Workshop and Intensive Faculty
Nancy Brennan is the Art Director at Viking Children’s Books and is celebrating her seventeenth year with Viking. During her many years in graphic design she has worked with a diverse range of clients including professional sports teams and Grammy-nominated recording artists. However, her real passion is for children’s books, and at Viking she oversees all facets of the process from commissioning illustrators and art direction to cover and interior design. Nancy’s work can be seen across the entire spectrum of books for young readers including YA, non-fiction, middle grade, board books, and, of course, picture books. She has developed many award-winning books with illustrators including Molly Idle, Juana Medina, Gianna Marino, Divya Srinivasan, E.B. Lewis, and Sophie Blackall. Nancy lives in an old house in Brooklyn, surrounded by books, curiosities, and cats. Nancy will be teaching the Illustrator Intensive and the Picture Book Workshop.
Kat Brzozowski is an editor at Swoon Reads/Feiwel & Friends. She has edited a wide range of young adult fiction, including Anna-Marie McLemore’s When the Moon was Ours, which received a Stonewall Honor and was longlisted for a National Book Award, and new Fear Street books in R.L. Stine’s best-selling series, which has sold over eighty million copies worldwide. She’s also the editor for Tony Award-winning Leslie Odom Jr’s Failing Up. Kat is looking to acquire young adult fiction across a wide range of genres, especially contemporary, realistic YA with a strong hook; dark, contemporary fiction, mysteries, suspense and thrillers; and sci-fi and fantasy that’s mostly rooted in this world. She is especially interested in YA with crossover appeal, characters from marginalized backgrounds, and strong voices. Kat will be teaching the Young Adult Workshop.
Floyd Cooper began drawing on his family’s house at the age of three with pieces of plasterboard left by his father who was working on the house. Now, with more than 100 children’s books published, Floyd has established himself as a master craftsman of children’s literature and illustration. He has received numerous awards and praise for his work, including the 2009 Coretta Scott King Award for The Blacker the Berry, and three Coretta Scott King Honors (Brown Honey and Broomwheat Tea, Danitra Brown, I Have Heard of a Land.) Other awards include an NAACP Image Award (Mandela), the New Jersey Center for the Book Inaugural Award, the Jane Addams Peace Honor (Ruth and the Green Book), the Simon Wiesenthal Gold Medal 2011 (Ben and the Emancipation Proclamation), an IPPY Gold medal 2011 (Ruth and the Green Book), a New Jersey Center of the Book Award, the Pennsylvania School Librarians Outstanding Illustrator 2011, multiple ALA notables, numerous Bank Street College Book of the Year Honors, Parents’ Choice Honors, several Junior Library Guild Selections, starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus, and School Library Journal, as well as the Texas Bluebonnet Award 2011, short list, the Grand Canyon Reader Award, short list, the Georgia Book Award, shortlist, the prestigious 2012 Sankae Award of Japan for These Hands, and many more. He was also chosen as the artist for the U.S. Postal Service 2018 KWANZAA Forever stamp. This Tulsa native now makes his home in Easton, Pennsylvania with his growing family: wife Velma, sons Dayton and Kai, daughter-in-law Melissa, and grandson Niko.
Kait Feldmann is an Associate Editor at Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic, where she is building a list of picture books and graphic novels. She joined Scholastic in 2014 and gained editorial experience assisting Executive Editors Tracy Mack, Michael di Capua, Cheryl Klein, and Andrea Davis Pinkney. A few of the titles she worked on include Newbery Honor-winner Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan, New York Times bestseller The Marvels by Brian Selznick, and Ice Cream Summer by Hans Christian Anderson Award winner Peter Sís. Kait is a strong advocate for diverse representation and is always looking for meaningful, character-driven stories with humor and heart. Kait was born in Orlando, FL; grew up in Los Angeles, CA; and now resides in a hoarder’s paradise in Brooklyn, NY, surrounded by books. Follow her on Twitter @kaitfeldmann. Kait will be teaching the Novel Intensive and the Picture Book Workshop.
Janice Hardy is the award-winning author of the teen fantasy trilogy The Healing Wars, including The Shifter, Blue Fire, and Darkfall from Balzer+Bray/Harper Collins. The Shifter was chosen for the 2014 list of “Ten Books All Young Georgians Should Read” from the Georgia Center for the Book. She also writes the Grace Harper urban fantasy series for adults under the name, J.T. Hardy. When she’s not writing fiction, she runs the popular writing site Fiction University, and has written multiple books on writing, including Understanding Show, Don’t Tell (And Really Getting It). Janice will be teaching the Novel Intensive and the Science Fiction/Fantasy Workshop.
