Authors Appearing at Children's Institute 2016

An Indies Introduce Author  A Revisit & Rediscover Author

Keynote Speakers

Julia Alvarez
Where Do They Go? , Triangle Square Books

Julia Alvarez is the author of numerous books for adults and children, including How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, which was picked by New York librarians as one of 21 classics for the 21st century and Before We Were Free, which won the ALA's Pura Belpre Award. She is Writer in Residence at Middlebury College, in Vermont where she lives, and co-founder of Alta Gracia, a sustainable coffee farm and literacy center in the Dominican Republic. 

Dave Barry
The Worst Night Ever, Disney-Hyperion

Dave Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author of more than two dozen books including the just-released You Can Date When You're 40. Along with Ridley Pearson, he is the co-author of the Peter and the Starcatchers series and Science Fair. His upcoming title, The Worst Night Ever, will be published by Disney-Hyperion in April, 2016. Dave, his wife Michelle and their family live in Miami, Florida. Visit him online at

Kate DiCamillo
Raymie Nightingale, Candlewick

Kate DiCamillo is one of America’s most beloved storytellers. She was the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and is a two-time Newbery Medalist. Her newest title, Raymie Nightingale, will be published by Candlewick in April, 2016. Born in Philadelphia, she grew up in Florida and now lives in Minneapolis, where she faithfully writes two pages a day, five days a week.

Featured Presenters

Jeff James

Jeff James is Vice President and General Manager of Disney Institute. In this role, he has responsibility for bringing custom solutions grounded in the time-tested success and insights from The Walt Disney Company to Fortune 500 companies as well as small businesses around the globe. Based in Celebration, Fla., Jeff leads a global team of Disney subject-matter experts who engage with clients to implement and sustain culture change initiatives through Disney’s proprietary approach. With 20 years of Disney experience leading a broad range of Disney businesses and operations, Jeff is an expert in the Company’s successful core competencies of leadership, customer experience, and employee engagement.

Jeff served as Vice President and Managing Director for Disney Destinations International. Based in London, he led marketing, sales, public relations, and finance functions efforts across the United Kingdom and Ireland for the portfolio of assets within the Parks and Resorts line of business.

Jeff holds a B.S. in Business/Commercial Recreation from the University of Colorado and several professional licenses in the Sales, Insurance and Real Estate fields. His writing on Disney business insights can be read on Talking Point, The Disney Institute Blog.

Kristen McLean

Kristen McLean is the Director of New Business Development at Nielsen Book, a part of Nielsen Entertainment. She is a twenty year veteran of the publishing industry. Since 2010, she has edited Nielsen Book's deep-dive consumer study of the children's book market, Children's Books in the Digital World. In 2013, she co-chaired O'Reilly Media's Author (R)evolution Day, a Tools of Change conference for professional authors and creators, and in 2014 she became the co-chair of Nielsen's Children's Book Summit. In 2015 she launched the Nielsen Christian Summit, and she continues to oversee both the Children's and Christian verticals for Nielsen Book.

Kristen lectures extensively on issues facing the publishing. She regularly presents at national and international conferences including IDPF, Digital Book World, Editech, Bologna Children's Book Fair, Writer's Digest, Muse & the Marketplace, and Book Expo America (BEA).Prior to joining Nielsen she was the founder and CEO of Bookigee.

Before founding Bookigee, Kristen was the Executive Director of the Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC), a non-profit trade association founded in 1984 that networks the children’s book industry. Under Kristen’s leadership, ABC merged with its sister association, the American Booksellers Association (ABA) in 2011, where its work continues. Find out more at

Kristen is deeply interested in the confluence of emerging consumer behavior, technology, literacy, and global transformation in the Digital Age.

Dana Suskind, M.D.
Thirty Million Words: Building a Child's Brain, Dutton/Penguin Group

Dr. Suskind is Professor of Surgery at the University of Chicago, Director of the Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program and Founder and Director of the Thirty Million Words® Initiative. Based on scientific research that shows the critical importance of early language exposure on the developing child, Thirty Million Words® helps parents enhance their home language environment in order to optimize their child’s brain development and, therefore, his or her ability to learn.

An evidence-based intervention, Thirty Million Words® is supported by a broad coalition of public and private partnerships and is an extension of Dr. Suskind’s Project ASPIRE, which she created to assure that her patients from disadvantaged backgrounds reached their full listening and spoken language potentials. Dr. Suskind’s ultimate goal, and that of her dedicated team, is to help all children reach their full potentials and to close the ever-widening achievement gap.

