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Authors / Illustrators

Smiling Young Woman

Talia Bailes grew up dancing ballet and reading. She graduated from Cornell University in 2020 with a degree in Global and Public Health Sciences and then worked for the CDC in Phoenix, Arizona. She is currently a medical student at the University of Michigan hoping to pursue a career in pediatrics. She lived in Ecuador and Colombia where she danced and read with children. Talia founded Ballet and Books in 2017 and has since led its national expansion. She believes in the power of dance as a connector across differences and believes in creating a world where every child has space to dance, learn, and grow into their fullest selves.

Talia Bailes
Smiling Young Woman

Debra Westgate-Silva is the author of Bethlehem Barn as well as two stories that have been published by Highlights children’s magazine. She has worked in public education for many years and in child advocacy and welfare. She is a member of SCBWI, Julie Hedlund’s 12x12 picture book challenge, and The Writing Barn’s Courage to Create. She lives in Bristol, Rhode Island with her husband and two sons and loves to hear from her readers! Visit her website at to send her a message.

Debra Westgate-Silva
Smiling Young Woman

Claire McPherson is a first-time author and illustrator. Her debut children’s book ‘Eddie the Ogre’ is a tale of the magical mishaps of a little Ogre, who dreams of being a magician. The book started life as a little drawing project back in early 2015. The sketches were put away and forgotten about for years, until Claire’s son Eddie found them whilst rooting around in a drawer he shouldn’t have been in! The expression of wonder on his face as he turned each page was the inspiration Claire needed to finally finish the book and illustrate the last few scenes to make it complete.

Claire McPherson
Smiling Young Woman

Lisa Katzenberger is the author of IT WILL BE OK: A STORY OF EMPATHY, KINDNESS, AND FRIENDSHIP (Sourcebooks 2021) and NATIONAL REGULAR AVERAGE ORDINARY DAY (Penguin Workshop 2020). She is an instructor at The Writing Barn, a mom to eleven-year-old twins, and serves on the Board of Trustees of her public library in suburban Chicago.

Lisa Katzenberger
Smiling Young Woman

Andrea Torrey Balsara is an award-winning children's and young adult author/illustrator and motivational speaker. Her passion is to empower children to think for themselves, to learn about the power and beauty of our diverse human family, and to walk the "Hero's Journey" in real life. Having struggled with mental health since childhood, she seeks to empower young people of all life experiences and diverse backgrounds through her writing, art, and presentations.

Andrea Torrey Balsara
Smiling Young Woman

Karla Clark writes fiction for adults and children, but picture books are her passion! She loves children and they love her back! Her favorite thing in the world is to make children smile! Inspired by her father, a consummate storyteller, she wrote her first novel at age fourteen. She published three novels and a collection of short stories before turning to her first love: children’s books. She has released three picture books. Karla lives with her husband and son in Rockford, Illinois. When not writing, Karla can be found in her art studio creating paper collages and digital art. Someday she hopes to write and illustrate a picture book.

Karla Clark
Smiling Young Woman

Melinda Gibbons studied Fine Art at New York University and has a BFA and a Masters in Secondary Art Education. She has been teaching art in Massapequa, NY for over 20 years. Melinda enjoys reading to her students and helping them build literacy skills at a young age. She decided to write a children’s book as a way to encourage her daughter to grow up strong, independent, and kind. She lives in New York with her husband Daniel and their baby daughter, Jemma.

Melinda Gibbons
Smiling Young Woman

Alva Sachs is an award-winning children's author. She holds a Master's Degree in Education. Her days in the classroom provided the inspiration for becoming a children's author and founder of Three Wishes Publishing Company. Alva's stories excite, engage, and empower young readers

She is President of Reading Is Fundamental of Southern California.

Alva Sachs
Smiling Young Woman

Helena Ku Rhee is a writer of books for kids and the young at heart. Her most recent children’s book, The Paper Kingdom, was a #1 Indie Bestseller and appeared on many Best Books of 2020 lists, including NPR, Kirkus and Parents Magazine. In addition to writing children’s books, Helena has also written for publications such as the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Salon. Her forthcoming children’s books include Rosa’s Song (Penguin Random House 2022) and Sora’s Seashells (Candlewick 2023).

Helena Ku Rhee
Smiling Young Woman

Tasha is weaving together her cultural identity, and commitment to community to produce a body of research that amplifies Indigenous women’s demands for justice for Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People. Tasha is most heart-tied to contributing to community lead work that centers land and water defence, and the protection of Indigenous women and girls.

Tasha Spillett-Sumner
Smiling Young Woman

Brian Anderson is the creator of the syndicated comic strip Dog Eat Doug, which enjoys an international fan base both online and off-line. He is an optioned screenwriter and the author of several children’s books, including Nighty Night, Sleepy Sleeps; The Prince’s New Pet; and Monster Chefs. Brian’s uncle was a charter member of the Magic Castle and taught him his first card trick in second grade. He has been practicing magic ever since.

