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

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.

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.

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 will be 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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Jon Scieszka
AstroNuts Mission One: The Plant Planet, Chronicle Books

Jon Scieszka is known for his bestselling picture books including The True Story of the Three Little Pigs! and The Stinky Cheese Man. He is also the founder of and a champion force behind, and was the first National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature. His upcoming AstroNuts Mission One: The Plant Planet will be published by Chronicle Books in September 2019. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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.

Maggie Stiefvater
Call Down the Hawk, Scholastic Press

Maggie Stiefvater is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the novels Shiver, Linger, Forever, and Sinner. Her novel The Scorpio Races was named a Michael L. Printz Honor Book. This was followed by her acclaimed The Raven Cycle, which features the novels The Raven Boys; Dream Thieves; Blue Lily, Lily Blue; and The Raven King. She is also the author of All the Crooked Saints. Call Down the Hawk is the first book in the Dreamer Trilogy and will be published by Scholastic Press in November 2019. She lives in Virginia with her husband and their two children. You can visit her online at

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.

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, her books combine creativity with learning, 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 will be published by The Quarto Group's Frances Lincoln Children's Books imprint in May 2019.

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.

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.

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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