Assistant Editor with Clarion Books, an imprint of HarperCollins
Gabby Abbate (she/her) focuses on commercial hooky fiction and nonfiction for all ages. She’s interested in amplifying traditionally underrepresented voices, especially disabled authors and illustrators. For fiction, she enjoys plot-driven stories—focusing on steamy fantasies and snarky rom-coms in YA; action/adventure and fantasy with heart in MG; high-concepts and wit in picture books (especially those with sassy cats). For nonfiction, she’s looking for accessible writing and exciting topics (not your traditional biography). When she’s not reading or editing, you can find her working on her Etsy shop @YouveGotCarePackages, playing with her mischievous cat, Vasa, or ice skating. She’s also a Type One Diabetic. You can follow her on Twitter @gabbyfiore.
Presentations: A Team Effort (Saturday breakout), Agents, Editors, and Art Directors Panel (Saturday)
Critiquing: My top categories would be picture book (manuscript or dummy) and YA. Fiction or nonfiction, although fiction is generally my preference.
Brigitta Blair has over 10 years of experience creating websites and applications for clients such as Toyota, Red Cross, and McDonald’s. She has presented panels on web design practices for conferences such as Technica, the largest nonbinary Hackathon in the world, and has created web design courses for the White House, KID Museum, and Writopia. When she’s not making websites, you can find her working on her debut graphic novel as an author-illustrator.
Presentations: How to Build an Author Website (Saturday breakout)
Critiquing: Website and Search Engine Optimization, Portfolio, PB dummies, Graphic novels.
Senior Editor, Feiwel & Friends & Swoon Reads
Kat Brzozowski is a senior editor at Feiwel & Friends. She has edited a wide range of young adult fiction, including award winners and national bestsellers. Some of her authors include RL Stine, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Leslie Odom, Jr. Kat is looking to acquire young adult fiction across a wide range of genres, especially contemporary, realistic YA with a strong hook; dark, contemporary fiction, mysteries, suspense and thrillers; and sci-fi and fantasy that’s mostly rooted in this world. She is especially interested in YA with crossover appeal, characters from marginalized backgrounds, and strong voices. She’s also interested in select YA non-fiction, middle grade novels, and picture books. VIRTUAL FACULTY, written critiques only. Critiquing: YA, YA non-fiction, middle grade novels, picture books and first pages.
Transatlantic Literary Agency
Andrea Cascardi has held senior editorial positions at Random House, Disney/Hyperion, and Egmont USA. As an editor she acquired and edited Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King winner Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold, the Raffi Songs to Read series, and Pura Belpre winner Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez among many other award-winning books. As an agent she has represented many bestselling and award-winning titles including Clare Vanderpool’s Newbery winner Moon Over Manifest and Printz Honor winner Navigating Early, e.E. Charlton-Truillo’s Stonewall winner Fat Angie, and New York Times Bestseller Nubs: A Mutt, A Marine, and a Miracle. She gravitates towards well-plotted stories with compelling characters and a unique voice, and loves books with heart and hope.
Presentations: PICTURE BOOKS: Writing for Pictures (Saturday breakout), Agents, Editors, and Art Directors Panel (Saturday)
Critiquing: Picture book manuscript – fiction, Picture book manuscript – nonfiction, Middle grade fiction, Middle grade nonfiction, Young adult fiction, Young adult nonfiction, Picture book dummy, Graphic novel manuscript or packet, Illustrator portfolio. (No sci fi, horror, or high fantasy.)
Bookshop Literary Agency
Minju Chang joined BookStop Literary in 2006. She represents authors and illustrators of fiction and nonfiction in all children’s categories from picture books through YA. Across genres and formats, Minju is drawn to stories with emotional impact and distinctive voices, especially those reflecting underrepresented and/or marginalized perspectives. She loves whimsical stories with a touch of magic and vivid settings that make a reader want to linger and explore. Some of her favorite themes include finding one’s voice and finding family and friends in unexpected places. She’s also hungry for stories that open her eyes to new worlds and experiences—a fascinating moment in history; a non-Western culture and country; subculture, etc. In particular, Minju is looking for more middle-grade fiction and graphic novels for ages 5 and up. She enjoys contemporary middle-grade that reflects the complexities of the world but also offers a spark of hope (think Front Desk, Counting by 7s, Real Friends). She always appreciates authentic portrayals of family relationships (see One Crazy Summer or anything written by Rita Williams-Garcia). In picture books, she loves quirky humor and irreverent voices but also has a soft spot for gorgeous, lyrical language and concept-driven projects with an important and timely message. She’d like to see more unusual approaches to nonfiction and is interested in a range of topics from conservation to music history to government & civics. In YA, Minju gravitates toward stories about identity and empowerment—stories about young women tapping into their talents and strengths. She’d love to see a multigenerational story that pays tribute to the women in a character’s family tree. She’d also love to see more LGBTQIA+ characters in all genres (e.g. The Boy In the Red Dress, The Henna Wars, Check, Please!). She’s probably not the best fit for high fantasy and hard science-fiction.
