Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2016 Faculty



All attendees are welcome to submit to the editors and agents AFTER the conference. We will have submission guidelines for each of them in your packets including instructions to identify you as an attendee at our conference.

NOTE: Speakers who are offering 1-on-1 critiques, marketing/publicity consultations and portfolio consultations have that noted in their bios. You must register online for any of these offerings.

Alex BarbaAlex Barba is an agent and the foreign rights contact at Inklings Literary Agency. She came to Inklings after a stint as a literary consultant in New York City, having scouted the U.S. book market for film and TV clients and foreign publishers. Prior to that, she spent time in Los Angeles as an editor at a digital magazine and in story development with a literary management company. She represents YA and MG fiction, and is primarily looking for contemporary YA, but will also welcome queries of contemporary YA with light fantasy or sci-fi elements. A clever retelling/re-spin of an old classic is always thrilling (think Ella Enchanted, her favorite book). She's particularly seeking issue-driven YA, empowered girl protagonists, compelling teen romance, positive (not too angsty) stories with nerdy girl or boy characters, stories about that awkward tween phase (ages 9-13), slightly dark/subversive story lines for upper YA, strong female friendships, and historical fiction (think the original American Girl series). For more specific story interests, see her #MSWL tweets @AlexandraBarba.


Sandra Bond started her agency (Bond Literary Agency) in Denver after working for the Jody Rein Books agency. She was also the program administrator at the University of Denver's Publishing Institute (2005-2009), where she now guest lectures. She and her associate agent, Becky LeJeune, represent adult, young adult and middle-grade fiction, both literary, commercial and genre, and many categories of nonfiction. They are looking for writers who truly have studied the craft of writing. Sandra was born and raised in Denver and has a degree in microbiology from the University of Colorado. Before pursuing a career in publishing, she was a film and television script analyst in Los Angeles. Sandra will be offering a limited number of one-on-one manuscript critiques.


katKat Brzozowski is an editor at Swoon Reads/Feiwel & Friends, after almost seven years at Thomas Dunne Books. She has worked on a wide range of young adult fiction, including new Fear Street books in R.L. Stine’s best-selling series, which has sold over eighty million copies worldwide; Romancing the Dark in the City of Light, The Weight of Feathers, In Real Life, and Firsts. 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 (not too issues-y), mysteries, suspense, and thrillers; and sci-fi that’s mostly rooted in this world. She is especially interested in YA with crossover appeal. When she’s reading YA, she looks for a strong sense of voice, multi-dimensional characters, and realistic dialogue. Kat will be offering a limited number of one-on-one manuscript critiques.


Minju cropped_bwMinju Chang is an agent with BookStop Literary, a boutique agency dedicated to working with authors and illustrators of children's and YA books. She is looking for humorous and inventive picture books with heart (especially those written by author/illustrators); contemporary or historical MG and YA, and narrative non-fiction that shines a spotlight on strange or unknown mysteries of the world. She accepts all genres but favors evocative and heart-warming magical realism, gripping adventure stories, school stories with a funny or spooky twist, and relationship-driven teen novels. She is a fan of unlikely heroes and misfits and anything related to 19th-century British literature. Minju will be offering a limited number of one-on-one manuscript critiques.


SF headshotSylvie Frank is the editor of award-winning and critically acclaimed books including Breathe by Scott Magoon; Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo; Miss Mary Reporting: The True Story of Sportswriter Mary Garber by Sue Macy, illustrated by C. F. Payne; and Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy by Susan Vaught. Since joining Paula Wiseman Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Division) in January 2013, Sylvie has been on the prowl for literary, character-driven middle grade and kid-focused, snappy picture books. She is drawn to original voices across all genres. One of her favorite pastimes is browsing agents’ and illustrators’ websites for new talent. When she’s not reading, Sylvie can be found running while listening to audiobooks. Sylvie will be offering a limited number of one-on-one manuscript critiques and illustrator portfolio consultations.

Stephanie Pitts photoStephanie Pitts is an Assistant Editor at Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books. She mostly works on picture books and middle grade novels. As an editorial assistant, she pulled a darling picture book manuscript out of the slush pile—Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf—which published to four starred reviews. She is also the editor of the middle grade novels My Brother’s Shadow and Not As We Know It, both by Tom Avery, and the picture books Jackrabbit McCabe and the Electric Telegraph by Lucy Margaret Rozier and illustrated by Leo Espinosa, and the forthcoming Ernestine’s Milky Way by Kerry Madden. Stephanie is always on the lookout for unique and irresistible picture book manuscripts, particularly smart, humorous texts, amazing-but-true stories, and picture book biographies. She is also interested in character-driven chapter books and middle grade novels with a strong voice, and page-turning narrative non-fiction for young readers. She would especially love to see more of the following: STEM topics, diverse main characters, highly original fairy tale retellings, and literary graphic novels. Stephanie will be offering a limited number of one-on-one manuscript critiques.

Andrea photoAndrea Spooner is VP, Editorial Director for Little, Brown Books for Young Readers who oversees the picture book list. She edits a range of fiction titles for ages 3 to 17, with a special interest in artistically distinctive picture books and literary middle grade/young adult novels. Some projects she acquired include Caldecott Medal-winner The Lion & The Mouse by Jerry Pinkney, Caldecott Honor recipient Me . . . Jane by Patrick McDonnell, and Dinotrux by Chris Gall (inspiration for the Netflix series). Some recently edited novels include the National Book Award Finalist The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin, as well as James Patterson’s many bestselling series for young readers. Andrea will be offering a limited number of one-on-one manuscript critiques and illustrator portfolio consultations.


taraTara Dairman is the author of the middle-grade foodie novel All Four Stars (Putnam/Penguin) which was named an Amazon Best Book of the Month and won a 2015 SCBWI Crystal Kite Award. The sequels The Stars of Summer and Stars So Sweet followed and a standalone middle-grade novel, The Great Hibernation of St. Polonius-on-the-Fjord, will be published by Wendy Lamb/Random House in 2017. Tara grew up in New York and holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Dartmouth College. After surviving the world's longest honeymoon (two years, seventy-four countries!), she now lives in Colorado with her family. Tara will be offering a limited number of one-on-one manuscript critiques.


