Paul Acampora writes novels and short stories for young readers. Kids, parents, and critics praise Paul’s work for its laugh-out-loud humor, rollicking dialogue, and heartfelt characters. With a variety of starred reviews and state library award nominations, including the Texas Blue Bonnet Award Master List, Paul’s books are top picks with booksellers, classroom teachers, librarians, and readers of all ages. Paul and his family live in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Rachael Allen is a scientist by day and writer by night. She is the winner of the 2019 Georgia Young Adult Author of the Year award, and her books include 17 First Kisses, The Revenge Playbook, The Summer of Impossibilities, and A Taxonomy of Love, which was a Junior Library Guild selection and a 2018 Book All Young Georgians Should Read. Her next novel, Harley Quinn: Reckoning, will be out in 2022. Rachael lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, two children, and two dire wolves.
Kirsten Amann is the co-author of Drinking Like Ladies: 75 Modern Cocktails From The World's Leading Bartenders. She is the Boston-based brand ambassador for Intrepid Spirits’ Egan’s Irish Whiskey and Mad March Hare Poitin and the local brand ambassador for Perfect Puree of Napa Valley. Kitty partners with Jonathan Pogash of The Cocktail Guru as his Marketing and Business Development Guru, representing brands and presenting cocktail events nationwide. Kitty spent four years as Boston’s first Brand Ambassador for Fernet‑Branca and her past clients include Plymouth, Beefeater, Bols Genever, The Bitter Truth, No. 3 Gin, and more. Kitty works with clients to champion their brands, develop dynamic events, create delicious cocktails, and find a little healthy balance while doing it. She is a founding member of the Boston chapter of LUPEC and the U.S. Bartenders Guild. She writes a monthly cocktail column for the MA Beverage Business under the byline “Pink Lady,” and her cocktail writing has appeared in Daily Candy, The Weekly Dig, and Chilled Magazine, among others.
Denis Angelov is an author/illustrator whose first book, The Big Scream, will be published in 2022. He has experience working as a greeting card illustrator and graphic designer at an ad agency. During an internship with a comic book publisher he developed his style and character designs, while creating his own graphic novel project. He currently lives in Sofia, Bulgaria, with his best friend, where he enjoys drinking coffee and watching birds flock to the cherry tree outside his kitchen window.
A former champion swimmer, Elizabeth Baddeley is an award-winning illustrator of such notable titles as I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark; A Woman in the House (and Senate): How Women Came to the United States Congress, Broke Down Barriers, and Changed the Country; Women Who Broke the Rules: Mary Todd Lincoln; and The Good Fight: The Feuds of the Founding Fathers (and How They Shaped the Nation) among others. In addition to her books, she has also created work for Highlights, Cricket, The New York Times, Hallmark, Tiny Prints, Storybird, The Stranger, Improper Bostonian, St. Louis Children's Hospital, Sarah Lawrence College, Notre Dame Magazine, and Deloitte. Elizabeth resides in Kansas City, Missouri, with her family and a small menagerie—one of whom, her dog Franklin, was recently named "Most Improved" in his obedience class.
Jessixa Bagley is an author and illustrator who has been making her own picture books since she was 8 years old. She has a BFA in painting and printmaking and has worked as fine artist, comics creator and illustrator since 2002. Her comics have been in numerous publications ranging from The Chicago Reader and The Seattle Weekly to Nickelodeon Magazine. She has also been featured in New American Paintings for her fine art drawings. Jessixa was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start. Her debut picture book Boats for Papa (Roaring Brook Press) was a Junior Library Guild selection, an ALA Notable Book and garnered four starred reviews. She collaborated with her husband, Aaron Bagley on their picture book, Vincent Comes Home, and they are currently working on a graphic novel collaboration. She lives in Seattle, Washington, with her family in a castle in the sky surrounded by books, fake food, and miniature toys.
Aaron Bagley is an author, illustrator and comics artist. His work has been featured in many publications including The Virginia Quarterly Review, Seattle’s The Stranger, The Seattle Weekly among others. His first children's book, Vincent Comes Home (Roaring Brook Press), was published in 2018 which was a collaboration with his wife, Jessixa Bagley. They are currently working on an graphic novel together.
Aside from making art, here are a few of Aaron’s interests (including but not limited to): cats, Nintendo Entertainment System (especially Zelda), houseplants, literature, oversize and miniature versions of anything. He lives in Seattle with his wife and son.
Emily Ansara Baines is the author of The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook and The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook. Her work has appeared in Huffington Post, Narrative, Jezebel, The Independent, Read It Forward, and Peaceful Dumpling. She lives in Los Angeles with family. Her favorite word is murmur.
