CÁTIA CHIEN – Keynote Illustrator
Cátia Chien is a picture book illustrator of such titles as THE BEAR AND THE MOON, which was a Society of Illustrators Gold Medal for Original Art winner and a Golden Kite Award for picture book illustration winner, A BOY AND A JAGUAR, an ALA Notable Book and recipient of the Schneider Family Book Award. She is also the founder of A THOUSAND WORLDS – a free curated picture book directory celebrating BIPOC kidlit creators. Her newest book is THE LONGEST LETSGOBOY.
LIZ GARTON SCANLON – Keynote Author
Liz Garton Scanlon is the author of many beloved books for kids, including the recent WOULD YOU COME TOO? and FRANCES IN THE COUNTRY, the Caldecott honored All the World, and many others. She’s also co-authored several books with Audrey Vernick, including the hilarious BOB, NOT BOB. Her next middle grade novel, LOLO’S LIGHT launches in fall 2022, and her chapter book series BIBSY CROSS debuts in 2024. Liz is faculty co-chair of the Writing for Children and Young Adults program at the Vermont Faculty of Fine Arts, but lives in Austin, Texas. Find more at www.LizGartonScanlon.com
Photo Credit – Elizabeth McGuire
AMY NOVESKY – Children’s Book Editorial Director, Cameron Kids
Amy Novesky is the Children’s Book Editorial Director for Cameron Kids, a California-based division of Abrams, known for its poetic picture books, such as AND I PAINT IT; BROWN: THE MANY SHADES OF LOVE; MAY YOUR LIFE BE DELICIOSA, forthcoming WILL IT BE OKAY? by Crescent Dragonwagon, illustrated by Jessica Love; and occasional novels in verse, like WAVE. In addition to being an editor, Amy is an author. Her picture books include GIRL ON A MOTORCYCLE and CLOTH LULLABY, as well as the forthcoming IF YOU WANT TO RIDE A HORSE. She lives and works just north of San Francisco.
CLAIRE TATTERSFIELD – Publishing Coordinator, Penguin Random House Children’s Books
Claire Tattersfield is publishing coordinator across Viking Children’s Books and Flamingo Books at Penguin Young Readers. After finishing college as editor-in-chief of her college’s satire paper, she found that her skills in editing short form satire translated phenomenally to editing picture books so she hopped over to Penguin and has been there ever since. She specializes in commercial picture books with a flair for humor. She has worked on many picture books ranging from silly to sweet, including Seth Meyers’s I’M NOT SCARED, YOU’RE SCARED, Kelly Corrigan’s HELLO WORLD, and Zibby Owens’s PRINCESS CHARMING.
CHERYL KLEIN – Editorial Director, Algonquin Young Readers
Cheryl Klein was recently named the editorial director at Algonquin Young Readers. Previously she was the editorial director at Lee & Low Books, where she edited picture books (e.g. STACEY ABRAMS: LIFT EVERY VOICE by Sarah Warren, illustrated by Monica Mikai; SEVEN GOLDEN RINGS by Rajani LaRocca, illustrated by Archana Sreenivasan) and selected MG and YA projects (e.g. THE MAGNOLIA SWORD: A BALLAD OF MULAN by Sherry Thomas). She is also the author of THE MAGIC WORDS: WRITING GREAT BOOKS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS and four picture books, most recently HAMSTERS MAKE TERRIBLE ROOMMATES, illustrated by Abhi Alwar. She can be found online at cherylklein.com and as @chavelaque.
MARTHA RAGO – VP, Executive Creative Director, Random House Children’s Books
Martha Rago is VP and Executive Creative Director at Random House Children’s Books, joining the company in 2015. She oversees the design teams for all the children’s imprints under the Random House umbrella including Random House Books for Young Readers, Rodale, Doubleday, Knopf, Delacorte, Make Me A World, Little Golden Books, Seuss, Random House Studio and Anne Schwartz Books. Martha has had a long career as a book designer and art director. To keep her skills sharp and her creative joy intact, she also designs several books a year. She most recently worked with artists Lauren Castillo on the OUR FRIEND HEDGEHOG series, Rowboat Watkins on TINY CEDRIC by Sally Lloyd Jones, Floyd Cooper on SPROUTING WINGS by Louisa Jagger and Shari Becker, and with Rudy Gutierrez on the 2019 Caldecott honor-winner, DOUBLE BASS BLUES, by Andrea J Looney.
