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.

Jaime Berry

Jaime Berry is the author of middle grade fiction and is a former New York City public school teacher. Hope Springs, her debut novel, was named a Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year for 2022, and a state award nominee. Her sophomore novel, Heart Finds, was a Junior Library Guild Selection and described by Kirkus Reviews as, “sure-handed storytelling with a resilient, extremely likable young hero.” Despite spending her adult life in large cities, Jaime was born and raised in rural Oklahoma, and her stories tend to take place in small towns and feature kids doing big things while finding their place in the world. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband, three kids, and one very ornery dog, and if she isn’t reading or writing, she’s most likely taking a walk and thinking about reading or writing 

Rachelle Burk

Author. Rachelle is the author of twenty fiction and nonfiction titles for children ages 2-12. Her books include Don’t Turn the Page!, A Mitzvah for George Washington, The Story of Simone Biles, The Story of Taylor Swift and A Gift of Life: A Story of Organ Donation & Transplant. Her science-adventure novel, The Walking Fish, was named an NSTA/National Book Council Outstanding Science Trade Book. Rachelle was also 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 loves to bring her Author Visit programs to elementary and preschools around the country.

Cathy Carr

Author. Cathy Carr has a BA in English from Duke University and an MFA in creative writing from UNCG. She is the author of 365 Days to Alaska, a middle-grade novel published in 2021 by Abrams/Amulet, which was a Junior Library Guild Selection, a Bank Street Best Books of the Year 2021, and a CCBC Choices 2022. Hersecond novel middle-grade novel, Lost Kites and Other Treasures, came out in February 2024. She is hard at work on her third. She lives in the New Jersey suburbs with her family.  

Crissa-Jean Chappell

Author. Professor. YA. Crissa-Jean Chappell was born in Miami and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Her debut young adult novel, 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 currently optioned for film. More Than Good Enough (Flux Books) is a Florida Book Awards medalist, which Kirkus calls, "compelling and emotionally nuanced." Snowbirds (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers). “will keep readers on their toes…an engrossing mystery,” School Library Journal. Chappell’s newest novel is  Sun Don’t Shine (Fitzroy Books, spring 2024) “An exceptional novel with an original perspective on memory and trauma,” Foreword Reviews. She holds a PhD and MFA from the University of Miami and is a professor of creative writing at Lehman College. When she misses South Florida, she talks to the parrots in Green-Wood Cemetery.

Mike Ciccotello

Author-Illustrator. Mike Ciccotello is the author-illustrator of the picture books Twin, Beach Toys vs. School Supplies and the forthcoming Leonard's Haunted House (FSG/Macmillan). He is also the illustrator of Bridget Heos’s Treemendous and her Science Buddies series (Crown/Penguin Random House), as well as Croc & Gator, a chapter-book series written by Lisa Katzenberger (forthcoming from Pixel+Ink), and Cheese and Quackers, an early graphic chapter-book series written by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen (forthcoming from Aladdin/S&S). Mike is the host of DRAW WITH MR. MIKE, a drawing show for children. He lives with his wife and twin boys in New Jersey.

Robin Constantine

Author. Robin Constantine is a native Jersey girl. She graduated from Montclair State University, with a BA in Communication Studies. Robin is the author of four young adult novels, including, The Promise of Amazing (B+B/HarperCollins), The Secrets of Attraction (B+B/HarperCollins), The Season of You & Me (B+B/HarperCollins), and most recently in 2023, Someone You Loved (B+B/HarperCollins). She got her start in publishing after winning the 2009 Get Your Stiletto in the Door contest run by ChickLitWriters.com, through which she met and signed with her agent, Tamar Rydzinski. She is a former RUCCL mentee and is thrilled to be the Success Story Speaker for 2024. When not writing, you can find her reading, spending time with family, and/or possibly planning her next trip to Disney..

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.  Jennifer Salvato Doktorski received a 2024 Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. She is the author of five young adult novels—The Summer After You & Me (Sourcebooks Fire), a YALSA Teens’ Top Ten nominee, Famous Last Words (Holt), a Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year, How My Summer Went Up in Flames (Simon Pulse) August & Everything After (Sourcebooks Fire) and Finding Normal (Fitzroy Books, Jan. 2025). 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."

