Authors Appearing at Children's Institute 2019

Keynote Speakers

Elizabeth Acevedo
With the Fire on High, HarperTeen

Elizabeth Acevedo is the author of The Poet X, which won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, the Michael L. Printz Award, the Pura Belpré Award, and the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award. She is a National Poetry Slam champion and holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Maryland. Her second book, With the Fire on High, will be published by HarperTeen in May 2019. Acevedo lives with her partner in Washington, DC. You can find out more about her at

Alyssa Milano
Hope #1: Project Middle School, Scholastic

Actress and activist Alyssa Milano has spent almost her entire life in the public eye. A famous child actor, she has continued to work throughout her adulthood in both television and film, most notably starring in the wildly popular television series Who's the Boss? and Charmed. Milano is also a lifelong activist and is passionate about fighting for human rights around the world. In 2003, UNICEF invited Milano to become a National Ambassador in recognition of her charitable work on behalf of children. She also speaks to kids in schools around the country about the importance of voting and teaches them how to fill out a ballot because she believes it's never too early to be civic-minded. Most recently, Milano is known for popularizing the #MeToo hashtag on Twitter, sparking the massive viral movement. She was named one of the 2017 Persons of the Year in Time magazine alongside other prestigious activists. The first book in her upcoming middle grade series, Project Middle School (Alyssa Milano's Hope #1), will be published by Scholastic in October 2019. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two kids.

Ann Patchett
Lambslide, HarperCollins

Ann Patchett is the author of eight novels and three works of nonfiction. She is the winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award, England's Orange Prize, and the Book Sense Book of the Year, and was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. Ann has written about many things, but by far, she has had the most fun writing about the flock of happy, grumpy, confident, and pushy lambs featured in her picture book, Lambslide (HarperCollins, May 2019). She is the co-owner of Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee, where she lives with her husband, Karl, and their dog, Sparky. You can visit her at

Featured Presenters

Glory Edim
Well-Read Black Girl, Ballantine Books

Glory Edim is the founder of Well-Read Black Girl, a book club turned literary festival that probides a vital space for black female readers and writers to connect and grow in conversation, and author of Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves (Ballantine Books). ABA is partnering with Edim to bring book club meetings to independent bookstores nationwide with the goal of amplifying diverse voices and supporting emerging writers of color.

Hafsah Faizal
We Hunt the Flame, Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers

Hafsah Faizal is an American Muslim and brand designer. She’s the founder of IceyDesigns, where she creates websites for authors and beauteous goodies for everyone else. When she’s not writing, she can be found dreaming up her next design, deciding between Assassin’s Creed and Skyrim, or traversing the world. Born in Florida and raised in California, she now resides in Texas with her family and a library of books waiting to be devoured. We Hunt the Flame is her first novel and was published in May 2019 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers.

Christopher Myers
Creative Director, Make Me A World, an imprint of Random House Children's Books

Christopher Myers is a widely acclaimed author and illustrator living in New York. In addition to illustrating his own titles, he has worked with numerous authors, including E. E. Cummings, Zora Neale Hurston, and his father, Walter Dean Myers. The two worked together on the Caldecott Honor winner Harlem, as well as the Coretta Scott King Honor winners Black Cat and H.O.R.S.E. Most recently he collaborated with dancer Misty Copeland on the picture book Firebird. He has written several notable essays, among them “Young Dreamers,” an eloquent reflection on Trayvon Martin and Ezra Jack Keats’s The Snowy Day, as well as the much-discussed “The Apartheid of Children’s Literature,” published in the New York Times in 2014.

Namrata Tripathi
Vice President & Publisher, Kokila

Namrata Tripathi is Vice President & Publisher of Kokila, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers dedicated to centering stories from the margins. Previously, Namrata held editorial positions at HarperCollins, Disney-Hyperion, and Simon and Schuster. She is the editor of the picture books Islandborn by Junot Díaz and Leo Espinosa and The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken; the middle grade novels The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani and Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley; and the YA novels Where Things Come Back, Noggin, and Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley. Namrata grew up in Afghanistan, India, Canada, Pakistan, Germany, and Poland, and has happily called New York City home for the last 20 years. Follow her on Twitter: @Tweetpathi.