Brian Anderson
Smiling Young Woman

Tiffany Obeng is a lawyer and author of several educational and inspiring children's picture books. Tiffany creates books featuring Black children and families in spaces where they have historically been absent. Her books also feature Black child characters in normal everyday situations. In this way, all children are normalized, humanized, and the world can be made a safer place for them. Her books include popular kids' career books Andrew Learns about Lawyers and Andrew Learns about Engineers; season book Spencer Knows Spring and honesty book Scout's Honor.

Tiffany Obeng
Smiling Young Woman

Lindsay Gizicki graduated from Central Michigan University and pursued her passion for journalism. Lindsay is an avid book lover and the Michigan-representative for The Book Fairies Worldwide, hiding books for potential readers everywhere she goes. In her spare time she fishes with her husband, Cyle, and speaks nonsense with her 4-year-old daughter, Harper, and her 2-year-old son, Henry.
Lindsay started her children’s book imprint, Hank a Roo Readings, as a way to bring her ideas and the ideas inspired by her own children to life.

Lindsay Gizicki
Smiling Young Woman

I’m Cheryl Milligan! I am an English Language teacher based in Northern Ireland. I am also an artist (not professional) and I do paintings of animals, people and landscapes for friends and family. I have written, illustrated and published the first two in a series of quirky children’s animal action and adventure books. The Adventures of Sparkles (book 1) and Sparkles and Friends (book 2) are based on a new family real life kitty called Sparkles.

Cheryl Milligan
Smiling Young Woman

Bennett Dixon is the author of Babble Bot, a member of SCBWI and 12x12, a past winner of the Writing With The Stars picture book contest, and the proud father of two young boys—who make him often wish he had a translating robot. You can find out more about Bennett on his author website ( or on Twitter (@bennettdixon)

Bennett Dixon
Smiling Young Woman

Nick Bruel is the creator of the NY Times Bestselling series "BAD KITTY". He lives in Pleasantville, NY with his wife Carina, their daughter Izzy, and their sometimes-good-sometimes-bad cats Rose and Noodles.

Nick Bruel
Smiling Young Woman

Hillary Daecher grew up in Manheim, Pennsylvania, with her parents and older brother. Growing up, she loved spending time with family and was always telling stories and making them laugh; much to her brother’s delight! Today she lives in the coolest small town in America, Lititz, Pennsylvania, with her husband, two kids, and two dogs surrounded by amazing family and friends. Her kids inspire her daily. Hillary’s husband is her partner and biggest fan encouraging and supporting her. She is excited to share this beautiful story with families.

Hillary Daecher
Smiling Young Woman

Sabrina Moyle and Eunice Moyle are the sister team behind Hello!Lucky, an award-winning lifestyle brand for the young and the young at heart, and authors of ABC Dance! An Animal Alphabet and Good Night, Baboon! A Bedtime Counting Book. Sabrina, a writer and creative entrepreneur, and Eunice, a gifted illustrator, produced Hello!Lucky’s first collection of letterpress printed greeting cards in 2003. Since then, Hello!Lucky has expanded to design bedding, ceramics, socks, stationery, custom photo albums, bestselling children’s books, and more. Sabrina and Eunice live in San Francisco.

Sabrina Moyle and Eunice Moyle
Smiling Young Woman

Cindi Handley Goodeaux lives in Florida with her husband and muse. She is a proud mom, graphic designer wannabe, and sometime poet.

As a lifelong disability advocate, she fights for rights for people with disabilities (PWD) in the workplace, and statewide.

She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and a professional member of the Cat Writers Association (CWA).

Cindi Handley Goodeaux
Smiling Young Woman

Jacob Grant is originally from Ohio, but now lives in Chicago with his patient wife and two less-than-patient children. When not trying to wrangle these little forces of nature, you'll most likely find him drawing, painting and writing in his home studio until something feels story-ish.

Jacob Grant
Smiling Young Woman

Gina Bell is an empowerment guide, author, speaker, workshop host, and creator of The Tears & Tulle Movement. She uses art, metaphors, and tulle fabric to help people all over the world remember their color. She loves eating batter straight from the mixing bowl on an old wooden spoon, playing board games with her family, and stealing her husband's comfy socks. She is busy these days writing Tears & Taffeta, the story of a boy and his ever-growing, multicolored cape. Gina lives outside of Chicago with her wonderful husband and is the mother of six amazing kids!