Josh Berk is the author of The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin; Guy Langman: Crime Scene Procrastinator; the two novels that make up the Lenny and The Mikes mysteries: Strike Three, You're Dead and Say It Ain't So; and the co-author with Saundra Mitchell of the terrifyingly funny Camp Murderface series. He has been a journalist, a poet, a playwright, and a guitarist (mostly in bands known for things other than fine guitar-playing), and now is a librarian. He lives with his family in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Bonnie Berry LaMon writes middle grade fiction, and is currently collaborating with Kwame Alexander on a historical novel-in-verse. She has a MFA in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She practices entertainment law in Los Angeles, CA where she lives with her husband, three sons and an unruly pup named Rook.
Meagan Black is the youngest of six children. Her writing has appeared in Sterling, Carousel Magazine, and on the Mad Hatters' Review website. Her play Alcohol Poisoning was produced by the Ottawa Youth Infringement Festival. She won the 2012 Lillian I. Found Award for lyric poetry and is currently the editorial assistant for Arc Poetry Magazine.
Brian Broome's debut memoir, Punch Me Up to the Gods, was a New York Times Editor’s Pick and the winner of the 2021 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, Poets and Writers, Medium, and more. Brian was a K. Leroy Irvis Fellow and an instructor in the Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh. He has been a finalist in The Moth storytelling competition and won the grand prize in Carnegie Mellon University's Martin Luther King Writing Awards. He also won a VANN Award from the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation for journalism in 2019. His film Garbage won the Audience Choice Award at the Cortada Short Film Festival and was a semi-finalist in the Portland ShortFest. He is a 2022 Writer-in-Residence at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California.
Andrew Brumbach is the author of the historical middle grade adventure novel, The Eye of Midnight (Delacorte, 2016). He grew up square in the hippie community of Eugene, Oregon, surrounded by artists and musicians and storytellers. He studied art in Texas, traded options in Chicago, and spent a few years lost in the neon neighborhoods of Tokyo. Somewhere along the way, he married the girl of his dreams and had four practically perfect kids, but he never overcame his weakness for the power and transport of story. Now he lives in suburban Illinois but secretly daydreams of chasing bandits across the desert with Lawrence of Arabia and Gertrude Bell under cloudless, starry skies.
Alena Bruzas grew up in Seattle, spent some time in Olympia, and somehow ended up in Lincoln, Nebraska. She writes books for teens and adults of all sorts, and hopes her writing finds the people who need it most. When she’s not writing she volunteers for progressive nonprofits and sometimes makes dinner for her family, when she’s not too busy worrying about commas and wandering the prairie.
Ellis Alexander Carrington enjoys writing whenever he can and would like to give a quick shout out to the American University MFA program as well as his undergraduate alma mater Towson University. His debut middle grade novel, The Kinda Sorta Normal Life of Joshua Jones, will be published by HarperAlley in 2023.
Jody Casella is an author and a former high school English teacher. Her young adult novel Thin Space received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews and was a finalist on the 2014-15 Florida Teens Read List. She blogs, reviews books, speaks at libraries and schools, and teaches workshops at the Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio. She is the Regional Director of the Ohio Central/South region of SCBWI.
Kari Cobham is an award-winning journalist and poet who works in the non-profit sector to support journalists’ mental health. She has worked in newsrooms in the United States and the Caribbean as both a staff writer and in leadership. A graduate of Yale University’s Thread media storytelling program and a TEDx speaker, Kari has been published in the New York Times, CNN, Vox, Huffington Post, MSNBC, Poynter, Trinidad Guardian, Caribbean Beat and SHE magazines, among others.
Nicole D. Collier, Ph.D. is the author of the debut middle grade novel, Just Right Jillian (Clarion/Versify2022). An advocate of self-expression, Nicole’s stories illuminate the challenges and rewards that come when learning to be true to yourself. She is a Georgia native and renaissance soul, and has been known to run, dance, and turn cartwheels on sunny days.
Hadley Douglas is a wine expert and the owner of the Urban Grape, a popular wine store in Boston. She is the author of Drink Progressively: From White To Red, Light To Full-Bodied, A Bold New Way To Pair Wine With Food. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, T.J. Douglas, and their two sons.
T.J. Douglas is a wine expert and the owner of the Urban Grape, a popular Boston wine store. He has been profiled by the New York Times, Food & Wine, Imbibe, Real Simple, Health, MarketWatch, Eater National, Boston Magazine, Boston Common, and the Boston Globe, among others. TJ has been featured on shows such as Basic Black (WGBH), The Hub Today (NBC), Dining Playbook (NESN), New England Living (CBS), and Chronicle (WCVB), and is a frequent guest wine educator at corporate meetings and retreats.He lives with his wife, Hadley, and their two sons in Boston, Massachusetts.
Jen Swann Downey is the author of The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand and The Ninja LIbrarians: Sword in the Stacks (Sourcebooks, 2014 & 2016). Jen is haunted by that post-apocalyptic Twilight Zone episode in which a book-lover finally has the time to read all the books he wants, but then steps on his eyeglasses. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with her husband and three children.