Appearing Authors

Cece Bell
Chick and Brain: Smell My Foot, Candlewick Press

Cece Bell is the author-illustrator of many books for young readers, including the Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover and the Newbery Honor Book El Deafo. She is also the creator of the Sock Monkey picture books and Chuck and Woodchuck. Her upcoming Chick and Brain: Smell My Foot will be published by Candlewick Press in September 2019. Cece Bell lives in Virginia with her family.

Meg Cabot
Black Canary: Ignite, DC Zoom

Meg Cabot is an award-winning author. Her books for adults, teens, and tweens have included multiple #1 New York Times bestsellers, selling well over 25 million copies worldwide. Cabot's Princess Diaries series has been published in more than 38 countries and was made into two hit films by Disney. She is also the author of the popular Mediator series and the Heather Wells mystery series. Her upcoming Black Canary: Ignite will be published by DC Zoom in October 2019. Cabot was born in Indiana during the Chinese astrological year of the Fire Horse, a notoriously unlucky sign, but has been working hard ever since to give herself a happy ending. She currently lives in Key West with her husband.

Elisha Cooper
River, Scholastic/Orchard Books

Elisha Cooper is the award-winning author of Big Cat, Little Cat, a Caldecott Honor Book, and Train, Farm, and Beach, a Society of Illustrators Gold Medal Winner, as well as many other children’s books, including Ice Cream, Magic Thinks Big, and Dance!, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year. His books for adults include A Year in New York and the memoir Crawling: A Father's First Year. His upcoming River will be published by Scholastic/Orchard Books in October 2019. Cooper lives with his family in New York City. For more information, visit

Charlotte Nicole Davis
The Good Luck Girls, Tor Teen

Charlotte Davis is a recent graduate of The New School's Writing for Children MFA program. She grew up in Kansas City, which was once the Wild West but today is mostly just fro-yo shops. She now lives in a little apartment in Brooklyn. Her upcoming The Good Luck Girls will be published by Tor Teen in October 2019.

Julia Drake
The Last True Poets of the Sea, Hyperion

Julia Drake grew up outside Philadelphia. As a teenager, she played some of Shakespeare’s best heroines in her high school theater program, and their stories would stay with her forever. She received her BA in Spanish from Williams College, and her MFA in creative writing from Columbia University, where she also taught writing to first-year students. She currently works as a book coach for aspiring writers and teaches creative writing classes for Writopia, a nonprofit that fosters love of writing in young adults. Her debut, The Last True Poets of the Sea, will be published by Hyperion in October 2019. She lives in San Francisco with her partner and their rescue rabbit, Ned.

Ryan Estrada
Banned Book Club, Iron Circus (dist. Consortium)

Three-time poetry slam winner and West Bloomfield, Michigan native Ryan Estrada is a cartoonist, world traveler, contributor to The Nib, and reporter for Busan eFM, a South Korean radio station. He's also been a student ambassador to Australia, slept on a park bench in a typhoon in Japan, a post-tsunami volunteer and refugee day care worker in Thailand, a traveling road cartoonist in Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, a call center trainer and YouTube travel show host in India, and the head of an artist commune Mexico. His previously published work included Aki Alliance, Poorcraft: Wish You Were Here and the viral comic Learn to Read Korean in 15 Minutes.

David Gallaher
The Only Living Girl, Papercutz

Author David Gallaher has received multiple Harvey Award nominations for his work on The Only Living Boy and has won the Best Online Comic Award for his work on High Moon for DC Comics. David was an early pioneer of digital comics developing projects for Marvel as well as Box 13, the first comic designed specifically for the iPhone, for ComiXology. He has served as a consultant for Random House, the NYPD, and McGraw-Hill. His upcoming The Only Living Girl was published by Papercutz in May 2019.

Chris and J.J. Grabenstein
Shine, Random House Books for Young Readers

J.J. & Chris Grabenstein are a husband-wife writing team. Their upcoming Shine will be published by Random House Books for Young Readers in November 2019. J.J. is an award-winning voice-over and stage performer. Chris is a New York Times bestselling author of many books, including the Mr. Lemoncello's Library and Welcome to Wonderland series, as well as the coauthor of numerous page-turners with James Patterson, including Word of Mouse and the I Funny, House of Robots, and Treasure Hunters series. J.J. and Chris live in New York City. Visit them online at and on Twitter at @CGrabenstein.

Shannon Greenland
Scouts, Jimmy Patterson

Shannon Greenland grew up in Tennessee, where she dreaded all things reading and writing. She didn't even read her first book for enjoyment until she was 25. After that she was hooked! Her upcoming Scouts will be published by Jimmy Patterson in July 2019. When she's not writing, she works as an adjunct math professor and lives on the coast in Florida with her very grouchy dog.

