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  Authors and Illustrators 2020

Charlotte Bennardo



Charlotte is the author of the middle grade STEAM/animal adventure trilogy: Evolution Revolution: Simple Machines, Simple Plans, and Simple Lessons, and co-author of YA books Blonde OPS, Sirenz, and Sirenz Back In Fashion. She has stories in two anthologies: Beware the Little White Rabbit (Alice Through the Wormhole) and Scare Me To Sleep (fundraiser to put books in hands of needy children). She’s written for magazines and newspapers, and has given presentations and workshops at NJ SCBWI conferences and other venues. Currently she’s working on sci fi, historical, fantasy, time travel, and thriller novels for MG, YA, NA readers.

Barbara Carney-Coston


Barbara Carney-Coston is an award-winning writer, media producer, and educator. At National Geographic, she produced a web feature about the Underground Railroad that won a Parents’ Choice award and was designated an ALA Notable Website. She has written for Highlights for Children, Hopscotch, and Washington Parent magazines.

To the Copper Country—Mihaela’s Journey is a middle-grade novel based on her family history and published by Wayne State University Press. She loved doing the research that helped tell the story. When not writing, you can find her gardening, kayaking on Eastern Shore creeks, or reading and cooking.


Andrea Denish



Andrea Denish teaches science to preschoolers and works in the children's department at her local library. She’s celebrating the release of her debut picture book, EVERYONE LOVES A PARADE!* with truckloads of confetti and a revved up marching band. Andrea lives in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with her husband, two children, and a small menagerie of animals.

Kathy MacMillan



Kathy MacMillan (she/her) is a writer, nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter, librarian, signing storyteller, and Hufflepuff. She writes picture books (the Little Hands Signing series, Familius Press), children’s nonfiction (She Spoke: 14 Women Who Raised Their Voices and Changed the World, Familius Press), and young adult fantasy (Compton Crook Award finalist Sword and Verse and its companion novel, Dagger and Coin, both HarperTeen). She has also published 8 resource books for educators, librarians, and parents, including Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together (Huron Street Press). She lives in Baltimore, MD.

Saira Mir




Saira is an author, physician, and mother. She loves teaching and learning at the hospital and at home. She spends most of her free time at the library or playground with her children. Her debut children's book Muslim Girls Rise was born from her daughters desire for relatable Muslim role models. She lives in the D.C. metro area.

Susan McElroy Montanari





Susan McElroy Montanari is the author of five published picture books for children. When not writing she enjoys reading, doing research, gardening, scuba diving, and sitting on the beach. She lives in Savannah, Georgia with her husband, Dan, and a cat named Tybee.


Jodi Moore



Jodi Moore is author of the award winning When A Dragon Moves In (2011), When A Dragon Moves In Again (2015) and an all new Flashlight Press board book, I Love My Dragon (2019) as well as Good News Nelson (2012, Story Press). She writes picture books, YA and MG novels, hoping to challenge and inspire her readers by opening new worlds and encouraging new ways of thinking. Besides her “dragons”, Jodi is mother of two talented young men and lives in PA with her husband, one laughing dove and an ever-changing bunch of characters in her head.


Diane Murray



Diana Murray has written many children’s books, including PIZZA PIG (Step-into-Reading, Random House), a Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award Winner; UNICORN DAY (Sourcebooks), an IndieBound Bestseller and Goodreads Choice Award Finalist; and more. Diana’s award-winning poems have appeared in magazines such as Highlights, High Five and Spider, as well as several poetry anthologies. She grew up in New York City and still lives nearby with her firefighter husband, two daughters, and a smarty-pants cockatiel named Bean.

Laura Renauld



LAURA RENAULD is a picture book author, former third grade teacher, and creator of the Debut Review Challenge, which supports children’s authors and illustrators who are promoting their first book. When she is not writing, Laura can be found at the library, working in the garden, or sharing her love of reading and writing with children. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and their two story-telling sons. To learn more about Laura’s books, school visits, or how to participate in the Debut Review Challenge, visit her website.

Michael Rex



Michael Rex is the creator of over 45 books for children, including the #1 Bestseller “Goodnight Goon” and the popular “Fangbone!” series that has been turned into an animated show that runs on Netflix. He has written and drawn picture books, illustrated chapter books and graphic novels. In 2020 he will have two picture books published. “Facts Vs. Opinions Vs. Robots” will be out in February, and is his first non-fiction work. “We’re Going on a Goon Hunt,” will be out in August for the Halloween season.