Appearing Authors

Jeff Anderson
Zack Delacruz: Just My Luck, Sterling Children's Books

Jeff Anderson is the author of Mechanically InclinedEveryday Editing10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know, and Revision Decisions, and Zack Delacruz: Me And My Big Mouth (Sterling Children’s Books, 2015). Zack Delacruz: Just My Luck will be published by Sterling Children's Books in October, 2016. A former elementary and middle school teacher, Jeff travels to schools across the country working with teachers and students to discover joy and power in the writing process. Visit him at or follow him on Twitter at @writeguyjeff.

Laurie Halse Anderson
Ashes, Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books

Laurie Halse Anderson is a New York Times bestselling author known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity. Her work has earned numerous ALA and state awards. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists. Chains also received the 2009 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, and Laurie was chosen for the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award. The final installment in her Seeds of American Trilogy, Ashes, will be published by Antheneum Books/Simon & Schuster in October, 2016. Mother of four and wife of one, Laurie lives in Northern New York, where she likes to watch the snow fall as she writes. You can follow her adventures on Twitter @HalseAnderson, or visit her at

Jay Asher
What Light, Razorbill

Jay Asher is the author of the Young Adult novels The Future Of Us (co-authored with Carolyn Mackler) and Thirteen Reasons Why. Thirteen Reasons Why, his first novel, was published in hardcover in October 2007, going on to spend over 200 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, with foreign rights into thirty-five countries and over 2 million copies currently in print in the U.S. alone. What Light is his newest Young Adult novel and will be published by Razorbill in October, 2016. Visit Jay's blog at and follow him on Twitter at

Kelly Barnhill
The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Algonquin Young Readers

Kelly Barnhll is the author of The Mostly True Story of Jack, Iron Hearted Violet, a Parents’ Choice Gold Award winner and an André Norton Award finalist, and The Witch’s Boy.  Her most recent title, The Girl Who Drank the Moon, will be published by Algonquin Young Readers in August, 2016.  Kelly lives in Minnesota with her husband and three children.

Chris Barton
Whoosh!, Charlesbridge

Chris Barton’s passion for writing began at an early age. As a teenager, he loved writing with his friends.  It was that love of being part of a writing community that led him to the University of Texas at Austin, where he immediately joined the staff of The Daily Texan. A few years later, he stumbled into another group of Austin writers — children's writers. Chris’s first book for young readers, The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer’s Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors, received glowing praise and many accolades, including a Robert F. Sibert Honor and was listed on Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of the Year.  Chris’s newest title, Whoosh! will be published by Charlesbridge in May, 2016. He lives in Austin, Texas. 

Kate Beasley
Gertie's Leap to Greatness, FSG Books for Young Readers

Kate Beasley holds a masters in writing for children and young adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives with her family in Claxton, Georgia, with two dogs, one parrot, lots of cows, and a cat named Edgar. Gertie’s Leap to Greatness is her first novel and will be published by Farrar, Straus and Grioux (BYR). You can follow her on Twitter @_katebeasley.

Robert Beatty
Serafina and the Twisted Staff, Disney-Hyperion

Robert Beatty lives in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, with his wife and three daughters. He writes full-time now and is the author of the popular middle grade series Serafina, but in his past lives he was one of the pioneers of cloud computing, the founder/CEO of Plex Systems, the co-founder of Beatty Robotics, and the CTO and chairman of Narrative magazine. Serafina and the Twisted Staff, will be published by Disney-Hyperion in July, 2016. Visit him online at

Steve Bloom
The Stand-In, Carolrhoda Lab

A working screenwriter for TV and movies for over 30 years, Steve Bloom attended Brown University and the graduate film production program at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. Among his produced credits are the films The Sure Thing, Tall Tale, James and the Giant Peach, and Jack FrostThe Stand-In is his first novel and will be published by Carolrhoda Books, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group, in October, 2016. Bloom lives in western Massachusetts with his wife, Jennifer, and their French bulldog, Ricky.

