SCBWI

Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Featured Author

How did you get started as a writer?
I was 22, starting my final semester at Drury University (College then), majoring in zoology, minoring in geology, and told by the dean I had too much science and not enough courses from other fields. Among classes I chose, one in creative writing. My professor liked my work and suggested I should consider becoming a writer. I wrote about that life-changing moment years later in an autobiographical book of poems, CONNECTING THE DOTS (Boyds Mills Press, 2004).

Thinking of myself as a writer and becoming a published writer turned out to be different things. To be exact: eight years and one month, and 152 submissions. In 1967, I sold my first book, THE BOY WITH A DRUM, which was published in 1969. Skip forward to 2020, four new books out this year, including the fun RUM PUM PUM, a picture book co-written with Jane Yolen.

 

What was the inspiration for RUM PUM PUM?
This book was unplanned. One day on my blog I was talking about finding ideas and my son Jeff posted, “Once upon a time, there was a tiger…” a long standing family joke about a promise I made to him when he was a little boy and never fulfilled. I replied that some stories take longer to write than others, then offered, “How about, ‘There once was a tiger with a little toy drum?’” (In reference to THE BOY WITH A DRUM.) Jane leaped in with “Rum pum pum went the drum./Rrrrrr went the tiger./And they went along and went along and went along the road./And soon they met…” I responded with a scene to carry the thought forward. Jane responded in kind and suggested we go offline and finish the story. I guess you could say the story was inspired by a 50-year-old case of fatherly guilt.

 

Tell us what it is like to co-author a book. What are the benefits? Any challenges?
Writing with a partner calls for patience and sensitivity by both parties, a willingness to consider unexpected points of view. Some pairings fail when egos or personalities clash. But when a collaboration works, it can be stimulating. That’s the case when Jane and I work together. We don’t critique one another much during the initial drafting but are open and frank during the follow-up revising process. We trust each other and take suggestions in the spirit in which they are offered, to help make a good thing better.

 

What books or authors have influenced your writing?
Out of lots and lots of them, these three.

  • Abraham Lincoln. When I was four, my mother helped me memorize the Gettysburg Address, which I recited before an audience of amazed adults. Their reaction made an impression on me. I didn’t understand the big words and concepts, but I knew one thing for sure: Words were important. I wanted to know more about them.
  • E. B. White. Charlotte’s Web remains one of my favorite books, in part for the story, in part for White’s glorious use of the English language. His modeling of elegantly clear, spare writing had an early and lasting influence on my work. My copy of The Elements of Style is the one of the most read books on my shelf.
  • Karl Shapiro (and Robert Beum). A Prosody Handbook (Harper & Row, 1973) was the best book on poetry I’ve ever read. I studied it off and on for twenty years before launching my career as a poet. It gave me the courage to try and the confidence to think I could do it.

 

What do you love about being a writer?
Walter de la Mare wrote, “Only the rarest kind of best in anything can be good enough for the young.” Pursuit of the rarest and best is an exhilarating, demanding, challenge that keeps me coming back to try again each day.

 

So much of the poetry you’ve written deals with your own life – – memories of childhood, etc. How do you choose a topic for a poem or a book of poems?
Southern writers are known for their sense of time and place. Many of them spend lifetimes drawing from their southern experiences and from those of previous generations. I believe that southwest Missouri offers its own unique charm, especially in terms of place. My sense of place leads me to talk about the things I remember doing or observing as a child and I use that material for much of my writing, whether I’m offering humorous efforts or more reflective ones. The trick, I think, is to love your place so much that you can deal with it over and over and in many ways without doing it harm or losing your respect for it.

 

David Harrison lives with his wife Sandy in Springfield, Missouri (where he was born). Empowering Students’ Knowledge of Vocabulary is his 100th book, 13 for classroom teachers and 87 for young readers: 41 fiction, 26 nonfiction, and 20 poetry.

