Thien-Kim Lam is the founder of I’m Not the Nanny, where she writes about her blend of Asian, African American, and southern culture in parenting, food and tech. Her stories about raising biracial children in a race conscious world have been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and The Washington Post and earn her a spot in the BlogHer Voices of the Year 2012 Keynote. She is also the head book nerd at From Left to Write, a virtual book club with a community of bloggers who read together and share personal stories inspired by our featured titles. She’s a columnist at Momtastic. Thien-Kim is a recovering Asian overachiever and former perfectionist. After her family, coffee, bacon, and chocolate are the top of most loved list.
Stacey H. Lee is a fourth generation Chinese-American whose people came to California during the heydays of the cowboys. She believes she still has a bit of cowboy dust in her soul. A native of southern California, she graduated from UCLA then got her law degree at UC Davis King Hall. After practicing law in the Silicon Valley for several years, she finally took up the pen because she wanted the perks of being able to nap during the day, and it was easier than moving to Spain. She plays classical piano, raises children, and writes YA fiction. Her debut book UNDER A PAINTED SKY is coming from G.P. Putnam’s Sons in 2015. Twitter: @staceyleeauthor
Bryce and Kristy are a tag-team writing duo with way too many voices in their heads. As engineers living in Toronto, they can’t be safely contained by mere cubicle walls, and therefore must spend every other waking moment writing to keep the crazy from leaking out at the office. Their debut novel LITTLE MISS EVIL will be released by Spencer Hill Middle Grade in 2015 and they are represented by Jamie Drowley at Inklings Literary. Twitter: @kristyshen
Caroline Tung Richmond is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Highlights for Children, and USAToday.com, among other publications. The Only Thing to Fear is her debut novel and will be published from Scholastic Press on 9/30/14. A self-proclaimed history nerd, Caroline lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband; their daughter; and the family dog Otto von Bismarck, named for the German chancellor (naturally).
S.E. Sinkhorn is a MG/YA writer represented by Michelle Andelman of Regal Literary. Speculative fiction is her drug of choice, though she also enjoys the occasional clever girl detective. She maintains the blog Maybe Genius, where she writes about writing, publishing, feminism, and pop culture, and is also the sole moderator of the Tumblr YA!Flash. By day, she is an online marketer specializing in content writing and social media. By night, she watches too much television and sometimes writes weird books. Twitter: @sesinkhorn
Don Tate is an award-winning author, and the illustrator of numerous critically acclaimed books for children. Some of the books he’s illustrated include THE AMAZING AGE OF JOHN ROY LYNCH (Eerdmans, 2015); THE CART THAT CARRIED MARTIN (Charlesbridge); HOPE’S GIFT (Penguin); DUKE ELLINGTON’S NUTCRACKER SUITE (Charlesbridge); SHE LOVED BASEBALL (HarperCollins). He is also the author of IT JES’ HAPPENED (Lee & Low Books, 2102), an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor winner, and POET: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF GEORGE MOSES HORTON OF CHAPEL HILL (Peachtree, 2015). Don is one of the founding hosts of the blog The Brown Bookshelf, a blog dedicated to raising the awareness of African American youth literature creators. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his family.
Nicola Yoon grew up in Jamaica (the island) and Brooklyn (part of Long Island). She currently resides in Los Angeles, CA with her husband and daughter, both of whom she loves beyond all reason. Her first novel, Everything, Everything, features a diverse cast and will be published by Random House Kids\Delacorte in Fall 2015
Miranda Paul is a children’s picture book author and educator. Her books One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia and Water is Water were both named Junior Library Guild selections and received starred reviews. Her forthcoming books include Whose Hands Are These? (Lerner/Millbrook) and Trainbots (little bee books). Miranda is a Regional Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (WI), a Books for Africa volunteer, the creator of RateYourStory.org. Miranda is one of the founding members of We Need Diverse books, the former VP of Outreach, and the current chair of the WNDB Mentorship committee.