Zoraida Córdova
Labyrinth Lost, Sourcebooks Fire

Zoraida Córdova was born in Ecuador and raised in New York City. She studied English Literature at Hunter College and the University of Montana. She is the author of The Vicious Deep trilogy. Her latest young adult novel, Labyrinth Lost, will be published in September, 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire. Visit Zoraida online at

Melissa de la Cruz
Something in Between, Seventeen Fiction from Harlequin Teen

Melissa de la Cruz is known for her critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens, including the Au Pairs and the Blue Bloods series, which have more than three million copies in print. Her adult title, Witches of East End, spawned a hit television show on the Lifetime network and her latest novel, The Isle of the Lost— the prequel to Descendants, a Disney Channel original movie—has been on the New York Times bestseller list for over thirty-six consecutive weeks since its publication. Her upcoming title, Something in Between, which will be published in September, 2016, launches the joint imprint between Harlequin and Seventeen magazine, Seventeen Fiction from Harlequin Teen.

Michael Dante DiMartino
Rebel Genius, Roaring Brook Press

Michael Dante DiMartino is best known for co-creating, executive producing, and story-editing the animated TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, both on Nickelodeon. He is now adding prose fiction to his packed resume with a new fantasy series called Rebel Genius, which will be published by Roaring Brook Press in October, 2016.

Madeleine Dunphy
Cat in the Night, Web of Life Children's Books/Perseus Books Group
Madeleine Dunphy is the author of Here Is the African Savanna, The Peregrine’s Journey: A Story of Migration, At Home with the Gopher Tortoise: The Story of a Keystone Species and several other children’s books about nature. Her latest children’s book, Cat in the Night, will be published in September, 2016 by Web of Life Children’s Books and distributed by Perseus Books Group. Madeleine lives in Oakland, CA with her husband, daughter, dog, and two cats. See all of Madeleine’s books at
Sandra Evans
This is Not a Werewolf Story, Atheneum

Sandra Evans drew inspiration for This Is Not a Werewolf Story from cultural sources, including the “sympathetic werewolf” stories of twelfth-century France, Celtic myths, and the folklore of the Pacific Northwest. She wrote the novel for (and with input from) her son. Sandra is a native of Whidbey Island and earned her doctorate in French literature from the University of Washington. This Is Not a Werewolf Story is a Summer Fall 2016 Indies Introduce title and will be published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers in July, 2016.

Matthew Forsythe
The Gold Leaf, Enchanted Lion Books

Born in Toronto, Matt grew up in London, England, and has worked in Dublin, Seoul and Los Angeles. His first comic, Ojingogo (Drawn & Quarterly), was nominated for an Eisner Award. The first picture book he illustrated, My Name is Elizabeth (Kid's Can Press), was a New York Times Notable picture book. He was also the Lead Designer on the show, Adventure Time, at Cartoon Network in L.A.  He is the illustrator of the upcoming picture book, The Gold Leaf, by Kristen Hall, which will be published by Enchanted Lion in the Spring of 2017.  Matt lives with his dog in Montreal where he designs animated shows for TV and makes books.

Paula Garner
Phantom Limbs, Candlewick

Paula Garner lives in Chicago with her family and their psychotic cat. Phantom Limbs is her first novel and will be published by Candlewick in September, 2016. 

Donna Gephart
Lily and Dunkin, Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Donna Gephart’s award-winning novels are packed with humor and heart. They include Death by Toilet PaperOlivia Bean, Trivia QueenHow to Survive Middle-School; and As if Being 12-3/4 Isn’t Bad Enough, My Mother Is Running for President! Lily and Dunkin is Donna’s newest book which will be published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers in May, 2016. Donna is a popular speaker at schools, conferences, and book festivals. For reading guides, resources, writing tips, and more, visit

Adam Gidwitz
An Inquisitor's Tale, Dutton Books for Young Readers

Adam Gidwitz is the author of the critically-acclaimed, New York Times bestselling Grimm trilogy. His debut novel, A Tale Dark & Grimm was an E. B. White Read Aloud Finalist and a selection on the Today Show's Al's Book Club for Kids. His books have been on countless state award and “Best of” lists. A former teacher at St. Ann’s in Brooklyn, Adam now writes full time. Adam is one of the most sought-after speakers in the business and he has met thousands of kids across the country. Adam spent a year in France researching An Inquisitor’s Tale, which will be published by Penguin Young Readers in the fall of 2016. He lives with his family in Brooklyn, NY.

