Authors and Illustrators 2023


Mike Allegra


Facebook: @mike.allegra
Instagram: @mikeallegrawriterfellow

Mike Allegra is the author of 18 books for children including the picture books Pirate and Penguin (Page Street, 2023), Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles (Page Street, 2022), Scampers Thinks like a Scientist (Dawn, 2019), Everybody’s Favorite Book (Macmillan, 2018), and Sarah Gives Thanks (Albert Whitman and Company, 2012). He also wrote the chapter book series Kimmie Tuttle (Abdo Books, 2021) and Prince Not-So Charming (Macmillan, 2018-19; pen name: Roy L. Hinuss). A Pirate and Penguin sequel, Pirate and Penguin: 2 Few Crew, is scheduled to be published by Page Street in December 2024.



Gene Barretta


Instagram: @gene_barretta

Gene Barretta is an award-winning author and illustrator of children’s books. He is best known for his fresh approach on biographies which include Spielberg, Washington-Carver, Da Vinci, Ben Franklin, Lincoln & Kennedy, and more. Gene has contributed illustration and animation to Sesame Street and Between the Lions.  He has also designed characters for The Jim Henson Company. He lives outside of Philadelphia, PA.



Darlene Beck Jacobson


Blog: darlenebeckjacobson
Twitter: @dbeckjacobson

Darlene Beck Jacobson is a former teacher who has loved writing since she was a girl. She is also a lover of history and can often be found mining dusty closets and drawers in search of skeletons from her past. She enjoys adding these bits of her ancestry to her stories. Darlene lives and writes her stories in New Jersey with her family and a house full of dust bunnies. She’s caught many fish, but never asked one to grant her a wish. She’s a firm believer in wishes coming true, so she tries to be careful what she wishes for.



Deborah Blumenthal



Deborah Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and nutritionist who now divides her time between writing children’s books and adult novels. She has been a regular contributor to The New York Times (including four years as the Sunday New York Times Magazine beauty columnist), and a home design columnist for Long Island Newsday. Her health, fitness, beauty, travel, and feature stories have appeared widely in many other newspapers and national magazines including New York’s Daily News, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day, Family Circle, Self, and Vogue. Blumenthal lives in New York City.



Ralph Blumenthal



Joining Deborah Blumenthal is her co-author Ralph Blumenthal. He was an award-winning reporter for the New York Times. He coauthored the Times article in 2017 that broke the news of a secret Pentagon unit investigating UFOs, and he is the author of seven nonfiction books for adults. A distinguished lecturer at Baruch College, he lives in New York City. UFOhs! Mysteries in the Sky is his first children’s book.



Phaea Crede


Twitter: @phaeacrede
Instagram: phaea_crede_books

Phaea Crede is a writer with dyslexia who loves creating silly picture books for silly kids. Serious kids, too! She is the author of Jet the Cat (is Not a Cat), Super Pizza & Kid Kale and more. Phaea lives between a river and a forest with her husband, two kiddos, two cats, one puppy, and a slightly stinky dog named Gus.



Meg Eden Kuyatt 


Twitter: @ConfusedNarwhal
Instagram: @meden_author
Facebook: @MegEdenWritesPoems

Meg Eden Kuyatt is a 2020 Pitch Wars mentee, and teaches creative writing at colleges and writing centers. She is the author of the 2021 Towson Prize for Literature winning poetry collection “Drowning in the Floating World” (Press 53, 2020) and children’s novels, most recently “Good Different,” a JLG Gold Standard selection (Scholastic, 2023). Find her online at



Salwa Elshazly


Facebook: @nisalearning
Instagram: @nisainternational

Salwa Elshazly is an early child development expert who has worked with children in a wide variety of educational settings, and has developed educational programs for children in Egypt and the United States. She holds a degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from NYU. She has studied Educational Law, Family Law, and other related courses while obtaining her law degree from Duke University, and has worked on public interest legal cases related to children’s educational rights. She is a contributing writer to The Noor Family Series, and CEO of NiSa Learning. She lives in Easton, Maryland.



Claudia Friddell



For children’s author, Claudia Friddell, the next best thing to time travel is sharing exciting real-life stories from long ago. A former elementary teacher, Claudia loves talking to students and educators about her books and experiences as an author/educator. When she’s not digging for treasure in the library or writing, she’s kayaking, taking walks, and reading on the Eastern Shore. Visit her website to learn more about her books: Road Trip! To the Front! Lady Liberty, Grace Banker and Her Hello Girls Answer the Call, Goliath, Hero of the Great Baltimore Fire, and her upcoming book, Cool Off and Ride.


