The Color of Children's Literature
Saturday, April 8, 2017
JENNE ABRAMOWITZ, SENIOR EDITOR AT SCHOLASTIC, INC.
Jenne Abramowitz is a Senior Editor at Scholastic, where she acquires a wide-range of chapter book series (The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey, Starring Jules by Beth Ain, The Yeti Files by Kevin Sherry) and middle grade novels (The Harlem Charade by Natasha Tarpley, The World from Up Here by Cecilia Galante). Jenne looks for a combination of commercial plots and beautiful, transporting prose with unforgettable characters. She loves mysteries, modern fantasy, humor, adventure, illustrated novels, quirky towns and quirky families, secret societies, hidden identities, and anything with a really juicy secret.
JENNIFER BAKER, creator / host of Minorities in Publishing podcast
Jennifer Baker is a production editor, creator/host of the Minorities in Publishing podcast, panels organizer for We Need Diverse Books, and social media director and writing instructor for Sackett Street Writers' Workshop. She is a 2017 Queens Council of the Arts grant winner. She is the editor of the forthcoming short story collection Everyday People: The Color of Life with Atria Books. Her writing has appeared in Newtown Literary, Boston Literary Magazine, Eclectic Flash, Poets & Writers, The Offing, The Other Stories podcast, and The Female Complaint anthology (Shade Mountain Press). She has also contributed to Forbes.com, The Billfold, and Bustle.
@jbakernyc (twitter & Instagram)
Tracey Baptiste, Author of RISE OF The Jumbies & The Totally Gross History of Ancient Egypt
Tracey Baptiste, M. Ed. is the author of the forthcoming middle grade novel RISE OF THE JUMBIES, a sequel to THE JUMBIES. She is also a contributor to the adult horror anthology SYCORAX’S DAUGHTERS out this spring. Baptiste’s other children’s books include ANGEL’S GRACE and THE TOTALLY GROSS HISTORY OF ANCIENT EGYPT. Baptiste volunteers with We Need Diverse Books, and The Brown Bookshelf. She teaches in Lesley University’s Creative Writing MFA program, and runs the editorial company Fairy Godauthor where she works with publishers and individual authors.
JOHN WILLIAM BYRD, CEO OF CINCO PUNTOS PRESS
John Byrd is the CEO of Cinco Puntos Press, one of the leading indie publishers of children's literature. He is the son of the press's founding publishers: Bobby and Lee Byrd.
COZBI CABRERA, Author / ILLUSTRATOR of MY HAIR IS A GARDEN
Cozbi A. Cabrera illustrates children’s books, quilts, and designs clothing. Trained as an art director, this Parsons School of Design grad left her dream job creating music packaging in NY to make handmade collectible cloth dolls (Muñecas) in honor of her Honduran heritage. Her dolls have been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Martha Stewart Living, and many US networks. Cozbi’s illustrated titles include: Beauty Her Basket/ Sandra Belton, Greenwillow Books; Thanks A Million / Nikki Grimes, Greenwillow Books; Stitchin’ and Pullin’ A Gees Bend Quilt / Patricia McKissack, Random House; Most Loved in All the World/ Tonya Cherie Hegamin, Houghton Mifflin, which won the Christopher Award, given to outstanding works that represent the best of the human spirit. She authored and illustrates her newest title: My Hair Is A Garden/Albert Whitman 2018.
Social media: cozbi, cozbihandmade
PATRICE CALDWELL, EDITORIAL ASSISTANT AT SCHOLASTIC
Patrice Caldwell is an Editorial Assistant at Scholastic, where she has most recently acquired at auction Kiranmala and the Kingdom of Serpents by Sayantani DasGupta—a middle grade fantasy drawing from the traditional folktales of West Bengal. She also edits numerous chapter books, middle grade, and young adult novels. When she’s not editing, she’s baking tasty treats or writing novels of her own. You can learn more about Patrice, her favorite books, and general musings at her website, patricecaldwell.com, and Twitter, @whimsicallyours, her secondary home.
