Meet your mentors

MENTOR BIOS

 
KEY  
N Novels
PB Picture books
NF Nonfiction
U.S. pay Florida in USD
Canada pay Canada East in CAD
Canada-USD pay Canada East in USD

 

(N/PB: Canada) AIMEE REID is a former English teacher who has written and edited for young children through to adults. Aimee's picture book Mama's Day with Little Gray is published by Random House Children's Books, and her forthcoming book, All the Earth, is under contract with Nancy Paulsen at Penguin Random House.

Click here to visit Aimee's website.


 

(N: U.S.) ALEX FLINN is the author of eleven novels, including Beastly, a #1 New York Times bestseller, which has been made into a motion picture. She has five other fairy tale-based novels, A Kiss in Time, Cloaked, Bewitching, Towering, and her most recent, Mirrored, a modern retelling of the Snow White story.

Her first novel, Breathing Underwater, was named an ALA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults and is the only novel included in Liz Clairborne’s “Love is Not Abuse” dating violence prevention curriculum for schools. Her books have received honors including Best Books for Young Adults, Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, International Reading Association Young Adult Choices, and Junior Library Guild selection, as well as local and state readers’ choice awards. Alex loves all types of YA except space alien-type sci-fi and high fantasy (no swords or medieval settings). She is a non-practicing attorney who lives with her husband, daughters, and way too many pets in Miami, Florida. 

Click here to visit Alex's website.


 

(N/PB: Canada) ALMA FULLERTON is an author/illustrator born in Ottawa Ontario. She writes contemporary fiction and has published everything from picture books to young adult novels. She’s mentored many times before (both privately and in programs) and has been in critique groups for over 15 years. Her first seven books are In the Garage (2006), Walking on Glass (2007), Libertad (2008), Burn (2010), A Good Trade (2012), Community Soup (2013), and In a Cloud of Dust (2015).

Alma has won and been nominated for dozens of awards, including the 2008 Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Literature (finalist), the 2009 and 2011 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award (finalist), the 2009 Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award (winner), the 2009 CLA Children's Book of the Year Honor Book, the 2009 Golden Oak Award (winner), the 2009 Once Upon a World Children's Book Award (winner), and the 2010 Silver Birch Award (honor) and the 2014 Blue Spruce Award (finalist).

Click here to visit Alma's website.


 

(N: Canada) BEV KATZ ROSENBAUM is a former magazine (Homemaker’s, Slush) and fiction (Harlequin, McGraw-Hill Ryerson) editor, now a popular freelance fiction editor working in all genres. She is also the published author of two young adult novels, I Was a Teenage Popsicle and Beyond Cool, recently optioned by L.A.-based Pilgrim Studios, big in reality TV, now aggressively moving into scripted with Beth Miller, ex-Disney, at the helm. 

Bev has taught writing at George Brown College and Centennial College, and was also a staff writer on the tween-oriented cartoon Stoked. She is currently shopping a young adult short story collection and developing an original tween television series.

Click here to visit Bev's website.


 

(N: Canada) CAROLINE PIGNAT is the Governor Generalʼs Award–winning author of seven highly acclaimed young adult novels. Her books have received the 2009 and 2015 Red Maple Honour Book Award, as well as the 2015 Honour Book for the CLA Young Adult Book of the Year. Caroline’s work has been short-listed for CLA Book of the Year, the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction, and the IODE Violet Downey Book Award, among others. Her historical novels are recommended by Canadashistory.ca, enjoyed by readers of all ages, and hailed by Canadian Children’s Book News as “historical fiction at its best." From famine in Ireland and Algonquin hunt camps, to lives lost aboard the Empress of Ireland or locked in slave quarters on a Virginia plantation, the varied voices from such different times and places resonate with a common theme: hope. An author and educator, Caroline continues to teach her grade 12 writer’s craft class in the mornings, and spends her afternoons immersed in her next work-in-progress.

Click here to visit Caroline's website.