Critiquing Only: PB, MG YA, Fiction, Non fiction, Graphic novel manuscript or packet, Illustrator portfolio, PB dummies, no high fantasy or hard science fiction.
Editor Paula Wiseman Books | Beach Lane Books
Danielle is a graduate of the University of Southern California with degrees in English Literature and Spanish. Prior to starting at Simon & Schuster, she was an intern in the editorial departments at Sourcebooks and Yale University Press. Danielle also serves as the assistant for the Beach Lane Books imprint at S&S. She is passionate about stories that inspire curiosity and empathy in young readers.
Presentations: Editing Etiquette: Tips & Tricks for Navigating Revisions (Saturday Breakout), Agents, Editors, and Art Directors Panel (Saturday), Picture Book Pagination: Understand the Mechanics and Perfect Your Pacing (Sunday Intensive)
Critiquing: Picture Books
Lisa A. Crayton
A former corporate editor and writer for multi-million corporations, Lisa A. Crayton is a versatile African-American nonfiction writer with more than 30 years’ experience. Her background includes corporate publications management, public speaking, e-publishing, and freelance writing. The co-RA of the SCBWI MD/DE/WV Region, she is an award-winning freelance writer, freelance editor, conference speaker, writing mentor, collaborative writer, and multi-published author of 18 books, including 17 children’s nonfiction books. Her book Bubba Wallace Stock Car Racing Star debuted in January, while Juneteenth released in January 2021. She earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from National University, and her dual Bachelor of Science in Public Relations/Journalism from Utica College.
Conference Co-chair. Presentations: Moderator – NonFiction Panel (Saturday).
Critiquing: Nonfiction (all ages/sub-genres), Own voices
Meg Eden’s work is published or forthcoming in magazines including Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Crab Orchard Review, RHINO and CV2. She teaches creative writing at Anne Arundel Community College. She is the author of five poetry chapbooks, the novel Post-High School Reality Quest (2017), and the poetry collection Drowning in the Floating World (2020). She runs the Magfest MAGES Library blog, which posts accessible academic articles about video games (https://super.magfest.org/mages-blog). Find her online at www.megedenbooks.com or on Twitter at @ConfusedNarwhal.
Presentations: Paths to Publication Panel (Saturday Breakout).
Critiquing: Young Adult Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction or Poetry
Author and Illustrator
Rebecca Evans worked for nine years as an artist and designer before returning to her first love: children’s book illustration and writing. She has authored and/or illustrated twenty books. She lives in Maryland with her husband and four young children, shares her love of literature and art regularly at schools, teaches art at the Performing and Visual Arts school, is co-RA for her regional SCBWI, and works from her home studio whenever time permits. Rebecca’s boundless imagination enjoys free rein at http://www.rebeccaevans.net/. Conference Co-chair. Presentations: Moderator – Agents, Editors, and Art Directors Panel (Saturday).
Critiquing: Picture book manuscript – fiction, Picture book manuscript – nonfiction, Graphic novel manuscript or packet, Illustrator portfolio, Picture book dummy.
Joy Jones is a trainer, performance poet, playwright and author of five books including Private Lessons: A Book of Meditations for Teachers;¬†Tambourine Moon, which was selected as one of the best books for children by the black caucus of the ALA and featured on the Bernie Mac Show; and Fearless Public Speaking, a YA how-to book. Her latest book is the MG novel, Jayla Jumps In. Jones is also a former poetry slam coach for middle school students. She is a member of SCBWI and the Children’s Book Guild.