 

 

 

Here are the links to the books that released this year:

After Dark (poetry about nocturnal animals), February, Boyds Mills Kane. ISBN-13: 978-1629797175

Rum Pum Pum (picture book in co-authored with Jane Yolen), September, Holiday House. ISBN-13: 978-0823441006

Guided Practice Reading for Growth, Grades 4-8: Texts and Lessons to Improve Fluency, Comprehension, and Vocabulary (co-authored with Laura Robb), September, Corwin Publishing. ISBN-13: 978-1544398495

Empowering Students’ Knowledge of Vocabulary (co-authored with Mary Jo Fresch), November, NCTE. ISBN: 978-0-8141-1337-0

 

 

FORMER Authors of the Month

Alastair Heim is the author of the picture books IF I HAD YOUR VOTE – BY THE CAT IN THE HAT for Dr. Seuss Beginner Books from Random House, LOVE YOU TOO, NO TOOTING AT TEA, THE GREAT PUPPY INVASION, HELLO DOOR, and the upcoming QUIET DOWN LOUD TOWN.  He lives in Kansas City and is represented by Kelly Sonnack of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

 

 

Ann Parr believes writing is about making connections between what writers know and what readers want to read. She makes links between interesting people and unusual events with her nonfiction stories. To find out more about this Kansas City author, visit annparrwriter.com.

 

Lindsay H. Metcalf is a journalist and author of nonfiction picture books: Beatrix Potter, Scientist (Albert Whitman & Company, 2020); Farmers Unite! Planting a Protest for Fair Prices (Calkins Creek, November 2020); and No Voice Too Small: Fourteen Young Americans Making History  (Charlesbridge, 2020).

 

Taylor Morris is a novelist, ghostwriter, and editor. She is the author of more than twenty books, from fiction to non-fiction, and from children’s books to women’s romance. Taylor lives with her husband in Lawrence, Kansas.

 

Amanda Flinn is an award-winning author, blogger, and book nerd. Her debut board book, Yoga Baby, was released in June from Beaming Books. She lives in Jackson, Missouri, with her husband, three boys, two rowdy rescue pups and a pair of furry chinchillas.

 

 

Shannon A. Thompson is the best-selling author of the Timely Death trilogy and the Bad Bloods series. Shannon lives with her gremlins, I mean cats, in Kansas City, MO.

 

Dorinda Nicholson writes World War II, MG and YA, non-fiction books. Dorinda lives in Raytown, MO where she writes, and is now the care giver for her husband. Besides writing, she has also worked as a psychotherapist. 

 

 

Rebecca Koehn writes picture books and books for middle grade readers. Her new picture book, AFTER THE RAIN, is the perfect welcome to spring! Rebecca lives in Southwest Kansas with her husband and their two sons.

 

 

Ann Ingalls, Author Info, Published Books, Bio, Photo, Video, and More Ann Ingalls has written four dozen books for young readers. Her book, J IS FOR JAZZ, won Graphic Design USA’s 2015 Award and the Ella Fitzgerald Foundation’s “A Book Just for Me!” Ann is a former elementary and special education teacher. Ann lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband, Winston.

 

 

S. J. Bushue (Sherry) is the author of Dinosaurs Count and the founder of The Little Fig publisher and packager. Sherry  loves life in the Midwest which includes family, friends, fur-babies, water activities, warm summer nights, and frogs. She lives in the Kansas City metro area.

 

Angela Cervantes is an award-winning author of contemporary middle-grade fiction published by Scholastic. She started writing stories, featuring Latino characters, which were about her friends and her community, when she was nine years old. Her newest novel, Lety Out Loud, was published earlier this year and received starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal. It was named one of the best books for kids in 2019 by Kirkus Review and the New York Public Library.

 

Jennifer Adam is an author of middle grade and young adult fantasy. Her first novel for upper middle grade, THE LAST WINDWITCH, will be released from HarperCollins in 2021. Jennifer lives on a third-generation family farm in Vandalia, Missouri with her husband, two wild mustangs, and a collection of barn cats.