 

(N/PB: Canada) CATHERINE AUSTEN writes funny, sad, award-winning fiction for all ages. Her first children’s novel, Walking Backward, was published by Orca in 2009 and was nominated for numerous awards. She has since published four more books: My Cat Isis, illustrated by Virginie Egger (Kids Can Press, 2011); All Good Children (Orca, 2011), which won the 2012 Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book Award; 26 Tips for Surviving Grade 6 (Lorimer, 2011), which won the 2012 QWF Prize for Children’s and Young Adult Literature; and 28 Tricks for a Fearless Grade 6 (Lorimer, 2014).

Catherine has years of experience critiquing manuscripts in face-to-face and online critique groups. She has mentored young writers and led writing workshops at elementary and high schools across the country. She was a presenting author at the MASC Young Authors and Illustrators Conference (2012 and 2015) and a touring author in the Gaspesie’s Bookfest (2014), the TD Children’s Book Week (2014), the Hackmatack Author Tour (2013), and the Vancouver Island Children’s Book Festival (2015).

Catherine writes corporate reports for a living, which is not as much fun as writing fiction. She studied political science at Queen’s University and environmental studies at York University and worked in the conservation movement before throwing it all away to write freelance. She now works from her home in Gatineau, Quebec, where she lives with her husband and teenage sons.

Click here to visit Catherine's website.


 

(N: U.S.) DANETTE HAWORTH is the award-winning author of the middle-grade novel Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning, winner of the California Young Reader Medal and praised as “full of sass” by Kirkus Reviews, “unusual honesty” by BCCB, and “believable, well-developed characters” by School Library Journal. Her other novels, The Summer of Moonlight Secrets, Me & Jack (nominee: Great Stone Face Award), and A Whole Lot of Lucky (starred Kirkus review) have received praise from Kirkus, SLJ, and others. Danette holds a BA in English from the University of Central Florida, and is nearing completion of her MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University.

Danette is a critiquer for the SCBWI-FL Orlando workshops, a position she loves. Helping aspiring writers to capitalize on their strengths and improve other elements is joyful work. She conducts school visits and Skype presentations throughout the year and believes everyone has a gift, whether it be writing or something else. When people ask her where she’s from, Danette tells them she grew up Air Force because her family moved routinely up and down the East Coast and overseas. Her one regret? Not retaining her British accent. Now married and living in Orlando, Danette has three children, two dogs, and one husband.

Click here to visit Danette's website.


 

(N: U.S.) DANIELLE JOSEPH is the author of three published novels, Shrinking Violet from Simon and Schuster/MTV Books and Indigo Blues and Pure Red from FLUX. In addition, Shrinking Violet was made into the 2012 Disney Channel movie, Radio Rebel, starring Debby Ryan.

Danielle received her BFA in Creative Writing and an MA in Marketing Communications and Advertising from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. She started out as a copywriter for a computer company and went on to teach creative writing and English to middle school students. She then went on to teach adults English and GED prep.

In addition to writing novels, Danielle also works as a freelance writer and is an active member of SCBWI-Florida. She teaches writing workshops to kids and adults and speaks at schools about following your dreams. She also works with clients one-on-one, helping them ready their manuscripts for submission. Danielle enjoys working with picture book, middle grade, and young adult writers. Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, Danielle now lives in Miami, Florida with her husband and three kids.

Click here to visit Danielle's website.


 

(N: U.S.) DEBBIE REED FISCHER is the award-winning author of teen novels Braless in Wonderland (Penguin Dutton), praised as "a brilliant rabbit hole you'll enjoy getting lost in" by School Library Journal, and Swimming with the Sharks (Flux), winner of the Royal Palm Literary Award and Book of the Year by the Florida Writers Association. Debbie has a degree in screenwriting from the University of Miami, and has also been published in anthologies. Before becoming an author, she worked as a TV/ Film agent and high school teacher. In addition to writing books, Debbie critiques middle grade and young adult novels for aspiring authors (see website), and has regularly critiqued manuscripts for SCBWI conferences since first becoming published in 2008. Debbie's books have been commended by Kirkus Reviews for "balancing weighty issues with a sharp wit."