KHERYN CALLENDER, ASSISTANT EDITOR AT LITTLE, BROWN BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS
Kheryn Callender is an Assistant Editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, where she has acquired the picture book Princess Hair by Sharee Miller, the Black Lives Matter-inspired YA Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles and has edited numerous books by authors including Grace Lin, Brandy Colbert, and Holly Black. Kheryn is also a writer, and her debut middle grade Hurricane Child is due out from Scholastic in Spring 2018.
LINDA CAMACHO, LITERARY AGENT, PROSPECT AGENCY
Linda Camacho joined Prospect Agency after a decade in publishing. After graduating from Cornell University, Linda interned at Simon & Schuster and Writers House literary agency, and worked at Penguin and Random House before making the move to agenting. She has an MFA in creative writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Seeking: MG, YA, and adult fiction across all genres along with very select picture book writer-illustrators. Diversity of all types sought (ethnicity, disability, sexuality, etc.)!
Joanna Cardenas, Editor at Viking Children's Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House
Joanna Cárdenas is an editor at Viking Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House. She acquires and edits picture books, chapter books, and middle grade (including graphic novels). Among other projects, Joanna edited Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) by Julie Falatko, illustrated by Tim Miller; The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya; Caveboy Dave: More Scrawny Than Brawny by New York Times bestselling author Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Phil McAndrew; and The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez. Joanna is originally from San Diego, California, where she graduated from UCSD and worked as a bookseller.
Seeking: Picture books with laugh-out-loud humor, unexpected endings, and stories that turn classic conventions upside down;
chapter books that have irresistible characters with big personalities and big imaginations and middle grade novels that are contemporary realistic stories or realistic stories with a hint of magic. Equal parts funny and heartfelt.
For more information, visit https://www.pinterest.com/jomariecardenas/
Follow her on Twitter @joannananamc and learn more about her books at pinterest.com/jomariecardenas. To learn more about Viking, please visit http://www.penguin.com/meet/publishers/vikingchildrensbooks/.
Sona Charaipotra, Co-author of Shiny Broken Pieces & Co-Founder of Cake Literary
Sona Charaipotra is a journalist and author who’s written for everyone from the New York Times to Teen Vogue. The co-founder of CAKE Literary, a boutique book packaging company with a decidedly diverse bent, she spends much of her time poking plot holes in TV shows like Pretty Little Liars — for work of course. She’s the co-author of the dance drama Tiny Pretty Things and its sequel Shiny Broken Pieces. Find her on the web at SonaCharaipotra.com, or on Twitter: @sona_c. Learn more about CAKE at CAKELiterary.com
Sheela Chari, Author of FINDING MIGHTY & Vanished
Sheela Chari is the author of FINDING MIGHTY, and VANISHED, which was an APALA Children’s Literature Honor Book, an Edgar Award finalist, and an Al’s Book Club Pick on the Today Show. She served on the APALA children’s literary award committee this past year and teaches creative writing at Mercy College in New York.
PREETI CHHIBBER, SENIOR EDITORIAL MANAGER, SCHOLASTIC READING CLUB
Preeti Chhibber is currently the Senior Editorial Manager for the Teens & BookBeat Scholastic Reading Clubs in New York, NY. She is currently sitting on the Scholastic Diversity Committee and the CBC Diversity Committee. She earned her B.A. in English at the University of Florida and her M.S. in Publishing at New York University. Hailing from West Palm Beach, Fl, she is a contributing writer for Book Riot and Book Riot Comics.
ZORAIDA CÓRDOVA, AUTHOR OF LABYRINTH LOST
Zoraida Córdova is the author of The Vicious Deep trilogy, the On the Verge series, and Labyrinth Lost. She loves black coffee, snark, and still believes in magic. She is a New Yorker at heart and is currently working on her next novel. Send her a tweet @Zlikeinzorro
PAT CUMMINGS, ILLUSTRATOR OF BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Author and/or illustrator of over 35 books, Pat also compiled and edited Talking With Artists, a series about children's book illustrators.
Her Parsons and Pratt classes list a growing number of award-winning children’s books creators. Besides lecturing at schools and conferences, she conducts an annual Children’s Book Boot Camp.
