Author bios and books
B.A. Cabada is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and illustrator from Spain. He holds an MA in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University, where he attended as a Fulbright scholar. As a screenwriter, he has served as script consultant on three episodes of Amazon's "CARNIVAL ROW." He has also penned several scripts for television and film, including Rosario Dawson’s directorial debut.
His first novel in Spanish, El sonido de Atlantis, won the 2017 Logroño Book Prize for Emerging Authors and was published in Spain by Anaya Group’s imprint Algaida to great critical and public success.
Currently he has just finished writing his middle-grade debut: Spooky Spirits Society, a fun yet gripping novel full of ghosts and thrills
Brunella was born and raised in Bacoli, a small coastal town in southern Italy, where the Roman emperors built their marble-floored villas and mosaic-decorated baths, and spent their days admiring the Mediterranean Sea, which glittered with warm rays of sunshine. Her childhood playground was made of what was left of the Roman temples of Diana, Venus, and Apollo, as well as the cave of the Sybil, the high priestess in charge of the Apollonian oracle and guide to the underworld, whose entrance could be found in a nearby lake. As she played, the ruins whispered stories of great military warriors and ancient roman prophecies, and the Sybil sang me the fates of Aeneas. Their voices echoed into her soul, sealing in her the belief that verba volant, scripta manent, Latin for “Spoken words fly away, written words remain.” This Roman proverb is the reason why she became a ghostwriter and an author: She wants to write stories so they will never be lost in history amnesia.
Layla Hersch is a middle grade fiction writer, writing stories that imagines the classic supernatural "horror movie monsters" as the good guys. Born and raised in Chicago, she has been writing stories as long as she could remember. She enlisted in the US Army in 2010, and has had such varied assignments as Arabic linguist and drill sergeant. She has taken the Bob Ross route of post-drill-sergeant-life (yes, Bob Ross was a drill sergeant!) and doesn't yell anymore, but still believes in working hard and pushing through all kinds of barriers to achieve your dreams. Motivating others is a life passion. She has lived all over the globe, including three years in Italy, but currently she lives in the Pacific Northwest. When she's not writing, you can find Layla knitting, gobbling up a good book, and of course, watching her favorite vampire movies.
Liz Holden writes light-hearted young adult and middle grade fiction. She teaches physics at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and, along with her husband, is the co-founder of a tour company, Leaping Hound Travel, which specializes in the history of science. An avid roller derby player, she's skated with Madison Roller Derby since 2015 and leads "physics of roller derby" workshops for schools and other community groups. Her hair is bright blue, her laugh is loud, and her heart belongs to her pet greyhounds.
Sophie Kim is an author of YA fantasy who strongly believes in the importance of diversity and non-stereotypical representation in literature. Currently attending university in her home state of Texas, she is focused on studying both Creative Writing and Psychology. During the exceptionally rare moments where she is not reading or writing, Sophie can be found baking anything loaded with sugar, binge-watching her favorite Korean drama, or spending time with her friends and family.
Growing up in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Kimberly Lee’s earliest memory involved her scribbling all over the walls of her childhood home. She has come a long way in her writing career since then. Inspired by her magician mother, who pulled stories seemingly out of thin air to hold her spellbound, Kimberly has never lost her sense of wonder, nor the knowledge that words have the power to shape young lives.
After graduating from the University of Reading in the UK and qualifying as a barrister-at-law of the Inner Temple, she spent several years in practice as a media and medico-legal lawyer before leaving in 2017 to pursue motherhood and her first love: writing. She now writes stories for children that serve to empower and enchant, poetry that gives voice to the female experience, and provides freelance copywriting and content creation services for various publications and organisations across Asia.
Kimberly is also a contributing writer for makchic.com, a Malaysian-based parenting website. In May 2021, her picture book, entitled “WHAT IF?”, will be published by makchic as part of their campaign against child abuse in Malaysia. She is a merit award winner of the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for Young Malaysians, an active member of SCBWI, and a recent recipient of the Children’s Book Academy’s 2021 Yuyi Morales Scholarship.
When she isn't busy writing, or navigating life with her husband and their two wilding boys, Kimberly can be found singing at shows (and in the shower), stress baking, and covertly consuming her own baked goods. She is represented by the fabulous Emily Forney at Bookends Literary Agency.
BOYS DON'T FRY slated for Spring 2023 from FSG Macmillan
TBA Untitled Picture Book slated for Winter 2024 from FSG Macmillan
Michelle Mohrweis is a middle school Robotics and Engineering teacher. She writes MG contemporary books about STEM Girls and loves to dive into fantasy on the side. She is also a member of SCBWI Arizona chapter and a moderator at the Tucson Festival of Books. Michelle lives in Arizona with her husband and two dogs. When not writing, she can be found chasing her dogs around the house with remote control robots and launching paper rockets down the middle of her street.
Stacy Barnett Mozer is a second - fifth grade advanced language arts teacher, and the mom or two teenagers. She is also a co-Regional Advisor for the New England chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She started writing books when a class of students told her there was no way that a real author who wrote real books could possibly revise their work as much as she asked them to revise. She’s been revising her own work ever since.
