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Justin Aclin has written and created comic books for all ages, including two middle grade graphic novels in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars series. He also co-created the sci-fi action comic S.H.O.O.T. First with Nicolas Daniel Selma, and the superhero graphic novel Hero House with Mike Dimayuga. Justin began his career satirizing pop culture mainstays as the head writer of the award-winning comic strip “Twisted ToyFare Theatre,” while he was editor of ToyFare magazine. His work has appeared in the Eisner-winning anthology series Dark Horse Presents, and in the short story collection Apollo’s Daughters.
Justin’s new project is a middle grade fantasy graphic novel, which is currently in development.
A recently retired elementary school principal, Gwen Agna has worked with many families as well as the educators at her school to create a safe and supportive environment for children to express their genders in their own ways—a critical factor in children’s healthy development. As a school teacher, she has firsthand knowledge of the challenges children and families face in seeking acceptance and in navigating a world that others do not yet understand. Gwen Agna’s school has a regional and national reputation for allowing children to express their gender exploration, and is known to be a joyful and accepting place for all.
Gwen Agna is the co-author, along with photographer and author Shelley Rotner, of TRUE YOU: A GENDER JOURNEY, a photo illustrated book for children ages 3-7.
Ben Balistreri is an Emmy and Annie Award winning artist working for over 25 years in the animation and book publishing industries. He has served as the Co-Executive Producer on the multi Emmy Award winning "Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure" for The Disney Channel and has directed, story boarded, and done character design on numerous movies and tv shows including "How to Train Your Dragon" for DreamWorks Animation.
Ben illustrated the "Princess Pulverizer" Young Adult Series for Penguin Publishing in addition to publishing his own graphic novel, "Seaweed and the Cure for Mildew.” Ben’s upcoming middle grade graphic novel is a new and exciting adventure into a world of nautical folklore stories and characters found at “The Lighthouse at the Edge of Reality.”
Art is a creator, author, writer, and a multi-award winning, super-cartoonist machine. Art started doing his unique designs and telling his heartwarming stories at his funky secret art studio in 1994 and has since created self-published comics including the famous Patrick the Wolf Boy along with being a creative force behind The Eisner Award winning Itty Bitty Hellboy and The New York Times Best Selling, Eisner Award, Harvey Award Winning DC Comics' Tiny Titans. Art Baltazar is also the artist for The DC Super-Pets children’s book series from Warner Brothers Books.
Art Baltazar is currently writing and drawing an original children’s graphic novel series, CORA DE FLORA FROM BORA BORA, about a confident and independent island girl who is living for creating her art through fun, love, joy and peace with her crazy family and eclectic group of island creatures and friends.
New York Times best-selling author Adam Beechen created the critically-acclaimed, original graphic novels Hench and Dugout, and wrote for such DC comics as Teen Titans, Robin and Batman Beyond. He is also an Emmy-nominated television writer whose credits include CBS-TV’s MacGyverr reboot, Cartoon Network’s Transformers: Robots In Disguise, LEGO’s LEGO Jurassic World, and Warner Brothers’ Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go!
Adam’s latest project is a new original graphic novel, Black Box, which follows a teenage Hopi girl dealing with personal tragedy, and who finds a strange artifact in the wreckage of a mysteriously un-investigated plane crash. The artifact leads her into incredible danger and exciting adventure, and may hold the key to her heart’s desire.
Tesslyn Bergin is a writer and artist who graduated from the University of Hartford with a Bachelor’s of Illustration. Tesslyn has been independently crowdfunding her comic projects since 2016. Her science fiction series Facing the Sun, which has been running since 2017, has gained widespread attention with millions of views. Tesslyn has gained acclaim from ComicWatch, Webtoon, Tapas and others, and has received sponsorships from Wacom, Celsys, and thousands of individuals on Patreon.
Tesslyn likes to focus on simple concepts expanded in complex ways, with an emphasis on mental health, disability, otherness, and what it means to be human. She is currently working with her wife, Franc, to make “Untitled Monster Project,” an LGBT graphic novel about a silly little party girl that gets bitten by a vampire while on a bender, in a city populated by monsters from all over the world.
Don Bolognese and his wife, the late Elaine Raphael, illustrated more than 250 children’s books for Simon & Schuster, Viking Press, HarperCollins, Scholastic, Macmillan, Farrar and Straus, J.B. Lippincott, Delacorte Press, Grosset & Dunlap, and more. Don collaborated with Jean Craighead George on an environmental book, All Upon a Stone, which was selected by the New York Herald Tribune as its “Picture Book of the Year, 1973.”
His latest project is a picture book called Starlight, featuring a wild horse who is leading and protecting his herd at a time when settlers are moving West and threatening the ecological balance of the community.
Megan Brain grew up in Los Angeles California and specializes in 3-dimensional paper sculpture designs. Her career in the arts began in 2004 at Cartoon Network Studios when she art directed an animated paper sculpture music video for Andre Benjamin’s "Class of 3000". Since that time, Megan has created paper sculpture pieces and consulted for Walt Disney Imagineering, various Disney Theme Parks, Nickelodeon, United Airlines, and Dreamworks Animation.
Currently Megan is working on her new picture book idea which is about the digestive tract and nutrition for kids. Megan intends to give kids a new take on what happens when they eat their favorite treat. She has many new book ideas in store for picture book stories and more paper design sculptures.
Belinda Brock had a multi-lingual upbringing, which inspired her love of stories, words, language, and languages. She’s followed her passions to be a teacher, editor, actor, writing coach, essayist, and author. Her P.B. bio UNIQUELY EUNICE: THE STORY OF EUNICE KENNEDY SHRIVER AND SPECIAL OLYMPICS is slated for a 2022 release. When writing for children, Belinda strives to craft nonfiction that calls readers to action and inspires them to think about how they want to live their lives.
Belinda’s current project WE TELL THE STORY profiles, in verse, 13 pioneering women journalists and activists who pursued a world rooted in truth and justice.
