Jacqueline Alcántara is the award winning illustrator of The Field and its companion Climb On!, both written by Baptiste Paul, Freedom Soup, written by New York Times bestselling author Tami Charles, Jump at the Sun, written by Newbery honoree Alicia D. Williams, and Your Mama, written by NoNieqa Ramos, which was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize. Her works have received multiple starred reviews and been named Best Books of the Year by Kirkus, School Library Journal, Shelf Awareness and The Horn Book, among others. Forthcoming books including Jam, too? written by JaNay Brown-Wood, Ordinary Days, written by Angela Joy, Wifredo’s Jungle, written by Newbery honoree Margarita Engle, and Tíos and Primos her debut as author and illustrator.
Jacqueline created the artwork for the Chicago Women’s March “Ladies Marching” poster, and has done editorial work for the Obama Foundation, NPR, The Chicago Reader, The Chicago Foundation for Women, The Southern Poverty Law Center, Elle Decor, and the University of Chicago, among others. She spends her days drawing, teaching, rehabbing houses, and adventuring with her dogs. She is fueled by dance music, carbs and coffee, and has a boundless interest in learning new skills and taking on new challenges.
Muhammad Ali's core principles of confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, respect, and spirituality guided him and made him one of the most beloved symbols of peace and well-being in America and the world.First known for boxing, and later for his conscientious stance on the Vietnam War draft, Ali focused his awareness of the needs of his fellow citizens and those in the developing world to direct his good work. In addition to challenging racial and religious preconceptions at home, he served as a symbol of hope and a catalyst for constructive international dialogue, delivered sorely-needed medical supplies to an embargoed Cuba, provided more than 22 million meals to the world’s hungry, and helped secure the release of fifteen U.S. hostages from Iraq during the first Gulf War. The United Nations named him a Messenger of Peace, and he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, as well as Amnesty International’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In September 2012, he was the recipient of the prestigious National Constitution Center Liberty Medal.Among his many projects, Muhammad cofounded the Muhammad Ali Center with his wife Lonnie, and contributed substantially to the awareness and research efforts regarding Parkinson’s disease.
Shawn Amos is a world-renowned Blues musician. Cookies & Milk is his debut middle grade novel, inspired by real-life events of growing up in a cookie store with his father Wally Amos, the founder of Famous Amos Cookies.
Andrew Auseon is the author of acclaimed novels for young people, including Funny Little Monkey, Jo-Jo and the Fiendish Lot, Alienated (with David O. Russell) and Freak Magnet, a Bank Street Best Book of the Year. His books have been nominated for numerous awards, including the ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults, the Cybils, and state book awards. Auseon has an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College and a BA from Ohio University.
Artist and writer Mira Bartók is the author of The Memory Palace (Free Press), winner of the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography. Her writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and noted in The Best American Essays 1999 and other anthologies. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants for her art and for her writing.
Mary Jane Begin is an award-winning illustrator for several children's picture books including The Wind in the Willows, A Mouse Told His Mother, and Little Mouse's Painting. She is also a professor at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Melissa Benoist is an American actress based in Los Angeles who is best known for her roles in Glee, Whiplash, and Supergirl (in which she plays Supergirl). She and Jessica Benoist, her sister, are lifelong readers of science fiction and fantasy and are particularly passionate about using fantasy as a vehicle for making topical themes accessible to young readers. She lives in Kansas.
Sheryl Berk most recently collaborated with Sopranos star Jamie-Lynn DiScala on her memoir, Wise Girl, and with Britney Spears on her autobiography, Stages. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, Peter, and their own little miracle, daughter Carrie.
Alex Boersma is a hugely talented illustrator and artist who did illustrations for Spying on Whales and who works with Stanford University, the American Museum of Natural History, and Duke University Marine Lab, and has done editorial illustrations for Emergence magazine and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Anne Brusatte completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Bristol and earned a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from The City College of the City University of New York. She has taught elementary school for more than a decade in both the United States and the United Kingdom. She lives in Scotland, the setting of her first book for children, Dugie the Dinosaur.
Grace Byers is an actor and activist who stars in Fox’s hit series Empire. As a multiracial young girl and a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults), Grace was bullied throughout her childhood. Her first book, I Am Enough, was born out of her desire to empower young girls against the effects of bullying. In her spare time, she volunteers with the nonprofit antibullying organization Saving Our Daughters. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, actor Trai Byers, and is currently working on her third book.