Presentations: Stage Fright Is Your Friend – And Other Things You Need to Know About Public Speaking (Saturday breakout), Path to publication panel (Saturday breakout)
Tracy C. Gold loves bringing characters to life. Her debut picture book Everyone’s Sleepy but the Baby is forthcoming from Familius in 2021. It was inspired by her daughter, who hates sleeping as much as Tracy loves sleeping. Tracy also writes short stories, essays, poems, and YA novels. When she’s not working on her own writing, she helps other people become better writers as a freelance editor and teacher. She has worked on books published by houses including Simon Pulse, Delacorte, and Bloomsbury Spark. Tracy earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts and taught writing at the University of Baltimore. She also learned a lot about publishing as an intern for literary agent Carrie Pestritto. Tracy loves playing with her toddler and hanging out with her horse and dog, both rescues. Presentations: Path to Publication Panel (Saturday breakout).
Critiquing: Picture book manuscript – fiction, Picture book manuscript – nonfiction, Middle grade fiction, Young adult fiction.
Viking Children’s Books
Jim Hoover is an Art Director at Viking Children’s Books who works primarily on Picture Books, Middle Grade, Non Fiction, and Graphic Novels. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design in Illustration, Jim has been in publishing now for nearly twenty years. He speaks regularly at SCBWI and has designed and art directed hundreds of books including: PICTURE BOOKS: (Tea Party Rules with K. G. Campbell, Shy with Deborah Freedman, Ella with Marcos Chin, Bus! Stop!with James Yang) NOVELS: (Nnedi Okorafor’s Akata Witch books, Max Brallier’s New York Times best-selling series The Last Kids On Earth) NONFICTION: (National Book Award Finalist Elizabeth Partridge’s, Marching For Freedom, Printz Award-winning John Lennon: All I Want Is the Truth and Boots On the Ground: America’s War In Vietnam, and the children’s book adaptation of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.
Presentations: Celebrity Picture books! (Saturday breakout), First Looks Panel (Saturday breakout), Agents, Editors, and Art Directors Panel (Saturday), Two Picture Book Spreads (Sunday Intensive).
Critiquing: Graphic novel; Illustrator portfolio review.
Raven Quill Literary Agency
Jacqui Lipton is an professor of law/legal writing, consultant, and literary agent who has published widely on contract, copyright, and trademark law, cyberlaw, privacy, and defamation issues, with an emphasis on laws relating to the publishing industry. She is the author of Law and Authors: A Legal Handbook for Writers(University of California Press, 2020) and the forthcoming Our Data, Ourselves: A Personal Guide to Digital Privacy (University of California Press, 2022). She writes regular columns on legal issues for authors for the SCBWI Bulletin, Luna Station Quarterly, Savvy Authors, Catapult, and her own agency’s website (Conspiracy of Ravens Blog). She is the founding agent at Raven Quill Literary Agency where she represents a variety of projects from children’s literature (picture book through young adult) to adult genre fiction (romance, mystery, thriller etc.)
Presentations: Literary Lawyers and Agents: The Role of Law and Lawyers in a Publishing Career (Saturday Breakout), Agents, Editors, and Art Directors Panel (Saturday), Perfecting the Nonfiction Proposal” how to pitch/market nonfiction and write powerful nonfiction proposals in kidlit (Sunday Intensive)
Critiquing: Picture Book, Middle Grade, Young Adult, Fiction and Nonfiction.
Kathy MacMillan (she/her) is a writer, American Sign Language interpreter, librarian, signing storyteller, and avowed Hufflepuff. She writes picture books (the Little Hands Signing series, Familius Press), children’s nonfiction (She Spoke: 14 Women Who Raised Their Voices and Changed the World, Familius Press), and young adult fantasy (Sword and Verse and Dagger and Coin, both HarperTeen). She has also published many resource books for educators, librarians, and parents. Kathy serves as the Mentorship Program Coordinator for the Maryland/Delaware/West Virginia Region of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in Baltimore, MD. Find her online at www.kathymacmillan.com.
Presentations: Moderator – Path to Publication Panel (Saturday).
Critiquing: Picture book manuscript – fiction, Picture book manuscript – nonfiction, Early reader/chapter book fiction, Early reader/chapter book nonfiction, Middle grade fiction, Middle grade nonfiction, Young adult fiction, Young adult nonfiction.