Jeff Giles
The Edge of Everything, Bloomsbury

Jeff Giles grew up in Cohasset, Massachusetts. Most recently, he was the Deputy Managing Editor of Entertainment Weekly, where he oversaw all coverage of movies and books, including the magazine’s championing of YA fiction. Jeff has written for Rolling Stone and The New York Times Book Review. He also co-authored The Terrorist's Son, a nonfiction book that won an Alex award from the American Library Association. While reporting on the Lord of the Rings movies for Newsweek, Jeff was invited to be an extra in The Return of the King. He played a Rohan soldier, and—because he didn’t have a beard or mustache—they glued yak hair to his face. Jeff’s upcoming title, The Edge of Everything, will be published by Bloomsbury in January, 2017.  He lives with his family in Montana. 

William Grill
The Wolves of Currumpaw, Flying Eye Books

William Grill is the writer and artist of Flying Eye’s book The Wolves of Currumpaw, which will be published in July, 2016.

Margot Harrison
The Killer in Me, Disney-Hyperion

Margot Harrison is an award-winning journalist and author, whose fiction has appeared, among other places, in The Saint Ann's Review. Her first novel, The Killer in Me, is a Summer Fall 2016 Indies Introduce selection and will be published by Disney- Hyperion in July, 2016. 

Nadia Hashimi
One Half from the East, HarperCollins

Nadia Hashimi is the internationally bestselling author of The Pearl that Broke its Shell and When the Moon Is Low. She was born and raised in New York and New Jersey. In 2002, Nadia made her first trip to Afghanistan with her parents, who were both born there and left in the early 1970s, before the Soviet invasion. She is a pediatrician and lives with her husband and their four children in the Washington D.C. suburbs. One Half from the East is Nadia’s first novel for young readers and will be published by HarperCollins Children’s Books in September, 2016.

Tracey Hecht
The Ominous Eye (The Nocturnals, Book 2), Fabled Films Press

Tracey Hecht is a writer and entrepreneur who has written, directed, and produced for film. She splits her time between Oquossoc, Maine and New York City. The Nocturnals is her first middle grade series and will be published by Fabled Films Press, and distributed by Consortium Book Sales & Distribution, in April, 2016. Visit the series website at:

Ryan T. Higgins
Mother Bruce, Disney-Hyperion

Ryan T. Higgins is an author/illustrator residing in Southern Maine. He lives with his three dogs, three cats, two geckos, one tortoise, one son, one daughter, and one wife. He has wanted to be a cartoonist since as far back as he can remember. (Actually, that’s not entirely true, he wanted to be a tiger until he was three, but, sadly, that didn't really pan out.) Ryan’s first picture book, Wilfred, was named a 2013 Wanda Gág Read Aloud Honor Book. He is the author of the Mother Bruce and Bruce Hotel, which will be published by Disney-Hyperion in October, 2016. Visit Ryan online at

Jory John
Penguin Problems, Random House Books for Young Readers

Jory John is an author, a journalist, and an educator living in Portland, Oregon. Jory is the creator and coauthor of the bestselling All My Friends Are Dead, which has sold more than 200,000 copies. His upcoming book, Penguin Problems, will be published by Random House Books for Young Readers in September, 2016. For 10 years, Jory worked as a seasonal camp counselor at a performing arts and circus camp, where he taught songwriting, guitar, juggling, and writing.

Christine Kendall
Riding Chance, Scholastic

Christine Kendall studied children's literature at the Southampton Writers' Conference, and was named a semifinalist in the 2014 River Styx Micro-Fiction Contest. Before becoming an author, Christine worked in talent management, where she coordinated the NAACP 50th anniversary commemoration of the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision. Riding Chance is her first novel and will be published by Scholastic Press in October, 2016. She lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

S.J. Kincaid
The Diabolic, Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers

S.J. Kincaid originally wanted to be an astronaut, but a dearth of mathematical skills turned her interest to science fiction instead. Her debut novel, Insignia, was shortlisted for the Waterstones prize. Its sequels, Vortex and Catalyst, have received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Booklist. Her upcoming release, The Diabolic, will be published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers in November, 2016. She’s chronically restless and has lived in California, Alabama, New Hampshire, Oregon, Chicago, and Scotland with no signs of staying in one place anytime soon.

Justine Larbalestier
My Sister Rosa, Soho Teen

Justine Larbalestier is the Australian-American author of many novels, including the award-winning Razorhurst and Liar, which both received four starred reviews. Her upcoming Young Adult novel, My Sister Rosa, will be published by Soho Teen in November, 2016. Justine lives in Sydney, Australia, and New York City, though not at the same time. You can find her on Twitter @JustineLavaworm and her website,

Sungju Lee
Every Falling Star, Amulet Books

Sungju Lee speaks across Europe, Asia, and North America about his experiences and about North Korean political social issues. He lives in South Korea but studies in England. Every Falling Star, is a Summer/Fall 2016 Children's Indies Introduce title and will be published by Amulet Books in September, 2016.