Judith Bruder’s first novel, Going to Jerusalem, was a funny, quirky account of a modern-day Jewish pilgrimage to the land of Israel. Then the unthinkable happened, as she found herself unexpectedly and irrevocably embarking on a spiritual journey that eventually led her to become a Roman Catholic. Judith told that story in her second book, Convergence.
Her latest manuscript, Begin Again, is an inspirational autobiography: part memoir, part spiritual journey, always a love story. It is well-suited for these uncertain times, as we all reflect on our lives, our beliefs, and our choices.
Greg Burnham is an experienced Children’s Book/Comic Book writer who began his professional career back in 2013, when he released his first children’s book, “Broken Glass” and followed that up with another book called “Grandpa’s Shoes.” Greg to co-create and write his recent hit comic book series “Tuskegee Heirs”. Greg’s education, coaching and mentoring background drives him to produce stories that depict marginalized people in a more positive light because don’t we all want to see ourselves as the cool hero?
Next up is his new middle grade adventure graphic novel,The Search For Sadiqah, which is a historical action adventure that follows 13 year old Sadiqah, as she heads west for a quest to find a lost, ancient land.
For over 15 years, Shauna worked as a creative director, designer, and illustrator on a wide variety of award-winning art and writing teams. Recently, she returned to her first love, teaching. Shauna’s art reflects the hours she spends outdoors, with students or her children, immersed in weird and wild places. She writes and illustrates books that are emotional, clever, and funny. Shauna lives in Maplewood, NJ with her husband and their two mostly feral, often bare-chested boys.
Addie and the Amazing Acrobats, Shauna’s debut, whimsically spotlights a delightful and ‘human’ little bat. It’s a tale of adventure, redemption, and love.
Michael Calero is a writer, illustrator, editor and publisher who has contributed artwork for numerous publishers including Dark Horse Comics, Aspen Comics, and Behemoth Entertainment. Michael’s career has taken many paths, from designing packaging art for a Japanese toy line to creating backstage installation art for Daft Punk’s Alive 2007 US tour, but ultimately all roads lead back to his love of comic books. Michael is currently illustrating the companion comic series to the Alpha Betas animated YouTube series which debuted in 2020, amassing nearly 7-million views.
Michael is currently writing a new fantasy adventure series, Quested, illustrated with stunning visuals from UK artist Kit Wallis (Goodboy, Source Point Press).
Melanie Cataldo is an author-illustrator and arts educator. She’s illustrated picture books for Candlewick Press, Flyaway Books, and Learning A-Z, among others, and has also worked as a designer of textiles, packaging, and educational materials. She lives in central Massachusetts.
She’s currently finishing The Bowtie Bird, a heartfelt, historical fiction picture book that tells the story of a British solider and the homing pigeon who saves his life, and Six Stops, a picture book about a young frog’s first independent train trip to visit his grandmother.
Lauren Chaitoff is a mind-body-fitness expert who founded Yogi Beans, a children’s yoga company, in 2007. The idea "sprouted" from her innate ability to connect with children and her love and knowledge of yoga. Yogi Beans enables kids ages 18 months to teenagers to explore and experience the body-mind-heart foundations of yoga through content-rich programs specifically designed for them. Through partnerships with American Girl, Rosewood Hotels, Four Seasons Hotel, equinox, and The Ronald McDonald House, among others, Yogi Beans has become a respected name in the children's wellness and kids yoga world.
Lauren's latest creation is a visual book of yoga poses and associated imagery titled the Yogi Beans Pose Book. The Pose Book is a visual reference guide and teaching tool that is educational and uniquely engaging, and has a place in the home, in schools, yoga studios, and beyond.
B.B. Cohen is an award-winning writer, professor, and performer. In his writing, Benjamin likes to play with dark and challenging material from an honest, comedic perspective. Raised in Atlanta and based in Brooklyn, Benjamin worked on projects selected by the Austin Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, and The High Museum of Art. He also appears in the Emmy-Nominated PBS short documentary, "What Makes a Great Book." Benjamin has taught Writing and Film History at NYFA since 2012 and is an active member of the WGA-E. When he's not writing, teaching, or performing comedy on the NYC stage, you can find Benjamin with his lovely wife and two dogs.
His debut graphic novel-in-progress, Undrafted, explores the intersections of mental health and toxic masculinity in the NBA.
Laura Collins is an Emmy Award winning investigative journalist based in New York. Born in Scotland, Laura studied English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford and gained a postgraduate BSc in Literary Interpretation and Theory from the University of Edinburgh. Her best-selling biography, Kate Moss: The Complete Picture was published by Pan Macmillan (2008).
As Chief Investigative Reporter for the Daily Mail Laura has spent the last nine years crisscrossing America in pursuit of stories. With her debut collection of short fiction and titular novella, The Art of Leaving, she draws on that rich seam to inform a series of dark and suspenseful tales. She’s currently working on her first novel.
Author/illustrator Lynn Curlee has published fourteen magnificently illustrated, non-fiction picture books for middle grade and YA readers. His most recent book, The Great Nijinsky, was a 2019 YALSA Finalist. Three of his books, Capital, Liberty and Rushmore, were chosen by the Barbara Bush Literacy Campaign as their book of the year. Curlee has won numerous awards for his work, including but not limited to a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book (Brooklyn Bridge), Orbis Pictus Award (Rushmore), ALA Notable Books for Children (Liberty), and Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year (Parthenon).
Lissette Decos is a Cuban-American television producer with over 15 years’ experience in reality formats of the love-wedding-relationship-disaster variety (i.e. Say Yes to the Dress and 90 Day Fiancé).
Her debut novel, a RomCom called Ana Takes Manhattan, will be published by Forever Books in a two-book deal, for publication in 2023. The romantic comedy is about a single reality show producer who decides to date four different men, each of whom embodies one core quality from her “perfect man” list. How hard can it be to turn four frogs into one Prince? You might say Lissette’s got the story and the soundtrack for romantic angst down.