Jennifer Baker (Panel Organizer) is a native New Yorker and a production editor with over a decade of experience in publishing. Jenn’s been a contributing writer to the urban ezine AroundHarlem.com and currently writes reviews for DinnerReviews.com. In December 2013, her young adult manuscript, The Facility, won the SCBWI On-the-Verge Emerging Voices Award for underrepresented voices in children’s literature. Jenn is presently working on a multi-generational linked anthology centered around race and family as well as a young adult suspense with a diverse cast. A baking enthusiast as well as a writer you can find her on Twitter and Instagram: @jbakernyc.
Amitha Jagannath Knight (Social Media Manager) is a graduate of MIT and Tufts University, where she earned her medical degree. In 2012, she received the PEN New England Children’s Book Discovery Award. While her parents were originally from South India, Dr. Knight was born and raised in the United States. She has lived in Texas and Arkansas and now lives in the Boston area with her one husband, two children, and two cats.
Terry Hong is a writer and arts consultant. She created and maintains Smithsonian BookDragon, an extensive multi-culti book review blog for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, where she was media arts consultant for eight years. She is an Advisor for Girl Rising, a global action campaign highlighting girls’ education; she served as the Literary Coordinator for the groundbreaking film of the same name. She taught for two years in Duke University’s Leadership in the Arts, a New York City-based performance and public policy program. She co-authored two books, Eastern Standard Time: A Guide to Asian Influence on American Culture from Astro Boy to Zen Buddhism and What Do I Read Next? Multicultural Literature; other publication credits include Booklist, Christian Science Monitor, Library Journal, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, School Library Journal, Shelf Awareness, Washington Post, Bookslut, among many others.Most recently, she served for three years on USBBY’s Outstanding International Books committee.
Anne Ursu is the author of several books for young readers and is the 2013 recipient of the McKnight Fellowship in Children’s Literature. Anne’s latest book, The Real Boy, was an Indie Next pick and was on the 2013 longlist for the National Book Award. Her book Breadcrumbs was acclaimed as one of the best books of 2011 by the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Amazon.com, and the Chicago Public Library. Anne teaches at Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Childrien and Young Adults, and lives in Minneapolis with her son and four cats.
I. W. Gregorio is a practicing surgeon by day, masked avenging YA writer by night. After getting her MD, she did her residency at Stanford, where she met the intersex patient who inspired her debut novel, NONE OF THE ABOVE (Balzer & Bray / HarperCollins, 4/28/2015). Her essays have appeared in the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle and San Jose Mercury News. She is represented by Jessica Regel at Foundry Literary + Media, and lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children. She is a recovering ice hockey player. Twitter: @iwgregorio
Karen Sandler earned her MS in computer science from UCLA and worked as a software engineer for more than a dozen years, including work on communications satellites and the Space Shuttle program. In the late 1990s, she wrote numerous romance novels for adults, then switched to science fiction with the diverse young adult trilogy TANKBORN, AWAKENING, and REBELLION from multi-cultural publisher Lee & Low. She’s thrilled to be part of the We Need Diverse Books team promoting diversity in children’s literature. She lives in California’s Gold Country with her husband of 30+ years and is represented by Matt Bialer and Lindsay Ribar of SJGA. Twitter: @karensandlerYA
Nandini Bajpai grew up in New Delhi, India, one of four sisters and many cousins, in a family that liked to read. She lived and worked in India, Australia, and the US, before settling in the Boston area with her husband, kids, and a fluctuating number of pets. Although she’s dabbled in finance, business analysis, and fostering shelter animals, her first love is writing. She is the author of Red Turban White Horse (Scholastic India 2013), and Starcursed (Red Turtle/Rupa & Co 2013).