She sits on the boards of The Authors Guild, Authors League Foundation and SCBW, is a member of The Writers Guild of America and chairs the Society of Illustrators Founders Award committee for the annual Original Art Show.
Her book, Beauty and the Beast (HarperCollins), was translated and retold by her husband Chuku Lee.
SAYANTANI DASGUPTA, AUTHOR OF Kiranmala and the Kingdom of Serpents
SAYANTANI DASGUPTA grew up hearing stories about brave princesses, bloodthirsty rakkhosh and flying pakkhiraj horses. She is a pediatrician by training but spends most of her time teaching undergraduates and graduate students at Columbia University. She is the co-author of The Demon Slayers and Other Stories: Bengali Folktales and author of Kiranmala and the Kingdom of Serpents (Scholastic Spring 2018, Sequel Spring 2019). When she’s not writing, Sayantani spends time with her family and is a team member of We Need Diverse Books. She can be found on Twitter @Sayantani16 and online at www.sayantanidasgupta.com.
Jessica Echeverria, SENIOR Editor at Lee & Low Books
Jessica Echeverria is an editor at Lee & Low Books, an independent children’s book publisher focusing on diversity. For the past ten years, she has worked on a variety of different formats including early readers, bilingual books, Middle grade fiction, and picture books to name a few. Some of the projects she has edited include the Asian/Pacific American Award Picture Book Winner JUNA'S JAR, the Social Justice Literature Award Nonfiction winner TWENTY-TWO CENTS: MUHAMMAD YUNUS AND THE VILLAGE BANK, and the NAACP Image Award in Outstanding Literary Work for Children TINY STITCHES: THE LIFE OF MEDICAL PIONEER VIVIEN THOMAS.
Seeking: English or bilingual fiction picture books with a touch of whimsy, unique girl characters, magical realism, and nonfiction for children ages five to twelve.
Not Seeking: YA, animal stories, or stories without diversity.
Our website is www.leeandlow.com
SARACIEA FENNELL, PUBLICIST at little, brown BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS
Saraciea Fennell is a publicist in the publishing industry. She’s worked with many award winning and New York Times bestselling authors like Daniel José Older, Tui T. Sutherland, Peter Sís, Jennifer A. Nielsen, Chris Colfer, Deborah Wiles, and many more. She is passionate about books, and devours anything sci-fi/fantasy-related in books, TV and movies. You can find her somewhere in NYC boxing or practicing yoga in the next up and coming studio. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, but will always rep the Bronx. You can follow her on Twitter: @Sj_Fennell
JESSICA HARRITON, ASSISTANT Editor at RAZORBILL, PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE
Jessica Harriton is an assistant editor at Razorbill, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group. Jess began her career at Disney-Hyperion, working with authors like Melissa de la Cruz and Alexandra Bracken. At Razorbill, Jess edits the Falling Kingdom and Spirits and Thieves series by Morgan Rhodes and assisted on such titles as Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza and the forthcoming Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi (Fall '17). Jess recently made her first acquisition--a dark, literary gem she's very excited about.
Seeking: YA and middle grade with strong hooks, fresh voices, and evocative settings.
Follow her on Twitter @JessHarriton
HEIDI HEILIG, AUTHOR OF THE SHIP BEYOND TIME
Heidi Heilig is a biracial, bipolar YA author who was born in Hawaii and now lives in brooklyn, so she enjoys long rants on the beach. The Ship Beyond Time is the breathtaking sequel to the acclaimed The Girl from Everywhere. Heidi Heilig weaves fantasy, history, and romance together to tackle questions of free will, fate, and what it means to love another person. At the center of this adventure are extraordinary, complicated, and multicultural characters who leap off the page, and an intricate, recognizable world that has no bounds.