 

Sharon Mayhew‘s first book for middle grade readers, KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON, CHILDREN, was released last month. Her first picture book, THE JUNK COLLECTOR, will be published by Guardian Angel Publishing. She currently resides in Lake Saint Louis, Missouri with her husband and daughter. 

 

Tonja Drecker writes Middle Grade and Young Adult fantasy. Her stories have been published in several collections and magazines. Her debut novel MUSIC BOXES is a slightly dark, modern day fairy tale for the middle grade audience, was released in March this year by Dancing Lemur Press. 

 

Jessica Marie Baumgartner, writes fiction and non-fiction for children.  Her work has been published in several children’s magazines including Guardian Angel Kids e-zine, Kid’s Imagination Train, and Spaceports & Spidersilk. Her picture book, The Golden Rule, was published by Eleventh Hour Literary Press.

 

 

Lorri Cardwell-Casey. Besides being the mother of ‘six’ children, counting her son-in-law and daughter in-law, Lorri has worked as a daycare center director, tutor, and instructor for The Institute of Children’s Literature. She enjoys helping clients improve their own writing with her critique company, RE:VISION Critiques. 

 

 

Scott Emmons has always loved fun rhymes, and especially loved Dr. Seuss as a child. He is the author of StoryBots Step Into Reading books published by Random House. Scott currently works as a Senior Editor on the Kids Greetings team at Hallmark.

 

 

 

Niki Lenz is a middle grade author, and lives in Kansas City, Missouri, with her husband and children. Bernice Buttman,   Model Citizen is her first novel, released from Random House in March 2019.

 

 

Jenn Bailey writes picture books, middle grade and young adult novels. Jenn’s newest book, A Friend for Henry, is a   picture book that come out in February 2019 (Chronicle Books).

 

 

 

Lisa Harkrader is the author of humorous fiction for middle grade readers. She is also an artist and graphic designer. Lisa’s newest book, Crumbled!, is the first book in a middle grade series from Yellow Jacket (Little Bee Books).

 

 

Ben McClanahan has worked for newspapers and trade magazines, but whether it’s non-fiction or fiction, his love is writing for children. He is the author of two non-fiction educational books and his newest book, We Need Plankton (The Animal Files), was released from Focus Readers last month.

 

 

Randi Hacker has worked as a personal assistant to the stars, publisher, educator, librarian, author and video store clerk. She was the editor of The Electric Company Magazine published by Children’s Television Workshop. Her essays and articles have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Punch and Spy. She is currently the Education Outreach Coordinator at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas.

 

Molly McCluskey-Shipman writes picture books for children. Her first picture book, Emma’s Dilemma (Goldminds Publishing), received an honorable mention in the Purple Dragonfly Book Award. Her picture book Festeva’s Holiday Cheer was released last month from Lift Bridge Publishing. In addition to writing for children Molly has written various manuals and articles for nonprofit organizations and she is active in the Great Plains SPCA.

 

Amber Hendricks grew up reading everything she could get her hands on, including the morning cereal boxes. That passion melded into writing, and by the age of 11 she was writing and binding her own “books.” Amber earned her degree in merchandising, and over the years has worn many hats. Those include army wife, mother, visual merchandiser, certified pharmacy technician, and childcare professional. But she has always circled back to her first love of telling stories. Sophie and Little Star is her first book for children.

 

 

Adib Khorram works as a graphic designer, videographer, projectionist, and more for live events in and around the Kansas City area and nationwide. When he’s not working at his day job, he writes contemporary fiction for young adults.Darius the Great Is Not Okayis his first published book for young readers. It received starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly and was selected as a 2018 BEA Young Adult Buzz Book. You can read more about Adib and his books on his website at www.adibkhorram.com/.