Vashti Harrison
Sulwe, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Vashti Harrison, author and illustrator of the bestselling Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, is an artist, author, and filmmaker with a passion for storytelling. She earned her MFA in film and video from California Institute of the Arts, where she snuck into animation and illustration classes to learn from Disney and DreamWorks legends. There, she rekindled a love for drawing and painting. Now she uses her love for both film and illustration to craft beautiful stories for children. She is the illustrator for the upcoming Sulwe (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, October 2019), written by Lupita Nyong'o.

Matt Harry
Cryptozoology for Beginners, Inkshares (dist. IPS)

Matt Harry is the author of Sorcery for Beginners, Book I of the Codex Arcanum series. Matt graduated from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts with an MFA in film production, and has worked as a filmmaker, editor, screenwriter, college professor, movie critic, and story consultant. His writing has been published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Akron Beacon-Journal, and the San Francisco Book Review. He has received accolades from the FOX Comedy Script Contest, the Austin Film Festival, the Launchpad Manuscript Competition, and the Nicholl Fellowships. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons, all of whom (thankfully) like to read.

Kimberly Jones
I'm Not Dying With You Tonight, Sourcebooks Fire

Kimberly Jones is the former manager of the bookstore Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, Georgia, and has worked in film and TV with trailblazing figures such as Tyler Perry, Tracey Baker-Simmons, and Wanda Shelly. She has served on the selection committee for the Library of Congress’ 2016-2017 National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, the 2015 Children’s Choice Illustrator Committee for the Children’s Book Council, and the advisory board that created the Creative and Innovative Education master’s degree program at Georgia State University. She has been featured in Redbook, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, and was Book Brahmin in an issue of Shelf Awareness. Her debut novel, I’m Not Dying With You Tonight, co-authored with Gilly Segal, will be published by Sourcebooks Fire in October 2019. She lives in Atlanta.

Erin Entrada Kelly
Lalani of the Distant Sea, Greenwillow Books

New York Times–bestselling author Erin Entrada Kelly was awarded the Newbery Medal for Hello, Universe. She grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and now lives in Delaware. She is a professor of children’s literature in the graduate fiction and publishing programs at Rosemont College, where she earned her MFA. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Philippines Free Press Literary Award for Short Fiction and the Pushcart Prize. Kelly’s debut novel, Blackbird Fly, was a Kirkus Best Book, a School Library Journal Best Book, an ALSC Notable Book, and an Asian/Pacific American Literature Honor Book. She is also the author of The Land of Forgotten Girls, winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and You Go First, a New York Times bestseller and Spring 2018 Indie Next Pick, Kirkus Best Book, and School Library Journal Best Book. Her debut fantasy, Lalani of the Distant Sea, will be published by Greenwillow Books in September 2019.

Hena Khan
More to the Story, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers/Salaam Reads

Hena Khan is the author of several books, including Amina’s Voice; Power Forward; On Point; Bounce Back; It’s Ramadan, Curious George; Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns; and The Night of the Moon. Her upcoming More to the Story will be published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers/Salaam Reads in September 2019. Hena lives in her hometown of Rockville, Maryland, with her husband and two sons. You can learn more about Hena by visiting her website at

David Kirk
My Hugging Rules, Pipweasel (dist. PGW)

David Kirk grew up in the wild and boundless suburbs of Ohio, where he learned about small creatures and art. He is the creator of Miss Spider, who appears in many well-loved children’s books and even her own television series. David is also the author and illustrator of over a dozen other books for children. In his latest book, My Hugging Rules (Pipweasel, May 2019), a huggable kitty learns that getting hugs is good, but giving them can make you into a whole new cat! David lives in a happy forest with his family, where they nurture and groom a variety of fluffy friends, many of whom appreciate a good hug. For huggable hats, creative coloring, and bodacious banners, visit

Monica Kulling
Aunt Pearl, Groundwood Books

Monica Kulling is the author of over 50 books for children, including Dr. Jo: How Sara Josephine Baker Saved the Lives of America’s Children, illustrated by Julianna Swaney, and On Our Way to Oyster Bay: Mother Jones and Her March for Children’s Rights, illustrated by Felicita Sala. She has also written the popular Great Idea series, and her work has been nominated for many awards, including numerous Silver Birch Express and Golden Oak awards. Her upcoming Aunt Pearl will be published by Groundwood Books in August 2019. Kulling lives in Toronto.