Her middle grade debut This Is Not the Abby Show (Random House Delacorte) is slated for release in the fall of 2016. She is tremendously grateful to SCBWI, as she met both her agent and her first editor at the same Florida SCBWI conference. When she isn’t writing, Debbie is chatting online with her readers, teaching writing workshops at libraries and schools, singing with her band, or running. She has lived in the US, England, Greece, and Israel, and now lives in South Florida with her husband and two sons, who don’t mind eating take-out when she is on deadline. This October, she will have the great honor of interviewing her author idol, Judy Blume, for a local literary event.

Click here to visit Debbie's website.


 

(N: Canada) DEBBIE SPRING’s nine books are published worldwide. The Kayak was nominated by IBBY Canada for the Schneider Family Book Award (U.S. Award). Breathing Soccer was a finalist in the Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award. Both books are in the IBBY collection for Young People with Disabilities. The Righteous Smuggler was a recommended book from the Canadian Toy Testing Council, was short-listed for CBC’s "Young Canada Reads," and received a special star rating in the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Our Choice magazine.

Click here to visit Debbie's website.


 

(PB: U.S.) DIANNE OCHILTREE is a nationally recognized author of books for young readers, many of which been featured on “best of” reading lists, book clubs, and literacy programs. Her historical picture book, Molly, By Golly! The Legend of Molly Williams, America's First Female Firefighter, received the Bronze Medal in the 2012 Florida Book Awards children’s literature category, and was included on the Amelia Bloomer List for Feminist Literature by the American Library Association. In 2013, It's a Firefly Night earned a Silver Medal in the Florida Book Awards competition.

Her latest picture book, It's a Seashell Day, was released in July 2015 and has received positive critical reviews to date. With 15+ years of experience in the publishing industry as children’s author, book reviewer, and freelance editor, Dianne is ready to help budding picture book writers polish their manuscripts until they shine . . . and are ready for submission to publishers.

Click here to visit Dianne's website. 


 

(N/PB: Canada) FRIEDA WISHINSKY is the international award–winning author of over sixty trade and educational books. She writes in a variety of genres: picture books, novels, and non-fiction. Her books have been translated into many languages, and her picture book, Please, Louise! (Groundwood), won the 2008 Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. She is the author of the popular Canadian Flyer Adventures series (Owlkids).

Frieda’s 2015 books are Colossal Canada, (Scholastic), Avis Dolphin (Groundwood), and Avalanche and Shipwreck (Scholastic). Frieda loves sharing the writing process with students at all levels.

Click here to visit Frieda's website.


 

(N: U.S.) GABY TRIANA is the award-winning author of six YA novels—Wake the Hollow, Summer of Yesterday, Riding the Universe, The Temptress Four, Cubanita, and Backstage Pass, as well as thirteen ghostwritten novels for best-selling authors. Originally a fourth grade teacher with a Master of Science in Elementary Education and ten years' teaching experience, Gaby earned Teacher of the Year in 2000, wrote her first novel, Freddie and the Biltmore Ghost, then left teaching to launch a full-time writing career. She went on to publish young adult novels with HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, win an IRA Teen Choice Award, an ALA Best Paperback Award, and Hispanic Magazine’s Good Reads of 2008.

Gaby spends her time obsessing about Halloween, Christmas, and Disney World, as well as hosting parties, designing mugs, making whimsical cakes, and winning costume contests. When she’s not writing, she might also be watching Jurassic Park movies with her boys, posting excessive food pics on social media, or helping run the Florida region of the SCBWI. Gaby lives in Miami with her three sons, Michael, Noah, and Murphy. She has one dog, Chloe, and two cats—Miss Daisy, and the reformed thug, shooting survivor Bowie. 

Click here to visit Gaby's website.