 

 

Billie Holladay Skelley is the author of children’s books from picture books through young adult, as well as articles, stories, essays and poetry for adults. Her books for young readers have earned awards such as the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, the Purple Dragonfly Award, and the Missouri Writers’ Guild Best Juvenile Book Award. Her latest book, Ollie the Autism-Support Collie, was released this year in June. Billie is a retired registered nurse who now enjoys focusing her time on her writing. You can read more about Billie and her books on her website at www.bhskelley.com or contact her at bhskelley24@gmail.com.

 

 

Roberta Lynne Roelfs has always loved reading, and she has been writing stories and poems since she was in the first grade. Today she writes for children under the name R. Lynne Roelfs. Roberta is the author of a magazine story inspired by her dog, Duncan, and has published fiction and nonfiction passages for the educational testing market.You can read more about Roberta and her work on her website at www.rlynneroelfs.com and follow her at twitter @RLynneRoelfs

 

 

Constance Levy felt poetry was ‘love at first sound.’ She has been writing poetry since first grade and is still writing today. Her poetry has earned many awards, including a Lee Bennett Hopkins Award and honor award, a Boston Globe Horn Book Honor Award, the National Council of Teachers of English Notable Books in Language Arts, and others. You can find out more about Constance and her books on her website at http://www.constancelevy.com/.

 

 

Jan Greenberg combines her passion for art, literature and writing to write award-winning books about art and artists for young readers. Some of her awards include: the American Library Association Notable Book Award, the International Reading Association Teachers’ Choice Award, the Boston Globe Horn Book Honor Award, the Seibert Honor Award, and the Printz Honor Award. You can find out more about Jan and her books on her website at Jangreenbergsandrajordan.com.

 

 

Alastair Heim writes picture books for young children, including THE GREAT PUPPY INVASION published by HMH/Clarion and HELLO DOORpublished by little bee. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and three children. You can find out more about Alastair and his books on his website www.alastairheim.com and you can connect with him on twitter at www.twitter.com/alastairheim 

 

 

Lori Galaske writes for children from the picture book age to middle grade and teens. Her short stories and articles have been published in teen magazines and in anthologies, and she writes an inspirational blog for adults. Her first picture book, THE ALPHABET FOREST, was published by Guardian Angel Publishing in 2017. You can learn more about Lori and her book and her writing on her website at www.lorigalaske.com. Find her on facebook at www.facebook.com/kidlitlife/  and follow her on twitter at @lgalaske.

 

 

Carol Murray writes poetry and non-fiction for young readers. Her books for children include Rookie Reader books and storybooks with stickers, as well as having her poetry published in Highlights magazine and in anthologies. Her newest book, CRICKET IN THE THICKET, was released in 2017. You can find out more about Carol and her work at www.carolmurray.net

 

 

Jonathan Schkade writes religious books for children, books with titles like Icky Sticky, Hairy Scary Bible Stories and Not-So-Nice Bible Stories: Master Criminals. He has published a dozen books for young readers in the religious market. He also writes picture books, MG, and YA for the general market. www.jonathanschkade.com

 

 

nicki_sm

Nicki Jacobsmeyer’s stories have been published in Saturday Writers anthologies (Missouri Writer’s Guild), and her book, CHESTERFIELD was published by Arcadia Publishing. Her first children’s book, SURVIVING THE IDITAROD: An Interactive Extreme Sports Adventure, was released by Capstone Press in August. You can find out more about Nicki and her books on her website at https://www.nickijacobsmeyer.com/about.

