Akem is a writer and artist based in Vancouver, Canada. She has a love of fantasy art, fiction, and mythology and is working on bringing her dream worlds to lifeShe is currently working in the animation industry as a background painter on an Netflix animated TV series. She is the illustrator of the forthcoming picture book Brown Sugar Babe written by Charlotte Watson Sherman (Boyds Mills & Kane, 2020).

Joan Axelrod-Contrada

Joan Axelrod-Contrada is the author of more than fifteen books for children and teens, including The World’s Most Famous Ghosts and Plessy v. Ferguson: Separate But Unequal, and is a correspondent with The Boston Globe. She earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives with her family in Western Massachusetts.

Jisuk Cho

Jisuk Cho is a writer and illustrator based in Tokyo, Japan. She graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City and worked for several years as a designer in animation and advertising before moving to Japan. She has amassed a dedicated online following for her popular web comic Fishbones.

Patty Costello

Patty lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, a zany awesome toddler, and two dogs. She has a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Minnesota. She works in higher education and is an expert in using storybooks to teach children pro-social lessons. “Catalina and the King’s Wall” is her first book. At all hours of the day (and night) she can be found standing at her desk, helping her university run smoothly, and working on her next children’s book. 

Jae Dansie

Jae Dansie is a writer, graphic designer, video producer, and karaoke master who roams the hills of Bountiful, Utah. When ninja training didn’t work out, she got a bachelor’s in Media Arts from Brigham Young University and has since put all her efforts into crafting story.

Ashley Evanson

Ashley Evanson is a San Francisco–based illustrator and author. She received a degree in journalism from Brigham Young University, and is a self-taught illustrator. She writes and illustrates the Hello, World! board book series featuring counting, shapes, colors, etc. from some of the world’s greatest cities: London, New York City, Paris, and San Francisco. Paris: A Book of Shapes was selected by Amazon as one of the top 100 children’s books of 2015. Two new cities will join the series in fall 2019: Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro.

Denise Gallagher

Denise Gallagher is a writer, illustrator, and graphic designer. Her illustration style has been described as whimsical with a bit of an edge. Denise is the author of A Tip Tap Tale and the illustrator of Jean-le-Chasseur et Ses Chiens by Barry Jean Ancelet. She lives in Louisiana. View more of her illustration portfolio at denisegallagher.com.

Ginger Johnson

Ginger Johnson is the author of The Splintered Light. She received an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College, where she studied under the tutelage of Kathi Appelt, Martine Leavitt, Sarah Ellis, and Tim Wynne-Jones. While there, she won the Marion Dane Bauer award, and in the summer of 2014 she was awarded a letter of merit from SCBWI for the WIP grant. Bloomsbury will publish her debut middle grade novel in September 2018.

Matthew & Sarah Kelly

Siblings Sarah and Matthew Kelly have been inventing imaginary worlds since they were preschoolers and have finally begun to write them down. They write together by switching switching back and forth, each writing a few pages before handing off to the other. When they aren’t writing, Matthew researches memory and Sarah just writes more. They live in Kingston, Ontario, in a house with three dogs, two parents, and approximately 3,528 books.


Frances Kim

Frances Kim is a designer and storyteller, currently working and living in Austin, Texas. By day, she works as a visual designer in the tech industry, and by night she lets loose and pours into her stories (while her toddler sleeps). Frances was deeply influenced by her experiences living abroad in China and Finland, and her upbringing as a Korean-American living in Texas.

Jared & Lisa Larson

Jared & Lisa Larson are a husband-and-wife writing team. They live in the Arizona desert with their three children. During the day, Jared works in mobile device management and Lisa creates digital design and photography. At night they like to sleep but always make time for adventurous scorpion hunts.


Erin Liles

Erin Liles grew up in Northern California but moved to Austin, Texas, in her twenties, where it’s brutally hot in the summer, but life is a bit more relaxed. She graduated from Texas State University with a degree in sociology, and after almost ten years working in family literacy and early childhood education, she took the plunge into writing and later, freelance editing. Erin spends most of her time with her husband, kids, and pets.

Ann Malaspina

Ann Malaspina is the author of numerous nonfiction and fiction books for children and teens. She writes about social justice, nature, immigrants, and amazing people in history. She has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Michael Murdock

Michael Murdock is an illustrator, designer and writer. His works in a variety of styles but is particularly known for retro futurism. He is a regular exhibitor at various comic cons around the US, and lives in Utah.

Mark Scott Ricketts

Mark Scott Ricketts is a writer and illustrator best known for his comics and graphic novels. He has worked on a number of notable properties for Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, and Image Comics, including Iron Man and Hellboy. His illustrations have also been featured in Playboy and Nickelodeon Magazine. Mark’s picture book Vacationland won the 2015 Maine Literary Award. He lives in Maine.

Cory Shaw

Cory Shaw is a writer and illustrator on a mission to create worlds that inspire children to adventure and stories that cause grown-ups to yearn for childhood. He lives in Utah with his wife and kids.

Betsy Schow

Betsy Schow is the author of The Storymakers young adult fantasy series, beginning with Spelled. She is also the author of Finished Being Fat, for which she has been featured in The Wall Street Journal and the Today Show to discuss her philosophy of finishing.

Nicole Wolverton

Nicole Wolverton is a freelance writer and nonprofit fundraising consultant. Her debut novel, the adult psychological thriller The Trajectory of Dreams, has received excellent press, including reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and The Millions. She lives in Philadelphia.

J. Marin Younker

J. Marin Younker worked as a public librarian for thirteen years, ten of those working specifically with teens. After years of book-talking in schools, leading book groups, talking to teens, and managing teen collections, Marin knows what teens like to read. Pick up a copy of her debut nonfiction book for teens, Bleed, Blister, Puke and Purge: America’s Medical Middle Ages. She lives in the Seattle area with her family and animal menagerie.