Colleen Rowan Kosinski

Author. Illustrator. Editor. Colleen writes picture books and middle grade novels. Her picture books include Lilla’s Sunflowers, A Home Again, Love Made Me More and Little Star (2025). Her middle grade novel is titled A Promise Stitched In Time. Colleen’s book, A Home Again, has been published in eight languages. Her middle grade novel is titled A Promise Stitched In Time. Colleen teaches private classes on picture book writing and works as an editor at Reedsy.com. 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-Grant

Author, Trauma Therapist, Professor. Denise is an award-winning investigative reporter, author, and trauma specialist who has presented at national professional conferences and trained more than one thousand teachers and professionals on how to respond to disclosures of abuse. A national television producer for nearly fifteen years, she has been a guest on shows ranging from Oprah to the morning and afternoon talk shows. She has also served as a judge for the Emmy Awards for television programing for three years and has been an adjust professor in the master’s program at Seton Hall University. Denise’s young adult titles include But Everyone Else Looks So Sure of Themselves, a New York Public Library’s selection to the Permanently Recommended list, and Footsteps in the Ocean. Her adult books include A Call for Justice, The Dark Son, The Phantom Spouse, three books on Lyme disease, and How to Stop Your Relatives From Driving You Crazy! She also contributed four sections to the groundbreaking Encyclopedia of Sexual Violence and Abuse published in connection with Rutgers University.

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

Olivia Luchini

Olivia Luchini is an assistant editor for Penguin Workshop, an imprint of Penguin Random House. She edits many of the Who HQ nonfiction chapter books. In addition to her work on the #1 New York Times bestselling series, Olivia edits licensed titles and picture books, including Queer and Fearless by Rob Sanders. She is interested in picture books, middle grade titles, and young adult titles. As a former comedian, Olivia loves writing with humor at its center. She has edited books that deal with the following themes: LGBTQIA+ history, LGBTQIA+ fiction, body positivity, Spanish vocabulary, women in sports, and more. Olivia graduated from the University of California, Davis in 2019.                                                              

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 — Shift Happens: The History of Labor in the United States — published with HarperCollins in 2024. Born and raised in New 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 32 languages and nominated for 93 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 Hyewon Yum, Mark Fearing, Dana Wulfekotte, Ariel Bernstein, 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 Westchester County 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).

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.  Trinka’s newest book is Just One Girl, a Tales of Young Americans series historical fiction (Sleeping Bear Press) available August 2024. 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 Editor at Freedom Fire and Disney Hyperion, imprints of Disney Publishing Worldwide. She acquires middle-grade and Young Adult fiction, as well as the occasional picture book. 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 and affirming. She’s a fan of mysteries (and true crime!) and would love to see fresh, modern takes on series 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 and Leeza Hernandez (Roxie Loves Adventure / Abrams), Cathy Carr (Lost Kites and Other Treasures  / Abrams), Mike Ciccotello (Beach Toys vs. School Supplies / FSG), Cori Doerrfeld (The Rabbit Listened / Dial) and Susie Lee Jin (King of the Mountain! / 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.

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, Farmer Goff and His Turkey Sam, Owl Boy, 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 recent book, The Bumble Brothers: The Not-So-Secret Clubhouse, is the second of a three-book graphic novel series.

Colby Cedar Smith

Colby Cedar Smith is a poet, novelist, and educator. Colby has spent the last twenty years teaching creative writing and storytelling workshops in elementary and secondary schools, universities, art museums, nature centers, community centers, and corporations. Her poetry has been a finalist for over twenty poetry prizes including The Iowa Review Poetry Award, the New Letters Poetry Prize, the Colorado Prize for Poetry; and the 92Y “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize. In 2020, Colby received a New Jersey Council on the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. Colby's debut YA verse novel, Call Me Athena: Girl from Detroit (2021) has been chosen as a Junior Library Guild Gold Selection Standard Selection; an American Booksellers Association Kids’ Indie Next Pick; a Cybils Award Poetry Finalist; a 2021 Goodreads Choice Best Poetry Nominee, A Kid's Book Choice Finalist for Stellar Storytelling; a 2022 Independent Publisher Book Awards Silver medal for YA Fiction; a 2022 Silver Nautilus Award for Lyric Prose; a 2021 Michigan notable book; and the winner of the Midwest Book Award for YA Fiction. She holds a B.A. in creative writing from Colorado College, and an Ed.M in arts in education from Harvard University. Colby lives in Hopewell, NJ with her husband, two children, and a winter wolf named Poppy. You can connect with her on Instagram @Colby_Cedar_Smith.  professor.

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 six starred trade reviews, been chosen as Junior Library Guild Selections, and received awards such as Outstanding Science Trade Book, Best STEM Book, Crystal Kite, Cook Prize Honor, and Parents’ Choice Gold Medal. Her titles include Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine, Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code, Rivka's Presents, The Queen of Chess and Dino Pajama Party. Laurie has an MFA in Writing from VCFA and is a former software engineer and computer science professor.

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, Beth Ferry, Lisa Rowe Fraustino, Patricia Lee Gauch, Lindsay Barrett George, 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, Alan Katz, Leslie Kaufmann, Sally Keehn, Beverly Komoda, Elizabeth Law, David Lubar, Stephanie Owens Lurie, Janet Taylor Lisle, Kevin Lewis, Dorothy Markinko, Joyce McDonald, Samantha McFerrin, Denise Mortensen, 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, Annie Silvestro, 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, Marietta Zacker and Emellia Zamani.

Founder: Vivian Grey

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