 

(PB: U.S.) GLORIA ROTHSTEIN has been a switchboard operator, an Avon Lady, and a contestant on a TV game show. And she’s still hoping to add superhero, princess, and fairy godmother to her resume. With a background in educational publishing, plus years of experience writing for kids of all ages, this South Florida author teaches “writing children’s books” workshops, runs writing programs/camps for tweens, and works with writers one-on-one.

Gloria is the author of Sheep Asleep (HarperCollins)—a picture book PBS Parents calls “a hysterical rhyming story”—Real-Life Writing Activities, Read Across America, From Soup to Nuts (Scholastic), “Curious George” cartoons, and more. She’s been a speaker at SCBWI Conferences, the Miami Book Fair, the Willow Theatre, the Conference on Children’s Literature, and the Center for The Book. For the past twelve years, Gloria has been teaching writing workshops at Sugar Sand, critiquing manuscripts for SCBWI Florida, and working with writers one-on-one. From her workshops at Nova Southeastern University, the Museum of the Modern Book, and Murder on the Beach, to her publishing credits with Children’s Television Workshop, Harcourt, Holt, Houghton Mifflin, Macmillan, Random House, Scribner, and Scholastic, Gloria has a book-lover’s background. Funny picture books, fractured fairy tales, and romantic comedies are always at the top of her list.  


 

(NF: U.S.) JENNIFER SWANSON is the award-winning author of over 20 nonfiction and fiction books for children. Her books in the How Things Work series by The Child’s World were named to the 2012 Booklist’s Top 10 Books for Youth: Series Nonfiction. She has received awards from the Pennsylvania TriState Young Adult Review Committee, The Moms Choice Awards, and The Dove Foundation. Top reviews include a starred review in Booklist, and recommended reviews from School Librarian's Workshop, Library Media Connection, and the National Science Teacher Association, and a book in a series that was a JLG Selection. Her recent and upcoming trade books include Brain Games (NGKids, 2015) and Super Gear: Nanotechnology and Sports Team Up (Charlesbridge, 2016).

Jennifer has been a workshop presenter at the SCBWI-FL Orlando 2015 conference, a program leader at the 21st Century Nonfiction Conference, and a two-time lead presenter of a four-day workshop at the Highlights Foundation (July 2015 and April 2016). She has also taught a four-week course called "Writing for Love and Money" with the Children's Book Academy. She has been a critique-group leader for over six years.

Click here to visit Jennifer's website.


 

(N: Canada) JOCELYN SHIPLEY writes contemporary fiction for teens. Her most recent YA novel, How to Tend a Grave, won the 2012 US Gold Medal Moonbeam Award for YA Fiction–Mature Issues, and she received the 2011 Surrey International Writers’ Conference Writing for Young People Award. Her other highly-acclaimed YA books include Getting a Life, Cross My Heart, and Seraphina’s Circle, and her work has been translated into many languages for Stabenfeldt’s GIRL:IT book club. She is co-editor of the short story anthology Cleavage:Breakaway Fiction for Real Girls, chosen for the ALA’s 2010 Amelia Bloomer Project List.

Jocelyn has attended The Humber School for Writers, been a mentor in CANSCAIP’s Blue Pencil Program, and participated in The Writers’ Union of Canada’s Manuscript Evaluation Service. She lives in Toronto and on Vancouver Island.

Click here to visit Jocelyn's website.


 

(N: U.S.) JOYCE SWEENEY is the author of fourteen novels for young adults and one chapbook of poetry. Her first novel, Center Line, won the First Annual Delacorte Press Prize for an Outstanding Young Adult Novel. Many of her books appear on the American Library Association's Best Books List and Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers. Her novel Shadow won the Nevada State Reading Award in 1997. Her novel Players was chosen by Booklist as a Top Ten Sports Book and by Working Mother magazine as a Top Ten for Tweens. Her novel Headlock (Holt 2006) won a Silver Medal in the 2006 Florida Book Awards and was chosen by the American Library Association as a Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. Her first chapbook of poems, Impermanence, was published in 2008 by Finishing Line Press. She has had numerous poems, short stories, articles, and interviews published; and her play First Page Critiques was produced in 2011.