Marc Tyler Nobleman
Marc Tyler Nobleman is the author of books including Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman (which changed history, inspiring the unprecedented feature documentary Batman & Bill and a TED Talk), Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman (ALA Notable), Thirty Minutes Over Oregon: A Japanese Pilot’s World War II Story (Orbis Pictus Honor), The Chupacabra Ate the Candelabra, Fairy Spell: How Two Girls Convinced the World That Fairies Are Real, and Brave Like My Brother. Marc has been invited to speak at schools from Thailand to Tanzania.
Presentations: Closing Keynote (Sunday).
Frances Park began writing in the fifth grade and never stopped. She’s the author (or co-author with sister Ginger) of eleven novels, memoirs, and children’s books praised by The Times Literary Supplement, The Washington Post, Good Morning America, NPR, and Voice of America. A new picture book collaboration tentatively titled GRANDPA’S SCROLL was recently accepted for publication (Albert Whitman & Co/2023). Frances’ personal essays and short stories have appeared in many dozens of publications such as O: The Oprah Magazine, Spirituality & Health, The Massachusetts Review, Columbia Journal, The Chicago Quarterly, USA Today, and The Belleview Literary Review; another work was selected for inclusion in Coolest American Short Stories 2022. Her forthcoming memoir THAT LONELY SPELL: Stories of Family, Friends & Love (Heliotrope Books/ 2022) deals with love and loss against the backdrop of her unique Korean American experience.
Presentations: Collaborate for Success (Saturday breakout), Write a Winning Picture Book Manuscript (Sunday intensive).
Ginger Park is an award-winning author of five children’s books, an adult novel, a memoir, and a cookbook. Her forthcoming middle grade novel THE HUNDRED CHOICES DEPARTMENT STORE will be published by Fitzroy Books, Spring 2022. Her picture book GRANDPA’S SCROLL co-authored with her sister, Frances Park, will be published by Albert Whitman, Spring 2023. Ginger’s book awards include the IRA Children’s Book Award, Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, The Joan G. Sugarman Children’s Book Award, Outstanding Merit, Best Children’s Books of the Year, Bank Street College, Parents’ Choice Award, A Junior Library Guild Selection, IRA-CBC Teachers’ Choice Award, and NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book For Young People Children’s Book Award, among others. When she’s not writing or spending treasured time with her human and fur baby family, she’s usually at her chocolate shop located in Washington, DC having fun. To learn more about Ginger, visit her at: https://www.parksisters.com/ginger-park-s-page
Presentations: Collaborate for Success (Saturday breakout), Write a Winning Picture Book Manuscript (Sunday intensive).
Critiquing: Picture Book and Middle Grade
Linda Sue Park
Linda Sue Park is the author of many books for young readers, including the 2002 Newbery Medal winner A SINGLE SHARD and the NYTimes bestseller A LONG WALK TO WATER. Her most recent title is THE ONE THING YOU’D SAVE, a collection of linked poems. The daughter of Korean immigrants, Linda Sue serves on the advisory boards of We Need Diverse Books and the Rabbit hOle children’s literature museum project. She also created the website kiBooka.com, a listing of kids’ books by Korean Americans & Korean diaspora creators. Linda Sue knows very well that she will never be able to read every great book ever written, but she keeps trying anyway. Visit her website at www.lindasuepark.com; follow her on Twitter @LindaSuePark.
Presentations: Opening Keynote “Writing Outside Your Lane” (Saturday), Nonfiction Panel (Saturday Breakout), Real Time Revision (Sunday intensive).
Jonathan Roth writes and illustrates chapter books (the BEEP AND BOB series) and graphic novels (the upcoming ROVER AND SPECK series) aimed at young readers who like humorous, out-of-this-world adventures. When not creating books from the Rockville, MD home where he lives with his wife and two kitties, Jonathan teaches elementary art to the brilliant authors, illustrators and creators of tomorrow.
Presentations: Creating and Submitting Chapter Books, Graphic Novels and Other Categorical Oddities (Saturday breakout), First Looks Panel (Saturday breakout)
Critiquing: all types of picture books, chapter books, Graphic novel manuscript or packet, Illustrator portfolio.