Ryan La Sala
Reverie, Sourcebooks Fire

Ryan La Sala writes about surreal things happening to real people, and his stories are almost always queer. A native of Connecticut, he studied anthropology and neuroscience at Northeastern University and now lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, atop an antique movie theater. His debut novel, Reverie, will be published by Sourcebooks Fire in January 2020. Visit him at

Lindsay Lackey
All the Impossible Things, Roaring Brook Press

Lindsay Lackey has trained as an opera singer, worked in children’s and teen services at a public library, and for a major publishing house in publicity and marketing. Born and raised in Colorado, she now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their spoiled dog. All the Impossible Things is her debut novel, and will be published by Roaring Brook Press in September 2019.

Rajani LaRocca
Midsummer's Mayhem, Yellow Jacket

Rajani LaRocca was born in India, raised in Kentucky, and now lives in the Boston area with her wonderful family and impossibly cute dog. She earned a BA and an MD from Harvard, and spends her time writing novels and picture books, practicing medicine, and baking too many sweet treats. Midsummer's Mayhem is her first novel and will be published by Yellow Jacket in June 2019. Find her online at and on Twitter and Instagram at @rajanilarocca.

Aimee Lucido
Emmy in the Key of Code, Versify

Aimee Lucido is a software engineer and diversity advocate at Uber and a graduate of Hamline’s MFAC program. Women in technology is a subject close to her heart, and she brings this passion to the page. Emmy in the Key of Code is her debut, which will be published by Versify in September 2019. In her spare time, she does musical improv and writes crossword puzzles. She lives in San Francisco, CA.

Wil Mara
DK Life Stories: Albert Einstein, DK

Wil Mara is an award-winning author. He has written extensively for children, including more than 50 titles in the Rookie Biographies and Rookie Read-About series, as well as five titles for the best-selling The Boxcar Children series. DK Life Stories: Albert Einstein will be published by DK in January 2019.

Kwame Mbalia
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, Rick Riordan Presents

Kwame Mbalia is a part-time pharmaceutical calibration tech, part-time writer, and full-time dad. His debut, Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, will be published by Rick Riordan Presents in January 2020. Follow him on Twitter at @KSekouM.

Oge Mora
Thank You, Omu!, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Oge Mora graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in illustration. When not painting in her studio, Oge is in the kitchen cooking her late grandmother's recipes. Her first picture book, Thank You, Omu! (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, October 2018), was a Caldecott Honor book, a New York Times Notable Book and Editors' Choice, and a Junior Library Guild selection. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island, and invites you to visit her website at

Brittney Morris
Slay, Simon Pulse

Brittney Morris is the author of SLAY (Simon Pulse, September 2019). She is also the founder and former president of the Boston University Creative Writing Club. She holds a BA in economics. Brittney spends her spare time playing video games, slaying at DDR, and enjoying the Seattle rain from her apartment. She lives with her husband, Steven, who would rather enjoy the rain from a campsite in the woods because he hasn’t played enough horror games. You can find her online at and on Twitter or Instagram @BrittneyMMorris.

Maika Moulite
Dear Haiti, Love Alaine, Inkyard Press

Maika Moulite is a Miami native and daughter of Haitian immigrants. She earned a bachelor’s in marketing from Florida State University and an MBA from the University of Miami. When she’s not using her digital prowess to help nonprofits and major organizations tell their stories online, she’s writing stories of her own. She also blogs at Daily Ellement, a lifestyle website featuring everything from diverse inspirational women to career guidance. She’s the oldest of four sisters and loves young adult fantasy, strong female leads, and laughing. Dear Haiti, Love Alaine (Inkyard Press, September 2019) is her debut book, written with her sister Maritza.

Maritza Moulite
Dear Haiti, Love Alaine, Inkyard Press

Maritza Moulite graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s in women’s studies and the University of Southern California with a master’s in journalism. She has worked in various capacities for NBC News, CNN, and USA Today. An admirer of Michelle Obama, Maritza is a perpetual student and blogs at Daily Ellement, a lifestyle website featuring everything from diverse inspirational women to career guidance. Her favorite song is “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire. Dear Haiti, Love Alaine (Inkyard Press, September 2019) is her debut book, written with her sister Maika.