Joyce has also been a writing teacher and coach for twenty-five years, beginning with teaching five-week classes for the Florida Center for the Book, moving to ongoing invitation-only workshops and finally to online classes (www.sweeneywritingcoach.com) which reach students nationally and internationally. Developing strong bonds with the students she critiques and instructs is her hallmark. She believes that writers need emotional support as well as strong, craft-based teaching if they are to make the long, arduous, but very worthwhile journey to traditional publication. At this writing, fifty-four of Joyce’s students have successfully made this journey and obtained traditional publishing contracts.


 

(PB/N: U.S.) LAURIE FRIEDMAN is the author of over 45 critically acclaimed picture books, chapter books, and novels for children. She is a frequent speaker at schools across the country and has presented at many literary conferences including ALA, NCTE, SCBWI and IRA. She has critiqued manuscripts at Florida SCBWI conferences for many years and loves helping other writers shape and sell their stories. Laurie has written over a dozen rhyming picture books including the Ruby Valentine series, Birthday Rules, Thanksgiving Rules, Back to School Rules, I'm Not Afraid of This Haunted House, and A Big Bed for Jed. Laurie is also the author of the Mallory chapter book series published by Lerner Publications. The Mallory series begins when Mallory McDonald starts third grade, and follows her through fourth and into fifth grade. There are currently twenty-four books available, with twenty-eight books planned, and over 850,000 copies in print. There is a website for the series: www.mallorymcdonald.com. Laurie is also the author of a new series for tweens, The Mostly Miserable Life of April Sinclair. With eight planned titles, the journal-format series follows the main character, April Sinclair, as she navigates the choppy waters of 7th through 9th grades.

Laurie’s books have been translated into many languages including Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and Indonesian. They have been chosen as Scholastic Book Club and Book Fair Selections, and as a Children’s Book of the Month Club Selection. She has received numerous awards for her work including an IRA/CBC Children’s Choice Award and a Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year Award. Prior to writing books for children, Laurie spent many years working in the advertising industry. Laurie graduated from Tulane University and attended the Sorbonne in Paris, France. She loves books, movies, TV, yoga, and baking. Laurie is a native Arkansan. She has two children and lives in Miami, Florida with her adorable rescue dog, Riley.

Click here to visit Laurie's website and follow her on her blog.


 

(NF: Canada) LINDSEY CARMICHAEL never outgrew that stage of childhood when nothing’s more fun than amazing your friends (and correcting your teachers!) with your stockpile of weird and wonderful facts. Her sense of wonder came in handy during her career as a scientist, and in 2006, she received the Governor General’s Medal for her Ph.D. thesis, Ecological Genetics of Northern Wolves and Arctic Foxes. Lindsey finds talking about science more fun than doing it, however, and now writes for kids, teens, and occasionally adults (a sense of wonder is essential for this, too).

Lindsey publishes under the name L. E. Carmichael, and her work has appeared in Dig, Highlights for Children, Kiki, and Canadian Tales of the Fantastic. Her published science books cover everything from animal migration to hybrid cars, and Fox Talk: How Some Very Special Animals Helped Scientists Understand Communication won a 2014 Benjamin Franklin Awards Silver Medal.

When not digging up obscure or wacky details for her next nonfiction project, Lindsey’s probably working on her young adult fantasy novel.

Click here to visit Lindsey's website.


 

(PB/NF: Canada) LIZANN FLATT is the author of 20 nonfiction books and several short stories and poems for kids. Recent nonfiction picturebook titles include Shaping Up Summer, Sizing Up Winter, Sorting through Spring, Counting on Fall, and Let's Go! The Story of Getting from There to Here. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Ladybug, Babybug, and Highlights for Children magazines. Lizann was formerly the editor of Chickadee, a Canadian children’s magazine, where she edited short fiction, nonfiction articles, puzzles, and comics.