A painter, playwright, and television creator of Tutti Frutti, Byrne has designed album covers for The Beatles, Donovan, Gerry Rafferty and Billy Connolly. He has several paintings hanging in The Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh.
Angela Cervantes is the award-winning author of several popular contemporary middle-grade novels including, Lety Out Loud, which was named a Pura Belpré Honor Book by the American Library Association and selected for the Kids Indie Next List, Me, Frida and the Secret of the Peacock Ring, which was named a Junior Library Guild Selection and included in the prestigious Texas Bluebonnet Master List, Allie, First at Last, which received a starred review from Kirkus, and Gaby, Lost and Found, named Best Youth Chapter book by the International Latino Book Awards and a Bank Street College of Education’s Best Book of the Year. Angela also authored Maritza: Lead with Your Heart, a part of American Girl’s new line of contemporary characters called World by Us, and the junior novelizations for Disney/Pixar’s animated films Coco and Encanto.
Angela is the daughter of a retired middle-school teacher who instilled in her a love of reading and storytelling. When Angela is not writing, she enjoys conducting school visits, traveling and reading. Angela writes, reads and dreams from her home in Kansas City.
Caroline Corrigan is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator living and working in upstate New York. Her illustrations and design work can be found in books such as The Ultimate Easy Screen Printing Book and in Terre magazine. Her first children’s book, Women Artists A-Z, was published by Dial Books for Young Readers in February 2020.
Kayla Cottingham is a YA author and librarian. Her first book, My Dearest Darkest, was a New York Times and Publisher's Weekly bestseller, an ALA 2023 Rainbow Book List Selection, a New England Book Award finalist, made The Children’s Book Council’s 2023 Young Adult Favorites Award List, and a Barnes & Noble YA Monthly Pick. Her sophomore novel, This Delicious Death, published in April 2023 from Sourcebooks Fire and received starred reviews from Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, Kayla lives in Boston where she loves to go hiking in the woods, play RPGs, and snuggle on the couch with her ridiculously large black cat, Squid.
Auriane Desombre is a former English teacher currently pursuing an MA in English Lit at NYU and an MFA in Creative Writing for Children at The New School. She writes YA fiction to inspire and encourage young readers in the LGBTQ+ community. I Think I Love You is her debut.
Ani DiFranco is a Grammy Award-winning singer, multi-instrumentalist, poet, songwriter, activist, businesswoman, and New York Times bestselling author. She has released more than 20 albums, and is one of the first independent musicians to create her own label, Righteous Babe Records (based in Buffalo, NY). She is widely known as an activist and feminist icon, and the Righteous Babe Foundation supports causes ranging from abortion rights to gay visibility.
Over the years, Dunbar has worked as a drama critic, journalist, and marketing manager, and has written on topics as diverse as traditional Irish music, court cases, and theater. She lives in Nashville with her husband and daughter.
The embodiment of genius and the pre-eminent scientist of the modern age, his theories and discoveries have profoundly affected the way people view and understand the world and their place in it. Einstein was also known as a philosopher and humanist who was keenly interested in and concerned about the affairs of the world.
His sagacious, wise, and humorous quotations, letters, and articles are widely used throughout popular culture as well as in historical and academic works. Einstein’s name and image are instantly recognizable everywhere in the world.
Michael Emberley is a children’s author and illustrator based in Dublin, Ireland. His numerous works include the iconic nonfiction title It’s Perfectly Normal (Candlewick), the bestselling series You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You (Little Brown), and, more recently, Ms. Brooks’ Story Nook (Knopf). His latest children’s picture book is I Can Make a Train Noise with Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, published by Neal Porter Books.
Actor and producer Omar Epps was first introduced to audiences as Q in Ernest Dickerson’s cult classic Juice, opposite Tupac Shakur. He has gone on to star in the beloved romance Love & Basketball, as Dr. Eric Foreman on massively popular TV show House, as Jeff Cole in In Too Deep, as Isaac Johnson on Shooter, and as Darnell on This Is Us. He is the author of a memoir, From Fatherless to Fatherhood. Nubia: The Awakening is his first novel.
Rhiannon Giddens is a Grammy Award- and MacArthur “Genius” grant-winning American artist of folk and traditional music, played on fiddle and banjo, who is rigorously committed to reclaiming Black contributions to the genre.