Arthur A. Levine
What a Beautiful Morning, Running Press Kids

Arthur A. Levine has published poetry and picture books for young readers including Monday is One Day, illustrated by Julian Hector, and All the Lights in the Night, illustrated by James Ransome. He is also the editor and publisher of many well-known and beloved books for young people including J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. What a Beautiful Morning is his most recent title and will be published by Running Press Kids in August, 2016. Arthur lives in the New York metropolitan area with his family.

Ethan Long
Lion & Tiger & Bear: Tag! You're It!, Abrams

Ethan Long is the award-winning and internationally recognized author and illustrator of over 65 children’s books, as well as the creator of the Emmy-nominated series Tasty Time with ZeFronk on Playhouse Disney. Long won the Geisel Award for his picture book Up, Tall, and High! His newest picture book, Lion & Tiger & Bear: Tag! You’re It!, will be published by Harry N. Abrams in March, 2016. He lives with his wife, author Heather Long, and their three children in Orlando, Florida. Learn more about the author at

Mike Lowery
Doodle Adventures: The Search for Slimy Space Slugs, Workman

Mike Lowery’s work has been seen on everything from greeting cards to children’s books—and Workman’s Kid’s Awesome Activity Calendar. His forthcoming title, Doodle Adventures: The Search for Slimy Space Slugs, will be published by Workman in May, 2016. Mike is a professor of illustration at the Savannah College of Art and Design Atlanta.

Amy Lukavics
The Women in the Walls, Harlequin

Amy Lukavics is a natural storyteller who arrived on the literary scene to great critical acclaim and rabid fan fervor. Her debut novel, Daughters Unto Devils, a Halloween Book Festival Award Honorable Mention, was described by Booklist as “a creepy read that mashes Laura Ingalls Wilder’s prairie purity with Stephen King’s most frightful horror.” She lives in Prescott, Arizona, along with her husband and children. When she isn’t reading or writing creepy stories, she enjoys cooking, crafting and playing many video games. Women in the Walls, her next title, will be published by Harlequin in September, 2016.

Kevin McCloskey
The Real Poop on Pigeons, TOON Books

Kevin McCloskey teaches illustration at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. The Real Poop on Pigeons is McCloskey’s follow up to We Dig Worms, a School Library Journal top 10 Graphic Novel of 2015, and will be published by TOON Books in April, 2016. Kevin learned about pigeons from Vinnie Torre, one of Hoboken’s last pigeon racers. He dedicated this book to his children, even if his daughter is a little skittish on the subject since a flock of pigeons descended on the family during a visit to London’s Trafalgar Square.

Katharine McGee
The Thousandth Floor, HarperCollins

Katharine McGee is originally from Houston, Texas. She studied French at Princeton and then moved to Manhattan, where she began her publishing career at HarperCollins and later joined the Alloy Entertainment editorial team. After three years of plotting, outlining, and generally having far more fun than anyone ought to at work, she pitched a concept called “skyscraper city,” and knew immediately that it was something she wanted to write. Currently, she is pursuing an MBA at Stanford University. The Thousandth Floor is her first novel and will be published byHarperCollins in August, 2016.

Juana Medina
Juana and Lucas, Candlewick

Juana Medina was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. She is the illustrator of Smick!, by Doreen Cronin. Juana and Lucas is her first solo project and will be published by Candlewick in September, 2016. Juana Medina has studied and taught at the Rhode Island School of Design and now teaches at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at George Washington University. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Kate Messner
The Seventh Wish, Bloomsbury

Kate Messner is the award-winning author of more than twenty books for young readers. Her books have been honored with the E.B. White Read Aloud Medal, SCBWI's Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Text, and two SCBWI Crystal Kite awards. Kate has been included on the New York Times Notable, ALSC Notable, CBC Outstanding Trade Books for Science, and Bank Street College's Best Books for Children lists. She has been nominated for fourteen state book awards.  Kate spoke at the 2012 TED Conference and is a frequent presenter at schools, libraries, and conferences for writers and educators. Her most recent title, The Seventh Wish, will be published by Bloomsbury in June, 2016. She lives on Lake Champlain with her family. 