 

 

vicki_smVicki Berger Erwin has worked as a children’s book buyer and a sales rep for Scholastic, and she and her husband owned the independent bookstore, Main Street Books, in St. Charles, MO for seven years. She is the author of many books for children, including SCOOBY DOO AND YOU, as well as some single Scooby Doo titles. She was also a ghostwriter for several popular girls’ book series. DIFFERENT DAYS, is historical fiction for middle grade readers, and was released this month by SkyPony Press. You can find out more about Vicki and her books on her website at www.vickibergererwin.comz

 

laura_smLaura S. Schmidt writes contemporary fiction and mysteries for young adults. Her first novel, SWEETER THAN LIFE, was published in 2015. Laura has worked as a community education coordinator, and has spent several years as a staff counselor at an agency that supports children and adults with developmental disabilities. You can find out more about Laura and her books on her website at www.laurastewartschmidt.com

 

 

jessica_smJessica Shaw writes for children from the picture book age through young adult, including poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Her work has been published in several magazines for children as well as doing work-for-hire projects. She received a Letter of Merit from the SCBWI 2016 Magazine Merit Award committee for her poem My Favorite Sounds, published in Ladybug, May 2015. You can find out more about Jessica and her books on her website at www.authorjessicashaw.comz

 

 

Patricia-MillerSmPatricia A. Miller writes picture books, including nonfiction, historical fiction, and fiction, and she has written several board book manuscripts as well. She has had two nonfiction magazine articles published in Highlights for Children magazine. Her latest article is “A Century of Blossoms,” which appears in the April 2017 issue of Highlights. You can find out more about Patricia and her writing on her website at www.patriciamillerbooks.com.

 

 

ClaireClare Vanderpool writes adventure and historical fiction for middle grade readers. Her book Moon Over Manifest won the 2011 Newbery Award, and her newest book, Navigating Early, was a 2014 Michael L. Printz Honor Book. Visit her website to find out more about Clare and her books at www.clarevanderpool.com

 

 

ClaireClaire M. Caterer has been a freelance writer and editor for more than a dozen years. Her short fiction for adults has appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery MagazineEllery Queen Mystery Magazine, and Woman’s World. She lives in Shawnee, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City, with her husband, daughter, and two dogs. Find more about Claire and her books on her website at http://www.clairecaterer.com/

 

SueGallionSue Lowell Gallion writes picture books, early readers and chapter books for children from her home in Leawood, Kansas. She is the former Regional Advisor for Kansas SCBWI, and is currently Co-Regional Advisor with Kim Piddington for Kansas/Missouri SCBWI. Sue has been published in children’s magazines and educational publishing. PUG MEETS PIG, released in September 2016 from Beach Lane Books (Simon & Schuster), is her first picture book. You can find out more about Sue on her website at www.suegallion.com

 

LisaWade-2Lisa Wade McCormick has written eighteen non-fiction books for children, and her stories have appeared in several children’s magazines. Besides being a children’s book author, Lisa is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than 20 years experience as a newspaper reporter and television producer. She is currently the investigative producer at WDAF-TV in Kansas City. You can find out more about Lisa and her books on her website at www.lisawademccormick.com

 

RitaArensRita Arens is the author of the contemporary realistic young adult novel, THE OBVIOUS GAME (InkSpell Publishing, 2013), a 2016 Library Journal Self-e Selection. Rita is also the editor of a parenting anthology, SLEEP IS FOR THE WEEK (Chicago Review Press), winner of a 2009 gold National Parenting Publications award (NAPPA) and winner of an honorable mention in the 2012 New York Book Festival. You can find our more about Rita and her books at www.ritaarens.com

 

 

Patricia NortonPatricia J. Norton is the author of phonics-based beginning readers and narrative non-fiction for children. In 2006, she started a new publishing house, Short Vowel Phonics, to provide phonics-controlled short stories for beginning and struggling readers. You can find our more about Patricia and her books at http://shortvowelphonics.com/phonics/

 

Amy Houts, Maryville, MO, is a freelance writer and former instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature. She enjoys writing fiction and nonfiction books on assignment for educational publishers, as well as Amy Houtsworking on her own projects. She is the author of over 60 books, many for young children ages 3 to 7. You can find out more about Amy and her books on her website, www.amyhouts.com, or follow her blog at  http://www.houtsandhome.com/amys-blog.