Rachel Elliott is an author-illustrator of comics and books for young people, whose debut, The Real Riley Mays, is forthcoming in 2022. She teaches writing and comics classes at the University of Kentucky’s Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies. In 2016, the Kentucky Foundation for Women awarded Rachel with a grant for a graphic novel project. Rachel grew up queer during the 1980s in rural Oklahoma. Besides drawing, writing, and teaching, she’s also worked as a plaster-caster, assistant zookeeper, crumpet baker, and Americorps Vista service-member at a children’s museum. She’s a big fan of baseball, tacos, cats, and female comedians. She now lives in Kentucky with her dashing partner Carol.
Kirbi Fagan is a writer and illustrator for readers of all ages but specializes in children's literature. She is recognized for her cover art in adult, YA, and middle grade fiction as well as her numerous covers for comic books. Kirbi was traditionally trained as an oil painter but now works in mixed media techniques including digital tools. Her work is known for their magical themes, nostalgic moods and feminine heroines.
Amy Farrier is an illustrator, writer and lifelong fan of picture books. She has a BA in English from Rice University and works in watercolor and pen and ink, embracing all the beautiful surprises that brings. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her young daughter, overgrown garden and spicy cat.
Colleen Frakes grew up on a prison island (really!) then moved to the mainland to attend the Center for Cartoon Studies. She was awarded a 2007 Xeric Grant for her first graphic novel, Tragic Relief, and in 2009 won an Ignatz Award for her second book, Woman King. She has created comics for Zest Books, Mirage Studios (Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Dark Horse, and many others. She currently lives in Seattle with her spouse, daughter, and cat.
Nina Mukerjee Furstenau is a journalist, author, and editor of the Foodstory book series for the University of Iowa Press. She was a Fulbright Global research scholar (2018-19), is on the board of Media for Change, and has won the MFK Fisher Book Award, a Kansas Notable Book Award, and more. She is the author of Green Chili and Other Imposters (University of Iowa Press, 2021) and Biting Through The Skin: An Indian Kitchen in the American Heartland. Her work has appeared in Tasty! Mozambique, Savor Missouri, River Hills Country Food and Wine, and elsewhere. She lives in Missouri.
Cynthia Gabriel is a doula, a childbirth educator, a medical anthropologist with a Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and a mother of three. She attends births and leads women’s and parents’ support groups in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area, where she lives with her family. She is the author of the best-selling book Natural Hospital Birth and The Fourth Trimester Companion.
Arun Gandhi is the fifth grandson of Mohandas K. Gandhi, also known as Mahatma Gandhi. A journalist for more than thirty years for the India Times, Arun now writes a blog for theWashington Post. Arun serves as President of the Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute and travels the world speaking to governmental leaders, as well as to university and high school students alike, about the practices of peace and nonviolence. Arun is the author of several books, including the critically acclaimed Grandfather Gandhi picture books, co-authored with Bethany Hegedus, illustrated by Evan Turk (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster). He lives in Rochester, New York.
Joy Givens is a pun-slinging, hymn-singing storyteller and the lucky mother of four small superheroes. Raised in a big Midwestern family, Joy now lives in the blossoming literary community of Pittsburgh. She has written several award-winning short stories and writes middle grade and YA fiction to celebrate the fresh, fierce, fantastic side of life.
Kate Goodwin writes slightly weird stories about slightly weird teenagers. She’s fascinated by the tangle of thoughts and feelings we all experience and loves stories with a strong psychological bent. A former high school teacher, she earned her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and now lives and writes in Atlanta.
Maurissa Guibord is the author of Warped and Revel. Before writing for teens, Maurissa worked slinging pizzas, alphabetizing things, and practicing medicine. Now she writes fiction with a dash of the mysterious, the romantic, and a touch of humor. Her short mystery fiction has been nominated for the Agatha Award. She lives on the coast of Maine with her mysterious cat, romantic husband, and three kids who make her laugh.
Yona Harvey is the author of the poetry collections You Don't Have To Go To Mars for Love (Four Way Books, 2020), and Hemming the Water (Four Way Books), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. She contributed to Marvel's World of Wakanda and co-authored with Ta-Nehisi Coates Black Panther and Crew. She has worked with teenagers writing about mental health issues in collaboration with Creative Nonfiction magazine.
Beth Hautala is the author of The Ostrich and Other Lost Things (Philomel 2018), which won the 2019 Christopher Award, and Waiting For Unicorns (Philomel, 2015). Her middle grade novel, Miracle Season, will be published by Viking in 2022. She lives with her husband and four children in northern Minnesota, where she strives to write stories that tie heart and imagination together.
Danette Haworth is the author of Violet Raines Almost Got Struck By Lightning, The Summer of Moonlight Secrets, Me & Jack, and A Whole Lot of Lucky. She created her first book when she was six, featuring hair-raising pictures of the battle between a green stickboy and a red stickman. She lives in Florida.
