Your Regional Conference Faculty
Salina Yoon, Author/Illustrator
Salina Yoon is the award-winning author and illustrator of over 160 books for children. Her most recent award was the 2018 Geisel Honor for My Kite is Stuck and Other Stories (A Duck Duck Porcupine! Book). As the Kohl’s Cares featured author for summer 2016, seven of her books (nearly 1 million units), and four plush animals based on her characters, were sold nationwide in Kohl’s stores that year. She is the author and illustrator of the six-book Penguin picture book series that begins with Penguin and Pinecone, the creator of the picture book series featuring Bear, that includes Found, Stormy Night, and Bear’s Big Day (Bloomsbury), and the early reader series beginning with Duck Duck Porcupine (Bloomsbury). You can read more about Salina and her projects at www.salinayoon.com.
Jane Yolen, often called “the Hans Christian Andersen of America,” celebrated her 365th published book in 2018. Her works, which range from very young rhymed picture books to novels for adults and every genre in between, have won an assortment of awards including two Nebulas, a World Fantasy Award, a Caldecott, the Golden Kite, three Mythopoeic awards, two Christopher Medals, the Jewish Book Award, the Kerlan Award, and the Catholic Library’s Regina Medal, as well as six honorary doctorates from six different colleges and universities. She lives in Massachusetts in the winter and Scotland in the summer. She writes every day. One of her awards set her good coat on fire. Follow her on twitter @janeyolen #Yolen365 or on facebook and visit her website: www.janeyolen.com
Carole Boston Weatherford is the New York Times best-selling author of over 50 books, including the Caldecott Honor winners Freedom in Congo Square, Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, and Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom. She won a Coretta Scott King Author Honor for the verse novel Becoming Billie Holiday, an NAACP Image Award for Moses and for Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award for Birmingham, 1963, the Arnold Adoff Early Poetry Award for The Legendary Miss Lena Horne, and an SCBWI Golden Kite and WNDB Walter Award for Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library. She teaches at Fayetteville State University In North Carolina.
Yolanda Scott is associate publisher and editorial director at Charlesbridge, where she has edited more than 200 titles since 1995. Yolanda has worked with authors and illustrators such as Eve Bunting, Kathryn Lasky, Rafael López, David McPhail, Wendell Minor, Linda Sue Park, Don Tate, Duncan Tonatiuh, and Jane Yolen. She is adjunct faculty in the children’s literature program at Simmons University; president-elect of the Children’s Book Council, where she also served on the CBC Diversity Committee; a nonfiction writing mentor for We Need Diverse Books; a founding member of Children’s Books Boston; and a 2016 Publishers Weekly Star Watch Top 40 Honoree. Find her at www.charlesbridge.com and @yoscottbooks
Cheryl Klein is the editorial director at Lee & Low Books, the nation’s largest multicultural publisher for children, where she edits everything from picture books to young adult novels. She is also the author of the adult book The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults and the forthcoming picture books Wings, illustrated by Tomie dePaola, and Thunder Trucks, co-written with Katy Beebe and illustrated by Mike Boldt. Please visit her website at www.cherylklein.com and follow her at @chavelaque.
Jill Davis, (Editor)
Jill Davis is an executive editor at HarperCollins, and works almost exclusively on illustrated books for all ages from baby to teen: including board books, picture books, illustrated chapter books, illustrated nonfiction, and novelty. Her authors and illustrators come from everywhere, including far away California and Washington state, the chilly midwest, down south where people talk funny, the lobster-loving east coast, up north in Canada, and way over there, in Italy, France, Australia, and the UK. She currently overseas the Harold and the Purple Crayon program and Seymour Simon’s nonfiction program. Authors and illustrators Jill works with consistently include: Beatrice Alemagna, Daniel Bernstrom, Serge Bloch, Elise Gravel, Alison Friend, Constance Lombardo, Kyo Maclear, Julie Morstad, Tammi Sauer, Zoe Waring, and Brendan Wenzel.
Linda Camacho, Agent
Linda Camacho graduated from Cornell with a B.S. in Communication and has held various positions at Penguin Random House, Dorchester, Simon and Schuster, Writers House, and Prospect Agency. She’s done everything from foreign rights to editorial to marketing to operations, and received her MFA in writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Now at Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency, Linda is looking for MG, YA, and adult fiction across all genres (especially upmarket, women’s fiction/romance, and literary horror); she’s also seeking select picture book and graphic novel writer-illustrators.