You can find her @heidiheilig on twitter, heidiheiligauthor on FB, heidi.heilig on insta, heidiheilig on tumblr
VEERA HIRANANDANI, AUTHOR OF THE NIGHT DIARY
Veera Hiranandani earned her MFA in creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She is the author of The Whole Story of Half a Girl (Delacorte Press), which was named a Sydney Taylor Notable Book and a South Asian Book Award Finalist. She is also the author of the chapter book series, Phoebe G. Green (Grosset & Dunlap), and The Night Diary, forthcoming in 2018 (Dial). A former book editor at Simon & Schuster, she now teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College's Writing Institute, Writopia Lab, and The Writer's Rock.
Twitter @veerahira and Instagram @veerawrites
Cheryl Willis Hudson, Editorial Director of Just Us Books, Inc.
Cheryl Willis Hudson is editorial director of Just Us Books, Inc., an independent publishing company that focuses on Black interest books for children and young adults. She and her husband Wade Hudson, founded Just Us Books in 1988 to address the need for more African American children’s books in the market place. The Hudsons are also partners, with their children Katura and Stephan, in Hudson Publishing LLC, which recently founded Marimba Books, a new multicultural children's book imprint dedicated to publishing titles that reflect our country’s diversity. Ms. Hudson is also a children's book author. In 2003, she was inducted into the International Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent. She is a frequent speaker on the topic of diversity in literature and has served as an parenting expert for ClubMom. She is also a member of PEN America’s Children Book Committee.
For more information, visit http://justusbooks.blogspot.com/p/our-books_02.html and https://cherylwillishudson.wordpress.com/about/
JUSTINA IRELAND, AUTHOR OF PROMISE OF SHADOWS
Justina Ireland lives with her husband, kid, and dog in Pennsylvania. She is the author of Vengeance Bound and Promise of Shadows, both currently available from Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers. Her writing on the lack of racial equity in publishing has appeared in Story Magazine, Book Riot, and Fireside Fiction. Her forthcoming young adult book Dread Nation will be available in 2018 from the HarperCollins imprint Balzer and Bray and her adult debut The Never and the Now will be available Tor/Macmillan.
You can find Justina on twitter as @justinaireland or visit her website justinaireland.com.
HENA KHAN, AUTHOR OF AMINA'S VOICE
Hena Khan is an award winning picture book and middle grade author. Her most recent middle grade novel, AMINA’S VOICE, (Salaam Reads, 2017) has received starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, and School Library Journal. Hena’s picture book, IT’S RAMADAN, CURIOUS GEORGE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016), made international headlines. GOLDEN DOMES AND SILVER LANTERNS (Chronicle Books, 2012) was a 2013 ALA Notable Book and a 2013 Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the Year. NIGHT OF THE MOON (Chronicle, 2008) was a Booklist 2009 Top 10 Religion Book for Youth. Hena has also written two middle grade choose-your-own-adventure style novels.
Cheryl Klein, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR AT LEE & LOW BOOKS
Cheryl Klein is the new editorial director at Lee & Low Books. She previously worked at Scholastic, where her titles included the New York Times bestselling Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older; Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork; Eighth-Grade Superzero by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich; The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson; The Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda; and The Snow Day by Komako Sakai. Cheryl is the author of The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults, and its earlier self-published incarnation, Second Sight. Her first picture book, Wings, will be published in 2019. Please visit her website at www.cherylklein.com and follow her online at @chavelaque.
PETER KNAPP, AGENT, PARK LITERARY & MEDIA
Fueled by the thrill of reading a new story for the first time, Peter works creatively with his clients and the Park Literary team on marketing, branding initiatives and promotions to get great books into the hands of readers. Before joining PLM, he was a story editor at a book-scouting agency working with film clients, and he continues to look for new ways to partner with Hollywood on adaptations and multimedia properties. His clients include Soman Chainani, Lindsay Cummings, Brenda Drake and Will Walton, among others. Find him online at www.petejknapp.com.
EBONY LADELLE, MARKETING MANAGER, SIMON & SCHUSTER
Ebony LaDelle joined Simon & Schuster in June of 2015. Before S&S, Ebony worked in marketing and promotions at Henry Holt and Company, where she worked on campaigns for Atul Gawande, Elizabeth Kolbert, and Andy Cohen. During her time at Simon & Schuster she has had the pleasure to work with authors such as for Shonda Rhimes, Mary Higgins Clark, and Jessica Knoll. She holds a BA in Journalism from Howard University and received her MS in Publishing from Pace University in 2009. Ebony LaDelle also founded Coloring Books, a curated email of multicultural books that are worth reading, in the hopes that she can help people discover a book that speaks to them and their unique experiences.