Bethany Hegedus’ children’s picture books include the award-winning Grandfather Gandhi and Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story, both co-written with Arun Gandhi (grandson of Mahatma Gandhi), as well Alabama Spitfire: The Story of Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird, Rise!: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People: Dr. Maya Angelou, Hard Work But It’s Worth It: The Life of Jimmy Carter and this August Huddle Up! Cuddle Up!–an ode to family, football and bedtime. Her books have been included in numerous “best of” lists such as A Mighty Girl’s Best Books of 2018 and Kirkus’ Best Books of the Year. A former educator, Bethany is an in-demand keynote speaker, workshop leader, and mentor who speaks and teaches across the country about writing, creativity, resilience, and privilege. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from VCFA, is the Founder and Creative Director of The Writing Barn, a writing retreat and workshop space in Austin, Texas and is host of the popular Courage to Create podcast and online writing community.
Reed Hinckley-Barnes is a comics author currently working on his first middle grade graphic novel. By day he letters comics and works in a local middle school. The rest of the time, Reed can be found reading, writing, and playing board games with his partner in their San Francisco apartment.
Abeer Hoque is a Nigerian-born Bangladeshi American writer and photographer. She is the author of a book of travel photographs and poems, The Long Way Home, a linked story collection, The Lovers and the Leavers, and a memoir, Olive Witch. She has BS and MA degrees from Wharton, and an MFA from the University of San Francisco. Learn more about her at olivewitch.com.
Julie Israel is an author, artist, and real-life unicorn (for getting a degree in Creative Writing and actually using it). Between graduating and selling her first book, she taught English in Japan, tutored, wrote freelance copy, and worked as a volunteer. When not writing, she is probably teaching herself about something new: photography, French, guitar, or how to memorize a whole deck of cards. She believes life, like a good story, should be threaded through with fascinations. Her first novel, Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index, was published in 2017 by Kathy Dawson Books/Penguin Books for Young Readers.
Antony John was raised in England on a balanced diet of fish and chips, obscure British comedies, and ABBA’s Greatest Hits. In a fit of teenage rebellion, he decided to pursue a career in classical music, culminating in a Ph.D. in composition and a stint as a college professor. Music plays a major role in his novels, including Busted, Thou Shalt Not Road Trip, and the winner of the ALA's 2011 Schneider Family Book Award for Teens, Five Flavors of Dumb, which is currently in development to be a film. He is also the author of the Elemental trilogy, and the acclaimed standalone novels Imposter, The Other, Better Me and Mascot. He lives in St. Louis with his family.
Misty Kalkofen is the author, with Kristin Amman, of Drinking Like Ladies. She has been featured in Bon Appetit, Imbibe, Food & Wine Cocktail editions, Wine Enthusiast, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Tasting Panel, Wine & Spirits, and more. Kalkofen was nominated for American Bartender of the Year at Tales of the Cocktail 2011 and International Bartender of the Year at Tales of the Cocktail 2012. She is a graduate of the rigorous BAR program and continues to minister to cocktail communities nationwide through active involvement in the BARSmarts regional programming. Kalkofen has spent years honing her craft and her palate and has earned a reputation as one of Boston’s foremost authorities on cocktail history and culture. Cultivating a spirit of camaraderie among cocktail lovers (while showing everyone a really good time in the process) is Misty’s mission across the many communities she touches.
Daphne Kalmar is the author of the acclaimed novels A Stitch in Time and Stealing Mt. Rushmore. She has taught in elementary and middle schools in Massachusetts, California, and Vermont. She stocked those classrooms with seventy-five pairs of rubber boots in order to fit any configuration of children's feet, and wearing her own boots, led many a field trip to nearby parks and creeks to explore. Daphne holds an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She plots out her stories on long walks through the Vermont woods while her dog, Yoyo, chases squirrels and rabbits and occasionally meets a porcupine.
Suzanne Kaufman is the #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator of All Are Welcome, as well as its companion book, Big Feelings. She is the recipient of The Ezra Jack Keats/Kerlan Memorial Fellowship, Society of Children’s Book Writers Illustrators Mentorship and Portfolio Honors and Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Her books have been awarded Bank Street College Education Best Children’s Books of the Year Honors, Notable Books for a Global Society, CCBC Choice Award, Washington State Best Picture Book Award, Mathical Honor Award, and Amazon Best Children Book of the Year.
Her books include her own books Confiscated!, and the forthcoming A Friend for Ghost, in addition to stories she's illustrated for others: Take Your Pets to School Day, 100 Bugs, Naughty Claudine's Christmas, and Samanthasaurus Rex.
Over the years, she’s done everything from animating special effects for Universal and Discovery, to being animation lead on games that were awarded the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences “Innovation in Art Direction”, “Innovation in Animation” and “Children’s Title of the Year”. She has lectured about illustration and animation around the US, England, Japan and Peru.
When not tramping through the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her family, you will find her teaching illustration or working in her studio.
Autumn Krause's debut novel, A Dress for the Wicked, was published by Harper Teen in summer 2019. Autumn is a magazine writer in Orange County, California, who loves fashion, writing, and Instagram. Her favorite book is The Brothers Karamazov, and she is most often found wearing a black lace dress and writing in her favorite local coffee shop.