An American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor, Goldberg received a Pulitzer Prize for his political cartooning in 1948. He was also a founding member and the first president of the National Cartoonists Society.
Brooks Hansen is a novelist, screenwriter, and illustrator. He is the author nine books, including novels both for adults and young readers. His first novel, The Chess Garden, was named a Best Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly, and he won a Guggenheim Fellowship for his novel John the Baptist. His new novel, The Unknown Woman of the Seine, is forthcoming from Delphinium Books.
Tony and Emmy award-winning stage and screen performer, Neil Patrick Harris is best known for his roles as Barney Stinson in the popular CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother and as the iconic and beloved Doogie Howser, M.D. He’s been in many movies, hosted the Tonys, the Emmys, and the Oscars, and performed in several Broadway shows.
Rochelle Hassan grew up reading about dragons, quests, and unlikely heroes; now she writes about them, too. She is the author of the middle grade novel The Prince of Nowhere and young adult fantasy novel, The Buried and the Bound. She lives in New York.
Maria Hinojosa’s nearly thirty-year career as a journalist includes reporting for PBS, CBS, WGBH, WNBC, CNN, NPR, and anchoring and executive producing the Peabody Award–winning show Latino USA, the longest running national Latinx news program in the country, distributed by PRX. She is also a contributor to the long-running, award-winning news program CBS Sunday Morning and an on-air contributor on MSNBC. She has won several awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, four Emmys, the Studs Terkel Community Media Award, two Robert F. Kennedy Awards, the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Overseas Press Club, and the Ruben Salazar Lifetime Achievement Award. She has also been inducted into the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2010 she founded Futuro Media, an independent nonprofit newsroom and production company with the mission of producing multimedia content from a POC perspective. Through the breadth of her work and as the founding co-anchor of the award-winning podcast In the Thick, Hinojosa has informed millions about the changing cultural and political landscape in America and abroad. Her adult memoir, ONCE I WAS YOU was an NPR Best Book of 2020. In 2022, she adapted ONCE I WAS YOU for young readers, blending her story with perspectives on history in the vein of Jason Reynolds’s Stamped. She lives with her family in Harlem, New York City.
Dr. David Hone is a palaeontologist and zoologist at Queen Mary, University of London, where he is also Director of Biological Scienes Programmes. He has published nearly 100 academic papers on dinosaur biology and behaviour, with a particular interest in Tyrannousaurs. David includes among his writing credits the BBC's Walking with Dinosaurs. He has appeared on the Discovery Channel, BBC Radio 5 Live and RTE, acted as consultant for National Geographic documentaries, and written articles for The Guardian, New Scientist, The Times, The Independent, The Telegraph, The New York Times, and many others.
Barry Jackson is a prolific production designer, director of storyboard teams, writer, and children's book author/illustrator. Jackson's screen credits include The Prince of Egypt, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Titan AE, and Ron Howard's The Grinch. He was one of several production designers on the Dreamwork's production, Shrek.
Kristin Kemper is a Missouri native who grew up reading library books and writing and illustrating her own stories. Now residing in Brooklyn, Kristin is a freelance illustrator and author of the webcomic Sylvania, as well as a graphic noveling instructor at Writopia Lab NYC.
Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. She is the author of the NYT Bestseller Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants and Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses, was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing, and her other work has appeared in Orion, Whole Terrain, and numerous scientific journals.
She is a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology, and the founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, whose mission is to create programs which draw on the wisdom of both indigenous and scientific knowledge for our shared goals of sustainability.
Laura Krantz is a founding partner of Foxtopus Ink, where she runs the audio division and oversees the creation and development of shows such as Wild Thing and The Syndicate. Laura has been in audio for well over a decade—she recently served as the interim science editor for PRX, which included editing work on the Smithsonian’s Sidedoor and Air/Space podcasts, and her writing has appeared in Popular Science, Smithsonian Magazine, Outside, High Country News and Newsweek.
Melanie LaBarge has a B.A. in Women’s Studies and an M.A. in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her research includes performance art and queering memoir by contemporary female/femme/non-binary writers. Her first children’s book, Women Artists A-Z, was published by Dial Books for Young Readers in February 2020.
