After earning her M.A. in British and American Literature from NYU, Katie Beers spent a decade sharing her love of all things literary first with high school students and then later at Rutgers University. Her time spent in the classroom further ignited her lifelong passion to bring authentic young adult voices to the page and inspired her to begin writing Contemporary YA novels. When not writing YA, she’s running College Essay Friend, an online program which teaches students how to write successful College Application Essays with both art and heart. She currently lives in New Jersey with her best friend (who, conveniently, also happens to be her husband) and their collection of way too many books.
© Bachi Frost
Kerry O'Malley Cerra
Kerry O'Malley Cerra is the author of the multi-award-winning, middle-grade novel Just a Drop of Water. As a deaf author, she’s excited to shed light on the topic of hearing loss in her newest middle-grade book, Hear Me. She holds a degree in social science education and currently works as a high school media specialist in Florida.
Songju Ma Daemicke
Songju Ma Daemicke, a former software engineer with Motorola, grew up in China and is an award-winning children’s book author. Her latest book Tu Youyou’s Discovery – Finding a Cure for Malaria, illustrated by Lin, is one of Mighty Girl's 2021 Books of the Year. Songju’s picture book Cao Chong Weighs an Elephant, illustrated by Christina Wald, was a Best STEM book, the Winner of 2018 CALA Best Juvenile Literature. When she’s not writing, Songju loves attending to her flowers and vegetables in her garden and shooting her next special photograph. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her family.
Mariyka Foster is an author-illustrator of picture books and a designer for kids’ apparel. She strives to fill her stories with humor, heart, and warm representation of families of all shapes and colors. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and their fluffy bobtail cat, Jasper.
Leanne Hatch is the author and illustrator of three picture books, The Brand-New, Never-Used, Perfect Crayons (Margaret Ferguson Books 2023, a JLG Gold Standard Selection), Rosie and the Pre-Loved Dress (Putnam 2022) and Unraveled (Margaret Ferguson Books 2021, a JLG Gold Standard Selection and Booklist Starred Review), as well as the illustrator of three forthcoming picture books, including My Thoughts Have Wings by Maggie Smith (Balzer + Bray 2024). Leanne was commissioned as conference artist for the 2023 SCBWI Winter Conference and presented on portfolios at their 2022 Summer Conference. She has previously won SCBWI's Narrative Art Award and was a Grand Prize winner and two time Honoree in their Portfolio Showcase. Leanne is a women’s accessory and textile designer for a trendy teen retailer and has dual bachelor’s degrees in Apparel Design and in Fine Arts with an emphasis on drawing. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two children.
Angela Marise Johnson
Angela Marise Johnson is a writer and illustrator from Los Angeles. She received her BFA from Otis College of Art and Design before moving to Hawai’i Island to live amongst the trees. Her work explores imaginary worlds, art making and creativity, and magic in the everyday. When not working, she loves collaborating with her daughter, paddling outrigger canoes, and creating songs.
Anna E. Jordan
Anna E. Jordan (she/her) is the recipient of the 2013 PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery award and has an MFA from the Writing for Children and Young Adults program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her debut middle-grade novel, Shira and Esther Double the Wonder, launches in Fall 2023 from Chronicle Books. She is the author of This Pup Steps Up! A dog book for kids (Rockridge Press, 2021) and her poems appear in the anthology The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To Poems (Candlewick, 2019). You can also find her work in national magazines including Ladybug, Babybug, Highlights High Five, Coxing Magazine, and Maine Women Magazine. Connect with her on social media @annawritedraw.
Elisa Kleven has been creating magical imaginary worlds for as long as she can remember. She has written and/or illustrated over thirty picture books, among them the classic Abuela, written by Arthur Dorros, Sun Bread, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book, Glasswings: A Butterfly's Story, and The Lion and the Little Red Bird. When she is not writing or illustrating, Elisa loves spending time in nature with her family and dog, reading, and teaching art to children.
© Erin Summerill
Lora Koehler’s picture book The Little Snowplow, illustrated by Jake Parker, was a New York Times bestseller. The sequel, The Little Snowplow Wishes for Snow, was both a Parent’s Choice and Reading the West award winner. She writes and hikes in Salt Lake City (and wherever else the trail may take her).
Andrea L. Mack grew up in Northern Ontario and now lives near Toronto, where she teaches kindergarten and writes children’s books. She finds inspiration from her family, her students and her love of nature. When she’s not writing or reading, she enjoys baking, bird-watching and board games (sometimes all at the same time). She has been a judge for the Cybils Awards and shares reviews of children’s books on her blog.
© Kin Godwin Chua
April dela Noche Milne
April dela Noche Milne is a Filipino-Canadian illustrator and writer based in Vancouver. She is the artist for the graphic novel The Blue Road: A fable of migration written by Wayde Compton and the children’s book The Imperfect Garden written by Melissa Assaly. She also contributed to the comics anthology The Witching Hours. When not working she can be found hosting themed movie nights and managing her passionate love affair with the internet.
ila Nguyen-Hayama is a Japanese-Vietnamese American artist who had somehow wandered into the world of comics after studying evolutionary biology and culinary arts. Her debut graphic novel Benten School of Esoterics is forthcoming with Abrams/Amulet. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family of humans, a dog, cat, two small parrots, and two chickens.
© Heather Bertarelli
A former high school English teacher, Heather writes about plucky characters finding their place. When she’s not writing, she’s playing in the mountains with her husband and son or curling up with a book. She was born and raised in Maine, went to college in Massachusetts, lived in Germany for two years, and now calls Colorado home.
© Melissa Glynn
My name is Michaele Razi (pronounced mick-el rah-zee) and I write and illustrate picture books and graphic novels. My favorite things to write (and read) are silly, funny and slightly naughty characters who get themselves into sticky situations! I live outside of Seattle with my family and two rascally cats.
Genielysse Reyes is a Filipino-American children's book author and artist from San Diego and currently living in Providence. She holds an MFA in writing for children from Simmons University, and was a 2021 recipient of the NESCBWI Windows and Mirrors Award. She's also been recently commissioned by the ICA Boston Art Lab. A lover of show-tunes and open mics, she aims to create heartfelt stories filled with rhythm, truth, and a dash of Fil-Am magic. When not creating, she is probably giving a well-versed lecture on animated movies to someone somewhere.
Shifa Saltagi Safadi
Shifa Saltagi Safadi was born in Syria and immigrated to the US with her parents as a young girl. She lives near Chicago with her husband and four children. After graduating with a degree in English Literature, Shifa focused on her life-long dream of writing books. She is the author of three picture books with an indie Muslim publisher, Ruqaya’s Bookshelf. She also reads and reviews Muslim books on her online blog, Muslimmommyblog. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s researching ways to bake the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Shifa hopes to inspire understanding and love between people of all backgrounds with her work, and provide young Muslim American children, like her own, books they can see themselves in.
© Dan White
Meg is the author of the YA novel in verse Paper Hearts, which received a 2016 Christopher Award. Her picture book Benno and the Night of Broken Glass, illustrated by Josée Bisaillon, was selected as one of SLJ’s Best Picture Books of 2010 and made CCBC’s Best Choice List. She holds an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.