Gina Bell
Smiling Young Woman

Annie M. Wyatt is the American children’s book author behind All Kinds of Castles. Her interest in writing children’s books stems from her love of reading as a child, a hobby she has carried into her adult life.
Annie has two small children and has witnessed the magic of a wonderful children’s book. She writes to create the same awe, imagination, fantasy, and love of books for the next generation.
Annie earned her bachelor’s degree from Parsons the New School of Design. She also holds a Master of Arts from New York University in Graphic Communication Management and Technology. Before her time in New York, Annie spent her high school years first in Boston, then in Lugano, Switzerland, receiving an IB diploma from the American School in Switzerland.
Compiling her design background with her passion for the written word, Annie is excited to finally bring her imagination and storytelling to paper.
Annie lives in North Carolina with her husband, sons, and dog.

Annie M. Wyatt
Smiling Young Woman

Sara Ernst is a nature-loving, recipe-making, and award-winning children’s author, illustrator, and musician. Sara loves to use her songs and stories to encourage a deeper love of nature, inspire imagination, empower emotions and teach valuable lessons. Sara’s greatest hope is that her work will have a positive and lasting impact on children…and their grown-ups! Sara’s children’s books can be found on Amazon in multiple countries and her children’s music albums and singles are available on all music platforms…including YouTube!

Sara Ernst
Smiling Young Woman

Leema is a children’s author & General Practitioner for the NHS who loves to make reading enjoyable, funny and accessible for all. Her books are full of fantastical and fanciful characters who all exist to help children navigate their everyday concerns with ease. This experience quickly lead to her writing three subsequent manuscripts, using her own British Indian upbringing, to help children from all ethnic backgrounds deal with concerns they may face in their day to day lives.

Leema Jabbar
Smiling Young Woman

Suzanne Slade, a Sibert Honor author, has written over 150 children's books. An engineer by degree, she enjoys writing on STEM topics as well as inspiring historical figures. Some of her recent titles include Mars Is, June Almeida, Virus Detective!, A Computer Called Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Helped Put America on the Moon, Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks, and The Universe and You. Suzanne's picture book Astronaut Annie was read aboard the International Space Station for Story Time From Space.

Suzanne Slade
Smiling Young Woman

Author/writer since 2008 and is a member for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Carmen has won awards on her book series of three (Patch Land Adventures). She was the presenting children’s book author for the 2014 Young Writers Conference for Jeffco Elementary Schools. She also volunteered for a non-profit organization, The Foundation Fighting Blindness, where she held the position as the President of the Denver Chapter, for the past 11 years.

Carmen Swick
Smiling Young Woman

Author-illustrator Jarrett Lerner is the creator of the EngiNerds series of Middle Grade novels, the Geeger the Robot series of early chapter books, and the activity books Give This Book a Title and Give This Book a Cover. Jarrett is also the creator of the Hunger Heroes graphic novel series, the forthcoming illustrated novel in verse A Work in Progress, a forthcoming set of early readers, and more. All of Jarrett’s books are published by Simon & Schuster. In addition to writing, drawing, and visiting schools and libraries across the country, Jarrett co-founded and co-organizes #KidsNeedBooks and #KidsNeedMentors

Jarrett Lerner
Smiling Young Woman

Adrita Goswami is a published author and illustrator of children's books. She began spinning tales of fantasy and adventure when she was six, and wrote her first fairy tale book "A World Beyond The Rainbow" at the age of thirteen. Her other books include "The Magical Garden," "Little White Angel," and "The Princess and the Golden Hart." When she is not writing, Adrita enjoys reading, painting, and listening to music. As a student, her favorite subjects include Literature, Psychology and Art. She loves to hear from her readers and is presently working on her next books.

Adrita Goswami
Smiling Young Woman

Adam Wallace loves to write. SO MUCH! In fact, he loves it so much, he kept doing it through over 200 rejections, because he couldn't not write. That continues to this day, where he has been lucky enough to have now had over 85 books published, some of which have reached NYT, USA Today and Amazon bestseller lists, as well as houses of Kardashians!

Adam Wallace
Smiling Young Woman

Allan Woodrow wanted to write books ever since he was in third grade, but he didn’t start writing them until he was much older. Allan is now the author of more than thirty books for children includingThe Curse of the Werepenguin trilogy, Class Dismissed, Unschooled, Field Tripped and The Pet War. Allan regularly visits schools, libraries and conferences, and sometimes he is even invited inside.

Allan Woodrow
Smiling Young Woman

In 2004, the Illinois Association of Teachers of English (IATE) named Chapman the “Illinois Author of the Year.” Twice, Oprah Winfrey shows have featured her books. The Junior Library Guild named her two most recent books, Stumbling on History and Three Stars in the Night Sky, as August 2017 and August 2018 selections. Recently, she published two picture books, Happy Harper Thursdays and The Return of Happy Harper Thursdays. She gives dozens of presentations each year at schools and events.

Fern Schumer Chapman

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