Author/Illustrator of the beloved Gilbert and Friends series, and illustrator of Ree Drummond’s wildly successful Charlie the Ranch Dog series.
Diane deGroat’s latest picture book is The Adventures of Robo-Kid, tracking two parallel stories, one in the real world and one inside a comic book. They intersect when the real-life kid and the comic book superhero find they need each other’s help. The Adventures of Robo-Kid will be published by Neal Porter Books/Holiday House in Summer 2022.
Dhaval Desai was raised in Atlanta, Georgia, and completed his undergraduate studies at Emory University. He completed medical school at the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine in St. Maarten, performed his clinical years of medical school in New York City, and had the opportunity to rotate through various community hospitals. He is board certified in both internal medicine and pediatrics and is currently Director of Hospital Medicine at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital. He is also a pediatric hospitalist at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Over the past several years, he has developed a passion for the patient and human experience in medicine through sharing perspectives, knowledge, and stories.
His current project is a personal narrative of the COVID-19 pandemic and his experience of it as a doctor, leader, and father.
Franc A. Dicoi was born and grew up in a small town in Transylvania, Romania, where they realized early on that they were fascinated and inspired by the local folklore, wanting to at some point pursue a project that would tie their interests together with art. Later on they moved to Germany where they studied Game Design and started working as a freelance 2D & 3D artist and illustrator with a kick for D&D & fantasy themes. They currently reside in Berlin, spend their evenings with their wife dissecting all forms of visual media and binging shows, when not taunted by their two loving cats who enjoy singing out loud.
Franc and their wife Tesslyn are currently working on a queer graphic novel project titled "Uh-Oh, Monster Problems!" following a freshly turned vampire who finds herself pulled into the rhythm of Moonrise City, a city of monsters.
Robin Storey Dunn was born to a German immigrant family in a small West Texas town. She left home at sixteen, queer, punk, and feral, and was rescued by an all-Black spiritualist church. She lived communally with the congregation for ten years, trying and failing to become a saint. Ultimately, she was delivered from fundamentalism to a pragmatic understanding of the importance and soul of kindness. Today, she lives with her wife and children in Austin, Texas, in the same neighborhood where she was once homeless and struggling for redemption.
Her debut, SOME KINDA LOVE: A Queer Punk Meditation on Leaving and Finding Home, tells a story that carries readers across juxtaposed cultures of white and Black, punk and gospel, queer identity and religious extremism.
Originally from Philadelphia, Chris has also lived in Berkeley, Paris, Sydney, Berlin, Antwerp, Chicago, and now Atlanta, where he teaches Health Humanities at Emory University. He is the author of Dysfluencies: On Speech Disorders in Modern Literature (Bloomsbury 2014). His fiction has appeared in AGNI, Louisiana Literature, and Sortes. He received his Ph.D. in English Lit from U.C. Berkeley and is a former Fulbright scholar.
His current project is a dark comedy titled Dwell Here and Prosper, a novel based on a diary his father kept while recovering from a stroke in a dysfunctional assisted living facility somewhere in Delco, PA.
Annie Evans has spent the past 29 years working in children’s media on many television series including Sesame Street (13 Emmy Awards), Oswald the Octopus (Nickelodeon), Jojo’s Circus (Disney Channel), and most recently Pinkalicious (WGBH). She story edited the Bangladesh, Indian and Indonesian Sesame Street productions and both wrote and story edited live Sesame shows in Germany, the Netherlands, China, Australia and Singapore. Annie is also a published playwright with plays produced at Circle Rep and The Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, among others.
Her latest manuscript, a middle grade mystery called Ghost Horse Whisperer, is currently out on submission.
Naila Farouky is a Peabody Award-winning Executive Producer with extensive experience in developing and producing quality children's programming. Of Palestinian-Egyptian origin, with dual Jordanian and American citizenship, Naila has worked as an Executive Producer and Project Manager on Sesame Street co-productions in 17 countries around the world. She is currently the CEO of the Arab Foundations Forum based in Cairo.
Cindy Faughnan writes contemporary middle grade fiction that often takes place in Vermont where she taught seventh and eighth grade English, hiked through the woods and fields, and milked cows. She completed an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts and was a recipient of the PEN New England Children’s Book Caucus Discovery Award.
Her work-in-progress, FIVE QUESTIONS, is a contemporary middle grade mystery about a super-smart detective’s daughter whose passion to solve real-life whodunits takes precedence over her real question. Why does she have trouble reading and writing?
Emma Fick’s new book, Border Crossings: A Journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway, will be published by HarperDesign in 2022. This extraordinary book chronicles her epic train journey from Beijing to Moscow in 240 pages of watercolor illustrations and hand-written text.
Emma started drawing and writing in this style while on a Fulbright Scholarship in Serbia, teaching English. She began to chronicle Serbian culture, from grandiose themes to minute details, in a series of watercolor illustrations she called “Snippets.” Eventually she published both Snippets of Serbia (Komshe), and Snippets of New Orleans (UL Press).
Chris Fleming is an Associate Professor in the School of Humanities at Western Sydney University, where he is also a member of the Writing and Society Research Center. He is the author or editor of ten books and has written widely on literature, philosophy, and culture. His fiction and nonfiction work has appeared in both scholarly and popular media, including The Guardian, The Sydney Review of Books, Kill Your Darlings, The LA Review of Books, Parallax, The Saturday Paper, and The Chronicle Review.
His most recent project, ON DRUGS, is an equally humorous and contemplative memoir that discusses addiction, obsession, the intellect, and masculinity.
Kermit Frazier has been a writer—both a playwright and a television writer—as well as a teacher of writing, literature, and theater for nearly forty years. He is a recipient of the McKnight Foundation Fellowship in Playwriting. As a television writer, Frazier has written for such television series as the popular children’s mystery series Ghostwriter (which he helped to create and for which he was a head writer), Gullah Gullah Island (co-producer and executive story editor), and many more.
