Welcome to our authors and illustrators page. The folks below look forward to providing you with some really great books during the coming months. From picture books to middle grade, these stories are sure to entertain you and your families.
Nicole Allin is a freelance illustrator based in the beautiful state of Washington. From fun, creative designs to complex illustrations, she has an extensive portfolio of work displaying her creativity and talent. With years of experience in the arts, Nicole is known for her illustrated greeting cards, her skills have been used for children’s illustrations, packaging designs, books, posters, and even tattoos! With great holiday illustrations and fun animal scenes, Nicole Allin’s work has delighted children and parents alike with its unique charm. To learn more about Nicole, visit allinart.netReturn to Top
A native of California, Midge Ballou Smith has lived near the beach, in the desert, and by the mountains, and has found story ideas in all three places. A former elementary school teacher, Midge has a master’s degree in writing. She loves playing games with her grandchildren, where she is affectionately known as “The G-force,” due to . . . a’hem . . . her slightly competitive nature. Midge currently resides in Northern Utah with her husband of forty-five years. Years ago, Midge taught school in Arizona where Turkey vultures roosting in nearby trees were a common sight. She was both fascinated and repulsed by them. Since that time, she’s been blessed with eight grandsons. They love all things gross. And that is how Bert and Wert: We Do the Dirty Work was born.Return to Top
Mary Beth Benton was born in Michigan and moved with her family to Arizona at the age of five. They lived on the Navajo/Hopi reservations where her mother was a nurse for the government-run hospital system. While growing up in northern Arizona, she was able to explore the beautiful, mysterious landscape and became influenced by its beauty, as well as the beauty of Native American art. A sense of adventure was born from living in that unique and lonely landscape. Her family later relocated to Tucson, in the beautiful Sonoran Desert area.
Mary Beth resides with her best friend and husband, Andrew, and their four-legged furry children. Her favorite pastimes, along with creating art, are being with her animals and exploring ghost towns, haunted locations, and when she can, going to Disneyland.
Mary Beth studied art at local community colleges in the state hoping to someday work for Disney. She is largely self-taught, inspired by her favorite children’s book illustrators. She is a member of the SCBWI and has illustrated many books, including Bub and the Nut, Fuz and the Skunk, Special Delivery, The Book With No Words, as well as the upcoming titles Wiggle Your Hips Wildebeest and Digging for Bones. You can view Mary Beth’s work by going to her SCBWI page.Return to Top
Carol Bullman earned her Master of Arts in English with an emphasis in creative writing at the University of North Texas. She lives in an English-style cottage in Texas where she thanks God for her husband and sons, the books spilling across the coffee table, the magic of music, the hummingbirds and flowers in her garden, and all the “children’s-book moments” in life. You can visit her online at CarolBullman.com and aChildrensBookWorld.com.Return to Top
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma but raised in Southern California, Bill Borders received his B.S. Degree in Marketing from Cal State University of Northridge just when advertising was becoming cool as a part-business/part-creative craft. He first put his degree to work at a small ad agency in Hollywood before moving on and up to other agencies as copywriter then creative director. One morning an earthquake fractured his house, as well his fondness for California, and he moved to greener pastures in Oregon. He eventually co-founded Borders, Perrin and Norrander, a creative-focused agency that earned national acclaim. It also helped him earn an honor by Communication Arts magazine as “One of the Top 50 Creative Directors in America.” He eventually sold the company he helped start and moved to Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho where he could focus on writing lyrics, screenplays, cartoons, and children’s books. Besides writing, Bill enjoys photography, motorcycling, working out, playing guitar, and traveling.Return to Top
Melizza Chernov graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts, Illustration from Rhode Island School of Design. After graduating, an opportunity to live in a small cabin with no running water, heat, or electricity, on ten acres of land in the New Mexico desert presented itself. You might ask, who could say “no” to that kind of adventure? Or if you’re a reasonable person, you might not. Nevertheless, it was the beginning of a long and wondrous education about the natural world that she continues to pursue. The shapes, colors, movement and flow of nature strongly influence Melizza’s work as an illustrator.