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. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sarah Aronson began writing for kids and teens when someone in an exercise class dared her to try. Since then, she has earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and published three stand alone novels: Head Case, Beyond Lucky, and Believe. Her most recent books are part of a new young MG series, The Wish List (Scholastic, 2017-2019) as well as a forthcoming picture book biography, Just Like Rube Goldberg (Beach Lane Books), illustrated by Robert Neubecker. When Sarah is not writing or reading (or cooking or riding her bike), she is talking to readers about creativity, writing, social action, and of course, sparkle power! She loves working with other writers in one of her classes at the amazing Highlights Foundation or Writers on the Net (www.writers.com). She is the cofounder of the Writing Novels for Young People Retreat at VCFA, and is now the PAL coordinator for SCBWI Illinois, where she is developing a new initiative, Read Local. Just a warning: Sarah overuses exclamation points. When she’s excited, she talks with her hands. Find out more at www.saraharonson.com.
Christy Tugeau Ewers is one half of the agenting team at The CAT Agency, where she represents 36 illustrators and author/illustrators, along with her mother and partner, Chris Tugeau, who founded the agency 25 years ago. The CAT Agency is a boutique agency that believes in the hands-on approach in representing a diverse group of talent from all over the world. Christy works closely with the entire “family” of artists; spearheading the promotion and deals for CAT Agency illustrators, as well as working closely with the authors in the group to help craft their stories and hone their writing for young readers.
Kandace Coston is the assistant editor at Lee & Low Books, an independent, multicultural children’s book publisher. She grew up in the Bronx, New York, where she spent weekends reading stories and writing her own. After graduating from Barnard College, she won an internship grant from We Need Diverse Books, a non-profit organization that advocates change in the publishing industry, and joined the Lee & Low team. Kandace enjoys working with new authors and helping their manuscripts evolve into picture books. Professionally and personally, Kandace loves books about strong female protagonists as well as any story that can make her laugh.
Tina Dubois, Agent
Tina Dubois is a literary agent at ICM Partners, specializing in middle grade and young adult fiction. She’s looking for diverse voices/#ownvoices. She’s fond of complex family dynamics, nerd humor, feminist love stories, intricate plotting, and dangerous magic. Noteworthy titles include the New York Times bestseller The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine by Mark Twain, Philip Stead, and Caldecott Medal Winner Erin Stead (representing Twain); Stonewall Book Award Winner Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert; and National Book Award Longlist Selection Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder. She has an MFA in poetry and lives in Brooklyn, NY with her two children. @tinaduboisny
Stephen Fraser, Agent
Stephen Fraser is a literary agent with the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in New York City, a full-service agency which handles both juvenile and adult books. Stephen has been voted top agent for both picture books and middle grade fiction. One of his clients, Margi Preus, won the Newbery Honor Medal for her novel, Heart of a Samurai (Abrams/Amulet, 2010); another client, Carol Lynch Williams, won the prestigious PEN International Award for her young adult novel Glimpse (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, 2010); and former client Matthew J. Kirby, won both the Edgar award for best juvenile mystery and the PEN USA award for children’s literature for his middle grade novel, Icefall (Scholastic, 2011). Stephen has been an agent for fourteen years. With more than twenty-five years’ editorial experience at major publishers including HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Scholastic, Stephen edited such creative talents as Mary Engelbreit, Gail Gibbons, Michael Hague, Ann Rinaldi, Kathryn Lasky, Brent Hartinger, Stephen Mitchell, Dan Gutman, Gregory Maguire, and Daniel Pinkwater. He is a graduate of Middlebury College in Vermont with a degree in English Literature and has a Master’s Degree in Children’s Literature from Simmons College in Boston.