Tricia Lin joined Simon & Schuster/Aladdin in 2016 following internships with Sterling Lord Literistic, Simon & Schuster Education & Library, and Delacorte Press. At Aladdin, she has had the privilege of working with wonderful authors such as Barbara Dee and Kevin Sands. When she isn’t reading, you can find her writing, watching movies, or trying to talk people into playing board games with her. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Politics from New York University. Follow her on Twitter at . Tricia will be teaching the Middle-Grade Workshop.
Alexandra Penfold has been working in publishing for over a decade. Formerly an Editor at Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, she specializes in young picture books, middle-grade fiction, and young adult. Prior to becoming an editor, Alexandra was a children’s book publicist. She worked on media campaigns that appeared in USA Today, Newsweek, US News and World Report, and NPR’s All Things Considered. She’s the co-author of New York a la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple’s Best Food Trucks and the author of Eat, Sleep, Poop, illustrated by Jane Massey and We Are Brothers, We Are Friends, illustrated by Eda Kaban as well as three forthcoming picture books, for more on Alexandra’s books visit her website. Alexandra is looking to take on select lifestyle and cooking projects in addition to children’s books. Alexandra will be teaching the Picture Book Intensive and the Middle Grade Workshop.
Liz Garton Scanlon is the author of more than a dozen beloved picture books, including the Caldecott-honored and best-selling All the World, and her newest releases — Another Way to Climb a Tree and Kate, Who Tamed the Wind. She’s also published a novel for middle-grade readers, The Great Good Summer, and has a second one forthcoming. Scanlon is on the faculty of the Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a frequent and popular presenter at schools, festivals, and conferences. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her family. Liz will be teaching the Picture Book Intensive and the Picture Book Workshop.
Michael Stearns is the founder of Upstart Crow Literary. Formerly editorial director and foreign acquisitions manager for HarperCollins Children’s Books, before that he was Senior Editor, Director of Paperback Publishing for Harcourt Children’s Books. He has worked on hundreds of books for children and adults over the course of twenty years in the industry. Among the many bestselling and award-winning books he’s edited and published are A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly; Gone and Hunger by Michael Grant; Tangerine by Edward Bloor, East by Edith Pattou,The Secret Order of the Gumm Street Girls by Elise Primavera, Whales on Stilts by M.T. Anderson, Fly By Night by Frances Hardinge, the Young Wizards series by Diane Duane, and the Chet Gecko Mysteries by Bruce Hale, as well as a whole slew of books by Bruce Coville, Jane Yolen, Vivian Vande Velde, Andrew Auseon, and Ursula K. Le Guin, among others. He has taught a dozen classes on writing, published three anthologies of original stories, and is an award-winning writer of fiction for both children and adults—most recently The Blood Guard series under the pen name Carter Roy. Michael will be teaching the Picture Book Intensive and the Science Fiction/Fantasy Workshop.
Siobhan Vivian is the New York Times best-selling young adult author of Stay Sweet, The Last Boy and Girl in the World, and The List. She received her BFA in Writing for Film and Television from The University of the Arts, and her MFA in Writing for Children from The New School University. Before becoming a full-time author, Vivian worked as an editor of several best-selling novels at Alloy Entertainment and as a scriptwriter for The Little Einsteins on The Disney Channel. She currently teaches creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh. Siobhan will be teaching the Young Adult Workshop.
Lisa Yee is a former Walt Disney World writer/producer and has penned over 20 novels for young people. The recipient of the first Sid Fleischman Humor Award, her books have been named Washington Post’s Books(s) of the Week and USA Today Critics’ Top Pick. The Kidney Hypothetical is Lisa’s latest novel for teens, and Warp Speed completes her Millicent Min Series. For her most recent American Girl series, she journeyed to the Amazon rainforest in search of a baby sloth. Currently, Lisa is also the author of the DC Super Hero Girls middle-grade novel series featuring Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, and other iconic female superheroes. Lisa is also a contributor to NPR’s Best Books of the Year. Visit Lisa at www.lisayee.com. Lisa will be teaching the Novel Intensive and the Middle Grade Workshop.
Additional Critique Faculty
Toni Buzzeo is a New York Times bestselling children’s author. She has published twenty-four picture books for kids (with two more forthcoming) as well as eleven books for teachers and librarians. A former elementary school librarian and college an high school writing teacher, Toni and her books have won many awards, including a 2013 Caldecott Honor for One Cool Friend, illustrated by David Small. Her characters are sometimes human and sometimes animals whose experiences echo those of human children. Either way, her characters are as lovable as the children Toni writes for. Toni lives in Arlington, Massachusetts just downstairs from her own two lovable grandbabies (endless sources of inspiration!) and their devoted parents. For more information about Toni and her books, visit www.tonibuzzeo.com.
Danette Haworth’s debut novel won the 2012 California Young Reader Medal. Since then, her books have been shortlisted for awards and one earned a starred Kirkus Review. The most humbling and treasured honors she receives are the letters from readers who feel they’ve found themselves in her novels. Danette lives in Orlando with her family.
