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The Council's membership comprises noted authors and illustrators of books for young readers, distinguished editors, agents, and academic professionals.

Marc Aronson

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.

Rachelle Burk

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, 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.

Crissa-Jean Chappell

Author. Professor. YA. Crissa-Jean Chappell was born in Miami and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Her debut, Total Constant Order (HarperTeen) is a NYPL Book For The Teen Age and a VOYA Perfect Ten. Chappell’s second novel, Narc (Flux Books) is optioned for film. More Than Good Enough (Flux Books) is a Florida Book Awards medalist, which Kirkus calls, "compelling and emotionally nuanced." Chappell's newest YA novel is Snowbirds (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers). “…an engrossing mystery,” School Library Journal. Next up: Chappell’s fifth young adult novel, Sun Don’t Shine (Fitzroy Books, spring 2024). She holds a PhD and MFA from the University of Miami and has taught creative writing and cinema studies for over fifteen years. She is currently an adjunct professor at Lehman College. When she misses South Florida, she talks to the parrots in Green-Wood Cemetery.

Mike Ciccotello

Author-Illustrator. Mike Ciccotello received a BFA with a concentration in painting from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. He is the author-illustrator of the picture book Twins and the forthcoming Beach Toys vs. School Supplies (both from FSG/Macmillan). He is also the illustrator of Bridget Heos’s Treemendous and her forthcoming picture-book series Science Buddies (all from Crown/Penguin Random House), as well as Cheese and Quackers, an early graphic chapter-book series written by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen (forthcoming from Aladdin/S&S). Mike is an active member of SCBWI and CBIG.

Margery Cuyler

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.

Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

Author.  Jen is the author of four young adult novels—The Summer After You & Me, a YALSA Teens’ Top Ten nominee, Famous Last Words, a Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year, How My Summer Went Up in Flames, and August & Everything After. She is currently working on her fifth novel for teens and first for adults. A member of SCBWI, Jen is a former One-on-One Plus conference mentee and mentor and was honored to be the Success Story speaker in 2014. Her first paid writing gig was at a local newspaper, where she wrote obituaries and began her lifelong love of news and coffee. A proud Jersey girl, she and her family live five minutes from Rutgers, New Brunswick, and spend summers "down the shore."

Beth Ferry

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.

Lindsay Barrett George

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.

Alan Katz

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.

Colleen Rowan Kosinski

Author. Illustrator. Editor. Colleen writes picture books and middle grade novels. Her picture books include Lilla’s Sunflowers, A Home Again, and Love Made Me More (2022). Her middle grade novel is titled A Promise Stitched In Time. Colleen is a committee member of the NJ SCBWI and also teaches private classes on picture book writing. For the last year she has been working as an editor at Colleen’s book Love Made Me More was published after being mentored by Trinka Hakes Noble at a Rutgers One-On-One Plus Conference. Colleen is a graduate of Rutgers University, as are her husband and two sons.

Denise Lang

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, ShipmatesJudge Mills Lane, Day & Date and Dateline.Denise’s adult books include A Call for JusticeThe Dark Son;Coping with Lyme DiseaseHow 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.

Tara Lazar

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 She is a former One-on-One Plus Conference mentee and Success Story speaker.

Olivia Luchini

Olivia Luchini is an editorial assistant for Penguin Workshop, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers. She mainly works on the Who HQ nonfiction series. Additionally, she works on several picture books about the LGBTQIA+ community. Before joining Penguin Random House, she completed an editorial fellowship at Chronicle Books. She graduated from the University of California, Davis in 2019 with a major in English and emphases in Literary Criticism and Creative Writing. She is most passionate about children’s books that feature body positivity.

J. Albert Mann

Author. Jennifer is a disability activist, an award-winning poet, and an author of eight published novels for children. She has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults and is the Partner Liaison for the WNDB Internship Grant Committee. Her work has won the Massachusetts Book Award Honor, been long-listed for the South Carolina Book Award, received a Disability Visibility Grant, named both a Bank Street Best Book and a BCCB Blue Ribbon Ribbon Book, and has made the TAYSHAS Texas Reading List and BuzzFees’s Best YA. Her first work of YA nonfiction is set to publish with HarperCollins in 2023. Born and raised in Jersey, she now lives on a fishing boat in the Boston Harbor.

Wendy Mass

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 LifeEvery Soul a Star11 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.