An Academy Awards-winning actress for her roles in Tootsie and Blue Sky, Lange is also the recipient of the Triple Crown of Acting: three Emmys, five Golden Globes, and one Tony award. She currently stars on the hit FX show American Horror Story.
Lyla Lee is the bestselling author of YA books about K-pop and K-dramas as well as the Mindy Kim series and the upcoming Gigi Shin books for younger readers. Her books have been translated into multiple languages around the world. Originally from South Korea, she’s lived in various cities throughout the United States, worked various jobs in Hollywood, and studied Psychology and Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. She now lives in Dallas, Texas. Visit Lyla at lylaleebooks.com or on social media (IG, Twitter, and TikTok @literarylyla).
Bruce Littlefield, national television personality and author of numerous lifestyle books, including Merry Christmas, America and Airstream Living, has most recently written The Bedtime Book for Dogs, an illustrated read-aloud book for the canine community (Grand Central). He is the co-author of Bravo TV star Fredrik Eklund’s The Sell (Avery).
Violet Lumani was raised in a family of superstitious omen-watchers, absorbing the stories and myths her family brought to America with them. She holds a BA from Barnard College of Columbia University, and an MBA from UCONN and lives in Connecticut with her husband, two kids, and forever-dieting chihuahua named Kiwi. Foretold, part of the Scryer series, is her YA debut.
Amanda Marrone has authored four books for teens, Uninvited, Revealers, Devoured, and Slayed and the middle-grade series The Magic Repair Shop Books: The Multiplying Menace, The Shape-Shifter’s Curse and Master of Mirrors.
Claudia Guadalupe Martínez’s debut novel, The Smell of Old Lady Perfume, received the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, the Texas Institute of Letters Best Young Adult Book Award, and an Americas Award Commendation. Her sophomore novel Pig Park won the Texas Institute of Letters Best Young Adult Book and the NACCS Tejas Foco Young Adult Fiction Award. Her debut picture book, Not A Bean, illustrated by Laura González received multiple starred reviews and was named a Best Book of the Year by Bank Street College of Education. She also authored The Movie Novel for DreamWorks’ animated film, Spirit Untamed. Claudia grew up in sunny El Paso, Texas, where she learned that letters form words from reading the subtitles of old westerns with her father. She now lives and writes in Chicago.
An actress best known for her roles on The Wonder Years and The West Wing, McKellar is also an internationally recognized mathematician and advocate for math education. She graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Mathematics from UCLA.
Juliet McKenna started reading folk tales and Greek myths at the age of five, and written more over 15 books of epic fantasy. She has been a judge for the Arthur C. Clarke and World Fantasy Awards. A mother and Black Belt in Aikido, she lives in Oxford, England.
Jodi Meadows wants to be a ferret when she grows up and she has no self-control when it comes to yarn, ink, or outer space. Still, she manages to write books. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy, the ORPHAN QUEEN Duology, the FALLEN ISLES Trilogy (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen), and the NIGHTRENDER duology (Holiday House). She is also a coauthor of New York Times bestsellers MY LADY JANE, MY PLAIN JANE, and other books in the Lady Janies series (HarperTeen). She lives in rural Virginia. Visit her at her website or subscribe to her substack for more!
Rhett Miller is a critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter known for fronting the popular alternative country band Old 97’s and as a solo artist who has released six albums. Miller has authored short stories, essays and articles that have appeared in a range of publications including Rolling Stone, Bookforum, Sports Illustrated, McSweeny’s, The Atlantic, and Salon. His first book, No More Poems!, was published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers.
Yesenia Moises is an Afro-Latina Author, Illustrator, and Toy Designer. She uses her colorful illustrations and whimsical designs to create wonder and magic for young readers. Kirkus described her debut picture book, Stella’s Stellar Hair (Imprint, 2021) as “an innovative, refreshing, out-of-this-world tale about the incredible versatility of afro hair” in their starred review, and it was an Amazon Editor’s Pick, as well as one of Parents magazine’s Best Children’s Books of 2021. Yesenia also serves as illustrator for Tennis Olympian Serena Williams’ The Adventures of Qai Qai (Feiwel & Friends, 2022), which received praise from Booklist as “[f]illed with richly colored illustrations that see a preponderance of velvety purples and pinks, this book will particularly catch the eye of dancers and the Fancy Nancy set.” Her work has been featured on Buzzfeed, SyFy, MSNBC, CNN, WNYC, and on the pages of publishers like DC and Image. In a time when the world can be a scary place, she wants it to be filled with big hair, bright colors, and lots of sazón from the heart!
