The Council's membership comprises noted authors and illustrators of books for young readers, distinguished editors, agents, and academic professionals.
Author. Paul Acampora writes novels and short stories for young readers. Kids, parents and critics praise his work for its laugh-out-loud humor, rollicking dialogue, and heartfelt characters. His books include Defining Dulcie, Rachel Spinelli Punched Me in the Face, and his newest novel, I Kill the Mockingbird (Roaring Brook Press), which is a comedy/caper about three friends who sabotage their summer reading list. Paul is a popular writing workshop leader for schools, libraries, and conferences. In his free time, he chases his children, builds cardboard robots, and adopts dogs.
Professor, editor, author. Marc has a doctorate in American History and has worked for the past 25 years as an editor and author of books for all readers who are not adults. His special passion is for nonfiction, and he was proud to win the first Robert F. Sibert Medal from the American Library Association for excellence in informational books, as well as an honor for best young adult books. He teaches in the MLIS program at Rutgers where, in addition to materials for children and for teenagers, he runs courses on ebooks and apps, and on the glories of nonfiction. He has two 2012 books: Master of Deceit: J. Edgar Hoover and America in the Age of Lies; and The Skull in the Rock, which he co-wrote with Professor Lee Berger, the discoverer of a new species of human ancestor.
Author. Children's Entertainer. Rachelle writes fiction and nonfiction for children ages 2-12. Her picture books include Don’t Turn the Page! and Tree House in a Storm. Her biography, Painting in the Dark: Esref Armagan, Blind Artist, received New York International Radio Show and Wilbur Awards honors, and her science-adventure novel, The Walking Fish, was named an NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book. The Best Four Questions, a Passover picture book, will be released in 2019. Rachelle was a regular contributor to Scholastic Science World and other children's magazines. She is the founder of ResourcesForChildrensWriters.com, an award-winning library of help sites for kidlit writers. Rachelle entertains children as a clown and storyteller, and brings her Author Visit programs to elementary and preschools around the country.
Author/illustrator. Peter Catalanotto has written seventeen books for children, including Monkey & Robot, More of Monkey & Robot, The Newbies, Question Boy Meets Little Miss Know-It-All, Ivan the Terrier, Matthew A.B.C., and Emily’s Art, of which School Library Journal said in a starred review, “Whether viewed from afar or up close, this creative and heartfelt book is a masterpiece.” In 2008, First Lady Laura Bush commissioned Peter to illustrate the White House holiday brochure. He currently teaches the first children's book writing course offered by both Columbia University and Pratt Institute. Peter has illustrated more than thirty books for other writers including George Ella Lyon, Cynthia Rylant, Mary Pope Osborne, Joanne Ryder, Robert Burleigh and Megan McDonald.
Author. Jan Cheripko writes for children and young adults. His novel Imitate the Tiger, about a high school football player battling alcoholism, won the Joan Fassler Memorial Award presented by the Association of Children's Health. His novel sun moon stars rain garnered the praise of Hazel Rochman, who wrote, ". . . it's the honest characters, with all their scrappy, irreverent individuality, and compassion that grab attention. Fast, clipped, immediate, raucous, . . . the dialogue is poetic. . ." Jan is also the former assistant to the publisher of Boyds Mills Press. He has addressed audiences of students, educators and parents throughout the country and abroad. Currently, he occasionally teaches workshops for the Highlights Foundation.
Author/Publishing Consultant. Margery Cuyler has held a number of executive publishing jobs throughout her 45-year career, including overseeing the Two Lions picture-book/middle-grade imprint at Amazon Publishing, becoming the children’s book/YA publisher at Marshall Cavendish, and serving as Vice President and Associate Publisher of Golden Books Family Entertainment, Vice President and Associate Publisher of Books for Young Readers at Henry Holt, Inc., and Vice President and Editor-in-Chief at Holiday House, Inc. She is the author of 49 children’s books, including the classics That’s Good! That’s Bad!, The Biggest, Best Snowman, and 100th Day Worries. Her most recent books are The Little School Bus, The Little Dump Truck, Bullies Never Win, I Repeat, Don’t Cheat!, and a reissue of her chapter book, The Battlefield Ghost. She and her husband have three grown children and live in Lawrenceville, N.J. Margery retired from Amazon Publishing at the end of 2013 and is currently working on a young-adult novel as well as more picture books.
