Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Conference Faculty

Christy Cox is the Editor for Little Bigfoot, the children’s imprint of Sasquatch books.Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and a lifelong book lover, Christy has been working with authors and in publishing for nearly two decades. She acquires and edits children’s books for this regional press based in Seattle. She is interested in fiction and non-fiction children’s books with content that has strong regional ties to the Northwest and Alaska.



Sylvie Frank is Senior Editor at Paula Wiseman Books, a boutique imprint of Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Division. She is the editor of award-winning and critically acclaimed books including Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo; I Have a Balloon by Ariel Bernstein, illustrated by Scott Magoon; Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James E. Ransome; and OCDanielby Wesley King. Since joining Paula Wiseman Books in 2013, Sylvie has been on the prowl for literary, character-driven middle grade and kid-focused, snappy picture books. She is drawn to original and diverse voices across all genres. One of her favorite pastimes is browsing agents’ and illustrators’ websites for new talent. When she’s not reading, Sylvie can be found running while listening to audiobooks.


Adria Goetz is a literary agent with Seattle-based Martin Literary Management. She represents picture books, middle grade, young adult, graphic novels, quirky gift/coffee table books, adult nonfiction, and Christian devotionals. Adria is a graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course, an intensive course on all aspects of book, magazine, and digital media publishing. She is also a graduate of the University of Washington in Seattle with a B.A. in English with a creative writing emphasis.



Cortney Radocaj has spent her life eating and breathing literature. From the time she could hold a pen in her hand, she’s been writing everything possible, from journal entries to poetry to works of fiction. She’s devoured every book that’s come her way, and she continues to read as much as she can. She started as an intern at the Corvisiero Literary Agency and was promoted to Agent Apprentice in March 2018. She is a proud member and advocate of both the LGBTQIA+ and neurodiversity communities and is passionate about putting books on the shelves that celebrate and normalize these experiences, particularly in YA. When Cortney’s not working, she spends her time spoiling her Labrador-mix, Rhaegar. She also enjoys consuming copious amounts of chocolate and binge-watching TV shows.


Laurel Symonds launched as a literary agent at The Bent Agency in Fall 2018 after nearly a decade of experience in the publishing industry. She began her career in the editorial department of HarperCollins Children’s Books/Katherine Tegen Books in New York City and has also held positions in the marketing department at a small publishing house, in a library, and as a bookseller at one of the nation’s best independent bookstores. As a literary agent, she is seeking children’s fiction and nonfiction, from picture books to young adult, particularly focusing on voices that have previously been underrepresented and stories that have been overlooked.


Daria Peoples Riley’s first job was at nine years old in the children’s section of her hometown library. Much later, she became a teacher, and now she is a full-time author and illustrator. Daria Peoples-Riley’s debut picture book THIS IS IT was published with Greenwillow/HarperCollins (February 2018). I GOT NEXT, a companion book will follow in July of 2019. Daria is also the illustrator of GLORIA TAKES A STAND by Jessica M. Rinker, a picture book biography about the life and work of Gloria Steinem (Bloomsbury, March 2019).



Martha Brockenbroughhas written twelve books for young readers, with more on the way. A finalist for the Kirkus Prize and winner of the Washington State Book Award, Martha writes fiction and nonfiction, picture books and novels. She founded National Grammar Day, has written game questions for Cranium and Trivial Pursuit, and teaches in at Vermont College of Fine Arts, in their writing for children and young adults MFA program.




Claire Rudolf Murphy has written award-winning fiction and nonfiction books for children and young adults, and forays into poetry and essays. Her 17th publication Martin and Bobby: A Journey to Justice was published in October 2018. Claire began her writing career in Alaska, where she lived for twenty-four years. Today she lives and writes in her hometown of Spokane and serves on the faculty of Hamline University‘s low residency Masters in Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Claire also enjoys sports and music, and time outdoors with her husband Bob. Her two grown children, and their families live in Seattle. Recent events have renewed her deep-seated passion for political activism.