 

 

Peggy ArcherPEGGY ARCHER, O’Fallon, MO, loves to talk to students and adults about writing and her books. Readers can learn more about her author presentations on her website at www.peggyarcher.com. They can also check out her author blog, Peggy’s Pages, at http://www.peggyarcher.com/blog.htmNAME THAT DOG! ( Dial Books for Young Readers, ISBN# 978-0-8037-3322-0) is also available through Scholastic Book Club and Scholastic Book Fairs.

 

 

Janie CheaneyJANIE CHEANEY is the author of novels for middle-grade readers. Her book, THE MIDDLE OF SOMEWHERE, Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, was named a 2008 Kansas Notable Book by the Kansas State Library. Janie is also a senior writer for WORLD Magazine and co-publisher of RedeemedReader.com.

 

 

Holly SchindlerHOLLY SCHINDLER‘s first two published works, A Blue So Dark and Playing Hurt, were both YA novels. Her debut MG, The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky, released with Dial / Penguin on February 6, 2014, and her next YA, Feral, is forthcoming from HarperCollins. Find out more at hollyschindler.com

 

 

Bridget HeosBRIDGET HEOS is the author of Mustache Baby (Houghton Mifflin, May 2013, ISBN-13: 978-0547773575) She lives in Kansas City with her husband and four children. Check out her Facebook page, Author Bridget Heos, or website www.authorbridgetheos.com for updates!

 

 

Bonnie HinmanBONNIE HINMAN writes non-fiction books for children. She lives with her husband in Joplin, MO, close to their children and grandchildren. You can find out more about Bonnie and her books at http://www.bonniehinman.com.

 

 

Shannon MooreSHANNON MOORE is the former Assistant Regional Advisor for Missouri SCBWI. You can find out more about Shannon on her blog, Great Books for Children, where she reviews children’s books. http://greatbooksforchildren.com/index.php/about/.

 

 

Jody FeldmanJODY FELDMAN lives in St. Louis where she writes middle-grade contemporary novels for young readers. The first book in her series, The Gollywhopper Games, was an ALA/YALSA Best Books for Young Adults nominee, and received the Midwest Bookseller’s Choice Award Honor Book for Children’s Literature. The second book in the series, The Gollywhopper Games: The New Champion, recently made the St. Louis Post Dispatch Best Sellers list for kids’ books. http://jodyfeldman.com

 

NANCY POLETTE of O’Fallon, MO  is the author of picture books, fiction and non-fiction for middle grade readers, and has four easy readers coming out this year. Nancy is a former teacher of students in K through Nancy Polette8th grades, and is currently a professor of education at Lindenwood University where she teaches Children’s Literature.

 

 

Ann Ingalls

ANN INGALLS was born in Cleveland, grew up in Detroit, and now lives with her husband and three children in Kansas City. You can find out more about her and her books, including J is for Jazz, on her website at: http://anningallswrites.com/ann-ingalls/

 

 

Two of her short stories published in the quarterly writers’ journal, The Storyteller, received a People’s Choice Award for Cynthia Collins1st Place in Fiction. You can find out more about Cynthia and her writing on her website at www.cynthia-collins.com, and you can contact her at stories.ccollins@cynthia-collins.com

 

 

Kristin Baird RattiniKRISTIN BAIRD RATTINI, Foristell, Missouri, is a freelance writer who has written for children’s magazines for 17 years, Kristin has enjoyed the challenge of introducing young readers to a wide range of topics and the thrill of hooking their attention with writing that’s both educational and entertaining. You can find out more about Kristin and her books at: Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/kristin-rattini/5/900/33a and MediaBistro: http://www.mediabistro.com/fm/PD.asp?user_id=6628

 

 