Lisa Moore
Flannery, Groundwood Books

Lisa Moore is the acclaimed author of February, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and selected as one of The New Yorker’s Best Books of the Year. Her novel, Alligator, was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and won the Commonwealth Fiction Prize (Canada and the Caribbean). She is a three-time finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, most recently for her novel, Caught, which was a national bestseller. Lisa has written for Elle and The Guardian, and her work has been translated into Italian, Spanish, Russian, German, Turkish and French. Her upcoming Young Adult novel, Flannery, will be published by Groundwood Books in May, 2016. She teaches creative writing at Memorial University.

Sonia Patel
Rani Patel in Full Effect, Cinco Puntos Press

Sonia Patel is a psychiatrist who works with children and adults. She trained at Stanford University and the University of Hawaii. She lives and practices in Hawaii. Her first young adult novel, Rani Patel in Full Effect, will be published by Cinco Puntos Press and distributed by Consortium Books Sales & Distribution in September, 2016.

Eddie Pittman
Red's Planet, Amulet Books

Eddie Pittman is the author and illustrator of Red’s Planet, which will be published by Amulet Books in April, 2016 and is a Spring 2016 Kids’ Indie Next List pick. For more than 25 years, Eddie has been a professional cartoonist, working in animation, comics, and illustration. He began his animation career with Walt Disney Feature Animation, working on Mulan, Tarzan, Fantasia 2000, The Emperor’s New Groove, and Lilo & Stitch. He made his directing debut with Legends of the Night Sky: Orion, the world’s first full dome (360°x 180°) traditionally animated movie. Most recently, Eddie was a writer and story-artist for Disney’s hit series, Phineas and Ferb and made the jump into voice acting for Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars. He now has the distinction of being the only cartoonist to play the voice of Darth Vader. He resides in Central Florida.

James Ponti
Framed! A Florian Bates Mystery, Aladdin

James Ponti was born in Italy, raised in Florida, and went to college in California. After receiving a degree in screenwriting from the USC Film School, he began a career writing and producing television shows for the likes of Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, PBS, Spike TV, History Channel, and Golf Channel. James loves writing, travel, and the Boston Red Sox. His new book, Framed! A Florian Bates Mystery, will be published by Aladdin in August, 2016. He lives with his family in Maitland, Florida. See more at:

Sarah Porter
Vassa in the Night, Tor Teen

Sarah Porter is the author of the Young Adult Lost Voices Trilogy (Lost VoicesWaking StormsThe Twice Lost) in addition to her newest YA novel, Vassa in the Night,  which will be published by Tor Teen/Macmillan in September, 2016. For over ten years she has taught creative writing workshops in New York City public schools to students in grades K-10. Porter also works as a VJ, both solo and with the art collective Fort/Da; she has played venues including Roseland, Galapagos, Tonic, Joe’s Pub, The Hammerstein Ballroom, The Nokia Theater, and the Burning Man festival. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two cats.

Rachel Ruiz
When Penny Met POTUS, Capstone Young Readers

After working for President Barack Obama on his re-election campaign in 2012 (and fielding unending questions from her 3-year-old daughter about POTUS), Rachel Ruiz was inspired to write When Penny Met POTUS, which will be published by Capstone Young Readers in July, 2016. Her debut picture book is an adventure in imagination and a perfect introduction to politics for young readers. Rachel lives in Chicago with her husband and daughter.

David Shannon
Duck on a Tractor, The Blue Sky Press

David Shannon is the internationally acclaimed creator of more than thirty picture books, including No, David!, a Caldecott Honor Book and his second New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year, and three more David picture books. Shannon's bestsellers include A Bad Case of Stripes, Duck on a Bike, and his recent Bugs in My Hair! David's upcoming release, Duck on a Tractor, will be published by The Blue Sky Press in September, 2016. He lives in California with his family.

Jordan Sonnenblick
Falling Over Sideways, Scholastic Press

Jordan Sonnenblick is the author of the acclaimed Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie, Notes from the Midnight Driver,Zen and the Art of Faking It, and the sequel to Drums called After Ever After. His newest title, Falling Over Sideways, will be published by Scholastic Press is September, 2016. He lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with his wife and two children.

Christina Soontornvat
The Changelings, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Christina Soontornvat spent her childhood in small Texas towns, eagerly awaiting the fairies to come and kidnap her. They never came, but she still believes magical things can happen to ordinary people. She has a BS in mechanical engineering, an MS in science education, and has worked in the science education field for ten years. She lives with her family in Austin, Texas. Her debut middle grade novel, The Changelings, will be published in September, 2016 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky.

