Bunny trilogy, KNUFFLE BUNNY FREE: AN UNEXPECTANT DIVERSION, was published in Fall 2010 and has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for over 17 weeks. In addition to his books, he wrote the script and lyrics for the musical adaptation of KNUFFLE BUNNY: A CAUTIONARY TALE which was performed at the Kennedy Center in May 2009 and subsequently toured throughout the US. Translation rights to his books have been sold in 18 languages, including French, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, German, Thai, Arabic, Italian, Dutch, and Farsi. His work has also been sold in the British market, and been adapted for short films. In addition, his characters have been licensed for a wide range of products including games, window clings, ring tones, t-shirts, pajamas, game apps, tote bags, and plush dolls. Mo lives with his wife and daughter in Massachusetts.
Natasha Wing is best known as the author of the “Night Before” series published by Grosset & Dunlap. Beginning with THE NIGHT BEFORE EASTER in1999, there are now close to 20 titles in the series. THE NIGHT BEFORE KINDERGARTEN (which has also been adapted into a sticker book) and THE NIGHT BEFORE FIRST GRADE make perennial appearances on the NY Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestseller lists. Natasha is also the author of other picture books such as JALAPEÑO BAGELS, GO TO BED, MONSTER!, HOW TO RAISE A DINOSAUR, and AN EYE FOR COLOR: THE STORY OF JOSEF ALBERS, which was named a 2010 ALA Notable. Natasha enjoys writing for older audiences, as well. Her first chapter book PEARL VS. THE TOOTH FAIRY was published by Scholastic Book Club in 2009. She lives in Colorado with her husband, Dan, and calico cat, Jemima.
Becky Wojahn has loved books all her life. As a kid, her dad used to tease her that she would grow up to be librarian because her nose was always stuck in a book! And, that’s exactly what she did. In addition to being an elementary school librarian, Becky also loves to tell stories, too, especially the kind that boys like to read (she has never owned anything pink on purpose and likes to use parentheses in her writing). She has written a number of nonfiction books including the Follow that Food Chain series (Lerner Books) that she authored with her husband, Donald. Her first work of fiction, a middle grade novel called MALCOLM AT MIDNIGHT with illustrations by Brian Lies, was published by Houghton Mifflin in September 2012. Audio rights sold to Recorded Books. Becky grew up in Wisconsin, where she still lives with her husband, two sons and a large black dog.
Amy Young is one educated woman! She went to the Cleveland Institute of Art, Yale University (BA), Indiana University (MFA in painting), and Harvard Law (JD). After practicing law for seven years, Amy “retired” to follow her true passion – being a full time illustrator. As an illustrator, she has worked for a number of corporate clients including The New York Times, Child magazine, The Chicago Tribune and The Boston Globe Magazine. But what she really wanted to do was to write and illustrate books for children. In 2002, she did just that with BELINDA THE BALLERINA (Viking) and she has never looked back. Keep an eye out for Amy’s next book DON’T EAT THE BABY, a deliciously fresh take on the new sibling story (due out from Viking Children’s Books in 2013). When Amy isn’t painting, she plays Irish fiddle in a local session, swims, naps, and eats chocolate. Amy lives in Michigan with her talented husband, Paul, her cat Xena, Warrior Princess (the feline formerly known as Lady Gaga), and her oh-so-elegant dog, Sophie Rose.