Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators


Editors & Agents

Sylvie Frank, senior editor, Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster. Sylvie is the editor of award-winning and critically acclaimed books including Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo; I Have a Balloon by Ariel Bernstein, illustrated by Scott Magoon; Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James E. Ransome; and OCDaniel by Wesley King. Since joining Paula Wiseman Books in 2013, Sylvie has been on the prowl for literary, character-driven middle grade and kid-focused, snappy picture books. She is drawn to original and diverse 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 PB and MG e-critiques. NOTE: SYLVIE’S CRITIQUES ARE FULL. All critiques will be received via e-mail and there will be no face-to-face appointments.


Laurel Symonds launched as a literary agent at The Bent Agency in Fall 2018 after nearly a decade of experience in the publishing industry. She began her career in the editorial department of HarperCollins Children’s Books/Katherine Tegen Books in New York City and has also held positions in the marketing department at a small publishing house, in a library, and as a bookseller at one of the nation’s best independent bookstores. As a literary agent, she is seeking children’s fiction and nonfiction, from picture books to young adult, particularly focusing on voices that have previously been underrepresented and stories that have been overlooked. Laurel will be offering a limited number of PB, MG, and YA e-critiques. All critiques will be received via e-mail and there will be no face-to-face appointments.



Bonnie Auslander is an enthusiastic and supportive public speaking coach with over 20 years of experience; most recently she is a communication strategies instructor at CU Boulder’s Leeds School of Business. At American University in Washington, D.C., she created the popular “audience dog” program, which pairs panicked presenters with patient pooches; the New York Times’s video about the program garnered over 2.5 million views. She serves as storytelling mentor at Boomtown where she assists novice entrepreneurs in giving pitches. Bonnie, who is a published poet, essayist, radio commentator, and aspiring picture book author, lives in Lyons with two cats, two teens, one dog, and one spouse.


Julie Danneberg is the author of many books for children, including the perennial bestseller, First Day Jitters. Her first book, Margaret’s Magnificent Colorado Adventure won the Colorado Book Award, and a subsequent nonfiction book, Monet Paints a Day, was a CBA finalist. Her book, Women Artists of the West was the winner of the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Association Regional Book Award. She has also published personal essays and educational curriculum. Julie will be offering a limited number of PB e-critiques.All critiques will be received via e-mail and there will be no face-to-face appointments.



Lija Fisher writes humorous adventure novels for kids. Her first book,THE CRYPTID CATCHER was published in 2018 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, with the follow up novel, THE CRYPTID KEEPER, slated for 2019. THE CRYPTID CATCHER received a starred review from Booklist and was an official Junior Library Guild Selection. Lija was a Writer in Residence with the Aspen Words/Catto Shaw Foundation. She is represented by Jason Anthony of Massie & McQuilkin.




Darby Karchut is a multi-award winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter. A proud native of New Mexico, she now lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where she runs in blizzards and bikes in lightning storms. When not dodging death by Colorado, Darby is busy wrangling words. Her books include the best selling middle grade series: The Adventures of Finn MacCullen. Best thing ever: her YA debut novel, Griffin Rising, has been optioned for film. Her latest book, Del Toro Moon (lucky number thirteen) released October 2018 from Owl Hollow Press. Visit the author at Darby will be offering a limited number of MG and YA e-critiques. All critiques will be received via e-mail and there will be no face-to-face appointments.


Jenna Lincoln is the author of The Protector Project trilogy. She loves to read, write, and talk about reading and writing. Buoyed by coffee and a truly immature sense of humor, Jenna has taught grades 5-10, mentored teachers, and coordinated gifted programming. Currently a creative writing teacher and writing specialist, Jenna enjoys working with student writers and teachers as they develop and hone their craft skills.

After dabbling in X-Files, Firefly, and Supernatural fan fiction, Jenna got serious about building her own imaginary worlds, big enough to get lost in for a long, long time. When she comes back to reality, Jenna enjoys her home in beautiful Colorado with her husband and two daughters.


Christine Liu Perkins specializes in writing nonfiction because she loves asking questions and digging into research for answers. Her articles for children have been published in Highlights, Calliope, and Dig Into History magazines. Her first book, At Home in Her Tomb: Lady Dai and the Ancient Chinese Treasures of Mawangdui, received starred reviews from Kirkus and Booklist, appeared on multiple “best books of the year” lists, and was recommended by both the National Science Teachers Association and the National Council for the Social Studies.