Laura Shovan


Laura Shovan's debut middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, was an NCTE 2017 Notable Verse Novel, a Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of the year, and won a Cybils Award for poetry. It was named the Arnold Adoff Poetry Award for New Voices honor book in 2018. Laura's second children's novel, Takedown (2018), was selected by Junior Library Guild and PJ Library. Her next book will be A Place at the Table, written with author/activist Saadia Faruqi (Clarion, 2020). Laura lives with her family in Maryland, where she is a longtime poet-in-the-schools for the Maryland State Arts Council. 


Syl Sobel



Syl Sobel is an author, attorney, journalist, and former senior government executive. He has written several children’s books on U.S. government and history, including titles on the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and presidential elections, and has spoken at the National Archives, on C-SPAN and NPR, and at schools, book fairs, bookstores, and libraries. He has contributed several op eds on government and law to the Baltimore Sun, and is an award-winning high school sports reporter for The Town Courier in Gaithersburg, MD.

Elizabeth Steinglass


Elizabeth Steinglass grew up in St. Louis, Missouri where she played soccer, basketball, and softball, read many, many books, and wrote her first poems. She now lives in Washington, DC with her husband, her three children, and her sleepy cat Scout. She loves walking in the woods, writing poetry, and watching her kids play soccer. In addition to Soccerverse: Poems about Soccer, her poetry appears in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations, Pet Crazy, Great Morning! and The Poetry of US.

Jennifer Swanson



Science Rocks! And so, do Jennifer Swanson’s books. She is the award-winning author of over 40 nonfiction books for children.  A self-professed science geek, Jennifer started a science club in her garage at the age of 7. Jennifer's passion for science resonates in in all her books but especially her Astronaut-Aquanaut: How Space Science and Sea Science Interact and Save the Crash-test Dummies. Jennifer has presented at multiple SCBWI conferences, National NSTA conferences, the Highlights Foundation, the Atlanta Science Festival, the World Science Festival, and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival.

Nancy Viau



NANCY VIAU is the award-winning author of First Snow, Storm Song, City Street Beat, Look What I Can Do!, Today Is a Beach Day! (2020), and Pruett and Soo (2020). Nancy's middle-grade novels for 8-12-year-old kids include Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head (updated for 2019), Something Is Bugging Samantha Hansen, Just One Thing! and Beauty and Bernice. A former teacher and kid-at-heart, who now works as an assistant librarian, she loves to visit schools across the U.S. to share her journey to publication and the writing process.

Kelly Anne White



Kelly Anne White is author of The Legend of the Fairy Stones, The Bible Adventure Book of Scavenger Hunts, and other books for children. Kelly has edited hundreds of books in nearly every genre for HarperCollins, Kirkus Editorial, Callisto Media, and Guideposts Books. Prior to her ventures into book publishing, Kelly was longtime Executive Editor of Girls’ Life magazine. She is a lesson designer on SchoolhouseTeachers.com and a contributor to Clubhouse magazine. Kelly is an instructor for The PEN Institute, and she conducts publishing courses at Morgan State University. She lives primarily in Baltimore, Maryland, and resides part-time on Chincoteague Bay in Virginia. Kelly is represented by literary agency Legacy Management.

Bryan Wray



Brian was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and moved to New York after graduating from Penn State. In 2003, Brian was awarded the Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting. Since then, he has written for Walt Disney Studios, and earned a variety of television producing credits. He writes from Brooklyn, where he lives with his wife, two daughters, and their endless inspiration. Brian is the author of Max’s Box and Unraveling Rose, the 2017 Foreword INDIES Gold Winner for "Picture Books, Early Reader".

Timothy Young





Timothy Young has had a long career doing all kinds of interesting and fun stuff. He's been an animator, puppet maker, toy designer, sculptor, art director and graphic designer. His career highlights include being Head Model-Maker for the Penny. cartoons on Pee-Wee's Playhouse, designing and building Muppets for Jim Henson Productions and sculpting the very first Simpsons toys.
Tim is the author/illustrator of 11 books including The Angry Little Puffin and the highly acclaimed I Hate Picture Books!. His latest books are untitled, If You Give the Puffin a Muffin and his second how-to-draw book More Creatures and Characters: Drawing Ausomely Wild, Wacky and Funny Animals. He lives with his family in Easton and has been pleased to be a part of organizing the Chesapeake Children's Book Festival.

  Previous year's authors are found here: 2016 2017 2018 2019

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