Ibtihaj Muhammad
The Proudest Blue, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Ibtihaj Muhammad is a fencer and the first Muslim American woman in hijab to compete for the United States in the Olympic Games. She is also the first female Muslim American to medal at the Olympic Games, winning bronze in the women's saber team event. An activist, speaker, and entrepreneur, Ibtihaj has written a memoir, Proud, and inspired the first hijabi Barbie in her likeness. Her upcoming picture book, The Proudest Blue, will be published in September 2019 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. She invites you to visit her online at

Frank Murphy
A Boy Like You, Sleeping Bear Press

Frank Murphy is a teacher who writes and a writer who teaches. His favorite subjects are teaching young writers and teaching leadership. Being a father to his sons, Griffin and Chase (who are now adults!), helped Murphy shape the messages found in A Boy Like You (Sleeping Bear Press, July 2019). He has written several other books for kids, including The Legend of the Teddy Bear and Brave Clara Barton. He lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Innosanto Nagara
M is For Movement , Seven Stories Press

Children’s book author and illustrator Innosanto Nagara’s books encourage children to grow up with confidence in themselves, and to be proactive citizens who are passionate about causes from environmental issues to LGBTQ rights and civil rights. Born and raised in Indonesia, Nagara moved to the US in 1988. After studying zoology and philosophy at UC Davis, Nagara moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, working as a graphic designer for a range of social change organizations before founding the Design Action Collective, a worker-owned cooperative design studio. Nagara lives in Oakland in a cohousing community with nine adults and eight kids. Nagara's first book, A is for Activist, started a movement in social justice book publishing for children. After it came Counting on Community, then My Night in the Planetarium and The Wedding Portrait. M is for Movement (Seven Stories Press, November 2019) is the fifth title written and illustrated by Nagara.

Joowon Oh
Our Favorite Day, Candlewick Press

Joowon Oh is originally from South Korea. She earned a BFA in illustration and an MFA in illustration as visual essay from the School of Visual Arts in New York. She works primarily in watercolor with a little bit of gouache and paper collage. Our Favorite Day is her picture book debut and will be published by Candlewick Press in September 2019. She lives in New York City.

Lin Oliver
Alien Superstar: Book #1, Amulet Books

Lin Oliver is a writer and producer who has worked on TV, film, and children’s books. She is currently the executive director of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). The first book in her upcoming middle grade series written with Henry Winkler, Alien Superstar: Book #1, will be published by Amulet Books in September 2019.

Margaret Owen
The Merciful Crow, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers

Margaret Owen was born and raised at the end of the Oregon Trail, and now lives and writes in Seattle while negotiating a long-term hostage situation with her two monstrous cats. In her free time, she enjoys exploring ill-advised travel destinations and raising money for social justice nonprofits through her illustrations. The Merciful Crow (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, July 2019) is Owen's debut novel. You can find her on Twitter at @what_eats_owls, and on her website

Susan Patterson
Cuddly Critters for Little Geniuses, Jimmy Patterson

Susan Patterson has dreamed of writing and art directing a children's book since she received her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The bestselling Big Words for Little Geniuses was her first book with her husband, James Patterson.

Jerry Pinkney
A Place to Land, Neal Porter Books

Jerry Pinkney received the Caldecott Medal for The Lion and The Mouse in 2010. Pinkney’s classic picture books have also received five Caldecott Honor Medals, five Coretta Scott King Awards, five New York Times Best Illustrated Book awards, the Wilder Award and the CSK-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement among many other awards and citations. His more recent books include The Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Tortoise & The Hare, and The Grasshopper & The Ants. His upcoming A Place to Land will be published by Neal Porter Books in August. Mr. Pinkney lives in Westchester, NY with his wife, author Gloria Jean Pinkney.

Rory Power
Wilder Girls, Delacorte Press

Rory Power grew up in Boston, received her undergraduate degree at Middlebury College, and went on to earn an MA in prose fiction from the University of East Anglia. She lives in Massachusetts. Wilder Girls is her first novel and will be published by Delacorte Press in July 2019. To learn more about Rory, go to and follow @itsrorypower on Twitter and Instagram.

Brynne Rebele-Henry
Orpheus Girl, Soho Teen

Brynne Rebele-Henry was born in 1999. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Rookie, and Blackbird, among other places. Her writing has won numerous awards, including the 2015 Louise Louis/Emily F. Bourne Award from the Poetry Society of America. She has two books of poetry: Fleshgraphs and Autobiography of a Wound, which won the AWP Donald Hall Poetry Prize and is a finalist for the Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry. Orpheus Girl is her first novel and will be published by Soho Teen in October 2019.