Author. Beth Ferry is the author of numerous books for young readers, including Stick and Stone, a New York Times bestseller and an Amazon best book of 2015. Some of her other titles include: Land Shark, Ten Rules of the Birthday Wish, The Scarecrow and Swashby and the Sea. While Beth mainly writes picture books, her first graphic novel series, Fox and Rabbit, will be published in 2020. Beth has a bachelor's degree in English and a Master's Degree in Education. She lives by the beach in New Jersey.
Author/Illustrator. Lindsay specializes in picture books. Her books include: The Secret; Inside Mouse, Outside Mouse; My Bunny and Me; Around the Pond: Who's Been Here?; In the Woods: Who's Been Here?; Around the World: Who's Been Here?; and In the Snow: Who's Been Here?; Box Turtle at Long Pond, by William T. George; and Beaver at Long Pond, co-written by William T. George. Her books have received the following honors: American Bookseller "Pick of the List," Children's Literature Choice, Outstanding Science Trade Book for Children NSTA/CBC, and Library of Congress Children's Book of the Year. Member: SCBWI, Authors Guild, Audibon Society, Wayne County Arts Alliance, Penn Center.
Vice President, joined Dystel & Goderich Literary Management in 1999 after working in film and television development for five years at PolyGram Filmed Entertainment and Hearst Entertainment, where she looked for book projects to be adapted into movies. Stacey is also a former child actress who appeared on television, in theater, and in feature films. She has a wide-ranging and eclectic client list of adult and children’s authors that has grown and evolved over the years, as her life and interests have changed. On the children’s side, she represents middle grade and YA fiction, as well as select picture books, and she’d love to find the next Judy Blume and/or a nonfiction project along the lines of WHO SAYS WOMEN CAN’T BE DOCTORS? Some of Stacey’s children’s authors include Amy Plum, A.J. Hartley, Bethany Neal, Nicole McInnes, and author/illustrator Christie Matheson. Stacey lives in Northern New Jersey with her husband and 4 little girls (2 readers and 2 almost readers), and enjoys cooking and baking, sipping cocktails, taking pictures, shopping, theater, going to Mets games and eating chocolate, cheese and spicy tuna hand rolls (not necessarily in that order) when she can find the time.
Author. Alan Katz has written 40+ highly acclaimed books for young readers. A frequent presenter at regional and national conferences/festivals, he’s received numerous state awards for his titles, notably Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs, OOPS! and Are You Quite Polite? Alan’s upcoming works include Really Stupid Stories for Really Smart Kids, his first three Lieographies--Babe Ruth, Amelia Earhart, Thomas Edison (fall 2020), and the first two books in the Society of Superhero Substitutes series. Alan is also a six-time Emmy-nominated writer for TV series including The Rosie O’Donnell Show, many animated series including Pinkalicious, and the Tony Awards. He is a proud member of SCBWI, and a proud dad of four. Mostly, he’s just proud.
Author. Producer. Teacher. Denise is an award-winning investigative reporter, editor & author, with books ranging from YA nonfiction to health/family issues and true crime for adult readers. Denise Lang is also a television producer. She has been a guest on shows ranging from Oprah to CBS This Morning, and her producing credits include the national shows Court TV’s Parco P.I., Ambush Makeover, Shipmates, Judge Mills Lane, Day & Date and Dateline.Denise’s adult books include A Call for Justice; The Dark Son;Coping with Lyme Disease; How to Stop Your Relatives from Driving You Crazy, and The Phantom Spouse. Young adult titles include But Everyone Looks So Sure of Themselves, a New York Public Library’s selection to the Permanently Recommended list, andFootsteps in the Ocean. Denise has served as a judge for the Emmy Awards for Children’s Television Programming for 3 years and is an Adjunct Professor for the NYU College of Continuing and Professional Education.