His memoir, First Acts: A Black Playwright Comes of Age, is being published by McFarland Books in Spring, 2022.
August Hall is an Annie Award-winning concept designer on the stop-motion fantasy/adventure films The Boxtrolls and Kuba and the Two Strings, both produced by Laika Studios. As a senior concept designer he created the look for animated movies like Finding Nemo and the Scooby Doo franchise. Hall has also illustrated two children’s books, Deborah Noyes’s When I Met the Wolf Girls, and What Forest Knows, by George Ella Lyon.
August Hall is currently working on a children’s picture book that addresses childhood fears and the power of imagination in overcoming them.
Cris Hamilton creates and paints curiously real imaginary people... and monsters. The universe of these tiny characters offers playful, magical ways to reconsider human nature. Her watercolors are collected internationally — it was the persistent suggestions of fans – many of whom are teachers and librarians – which persuaded her to begin working on children’s books. Living on the central coast of California, the author-illustrator has also worked as a copywriter and animator.
Cris’ debut title is the story of a smarty-pants possum that believes people don’t like his species. Abbott boldly sets out to be who they do like —a unicorn!
Janet Harvey Nevala is an award-winning writer of comic books, movies and games. As a comic book creator, she wrote the YALSA finalist Angel City for Oni Press, the upcoming CURIE SOCIETY from MIT Press, and the first adventure of Cassandra Cain in No Man’s Land for DC Comics. As a game writer, she was the staff writer on the DC Universe Online MMORPG. Her feature film debut, A Million Hits, screened at festivals around the world and was distributed by Summer Hill Films.
Janet's current project is a YA graphic novel being developed in collaboration with Angel City illustrator Megan Levens.
On a sunny September morning in 2013, Marti Hill, a graphic designer and single mother of two, was home alone, preparing to leave for work. The doorbell rang and a friendly, familiar face asked if he could come in. She opened the door and within minutes Marti was left for dead, crumpled in a five-foot-wide pool of blood, her throat and neck cut in three places, skull broken, and face beaten to an unrecognizable mass of red flesh. Miraculously, Marti Hill not only survived, but recovered, and is finally telling her own story in A Millimeter from Murder: The Anatomy of a Survivor.
Matt Hogan was born and raised in Philadelphia and completed his undergraduate degree at Penn State University. He completed medical school at Temple University and then slogged through internal medicine residency at Emory University before finding the time to pursue his other interests including eating, sleeping, and writing. He is a board-certified internist and is currently the Director of Hospital Medicine at Emory Decatur Hospital and Emory Long Term Acute Care Hospital. At an early age, Matt fell in love with both science and comedy, and he employed those passions to pursue his career and influence his writing. Matt currently lives in Decatur, Georgia with his wife and two children.
His current project is a collection of personal essays that reflect on the absurdities of life and medicine through a humorous and self-deprecating lens.
Author and Photographer Jonathan Hollingworth's books of photography include Left Behind: Life and Death Along the U.S. Border; Everybody I Ever Met in L.A.; and What We Think Now: Young People's Response to the War in Iraq. He has had solo exhibitions at the UCR / California Museum of Photography, Santa Fe Art Institute and Center for Photography at Woodstock. His work has been published in The New York Times, The Independent, The Sunday Times (London), Die Welt, and BBC News Magazine, among others. He lives in New York, where he works in the publishing industry.
Judith Joseph is a Chicago-based artist whose paintings, woodblocks, and calligraphic works are held in many collections. As a child, Judith’s love for art was inspired by picture books and her precocious interest in illuminated manuscripts: the more she looked, the more she saw. Joseph brings the influence of intensely detailed narratives to her illustrations and books.
Her author/illustrator debut is Toby and Sonia, a story is based on true-life. Toby, a bright and bold child, rescues Sonia, her beloved cow, away from the Kaiser’s army.
Determined to live the most fully realized life possible, young Claire Kahane defied norms, lived dangerously, and took to the road in the 1950s. She crisscrossed this continent, then traveled across Europe and North Africa in a manner reserved for the men of her times. Drawn back to Berkeley during the roiling 60s, she eventually completed a PhD and taught at U at Buffalo, becoming an influential psychoanalytic-feminist literary critic. At age 65, she set out for another adventure: to become a psychoanalyst. But life took her elsewhere.
In Kahane’s picaresque memoir, Nine Lives, she vividly paints a sense of place, time, and identity as she recreates herself 9 times over 9 decades, involving herself in as many dramatic relationships.
Maryam Kia-Keating is an author, professor, and child psychologist whose writing blends themes of compassion, interconnectedness, and courage. Her unique perspective is shaped by early years of emigration, crossing borders, and immersion in new languages. Her family eventually settled on the island of O'ahu, among tropical abundance and the wonder of rainbows.
Maryam’s current works include THE HERO’S HANDBOOK, (MG non-fiction) which provides children with the compass to set a course for resilience and wholeness during unprecedented and difficult times and a poetic picture book MINOO, about the importance of living in harmony with nature.
Bonnie Kelso, the 2021 SCBWI Karen Cushman Award winner, is an author-illustrator with a love for writing and illustrating informational fiction for kids. Gnome Road will publish her debut picture book, Nudi Gill, in 2023, and her second picture book, Sea Smiles in 2024. She is illustrating In A Cave by Heather Kinser for Gnome Road, as well. Bonnie has a professional background in graphic and exhibit design and spent years working on projects for NASA, National Geographic, and the Smithsonian Institution.
Her current picture book, Quail Trail, is a funny, informational fiction picture book with SEL messaging regarding the importance of listening, self-awareness, and making good choices. We are also representing Bonnie’s young middle grade graphic novel, Nya & Nellie’s Nine Lives. Featuring a pair of time traveling cats in a flying litter box, the story is packed with action-adventure, historical facts about cats, and humor.