Sharon Robinson
Child of the Dream (A Memoir of 1963), Scholastic Press

Sharon Robinson, daughter of baseball legend and civil rights icon Jackie Robinson, is an acclaimed author as well as an educational consultant for Major League Baseball. Some of her widely praised books about her father include Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America, The Hero Two Doors Down, and Jackie’s Nine: Jackie Robinson’s Values to Live By. Her newest book, Child of the Dream (Scholastic Press, September 2019), is a memoir about turning thirteen years old in 1963—with an inside look at the Robinson family and Sharon’s attempts to discover her place in the fight for equality and justice. Robinson is also the founder of Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life, a baseball-themed national character education curriculum that helps empower students overcome obstacles in their lives. She currently serves as vice chairman of the Jackie Robinson Foundation. She lives in Florida.

Laura Ruby
Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All, Balzer + Bray

Laura Ruby is the author of some of the most acclaimed novels for children and teens in recent memory, including the Printz Award-winning and National Book Award finalist Bone Gap, the ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults York: The Shadow Cipher and its sequel York: The Clockwork Ghost, the Edgar-nominated mystery Lily's Ghosts, and the Book Sense Pick Good Girls, among others. Her latest novel is Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All, the story of two girls trying to survive in America in the throes of World War II, which releases in the fall of 2019. She is on the faculty of Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program and lives in the Chicago area. You can visit her online at

Sergio Ruzzier
Roar Like a Dandelion, HarperCollins

Sergio Ruzzier has written and illustrated many picture books, including Roar Like a Dandelion by Ruth Krauss, coming out October 2019, and Fox & Chick: The Party, which won a Geisel Honor. He was awarded the prestigious Sendak Fellowship in 2011. Born in Milan, Italy, he has been living in Brooklyn, New York, since 1995. Visit Ruzzier online at

Joshunda Sanders
I Can Write the World, Six Foot Press (dist. IPS)

Joshunda Sanders has been a prolific journalist since 1999 and served as a staff writer for some of the nation’s largest news organizations, including the San Francisco Chronicle and the Houston Chronicle. She has also worked as a federal speechwriter, as press secretary to the secretary of energy during the Obama Administration, and as director of communications in North America for She teaches in the First-Year Writing Program at The New School in New York City. She earned a BA in English at Vassar College and an MS in information studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She lives in the Bronx, not far from where she was raised.

John Schoffstall
Half-Witch, Small Beer Press (dist. Consortium)

John Schoffstall has published short fiction in Asimov's, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Interzone, Strange Horizons, and other venues, and was a Grand Prize winner of the Writers of the Future award. He is a physician, and once practiced emergency medicine. Now he follows Candide's advice and tends his own garden. He lives in the Philadelphia area.

Steve Sheinkin
Born to Fly, Roaring Brook Press

Steve Sheinkin is the acclaimed author of fast-paced, cinematic nonfiction histories for young readers. His accolades include a Newbery Honor, three Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, a Sibert Medal, and three National Book Award finalist honors. His upcoming Born to Fly will be published by Roaring Brook Press in September 2019. He lives in Saratoga Springs, New York, with his wife and two children.

Sydney Smith
Small in the City, Neal Porter Books

Sydney Smith is an illustrator of picture books whose work includes Sidewalk Flowers by JonArtno Lawson; The White Cat and the Monk by Jo Ellen Bogart; and Town is By the Sea by Joanne Schwartz, which was awarded the 2018 Kate Greenaway Medal and the 2018 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award. His accolades include a Governor General's Award for Illustrated Children's Books and three successive New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book of the year citations. Small in the City is the first book he has both written and illustrated, and will be published in September 2019 by Neal Porter Books.

Kim Hyun Sook
Banned Book Club, Iron Circus (dist. Consortium)

Kim Hyun Sook was born in Changwon, South Korea. She became a member of a banned book club in the 1980s while studying English Language and Literature. She has co-written comics for websites including The Nib and Oh Joy Sex Toy, and she translated Lady Rainicorn’s dialogue for Adventure Time comics. She now runs a new banned book club in Busan, where she lives with her husband, Ryan, and her cat, Dog Baby. Banned Book Club (Iron Circus, November 2019) is a memoir about the freshman year at Changwon University; it is her first book, and it will be her only book.

