Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Writer Mentors

2017/2018 Writer Mentors

Use this list to help determine the mentor that will be the best fit for you, but also check out author websites to learn more about them and their books!

Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

Jennifer is the author of the New York Times-bestselling Book Scavenger and its sequel The Unbreakable Code. She holds an MFA in creative writing and worked in the publishing industry for fifteen years in a variety of roles ranging from being an intern at YM Magazine to a production editor for college textbooks at McGraw-Hill. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, she's currently loving life in Colorado.
Middle Grade


Carmela LaVigna Coyle

Carmela believes picture books might be a child’s first encounter with prose, poetry and art! She is the author of nine books, including her series, Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots? In addition, two new titles will launch in 2016. Her book, The Tumbleweed Came Back, won 2014 Colorado Book Award. She graduated from Colorado Women’s College with a degree in Education, and minor in Art. She is eager to work with an open-minded, respectful, and resilient mentee, with an enthusiasm for making stories sing!
Non-rhyming Picture Books, 500 words or less


Ana Crespo 

Ana is the author of THE SOCK THIEF: A SOCCER STORY, one of the CCBC 2016 Choices titles.  She is also the author of the MY EMOTIONS AND ME series, which includes JP AND THE GIANT OCTOPUS, described by PW as “a sensitive, humorous look at how imagination can both fuel anxiety and conquer it."  Ana is attracted to stories with few words (500 and less), in which the illustrations play a vital role. Non-illustrators writing illustration-driven stories must pay extra attention to page breaks, descriptive words, and the dreadful illustration notes we all struggle with. That tough balance between word and illustration will be the focus ofAna’s work with her mentee(s). Ana hopes her mentee(s) will be open-minded, good listeners, unafraid of making changes, respectful, and hard workers.
Picture books, fiction, up to 800 words (non-religious)


Melanie Crowder

Melanie Crowder is the award-winning author of several books for young readers, including AudacityA Nearer Moon and Parched, as well as the forthcoming An Uninterrupted View of the Sky and Three Pennies. The author lives with her family on Colorado’s Front Range, where she has worked as an educator for more than a decade. Melanie’s books have been awarded the Jefferson Cup, the Arnold Adoff Poetry Award, the SCBWI Crystal Kite, and the Bulletin Blue Ribbon;  they have been recognized as a National Jewish Book Awards Finalist, Colorado Book Awards Finalist, Junior Library Guild selection, YALSA Top Ten Books For Young Adults, ILA Notable Book for a Global Society, Parents’ Choice Silver Medal, BookBrowse Editor’s Choice, BookPage Top Pick, and The Washington Post Best Children’s Books for April. Her work has been listed as Best Books of the Year by Bank Street College, Kirkus Reviews, The Amelia Bloomer List, New York Public Library, Tablet Magazine, A Mighty Girl, and The Children’s Book Review.
Middle Grade and Young Adult


Anna-Maria Crum

Anna-Maria is the author of 22 grade school readers, both fiction and nonfiction. She has also illustrated over 50 books. Last year she co-authored an interactive novel for Choice of Games, which involved plotting on a mind-blowing level. She is a graduate of Ohio State University and has been involved in children’s books since 1989. She is a long-time member of SCBWI and is on the board for Picture Book Artists Association, and is part-owner in Plot Doctors, a writing service that helps people with their plot problems. A number of people she’s worked with have gone on to sell their books. When she’s not writing, she’s busy cuddling her new puppy, Tucker, and teaching him what things he can jump up on (couches, chairs, bed, laps) and what he can't (tables, kitchen counters, stove, and window ledges). Tucker is part mountain goat.
Middle Grade and Young Adult, all genres


Jenny Goebel

Jenny Goebel enjoys writing lively picture books and middle grade novels with a magical twist.  Fortune Falls was chosen as a Winter 2015-2016 Indies Next List pick and Grave Images was the Colorado Book Awards 2014 Winner for Juvenile Literature. She also wrote the penultimate, The 39 Clues Book: Doublecross: Mission Hurricane, and picture books: Foreman Farley has a Backhoe; Foreman Frankie is Handy and The Firefighter.  A few of Jenny’s favorites are faith, family, friends, a steaming cup of tea, a good book (obviously), and exploring Colorado’s endless beauty.
Picture Books, Middle Grade


Darby Karchut

Darby is an award-winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter. A 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 at her writing desk. Her middle grade novels include Finn Finnegan (2014 IPPY award winner), Gideon’s Spear, The Hound at the Gate, and Finn’s Choice. Griffin Rising, her YA series, has been optioned for film. Her latest book, Del Toro Moon, releases Fall 2018 from Owl Hollow Press. Darby is represented by Amanda Rutter at Red Sofa Literary.
Middle Grade and Young Adult


Claudia Mills

Claudia is the author of over 50 books for young readers, including picture books (Ziggy’s BlueRibbon Day), easy readers (the ten books of the Gus and Grandpa series), chapter books (Fractions = Trouble!, How Oliver Olson Changed the World,and the Franklin School friends series), and middle-grade novels (Zero Tolerance). Her books have been named Notable Books of the year by the American Library Association, nominated for dozens of state readers’ choice awards, and translated into half a dozen languages. Claudia, who holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University, recently left her full-time position as a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder where she published many scholarly articles on ethical and philosophical themes in children’s literature. She has written all her books between 5 and 7 in the morning while drinking Swiss Miss hot chocolate.
Chapter Books, Middle Grade 


Dian Curtis Regan

Dian is the author of 60 books for young readers. She has published board books, picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, and anthology stories. Her newest book is Space Boy and his Dog, the first of three picture books from Boyds Mills Press. ( She is a former "Member of the Year" of SCBWI, and the namesake of the "Dian Curtis Regan Library" in Venezuela. Her books have won many honors including Best Books for Young Adults, Children's Choice Awards, Junior Library Guild selections, Los Angeles Times Recommended books, and New York Public Library's list of 100 best titles for young readers.
Chapter books