Carrying a backpack and inspiration, Paul Kennedy, educated to be a chef and restaurateur, cashed in his proverbial chips in 2018 and took off to see the world. His journey, originating in uncertainty, found purpose as he explored and documented the world’s cultures and tastes. The inspiration endured — he never returned to the States.
Paul’s debut cookbook focuses on Vietnam. Besides including authentic recipes, Paul hopes his work will encourage readers to explore new experiences through their palates. He’s convinced that cookbooks can help readers access their senses and interest in new places. “Once readers are curious, there’s potential that we’ll all understand each other better.”
Vanessa Konoval is a picture book author whose path has taken her from small-town upstate New York to San Francisco to Pittsburgh to the Philadelphia suburbs, with excursions across the pond and into the High Desert of SoCal along the way. A licensed attorney and mother of two, she can usually be found scrambling for a pen to jot down another picture book idea into one of her many notebooks. Vanessa is the daughter of a school psychologist and an early intervention special educator, both from big Italian-American families. Her upbringing and her experiences practicing law and raising her own little ones have impressed upon her that nothing is more important than the stories we tell to children.
Emily Perl Kingsley has received 21 Emmy Awards for her writing work on Sesame Street. The mother of a child with Down Syndrome, Ms. Kingsley is the author of the inspirational essay Welcome to Holland, about parenting a differently abled child, which has been reprinted in many languages and in many forms all over the world. She is a frequent lecturer on Down syndrome and disability rights. Ms. Kingsley has received the Secretary’s Highest Recognition Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in recognition of her 39 years of spearheading the inclusion of individuals with disabilities on Sesame Street in the United States and 140 countries around the world.
Tanya Konerman writes because she is compelled to share her innate curiosity with young readers. She was awarded the Indiana SCBWI's Helen Frost Mentorship in 2020. Before authoring children's books, her stories were published in magazines, newspapers, and websites. When not at her desk, Tanya can be found hiking the Appalachian Trail or exploring the slot canyons and hoodoo-blessed lands of the Southwest— while adding birds to her life list.
Tanya's newest picture book, 'Til Spring, intertwines themes of poverty, hunger, and hope into a story based on rural American history.
Krysia Kurzyca was born and grew up in Wroclaw, Poland, where she attended art schools for six years and became a successful jewelry designer. She moved to the United States in the early eighties. Several years ago, she started to apply her skills and sensibilities to the illustration and writing of children's books. She resides in Great Barrington, MA where in addition to making art, she is the founder of a medicinal plants farm and CSA.
Krysia’s latest book, Away from Gray, tells the story of a child who brings color and imagination to her world in the context of a city healing from war.
Ann Landi holds degrees in art history from Princeton and Columbia, and has been an art journalist for 25-plus years. She is currently the publisher and editor of a website for artists, Vasari21.com. Ann started her magazine career as copy editor at Blair & Ketchum’s Country Journal in Manchester, VT, before moving back to New York to become the Executive Editor of Savvy Magazine. Ann Landi has written for numerous magazines, including GQ, Glamour, Travel & Leisure, Psychology Today, ARTnews, Manhattan, inc. and Self. She also writes for The Wall Street Journal, Architectural Digest, and Smithsonian.
Ann’s latest project is a book titled SELLING WOMANHOOD: THE SEDUCTION OF WOMEN BY THEIR MAGAZINES, and is a collaboration with designer Wendy Palitz.
As an artist, writer, and designer, it's only natural that Jenn's favorite form of expression is comics—whether on her own long-running, long-form webcomic Dicebox, or as a letterer, designer, colorist and artist-for-hire on strips and books ranging from superhero to horror, fantasy to young-adult romance, and more.
Kathryn Lefroy is an Australian-born writer of middle-grade novels and screenplays. Energetic and prolific, she’s as well-versed in art history as technology. She holds a Ph.D. in marketing and consults and writes on tech branding and marketing for some of the world’s top companies.
Her first middle grade novel is Alex and the Alpacas Save the World, soon to be followed by its sequel (Freemantle Press). Kathryn's latest project, The Rock At The End of the World, is a contemporary Middle-Grade mystery with an SFF twist.
Working under the name Regina Linke, Joy Lin is a Taiwanese American writer and illustrator who blends traditional Chinese, meticulous-style brush painting with digital art techniques. Her favorite subjects include themes and characters out of East Asian philosophy, religion, and folklore. Her Instagram webcomic The Oxherd Boy enjoys a highly engaged audience from all over the world and has been translated to more than ten languages by volunteer fans.
Her latest project is adapting the Oxherd Boy comic into both an adult gift book and a series of picture books for children.
A decade as an actor taught Lofton the power of story-telling and compelling narratives. When not writing for adults and young adults, he’s a senior advisor at the Library of Congress, where he’s surrounded by books and people who love them.
The author’s writing is infused with a southern voice gleaned from his Georgia childhood. His characters live on the fringes and face bullies as if they were paper predators. His debut novel Red Clay Suzie, due in 2022, tells the story of Philbet, a gay boy enraptured by cars, who struggles with body-blow rejection to find resolution in life lessons learned in Grandaddy’s vegetable garden.
Robert Love is a critically acclaimed artist and writer best known for co-creating Fierce, Shadow Rock, and Number 13 for Dark Horse Comics. Robert is also the co-creator of the animated web series The Adventures of Venus Kincaid, which was developed by FOX 2000. In addition to his creator-owned properties, Robert was the artist for Alpha Girl (Image Comics) and Never Ending (Dark Horse). He has also done illustration and design work for Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, B.E.T., Vibe Magazine, and the Sacramento Kings.
Robert is currently writing and drawing a comic series called Children of the Plague, for Dark Horse Comics, and is developing a middle-grade graphic novel called Life on Doom Street.
Brodie Lowe is an award-winning short story writer and novelist based in South Carolina. He has received the Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Fellowship in Fiction and the Author Fellowship by The Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. He is a two-time finalist of the Ron Rash Award in Fiction. His stories have appeared in the Broad River Review, Mystery Tribune, New Plains Review, Eastern Iowa Review, The Mark Literary Review, and elsewhere.