Author. Tara Lazar specializes in picture books. Her debut The Monstore was released by Aladdin/Simon & Schuster in 2013 and she has since published five more books, including 7 Ate 9: The Untold Story from Disney-Hyperion, a semi-finalist for the 2018 Irma Black Award for Excellence in Children's Literature. She currently has six more books under contract. Tara founded Storystorm, the NaNoWriMo equivalent for picture book writers, held every January on her award-winning blog at taralazar.com. She is a former One-on-One Plus Conference mentee and Success Story speaker.
Author. Wendy Mass’s books for young readers have been translated into 12 languages and nominated for 40 state book awards. Her first, A Mango-Shaped Space, was awarded the Schneider Family Book Award. Others include Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, Every Soul a Star, 11 Birthdays and The Candymakers. Wendy also supplied the storyline for an episode of the TV show Monk entitled "Mr. Monk Goes to the Theatre," which aired during the show's second season. She lives in Sparta, New Jersey.
Author. Denise specializes in rhyming picture books. Her titles include Good Night Engines (2003), an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award-winner; Ohio Thunder (2006); Wake Up Engines(2007); a board book/flip book combination of Good Night Engines/Wake Up Engines (2011); and Bug Patrol (2013). From a very young age, she developed a passion for words after listening to lyrical verse read to her at bedtime. She has worked at CBS News and Conde Nast Publications, and has done freelance copyediting and proofreading for a publisher of children’s non-fiction books. She currently teaches young author’s workshops for elementary school students. Member of SCBWI, Editorial Freelancer’s Association and NJEA.
Author. Jim Murphy specializes in nonfiction and fiction dealing with American history for elementary age children through young adults. Among his many critically acclaimed works are An American Plague; Inside the Alamo; Blizzard!; West to a Land of Plenty; The Great Fire; The Boys' War, and The Long Road to Gettysburg. He has received two ALA Newbery Honor Awards, the ALA Robert F. Sibert Award, as well as a Sibert Honor Book Award; three NCTE Orbis Pictus Awards; the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award and a Boston-Globe-Horn Book Honor Book Award; two SCBWI Golden Kite Awards; The Washington Post-Children's Book Guild Award; the James Madison Book Award; three Virginia Library Association Jefferson Cup Awards, and been a Finalist for the National Book Award.
Author. Is the award-winning author of numerous picture books including: Apple Tree Christmas (which she wrote and illustrated), The Scarlet Stockings Spy (IRA Teacher’s Choice, 2005), The Last Brother (2006), The Legend of Michigan(2006), and The Legend of the Cape May Diamond (2007). Her newest titles are: The Pennsylvania Reader (2007), The Orange Shoes (IRA Teacher’s Choice 2008), and the New Jersey Reader (2009) published by Sleeping Bear Press. Ms. Noble also wrote the ever-popular Jimmy’s Boa series, illustrated by Steven Kellogg, and Meanwhile back at the Ranch, both featured on PBS’s Reading Rainbow. Her many awards include ALA Notable Children’s book, Booklist Children’s Editors Choice, IRA-CBC Children’s Choice, Learning: The Year’s Ten Best, and several Junior Literary Guild Selections. She was awarded Outstanding Woman in Arts and Letters in the state of New Jersey for her lifetime work in children’s books.