Serena Molloy is a secondary school teacher living in Galway, West Ireland. She takes inspiration for her writing from her colourful classroom experience and her own children, who educate her daily. Serena particularly enjoys writing for young adults.
A former writer and producer at NBC News and The Today Show, Montalbano is the author of the middle-grade novel Breakaway. She is a longtime soccer player and coach, and her writing has been featured on the New York Times’s Motherlode blog and elsewhere
Oscar-winning actress, Moore won an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild award for her portrayal of Sarah Palin in the HBO film Game Change. Her Freckleface Strawberry books are the basis for an Off Broadway show that opened in 2010. Her book Freckleface Strawberry and the Dodgeball Bully was a New York Times Bestseller.
Maria Ingrande Mora (they/she) is a content strategist and brunch enthusiast. Their love languages are snacks, queer joy, and live music. A graduate of the University of Florida, Maria lives near a wetlands preserve with two cats, two children, and two billion mosquitoes. They can often be found writing at their stand-up desk, surrounded by house plants. Unless the cats have destroyed them.
Heidi Moreno is a Mexican American author, illustrator, designer, and community cat advocate living in Los Angeles, California. Her work has been featured in galleries across the United States, and she frequently participates in group shows at Gallery Nucleus in Portland, Oregon. She has collaborated with Facebook, Papyrus, the OC Fair, and several cat rescues such as Kitten Rescue LA.
Heidi is constantly chasing the feeling that Halloween brought her as a child, when she ran through streets with only the warm, dim streetlamps guiding her way to the next orange-lit home with a jack-o-lantern calling. Her textures and use of watercolors, gouache, and colored pencils are inspired by her favorite childhood tools. She loves to create eccentric characters, and to imagine what their quirks and days might be like. Her debut illustrated book, Working from Home with a Cat (Chronicle Books), started out as a zine she printed at home. Luna Oscura (Lil’ Libros) is her first bilingual children’s book. On most days you can find her hanging out with her husband Danny and their neighborhood's community cats.
Luma Mufleh, immigrant, Muslim, gay, entrepreneur, mother, introvert, leader, and speaker, is best known as "Coach" by the students and families for whom she founded the first network of middle and high schools for refugee kids in the United States. She writes from her own experiences of both struggle and privilege, with a combination of humor, humility, and inspiration.
Cole Nagamatsu's fiction has appeared online and in print at Tin House, cream city review, West Branch, Bartleby Snopes, PodCastle, Gingerbread House Literary Magazine, Timber Journal, and other publications. She is the editor-in-chief of Psychopomp Magazine and is a visiting assistant professor of Creative Writing at St. Olaf College in Minnesota.
Catherine Newman is a beloved and widely read parenting blogger and author of Waiting for Birdy (Penguin) and Field Guide to Catastrophic Happiness (Little, Brown). Her work has been published in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Real Simple, O Magazine, and Whole Living.
Maya Soetoro-Ng is the Director of Community Outreach and Global Learning for the Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution at the University of Hawaii in Manoa. She holds a Masters degree in Secondary Education from NYU and a PhD in Multicultural Education from the University of Hawaii. Her first picture book, The New York Times bestselling Ladder to the Moon (Candlewick), was inspired by her young daughter Suhaila’s questions about her grandmother Ann Dunham, the mother of Maya and of our forty-fourth president, Barack Obama. Maya is an advocate for community service and peace education. Her debut young adult novel is being published by Candlewick.
Emma Otheguy is the author of the picture books Martí’s Song for Freedom/Martí y sus versos por la libertad, illustrated by Beatriz Vidal, which received five starred reviews, was named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, and the New York Public Library, and was the recipient of the International Literacy Association’s Children’s and Young Adult Book Award in Intermediate Nonfiction, and A Sled for Gabo, illustrated by Ana Ramirez Gonzalez, which was an NCTE Charlotte Huck Recommended Book and a Best Book of the Year by the Chicago and New York Public Libraries and Parents Latina magazine. Her middle-grade novels include Silver Meadows Summer, which was called “a magnificent contribution to the diversity of the new American literature for young readers” by Pura Belpré-winning author Ruth Behar; Secrets of the Silver Lion: A Carmen Sandiego Novel; and Sofía Acosta Makes a Scene. Emma also co-authored The Madre de Aguas of Cuba: Unicorn Rescue Society middle grade fantasy with Newbery Honor-winner Adam Gidwitz.