Andris Lagsdin is the inventor of the Baking Steel. He received his pizza education while working for Chef Todd English, but had given up the restaurant life to work in his family’s steel business until he discovered a way to combine the two. He lives with his family in Boston’s South Shore.
Sarah Lariviere’s debut novel The Bad Kid (Simon& Schuster) was an Edgar Award finalist. Her second novel, Time Travel for Love and Profit, (Knopf) was reviewed as “reminiscent of A Wrinkle in Time” (Kirkus Reviews) and ALA-nominated as one of the best audiobooks of 2021. Her forthcoming YA series is an alternate history inspired by the lust-fueled terror of growing up in central Illinois (Knopf, 2023).
Sarah studied theater at Oberlin College and earned a master’s degree in social work from Hunter College in New York City, where she specialized in casework with children and families. Sarah lives in Los Angeles, where she is inspired by experimenting in her wild gardens, painting, and learning to play the electric guitar with her son.
Stephanie Ledyard is the author of the beloved picture books Pie Is for Sharing and Home Is a Window. She grew up in Wichita Falls, Texas, unsupervised and sunburned, exploring fields with her best friend and writing occasional poems for her grandparents. Stephanie earned her MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Having worked as a language arts teacher, hospice grief-program coordinator, and reluctant organist, she is happy to spend her days writing picture books and poetry, and helping out in a high school library. She lives in Dallas with her husband, daughters, cats, and dog.
Vanessa Lee began her career in children’s literature writing critical theory for a Master’s Degree from Illinois State University. Not long afterwards, she set aside academics to write computer code professionally, something she had previously only done for fun. Three sons and a dare later, she reconnected with her kid lit roots and wrote her first middle grade novel. Except for frequent road trips, Vanessa and her boys live in Austin, Texas.
Adam Lehrhaupt has traveled to six continents, performed on Broadway, and lived on a communal farm. He firmly believes that opening a book is a good thing, even if there are monkeys in it. In his spare time, Adam does a bit of writing. His writing spans multiple styles, from poetry to fiction to nonfiction, and is primarily geared towards children. Adam received the E.B. White Read-Aloud Honor for his debut picture book, Warning: Do Not Open This Book! illustrated by Matthew Forsythe (Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers) and has since published another dozen-plus books. Adam lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with his wife and two sons.
Jody J. Little is the author of the middle grade novels Mostly the Honest Truth and Worse than Weird. When not writing, she is an elementary school teacher in Portland, Oregon, who loves sharing her joy of books with her students and readers. Her heart-centered novels explore the many meanings of family and friendship. She’s not afraid to place difficult situations in her protagonists’ paths and allow them to face those challenges with courage and compassion. She’s also a voracious reader of children’s literature and enjoys sharing her love of books with kids of all ages.
Jonathan Lopes is a renowned artist who works within the medium of LEGO bricks. He focuses on a variety of genres including urban landscapes, conceptual art, and life-sized sculptures and is well known for his realistic and gritty urban scenes. Lopes’ work has been likened to the Ashcan School artistic movement. His debut work, New York City Brick by Brick (Abrams Image, 2019), is an exploration of the architecture and history of New York City through the medium of LEGO® bricks, highlighting iconic structures such as the Flatiron Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, Grand Central Terminal, brownstones, fire houses, and more, unlocking techniques that can help builders of all ages. Jonathan also has an exhibit of his work visiting cities through-out the United States and he gives presentations on his creative process within this unique artistic medium at each venue.
Like Sharon Stone and the zipper, Mike McClelland is originally from Meadville, Pennsylvania. He has lived on five different continents but now resides in Georgia with his husband, two sons, and a menagerie of rescue dogs. He is the author of the short fiction collection Gay Zoo Day and his creative work has appeared in The New York Times, WIRED, Boston Review, Vox, The Baffler, and a number of literary magazines and anthologies. He's a graduate of Allegheny College, The London School of Economics, the MFA program at Georgia College, and the University of Georgia's Creative Writing PhD program.
Laura Ojeda Melchor is a Cuban-American writer who grew up in Montana, where a spruce tree in her front yard was her most frequented reading nook. She now lives in her beloved, adopted home state of Alaska with her son, partner, and puppy. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her debut middle grade novel, Missing Okalee, was published by Shadow Mountain in fall 2021.
Beth Hamer Miles is the winner of the 2014 Katherine Paterson Prize in the YA category, and is a 2015 Hackney Literary Award winner. Her short-stories and novel excerpts can be found in Hunger Mountain—The VCFA Journal of the Arts, The Alalitcom; The Annual Journal of the Alabama Writer’s Conclave, and The Birmingham Arts Journal. Beth lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband and three teenagers, all of whom graciously leave her alone when she’s writing. (Her dogs, however, never graciously leave her alone.)