Linda L. Osmundson’s award winning three-book series How the West Was Drawn takes readers age 7 – 107 on one-on-one tours of western art by Charles Russell, Frederic Remington and fourteen women artists. Hundreds of her articles have appeared in magazines, anthologies such as Chicken Soup for the Soul and newspapers. Discover more at



Laura Mitzner Paletz is the Vice President of Interior Design for RIDA Development. She’s been with RIDA since 2011 and has overseen the design of award-winning hospitality and mixed use projects including the 1,500 room Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center that opened this past December.
Laura is also a YA author and has received a number of awards on her manuscripts including first place in the Pages From the Heart contest and the Southern Magic Award, as well as a nomination for the Joan Lowry Nixon Award.
Laura received a joint degree in Shaped Arts and Interior Design at Yeshiva University and currently resides in Denver, Colorado.


Lisa Brown Roberts still hasn’t recovered from the teenage trauma of tweezing off both eyebrows and having to pencil them in for an entire school year, or that time she crashed her car into a tree while trying impress a cute guy. Is it any wonder she loves writing romantic comedies for teens? Lisa’s award-winning YA novels have earned praise from Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal. Her most recent novel–Spies, Lies, and Allies–was selected as a 2018 title for Denver BookBar’s Local-to-Local program, which distributes books by local authors to community schools to encourage summer reading. When Lisa isn’t reading or writing smoochy books about adorkable teens, she’s carpe-ing the diem with her family and friends.


Kim Tomsic the the author of two middle grade novels, The 11:11 Wish and The 12th Candle (October 2019, Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins). She is also the author of two narrative nonfiction picture books, Guitar Genius: How the Les Paul Engineered the Solid Body Electric Guitar and Rocked the World (Chronicle April 9, 2019) and The Elephants Came (Chronicle, Spring 2021). Kim loves exclamation points, peanut M&Ms, and being Co-Regional Advisor to the RMC SCBWI! Kim will be offering a limited number of PB and MG e-critiques. All critiques will be received via e-mail and there will be no face-to-face appointments.


Lisa Trank began writing after many years as a performing artist – an actress and singer – and is happy to bring those years of crafting characters and storytelling into her writing life, as well as in her consulting work. She’s a former recipient of a Rocky Mountain Women’s Institute Fellowship, and much of her writing career focuses on the stories she grew up with as the proud first generation daughter of immigrants. Currently, she’s completing her first middle grade novel, Tangled Chimes, a multi-generational coming-of-age story. Her work has been published in the Saturday Evening Post, University of Denver Journal,, Gaia, Tablet, Kveller, and in a number of anthologies. She is an author marketing and platform building consultant. Her clients have been featured in “Fresh Air with Terri Gross,” PBS Newshour, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Colorado Matters, Common Ground, and more. When not writing, Lisa practices as much yoga as she can. She’s the proud mother of three wonderful teen-age daughters, two dogs, one cat, and is married to her best friend, poet and photographer Jack Greene. She lives in Longmont, Colorado, with a constant view of the Rocky Mountains.


Denise Vega is the award-winning author of seven books for kids from toddler to teen, including her “blog” books: Click Here (to find out how i survived seventh grade)– a Colorado Book award winner–and Access Denied (and other eighth grade error messages) as well as Fact of Life #31 (Colorado Book Award Winner) and Rock On. Her picture books include her latest: If your Monster Won’t Go to Bed. Denise is a former Co-Regional Advisor of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of SCBWI and on the faculty at Lighthouse Writers Workshop and a Young Adult Faculty Mentor for the Regis University MFA in Creative Writing. She lives in Denver with her family where she enjoys eating too many French fries and not enough broccoli (even though she likes broccoli). Find out more at  Denise will be offering a limited number of PB (except nonfiction), Early Reader, Chapter books, MG, YA (all genres) e-critiques. All critiques will be received via e-mail and there will be no face-to-face appointments.



Note: These faculty are not in attendance at the conference, but are offering e-critiques. E-critiques are an optional add-on to the conference, and must be registered for in advance. All feedback will be received via email.