A deep and abiding desire to tell a tale visually has traveled with Melizza through her many adventures. She currently lives in a small Massachusetts coastal town surrounded by farms and wildlife reserves that she visits regularly. You can see more about that on her Instagram and Facebook pages. In addition to writing and illustrating stories, Melizza teaches small children how to make great big artistic messes (and they teach her the same thing in return ;-).Return to Top
Alayne Kay Christian is the acquisitions editor and creative director for Blue Whale Press, an imprint of Clear Fork Publishing. She’s an award-winning children’s book author and the creator and teacher of a picture book writing course Art of Arc. Her published works include the Sienna, the Cowgirl Fairy chapter book series, and picture books Butterfly Kisses for Grandma and Grandpa, An Old Man and His Penguin: How Dindim Made João Pereira de Souza an Honorary Penguin, and The Weed That Woke Christmas: The Mostly True Tale of the Toledo Christmas Weed. Cowboy Trouble (the second book in the Sienna, the Cowgirl Fairy series) and her fourth picture book, Faith Beneath the Bridge are planned 2021 releases. Born in the Rockies, raised in Chicago, and now a true-blue Texan, Alayne’s writing shares her creative spirit and the kinship to nature and humanity that reside within her heart. To learn more about Alayne visit alaynekaychristianauthor.com.Return to Top
Polina Gortman is an illustrator living and working in Seattle, Washington. Polina draws her inspiration from old fairy tales, wildlife and nature. Her hobbies include picking at stalagmites of books that grow in random locations around her house, and stargazing. Polina is an active member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and a local author-illustrator critique group The Broad Strokes.
You can read more about Polina by going to gortmanillustration.com.Return to Top
Tara Hannon has always loved to illustrate. As a child, her wish lists included only one desire: more art stuff! Now that she is an adult, her wish lists really haven’t changed—the more art stuff the better! She is truly grateful to be doing what she loves for a living.
Tara’s illustrations have been described as whimsical, playful, and quirky. She works happily from her home studio in Crownsville, Maryland.
When Tara is not illustrating, she can be found playing in the sand with her two daughters, jogging, and drinking strong coffee. It is her dream to find a way to do all of these things at once.Return to Top
Sarah Hoppe is a born and bred Minnesotan, a photographer, and an author who loves to write weird stories and be outside with nature. When she isn’t with her camera and family traipsing about the woods, she can be found inside working at her computer and creating different worlds.
Sarah loves dogs, books, campfires and pizza, and used to be a third-grade teacher. Living in Rochester, Minnesota with her husband, two boys and two dogs, you can often find Sarah and her family out on an adventure or trying craft projects with lots of hot glue. You can visit Sarah at sarahhoppe.com.Return to Top
Jackie Kruzie lives on a farm in Texas with her husband five kids, three horses, one persnickety cat, a herd of cattle, troupe of goats, and a cacophony of chickens, roosters, ducks, and turkeys. Jackie is a librarian, and her favorite part of her job is the summer reading program, which in her opinion, is the best part of summer. She spent three years as the North Texas SCBWI regional advisor, and she continues to be an active participant in her region. When she’s not writing, Jackie loves to read. No matter how old she gets, her favorite book will always be Charlotte’s Web, although Miss Nelson is Missing is a close second. To learn more about Jackie visit jackiekruzie.com.Return to Top
Lydia Lukidis is a children’s author with over thirty-four books and eBooks published, a dozen educational books as well as numerous short stories, poems and plays. She writes fiction and nonfiction for ages 3-12. Her background is multi-disciplinary and spans the fields of literature, science and puppetry.
Lydia is passionate about spreading the love for literacy. She regularly works with children in elementary schools across Quebec through the Culture in the Schools program giving literacy and writing workshops. In addition to her creative work, she enjoys composing educational activities and curriculum aligned lesson plans.