Andrea Page (Hunkpapa Lakota) is a children’s author, educator and speaker. She is the author of the middle grade book, Sioux Code Talkers of World War II, about seven Native American Code Talkers’ military service in the Pacific Theater. In addition to writing her own works, Andrea writes educator guides for publishers, collaborates on select projects with We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) and serves as a board member of the Children’s Literature Assembly (CLA) of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). She lives with her family in Rochester, New York.
Maya Prasad is a South Asian American author, a Caltech graduate, and a former software engineer. She currently resides in the Pacific Northwest, where she enjoys hiking, kayaking, and raising her budding bookworm kiddo. Her debut novel Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things is a 2023 Children’s Book Council Young Adult and Librarian Favorite. She’s also the author of Sejal Sinha Battles Superstorms, the first in a new STEM chapter book series. She’s passionate about creating joyful representation for kids and teens.
Elvis Presley is one of the most influential pop culture figures of the 20th century. Often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll", Elvis’ commanding voice and charismatic stage presence unleashed a musical and cultural revolution that changed the world forever. Over the course of his career, Elvis was nominated for 14 Grammy Awards (3 wins), sold over 1 billion records world-wide, received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and was named One of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation by the United States Jaycees. In addition to his musical accolades, Elvis starred in 33 films and made numerous television appearances. Today Elvis continues to inspire musicians, fashion designers, and social influencers and captivate audiences around the world.
Nick Pyenson is a paleontologist at the Smithsonian Institution where he studies the evolution and ecology of whales. Along with his scientific collaborators, he has named over a dozen new fossil species, discovered the richest fossil whale graveyard on the planet, and described an entirely new sensory organ in living whales. He has received the highest research awards from the Smithsonian for his work, including the Secretary’s Research Prize and a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from President Barack Obama’s Administration. Pyenson is also a member of the Young Scientists community at the World Economic Forum, and the father of two young kids.
Abigail Rayner grew up mostly in England with a couple of years in Greece thrown in. She moved to New York City in her twenties, where she worked as a reporter for British newspapers. Her books, The Backup Bunny (2018) and I Am a Thief (2019) called “Hilarious and sweet” by Kirkus Reviews (starred review), have delighted children. She lives in New Jersey, with her husband, two kids, two cats, and lots of tasty gluten-free snacks.
Beck Rourke-Mooney grew up outside Providence and has worked as clambake staff, a donut finisher, a ballot counting machine tester, a telemarketer, and most importantly, a middle school English teacher. When not writing contemporary YA novels, they procrasti-bake, write songs, and watch (depending on who you ask) either way too much or just enough television, including, of course, wrestling. She lives in upstate New York.
A novelist, playwright, and screenwriter, Rudnick has written three books and frequently writes for The New Yorker. His articles and essays have also appeared in the New York Times, Vogue, Esquire, Vanity Fair, and Spy. His screenplays include InandOut and Addams Family Values, and his plays include I Hate Hamlet. Using the pseudonym Libby Gelman-Waxner, Rudnick wrote film criticism for Premiere magazine.
Katheryn Russell-Brown is a children’s book author, Professor of Law, and Director of the Race and Crime Center for Justice at the University of Florida. She is the author of the picture book biographies Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, illustrated by Frank Morrison, which received the Coretta Scott King Honor for Illustration, the Eureka! Honor Award, and was named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, and the Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature; A Voice Named Aretha, illustrated by Laura Freeman, which was named a Best Book of the Year by The Brown Bookshelf; and She Was the First! The Trailblazing Life of Shirley Chisholm, illustrated by Eric Velasquez, which won the 2021 NAACP Image Award and was named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews and The Chicago Public Library, and included in the Rise: A Feminist Book Project List. Katheryn was born in New York City and grew up in Oakland, California. She lives in Gainesville, Florida.
Aminah Mae Safi is the author of four novels, including Tell Me How You Really Feel (Feiwel & Friends) and the forthcoming Travelers Along the Way: a Robin Hood Remix (Feiwel & Friends, 2022). She’s an erstwhile art historian, a fan of Cholula on popcorn, and an un-ironic lover of the Fast and the Furious franchise. Her writing has been featured on Bustle and Salon and her award-winning short stories can be found in Fresh Ink (Crown Books) and the forthcoming Freshman Orientation (Candlewick Press, 2023).