After leaving full time employment Lizann went on to be an instructor with the Institute of Children’s Literature for 12 years, helping adults learn to write for children. She was also a Regional Advisor with SCBWI in Canada for many years. Today she lives and writes in rural Muskoka, Ontario, Canada.

Click here to visit Lizann's website.


 

(N: U.S.) LORIN OBERWEGER is a highly sought-after independent book editor and ghostwriter with almost twenty-five years’ experience in publishing. Her company, Free Expressions, offers intensive, deep craft workshops nationwide. She’s also known for her one-on-one story development weekends for writers of all genres of fiction and creative nonfiction.

Further, Lorin offers writing instruction at workshops and conferences across the U.S. and Canada. An abbreviated list of some of those offerings includes: SCBWI Miami and East Canada conferences; Tallahassee Writers Association; Working Women of Tampa Bay; Romance Writers of America, Northwest Houston; and more than a dozen others. Lorin’s students and clients have millions of books in print and have been published by imprints of HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Scholastic, Simon and Schuster, and other mainstream and independent presses. They have also gained representation with some of the industry’s leading literary agents.

An award-winning author, Lorin’s work has appeared in well over one-hundred periodicals, and her ghostwritten books, contracted by major publishers, have received glowing notices from the New York Times and Kirkus Reviews. Along with bestselling author Veronica Rossi, Lorin is the author of the New Adult trilogy, Boomerang, Rebound, and Bounce, published by Harper/William Morrow under the pen name Noelle August. The novels were praised by Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, among others, and Boomerang was chosen as a “new and notable” selection for Target Stores across the U.S. She is represented by Tracey Adams at Adams Literary and can be contacted at lorin@free-expressions.com


 

(N: U.S.) MARJETTA GEERLING is the author of Fancy White Trash (Viking Children's Books, 2008), which was chosen for the 2009 American Library Association's Best Books for Young Adults and 2009 Rainbow lists. Publisher’s Weekly praised the novel, saying, “the humor bubbles consistently," and Kliatt called it “an honest view of a broken family, as Abby learns that understanding and love are possible even in her ‘trashy’ life.” Marjetta holds an M.F.A. in Writing from Spalding University and is an Assistant Professor of English at Broward College.

Marjetta is a frequent critiquer for the SCBWI-FL Miami and Orlando conferences and has led several full-day workshops at the SCBWI-FL Orlando conferences and SCBWI-FL Boot Camps. She’s presented lectures at many institutions and associations, including Spalding University, Florida Writers’ Association, the Writing Institute at the University of Miami, and Miami-Dade College, in addition to serving as a panelist at several literary arts festivals, including the Houston Teen Lit Conference, the Gay and Lesbian Literary Arts Festival, and Nova Southeastern University. Marjetta has also taught creative writing classes at Miami-Dade College’s Florida Center for the Literary Arts and Stonewall Library and Archive.

Marjetta’s mentoring experience includes more than seven years of teaching and working with new writers of all levels in both academic and private settings. Her literary interests are far-ranging, but there is a special place in her heart for all things YA.

Click here to visit Marjetta's website.


 

(N/PB/NF: Canada) RACHEL EUGSTER has more than two decades of freelance and staff experience as a writer and editor. Her critiquing talents are legendary among her colleagues. With a deep understanding of language and story structure, Rachel homes in on the unsightly sag an otherwise shapely story arc, the fatal character inconsistency, or the oversight that unhinges the plot. All this, along with grammar and style corrections, is delivered with both honesty and kindness.

Rachel was a staffer at Walking magazine, and as a freelancer has edited everything from fiction to poetry to medical journals to architectural writings. Work for children is her special delight.

Rachel is the author of the award-winning picture book The Pocket Mommy (Tundra), the five-book Ingredients of a Balanced Diet series (Franklin Watts), and the play Whose Aemilia?, which she premiered in the Ottawa Fringe Festival in June 2015 in the title role. She is also widely published in newspapers and magazines, for both adults and children. Rachel is a member of SCBWI (PAL) and TWUC, and has frequently participated as a critiquer at SCBWI Canada East conferences.