Brodie recently completed THE SILVER CORD, a Southern noir about greed, false prophets, and deliverance. He is currently working on a collection of stories written in the Southern Gothic tradition.
For an artist who made his reputation working with material that was “100% Guaranteed Overheard,” Stan Mack has one of the most distinctive voices in American letters. Stan Mack’s Real Life Funnies, the strip he drew weekly for the Village Voice for more than twenty years, has had an outsized impact on the development of one of today’s most popular and culturally revered forms—the literary graphic novel. He is currently drawing a weekly strip for the global, non-profit news organization WhoWhatWhy.org.
His latest project is a retrospective titled Stan Mack's Real Life Funnies: 1974—1994, capturing two rambunctious decades in the life of New York City (in the words of those who were actually there).
Author John A. Marley is an Irish television producer and writer with a proven track record in creating and producing distinctive, original entertainment and factual programming for both the UK and international audiences.
In his new thriller, London Interrupted, master thief Danny Felix finds himself propelled into the heist of the century, masterminded by a psychotic, crooked cop named James Harkness. In order to succeed he will not only have to outwit the ruthless Harkness; he will also have to bring the city of London to a halt.
Demree McGhee is a writer currently studying at the University of California San Diego. Her poetry and prose have been published in literary journals such as Lunch Ticket, Palette Poetry, Free State Review, SORTES, and more.
She is currently working on a short story collection, SYMPATHY FOR WILD GIRLS, centering on femininity, queerness, and desire.
Brooke McIntyre’s writing focuses on connections between people and between people and their environments, including natural habitats. Her two most recent picture books are set in nature. In What We Found on the River, a child and her mom search a river for an elusive otter. SNOW DAY for Dog (and Squirrel) is whimsical winter story about creativity, competition, and burgeoning friendships.
Making connections is also at the heart of Inked Voices, the well-reputed, international, online writers’ platform established by Brooke to inspire professionalism, nurture creativity, and foster community for rising and published authors.
In their 25-year career, Carla has written and drawn eleven volumes of a science fiction series called FINDER, contributed prose short story MOVE THE WORLD to THE VERGE's Utopia project, collaborated with amazing writers and artists on books such as survival drama NO MERCY, folk-horror HARROW COUNTY, and a wild list of other projects varying in length and genre. Carla has never wanted to be anything other than a cartoonist making comics in all different ways.
Linda Morganstein grew up in the Borscht Belt, a Jewish resort area outside of NYC. She went to Vassar and then drove a VW bus to California and later studied with Jane Smiley and currently resides in Saint Paul. Due to her unique background, she has a distinct interest in humor as an antidote to life's complications.
Linda's latest novel, Kaplan's Oasis Hotel, focuses on the intertwining stories of three women who spend the summer of 1972 at a failing Catskill hotel. Influenced by each other, their lives change irrevocably.
Wendy Palitz has had a long career in publishing, both in magazines and books, including a stint as the Art Director at Savvy: The Magazine for Executive Women. Prior to working at Savvy, Wendy was the Assistant Art Director at Us and the Associate Art Director at New York magazine. She worked as a book designer at Workman Publishing for four years, was the Creative Director at Storey Publishing and also served as the Design Director for Sterling Juvenile Books. She is currently design director at Palitz + Robbins.
Her current project, a collaboration with author Ann Landi, is SELLING WOMANHOOD: THE SEDUCTION OF WOMEN BY THEIR MAGAZINES, for which Wendy is designing a striking visual overview of the evolution of women’s magazines over the years.
Julie Peppito has been telling stories with various media, including trash, for over 30 years. Her work has been the subject of eight solo exhibitions, and you can visit her installations at J.J. Byrne Playground, Underhill Playground, and Slope Park in Brooklyn, NY. Orginally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Julie is a Brooklyn-based artist, activist, author, illustrator, and art educator. She is currently working on her picture book debut, OTHER PEOPLE’S SHOES, a fanciful exploration of empathy told through richly layered mixed-media illustrations.
In 2015, artist and writer Pops Peterson debuted REINVENTING ROCKWELL, a series of artworks reimagining mid-century illustrations by Norman Rockwell in a manner reflective of today’s times. Celebrating America’s rich diversity and embracing Rockwell’s sense of humanity, Peterson has created images that envision social change and express his desire for a positive, inclusive, and just world. The collection was featured at The Norman Rockwell Museum in what became the longest-running solo exhibition in the museum's history, fall 2020- summer 2021. Peterson’s artistic education began at the High School of Music and Art in New York and continued at Pratt Institute and Columbia University.
Pops Peterson’s collection of Rockwell-influenced/social justice paintings will be featured in a solo exhibition at the Massachusetts State House in Summer 2022. He is currently working on an illustrated YA book featuring these dynamic paintings.
Award-winning writer and journalist Lisa N. Peterson worked as a crime reporter at The Newtown Bee in the 1980s, covering two high-profile murder cases—the woodchipper murder and the disappearance of Regina Brown—in Newtown, Connecticut. She is the foremost expert on these two interwoven domestic violence murder cases—both without bodies.
Her new manuscript, The Look-Back Window: A Journalist’s Memories of Murders and Men, is a true crime memoir.
Sandra Price is an Emmy Award winning animator and a classically trained artist, illustrator and designer who has been drawing since she could hold a crayon. Sandra was accepted at the Pasadena College of Art and Design, with emphasis on illustration. She began working in animation on Emmy Award-winning animated programs such as Batman Beyond, Superman & Batman Adventures, Darkwing Duck and The Zeta Project, among others. She worked in comics at Marvel, DC, and Independent Publishers for her original properties. Sandra continues creating stories, writing, drawing and filling her world with art and design every day while living her best life with her husband, daughter and 2 rambunctious cats.