Anu is an Assistant Editor at Penguin Workshop, an imprint of Penguin Random House Children’s books. She primarily works on the New York Times Bestselling nonfiction series Who Was?, What Was?, and Where Is?, and also on select fiction projects, such as No One Likes a Fart by Zoe Foster Blake. She is interested in chapter books and middle grade and young adult contemporary fiction. Anu is on the lookout for diverse narratives that are joyful, humorous, and heartwarming—books her younger self would have identified with and found comforting. She’s a fan of mysteries (and true-crime!) and would love to see fresh, modern takes on stories like Nancy Drew and The Boxcar Children.
Rachel Orr is a literary agent with Prospect Agency, where she represents both authors and illustrators in projects ranging from picture books through YA. She previously worked for eight rewarding years at HarperCollins Children’s Books, and uses those editorial skills to help prepare her clients’ work for submission. Her clients include Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen (Chicks Rule / Abrams), Mike Ciccotello (Twins/FSG), Samantha M. Clark (The Boy, the Boat and the Beast/S&S), Cori Doerrfeld (The Rabbit Listened/Dial), and Leeza Hernandez (Mia Mayhem, S&S). Rachel lives in Hoboken, New Jersey, with her husband and two children. She has no spare time—but, if she did, she would spend it dancing, running and reading, of course. You can follow her on Twitter @rachelprospect.
Wendy Pfeffer has had forty-seven children’s books published. Wendy comes by writing and her love of words naturally since her grandfather was an author as well as a doctor. Her father was a math professor, with a hobby that focused on the origin of words and phrases. A Log’s Life, (Simon and Schuster) won the Jon Burroughs Nature Books for Young Readers Award, The Giverny Award for the Best Children’s Science Book and the International Gold Medal for Creative Illustrative Excellence. It showcases the forest ecosystem with lyrical text and stunning paper sculptures. Other Awards include Book List, Banks Street’s Best Children’s Books, Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best, American Bookseller’s Pick of the List, and NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book for Children. Various titles are From Tadpole to Frog, What’s it Like to Be a Fish, Wiggling Worms at Work, and Dolphin Talk, (HarperCollins). A fascinating four book series begins with The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice (Dutton). Wendy’s books are in Spanish, Chinese and Korean. Wendy enjoys visiting schools where she makes presentations and conducts writing workshops. She is a member of the SCBWI, Bucks County Authors of Books for Children, and The Authors Guild.
Editorial Director, Bloomsbury Children’s. Annette Pollert-Morgan acquires young adult and middle-grade fiction, as well as the occasional nonfiction project and memoir. Annette is looking for books based in (or out!) of reality with strong protagonists, inventive hooks, and captivating storytelling. She seeks manuscripts that create—and validate—the teen experience in all of its diversity, and is particularly drawn to issue-driven novels, suspense, coming-of-age romance, and stories that leave you feeling more than when you started. Prior to joining Bloomsbury, she was the Editorial Director of Sourcebooks Fire where she worked with Marieke Nijkamp on her New York Times bestselling This is Where it Ends and Before I Let Go, as well as Natasha Preston’s New York Times bestselling The Cabin. She was also the editor for Rin Chupeco’s acclaimed The Bone Witch trilogy, Chelsea Sedoti’s As You Wish, and Juno Dawson’s This Book is Gay (nonfiction), among others.
Author, Librarian. Mary Riskind specializes in middle grade fiction. Her books include Apple Is My Sign, an ALA Notable Book; Wildcat Summer, named to the New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age; and Follow That Mom!, starred in School Library Journal (all from Houghton Mifflin) She has also written plays for the educational market. Retired director of the Bergenfield Public Library in Bergenfield, New Jersey, and former Library Services coordinator for the Bergen County Cooperative Library System (BCCLS), Riskind is a past president of BCCLS and has held leadership roles in New Jersey library organizations serving children, young adults and adults throughout her career. Member: SCBWI, Authors Guild.
Illustrator. Author. Brian Schatell has written and/or illustrated numerous picture books, including Two Crazy Pigs; the Farmer Goff series, and Pup and Pop, his first collaboration with his wife, author Jane Gerver. His work has been recognized by School Library Journal Best Books and IRA-CBC Children’s Choice Awards and others. For twelve years he taught children’s book writing and illustration at Parsons School of Design. Brian also illustrates extensively for the children's apparel industry. His latest book, Owl Boy, is published by Holiday House, and he is currently working on his first graphic novel.