Isaiah Stephens is a freelance illustrator and animator located in Lowell, MA. He studied Media Arts and Animation at the New England Institute of Art, and has illustrated book jackets for the Italian translation of The Hunger Games, the novel The Devil Came East, and others.
Sarah Stewart Taylor is a fiction writer and journalist who lives with her family on a farm in Vermont; her published mysteries include the Maggie d’Arcy series, starting with The Mountains Wild, the Sweeney St. George mystery series (the first book in the series, O’ Artful Death, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel), The Expeditioners series of adventure novels for middle grade readers, and Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean, a graphic novel for younger readers, which was nominated for an Eisner Award.
Phuc Tran is an award-winning writer, tattooer, and Latin teacher (for which he has won no awards). Lots of things make Phuc cranky: being too cold, being too hot, staying up too late, getting up really early, wearing baggy socks, eating jaggedy cereal for breakfast. Cranky is his first children’s book. His memoir Sigh, Gone received the New England Book Award, the Maine Literary Award, and was named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon, Audible, and others. Phuc lives in Portland, Maine, with his wife (who is rarely cranky) and his two daughters (who are sometimes cranky). “Phuc” is pronounced like “Luke” but with an F. Learn more at www.phucskywalker.com.
Allison Varnes taught English in special education for eight years, and once had to convince administrators that The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was not an actual endorsement of witchcraft. She is currently a Ph.D. student in English Education at The University of Tennessee, where she also supervises beginning English teachers during their internship year.
Rona Wang is currently a math major at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. For her short stories, she has been named a HerCampus 22 Under 22 and nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology. She is originally from Portland, Oregon, and as a second-generation Chinese American she loves to write stories that reflect the Asian American experience. You Had Me at Hello World is her debut YA novel.
The Rev. Dr. Raphael G. Warnock serves as the Senior Pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church of Atlanta. He also has served at the Sixth Avenue Baptist Church of Birmingham, the Abyssinian Baptist Church of New York City, and Baltimore’s Douglas Memorial Community Church. The Rev. Dr. Warnock holds degrees from Morehouse College and Union Theological Seminary, and is the author of The Divided Mind of the Black Church. In January 2021, Dr. Warnock became Georgia's first Black senator.
Tony Weaver, Jr. is founder and CEO of Weird Enough Productions, a new media production company dedicated to creating positive media images of black men and other minority groups, and the creator of the educational webcomic The UnCommons, whose curriculum is used by over 40,000 students per month. Tony has been the recipient of the Leadership Prize and the Black Excellence Award, participated in the NBCUniversal Fellowship Program and the Peace First Fellowship, is a TEDx speaker, and was one of Forbes’ 2018 “30 Under 30” honorees—the first comic book writer to ever make the list.
Molly Webster, a graduate of NYU’s Science Writing Program and an award-winning journalist, is a Senior Correspondent at WNYC’s Radiolab. She is an accomplished writer having contributed to Scientific American, National Geographic Adventure, and Wired. Most recently she presented a TED Talk about her research on sex chromosomes.
Maya Wei-Haas is an award-winning reporter at National Geographic. She writes about all things science and has a particular affection for rocks and reactions. Maya pursued a bachelor's in geology at Smith College and then won an NSF fellowship to support her Ph.D. work in Earth Science at the Ohio State University. She's traveled the world in the name of science, scooping ice melt from the top of Antarctic glaciers and hauling up sediments from Svalbard lakes. She made the jump to journalism with the AAAS Mass Media Fellowship. Now she's working to bring these types of adventures—and the science that surrounds us—to all. In 2019, she was honored with AGU's David Perlman Award for Excellence in Science Journalism for her story about the discovery of a submarine volcano's birth. In addition to National Geographic, her work has appeared at Smithsonian.com and EOS. She's working on a forthcoming children's book about the amazing things that rocks can reveal with Phaidon Press.
Jenna Yoon is a debut author and has spent equal amounts of time living in Korea and the U.S. She holds a BA in Art History from Wellesley College, and a MA in Korean Art History from Ewha Woman’s University. Lia Park and the Missing Jewel is her middle grade debut.