Sam Streed
Alfred's Book of Monsters, Charlesbridge

Alfred's Book of Monsters (Charlesbridge, August 2019) is Sam Streed's debut picture book. It started as a class project while Streed was studying at Rhode Island School of Design. He became earnest about drawing and art as a kid, trying to avoid the inevitable poison ivy outbreak he would get from running wild in the woods near his home. Streed works as an illustrator, game artist, animator, and a 3D visualization artist. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie
Layla's Happiness, Enchanted Lion Books

Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie is the author of Strut (Agape Editions), Dear Continuum: Letters to a Poet Crafting Liberation (Grand Concourse Press), and Karma’s Footsteps (Flipped Eye). She has performed poetry and taught in the United States, Namibia, the Netherlands, Belgium, and England. Her work is the subject of the film I Leave My Colors Everywhere. Her upcoming picture book, Layla's Happiness, will be published by Enchanted Lion Books in September 2019. Tallie is the mother of three galaxies who look like daughters.

Rosiee Thor
Tarnished Are the Stars, Scholastic Press

Rosiee Thor began her career as a storyteller by demanding that her mother listen as Rosiee told bedtime stories instead of the other way around. Her debut, Tarnished Are the Stars, will be published by Scholastic Press in October 2019. She lives in Oregon with a dog, two cats, and four complete sets of Harry Potter, which she loves so much, she once moved her mattress into the closet and slept there until she came out as queer. Follow her online at and on Twitter @rosieethor.

Tim Tingle
Doc and the Detective, Scholastic Press

Tim Tingle is an Oklahoma Choctaw and an award-winning author and storyteller. He received his master's degree in English literature at the University of Oklahoma in 2003, with a focus on American Indian studies. His first children's book, Crossing Bok Chitto, garnered over 20 state and national awards, and was an Editor's Choice in the New York Times Book Review. He won the American Indian Youth Literature Award in 2014 for How I Became a Ghost, and again in 2016 for his novel House of Purple Cedar. His upcoming Doc and the Detective will by published by Scholastic Press in October 2019. He lives in Canyon Lake, Texas.

Duncan Tonatiuh
Soldier for Equality: Jose De La Luz Saenz and the Great War, Abrams Books for Young Readers

Duncan Tonatiuh was born in Mexico City and grew up in San Miguel de Allende. His books have received many awards over the years. His upcoming Soldier for Equality will be published by Abrams Books for Young Readers in September 2019. He currently lives in San Miguel with his wife and children but travels to the US often.

Chris Van Dusen
If I Built a School, Dial Books

Chris Van Dusen was born in Portland, Maine, and received his BFA from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. He has created illustrations that have been published in magazines and books and printed on T-shirts and greeting cards. He won the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award for If I Built a House. His upcoming If I Built a School will be published by Dial Books in August 2019. In addition to his own books, Chris has illustrated Kate DiCamillo's Mercy Watson and Tales From Deckawoo Drive chapter book series. He lives in Maine with his wife, two sons, and their dog.

Isabel Sánchez Vergara
Little People, Big Dreams: David Bowie, Frances Lincoln Children's Books, an imprint of The Quarto Group

Isabel Sánchez Vergara was born in Barcelona, Spain. She is a writer and creative director in constant search of new concepts for children's books. Working for more than fifteen years for clients in top advertising agencies, she combines creativity with learning in her books, aiming to establish a new and fresh relationship between children and pop culture. She is the author of the Little People, Big Dreams series, which now has more than 25 titles in the series, the newest of which is the upcoming Little People, Big Dreams: David Bowie, which was published by The Quarto Group's Frances Lincoln Children's Books imprint in May 2019.

Alexandra Villasante
The Grief Keeper, G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

Alexandra Villasante has always loved telling stories--though not always with words. She has a BFA in Painting and an MA in combined media (that's art school speak for making work out of anything). Born in New Jersey to immigrant parents, Alex has the privilegio of dreaming in both English and Spanish. When she's not writing, painting or chasing chickens around the yard, Alex plans conferences and fundraisers for non-profits. She lives with her family in the semi-wilds of Pennsylvania. The Grief Keeper is her debut and was published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers in June 2019. You can find Alexandra on twitter and Instagram at @magpiewrites or on her website,

Nancy Vo
The Ranger, Groundwood Books

Nancy Vo was born in the prairies and ranged to the West Coast. As a child, she enjoyed stories featuring brave characters, but later realized a truth about herself: she was far less adventuresome and liked her creature comforts. So by day, she works as a facility planner. At ungodly hours in the night, she gets to draw characters who have grit. She enjoys good coffee and bad puns. She is the author and illustrator of The Outlaw and now The Ranger (Groundwood Books, August 2019), the first two books in the Crow Stories trilogy. Nancy lives in Vancouver.