Ruth Harper 1-2-2015 (crop)Ruth Harper is an English artist – who fancies herself as a spiffy writer-in-the-making. Powered by dark chocolate, she heartily knits stories together with letters, pencils and paintbrushes. She is often snatched up by breezes and colors and pint-sized things – rocks, leaves, shells, bugs, feathers, and creatures. You may also find her gardening, hiking, wildly dancing, and riding her bike really fast in an odd looking helmet. Long ago, after traversing much of the world, she fell captive to Colorado – and now breathes easy with an adorable husband, a dog, two cats, and six marvelous kids between them (with handfuls of grandbabies!). Ruth is the illustrator of The Kissing Hand and Sassafras and is a member of SCBWI and the Colorado Watercolor Society. She is now represented by the awesome Deborah Warren of East to West Literary.

peek-a-boo avatarBenjamin Hummel is a professional cartoonist, illustrator, and drawer-er. Over his long career, he continues to illustrate for a variety of publications and children’s books. Books include A Girl, Her Horse and a Dog by Terry Wolfe and Students Can Help Keep Schools Safe by Julie Federico. Also a storyteller, Benjamin’s current project is a book he wrote about a little boy, his time-traveling grandma, and the Old West. When Benjamin isn’t spinning tales for children, he is working on a beginner’s book on perspective drawing. Benjamin also is an adjunct instructor at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design.



ToddMitchell,HS,1,500pxTodd Mitchell is the author of the middle grade novels The Last Panther (forthcoming, Delacorte Press), and The Traitor King (Scholastic Press, Colorado Book Award Finalist), and the young adult novels The Secret to Lying (Candlewick, Colorado Book Award Winner), and Backwards (Candlewick, CAL Award Winner). He created the graphic series Broken Saviors, and co-wrote the graphic novel A Flight of Angels (Vertigo). In addition to his books, he’s published short stories, essays, and poems. Currently, he serves as Director of the Beginning Creative Writing Teaching Program at Colorado State University. You can visit him at


MooserStephen Mooser is President and Co-Founder of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. He is the author of more than 60 books for children including his latest middle grade novel, Class Clown Academy, which was independently published. Stephen will be offering a limited number of one-on-one manuscript critiques.



Lin Oliver_HeadshotLin Oliver is a children’s book author and writer-producer of television series and movies for children. With Henry Winkler, she writes the New York Times best-selling book series, Hank Zipzer: World’s Best Underachiever, which has sold over 4 million copies and is a hit television series on the BBC. Their new chapter book series, Here’s Hank, is also a New York Times best-seller. She is also the author of the Who Shrunk Daniel Funk quartet, Sound Bender and The Shadow Mask, adventure/science fiction middle grade novels she coauthored with Theo Baker. Her collection of poetry, the highly praised Little Poems for Tiny Ears, illustrated by Tomie dePaola, is being followed with another poetry collection, Steppin’ Out: Playful Rhymes for Toddler Times. Her new chapter book series, The Fantastic Frame, debuted in April of this year from Grosset. Lin is the co-founder and Executive Director of SCBWI. Learn more at or follow Lin on Twitter @linoliver.


peckRichard Peck's newest novel, and his fortieth, is The Best Man (DIAL Books, September 20, 2016), about a 12-year-old boy's view of same-sex marriage. Richard Peck was the first young people's author to receive the National Humanities Medal in 2002. He is a Newbery medalist for A Long Way From Chicago, (the Newbery Silver Medalist in 1999) and A Year Down Yonder (the Newbery Gold Medalist in 2001). Universally acknowledged as a master of the art form, Richard’s body of work is one of the true gems of contemporary children’s literature.



JeanJean Reidy is a two-time winner of the Colorado Book Award and the author of seven picture books … with many more on the way! She’s a frequent presenter on the topics of literacy, picture books and picture book revision. She writes from her home in Colorado and is represented by Erin Murphy of Erin Murphy Literary Agency. You can visit Jean at



Judy Chicopee Ch 3Judy Schachner was born into an Irish Catholic working class family from New England. Money was as tight as their apartment was tiny and though she may not have had the easiest of childhoods, she credits her imagination with helping her survive it. Described by the New York Times as “ …something like the James Joyce for the elementary school – set…,” Judy Schachner is the #1 NY Times Best Selling Author/Illustrator of over 24 books for children including Dewey Bob, Bits & Pieces, the Skippyjon Jones series, Yo Vikings, The Grannyman and Willy and May. She has won many awards including the first E. B. White Read Aloud Award. Judy will be offering a limited number of illustrator portfolio consultations.


Len Vlahos is the author of two young adult novels: The Scar Boys, a finalist for the American Library Association's 2014 Morris Award for best debut teen fiction, and the recently-released sequel, Scar Girl. His forthcoming novel, Life in a Fishbowl, (Bloomsbury), will publish in January 2017. By day, Len and his wife Kristen Gilligan are the incoming owners of Tattered Cover Bookstores in Denver. Prior to that, Len was Executive Director of the Book Industry Study Group, and Chief Operating Officer of the American Booksellers Association. He and Kristen live in Littleton with their two sons. Len will be offering a limited number of one-on-one manuscript critiques.