Tracy C. Gold


Instagram: @tracycgold
Facebook: @tracycgold
Twitter: @tracycgold

Tracy C. Gold loves bringing characters to life. She is a writer, freelance editor, and mom living in Baltimore, Maryland. Her picture books include Everyone’s Sleepy but the Baby (Familius), Trick or Treat, Bugs to Eat (Sourcebooks), and two forthcoming books, Hide and Seek, Nuts to Eat (Sourcebooks) and Call Your Mother (Familius). Tracy earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts at the University of Baltimore and earned her B.A. in English from Duke University. When she’s not writing or editing, she’s playing with her toddler or hanging out with horses and dogs.



Nancy Johnson James


Instagram: @n52james
Instagram: @jamesandmoorestories

Nancy Johnson James is a writer and educator. She has an MFA from St. Mary's College of CA and a BA from Sarah Lawrence College. Her Education Specialist Credential was earned at the California State University - Sacramento. She is particularly interested in producing children's literature that nurtures creativity, deep thought, environmental consciousness and self-esteem. Her poetry has been featured in several publications and she has been a contributor to curriculum for elementary and secondary students.



Kathy MacMillan


Twitter: @kathys_quill
Instagram: @kathys_quill
Facebook: @kathysquill

Kathy MacMillan (she/her) is a writer, nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter, librarian, and signing storyteller. She writes picture books, children’s nonfiction, and middle grade and young adult fiction. Her debut young adult novel, Sword and Verse (2016) was a finalist for the Compton Crook Award. She has also published eight resource books for educators, librarians, and parents. She lives in Baltimore, MD. Find her online at or on Twitter and Instagram at @kathys_quill.



Ann McCallum Staats


Twitter: @McCallumBooks
Facebook: @annmccallumbooks
Instagram: @annmsbooks

An award-winning author, Ann writes in a variety of genres, mostly nonfiction. Her latest two books are in the Women of Power series and involved interviewing high-profile women including a senator, commercial pilots, and astronauts. Currently, Ann is working on a book about the world's coolest plants, this one with Candlewick/MIT Kids Press. Ann’s awards include Junior Library Guild recognition and ForeWord Magazine’s Gold Book of the Year for her first book, The Secret Life of Math. Ann holds a master’s degree in education. A former teacher, she now divides her time writing, mentoring, and connecting with her readers.



Frances Park


Twitter: @FPbooks77
Instagram: @bookbabe.frances

Frances Park is the author or co-author of twelve books published in seven languages – novels, memoirs and children’s books including Good-bye, 382 Shin Dang Dong (National Geographic Books), Where On Earth is My Bagel? (Lee and Low Books 2001), and the forthcoming Grandpa’s Scroll (Albert Whitman & Company 2023). Her recently-released memoir That Lonely Spell (Heliotrope Books 2022) was praised by Kirkus Reviews as “A fresh take on the Korean American memoir by a writer from a generation whose voice has seldom been heard.” Forthcoming novels include The Summer My Sister Was Cleopatra Moon (Heliotrope Books 2023) and Blue Rice (Vine Leaves Press 2024).



Ginger Park


Twitter: @GingerPark
Instagram: @gingerpark_

"Inspired by my heritage, my children's books have received many awards including the 1999 IRA Award, the 2002 Joan G. Sugarman Award, Rutgers University Economic Award, Bank Street College Award, Notable Books for a Global Society Awards, and the Paterson Prize, among others. My latest middle grade historical novel "The Hundred Choices Department Store" was inspired by my mother's family who endured the Russian invasion of their hometown of Sinuiju in northern Korea prior to the outbreak of the Korean War. My forthcoming picture book "Grandpa's Scroll" will be published by Albert Whitman & Company in Spring 2023.
When I'm not writing or spending treasured time with my human and fur baby family, you can usually find me at my sweet shop, behind the counter 'breaking chocolate' with my beloved customers. My shop motto: There's a chocolate for every mood. But for me, it's always something dark and earthy that lingers on the tongue long after the chocolate has melted."



Mary Quattlebaum


Facebook: @mary.quattlebaum.5

Mary Quattlebaum is the author of 30 books for children, including Pirate vs. Pirate, Adorable Animals, Hero Dogs, and Jo MacDonald Saw a Pond. Awards include Marguerite de Angeli Prize, Parenting Reading Magic Award, SIBA Best Book, and inclusion on numerous Children’s Choice state lists. She teaches at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, in their Writing for Children and Young Adults graduate program, reviews books frequently for the Washington Post and Washington Parent, and speaks frequently at schools and conferences.