Sean McCarthy

Sean McCarthy founded his own full-service literary agency in 2013 after working at Overlook Press and Sheldon Fogelman Agency, and represents authors and illustrators across all age ranges in children’s publishing. His clients include New York Times Bestseller Zachariah OHora, Hyewon Yum, Mark Fearing, Dana Wulfekotte, Margaret Chiu Greanias, and Junghwa Park, among others. Sean graduated from Macalester College with a degree in English-Creative Writing, and is grateful that he no longer has to spend his winters in Minnesota. He currently lives in Astoria with his wife and two pet rabbits (who aren’t much help when it comes to reading manuscripts, though they are excellent at shredding them). You can find him complaining about the Mets on Twitter@mccarthylit.

Denise Dowling Mortensen

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.

Katrina Moore

Author. Katrina Moore is the author of the picture books Sometimes Love (Penguin/Dial, July 2022), One Hug, Grandpa Grumps, illustrated by Xindi Yan, and its forthcoming sequel, Grumpy New Year (Little Bee Books, December 2022), and Hope is a Hop (2023), with more contracted picture books to be announced. Her humorous chapter books series, Teeny Houdini, illustrated by Zoe Si, stars the magical, mischievous, mayhem-maker Bessie Lee. Teeny Houdini: The Disappearing Act, Teeny Houdini The Super Secret Valentine, and Teeny Houdini The Giant Panda Plan are all available now (HarperCollins/Tegen Books). She holds an M.A. in teaching and has been an elementary educator for over thirteen years. Katrina has presented writing workshops and lectures at SCBWI conferences, schools, and libraries, and has professionally critiqued hundreds of manuscripts. She is a former One-on-One plus mentee.

Trinka Hakes Noble

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.

Anuoluwapo Ohioma

Anu is an Associate 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

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

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. 

Annette Pollert-Morgan

Executive Editor, Sourcebooks Fire and Young Readers. 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/kid experience in all its diversity and is particularly drawn to novels that spark important conversation, thrillers/suspense/horror, coming-of-age romance, and stories that leave you feeling more than when you started. Annette loves working with debut authors, and she acquired and edited Marieke Nijkamp’s 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, You Will be Mine, and The Lost. 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..

Mary Riskind

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.

Brian Schatell

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 series.

Annie Silvestro

Author. Annie Silvestro is a lover of books who can often be found shuffling piles of them around so she has a place to sit or someplace to put her teacup. She is the author of Dylan's Dragon, Sugar and Spice and Everything Mice, Bunny's Book Club Goes To School, Butterflies on the First Day of School, The Christmas Tree Who Loved Trains, Mice Skating, and Bunny's Book Club, named a Kids’ Indie Next List Pick, an Amazon best book of the year for 2017, and a 2018 pick for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Annie lives with her sons by the beach in New Jersey where she laughs loudly and often.

Laurie Wallmark

Author. Award-winning author Laurie Wallmark writes picture book biographies of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) as well as fiction. Her books have earned five starred trade reviews, been chosen as Junior Library Guild Selections, and received awards such as Outstanding Science Trade Book, Best STEM Book, Cook Prize Honor Book, Crystal Kite Award, Mathical Honor Book, and Parents’ Choice Gold Medal. Her titles include Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine, Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code, Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life, Numbers in Motion, Code Breaker, Spy Hunter, and her debut fiction picture book, Dino Pajama Party. Laurie has an MFA in Writing from VCFA and is a former software engineer and computer science professor.

Marietta Zacker

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.

Former Council Members

Gail Aaron, Caroline Abbey, Paul Acampora, Marcy Aboff, Tracey Adams, Eve Adler, Stacey Barney, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Rob Blake, Courtney Bongiolatti, Pat Brisson, Denise Brunkus, Virginia Buckley, Joan Carris, Peter Catalanotto, Dennis Cate, Jan Cheripko, Barbara Cohen, Floyd Cooper, Kathy Dawson, Harry Devlin, Wendy Devlin, Linda Epstein, Lisa Rowe Fraustino, Patricia Lee Gauch, Stacey Kendall Glick, 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, Jim Murphy, 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, Nancy Viau, Edie Weinberg, Tina Wexler, Refna Wilkin, Rita Williams-Garcia, Kay Winters, Thomas F. Yezerski and Emellia Zamani.

Founder: Vivian Grey

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