John David Anderson
John David Anderson is the author of several critically-acclaimed novels for young people. He lives with his patient wife and brilliant twins in Indianapolis, Indiana, right next to a State park and a Walmart. He does not wear ties. He enjoys hiking, reading, chocolate, spending time with his family, playing the piano, chocolate, putting off the dishes, watching movies, and chocolate. You can find him on the web at johndavidanderson.org.
Kerry Aradhya is the author of a dozen poems published in Highlights High Five, Ladybug Magazine, and Stories for Children Magazine. Represented by Stephen Fraser of the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency, she is also on a long and winding journey to become a picture book author. When not writing for children, Kerry writes for public health professionals as a science writer and editor at an international nonprofit organization. She also writes about the integration of children’s literature and dance on her blog, Picture Books & Pirouettes. Kerry lives with her family and their unruly pooch in Mountain View, CA.
Rebecca Behrens lives and writes in New York City, where she also works as a copy editor. She is the author of When Audrey Met Alice, which BookPage called “a terrific work of blended realistic and historical fiction.” Kirkus praised her latest novel, Summer of Lost and Found, as “a good find indeed.” Her next novel, The Last Grand Adventure, was published in March 2018. Some of Rebecca’s favorite things are: the beach, history, running, doughnuts, and laughing.
Joanna Ho Bradshaw
Joanna taught English for five years before becoming the Dean of Students at East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy. As the Dean, she focused her work on educational equity. She transformed the school’s punitive discipline system into one of restorative justice and worked to increase dialogue about race and inequity in the school’s charter management system. In 2014, she received San Mateo County’s Honored Teacher award for her commitment to social justice in education. Following her Dean role, she became the Director of Education for The Reset Foundation, an organization creating alternatives to prison for young men in the system. She designed Reset’s holistic, interdisciplinary program and ran the program pilot. Currently, Joanna works at Nearpod, an interactive educational technology company, where she designs student content and teacher professional development projects.
Dave Butler lives in an old house and works in a study where one of the biggest bestsellers of the twentieth century was written. He has kept the room’s original shag carpet and wood-veneer walls. He likes games, guitars, languages, and, most of all, his family. Dave lives in Provo, Utah. You can find him on the Web at davidjohnbutler.com.
Ernesto Cisneros is a veteran English teacher currently serving the colorful city of Santa Ana, California. He holds an English degree from the University of California, Irvine; a teaching credential from California State University, Long Beach; as well as a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from National University. His first published novel, Efrén-Divided, will release in early 2020.
Whenever his knees will allow it, he enjoys playing basketball, running, and swimming. He likes to read contemporary books with realistic characters and meaningful storylines full of heart. He is an avid music and ketchup lover, and he still follows the Lakers—even post Kobe.
Kim Culbertson is the author of the YA novels Songs for a Teenage Nomad (Sourcebooks 2010), Instructions for a Broken Heart (Sourcebooks 2011), which was named a Booklist Top Ten Romance Title for Youth: 2011 and also won the 2012 Northern California Book Award for YA Fiction, Catch a Falling Star (Scholastic 2014), The Possibility of Now (Scholastic 2016), which was named a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year (2017 edition), and The Wonder of Us (Scholastic 2017). Much of her inspiration comes from her background teaching high school since 1997. In 2012, Kim wrote her eBook novella The Liberation of Max McTrue for her students, who, over the years, have taught her far more than she has taught them. Kim lives in Northern California with her husband and daughter.
Jill Davis is a children’s author and executive editor for Katherine Tegen Books, a division of HarperCollins Children’s Books. Her work includes The First Rule of Little Brothers and Orangutans are Ticklish. In addition, she was the editor of Elizabeth Partridge’s Printz Honor winner John Lennon: All I Want Is Truth and NBA finalist This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie. She edits picture books, middle-grade fiction, and teen fiction.
Mandy’s first novel, Superstar, was published in 2017 by HARPER (An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers). She received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University where she won an award for her critical thesis The Way to the Chair: Zen and the Practice of Writing. Mandy is represented by Jennifer Laughran at Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
Before being bitten by the writing bug, Mandy was an elementary school teacher, a record store clerk, and once she even sold hamburgers on the sidewalk. When she’s not writing, Mandy can usually be found taking pictures or playing games of some sort. She also sings at least twice a day. Mandy spent her childhood and early adult life in Indiana. She currently writes, games, sings (and lives) in Minnesota with her partner Tony and their two ridiculous cats.
Marilyn Hilton is the author of two novels and two nonfiction books. She has also published numerous articles, devotions, short stories, and poems in literary and consumer magazines, and has contributed to various compilations. Her work has won awards including the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, a Jane Addams Peace Association Children’s Honor Book Award, the Sue Alexander Award, and the Associated Writing Programs Intro Journals Award. She holds an MA in English/Creative Writing and has worked for several years in the computer software industry as a technical writer and editor.
Ann Jacobus earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, writes children’s and YA fiction, and teaches writing. She also volunteers weekly on a suicide crisis line. She’s published short fiction, essays, and poetry in anthologies, journals, and magazines, and her debut YA thriller, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light, was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2015. San Francisco is home to her and her family.