Click here to visit Rachel's website.



 

(PB: U.S.) ROB SANDERS does not work as a telephone sales rep, a loading dock worker, a trophy engraver, or an editor. But he used to. Rob is not a cowboy, a ballerina, an alien, or a temper-tantrum-throwing toddler. But he writes about them. Rob is a picture book author, a writing teacher, and a blogger. He worked for fifteen years in religious educational publishing as a writer, editor, editorial manager, and product designer. These days, he teaches elementary school kids about books and words and reading and writing, and writes books for those same kids. Since focusing on picture book writing seven years ago, Rob has sold six picture books to three major publishing houses.

His first picture book, Cowboy Christmas, was released by Golden Books/Random House in 2012. Outer Space Bedtime Race was released by Random House Children’s Books in January 2015. Ruby Rose—Off to School She Goes (the first in a two-book deal with HarperCollins) releases in 2016. Rodzilla was sold to Justin Chanda at Simon & Schuster early this year, and an exciting, cutting-edge non-fiction picture book has just come under contract. Rob also coordinates the Rising Kite Writing Contest for SCBWI-Florida, organizes meetings for SCBWI-Florida members in the Tampa Bay area, and coaches and critiques other picture book writers.

Click here to visit Rob’s website.


 

(PB: U.S.) RUTH VANDER ZEE is the award-winning author of Erika's Story, Mississippi Morning, Eli Remembers, and Always With You. Erika's Story was awarded “Best Foreign Picture Book of 2004” in Japan and was voted most successful nonfiction title in the UKLA Children’s Book Awards 2006. The UKLA Children’s Book Awards are given to books not only on the basis of content but also on the means of expression. The Children’s Book Council and the National Council for the Social Studies have chosen Ruth's books as Notable Social Studies Trade Books.

She was a middle school language arts teacher for fifteen years and still gives writing seminars to elementary and middle school children across the country. She has been the leader of a bi-weekly picture book critique group at Books and Books in Coral Gables, Florida, for thirteen years and has taught six-week classes in writing picture books at Miami Dade College. She has also taught at the Zelda Glazer Writing Institute–Invitational Summer Program of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools and at the University of Miami. Ruth finds her stories in her own front yard, in the classrooms in which she teaches, in church, sitting on a curb next to a stranger, riding the bus, drinking coffee with a friend, and in countless other places. In her critique group, Ruth loves to help writers find the important truths in each story's plots, settings, and characters, which elevate the stories from being "just a picture book."  She believes that each story, from 200 to 700 words, can give a child the opportunity to dream.

Click here to visit Ruth's website.


 

(N/PB/NF: Canada) SUSAN HUGHES has nearly 30 years of experience as an editor, writer, blogger, manuscript evaluator, and writing coach. She is the author of over 25 children's books, both fiction and nonfiction. Susan's editorial and writing clients include Red Rocket Readers, Inhabit Media, Jouve North America, Pearson Education, Scholastic Canada, Colleges Ontario, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, Owl Books/Maple Tree Press, Houghton Mifflin (U.S.), Word and Image, Nelson Thomson, Pronk and Associates, Reading Plus, Ontario Science Centre, First Folio, and the Toronto District School Board.

Click here to visit Susan's website.


 

(N/PB/NF: Canada) SYLVIA MCNICOLL has written over 30 books, many published internationally. Her latest young adult novels include Crush. Candy. Corpse., Dying to Go Viral, and Best Friends through Eternity; her recent junior novels include Revenge on the Fly and the soon-to-be-released The Best Mistake Mystery. She worked as features editor of Today’s Parent Toronto for eight years and taught creative writing for nine years at Sheridan College.

Currently, she teaches teens at Mississauga Living Arts Centre. She has acted as a mentor and blue pencil editor both officially, through CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers) and CSARN (Canadian Senior Artists' Resource Network), and privately, with experienced and emerging authors, helping launch many novels.

Click here to visit Sylvia's website.