Aisha Saeed is a YA author. Her upcoming debut WRITTEN IN THE STARS will be released in 2015 by Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Books. She is represented by Taylor Martindale at Full Circle Literary Agency. She is also a contributing author in the New York Times featured anthology Love Inshallah. Aisha has been blogging for over a decade and her writing has appeared in places such as The Orlando Sentinel, and BlogHer. She is also the YA contributor at Story and Chai. When Aisha isn’t writing or chasing her two little boys, you can find her reading, baking, doodling henna patterns, or daydreaming about eight consecutive hours of sleep. Twitter: @aishacs
Sandie Angulo Chen is the founder of Teen Lit Rocks, an inter-generational book blog where she hosts a monthly #YADiversityBookClub with four other bloggers. A senior critic for Common Sense Media, Sandie has written film and book reviews, celebrity profiles and entertainment features for The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, Kirkus, Variety, Moviefone, iVillage, and the Huffington Post. She lives in the Washington D.C. area with her husband and their three curious, book-loving kids. Twitter: @teenlitrocks
Elsie Chapman is a YA author, and her books DUALED and DIVIDED are both published by Random House Children’s Books. Chinese-Canadian and originally from Prince George, BC, Canada, she moved to Vancouver as a teenager to attend UBC, where she earned a BA in English Literature. She currently lives in Tokyo, Japan with her husband, two kids, and way too many cats. When she’s not writing or reading, she’s geeking out over food, loud movies, and rock bands. Repped by the awesome
Victoria Marini of Gelfman Schneider/ICM Partners. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.
Mayra Cuevas is an accomplished t.v. and digital journalist whose work has been featured in CNN, HLN, truTV, EFE International News Agency and SkilledUp. A native of Puerto Rico, Mayra has a bachelor’s in communications and master’s in investigative journalism. She has taught workshops on research for writers at the Romance Writers of America national conference. When she is not working on a story, Mayra volunteers at her local Buddhist meditation center, where she serves on the board of directors. She is also an avid traveler and cook. Mayra lives in Historic Norcross with her husband, also a journalist, two teenage step-sons and their cat. In her blog, MayraCuevas.com, she writes about matters of craft and publishing. On Twitter @MayraECuevas
Alex Gino loves glitter, ice cream, gardening, awe-ful puns, and stories that reflect the diversity and complexity of being alive. Raised in New York CIty, they now live in Oakland, CA. The main character of their debut, GEORGE (Scholastic, Aug 2015), is a fourth grade transgender girl. For more information about Alex, please visit www.alexgino.com.
Maurene Goo is the author of Since You Asked…. She studied communication at the University of California, San Diego, and received a master’s degree in publishing and writing at Emerson College. She has very strong feelings about graphic design and houseplants. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a very old cat. Twitter: @mauxbot
Author/illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka has published thirty books for young readers. Since he was a kid himself, Jarrett was writing and drawing his own comics and books, and he shares those early works in lectures given at schools nationwide. Jarrett has delivered two TED Talks and can be heard weekly on SiriusXM’s Kids Place Live, offering book recommendations to listeners.
Alaina Leary is a native Bostonian currently completing her MA in Publishing and Writing at Emerson College. She’s also working as an editor and social media designer for several brands and publications. Her work has been published in Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Marie Claire, BUST, AfterEllen, CollegeFashionista, and others. When she’s not busy playing around with words, she spends her time surrounded by her two cats, Blue and Gansey, and at the beach with her girlfriend. She can often be found re-reading her favorite books, watching Gilmore Girls, and covering everything in glitter. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter @alainaskeys.
Paula Young Lee is a writer, historian, and backwoods cook. The author of several books, including the memoir, Deer Hunting in Paris (2014 Lowell Thomas Best Travel Book Award, Society of American Travel Writers), about growing up Korean-American in rural Maine, she recently completed the first installment for an adventure series for middle grade readers, Camp War, and is developing a second horror-fantasy series for young adults, The Seven Perfections. She holds a doctorate from the University of Chicago and is a faculty Fellow at the Center for Animals and Public Policy at the Cummings School for Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.