ANDY LATIES, MANAGER OF THE BANK STREET BOOK STORE
ANDY LATIES is the manager of The Bank Street Bookstore. He has launched six bookselling companies in the past thirty years, and is the author of the award-winning Rebel Bookseller: Why Indie Businesses Represent Everything You Want to Fight For, from Free Speech to Buying Local to Building Community published by Seven Stories Press. Andy won the Women’s National Book Association’s Pannell Award for his innovative community outreach work at The Children’s Bookstore in Chicago. He holds a Masters degree from the School of Community Economic Development at Southern New Hampshire University.
CYNTHIA LEITICH SMITH, AUTHOR OF THE FERAL AND TANTALIZE SERIES
Cynthia Leitich Smith is the New York Times best-selling author of the award-winning Feral series and Tantalize series. Cynthia also is the author of several award-winning children’s books, including: Jingle Dancer, Rain Is Not My Indian Name, and Indian Shoes. She serves on the faculty of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults and on the advisory board of We Need Diverse Books. Please visit her website at http://cynthialeitichsmith.com/ and follow her online at @cynleitichsmith.
tiFF liao, EDITOR at HENRY HOLT BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS
Tiff Liao is an Editor at Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, where she works on a diverse list of YA and middle grade fiction and some nonfiction. She's had the pleasure of working with authors like Lesley Livingston, Rhoda Belleza, Tochi Onyebuchi, Henry Lien, Erin Chack, and Simon Van Booy. Previously, she was at Penguin Young Readers.
Seeking: She's always looking for high-concept MG/YA with strong, immersive world-building and an unforgettable voice.
She (mostly) tweets about bookish things @Tiff_Liao.
NANCY E. MERCADO, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, SCHOLASTIC
Nancy Mercado is an editorial director at Scholastic Press where she works on realistic chapter books, middle grade and Young Adult novels, with an occasional picture book, non-fiction project and graphic novel thrown into the mix for good measure. Nancy’s had the good fortune of editing books by Paul Acampora, Cecil Castellucci, Tommy Greenwald, Paul Griffin, Caragh O’Brien, Isabel Quintero, Lauren Tarshis and many, many others. When not editing, Nancy is exploring the Brooklyn playground scene and spending way too much time on twitter.
Social media handle: @nanmercado
MARTHA MIHALICK, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, GREENWILLOW BOOKS / HARPER COLLINS
Martha Mihalick is the executive editor at Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. In more than fifteen years with Greenwillow, she has worked with a number of acclaimed and bestselling authors and artists, including Rae Carson (Walk on Earth a Stranger and The Girl of Fire and Thorns), Heidi Heilig (The Girl from Everywhere), Victoria Schwab (This Savage Song), Nicholas Gannon (The Doldrums), and Christie Matheson (Tap the Magic Tree).
Seeking: She acquires and edits books across many genres, and for every age, from picture book to middle grade to young adult.
@marthamihalick (twitter & instagram)
ANDREA MORRISON, JUNIOR AGENT AT WRITERS HOUSE
Andrea Morrison is a Junior Agent at Writers House, where she started as an intern and fell in love with Publishing. She studied Literature & Writing at University of California, San Diego, and earned her MFA in Fiction from Columbia University. She's actively building her client list, with a focus on a wide range of genres. On the children's side, she loves YA that blends crazy-beautiful language with characters navigating the nutty, magical, and hard parts of being a teen, quirky and humorous middle grade, and picture books that beg to be read over and over again. Most importantly, she falls for characters that need to be heard—for stories that grab your heart and don’t let it go, even after they’re finished.