John Bladek 
is a long-time member of SCBWI and the author of two humorous middle-grade books, Roll Up the Streets!, (Kane-Miller, 2010), and Lost in Ghostville, (Capstone, 2016), as well as the Amazon Top 100 bestselling adult ghost story, Winterbay Abbey, 2016, co-authored with Davonna Juroe. John has a PhD in History, years of experience helping other writers, and is familiar with both traditional and indie publishing.



Mary Cronk Farrellis an award-winning author and former journalist who writes with passion about little-known historical women finding courage in adversity. Her title FANNIE NEVER FLINCHED: ONE WOMAN’S COURAGE IN THE STRUGGLE FOR AMERICAN LABOR UNION RIGHTS (Abrams, 2016) garnered starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist and School Library Journal. Other titles include PURE GRIT: HOW AMERICAN WORLD WAR II NURSES SURVIVED BATTLE AND PRISON CAMP IN THE PACIFIC (Abrams 2014) and STANDING UP AGAINST HATE: HOW BLACK WOMEN IN THE ARMY HELPED CHANGE THE COURSE OF WWII (Abrams, January 2019)


Stephanie Oakes is an author and library media teacher in Spokane. She has a Master of Fine Arts in poetry from Eastern Washington University. Her first book, The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, was a Morris Award finalist and a Golden Kite Honor book. Her second book, The Arsonist, was the recipient of the Washington State Book Award.




Annette Bay Pimentel writes true stories about real people from her home in Moscow, Idaho. All the Way to the Top, the biography of a girl with disabilities who helped get the Americans with Disabilities Act passed, will be published by Sourcebooks in 2020. Girl Running (Penguin: 2018) earned a Golden Kite Honor, a Kirkus starred review, was a Junior Library Guild Selection, and was named a Notable Trade Book by National Council of Social Studies (NCSS). Mountain Chef: How One Man Lost His Groceries, Changed His Plans, and Helped Cook Up the National Park Service(Charlesbridge: 2016) won the NCSS Carter G. Woodson Award. Her series Do You Really Want to Meet a Dinosaur?(Amicus: 2016) was named a Recommended Read by National Science Teachers Association. She is the Assistant Regional Adviser for the Inland Northwest region of SCBWI.


Jessica Linn Evansis an author-illustrator SCBWI member. All her illustrations are rendered with traditional mediums: watercolor, graphite, and ink. Her picture book, Penguin Sets Sail is slated to come out Fall of 2019 from Canonball Books. She has also illustrated Solar the Polar by Kim Constntinesco  (MacLaren-Cochrane, 2017), Waiting Through Winter by Jason Farley (Jovial Press, 2015), and Little Mouse Finds a Friend (Jovial Press, 2017). Jessica currently lives in the beautiful state of Idaho with her husband, her four delightful children, a bunny, and seven chickens.


Kelly Milner Halls has written quirky nonfiction for young readers for 30 years, first more than 1,000 articles for magazines and newspaper sections, then more than 50 nonfiction books including TALES OF THE CRYPTIDS, MYSTERIES OF THE MUMMY KIDS, SAVING THE BAGHDAD ZOO, IN SEARCH OF SASQUATCH, COURAGEOUS CANINE, DEATH EATERS and her fall 2019 book, CRYPTID CREATURES: A FIELD GUIDE for guest editor Christy Cox at Little Bigfoot. She speaks at schools, festivals and conferences all over the country when she’s not writing at home with help from her giant Great Dane, Abbey.




Distance Faculty

Laurent Linn, Art Director at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, collaborates on picture books, middle grade, and teen novels with both celebrated and new illustrators such as Tomie dePaola, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, Vashti Harrison, and Raúl Colón. He is also the author/illustrator of the critically acclaimed young adult novel, Draw the Line. Laurent is on the SCBWI Board of Advisors, as well as is the Artistic Advisor for the annual Original Art exhibit at the Society of Illustrators in New York. Laurent began his career as a puppet designer/builder in Jim Hensons Muppet Workshop, creating characters for productions including the Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island films, and eventually becoming the Creative Director for the Sesame Street Muppets, winning an Emmy Award. Instagram & FB: Laurent Linn

A video-conference consultation with Laurent Linn is the Grand Prize for the first-place winner of the Portfolio Showcase Competition.


Return to Conference Home Page