JENNIFER ROFE – Agent, Andrea Brown Literary Agency
Jennifer Rofé works primarily in the middle grade and picture book spaces, and she especially loves working with author-illustrators and illustrators. Overall, she seeks masterful writing, distinct voices and perspectives, and richly developed characters.In illustration, she seeks unique voices and perspectives that have a voice so strong that it’s immediately recognizable as belonging to the creator. Some of Jennifer’s clients include New York Times bestseller Meg Medina, author of the Newbery Medal winner MERCI SUÁREZ CHANGES GEARS (Candlewick); Alison Green Myers, author of the Schneider Family Book Award winner A BIRD WILL SOAR; Crystal Allen, author of the Sid Fleischman Humor Award winner THE MAGNIFICENT MYA TIBBS: WALL OF FAME GAME (Balzer + Bray); Mike Boldt, author-illustrator of The Blue Spruce Award winner BAD DOG (Doubleday); Eliza Wheeler, author-illustrator of the New York Times bestseller MISS MAPLE’S SEEDS (Nancy Paulsen Books); and Amber Ren, illustrator of the New York Times bestselling picture book BECAUSE by Mo Willems (Hyperion).
STEPHEN FRASER- Senior Agent, The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency
Stephen Fraser, a 40 year veteran of publishing, has worked as both as an editor at major New York houses and as a literary agent. His more than 40 clients have won the Newbery Honor, Edgar, and PEN awards. He is a popular speaker at conferences across the country.
WENDI GU – Agent, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates
Wendi Gu is a children’s book literary agent at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. She’s lucky to represent voice-driven authors and dynamic visual artists. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and dog, Beanie Gu.
Lisa Moore Ramée was born and raised in Los Angeles and now lives in Northern California, with her husband, two kids, one obnoxious cat and a sweet dog. A GOOD KIND OF TROUBLE, a Walter Dean Meyers Honor book and an Indie bestseller, was her debut novel, published in 2019. SOMETHING TO SAY was published in 2020. MAPMAKER, a middle grade fantasy, will be out in 2022.
Nikki Shannon Smith is the author of twelve books, ranging from board books to young adult. Her work includes the AZALEAH LANE chapter book series and five titles in Capstone’s multi-author, historical fiction/adventure, middle grade series, Girls Survive. Her most recent title is LENA AND THE BURNING OF GREENWOOD: A TULSA RACE MASSACRE SURVIVAL STORY. Nikki’s forthcoming titles include OUR BEAUTIFUL COLORS (Little Golden Books/Random House, 12/6/22), and the first title (LOVE IS ALL AROUND, 12/6/22) in her board book series called Brown Baby Parade (Crown Books/Random House). Her writing is informed not only by her research, but by her child-like curiosity and nearly thirty years of elementary school teaching experience. Nikki was born and raised in Oakland and now lives in Woodland, California. She is represented by Jennifer March Soloway of Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
SHIRLEY NG-BENITEZ – Author/Illustrator
Shirley Ng-Benitez is an award-winning author/illustrator who’s had the honor of illustrating over 30 books for children. She loves experimenting and creating with watercolors, gouache, dip pen & ink, pencil, and recently painted & cut-paper collage. Earth and its creatures inspire her. She created an art auction (@Awetober on Instagram) raising thousands for those affected and displaced by the recent wildfires. Compassion and connection are a big theme in her stories and she’s thrilled to be writing and illustrating her first picture book, coming in ’24. She lives with her family and two black cats, Miso & Luna in the Bay Area, California. Please visit shirleyngbenitez.com for more.
CARTER HASEGAWA – Editor, Candlewick Press – VIRTUAL CRITIQUES
Carter Hasegawa’s favorite kinds of books to work on are picture books, but he’s open to all formats. Some of his favorite, non-Candlewick books include: The Notorious Benedict Arnold; Jellicoe Road; Clementine; Ender’s Game; Three Times Lucky; Imogene’s Antlers; the Elephant & Piggie books; George and Martha; Good Night, Gorilla; and many, MANY others. Basically anything that has a great voice, is a good story, and is “unputdownable.” Originally from Seattle, he now lives in Boston with his wife and toddler son, and he works as an editor at Candlewick Press.
Return to Conference Registration Page.