Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Conference Faculty


The following faculty will be presenting at the 2017 SCBWI Kansas / Missouri SCBWI Middle of the Map Conference, Nov. 3-4, 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. 3rd, at the conference hotel.


Kate McKean, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency
Jennifer March Soloway, Andrea Brown Literary Agency


Emma Ledbetter, Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Ariel Richardson, Chronicle Books
Jill Santopolo, Philomel Books

Art Director:

Saho Fujii, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Authors & Illustrators:

Jessixa Bagley
Heather Cashman

Ann Ingalls
Laura Huliska Beith




Jessixa Bagley, Author / Illustrator

Jessixa Bagley is a Seattle based artist and children's book author/illustrator originally from Portland, Oregon. She has been a member of SCBWI since 2010. Her artistic career has been a mix of comics, fine art, and illustration. Along with making picture books, Jessixa has worked with publications such as The Seattle Weekly, The Stranger, Nickelodeon Magazine, and Highlights. Jessixa’s BFA in painting and printmaking and her growing up in the Pacific Northwest greatly influences her work. Her first picture book, Boats for Papa (June 2015) received the 2016 SCBWI Golden Kite Award for best picture book text and the 2016 Washington State Scandiuzzi Children’s Book Award. Her other picture books include: Before I Leave (February 2016), and Laundry Day (February 2017). Her most recent book, Vincent Comes Home (February 2018), is a collaboration with her husband, Aaron Bagley. Jessixa loves hamburgers and making things out of cardboard. She lives in Seattle with her husband and son. 



Saho Fujii, Art Director 
Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Saho Fujii is an art director at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. She has designed a wide range of books including middle grade and young adult novels, activity and novelty books, picture books, and board books. She currently oversees the Little Brown Young Reader's picture book list. She has worked with many award-winning illustrators including Jerry Pinkney, Sophie Blackall, Bryan Collier, Mordicai Gerstein and John Rocco. Saho lives in New York City and you can find out more about her at



Heather Cashman, Author
Managing Director of Pitch Madness, Pitch Wars and #PitMad

Heather Cashman is Managing Director of all things #PitchWars #PitMad #PitchMadness. She's also an agent intern and freelance editor. Previously, she was an editor and ambassador for Cornerstones Literary Consultancy, US. With a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, the lab reports always lacked the fantastical element her imagination demands. So hypotheses turned into taglines and novels that range from Epic Fantasy to Contemporary Speculative Fiction. Heather lives in Wichita, KS and is a member of Kansas / Missouri SCBWI.



Laura Huliska Beith, Illustrator

Laura Huliska Beith is a freelance illustrator living in Kansas City, MO with her husband and three dogs. She is a graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute and has illustrated many children's books including “The Recess Queen” by Alexis O’Neill,  "Little Red Hot" by Eric Kimmel, and most recently "The Twelve Days of Christmas in Missouri", written by Ann Ingalls. Laura's illustration work has been shown at the Society of Illustrators Original Art Exhibit in New York. She has also led several community art projects, murals, children’s art workshops, and presentations at elementary schools. You can learn more about Laura and her art on her website at



Ann Ingalls, Author

Ann Ingalls is a children's author with nearly 30 books in print or forthcoming. Most recently, Little Bee released FAIRY FLOSS: THE SWEET STORY OF COTTON CANDY! Sterling will publish THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS IN MISSOURI in October of this year. Teacher Created Materials will release TRAILS TO CALIFORNIA in November. Ann has written for Scholastic (BIGGETY BAT: HOT DIGGETY!, BIGGETY BAT: CHOW DOWN!), Penguin Books for Young Readers (ICE CREAM SOUP), Houghton Mifflin (LITTLE PIANO GIRL), Bright Connections (J IS FOR JAZZ). and many others. Recently, Sleeping Bear offered a series for leveled readers to Ann and Sue Gallion (former RA for Kansas SCBWI). They are both thrilled beyond words. Dawn Publications contracted with Ann for a book entitled "Why Should I Walk? I Can fly!". That book is expected to be released in March of 2019. Ann lives and writes in Kansas City, MO.



Emma Ledbetter, Editor
Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Emma Ledbetter is an editor at Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing. Emma is proud to have edited lots of stellar books for kids, including Super Manny Stands Up! by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin, and Ida, Always by Caron Levis, illustrated by Charles Santoso, which The New York Times called “an example of children’s books at their best.” Her background includes internships at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Nickelodeon, and Nick Jr., and a B.A. in Art History from Yale University. She looks for captivating voices, enchanting artwork, humor, and charm in a range of formats—particularly picture books, chapter books, and middle grade novels. She is especially fond of Edward Gorey, Clementine, and Frances the Badger.



Jennifer March Soloway, Agent
Andrea Brown Literary Agency

Jennifer March Soloway is an Associate Agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. She enjoys all genres and categories of children’s literature, such as laugh-out-loud picture books and middle-grade adventures, but her sweet spot is young adult. Her wish list includes action-packed thrillers and mysteries. Throw in a dash of romance, and she’s hooked! But as much as she loves a good thriller, she finds her favorite novels are literary stories about ordinary kids, especially those focused on family, relationships, sexuality, mental illness, or addiction. 




Kate McKean, Agent
Howard Morhaim Literary Agency

Kate McKean is Vice-President and Literary Agent at the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. She earned her master’s degree in fiction writing at the University of Southern Mississippi and began her publishing career at the University Press of Florida. She is proud to work with New York Times best selling authors in a wide variety of genres including Mallory Ortberg’s TEXTS FROM JANE EYRE, Madeleine Roux’s YA horror series ASYLUM, and Brittany Gibbons’ memoir FAT GIRL WALKING. In addition to working with clients, she is an adjunct professor at New York University. She is actively looking for projects in middle grade and young adult in the areas of horror, romance, LGBTQ issues, contemporary fiction, sports, magical realism, fantasy, and science fiction. In non-fiction, for children/teens, she represents books by authors with demonstrable platforms in the areas of pop-culture, memoir, sports, food writing, humor, design, creativity, and craft. She very occasionally represents picture books.



Ariel Richardson, Editor
Chronicle Books

Ariel Richardson is an Associate Editor in Children's at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. She primarily edits board books, picture books, and formats / novelty books, working on titles like Bunny SlopesThis Is How We Do ItGolden Domes and Silver Lanterns, and Masha and Her Sisters. Ariel loves books with a diverse or global perspective, books that celebrate the power of the imagination, and books that push the boundaries of traditional bookmaking. She's been a children’s bookseller for about ten years, at three different independent book stores on two coasts. She also holds a master’s degree in Children’s Literature from Simmons College in Boston, where she took courses on all genres of children’s literature.


JillJill Santopolo, Author / Editor
Philomel Books

 Jill Santopolo is the Editorial Director of Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, where she edits many critically-acclaimed, award-winning, and best-selling books including A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff, The Secret Sky by Atia Abawi, Proxy by Alex London, It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going! and She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton (the second illustrated by Alexandra Boiger), the Nightshade series by Andrea Cremer, The Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron, A Dance Like Starlight by Kristy Dempsey and Floyd Cooper, and Peanut Butter & Cupcake! by Terry Border. Jill is also the author of the Alec Flint Mysteries, the Sparkle Spa series, the Follow Your Heart books, and the adult novel The Light We Lost. When she’s not writing or editing, Jill is a thesis advisor at The New School in their MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults and has been on the faculty of the Columbia Publishing Course. She was formerly an adjunct professor at McDaniel College, where she helped develop the curriculum for their certificate program in Writing for Children. @jillsantopolo