Rachael Stein is a freelance children’s book editor with more than 5 years of in-house editorial experience. Most recently, she was as an Editor at Sterling Children’s Books, where she worked on books for kids of all ages, including Martin McLean, Middle School Queen by Alyssa Zaczek, a Kirkus best middle grade book of the year and a Winter 2019-2020 Indie Next pick; Queen of Physics by Teresa Robeson and illustrated by Rebecca Huang, which won the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and is an NCTE Orbis Pictus Recommended Book; and the Sam Wu chapter book series by Katie and Kevin Tsang. Prior to Sterling, Rachael was at Clarion Books, where she was lucky to work with many award-winning authors, including Linda Sue Park, Ronald L. Smith, Claire Hartfield, and Gary D. Schmidt. Rachael is passionate about helping creators tell the stories they’re excited about, and you can learn more about her editorial services at rachael-edits.com. When she’s not reading, you might find her biking, working on her latest sewing project, or occasionally on Twitter @rachaeljstein.
Critiquing Only: picture books, chapter books, MG, YA, first page critiques, query letter critiques
Yvonne Ventresca’s Crystal-Kite-winning YA debut, Pandemic, continues to be a timely read about surviving a widespread deadly virus. Her second novel, Black Flowers, White Lies explores toxic relationships and won a Gold “IPPY” for best YA fiction. A recent grad from VCFA’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program, Yvonne loves to discuss stories and how to create them. You can learn more about at YvonneVentresca.com, where she features resources for writers.
Presentations: Deepening POV for Emotional Impact (Saturday breakout), Path to publication panel (Saturday breakout)
Critiquing: Middle Grade and Young Adult
Young Vo is an award-winning artist and animator. Gibberish is his debut author/illustrator picture book (Feb 2022) published by Levine Querido, and edited by Arthur Levine. “A Block of Ice and a Bag of Sugar” was a short story written for Heroic Care Anthology, published by Words Unbound, and edited by Betsy Ellor. He is currently a lead animator at Zenimax Online Studios/Microsoft. His animations are seen in movies and games such as Stuart Little, Elder Scrolls Online, Tomb Raider, and Midnight Club. Young has also taught as an adjunct instructor for Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). He has been mentoring and teaching artists and animators throughout his career. He has taken pride in seeing his mentees’ work in games and tv shows. www.youngvoart.com
Presentations: Create Character sheets for your Picture Book like an Animator (Saturday breakout), First Looks Panel (Saturday breakout)
Critiquing: Graphic novel manuscript or packet, Illustrator portfolio, Picture book Dummies.
Award-winning author Laurie Wallmark writes picture book biographies of women in STEM as well as fiction. Her books have earned five starred trade reviews, been chosen as JLG Selections, and received awards such as Outstanding Science Trade Book, Best STEM Book, Cook Prize Honor Book, Crystal Kite Award, Mathical Honor Book, and Parents’ Choice Gold Medal. Her titles include ADA BYRON LOVELACE AND THE THINKING MACHINE, GRACE HOPPER: QUEEN OF COMPUTER CODE, HEDY LAMARR’S DOUBLE LIFE, NUMBERS IN MOTION, CODE BREAKER, SPY HUNTER, and DINO PAJAMA PARTY. Laurie has an MFA in Writing and is a former software engineer.
Presentations: Writing a Picture Book Biography That Kids Can’t Wait to Read (Saturday breakout), Nonfiction Panel (Saturday Breakout)
Lakita Wilson is the author of BE REAL, MACY WEAVER, Viking 2022, and WHAT IS BLACK LIVES MATTER?, Penguin Workshop, 2021. Lakita is the 2017 recipient of SCBWI’s On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award and is a graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts with a MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She lives in Maryland with her two children and Shih-Tzu.
Presentations: Nonfiction Panel (Saturday Breakout)
Associate Editor Disney·Hyperion
Regan Winter is an associate editor with Disney·Hyperion. Prior to joining the team in 2021, Regan worked at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, where she edited every type of book under the sun—from board books to novelty to graphic novels to YA. While open to stories for all ages, Regan is currently focused on younger illustrated projects, including picture books, chapter books, and illustrated MG. Regan is drawn to contemporary stories of all genres with highly-commercial hooks and characters that jump off the page. Her most recent projects include What Are Your Words?: A Book About Pronouns by Katherine Locke and illustrated by Anne Passchier and Fence: Disarmed by Sarah Rees Brennan. A trivia host and lover of karaoke, Regan lives in Brooklyn with her books.
Critiquing Only: Picture book manuscript – fiction, Middle grade fiction, Young adult fiction, Graphic novels, Picture book dummy.