You can learn more about Lydia by visiting lydialukidis.com.Return to Top
Blake Marsee has had a passion for drawing since his earliest memories and decided to be professional artist at the age of 3. He now lives out that dream in central Kentucky aside the Cumberland Gap. Creator of a Facebook-based comic strip called Monday’s that has been running since 2014, he began illustrating picture books in 2017 under contract and on his own (What do Monsters Get for Christmas and Petty Penny). He continues to illustrate comic book art while also taking on character design and caricatures. Blake can be found at Smiley Productions, or via @bmarsee2012.Return to Top
Maureen McAfee Maureen McAfee is a Boston based illustrator and a recent graduate at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Maureen finds inspiration in everything; from the architecture seen on her travels, to the sandy seascapes of her hometown on Cape Cod. She enjoys capturing people's characters in portraits and loves to experiment with all types of traditional and digital mediums.
When Maureen is not making art you can find her biking around downtown Boston, or at her apartment in Brighton relaxing with a cup of coffee. You can find Maureen on Instagram at @thou_art_momo and on Twitter at @thou_art_momo.Return to Top
Brian Martin started his career as an internationally syndicated cartoonist following his graduation from The Savannah College of Art and Design. During that time, he also created his own comic strip, Creek. He quickly channeled his love for his work as a professional illustrator and comic cartoonist into storytelling and writing of children’s picture books. To date, Brian has illustrated over 20 published children's books, including his first authored and illustrated book, Lippy Lisbey's Monster Lie. Brian will gladly tell anyone that being a children’s book illustrator has been an amazing experience for him, and as a result, he is constantly looking for opportunities to bring stories to life for both children and parents to enjoy. When Brian isn’t busy making art, he can be found playing with his four kids in historic Richmond, Virginia.Return to Top
Nadine Poper is an elementary librarian for an urban Pennsylvania school district who loves how fortunate she is to be surrounded all day by books and children to share them with. As a mom to three boys and two dachshunds, Nadine became a huge wiener dog fan and self-published three children’s books about dachshunds. She is also a foster home for Coast to Coast Dachshund Rescue and donates portions of her book sales to the rescue.
When not writing, Nadine loves to travel to dog and dachshund events with her husband to promote her books. She also enjoys gardening in her Blandon, Pennsylvania backyard, and of course reading and writing children’s literature.Return to Top
Milanka Reardon learned to illustrate at a very young age. When she emigrated to the U.S. from the former Republic of Yugoslavia at the age of six, no one in her school spoke her language, so her teachers sketched images of the English words for her. But instead of copying the words, Milanka took it upon herself to improve their work and draw more interesting pictures. Later, Milanka went on to earn a children’s book illustration certificate from the Rhode Island School of Design and was awarded the 2016 R. Michelson Galleries Emerging Artist Award. She is the central New England illustrator coordinator for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). You can read more about Milanka and see some of her artwork by going to MilankaReardon.com.Return to Top
Janie Reinart is an educator and author who never leaves home without her library card. Janie was the kid who read during lunch, read when she should have been doing chores, and read late at night with a flashlight under the covers.
A theater major, Janie has acted in plays and tried her hand as a professional puppeteer. She visited children in hospitals through a gentle clown ministry juggling, performing, and sprinkling laughter. As an interactive musical storyteller, Janie sang original tales in schools, and volunteered for ten years as a poet in residence at an inner-city school to help children find their voice. Best of all, Janie loves playing with words and writing for children.