Author/Illustrator Milanka Reardon has illustrated four picture books: Child of the Sea by Maxine Rose Schur (Lawley Publishing, 2022); An Old Man and His Penguin by Alayne Kay Christian (Blue Whale Press, 2020); Who Will, Will You? by Sarah Hoppe (Blue Whale Press, 2019); and Noodles and Albie’s Birthday Surprise by Eric Bennett (self-published). She holds two certificates from the Rhode Island School of Design, in Children’s Book Illustration and Natural Science Illustration.
Her current manuscript, Following the Wall Home, is a timely and gentle story about a child who has suddenly emigrated to the United States with her mother, leaving beloved family members behind. The story, which will be her debut as both author and illustrator, is loosely based on the author’s childhood experience when she and her mother emigrated to the U.S. from what was then known as Titograd, Yugoslavia.
Erin is an author, 4th grade teacher in Vermont, and a UPenn Literacy Network facilitator. Her first book, Charlotte’s Bones: The Beluga Whale in a Farmer’s Field, won silver for nonfiction from The Moonbeam Children's Book Awards and will be featured in an upcoming edition of NSTA’s Picture Perfect Science. When she isn't writing about science, nature, or remarkable human subjects, she's a sports mom hauling two kiddos to fields and courts around the state.
Her current work, Whalebot, playfully introduces readers to the drones that collect whale mucus to study these magnificent creatures and the health of oceans they swim in.
Shelley Rotner is the author and photo-illustrator of 50 award-winning children’s books. She has traveled extensively for UNICEF documenting programs about children and education. She has a Dual Masters in Elementary Education and Museum Education from the Bank Street College of Education.
Shelley's latest photo-illustrated nonfiction picture book (a collaboration with author Gwen Agna) is called True You: A Gender Journey. It will be published by Clarion Books in September, 2022.
Ashley is a writer, producer, and an initiated Priestess. She has been practicing magick for over half her life. Ashley earned her BA in Philosophy and Theology which propelled her deeper into the magical world where she was a professional ghost hunter for two years. Ashley teaches witchcraft at Pythian Mystery School to help those find and responsibly walk their spiritual path.
She is currently writing a magical book under her online persona, Pythian Priestess, advising on spells, creations of rituals, and the basics of witchcraft. All the tips and tricks you could ever need from the witchy big sister you never had!
Enid Baxter Ryce comes to writing from her career as a filmmaker and artist. She has a BFA from The Cooper Union, where she won the Academy of American Poets’ Elizabeth Kray Prize and the Ethyl Kram prize for Overall Excellence in Art. She was an Ellen Battel Stokel fellow at Yale University and an MFA fellow at Claremont Graduate University where she studied art and creative writing. After writing and editing a documentary that screened at Sundance, Enid has gone on to exhibit her films and paintings internationally at venues recently including the National Gallery of Art and Library of Congress, and has been written about in The New York Times, Artforum, Artreviews, The Los Angeles Times, and many others.
Enid’s writing and illustrations are inspired by her multicultural family and their experiences in the natural world. She is currently working on a middle grade mystery that involves both arson and paranormal spirits.
Hailing from the sunny shores of Canada, Dorian Scar is a Storyboard Artist and Cryptid who has been known to haunt California as well. After earning a degree from CalArts they have gone on to work with clients such as Cartoon Network, Frederator, Katy Perry, and Ellation Studios.
They are currently developing a queer, time travel, rock opera graphic novel entitled, F8ED. This graphic novel explores the concept of gender throughout time, queer relationships and finding your own self-worth in a complicated world.
The author of three previous books, Stephanie Sellers brings together her work as a journalist, college educator, expert in gender studies, and advocate for women to her sensibilities as a writer. Sellers is the founder of Sedna's Daughters, an international virtual community for women who have been shunned or 'mobbed' by their families.
Stephanie Sellers is in a unique position to fit the pieces of shunned daughters' experiences into a cohesive picture. Healing the impact of this cross-cultural and pervasive phenomenon is the topic of her forthcoming book.
Dana Sherwood is an American artist/writer/illustrator. Her distinct style uses dreamlike magical realism to explore the interconnectedness between humans and the natural world and humans and non-human animals, including our companion species and those who live on frontiers of human civilization: raccoons, possums, foxes, and others. Like Alice’s mad tea party, food plays an important role in the mise en scene. The result is both enchanted and down-to-earth; her diverse work has been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide.
Sherwood’s debut, THE NIGHT FEAST is about a child’s attempts to make friends with forest creatures.
Seymour Simon, whom the New York Times called. “the dean of the [children’s science] field,” is the author of over 300 highly acclaimed science books, more than seventy-five of which have been named Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).
His latest book, CLIMATE ACTION: WHAT HAPPENED AND WHAT WE CAN DO was published by HarperCollins in February 2021.
Crystal Simone Smith is the author of Down to Earth (Longleaf Press, 2021), Running Music (Longleaf Press, 2014), and Routes Home (Finishing Line Press, 2013). In 2020, she received a Duke University fellowship to research and compose African American haiku. She is the Founder and Managing Editor of Backbone Press Inc., which publishes emerging & established poets of color.
Her forthcoming YA book of blackout poetry, Dark Testament, was created from the text of George Saunders' experimental novel Lincoln in the Bardo, and written during the days and weeks of demonstrations that followed the death of George Floyd.
Author/Illustrator Rebecca Solow creates imaginative worlds from her home studio in Maryland. She's illustrated projects for Penguin Random House, Highlights Magazine, Spider Magazine and others and focuses on children's books, ranging from picture books through YA. She's drawn to animal stories, updated folk and fairy tales, middle-grade fantasy, and stories with humor and heart. Rebecca has a particular interest in narratives that feature strong girls who solve their own problems.
Though Rebecca has numerous books in the works, her latest work focuses on the lively and (literally) ‘explosive' true story of a young woman of particular courage and stamina.