Jonathan Roth


Instagram: @jonrothbooks

Jonathan Roth writes and illustrates graphic novels (the new ROVER AND SPECK series) and graphic novels (the BEEP AND BOB series) aimed at young readers who like humorous, out-of-this-world adventures. He has lived in Rockville, MD for 20+ years with his wife and numerous kitties. When not creating books or teaching art to kids, he can be found cycling, hiking, canoeing or napping.



Colleen Rowan Kosinski


Web: Instagram: @colleenkosinski

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. She works as an editor at and teaches classes on picture book writing. She is also involved in her local chapter of the SCBWI, and the Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature. Colleen is a graduate of Rutgers University, as are her husband and sons. Her daughter followed the bright lights to work in the film industry in LA. Colleen works from her Cherry Hill, NJ studio with her canine assistant, Sage.



June Smalls


Twitter: @June_Smalls
Instagram: @june_smalls
Facebook: @JuneSmallsAuthor

June Smalls has been making up stories since she only had pets and stuffed animals to share them with. She is a children’s author of fiction and nonfiction including Hear Them Roar, She Leads: The Elephant Matriarch, He Leads: Mountain Gorilla, the Gentle Giant, and Odd Animal ABC’s.
She loves research almost as much as writing and has gone swimming with sharks and stingrays, ridden camels, fed tigers and bears, and (symbolically) adopted a fossa. She lives in northern Virginia with her family and an ever-growing assortment of animals.



Susan Stockdale


Twitter: @susan_stockdale
Instagram: @susan.stockdale
Facebook: @ susan.stockdale3

Susan Stockdale began her art career as a textile designer for the apparel industry, providing her an opportunity to express her love of pattern and color. Today, pattern and color remain central to her work as the author and illustrator of critically acclaimed picture books that celebrate nature. Her books have won a variety of awards including the ALSC Notable Children’s Book, NCTE Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts, NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12, and the Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of the Year.



Nancy Tandon


Twitter: @NancyTandon
Instagram: @_NancyTandon

Nancy Tandon is an author of books for children, including her “twinning” debut middle grade novels, The Way I Say It (Charlesbridge, 2022) and The Ghost of Spruce Point (Aladdin/S&S, 2022). Nancy is a former teacher, speech-language pathologist, and adjunct professor of phonetics and child language development, all of which helped plant seeds for stories about awesome kids doing brave things. Nancy is a big fan of literacy outreach programs of any kind. She lives in Glastonbury, CT with her family.



Berrie Torgan-Randall


Facebook: @Berrietrart
Instagram: @blue.berrie
Twitter: @berrietr

Berrie has been passionate about children’s literature since she was a little girl and has fed her desire by becoming a children’s librarian and by pursuing a career as an illustrator and writer of children’s books. Berrie studied at Syracuse University earning a BFA in Media Arts and Surface Pattern Design. Pursuing her desire to work with children, she returned to school and earned a Masters Degree in Information Studies at Drexel University. As a teacher/librarian and mother of three children, Berrie has created and developed her stories drawn from real-life experiences and her imagination.Bella & Blue is Berrie’s debut early reader graphic novel.



Joan Waites


Instagram: @joanwaites

Joan Waites is an award winning author-illustrator, with numerous titles illustrated or author-illustrated for the children’s trade and educational markets. A former adjunct faculty member of the Corcoran Museum School of Art and Design’s aspiring artists programs, Joan continues to teach art enrichment classes for children and adults. She is a member of SCBWI and The Children’s Book Guild of Washington D.C., and the National Art Educators Association.



Brian Wray


Instagram: @stanberybooks

Brian was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and moved to Brooklyn after graduating from Penn State. In 2003, Brian was awarded the Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting. During an opportunity to write for Walt Disney Studios, Brian discovered his passion for telling stories for children. He writes from Brooklyn, where he lives with his family and their endless inspiration. Brian’s first books, Unraveling Rose and Max’s Box, were the 2017 and 2019 Foreword INDIES Gold Winners for "Picture Books, Early Reader."



Timothy Young


Twitter: @TimSYoung
Instagram: @timothyyoungauthor

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 15 books including The Angry Little Puffin, the highly acclaimed I Hate Picture Books! and the unusually titled untitled. His newest books are 2 board books, P Is For Puffin: The ABCs of Uncommon Animals and Space Aliens 1•2•3: Intergalactic Counting By Color. He lives with his family in Easton and has been pleased to be a part of organizing the Chesapeake Children's Book Festival.








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