Christyne Morrell writes middle grade novels and the occasional picture book. She is the author of the fantasy middle grade novel, Kingdom of Secrets (Delacorte 2021) and TREX (Delacorte 2022). When she's not writing children's books, Christyne is a corporate contracts attorney. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, daughter, and hyperactive beagle.
Matt Myklusch is the author of 7 middle grade novels, including The Order of the Majestic and its sequels, as well as the Adventures of Jack Blank, which begins with The Accidental Hero. He lives in New Jersey with his wife, Rebecca, his boys, Jack and Dean, assorted pets, and other forms of magic.
Paul-Anthony Navarro wrote his first stage play at the age of 15 and has since written and produced many works for the professional theater. Paul made his living as an actor for many years in Los Angeles and recently graduated from the Carnegie Mellon University Entertainment Technology program. He lives in Los Angeles.
Sarah Ockler is the bestselling author of Twenty Boy Summer, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, and several other books for young adults. Her work has been translated into multiple languages and has received numerous accolades, including ALA's Best Fiction for Young Adults, Girls' Life Top 100 Must Reads, Indie Next List, and nominations for YALSA Teens' Top Ten and NPR's Top 100 Teen Books.
Sarah is a champion cupcake eater, tea drinker, night person, and bookworm. When she's not writing or reading at home in Colorado, Sarah enjoys hugging trees and road-tripping through the country with her husband, Alex.
Ana Otaru is a Nigerian-American author with a M.A. in Writing from Johns Hopkins University. Her debut picture book, A Masquerade for Grandpa, is set to release in 2023 from Atheneum/S&S. She is an active SCBWI member and the current volunteer Regional Advisor for the SCBWI Ireland chapter. She has lived on three continents, and currently resides in Ireland.
When Jean Patrick was in second grade, she had two dreams: to play major league baseball for the Chicago Cubs and to write books for kids. Although she's still working on the first goal, she has written several books for young people, including The Girl Who Struck Out Babe Ruth and Long-Armed Ludie. A graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program, Jean lives near Mitchell, South Dakota, where she continues to write nonfiction and fiction about protagonists who achieve the impossible.
P. O’Connell Pearson’s love of history began in high school and took her through college and a happy career in teaching. Now with an MFA from Lesley University, history inspires Patty’s award-winning nonfiction for ages ten and up—Fly Girls, Fighting for the Forest, Conspiracy, and We Are Your Children Too, forthcoming from Simon and Schuster. When she is not reading or writing about unsung heroes in history and government, Patty enjoys talking about history as a volunteer on the National Mall in Washington, DC. She lives in the City of Fairfax, Virginia.
Deesha Philyaw’s debut short story collection, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, won the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the 2020/2021 Story Prize, the 2020 LA Times Book Prize Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, and was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies focuses on Black women, sex, and the Black church, and is being adapted for television by HBO Max with Tessa Thompson executive producing. Deesha is also a Kimbilio Fiction Fellow and will be the 2022-2023 John and Renée Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi.
Carrie Pomeroy’s essays and stories have appeared in The Laurel Review, The Silent Film Quarterly, Literary Mama, and CALYX, and in the anthologies The Saint Paul Almanac and Riding Shotgun: Women Write About Their Mothers. She also blogs for Home/School/Life magazine. In 2014, she won a grant from the Jerome Foundation to do research at the Charlie Chaplin Archive in Bologna, Italy, which let her combine her love of poring over old documents with her passion for gelato and pasta. She writes narrative nonfiction for children and young adults and lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with her husband and two children.
Laurel Randolph has been a food writer for ten years and a cook since she was old enough to properly hold a whisk. She is the bestselling author of The Unofficial Simpsons Cookbook, The Instant Pot® Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook: Easy Recipes for Fast & Healthy Meals, The Instant Pot® No-Pressure Cookbook: 100 Low-Street, High Flavor Recipes, and Instant Pot Desserts. She has written for numerous publications including The Spruce Eats, Food 52, Simply Recipes, EatingWell, Paste Magazine, and Serious Eats.
Rinsai Rossetti's debut novel, The Girl with Borrowed Wings (Dial Books for Young Readers 2012), was named one of Kirkus's best books of the year. She was born in Thailand, and has lived in Canada, Italy, and the United Arab Emirates. She currently lives in France, where she is at work on her next novel.
Lupe Ruiz-Flores is the author of six bilingual picture books published by Arte Público Press. Her published anthologies include Thank U: Poems of Gratitude by Millbrook Press, Living Beyond Borders: Growing Up Mexican in America by Philomel Books, Latina Authors and Their Muses by Twilight Times Books, and Péinate: Hair Battles Between Latina Mothers & Their Daughters by La Pluma y La Tinta. Lupe has lived in Bangkok,Thailand, and Okinawa, Japan, where she learned how to pattern draft from a Japanese tailor.