Valynne E. Maetani grew up in Utah and obtained a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. In a former life, she was a project manager and developed educational software for children with learning disabilities. Currently, she is a part-time stage mom, part-time soccer mom, and full-time writer. Her debut novel, Ink and Ashes, is the winner of the New Visions Award 2013. As a writer she is dedicated to promoting diversity in children’s literature because she believes every child should grow believing his or her story deserves to be told. She lives in Salt Lake City, UT with her husband and three girls, who are carbon copies of her. She’s discovered that living with herself isn’t always a bowl of cherries.
Jennifer Mann is the author of “The Sunny Sweet Series,” a humorous and quirky set of middle grade stories published by Bloomsbury Children’s USA. Her next effort is a historical fiction novel set during the Revolutionary War to be published by Boyds Mills Press/Calkins Creek in 2016. Jennifer’s short stories have been published by Highlights for Children, where she won the Highlights for Children 2007 Fiction Contest. Jennifer holds a BA from Marymount Manhattan College and will begin work on her MFA in Writing for Children from Vermont College of Fine Arts this summer. Born in New Jersey, she now lives in Boston with her children, cat, and husband listed in order of affection.
Marie Marquardt is a college professor and author of contemporary YA fiction. She has written several articles and co-authored two non-fiction books about Latin American immigration to the U.S. South. DREAM THINGS TRUE (St. Martin’s Griffin/September 2015) is her first work of fiction. She lives in a very busy household in Decatur, Georgia with her spouse, four children, a dog and a bearded dragon. When not writing, teaching, or chauffeuring her children, she can be found working with El Refugio, a non-profit that serves detained immigrants and their families. This work is heartbreaking, but it reminds her every day that love is more powerful than fear.
As an aspiring author, Nicole Overton is determined to make a change in the significantly low reading statistics for minorities, in particular African-American boys. She believes that if African American boys read books that reflected their environment and culture, they would read more. They would be more engaged, able to identify and relate with characters while ultimately developing a love for reading because they would “see” themselves as being important. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Media Communications and is certified to teach Elementary & Middle School Language Arts and High School Journalism and Yearbook. She lives in St. Louis, MO, with her wonderful husband and five children (four teenage boys and a little princess-tomboy!). She is currently working on two books, The McCaleb Family Reunion and Ray-Ray’s Big Test. Twitter: @Author_Nicole
For 16 years Lyn Miller-Lachmann edited the quarterly journal MultiCultural Review. Now she writes novels for teens, translates picture books from Portuguese to English, and maintains a blog that focuses on cultural diversity, human rights, and Lego minifigures. Her 2009 historical novel Gringolandia appeared on the ALA/YALSA Best Books for Young Adults list and was an Americas Award Honor Book. She is also the author of Rogue (2013) and Surviving Santiago (2015) and the translator of The World in a Second (2015), originally published in Portugal where she has lived. Lyn also reviews for The Pirate Tree, a blog focusing on social justice in books for children and teens.
Steven dos Santos is the author of “The Torch Keeper” series, a Young Adult, Post-Apocalyptic Sci-Fi adventure featuring main LGBT and racially diverse characters. The first novel in the series, THE CULLING, was named a Top Ten Selection of the 2014 Rainbow List, a joint project of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table and the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association. The sequel, THE SOWING, was hailed by School Library Journal as “a must-have for libraries,” and both novels have been praised by the Voice of Youth Advocates, or (VOYA), the leading library journal dedicated to the needs of young adult librarians, the advocacy of young adults, and the promotion of young adult literature and reading. Steven is very passionate about diversity and LGBTQ equality. He is particularly interested in increasing LGBTQ visibility in children’s literature and inspiring more authors to integrate diverse characters into books so that LGBTQ children and teens can see themselves reflected in literature as the heroes they are. His educational background includes studying Motion Picture production at University of Miami and graduating from Florida International University with a B.S. Degree from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications Television Broadcasting program. His training includes script writing, copy writing, and television production. Steven has also been a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators for over ten years. In addition to working on new novels featuring diverse characters, he also offers Manuscript Critique services to assist aspiring authors on their road to publication.