Lynne Marie is the author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten – art by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic, 2011), Hedgehog’s 100th Day of School – art by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic, January 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play – art by Lorna Hussey (Beaming Books, October 2018) and Moldilocks and the 3 Scares (Sterling, pending) . Her stories, poems and folk tales have appeared in magazine markets, including Family Fun, Highlights, High Five, Spider, Baby Bug and more. She was a first-round panelist for Cybils Picture Book Awards in 2016 and 2017. In addition, she’s an on-staff writer for Jon and Laura Bard’s Children’s Book Insider and a book reviewer. She lives on a lake in South Florida with her daughter, son, a Schipperke named Anakin and several resident water birds. Learn more about her at www.LiterallyLynneMarie.com.
Lorin Oberweger recently joined the Adams Literary Agency and is looking to build her list of clients. Lorin also is a highly sought-after independent book editor and ghostwriter with more than twenty-five years experience in publishing. Her company, Free Expressions, offers intensive, deep craft workshops nationwide, and her clients have placed work with every major publishing house and many important smaller presses. They have also gained representation with some of the industry’s leading literary agents. With bestselling author Veronica Rossi, Lorin is the author of the novels Boomerang, Rebound, and Bounce, published by Harper/William Morrow under the pen name Noelle August. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gloria Rothstein has been a switchboard operator, an Avon Lady, and a TV game show contestant. And she’s still hoping to add superhero, princess, and fairy godmother to her resume. She’s the author of Sheep Asleep (HarperCollins)—a picture book PBS Parents calls “hysterical;” Real-Life Writing Activities, Read Across America (Scholastic); “Curious George” cartoons; and more. Gloria has been a speaker at SCBWI Conferences, the Miami Book Fair, the Willow Theatre, and the Conference on Children’s Literature. She teaches writing workshops/camps at Sugar Sand, coaches writers, and has publishing credits with Children’s Television Workshop, Harcourt, Holt, Houghton Mifflin, Macmillan, Random House, Simon & Schuster, and others.
is a picture book author, a language arts teacher, and a coach for other picture book writers. His picture books include: Cowboy Christmas (Golden Books/Random House), Outer Space Bedtime Race (Random House Children’s Books) named one of the top 20 rhyming picture books of 2015 by KidLit TV and winner of the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, Ruby Rose—Off to School She Goes (HarperCollins), Rodzilla (Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster) and Ruby Rose, Big Bravos (HarperCollins). This year Rob will release his first nonfiction picture books. In April comes Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag (Random House Children’s Books) and in the fall Peaceful Fights for Equal Rights will release from Simon & Schuster. 2019 releases include Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution. (Random House Children’s Books) and Ball and Balloon. (Simon & Schuster). www.robsanderswrites.com
Joyce Sweeney is the author of fourteen novels for young adults and one chapbook of poetry. Her first novel, Center Line, won the First Annual Delacorte Press Prize for an Outstanding Young Adult Novel. Many of her books appear on the American Library Association’s Best Books List and Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers. Her novel Shadow won the Nevada State Reading Award in 1997. Her novel Players was chosen by Booklist as a Top Ten Sports Book and by Working Mother magazine as a Top Ten for Tweens. Her novel Headlock (Holt 2006) won a Silver Medal in the 2006 Florida Book Awards and was chosen by the American Library Association as a Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. Her first chapbook of poems, Impermanence, was published in 2008 by Finishing Line Press. She has had numerous poems, short stories, articles, and interviews published; and her play First Page Critiques was produced in 2011. Joyce has also been a writing teacher and coach for twenty-five years, beginning with teaching five-week classes for the Florida Center for the Book, moving to ongoing invitation-only workshops and finally to online classes (www.sweeneywritingcoach.com) which reach students nationally and internationally. Developing strong bonds with the students she critiques and instructs is her hallmark. She believes that writers need emotional support as well as strong, craft-based teaching if they are to make the long, arduous, but very worthwhile journey to traditional publication. At this writing, sixty of Joyce’s students have successfully made this journey and obtained traditional publishing contracts.
Sherri Winston, author of the President of… series, writes middle grade. President of the Whole Sixth Grade, Girl Code, released March 2018, is the latest to be released. It is the first of the series to receive a starred review from Kirkus. The Sweetest Sound, released in paperback in January, is a stand alone that also received a Kirkus star. Sweetest was also chosen for the 2018-19 Sunshine State Young Readers Award list. Winston is a Michigan native who can’t believe she gets to live in Orlando. She is mother to two daughters and one bossy lady pup. Her real job used to be newspaper journalist. She was twice nominated for a Pulitzer for her work as a lifestyle columnist. Now she works from home in her bunny slippers.