Kailei Pew loves writing both fiction and nonfiction picture books that help kids see they can do anything they set their minds to. She is an active member of SCBWI, a 2019 Write Mentor Mentee, and a finalist in Susanna Leonard Hill's 2019 Holiday Writing Contest. She currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and two children and is one of those crazy people who actually loves the heat. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Human Development from Arizona State University. When she isn't writing, Kailei can be found singing, baking, or playing a mean game of Chutes and Ladders with her little ones.
KID MADE slated for Summer 2023 from F&F Macmillan
Emi is a Canadian writer and recent Doctorate of Education graduate. She loves to write middle grade fantasy, and weaves her mixed Indian and French-Canadian heritage into her stories. When she isn’t reading or writing, you can find her taking long walks in the Ontario NCC forest trails with her husband, looking for fairy doors.
James Ramos (he/they) is a nonbinary, unapologetically dorky Minnesota native who now calls Arizona home. Weaned on a steady diet of science-fiction, comic books, and classic literature, James wrote his first story at eight years old and hasn’t stopped writing them since. He counts Jane Austen and Frank Herbert as his biggest literary influences, and believes in the unifying power of the written word. James is passionate about storytelling, particularly stories that give voice to marginalized people, especially those within the LGBTQ community and people of color. When he isn’t writing he can usually be found cosplaying with his friends or surrounded by his amazing family of cats.
Melissa See writes #ownvoices young adult contemporary romance novels starring disabled leads. She currently lives in the New York countryside where she’s pursuing her BA to work in children’s publishing. When not writing, she can be found reading, baking cookies, or curled up with her cat, most likely watching anime or 90 Day Fiancé. Her work has previously appeared in Anime Impact: The Movies & Shows that Changed the World of Japanese Animation.
Dr. Keren Shahar-Nissan is a pediatrician specializing in pediatric emergency medicine. Working in the largest children’s hospital in Israel, she has unique experience with diverse communities and an integrated multi-religion and multi-cultural medical staff who all share the same goal- to help children heal. Her experiences from countless ER shifts have led her to pursue writing. Her first book is born from her deep connection to her young patients and her deep desire to relieve their distress. She believes her job as a doctor is much more than just a correct diagnosis and prescription and that empathy, laughter, and love are the most important aspects of healing. Her books are meant to help children (and parents) in their most complicated and crucial moments.
Kay Smith is a writer and lover of all things magical and YA fantasy. She grew up in Louisiana where she frequently haunted bookstores and practiced her craft, and after getting her degree in graphic design, she decided to fully pursue her dream of being an author. When she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found at home with her menagerie of animals, practicing witchcraft, or annoying people about astrology.
AMANDA STRAWHACKER AND AMANDA SULLIVAN
Dr. Amanda Strawhacker is an early childhood researcher, educator, author, and designer whose work focuses on introducing children to novel STEAM fields in playful, developmentally appropriate ways. In addition to STEAM-themed picture books, curricula, and activity books, Amanda writes for scientists and educators about ways to introduce technology, engineering, and biology in early childhood learning settings. Amanda has contributed to the development of commercially-available educational STEAM products (including the KIBO robotics kit, the ScratchJr programming app, and more), and is a speaker and writer whose work has been disseminated through outlets like TEDx@BeaconStreet. She holds a Master’s and Ph.D. in Child Study and Human Development, and a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Tufts University. She is currently working on a series of playful and rhyming STEAM picture books with her best friend, co-author, and work-wife, Amanda Sullivan. When she isn’t writing, Amanda Strawhacker is likely singing, stargazing, or playing in the backyard with her amazing husband and their goofy puppy.
Dr. Amanda Sullivan is a researcher, educator, and author who focuses on the impact of new technologies on young children. She holds a Master’s and Ph.D. in Child Development from Tufts University and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Drama from Bennington College. Amanda’s research explores strategies for disrupting and preventing gender stereotypes and engaging girls (and all children) in creative and playful STEAM learning from an early age. Amanda writes on the topics of education and motherhood as well as STEAM-themed picture books and activity guides for young learners. She is the co-creator of the ScratchJr Coding Cards: Creative Coding Activities (No Starch Press) and the author of the book Breaking the STEM Stereotype: Reaching Girls in Early Childhood (Rowman & Littlefield). Amanda has worked on the research and design of educational technologies like the KIBO robotics kit and BactoMars videogame. Her work has been featured in GeekWire, WIRED magazine, the New York Times, Apolitical and more. As a former drama teacher, Amanda is an advocate of STEAM education and integrating the arts and literacy with STEM. She is currently having a blast working on a series of playful and rhyming STEAM picture books with her best friend, co-author, and work-wife Amanda Strawhacker. Amanda derives her inspiration for creating children’s content from her own little muses: her almost-3-year old son, her 3-month old daughter, and her beautiful baby niece. She is happily married and resides in Hawaii with her husband, kids, and cat.