Renée Watson
Some Places More Than Others, Bloomsbury Children's Books

Renée Watson is the Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Author Award-winning author of the novels Piecing Me Together, This Side of Home, What Momma Left Me, and Betty Before X, co-written with Ilyasah Shabazz, as well as two picture books: Harlem's Little Blackbird and A Place Where Hurricanes Happen. Her upcoming Some Places More Than Others will be published in September 2019 by Bloomsbury Children's Books. Watson is the founder of I, Too, Arts Collective, a nonprofit committed to nurturing underrepresented voices in the creative arts. She lives in New York City. Visit her online at, at @harlemportland on Instagram, and at @reneewauthor on Twitter.

M.L. Webb
The GayBCs, Quirk Books

M.L. Webb is an author, illustrator, and graphic designer who spends his free time getting lost in Central Park. He was born and raised in McMinnville, Tennessee, and now lives in New York City. His upcoming The GayBCs will be published by Quirk Books in October 2019.

Rebecca Kim Wells
Shatter the Sky, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers/Salaam Reads

Rebecca Kim Wells grew up in California before moving east in search of crisp autumns and snowy winters. When not writing, she works at a fiercely independent bookstore in Massachusetts and spends too much time singing along to musicals. Shatter the Sky is her debut novel and will be published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers/Salaam Reads in July 2019. Learn more at

Brendan Wenzel
A Stone Sat Still, Chronicle Books

Brendan Wenzel is an author and illustrator based in upstate New York. His debut picture book, They All Saw a Cat, was a New York Times bestseller and the recipient of a 2017 Caldecott Honor. An ardent conservationist, he is a proud collaborator with many organizations working to ensure the future of wild places and threatened species. His upcoming A Stone Sat Still will be published by Chronicle Books in August 2019.

Henry Winkler
Alien Superstar: Book #1, Amulet Books

Henry Winkler is an Emmy-award-winning actor, writer, director, and producer who has created some of the most iconic TV roles, including the Fonz in Happy Days and Gene Cousineau in Barry. The first book in his upcoming middle grade series written with Lin Oliver, Alien Superstar: Book #1, will be published by Amulet Books in September 2019.

David Yoon
Frankly in Love, Putnam

David Yoon grew up in Orange County, California, and now lives in Los Angeles with his wife, novelist Nicola Yoon, and their daughter. He drew the illustrations for Nicola's #1 New York Times bestseller Everything, Everything. Frankly in Love is his first novel and will be published by Putnam in September 2019. You can visit him at

Alyssa Zaczek
Martin McLean, Middle School Queen, Sterling Children's Books

Alyssa Zaczek is an author, playwright, and journalist who works as a features reporter for a paper in the USA Today network. Martin McLean, Middle School Queen is her debut novel, and will be published by Sterling Children's Books in January 2020. Originally from Chicago, Alyssa now lives in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Visit her online at and on Twitter @AlyssaDZaczek.

Sylvia Zéleny
The Everything I Have Lost, Cinco Puntos (dist. Consortium)

Sylvia Zéleny is a bilingual author from Sonora, México. She has published short-story collections and novels in Spanish. She received her MFA in creative writing from the University of Texas at El Paso, where she is currently a visiting writer. In 2016 she created CasaOctavia, a residence for women and LGBTQ writers from Latin America. Her Spanish works have recieved the Ciudad de La Paz Regional Story Award (Premio Regional de Cuento Ciudad de La Paz), the Emerging Narratives Award, and the Tamaulipas National Book Award (Premio Nacional de Novela Tamaulipas). She has one husband, one son, one stepson, and two cats.

Katie Zhao
The Dragon Warrior, Bloomsbury Children's Books

Katie Zhao graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in English and a minor in political science and completed her master's in accounting at the same school. As a sophomore, a story she posted on the online platform Wattpad won a Watty Award and was read by nearly one million people. Her debut novel, The Dragon Warrior, will by published by Bloomsbury Children's Books in October 2019.

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