Author. Nancy specializes in fiction for children ages 2-12. Her picture books include First Snow (which Kirkus calls, “A sweet suburban/rural contrast to the snowy day enjoyed by Peter in the city.”), City Street Beat, Storm Song, Look What I Can Do! and Pruett and Soo (2020). She is also the author of the middle-grade novels Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head, Something is Bugging Samantha Hansen, Beauty and Bernice, and Just One Thing! Nancy is the founder of the KidLit Authors Club, a group of 22 children’s book authors who band together to appear at bookstores, libraries, festivals, and conferences. A former teacher and kid-at-heart, she often visits elementary schools to share her journey to publication and the writing process. Nancy is employed by the Cape May County (NJ) Library System as an assistant librarian. She has been both mentee and mentor at past One-on-One Plus Conferences.
Author. Award-winning author Laurie Wallmark’s debut picture book, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (Creston Books, 2015), received four starred trade reviews (Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and School Library Journal) and many national awards including Outstanding Science Trade Book and Cook Prize Honor Book. Her picture book biography, Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code (Sterling Children’s Books, 2017), earned a Kirkus star, is a Parents’ Choice Gold Medal winner, and is on several public libraries’ “best of” lists, including New York. Her recently released book is Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life (Sterling Children’s Books, 2019). Laurie presents at national conferences such as TLA (Texas Library Association, NCTE (National Council of Techers of English) and NSTA (National Science Teachers Association. She has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from VCFA.
Agent and Partner, Gallt and Zacker Literary Agency. Marietta has professionally experienced every aspect of children’s books for over 15 years, working with authors, illustrators, publishers, educators and readers. As an agent at the Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency, she is passionate about bringing those worlds together. She represents authors whose work make her pause, shiver or laugh out loud and illustrators who add a completely different dimension to the story being told. Marietta approaches her work with the knowledge that there are remarkable books of all genres, targeted to all ages, just waiting to be discovered. Aside from her work as an agent she is also the Book Curator at Sparkhouse, an independent toy store & bookstore in South Orange, NJ.
Gail Aaron, Caroline Abbey, Marcy Aboff, Tracey Adams, Eve Adler, Stacey Barney, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Rob Blake, Courtney Bongiolatti, Pat Brisson, Denise Brunkus, Virginia Buckley, Joan Carris, Dennis Cate, Barbara Cohen, Floyd Cooper, Kathy Dawson, Harry Devlin, Wendy Devlin, Linda Epstein, Lisa Rowe Fraustino, Patricia Lee Gauch, Ben Grange, Waller Hastings, Larissa Helena, Alyssa Eisner Henkin, Martha Hewson, Lenny Hort, Lisa Jahn-Clough, Pamela Jane, Michael Joseph, Cynthia Kane, Leslie Kaufmann, Sally Keehn, Beverly Komoda, Elizabeth Law, David Lubar, Stephanie Owens Lurie, Janet Taylor Lisle, Kevin Lewis, Dorothy Markinko, Joyce McDonald, Samantha McFerrin, Walter Dean Myers, Dianne Ochiltree, Coleen Murtagh Paratore, Gail Parris, Penny Pollock, Linda Pratt, Deborah Kogan Ray, Olegbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, Karen Rostoker-Gruber, Keith Robertson, Dr. Milton Schwebel, Sarah Sevier, Lena Shiffman, Lyn Sirota, Carol Snyder, Judith St. George, Nicole St. John, Pamela Curtis Swallow, Jennifer Thermes, Kay Vandergrift, Edie Weinberg, Tina Wexler, Refna Wilkin, Rita Williams-Garcia, Kay Winters, Thomas F. Yezerski and Emellia Zamani.