Daniel José Older, Author of Shadowshaper
Daniel José Older is the author of the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series from Penguin’s Roc Books and the Young Adult novel Shadowshaper (Scholastic’s Arthur A. Levine Books, 2015). Publishers Weekly hailed him as a “rising star of the genre” after the publication of his debut ghost noir collection, Salsa Nocturna. He co-edited the anthology Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History. His short stories and essays have appeared in the Guardian, NPR, Tor.com, Salon, BuzzFeed, Fireside Fiction, the New Haven Review, PANK, Apex and Strange Horizons and the anthologies Subversion and Mothership: Tales Of Afrofuturism And Beyond. Daniel’s band Ghost Star gigs around New York and he teaches workshops on storytelling from an anti-oppressive power analysis.
EMMA OTHEGUY, AUTHOR OF MARTÍ'S SONG FOR FREEDOM
Emma Otheguy attended Swarthmore College, where she studied children’s literature with Donna Jo Napoli. Her first job after college was as an instructor at a farm-based education program. Later, she worked at a children’s bookstore for a few months (where it turned out that she was better at reading books than shelving them). Emma then taught elementary school Spanish, which made her think about the historical events that led to a world made up of so many diverse Spanish speakers, so she decided to study history. She is now a Ph.D. candidate in History at New York University, focusing on Spain and colonial Latin America. Emma is a member of the Bank Street Writers Lab, and lives in New York City, where she was born. Martí's Song for Freedom is a bilingual biography of José Martí, who dedicated his life to poetry, political independence for Cuba, and intellectual freedom. Written in verse with excerpts from Martí’s seminal Versos sencillos.
Beth Phelan, Literary Agent at Bent Agency
Beth Phelan is a literary agent at the Bent Agency. After graduating from New York University, she got her start in publishing with an internship at Levine Greenberg Rostan. She later held positions at Waxman Leavell Literary and Howard Morhaim Literary before joining the Bent Agency in 2013. Beth is also the creator of #DVpit, a new Twitter pitch event focused on the voices and stories of marginalized writers, which will debut on April 19, 2016.
Beth represents: YA fiction in all genres except historical. MG fiction in all genres except historical.
She can be found at bethphelan.com, thebentagency.com, and on Twitter at @beth_phelan.
MARCIE R. RENDON, AUTHOR, MURDER ON THE RED RIVER
Marcie Rendon, enrolled member of the White Earth Nation. Rendon’s debut novel, Murder on the Red River (Cinco Puntos Press) is currently available. Two nonfiction children’s books are Pow Wow Summer (MN Historical Press) and Farmer’s Market: Families Working Together (CarolRhoda). With four published plays she is the creative mind behind Raving Native Theater, which produced Rendon’s play Bring the Children Home… at 4 venues in 2015-16. She is a recipient of the Loft’s 2017 Spoken Word Immersion Fellowship with poet Diego Vazquez. Additionally, her poem Wiigwaasabak was awarded a place in the St. Paul Almanac’s Impressions Project Summer 2017.
Social media handles: http://www.mnartists.org/marcie_rendon
OLUGBEMISOLA RHUDAY-PERKOVICH, AUTHOR OF 8TH GRADE SUPERZERO, co-author of TWO NAOMIS
Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich is the author of the middle grade novel 8th Grade Superzero and co-author of Two Naomis. She writes for Brightly and Heinemann's Digital Campus, and has contributed to The Journey Is Everything: Teaching Essays That Students Want To Write for People Who Want To Read Them, Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices, and Break These Rules: 35 YA Authors on Speaking Up, Standing Out, and Being Yourself. She lives with her family in NYC where she writes, makes things, and needs to get more sleep. Olugbemisola loves to visit with readers and writers like you; until then, find her online at olugbemisolabooks.com.
KARUNA RIAZI, Author of THE GAUNTLET
Karuna Riazi is a born and raised New Yorker, with a loving, large extended family and the rather trying experience of being the eldest sibling in her particular clan. Besides being a senior at Hofstra University, she is an online diversity advocate, blogger, and publishing intern. The Gauntlet is her debut.
