Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2018 Conference Faculty

The following faculty will be presenting at the 2018 SCBWI Kansas / Missouri SCBWI Middle of the Map Conference, Nov. 9-10, in Overland Park, KS. The faculty agents, editors, art director, authors, and illustrators will be doing manuscript critiques and portfolio reviews for conference attendees on Friday evening, Nov. 9, at the conference hotel.


Wendi Gu, Janklow & Nesbit Associates
Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary
Alexandra Penfold, Upstart Crow Literary


Susan Chang, Tor Books
Annie Nybo, Albert Whitman & Company

Art Director:

Jasmin Rubero, Penguin Random House

Authors & Illustrators:

Alastair Heim
Suzanne Kaufman
Cynthia Leitich Smith


Faculty Bios

Wendi Gu

Wendi Gu, Agent
Janklow & Nesbit Associates

Wendi started her career in publishing as an intern at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates and began working as a literary assistant after graduating from Northwestern University with a degree in Creative Writing. She soon began representing her own fiction and nonfiction picture books, middle-grade, and young adult titles with a special interest in girl power, family relationships, and the immigrant experience. She likes stories that root for the underdog. Her favorite books have voices that range from warm and lyrical, to witty and deadpan. For illustration, she enjoys elegant and eclectic color palettes, and looks for nuanced character expression and dynamic composition. She is very interested in unconventional illustration mediums like cut paper and photo illustration. Wendi is always on the lookout for nonfiction picture book biographies on little-known heroes in history. Wendi also represents adult titles in adult literary fiction and nonfiction that speaks to cultural identity negotiation, displacement, and race relations. She has a hands-on, editorial approach to agenting. On the weekends, she works at Dou Yoga in Brooklyn. You can find her tweets at @wendilulugu.

Susan Chang

Susan Chang, Senior Editor
Tor Books

Susan Chang is a Senior Editor at Tor Books. She acquires and edits books for the Starscape middle grade and Tor Teen young adult imprints. After graduating from Vassar College with a degree in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, she began her publishing career at HarperCollins Children’s Books, where she worked for nine years before moving on to shorter stints at Hyperion Books for Children and Parachute Publishing, a book packager. In January 2004, Susan got her dream job at Tor Books as acquiring editor for the Starscape and Tor Teen imprints.

Barry Goldblatt

Barry Goldblatt, Agent
Barry Goldblatt Literary

Barry Goldblatt opened his eponymous literary agency in September 2000, after working for years at Dutton, Dial, Putnam and finally Orchard Books. He reps everything from picture books through adult F&SF, and his clients include multiple bestsellers and award-winning authors, among them Angela Johnson, Shannon Hale, Christopher Barzak, Lauren Myracle, Martha Brockenbrough and Kate Milford.

Alastair Heim

Alastair Heim, Author

Alastair Heim is the author of the picture books LOVE YOU, TOO (Little Bee Books – 2016), NO TOOTING AT TEA (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Clarion – 2017), THE GREAT PUPPY INVASION (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Clarion – 2017) and HELLO, DOOR (Little Bee Books – 2018). He lives in Kansas City with his awesome wife and three incredible children who inspire him every single day. Alastair is represented by Kelly Sonnack of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

Suzanne Kaufman

Suzanne Kaufman, Author/Illustrator

Suzanne Kaufman is an author, illustrator, animator and lover of school potlucks. She is the author-illustrator of Confiscated and I Love Monkey. Over the years, she’s done everything from animating special effects for Universal Television and Discovery Channel, to animating award-winning video games for children. When not tramping through the wilds of the Pacific Northwest, you will find her teaching animation or working in her studio. She lives in Seattle with her husband and two creative daughters of her own. Visit her at

Cynthia Leitich Smith

Cynthia Leitich Smith, Author

Cynthia Leitich Smith is the New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestselling, award-winning YA fantasy author of the Tantalize series and the Feral trilogy (Candlewick). Her acclaimed realistic children’s books include Jingle Dancer, Indian Shoes and Rain Is Not My Indian Name (HarperChildren’s). She looks forward to the release of a Native YA novel, Hearts Unbroken (Candlewick, Nov 2018), and to the publication of several contracted middle-grade books in 2020 and beyond. She is published widely in realism and speculative fiction, in all age-markets for young readers and in prose, poetry, narrative nonfiction, short stories, and graphic format. Cynthia is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Indian Nation of Oklahoma and has been named a Writer of the Year by Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. She makes her home in Austin and teaches on the faculty of the low-residency MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She also serves on the honorary advisory board of We Need Diverse Books. The Austin chapter of SCBWI has instituted the Cynthia Leitich Smith Mentor Award in her honor. Learn more at and her Cynsations blog at

Annie Nybo

Annie Nybo, Editor
Albert Whitman & Company

Annie Nybo is an Editor at Albert Whitman & Company where she edits picture books, early readers, chapter books, middle grade, and YA. She has previously worked at Margaret K. McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster, and Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She’s been honored to work with many talented creators such as Catherynne M. Valente, Jason Gallaher, Patrick Weekes, Susan Cooper, William Alexander, and Hilary McKay. When not reading, Annie plays video games and embroiders—sometimes at the same time.

Alexandra Penfold

Alexandra Penfold, Agent
Upstart Crow Literary

Alexandra Penfold began her career in publishing as a children’s book publicist at Simon & Schuster. For eight years she served as an editor at Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster working on award-winning books for young readers of all ages. She is currently a literary agent with Upstart Crow Literary representing children book authors and illustrators as well as select adult projects. She’s especially drawn to projects that make her laugh, think and feel. Alexandra is the author of several books for children: Eat, Sleep, Poop illustrated by Jane Massey, We Are Brothers, We Are Friends, illustrated by Eda Kaban, Food Truck Fest, illustrated by Mike Dutton and The Littlest Viking, illustrated by Isabel Roxas, and All Are Welcome, illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman. Visit her at and follow her on Twitter @AgentPenfold.

Jasmin Rubero

Jasmin Rubero, Associate Art Director
Penguin Random House, Kokila Imprint

Associate Art Director Jasmin Rubero has designed books by critically-acclaimed and bestselling artists and authors, including the New York Times bestselling Ladybug Girl series by Jacky Davis and David Soman; Pura Belpré Award winner Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes by Juan Felipe Herrera, illustrated by Raul Colón; and Junot Díaz’s debut picture book Islandborn, illustrated by Leo Espinosa.