Please note: Short breaks are scheduled throughout the conference.
Jane Yolen is an author of children’s books, fantasy, and science fiction, including Owl Moon, The Devil’s Arithmetic, and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?
She is also a poet, a teacher of writing and literature, and a reviewer of children’s literature. She has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of America and the Aesop of the twentieth century.
Jane Yolen’s books and stories have won the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, two Christopher Medals, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Fantasy Awards, the Golden Kite Award, the Jewish Book Award, the World Fantasy Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Association of Jewish Libraries Award among many others.
Jane lives in a Victorian farmhouse in Western Massachusetts where she holds yearly writers retreats along with her daughter Heidi, the little girl in Owl Moon. She also has a house in Scotland where she can be seen strolling through the neighborhood of St. Andrews four months of the year.
Paul O. Zelinsky grew up in Wilmette, Illinois, the son of a mathematics professor father and a medical illustrator mother. He drew compulsively from an early age, but did not know until college that this would be his career.
As a sophomore in Yale College, he enrolled in a course on the history and practice of the picture book, co-taught by an English professor and Maurice Sendak. This experience inspired Paul to point himself in the direction of children's books. His first book appeared in 1978, since which time he has become recognized as one of the most inventive and critically successful artists in the field.
He now lives with his wife in Brooklyn, New York. They have two grown daughters.
Among many other awards and prizes, he received the Caldecott Medal for his illustrated retelling of Rapunzel, as well as Caldecott Honors for three of his books: Hansel and Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin, and Swamp Angel.
Matt de la Peña is the New York Times Bestselling, Newbery Medal-winning author of six young adult novels: Ball Don’t Lie, Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here, I Will Save You, The Living and The Hunted.
His first picture book, A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis (Illustrated by Kadir Nelson) was released by Dial Press. His first middle grade story Believing in Brooklyn appeared in Guys Read: Thriller, edited by Jon Scieszka.
His second picture book, Last Stop on Market Street, was awarded the 2016 Newbery Medal. Illustrated by the great Christian Robinson, Last Stop on Market Street was also awarded a 2016 Caldecott Honor and a 2016 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book.
He has also published short fiction and essays in various newspapers and literary journals, including: The New York Times, NPR.org, The Writer, Pacific Review, One Teen Story, The Vincent Brothers Review, Chiricú, George Mason Review, and Allegheny Literary Review.
Matt received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his BA from the University of the Pacific, where he attended school on a full athletic scholarship for basketball. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York and teaches creative writing at colleges and high schools around the country.
An award-winning picture book author, 21st century publishing expert and founder of the 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge. Julie’s picture book credits include My Love For You is the and A Troop is a Group of Monkeys,. Visit JulieHedlund.com to discover more.
Katie is Director of the Institute of Children’s Literature and acclaimed writer/illustrator whose credits include 10 books for children, which have sold over 755,000 copies. Her two books for writers, How To Promote Your Children’s Book and How to Write a Children’s Book are both #1 Amazon bestsellers. Learn more about Katie at KatieDavis.com.
Laura is Publisher of Children’s Book Insider, The Children’s Writing Monthly. A former agent and editor, she’s edited & critiqued thousands of picture book manuscripts. Among her vast credits are Best Books for Kids Who (Think They) Hate to Read (Random House), Writer’s Digest and The Writer. Laura blogs at WriteForKids.org.
Emma is a best-selling children’s book author, editor and writing coach. With her mother, actress/author Julie Andrews, Emma has co-authored over thirty children’s books, seven of which have been on the NY Times Bestseller list. Learn more about Emma at: EmmaWaltonHamilton.com.
Alyssa Mito Pusey is a senior editor at Charlesbridge. As an editor specializing in nonfiction, she firmly believes that there is nothing as astonishing as real life. Almost any topic, from black holes to mummies, can hook her—as long as it’s approached from an unexpected angle. In addition to nonfiction, she edits the occasional fiction title with strong school and library hooks. In both nonfiction and fiction, she looks for innovative structure, clarity, and a distinctive voice. Humor is a plus!
Recent and upcoming books include Super Gear by Jennifer Swanson, Mountain Chef by Annette Bay Pimentel, Samurai Rising by Pamela S. Turner, Will’s Words by Jane Sutcliffe, Poppy’s Best Paper by Susan Eaddy, and The Inventor’s Secret by Suzanne Slade.