Lea Lyon is a published children’s book author and illustrator, active in SCBWI, (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.) She has illustrated six award winning trade picture books. Two new books will be available in 2019 and 2020, one from Christy Ottaviano books, Henry Holt/MacMillan, and the other, which she wrote, from HarperCollins in January 2020. You can find Lea on the web at www.lealyon.com.
Beth McMullen is best known for the Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls trilogy, middle-grade spy thrillers, packed with action, adventure and humor. She also writes the Sally Sin series for adult readers. Beth lives in Northern California with her husband, kids, cats and a very tolerant parakeet named Zeus. Visit her website at BethMcMullenBooks.com or follow her on Twitter at @bvam.
Patricia Newman is the author of several books that connect young readers to scientific concepts in the news. In her free time, she enjoys nature walks, the feel of garden dirt between her fingers, and traveling. She lives in Northern California with her husband.
Mitali Perkins (mitaliperkins.com) has written ten novels for young readers, including You Bring the Distant Near (nominated for the National Book Award), Rickshaw Girl (chosen by the New York Public Library as one of the top 100 books for children in the past 100 years), Bamboo People (an American Library Association’s Top Ten Novels for Young Adults), and Tiger Boy (winner of the Charlotte Huck Honor Award and the South Asia Book Award.) She was honored as a “Most Engaging Author” by independent booksellers across the country and selected as a “Literary Light for Children” by the Associates of the Boston Public Library. Mitali was born in Kolkata, India before immigrating to the United States. She has lived in Bangladesh, India, England, Thailand, Mexico, Cameroon, and Ghana, studied at Stanford and U.C. Berkeley, and currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Shannon Price is a YA author living in the San Francisco Bay Area. After graduating magna cum laude from Santa Clara University with a degree in English, she interned and later worked for Counterpoint Press in Berkeley, CA. As a publicist at Counterpoint, she garnered coverage for her clients’ books in media outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, and many more.
In 2014, she was accepted into the Scottish Universities’ International Summer School at the University of Edinburgh where she studied Creative Writing and Contemporary Literature under the tutelage of best-selling Irish writer Ruth Gilligan. In college, she worked as the Art Editor of the Santa Clara Review and represented the Review at AWP 2015 in Minneapolis, MN. She was a mentor in the second round of Author Mentor Match and regularly attends writing events around the Bay Area.
She is represented by Elana Roth Parker of Laura Dail Literary Agency and thanks her lucky stars that she is.
Raina Telgemeier is the author and illustrator of the graphic novels Smile, Drama, and Sisters, all #1 New York Times bestsellers. She also adapted and illustrated four graphic novel versions of Ann M. Martin’s Babysitters Club series, and has contributed short stories to many anthologies. Raina’s accolades include two Eisner Awards, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, a Stonewall Honor, and many Best Of and Notable lists. Her newest graphic novel is Ghosts. Raina lives and works in San Francisco, CA.
Ashley Herring Blake
Ashley Herring Blake lives in Nashville, TN, with her husband and two boisterous little boys. Previous jobs include songwriter and performer (though she made only about enough money to cover the gas to the gigs), substitute teacher, barista, ABA therapist, special education teacher in a private school for kids with autism, and the hardest job in the world, mommyhood. That last one is still happening, along with lots of word making. She is represented in all things literary and worthy of attention by the amazing Rebecca Podos of the Rees Agency.
Heidi Lang and Kati Bartkowski
Kati Bartkowski left her job as an administrative zombie slayer for a vastly more dangerous calling: raising a toddler. She has to deal with the same sharp teeth and insatiable hunger, but her “foe” is much cuter. When she’s not busy chasing her little one around, she’s writing or drawing. Find Kati on twitter @ktbartkowski. Heidi Lang spends her days running and walking packs of dogs. When she’s not out on the trails, she’s usually hunched over a computer writing, or deep into a good book. No matter where she is, she’s almost certainly covered in dog fur. Find Heidi on twitter @hidlang.
Lisa Greenwald is the author of the Pink & Green series, the Friendship List series, the TBH series and four other books for tweens. She lives in New York City with her husband and two young daughters. She loves sunglasses, reading, the beach, and sushi.
Sharon M. Draper
Sharon M. Draper is a professional educator as well as an accomplished writer. She has been honored as the National Teacher of the Year, is a five-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Literary Awards, and is a New York Times bestselling author, with Out of my Mind staying on the list for almost two years. She was selected as Ohio’s Outstanding High School Language Arts Educator, Ohio Teacher of the Year, and was chosen as a NCNW Excellence in Teaching Award winner.
Kheryn Callender was born and raised in St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands. Kheryn was previously an Associate Editor of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, where they acquired and edited novels including Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles, the forthcoming Internment by Samira Ahmed, and the Stonewall Honor award-winning novel Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake.
Scott Bly has been a computer consultant in Los Angeles for over a decade. He has also developed and taught computer classes for elementary and middle school-aged children. Scott has collaborated and worked with a wide variety of computer specialists, from hackers to designers, software developers to FBI Consultants. Scott’s debut YA novel, SMASHER, a fast-paced computer thriller.