Jeff Sampson started writing professionally at the tender age of eighteen, working on packaged series fiction—notably, the series Remnants by the great Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant. Several years later, at twenty-two, he had his first book published as part of the Dragonlance series of fantasy novels. He wrote four more novels for that sequence before striking off with the Deviants series from HarperCollins: Vesper, Havoc, and Ravage, all from Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins Children's Books. As well, under the pen name Christopher Holt, he is the author of the four novels in The Last Dogs series.
Lindsay Schlegel is a freelance editor with experience at a top literary agency, a major publishing house, and a now-defunct chain bookstore, and the author of Don't Forget to Say Thank You. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and German from Boston College. Lindsay lives in New Jersey with her high school sweetheart and their children. She is currently at work on a novel.
Maryjo Scott is an illustrator, poet and mother of three. She presently lives in the hills of Connecticut with her family, one little brown eyed dog, two geckos, a chinchilla named licorice and a flock of talkative hens. If she’s not in her garden looking for caterpillars and toads, you can find her in her other favorite place, the library.
Bonghyun Shin is an illustrator based in Seattle, where she lives with her husband, two lovely children and a dog. She was born and raised in South Korea and has a Master of Art in architecture and interior design from Hongik University of South Korea. She loves to use various skills that combine bold lines, vibrant colors, and rough textures to create her unique style. These help to enhance and create a greater depth of meaning behind the feel of her pieces. She enjoys making adorable characters and pays particular attention to displaying their emotions. Her focus on facial expressions and illustrious settings will immerse her readers into her world. When she is not drawing, she is walking, cooking, reading, and playing with her dog Bella.
Sarah Shotland is the author of the novel Junkette and the nonfiction work, Abolition is Everything. Her plays have been performed in theaters nationally and internationally. In 2009, she co-founded Words Without Walls, which brought creative writing programming to jails, prisons, and drug treatment centers in Pennsylvania for 13 years. Sarah's work has been funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and her writing about the impact of mass incarceration on women's lives has appeared in The Iowa Review, Creative Nonfiction, Baltimore Review, and elsewhere.
Avery Silverberg is a born and raised Los Angeleno. When she’s not writing, she spends most of her time obsessing over YA strong female protagonists on Bookstagram (you can follow her @a.very.fast.reader). Avery graduated from Chapman University in 2019 with a BFA in Creative Writing and now works as Social Media Manager at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
Aishah Shahidah Simmons (she/her) produces award-winning cultural work in documentary filmmaking, writing, public speaking. She is the editor of the 2020 Lambda Literary Award-winning anthology, love WITH accountability: Digging Up the Roots of Child Sexual Abuse (AK Press). Her lived experiences as a survivor of childhood and adult sexual violence, a Black feminist lesbian, and a long-term Buddhist practitioner inform the creation of her work. Aishah is the producer/director of the 2006 groundbreaking, Ford Foundation-funded film, NO! The Rape Documentary. Presently, she is both a 2020 Soros Media Fellow and training to become a Mindfulness Meditation Teacher. Aishah revels in sharing sacred time with her partner Sheila at home or anywhere an adventure will take them.
Angie Smibert is the author of the middle grade trilogy, Ghosts of Ordinary Objects, which includes Bone's Gift, Lingering Echoes, and The Truce (Boyds Mills Press). She's also written several YA science fiction novels, including Memento Nora, numerous short stories, and over 30 science/technology books for kids. Angie teaches writing for Southern New Hampshire University's MFA program as well as for Indiana University and Virginia Western Community College. Before this, she was a science writer and web developer at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. She lives in Virginia with a goofy dog (named after a telescope) and three bickering cats (named after Tennessee Williams characters), and puts her vast store of useless knowledge to work at the weekly pub quiz.
Linda Joan Smith is a former magazine editor and the author of several garden books. As a kid, her passions were making and eating cherry pie, fly-fishing with her dad, and getting lost in the pages of a book. As a grown up, those same loves abide. Along with writing middle-grade and YA historical fiction, she can also be found cooking and eating Thai food, painting, and savoring adventures with her husband and daughter. She lives and works on California’s Monterey Peninsula.
Ruth Spiro is the author of twenty-plus Baby Loves Science board books (Charlesbridge), as well as the picture books Made by Maxine and Maxine and the Greatest Garden Ever (Dial), which was named a 2022 NSTA-CBC Best STEM Book. Her newest titles, Love Grows (Harper), If You Want to Explain Coding to a Grownup (Charlesbridge), and a third untitled picture book (Dial) are forthcoming in 2022 and 2023. She lives in Chicago with her husband and two daughters.
Sarah Tolcser lives and writes in a 100 year old house in New Orleans. She enjoys video games, NBA basketball, and books about girls who blow stuff up. She is a graduate of St. Lawrence University, where she double majored in writing and philosophy, two things everyone claimed would keep her unemployed forever. She is married with cats.
