Adelia Davis is a Detroit native who graduated from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor where she studied biopsychology, cognition, and neuroscience. She received the Wallenberg Fellowship that allowed her to carry out a global self-directed service project. She chose to spend a year in Cape Town, South Africa observing the similarities of black representation in children’s literature in comparison to the United States. She ran reading clubs and empowerment programs to promote a positive self-image in black youth in Cape Town, and has since returned to Detroit and begun similar youth programming around mentorship, storytelling, self-esteem, and literacy.
Matthew L. Thompson is a poet from Cleveland, Ohio, and an MFA candidate in Poetry at The New School. He wants his writing to fight, cry, moan, grieve, listen, shout, and be a varied and full communication of his interior. You can find his work in The Seventh Wave, Juked Poetry, James Franco Review, and elsewhere. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY and is getting his life. Join him on his blog, Unlearning Monday.
Born in the South Bronx, Ivan Velez has used cartooning to help create social change for over 40 years. ‘Tales of the Closet’ was one of the first publicly distributed interventions for LGBT youth. Starting his pro comics career at the multicultural MILESTONE, he wrote several mainstream comics series and helped install diversity of color, gender, and orientation. His work continued for Marvel and DC Comics and has been included in several award-winning comic anthologies, and is translated and shown in three continents. Ivan is also a teaching artist for New York libraries and museums, and is proud to be the creator of “The Ballad of Wham Kabam!”, a comic series funded by the 2015 Creative Capital Visual Arts grant.
Leah Lakins is the founder and chief creative officer of Fresh Eyes Editorial Services. As an experienced editor and writer, she specializes in creating books and other non-fiction publications. She is a proud native of Baltimore, Maryland and an even prouder alumna of two of its finest institutions, Western Sr. High School and Morgan State University. She also holds a master’s degree in Publishing from The George Washington University. Now residing in Brooklyn, New York, she is passionate about mentoring the next generation of content creators and empowering others to share their stories.
Nina Crews has written and illustrated many energetic stories for young children including One Hot Summer Day, The Neighborhood Mother Goose and Below. She uses photographs and photo collages to create distinctive illustrations. Her work has been recognized by the ALA Notable Committee, Cooperative Children’s Book Council, Junior Library Guild, and Bank Street College of Education. Her latest book is Seeing Into Tomorrow: Haiku by Richard Wright. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and son.
An Na was born in South Korea and grew up in San Diego, California. As a young person, she never imagined that she would grow up to be a writer. First, she thought she was supposed to be a doctor, but then after realizing how many years of schooling it would take, she moved her sights to being a pharmacist. In college, after taking political science and chemistry, being a lawyer started looking really good. It was only during her senior year in college, when she took a children’s literature class, did she discover her true love of writing. Having always been an avid reader, it had never dawned on her until that class that real people wrote books. Ding!
She left college with a clear goal to write and publish picture books. In the meantime, to keep her parents off her back, she worked as an English and history teacher for middle schoolers, pastry chef, video store clerk, ticket taker for Cirque du Soleil, and scared substitute for kindergarteners. After a few years of working, she went back to school and received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from VCFA. Her first novel, A Step From Heaven, was written during her time there and went on to be published, garnering awards such as the: Michael L. Printz Award, International Reading Association Award, National Book Award Finalist, ALA Best Books for Young Adults, and New York Times Book Review Notable. Wait for Me and The Fold followed a few years after along with two beautiful daughters. Writers can birth multiple entities, but not at the same time.
The Place Between Breaths, a forthcoming young adult spring 2018 novel will be published by Atheneum: Caitlyn Dlouhy Books. She lives in Vermont and teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts in the Writing for Children and Young Adult’s MFA program. When she is not reading, writing, teaching or moming, she likes to run away from her chickens, make lots of food for gatherings and play amateur architect.
Megan Stockton is a poet and publisher living in Detroit, Michigan. She is a co-editor at Weekday, an annual literary journal, and is a member of Problem Press, a collaborative writing and publishing project. Stockton’s writing has appeared in Monster House Press, BigBig Wednesday, The Stool, Bearings: Works About Boundaries, Hypocrite Reader, and is forthcoming in Flint Magazine. She is currently working on her Masters of Creative Writing at Eastern Michigan University.
Lilliam Rivera is an award-winning writer and author of the contemporary young adult novel The Education of Margot Sanchez. The novel was recently nominated for a 2017 Best Fiction for Young Adult Fiction by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Named a “2017 Face to Watch” by the Los Angeles Times, Lilliam is also a 2016 Pushcart Prize winner and a 2015 Clarion alumni with a Leonard Pung Memorial Scholarship. She has been awarded fellowships from PEN Center USA, A Room Of Her Own Foundation, and received a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation and the Speculative Literature Foundation. Lilliam’s work has appeared in Tin House, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today, to name a few. Lilliam lives in Los Angeles.
Amanda Panitch is a young adult author living in New York City. Her books,Damage Done and Never Missing, Never Found (Random House Books for Young Readers), have been called “disturbingly wonderful” (Entertainment Weekly onDamage Done), “a real page-turner” (New York Daily News on Damage Done), and “a tense, clever thriller” (Publisher’s Weekly, starred review of Never Missing, Never Found). Both were named Best Books for Teens by the New York Public Library. She is currently at work on her third book.