Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2015 Conference Faculty


Joanna Cardenas, Associate Editor

Viking Children's Books, Penguin Random House.


Joanna Cardenas acquires and edits picture books, chapter books, and middle-grade novels. Among other projects, Joanna edited ARCHIE THE DAREDEVIL PENGUIN by Andy Rash, SNAPPSY THE ALLIGATOR (DID NOT ASK TO BE IN THIS BOOK) by Julie Falatko and illustrated by Tim Miller, and THE UNLIKELY ADVENTURES OF MABEL JONES by Will Mabbitt. In her time at Viking, she has also worked on books by Molly Idle, Anna Dewdney, and Sally Warner.

Joanna is seeking humorous, clever, and unexpected picture books; breakout chapter book protagonists; and funny, plot-driven middle grade with tons of heart. She hails from San Diego, California, where she attended UCSD, interned at Writers House, and worked as a bookseller.

Follow Joanna on Twitter @joannananamc. Learn more about her at 

John M. Cusick, Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management

johnJohn represents picture books, middle grade, young adult, and everything in between. He's the author of GIRL PARTS and CHERRY MONEY BABY, and is seeking nique voices in fiction for young people, stories that move readers, moments that make him look up and say “Wow, yes. I’ve felt that. I want books that keep me turning the page. I love proactive protagonists, kids and teens chasing a dream or a hero who swings in with a song in her heart and a knife in her teeth."

"In teen and middle-grade I’m drawn to contemporary realistic stories with strong hooks, as well as fresh fantasy set in our world and others. I love stories told in alternate formats (letters, texts…sticky notes?). Give me villains with vulnerability, bad decisions made with the best intentions, flawed heroes, and impossible odds. I love stories about siblings, the arts, and I have a particular soft spot for anything set in the culinary world (restaurants, diners, food trucks)."

I’m also seeking innovative, funny, quirky, and vibrant illustrators and author-illustrators. In picture books I’m seeking unforgettable characters, as well as story-driven texts. Some favorites (not represented by me) are SECRET PIZZA PARTY (Adam Rubin, Daniel Salmieri), SPARKY! (Jenny Offill, Chris Appelhans) and THAT’S NOT A GOOD IDEA (Mo Willems).

WHAT I’M NOT LOOKING FOR: Picture book texts. I also tend to shy away from novels with talking animals, sports stories, and poetry.You can also find me online at and at

Author Kris Dinnison

Kris DinnisonKris spent nearly two decades as a teacher and librarian workingwith students from kindergarten to graduate school while dreaming of becoming a writer. Nowadays, when she’s not writing, she helps run her family’s retail and café businesses.  She lives in Spokane, Washington with her husband and two cats named Raymond and Moon Pie. Her first novel, YOU AND ME AND HIM, was released in July 2015 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 









Author Mary Cronk Farrell

May 2015 #3

Mary is an award-winning author and former journalist with a passion for stories about people facing great adversity with courage.  Her books for young people include PURE GRIT: HOW AMERICAN WORLD WAR II NURSES SURVIVED BATTLE AND PRISON CAMP IN THE PACIFIC, (Booklist Editor’s Choice, EUREKA! Excellence in Nonfiction) and the historical novel FIRE IN THE HOLE! (New York Public Library Best Book for Teens, SPUR Award for Best Juvenile Western Fiction).

2014 pure grit

Author Dan Gemeinhart 

GemeinhartHeadShotDan is the author of THE HONEST TRUTH (Scholastic Press, 2015), a debut middle-grade novel that was a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection, an Indie Next List selection, and an Amazon Best Book of the Month. His next middle grade novel, SOME KIND OF COURAGE, will come out from Scholastic in January 2016. A teacher-librarian and the father of three daughters, he lives with his family in Washington state.


Author Michelle A. Hansen 


Michelle is the author of two YA novels PAINTED BLIND (2012) and BEFORE THEY FIND US (2013). She was born and raised in Washington State. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Teaching from Brigham Young University. She taught high school English for six years. She loves teens and YA literature. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. Michelle is an author, master-teacher and coach. In the fall of 2015, Michelle is launching a life-coaching website for teen girls. Look for it at


Author/Illustrator Jennifer K. Mann

Jennifer Mann SCBWIJennifer Mann is a picture book author and illustrator who once was an architect. She hails from Bainbridge Island, Washington, where she lives with her family of not-so-small humans and various four- and two-footed critters. Her debut picture book TWO SPECKLED EGGS, published in 2014 by Candlewick Press, was a Parent’s Choice Gold Award winner in 2014, and was selected as one of The Boston Globe’s list of Best Picture Books of 2014. I WILL NEVER GET A STAR ON MRS BENSON’S BLACKBOARD, also from Candlewick, was released in June, 2015, and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Jennifer eagerly awaits the release SAM AND JUMP, to be published by Candlewick in 2016. Jennifer is also the illustrator or TURKEY TOT, by George Shannon, published in 2013 by Holiday House.

   I will never get a star (259x300)     Speciled Egg (300x250) Turkey+Tot+cover+smaller

Author A.L. Sonnichsen


Raised in Hong Kong, A.L. Sonnichsen grew up attending British school and riding double-decker buses. As an adult, she spent eight years in Mainland China where she learned that not all baozi are created equal. She also learned some Mandarin, which doesn’t do her much good in the small Eastern Washington town where she now lives with her rather large family. Her middle grade novel RED BUTTERFLY, written in verse, was published by Simon & Schuster BFYR, 2015. 

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