IRENE SMALLS, AUTHOR OF HAIRMATH
Author of 15 multi-cultural books published by Little Brown, Simon Schuster and Scholastic. Working on a twelve month - one book per month - holiday centered Black History series from slave narratives research. Entrepreneurial author focusing on marketing and promotional concept development - Creator of Literacy+Exercise=Literacise book-based book-related exercise program, Creator HairMath - encouraging girls to take math and science. Most current project is an animated cartoon series for girl empowerment. Presented to 200,000 kids in 25 years nationally and internationally. Twice invited to the White House. Exhibited at Frankfurt International Book Fair and Bologna International Children’s Book Fair.
TRACI SORELL, AUTHOR, WE ARE GRATEFUL: OTSALIHELIGA
Traci Sorell started writing for young people when she wanted more contemporary fiction and nonfiction children’s books featuring Native Americans to share with her son. Traci’s first nonfiction picture book, WE ARE GRATEFUL: OTSALIHELIGA (Charlesbridge, 2018), centers on the universal spirit of gratitude as experienced through modern Cherokee culture across the four seasons. Raised in northeastern Oklahoma, Traci is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation, who now resides in the Kansas City area with her husband and son. You can follow her @tracisorell on Twitter or Instagram.
JAVAKA STEPTOE, AUTHOR / ILLUSTRATOR OF RADIANT CHILD, THE STORY OF YOUNG ARTIST, JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT
Javaka Steptoe is an award-winning artist, author, designer, and illustrator. His latest book Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat won the 2017 Caldecott Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award. His debut picture book, In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall, won the Coretta Scott King Award, and Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow (written by Gary Golio) received a Coretta Scott King Honor. Steptoe has also illustrated Do You Know What I'll Do? by Charlotte Zolotow, A Pocketful of Poems by Nikki Grimes, Amiri and Odette: A Love Story by Walter Dean Myers, Rain Play by Cynthia Cotten, and Hot Day on Abbott Avenue by Karen English, which received the Jane Addams Children's Book Award. He is also the author and illustrator of The Jones Family Express.
FRANCISCO STORK, AUTHOR OF THE MEMORY OF LIGHT
Francisco X. Stork was born in Mexico and came to Texas with his adoptive father when he was six years old. He is the author of six novels including Marcelo in the Real World, which received the Schneider Award (best book about a disability), The Last Summer of the Death Warriors, recipient of the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award and the International Latino Book Award. His novel, The Memory of Light received starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly and School Library Journal and was the recipient of the Tomás Rivera Award given to books depicting the Mexican American experience.
MICHAEL STROTHER, editor, harlequin teen
Michael Strother started in publishing at Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster in June 2011, working on young adult and middle grade. In July 2016 he joined HarlequinTEEN, working on young adult exclusively. He received his BA from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied medieval literature. You can follow him on Twitter @cupcakeandy, where he's always happy to chat about favorite cupcake flavors, popular TV shows, and his corgi mix Griffin.
kate sullivan, SENIOR EDITOR AT DELACORTE PRESS, RANDOM HOUSE CHILDREN'S BOOKS
Kate Sullivan grew up in Belgium in the science fiction and fantasy section of her local military library. As an editor at Little, Brown she worked with Malinda Lo, Kody Keplinger, and Gail Carriger. At Delacorte, her authors include Jennifer E. Smith, Ashley Woodfolk, and Hillary Monahan.
WESLIE TURNER, Assistant Editor, Arthur A. Levine Books, Scholastic Inc.
Weslie works on children's books for all ages, including Mike Jung’s Unidentified Suburban Object, Sundee Frazier’s Cleo Edison Oliver books, and Emma Donoghue’s The Lotterys Plus One. She is most interested in well-written YA and middle-grade fiction with diverse characters, as well as those with original fantasy and/or science fiction elements. Weslie grew up reading the Addy series (from The American Girl Collection); The Chronicles of Narnia; The Dark Is Rising; and the Harry Potter series. Today, her favorite authors include Toni Morrison, Octavia Butler, Daniel José Older, Francisco Stork, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Junot Díaz and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
JENNIFER UNG, ASSOCIATE EDITOR AT SIMON PULSE, AN IMPRINT OF SIMON & SCHUSTER
Jennifer Ung is an associate editor at Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, working on a range of YA and MG fiction, including When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon, The Emperor’s Riddle by Kat Zhang, and Want by Cindy Pon. Her previous experience includes editing books for teens and tweens at Scholastic and hand-selling books and moderating events at Books of Wonder. When she’s not reading or talking about books, you can find her waxing poetic about food, playing uselessly complicated board games, and thinking of appropriate ways to incorporate dog memes into professional emails. You can follow her on Twitter @jenpanda.