Margo Dill

MARGO L. DILL, of St. Louis, Missouri, is the SCBWI Missouri webmaster and a children’s and YA author. She currently has three books out: Maggie Mae, Detective Extrordinaire: The Case of the Missing Cookies (picture book), Finding My Place (middle grade), and Caught Between Two Curses (young adult). She is also a freelance editor and writing teacher. Find out more at http://www.margodill.com

 

 

Sue Bradford Edwards

SUE BRADFORD EDWARDS writes from her home in Florissant, Missouri, where she lives with her husband and son. You can find out more about Sue and her work on her website at www.suebradfordedwards.com, and on her blog, https://suebe.wordpress.com/

 

Veda Boyd Jones

 

VEDA BOYD JONES is the author of 47 books and over 500 articles and short stories. She writes children’s picture books and middle grade novels, fiction and non-fiction, and has been published in children’s magazines. She also writes romance novels for adults. Find out more about Veda and her books on her website at www.vedaboydjones.com

 

 

Cynthia Reeg

 Cynthia Reeg’s books have been published by Guardian Angel Publishing, and her work has been published in anthologies, magazines and newspapers. Her newest book, BUNNY BUSINESS, was released from Guardian Angel Publishing in September 2014. http://www.cynthiareeg.com/index.html

 

 

Stephanie Bearce

STEPHANIE BEARCE is the author of non-fiction for children and she also writes middle grade fiction. She is a past SCBWI Regional Advisor and is a full member of the Missouri Writers Guild and American Christian Fiction Writers. Find out more at www.stephaniebearce.com

 

 

Barbara StuberBARBARA STUBER, from Kansas City, brings visual art and writing together as she weaves artwork into her stories for young adults. Her latest book, Girl in Reverse, was an NPR (National Public Radio) pick for the Best Books of 2014 in five categories. Her earlier book, Crossing the Tracks, was an ALA Wm. C. Morris Award Finalist in 2010. Find out more at http://www.barbarastuber.com

 

Jeanie Franz Ransom

 

JEANIE FRANZ RANSOM, from O’Fallon, Missouri, sold her first story to Seventeen magazine when she was a teen, and has been writing ever since. She is an award-winning author of children’s picture books, and her books have received starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly. She is also a former elementary school counselor. Find out more at www.jeanieransom.com

 

 

Jody Jensen Shaffer

JODY JENSEN SHAFFER is the author of 26 fiction and nonfiction books, which include titles like NINJA WARRIORS, INSIDE MY MUSCLES, BLACK-FOOTED FERRETS, and FREDERICK DOUGLASS.  Her debut picture book, ROCKY, releases in 2017 from Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin. Find out more at:  http://jodyjensenshaffer.blogspot.com/

 

 

ANOLA PICKET is a former teacher and school librarian and writes historical novels for middle grade readers. She is also the author of an I-Can-Read book for younger readers, and co-author of a book for teachers and parents, Multiple Intelligences and Positive Life Habits. Anola lives in Kansas City but loves to travel and finds ideas and inspiration in her travels. You can find out more about Anola and her books Anola Picketat www.anolapickett.com, or meet her on Twitter at anolamarie.

 

 

 

AMY SKLANSKY, University City, is a former editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books, Amy writes picture books and board books, and is the author of children’s fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Her books have Amy Sklanskyreceived many awards including the Bankstreet College of Education Best Books of the Year, Outstanding Science Trade Book by the National Science Teachers Association and Children’s Book Council, and have appeared on the St. Louis Independent Bestsellers list. You can read more about Amy at: www.amysklansky.com.

 

Cathy Gilmore

CATHY GILMORESt. Louis, is a picture book author, and freelance editor. Her goal is to help children discover the joy of God’s love through her books. A Certified Catechist of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, she creates stories that bring the gospel to life for children. Her newest book, LITTLE LAMB FINDS CHRISTMAS, won the 2015 USA Best Books Award in the Children’s Religious books category. Read more about Cathy and her books on her website at www.catherinecgilmore.com.