Rob Sanders is a teacher who writes, and a writer who teaches. A native of Springfield, Missouri, Rob worked for fifteen years in children’s religious educational publishing as a writer, educational consultant, trainer, editor, editorial group manager, and product developer. These days you’ll find him teaching fourth graders about books and words and reading and. Working daily with children inspired Rob to pursue his own writing career. He is the author of Cowboy Christmas, Outer Space Bedtime Race (Crystal Kite Award), Ruby Rose—Off to School She Goes, Ruby Rose—Big Bravos, and Rodzilla (Florida Gold Medal for Younger Children’s Literature). Rob’s nonfiction writing includes: Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag and Peaceful Fights for Equal Rights. In April 2019, his book, Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution will release. Also in 2019, watch for Ball & Balloon, as Rob returns to fiction. Rob also organizes meetings for SCBWI Florida members in the Tampa Bay area, and coaches and critiques other picture book writers. He is represented by Rubin Pfeffer.
Marjetta Geerling, Author
Marjetta Geerling has over twenty years of experience in the field of education and has taught writing to every age group from kindergarten to senior citizen. She was named Teacher of the Year during her twelve years in elementary education, then moved to her current position as an Assistant Professor of English at Broward College where she’s twice been named Professor of the Year. She is a frequent guest lecturer at Spalding University’s M.F.A. in Writing program and has led numerous workshops for local libraries, literary arts festivals, Florida Center for the Literary Arts, Florida Writers’ Association, and the University of Miami’s Writing Institute. She is the author of the young adult novel Fancy White Trash (Viking, 2008), a 2009 BBYA and Rainbow List selection, and has presented at over a dozen SCBWI-Florida area meetings and state conferences. She has a three-book romantic comedy series forthcoming from Sourcebooks in 2020.
Bonnie Bader has written over 45 books for young people including 6 books in the popular Who Was? series and several licensed tie-ins. Some of her titles include: Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.?, Who Was Jacqueline Kennedy?, My Little Golden Book of Sharks, and Fly, Butterfly. She was the Associate Publisher at Penguin Young Readers for 14 years, where she edited many best-selling series and created the Penguin Young Readers leveled-reading program. Currently, Bonnie serves on the Board of Advisors for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and acts as the Publishing Advisor for the Society. In addition, Bonnie teaches classes to published and pre-published authors and illustrators. Bonnie holds a Master of Science in Education, and loves visiting classrooms to share her love of reading and writing.
First Books Panel
Samantha Caprio-Negret graduated with a B.S. in Journalism from Florida International University in 2003. She wrote and reported entertainment scripts that were aired on FOX WSVN 7 in Miami and OWL Radio at Florida Atlantic University in Boca. She has been writing short stories and poetry since she was a kid, after learning that her favorite grandmother was a poet. Her middle-grade, fantasy, Rainbow Crystal, was released in May 2018 with Clean Reads (Astraea Press). Her humorous, animal-talking, chapter book, Murphy: The Phat Cat, is being released with Burchette & Ferguson in August 2019.
Jan Eldredge was born and raised in Louisiana. She now lives in Florida with her husband, their children, and a house full of cats. When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading, going to theme parks, and exploring old cemeteries. She is particularly fascinated with monsters, magic, and all such eldritch things. Her debut middle-grade novel, Evangeline of the Bayou,was published by HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray in 2018.
A Cuba native raised in Miami, Silvia Lopez served as children’s librarian at schools and public libraries for over three decades. Her picture book, Just Right Family: An Adoption Story was released by Albert Whitman Co. in March 2018. Handimals: Animals in Art and Nature, a collaboration with Italian artist Guido Daniele, is due out in April of 2019 from Macmillan/Henry Holt. Two more books, a biography and a picture book, are scheduled for release in 2020.
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.
Alex Flinn is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of twelve novels including Beastly, which has been made into a motion picture. She has six other fairy tale-based novels, A Kiss in Time, Cloaked, Bewitching, Towering, and Mirrored, a modern retelling of Snow White. Her first novel, Breathing Underwater, was named an ALA Top 10 Best Book for Young Adults and is the only novel included in Liz Clairborne’s “Love is Not Abuse” dating violence prevention curriculum for schools. Her books have received honors including Best Books for Young Adults, Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, International Reading Association Young Adult Choices, and Junior Library Guild selection, as well as local and state readers’ choice awards. She is a non-practicing attorney who lives with her husband, daughters, and way too many pets in Miami, Florida. Sometimes, she jogs. Her novel, Beheld, is the latest book about the adventures of Kendra, a 300+ year old witch, who appeared in Beastly. Look for Girls of July in June 2019.
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.
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.