Anya Steiner is a lifelong book lover, and has been dreaming up stories since before she could hold a pencil. A recent transplant to NYC, she can often be found strolling the park people-watching, or making some kind of delicious mess in her tiny kitchen. As an aspiring author, WNDB has inspired Anya to explore diversity even more in her writing
Danette Vigilante grew up in the Red Hook Houses in Brooklyn, New York. She now resides in Staten Island with her husband, two daughters, two puppies and a cat with a bad attitude. Danette is the author of THE TROUBLE WITH HALF A MOON, a 2012-2013 Sunshine State Young Readers award nominee, and SAVING BABY DOE, a 2014 pick for the New York Public Library 100 titles for Reading and Sharing list.
Jessica Vitalis is represented by Saba Sulaiman at Talcott Notch. Her debut, a middle grade novel called NOTHING LIKE LENNON, is currently out on submission. When she’s not reading or writing, Jessica can be found chasing her two precocious daughters around Atlanta, Georgia (or eating copious amounts of chocolate). She’d love to connect on Twitter at @jessicavitalis. Website: www.jessicavitalis.com
Nita is a tiny Southern queer with a deep love of sweet tea and very strong opinions about the best kind of barbecue (hint: it’s vinegar-based.) She attends college in North Carolina and is pursuing a degree in English. In addition to being a YA writer, she is a moderator for The Gay YA and a social media coordinator for WeNeedDiverseBooks. You can find her on tumblr at nitatyndall where she writes about YA and queer things, or on Twitter at @NitaTyndall. She is represented by Emily S. Keyes of Fuse Literary.
Hannah Gomez has an MA in children’s literature and an MS in library science from Simmons College in Boston, as well as a BA in creative writing from the University of Arizona. She is working on two novels and otherwise lives, blogs, and teaches fitness in southern Arizona. Contact her via Twitter (@shgmclicious) or hannahATshgmcliciousDOTcom).
Alexandra Duncan is an author and public librarian. Her YA sci-fi novels, Salvage (2014), Sound (2015), and the forthcoming Blight (2017) are available from Greenwillow Books. Her short fiction has appeared in several Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy anthologies and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. She loves learning anything that lets her get her hands dirty – pie-baking, leatherworking, gardening, drawing, and rolling sushi. She lives with her husband and two monstrous, furry cats in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Twitter: @DuncanAlexandra
Sayantani DasGupta is a writer of novels, stories, essays and articles. Originally trained in pediatrics and public health, she teaches race and ethnicity studies, social justice and health studies, and narrative medicine at Columbia University. She’s the author of a book of Bengali folktales (THE DEMON SLAYERS AND OTHER STORIES: BENGALI FOLKTALES), as well as a memoir about race and gender in medical training. She is the co-editor of a book of women’s illness narratives and another academic collection on transnational surrogacy in India. Her work has appeared in Ms. Magazine, Z. Magazine, Feminist Studies, The Feminist Wire, Adios, Barbie, Salon, Racialicious, as well as many other venues. She lives in the New York area and is represented by Brent Taylor of Triada Literary Agency. Learn more about her work at http://www.sayantanidasgupta.com, or follow her at sayantani16@twitter.
Thien-Kieu Lam has always followed her curiosity. She has taught English in Japan and worked with diplomatic missions, arts organizations, and education institutions. Kieu loves the process of bringing ideas to life, from concept to execution, and her projects range from book art and knit design to community events. Books have been her friends since childhood, and Kieu enjoys reading across all age levels and most genres. She’ll happily spend hours swapping book recommendations, delving into all things linguistical, and discussing the discipline of book arts.