Stacy Whitman, Founder and Publisher of Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books
Stacy Whitman is the founder and publisher of Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books that publishes diverse middle grade and young adult fiction. Books she has edited include American Indian Youth Literature YA Award and Top Ten Quick Picks title Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac, and Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall, which received a starred review from School Library Journal and has been placed on numerous lists, including the Amelia Bloomer Project, School Library Journal’s Best of 2012 List, and the Lone Star Reading List. In 2013 Stacy founded the New Visions Award, which honors a new unpublished writer of color. The first New Visions Award winner was published in spring 2015, Ink and Ashes by Valynne Maetani, which garnered a starred review from Kirkus. Stacy is a founding member of the CBC Diversity Committee and currently serves as a Publisher Liaison to We Need Diverse Books. She holds a master’s degree in children’s literature from Simmons College.
Seeking: Middle grade and YA fiction—including graphic novels—starring people of color and indigenous characters, particularly mystery and thriller, fantasy, contemporary realism, historical fiction, and science fiction with strong literary quality. Particularly interested in books about LGBTQ and disabled characters of color and indigenous characters.
Contact: leeandlow.com/imprints/3, stacylwhitman.com; @tubooks and @stacylwhitman on Twitter
WENDY XU, ILLUSTRATOR, SHATTERED, THE ASIAN AMERICAN COMICS ANTHOLOGY
Wendy Xu studied psychology at NYU and consequently went on to a career that has nothing to do with her degree. She is co-creator of and currently draws the webcomic "Mooncakes" (mooncakescomic.tumblr.com). Her secret civilian identity is that of a publishing professional working with young adult and children's books. Her work has been featured in Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World, the New York Historical Society's Chinese in America exhibit and Shattered: The Asian American Comics Anthology. You can find her art on her website: www.artofwendyxu.com, and her rants against unseasoned chicken and other terrible cooking ideas on twitter: @angrygirLcomics
Phoebe Yeh, VP, Publisher, Crown Books for Young Readers
Phoebe Yeh joined Random House Children’s Books as VP, Publisher, Crown Books for Young Readers where she is publishing children’s books for all ages with a focus on commercial fiction and narrative nonfiction. Prior to joining HC in 1996, Yeh was a senior editor at Scholastic Press, where she edited the Magic School Bus books and was an editor of the SeeSaw Book Club. As Editorial Director at Harper Collins she acquired the New York Times best sellers BIG NATE by Lincoln Peirce and THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL by Soman Chainani. Recent Crown titles include A DRAGON’S GUIDE TO THE CARE & FEEDING OF HUMANS by Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder; FROSTBORN by Lou Anders and UP FROM THE SEA by Leza Lowitz. Crown acquisitions include LUCY & ANDY NEADERTHAL by Jeffrey Brown; STORIES FOR YOU, ME & THE KID OVER THERE with WeNeedDiverseBooks; WIZARD’S DOG by Eric Kahn Gale; DEAR MARTIN by debut novelist Nic Stone and the teen thriller, MISSING by Kelley Armstrong.
Seeking: humorous illustrated fiction; fantasy, realistic, sci-fi, lite thriller, coming-of-age
IBI ZOBOI, AUTHOR OF AMERICAN STREET
Ibi Zoboi holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her writing has been published in The New York Times Book Review, the Horn Book Magazine, and The Rumpus, among others. Her debut novel, AMERICAN STREET, was published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers and has received five starred reviews. Her debut middle grade novel, MY LIFE AS AN ICE CREAM SANDWICH is forthcoming from Dutton/Penguin Books. You can find her online at www.ibizoboi.net.