Trenton Lee Stewart
The Secret Keepers, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Trenton Lee Stewart is the author of the award-winning and New York Times bestselling Mysterious Benedict Society series. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas. His newest book, The Secret Keepers, will be published in September, 2016 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Denise Grover Swank
One Paris Summer, Blink

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states and ten houses over the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English and smattering of Spanish and Chinese which she learned through an intensive Nick Jr. immersion period. Her hobbies include witty Facebook comments (in own her mind) and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you believe her offspring.) Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks. She has six children and hasn't lost her sanity. Or so she leads you to believe. Hew newest title, One Paris Summer, will be published by Blink and distributed by Ingram Publisher Services in June, 2016.

Kevin Sylvester
Super-Duper Monster Viewer, Groundwood Books

Kevin Sylvester is an award-winning illustrator, writer, and broadcaster. He writes and illustrates everything from murder mysteries and science fiction to books on sports and financial literacy. His non-fiction titles include Follow Your Money, Baseballogy, Sports Hall of Weird, and Gold Medal for Weird. He is the author of Splinters, a 2013 Blue Spruce Honour Book and the bestselling Neil Flambé series. Book one of his new science fiction series, MiNRs, released in the fall of 2015. Kevin’s newest picture book, Super-Duper Monster Viewer, is his second picture book and will be published by Groundwood Books in March, 2016.

Booki Vivat
Frazzled, HarperCollins

Booki Vivat has been doodling somewhat seriously since 2011 and not-so-seriously since childhood. She grew up in Southern California and graduated from the University of California, San Diego. She currently works in publishing and lives in Brooklyn, New York. Frazzled is her first novel and will be published by HarperCollins in September, 2016.

Carole Boston Weatherford
Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America, Albert Whitman

Carole Boston Weatherford is the author of several acclaimed poetry collections and poetic biographies, including Sugar Hill and Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, winner of a Caldecott Honor, the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration, and the NAACP Image Award. Her most recent title, Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America, was published by Albert Whitman & Company in February, 2015. She teaches at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina. You can learn more about Carole Boston Weatherford by visiting

Brendan Wenzel
They All Saw a Cat, Chronicle Books

Brendan Wenzel is an illustrator based in Brooklyn, NY. His work has appeared internationally in children’s books, animations, and magazines. An ardent conservationist, he is a proud collaborator with many organizations working to ensure the future of wild places and threatened species, especially within Southeast Asia. His upcoming picture book, They All Saw a Cat, will be published by Chronicle Books in August, 2016.

Wade Albert White
The Adventurer's Guide to Successful Escapes, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Wade Albert White hails from Nova Scotia, Canada. In addition to writing, Wade teaches part-time, dabbles in animation and filmmaking, and is a stay-at-home dad. He lives in Canada with his wife, sons, and cat. His debut novel, The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes will be published in September, 2016 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Mo Willems
The Thank You Book, Disney-Hyperion

Mo Willems (, a number one New York Times best-selling author and illustrator, has been awarded a Caldecott Honor on three occasions, for Don¹t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, and Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity. The celebrated Elephant & Piggie early-reader series has been awarded the Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal on two occasions (for There Is a Bird on Your Head! and Are You Ready to Play Outside?) as well as garnering five Geisel Honors (for We Are in a Book!I Broke My Trunk!, Let¹s Go for a Drive!, A Big Guy Took My Ball!, and Waiting Is Not Easy!). The newest installment in the Elephant & Piggie series, The Thank You Book, will be published by Disney-Hyperion in May, 2016.

Kari-Lynn Winters
Good Pirate, Pajama Press

Kari-Lynn Winters is an author, poet, and performer. With over sixteen picture and poetry books published, she has won the British Columbia Book Prize silver medal twice, for Jeffrey and Sloth and On My Walk, and has been nominated numerous times for the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize and the Chocolate Lily Awards. Her 2015 title Bad Pirate received a starred review from Kirkus, which called it “Arrrrguably the best piratical dogfight you’ll ever sink your teeth into.” Her forthcoming Pajama Press title, Good Pirate, will be published in September, 2016 and distributed by Ingram Publisher Services. Kari-Lynn loves being in the classroom and now teaches drama in education at Brock University. She lives in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.

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