Janie lives in Ohio with her husband, and is always up for bubbles, hopscotch, or dress-up—just ask her fifteen grandchildren! You can read more about Janie at Goodreads or by going to her website at janiereinart.com.Return to Top
Patti Richards is a writer, teacher, mother, wife, and storyteller who has has spent nearly 30 years spinning yarns and telling tales. Along with O Possum’s Predicament, she has two other picture books releasing in 2021 and 2022. Her poetry is part of the anthology, Thanku: Poems of Gratitude, and her children’s work also includes three nonfiction books, several magazine articles and a fiction piece in Highlights magazine. She was a Katherine Paterson Prize at Hunger Mountain Honorable Mention winter in 2018, a finalist in 2014, and she’s been a Writer’s Digest Honorable Mention winner three times for her picture book manuscripts. Patti is a freelance writer and editor and offers professional manuscript critique services. As a freelance writer, she provides web content for various clients and has contributed to local newspapers, regional and national parenting and women’s magazines. Patti lives in Farmington Hills, Michigan with her husband, Gene, where their adult children come in and out regularly! Find out more about Patti by visiting her website at pattigail1.com.Return to Top
Cartoonist and illustrator Terry Sirrell has been in the creative business for many years. His first job out of art school was assistant art director at the Field Newspaper Syndicate where he put together sales kits to promote all of the cartoon strips to newspapers around the world. After that, he became an art director in advertising, then moved on to his illustration career. You may have seen his work on the back of Cap‘n Crunch and Kellogg’s Corn Flakes cereal boxes. His cartoons and characters also have appeared in the advertising of numerous major corporations and in dozens of publications including Reader’s Digest, Newsweek, Highlights magazine, Clubhouse Magazine, Boys’; Life, Girls’ Life, Woman’s Day, National Geographic Kids, Family Fun/Disney, The New York Daily News and The Chicago Tribune. Terry also illustrates children’s books and cartoon maps. The most recent book he illustrated is Walkout, which can be purchased in book stores, on Amazon and other online bookstore websites. To learn more about Terry, visit tsirrell.comReturn to Top
Joan Sloane was born during a blizzard in Montreal, Canada and has been whirling ever since. She grew up on Long Island, New York with eight brothers and sisters and an assortment of dogs, cats, birds and turtles.
A day dreamer by nature, Joan grew up drawing pictures and making up stories. She went to college for art, but her real passion turned out to be creative writing and theater. Joan once played a gorilla at a theme park, as well as the magician’s assistant. Her love of animals shines through in her characters who are almost always animals. She has two granddaughters who love to sing and dance, and one grand dog who loves to sleep.
Joan lives in Florida, mostly in front of her computer or at Barnes and Noble.Return to Top
Laurie Smollett Kutscera was born in Greenwich Village and grew up in Queens, New York. At the age of 11, she performed her first magic trick and was destined to be a ventriloquist with the aid of her childhood friend, Neil, who today is a real magician! But rather than follow in the footsteps of Houdini, she went on to study fine art and children’s book illustration at Queens College with Caldecott medalist Marvin Bileck. She is an award-winning graphic designer, a published children’s book illustrator, and toy designer.
Laurie’s passion for writing began 12 years ago while cruising the eastern seaboard from Nantucket to the Virgin Islands. Today she continues to write and illustrate and is currently working on several contemporary picture books and middle grade novels.
Laurie lives on the North Shore of Long Island with her husband Nick and rescue doggie, Cody. You can learn more about Laurie by going to lskillustration.com.Return to Top
Morgan Taylor is a Philadelphia-area native who graduated from Arcadia University’s Bachelor of Arts Program for Illustration. She enjoys working mainly in oil paint and digital mediums. Morgan’s main focus is portraiture, nature, and things from everyday life. Morgan draws upon various life influences for her work. One of the earliest being her mother’s wide use of color in quilting. Additionally, her father would take her to book stores weekly as a child, and she would pick books based on their illustrations. Today, she can often be found either curled up with a good book and a cat or caring for her succulents and cacti. Her goal is to interpret and tell stories though art, and promoting an interest in what makes the seemingly ordinary beautiful.
Morgan currently resides in eastern Pennsylvania. You can learn more about her by going to M.A.T. Illustration.Return to Top
Alicia Young was raised in a very artistic home and surrounded by constant creativity. When she was 10 years old, Alicia’s parents started an art school for kids in her childhood home: This was a creative girl’s dream come true! Alicia Young attended the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in beautiful Connecticut and received her BFA degree in Painting in 2009. Since then, Alicia has enjoyed illustrating children’s books, painting portraits, and experimenting with new forms of art whenever she has the chance.
Alicia and her husband, Blake, have moved several times, but are now living in lovely Central Texas, where the rolling hills and white tailed deer look like living paintings every day! Alicia strives to spread joy and bring glory to God, the Master Artist, through each piece she creates. You can read more about Alicia and see some of her artwork by going to aliciayoungart.com.Return to Top