Neal Porter has been in and around the children’s book publishing industry for more than 35 years, holding marketing, editorial, or executive positions at houses such as Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Atheneum, Orchard, Dorling Kindersley, and Walker Books UK. In 2000 he decided to step away from administration and focus exclusively on editing. That year he helped to found Roaring Brook Press, now an imprint of the Macmillan Children’s Book Group, where he is Publisher of Neal Porter Books. Authors and illustrators he has worked with include Laura Vaccaro Seeger, Philip C. and Erin E. Stead, Nick Bruel, Yuyi Morales, Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, Ted and Betsy Lewin, Jason Chin, and Antoinette Portis. Books he has edited have received many awards and honors including the Caldecott Medal, four Caldecott Honors, three Theodore Geisel Honors, three Sibert Honors, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, three Pura Belpré Awards, the Coretta Scott King Award, two Orbis Pictus Awards, the Ezra Jack Keats Award, and numerous ALA Notable Citations. In September, 2015, he was awarded an Eric Carle Honor in the category of Mentor for his contribution to picture books.
Louise May is Vice President/Editorial Director of Lee & Low Books, independent publisher of diverse books for young readers. She has been with the company for more than seventeen years and oversees Lee & Low’s trade illustrated book imprints as well as Bebop Books, the company’s educational imprint. Ms. May specializes in diverse illustrated books at all age levels and in all genres, and has edited many award-winning titles by notable authors and illustrators of children’s books, including David Diaz, Ted and Betsy Lewin, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Nikki Grimes, R. Gregory Christie, Pat Mora, Susan L. Roth, Ed Young, and Marilyn Singer. In 2000 she helped found Lee & Low’s annual New Voices Award for previously unpublished writers of color, which has so far brought the company—and the children’s book world—fourteen talented new authors.
Jill Santopolo is the Editorial Director of Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, where she edits many critically-acclaimed, award-winning, and best-selling books including A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff, The Secret Skyby Atia Abawi, Proxy by Alex London, It’s Your World by Chelsea Clinton, the Nightshade series by Andrea Cremer, A Dance Like Starlight by Kristy Dempsey & Floyd Cooper, and Peanut Butter & Cupcake!by Terry Border. She is also the author of the Alec Flint mysteries (Scholastic), the Sparkle Spa series (S&S), and the Follow Your Heart books (Puffin). Additionally, Jill is an adjunct professor at The New School, where she teaches in their MFA program in writing for children. She holds a BA from Columbia University, an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a Certificate in Intellectual Property Law from NYU. www.jillsantopolo.com @jillsantopolo
Deborah Warren founded East/West Literary Agency LLC, after 17 years at Harcourt. With over 35 years’ of experience in the publishing industry, and over 16 years at the helm of the Agency, Deborah not only represents authors and illustrators of picture books including Jim Averbeck (One Word from Sophia), Anna Dewdney (The Llama Llama franchise), Kimberly and James Dean (The Pete the Cat), Gianna Marino (Night Animals) and Antoinette Portis (Wait), she represents authors and illustrators—both debut and established–in the board book, concept, illustration, multicultural, non-fiction, middle-grade and young adult markets.
In all categories, she’s looking to fall in love with character-driven stories, enhanced by a hook, told in a unique, fresh or distinctive way. Her sweet spots: short, quirky picture books and smartly layered, accessible and compelling MG and YA fiction.
Jennie Dunham (AAR and SCBWI member) has been a literary agent in New York City since 1992. In August 2000, she founded Dunham Literary, Inc. Her clients have been New York Times bestsellers and have won awards such as Boston Globe Horn Book Honor, New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year, the Charlotte Zolotow Award, and International Reading Association Award. Her agency represents children's books for all ages from novelty and picture book through middle grade and young adult as well as literary fiction and non-fiction for adults.
Sean McCarthy began his publishing career as an editorial intern at Overlook Press and then moved over to the Sheldon Fogelman Agency. He worked as the submissions coordinator and permissions manager before becoming a full-time literary agent and opening Sean McCarthy Literary. Sean graduated from Macalester College with a degree in English-Creative Writing, and is grateful that he no longer has to spend his winters in Minnesota.
He is drawn to flawed, multifaceted characters with devastatingly concise writing in YA, and smartly paced mysteries or adventures in MG. In picture books, he looks more for unforgettable characters, off-beat humor, and especially clever endings. He is not currently interested in issue-driven stories or query letters that pose too many questions.
Eve graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in Psycho-Biology. She earned a degree in Early Childhood Education and also attended medical school, anticipating a career in Pediatrics, but decided she loved sleep and creative outlets too much to continue doctoring (not to mention those white lab coats - such a fashion DON'T). Eve has always worked with children in some capacity. She has taught preschool, Kindergarten, and First Grade, was a foster care case manager in Vermont and court-appointed Guardian ad Litem, currently teaches creative writing to incarcerated teens in Los Angeles, and serves as an aid worker in Tijuana orphanages.
Eve is also a writer and active member of SCBWI.