Shelley Tougas writes books for tweens and teens, including four middle-grade novels: The Graham Cracker Plot; Finders, Keepers; A Patron Saint for Junior Bridesmaids; and Laura Ingalls is Ruining My Life (all from Roaring Brook). Her nonfiction book Little Rock Girl: How a Photo Changed the Fight for Integration received two starred reviews, was selected as one of School Library Journal's Best Books of 2012, Booklist's Top Ten Editor's Choices for Nonfiction Kids Books 2011, VOYA's 2011 Nonfiction Honor list, and won a gold medal in the 2012 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards. She lives and writes in western Wisconsin.
Lisa Tyre grew up in a small town in Tennessee where the only form of entertainment was watching her crazy family, and even crazier neighbors. She figured out early on that not every child had a pet skunk, a dad who ran a bar in the front yard, or a neighbor so large his house had to be torn down to get him out. What else could she do but write? Her debut middle grade novel, Last in a Long Line of Rebels, was published in 2015 from Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Books for Young Readers, and was a BEA Buzz title. Hope in the Holler, her second novel, was published in Spring 2018. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, daughter, and two dogs.
Kat Uno has always had a passion for art, and her early love for comics, cartoons, anime, and children’s books has played a great influence on her illustration style. She currently focuses her creative efforts on illustrating children's books. She is the illustrator of the Mermaid Days series of Beginning Readers, the first of which, The Sunken Ship, will be published by Scholastic Books in 2022. Kat lives in Hawaii with her husband and two children.
Bryan Wade is a playwright, radio dramatist and novelist. He has been a playwright-in-resident at Factory Theatre and the Blyth Festival, along with being an invited artist at the Stratford Festival and the Playwrights Colony at the Banff School of Fine Arts. Living on the left coast, Bryan is on the lookout for fault lines and tsunamis. He also teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of British Columbia.
Rachel Meltzer Warren is the author of The Smart Girl's Guide to Going Vegetarian (Sourcebooks, 2014) and A Teen's Guide to Gut Health (The Experiment, 2017). She is a registered dietitian and nutrition writer, educator, and counselor. Her work has been featured in Women’s Health, Prevention, Good Housekeeping, Whole Living, and many other print and online publications. Rachel lives in the New York City area with her family.
Tiffanie Wen is a columnist at BBC Future and freelance journalist whose work has appeared in the Atlantic, Daily Beast, Guernica and others. When she's not writing, she's traveling the world and looking for her next story. She currently splits her time between California and New Hampshire, where she lives with her husband Roy and their dog Benny.
Jacqueline West is the author of the New York Times-bestselling middle grade series The Books of Elsewhere. Her spooky middle grade novel, Long Lost, was named to the Texas Library Association's Bluebonnet Master List, and she was awarded a Schneider Family Honor for her novel The Collectors. She also published a sequel,The Collectors: A Storm of Wishes, as well as the YA novels Dreamers Often Lie and Last Things. Her poetry is collected in Cherma and Candle and Pins: Poems on Superstitions, and her poetry and short fiction appear in a variety of publications. She lives in Red Wing, Minnesota, with her family.
Lily Williams is the author and illustrator of Go With The Flow and the If Animals Disappeared series. She grew up in Northern California where she received her BFA from California College of the Arts before moving to Colorado. Lily seeks to inspire change, engage audiences, and educate people of all ages with her artwork.
Liz Wong was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she spent her early childhood painting and clambering about in mango trees. Liz is the author and illustrator of Quackers, The Goose Egg, and I Am Not a Penguin, all from Knopf Books for Young Readers, as well as the illustrator of Pirate Queen: A Story of Zheng Yi Sao by Helene Becker. She lives in the Seattle area with her husband and son.
Mecca Woods is a New York City-based astrologer and author who works to help others create a life they truly want using their natural-born gifts. Her writing and astro-guidance have appeared in places like Bustle and Essence, as well as on TLC. She is also the author of Astrology for Happiness and Success, The Astrology Journal, and the Your Cosmic Coloring Book series. When she’s not writing, Mecca is teaching classes on personal development and co-hosting the astrology podcast Stars on Fire. Her most important job is being a mom to her awesome Aries daughter.
Novelist and pinch-hitting part-time librarian superhero, Bridget Zinn's debut Poison was published by Disney/Hyperion in 2012. When not writing young adult masterpieces or working on world domination, she spent her idle hours cooking, traveling, trying on new boots and making short films. She passed away in 2011 at the tragically young age of thirty-three.
Alisa Zipursky is the founder of HealingHonestly.com, a website that supports young people healing from sexual trauma. Her book, Healing Honestly: The Messy and Magnificent Path To Overcoming Self-Blame and Self-Shame, will be published by Berrett-Koehler in 2023. She is a writer, storyteller, and coach who brings transparency and humor to the topics of sexual trauma and mental health, promoting healing in a way that feels accessible and not so damn scary.
Her writing has been published in Allure, Teen Vogue and BUST; and she is often quoted in publications such as TIME, The Guardian, Bustle, Hello Giggles, Brit+Co, and she has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Alisa was also named one of NPR's The MothStorySLAM champions.