Renowned percussionist and storyteller Carol Steele has a resumé that reads like a who’s who of popular music. She has performed or recorded with Peter Gabriel, Steve Winwood, Joan Baez, Tears for Fears, Diana Ross, Mongo Santamaria, and many other well-known artists. Carol realized her life-long dream of going to Cuba in 1987, where she was the first woman to play with Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, one of Cuba’s iconic folklore groups. Carol calls Cuba her spiritual home, and now spends most of her time there.
She brings the depth all of these experiences to her solo performing and writing, hoping to honor her 30-year career in the telling of her stories. Currently, Carol is working on her memoir, titled A Different Drummer.
Maryam A. Sullivan is an educator, writer, storyteller and mother from Western Massachusetts. She penned the first Urban Muslim fiction book in 2006 before moving abroad to teach in North Africa and the Gulf. Currently, she is a program coordinator at Springfield Technical Community College, a fellow at Indiana University's Lilly School of Philanthropy, and the co-editor of Black Muslim Reads. She enjoys working on urban literacy initiatives in her community, spending time with her family, and traveling.
Maryam’s current project, DEAR MUSLIM GIRL, is an illustrated book of affirmations in verse.
Charles B. Strozier has written or edited ten books, has been nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize, and was recently shortlisted for the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize. His articles frequently appear in periodicals and he’s often participated, on camera, in documentary films and audio interviews. He’s written extensively on the noted 20th century psychoanalyst, Heinz Kohut. Chuck, a practicing psychoanalyst, is Professor Emeritus of History at John Jay College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York.
His current project, Radical Empathy: Politics & Psychology in Northern Ireland, focuses on how the peace process in Northern Ireland was facilitated and stabilized through the work of politician/psychiatrist John Alderdice.
Transformed by the study of yoga and the journey into conscious compassionate heart-centered living, Jamie is constantly encouraging seekers to look within and awaken their inner vibrancy and guidance. Her current manuscript, a collaboration with Shelley Rotner, is called Living Yoga in the Present Moment.
Kellie Tune is an Australian picture book author who leads a double life as an academic occupational therapist. She has 20 years experience as an occupational therapist and has worked with people of all ages in acute, community, project and academic roles. She has also worked in academia for over 10 years, lecturing in undergraduate and masters degree programs in the UK, Hong Kong and Australia on topics relating to occupational therapy, mental health, clinical leadership and research. Kellie has authored textbook chapters, academic papers, and poems. She has a passion for lyrical picture books with STEM and social themes.
In 'ROXY RACES,' Kellie Tune’s latest manuscript, 8-year-old Roxy wants to race like the wind. But her wheelchair is heavy, bumpy and slow. When she crashes yet again she is inspired to re-engineer her chair. Through trial & error she works through generations of wheelchair design, gaining knowledge, speed and hope.
Erica Simone Turnipseed is a writer who has published two adult novels, and a wife, a mom, and a teacher, not necessarily in that order. She’s also a student of popular culture and an everywoman philanthropist who founded the Five Years for the House Initiative, a fund-raising drive for the Afro American Cultural Center at Yale.
Her forthcoming picture book, Bigger Than Me, will be published by Caitlyn Dlouhy Books / Atheneum in 2023. Her latest adult manuscript, American Sibyl, is a work of literary fiction that weaves the present, past, and future into a captivating 250 year saga of a Black family. It is currently out on submission.
Kim Watson got his start as a bandleader, writer and performer on the New York music scene. After segueing into film he established himself as an innovator and director of over 40 music videos, garnering “Best Music Video” nominations from both MTV and the Soul Train Awards, and NAACP recognition for his presentation of positive images of African Americans. Watson went on to write for Disney, Nickelodeon, Simon & Schuster, Warner Brothers Films, MTV Films, Kidz Bop, movies of the week, and the Universal Pictures hit HONEY, starring Jessica Alba, before directing and conducting the interviews for A&E Biography’s groundbreaking documentary on LL Cool J.
Watson’s current photo series, TRESPASS, spotlights Los Angeles' homeless and highlights his skills as a “thought leader” and passionate, multi-dimensional artist who stirs people’s deepest emotions and promotes social change through his creativity.
Luce Williams grew up with mountains on one side and seashore on the other and her writing often reflects her love of creation. An outdoor enthusiast, she enjoys running, camping, and hiking — especially with her husband and kids. In addition to a diverse professional background that includes working in the intelligence community and in emergency management, Luce is also multilingual and has her Master's Degree in Deaf Education. She has taught in elementary schools on both US coasts and now loves the adventure of homeschooling her own children.
What happens when hermit crabs outgrow their shells? They line themselves up in size order and swap! Luce Williams’s scientifically accurate, debut picture book manuscript, HERMIT CRAB WAITS, introduces readers to an amazing natural phenomenon.
Ashley Wilda is a 2019 graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts with an MFA in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults. Wild coaches competitive rock climbing and describes herself as a “maker, musician, and artist of many mediums.”
Her debut YA novel, Raeth, is a contemporary work of magical realism, with the past told in poetry and the present told in prose. It will be published by Rocky Pond Books (PRH) in 2023.
Barry Wittenstein is widely published in narrative nonfiction and historical fiction picture books. He’s the author of A Place to Land (Neal Porter Books/2019), illustrated by Caldecott winner Jerry Pinkney. It won the 2020 Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction and was named a Bank Street Best Book of the Year and nominated for an NAACP Image Award.
In 2023, Paula Wiseman Books will publish The Day The River Caught Fire (Jessie Hartland, illustrator)—based on the 1969 fire on Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River. Barry is currently writing television scripts for grownups and a YA prose/poem novel; he and his wife live in New York City.
Jessica Wolf is a writer and editor of (mostly) creative non-fiction. She is co-author of Deep Listening: Healing Practices to Calm Your Body, Clear Your Mind, and Open Your Heart/Rodale Press. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Reader’s Digest, Huffington Post, AARP’s The Girlfriend, Istanbul Literary Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, among others.