Sarah Jane Abbott is an associate editor for Paula Wiseman Books and Beach Lane Books at Simon & Schuster. She started her career at S&S as a publicity assistant before joining Paula Wiseman Books and Beach Lane Books as editorial assistant in 2014. She is also on the editorial board of Simon & Schuster’s She has had the pleasure of working on books such as The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast by Samantha M. Clark and Blue & Bertie by Kristyna Litten. She loves quirky, character driven picture books with a lot of heart; non-fiction picture books, especially about little-known, strong women; and unique, literary middle grade novels. Sarah Jane will be offering a limited number of PB (fiction and non-fiction) and MG (fiction only) e-critiques.


Kat Brzozowski is an editor at Swoon Reads/Feiwel & Friends. She has edited a wide range of young adult fiction, including Anna-Marie McLemore’s When the Moon was Ours, which received a Stonewall Honor and was longlisted for a National Book Award, and new Fear Street books in R.L. Stine’s best-selling series, which has sold over eighty million copies worldwide. She’s also the editor for Tony Award-winning Leslie Odom Jr’s Failing Up.
Kat is looking to acquire young adult fiction across a wide range of genres, especially contemporary, realistic YA with a strong hook; dark, contemporary fiction, mysteries, suspense and thrillers; and sci-fi and fantasy that’s mostly rooted in this world. She is especially interested in YA with crossover appeal, characters from marginalized backgrounds, and strong voices. You can also find her on MS Wish List. Kat will be offering a limited number of MG and YA e-critiques.


Peter Knapp is an agent at Park Literary & Media, where he represents writers of middle grade and young adult fiction, including New York Times bestselling authors Soman Chainani, Lindsay Cummings, Brenda Drake, and Sarah Holland, among others. Prior to joining PLM, he worked for Floren Shieh Productions, a literary scouting agency that consulted on book-to-film adaptations for Los Angeles-based production companies. He lives in Brooklyn with his husband. Pete will be offering a limited number of MG and YA e-critiques. (No novels in verse and no graphic novels, please.)


Melissa Manlove is a Senior Editor at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. She has been with Chronicle for 15 years. Her acquisitions tend to be all ages in nonfiction; ages 0-8 for fiction. When acquiring, she looks for fresh takes on familiar topics as well as the new and unusual. An effective approach and strong, graceful writing are important to her. She has 19 years of children’s bookselling experience. Melissa will be offering a limited number of PB (fiction and non-fiction) e-critiques. NOTE: MELISSA’S CRITIQUES ARE FULL


Alexa Pastor is an Editor with Atheneum Books for Young Readers. She joined the Simon & Schuster Children’s Division in August of 2014, and is the lucky editor of the Anna, Banana chapter book series by Anica Rissi, New York Times instant bestseller Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott, HerStory by Katherine Halligan and Sarah Walsh (a Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of 2018), and several other projects by talented authors including Leah Henderson, Kathleen Krull, Amy Makechnie, Jennifer Richard Jacobson, and Mary Taranta. She graduated from Villanova University before completing her master’s degree in Children’s and Young Adult Publishing at Rosemont College in 2015. She is acquiring literary and commercial picture books, middle grade, and YA with fresh, honest voices that demand to be heard, and stories that make her laugh or cry enough that people look at her sideways on her long commute. You can follow Alexa on Twitter @Alexa_Pastor926. Alexa will be offering a limited number of PB, older Chapter Books, MG, and YA e-critiques. (No board books, early readers, or graphic novels, please.)


Jennifer Rofe represents projects ranging from picture books to YA. Middle grade is her soft spot and she’s open to all genres in this category – literary, commercial, magical, fantastical, historical, contemporary, and everything in between. As for YA, Jennifer is drawn to stories that shed a unique light on the adolescent experience; funny, wistful, or cringe-worthy romance; and fantasy and urban fantasy with exceptionally developed worlds. In picture books, she likes funny, character-driven projects; beautifully imagined and written stories; and milestone moments with a twist. Overall, she seeks rich characters, masterful writing, distinct voices and perspectives, and stories that transport the reader. Jen will be offering a limited number of middle grade and PB e-critiques. (No YA and no nonfiction, please.)