Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 22, 2011

A little Bit About Our Authors


Ellen Jensen Abbott thinks that life would be perfect if she could move her home, her job, her friends and her family to the White Mountains of New Hampshire where she grew up. Until she can convince everyone to join her, she’s content to be writing, teaching English, and living with her husband and two children in West Chester, PA. She is the author of a YA novel Watersmeet and a sequel, coming Sept. 2011, The Centaur’s Daughter (Marshall Cavendish)

Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen never thought she’d grow up to be a writer. She’d thought of being a doctor (but she’s afraid of blood), a model (but she likes to eat), the president (but she had a dissolute youth)…so much for childhood dreams. Sudipta is the author of 13 picture books and 17 nonfiction books for children, including The Hog Prince (Dutton), The Mine-o-saur (Putnam),  Quackenstein Hatches a Family (Abrams), and Chicks Run Wild (Simon & Schuster). Sudipta visits schools around the country to share her stories and teaches writing to children and adults. She lives in NJ with her three children and an imaginary pony named Penny. Charlotte Bennardo is the co-author of Sirenz, (Flux) the first in a YA contemporary fantasy series. Her work for adults and children has appeared in newspapers, magazines, e-zines and newsletter. Currently she is dreaming up dark dramas for the characters while she waits on the fate of her other novels. She is held captive in NJ by three sons, husband and cat.

 Ann Bonwill is the internationally published author of four books for young children: Pocket’s Christmas Wish (Oxford Univ. Press UK, Barron’s Educational Series US), Bug and Bear (Oxford Univ. Press UK, Marshall Cavendish US), Naughty Toes (Oxford Univ. Press UK, tiger tales US), and I Don’t Want To Be Pea (Oxford Univ. Press UK, Simon & Schuster/Atheneum US). She has a master’s degree in social work, and has worked with children with autism and taught in a Montessori School. Ann has spent time in England and Germany and now lives with her husband and son in Virginia. 

Irene Breznak is the author of a picture book, Sneezy Louise (Random House). Her background is in consumer product development, copywriting, and education. She has an MA in Education with an emphasis in Early Childhood Development. She lives in Clarks Summit, PA with her two teenage sons, their huge appetites, and dirty laundry.

Felicia Sanzari Chernesky is a poet, writer, and editor. She is managing editor of the quarterly Academic Questions. A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied American poetry, French literature, and Latin, Felicia is pursuing a MFA in Poetry with an Emphasis in Formal Verse at Western State College of Colorado. Felicia writes children’s poetry, picture books, short stories, middle grade and young adult fiction, and poetry and nonfiction for adults. She is represented by Susan Hawk of The Bent Agency.

Barbara Eveleth writes and illustrates picture books. A fine arts graduate from Connecticut College, she now concentrates on illustration, which she deems “Fun Art”. Formerly an advertising art director in NY, Barbara got to use her design and typography skills, and also devised campaigns. Barbara resides in Montclair, NJ with her family, where she holds the occasional art workshop and exhibition. Barbara’s stories range from biography to girl power to extended fairy tale. She is currently working on a dummy of fractured nursery rhymes.

Lisa Falkenstern is a professional illustrator.  She has won a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators and is in their permanent collection.   She has been in the Society of Illustrators Annual, CA Annual and in the book The Best Two Hundred Illustrators Worldwide.  She illustrated The Busy Tree (Marshall Cavendish), My Very Own Pirate Tale (I see Me) and her own children’s book, A Dragon Moves In (Marshall Cavendish),  will be out in the fall 2011.

Alison Ashley Formento is a proud member of the KidLit Authors Club and the NJSCBWI. Her picture book This Tree Counts! (Albert Whitman) is a Children’s Book Council Go Green! pick for 2011, a Crystal Kite finalist, winner of a 2010 Green Book Award and KART Award. Alison’s board book This Tree, 1, 2, 3 out now will be followed by These Bees Count! in 2012 and These Seas Count! (Albert Whitman) in 2013. Alison has written for several publications including The New York Times, The Writer and Parenting. She lives in NJ with her family and donates a portion of her book sales to

Alissa Grosso is the author of Popular, a YA novel published by Flux. At various points in her working life she has been a tavern wench, a term paper writer, a newspaper editor and a children’s librarian. She lives with three cats and one hyperactive dog in Clinton, NJ. Tiffany Strelitz Haber has eaten fried bugs, jumped out of airplanes and lives for adventures. She grew up in NYC, but is now located in Central NJ with her incredible husband and their hilarious and amazing little boys.  She is author of two forthcoming picture books in rhyme:  The Monster Who Lost His Mean  (Holt/Macmillan 2012) and Ollie and Claire (Philomel/Penguin 2013)

Leeza Hernandez works as a designer, illustrator and author. She won the 2011 SCBWI Art Showcase Award and the 2009 Tomie de Paola Portfolio Award. Books include: Bored Bella Learns About Fiction and Non-Fiction (Picture Window Books, 2010); Eat Your Math Homework (Charlesbridge, 2011); Dog Gone! (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2012) and Edgar’s Second Word (Clarion, 2013). Leeza is Illustrator Coordinator for NJ SCBWI, designs the chapter’s quarterly magazine, Sprouts; is an active member of the Hunterdon County Children’s Writers Group and teaches Children’s Book Writing and Illustrating at Media Bistro in NYC. She currently resides in Central NJ with her family, cat and two goldfish.  www.leezaworks.comEileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD is a psychologist with a practice in Princeton, NJ. She’s the author of a picture book, What About Me? 12 Ways to Get Your Parents’ Attention Without Hitting Your Sister (Parenting Press) and co-author of two books for parents, Smart Parenting for Smart Kids: Nurturing Your Child’s True Potential (Jossey-Bass) and The Unwritten Rules of Friendship: Simple Strategies to Help Your Child Make Friends (Little, Brown). She often speaks at schools and conferences about child development.

Ann Malaspina is the author of several award-winning multicultural picture books, as well as nonfiction books for children and teens.  A former newspaper reporter, she writes on history, biography, and social issues. Ann lives with her family in Ridgewood, NJ. www.annmalaspina.comKeri Mikulski is the author of Head Games (Razorbill/Penguin) and Stealing Bases (Razorbill/Penguin). A three-sport athlete in high school, Keri worked as a personal trainer, lifeguard, registered nurse, middle school teacher, magazine columnist, and high school coach. Currently, she teaches writing at Rowan University and Stockton College while working toward a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing. Keri splits her time between the New Jersey suburbs and the shore with her husband and sports obsessed daughter.

Anita Nolan is Executive Editor of Sprouts, the NJ SCBWI magazine. She’s written historical fiction for Homecourt Publishing, annotations for Best Books for Children, and articles for children’s magazines. She covers the commercial real estate and mortgage-backed securities market for Commercial Real Estate Direct, but prior to having children was an editor for a food industry trade journal. Anita frequently teaches classes and workshops about the writing process. She writes contemporary and historical MG and YA fiction. www.anitanolan.comOlugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich was born in New York City, and was the
‘new kid’ many times over, in more than one country. She holds a Professional Development certificate in the teaching of writing from the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University, and an M.A. in Educational Technology and English Education.

Audrey Vernick’s Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? (Balzer & Bray), which was named to the 2011 Children’s Choice List, will be followed by a sequel, Teach Your Buffalo To Play Drums in June. She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story (Collins) was named to Bank Street’s Best Children’s Books List and the Amelia Bloomer List. Her debut upper middle grade novel, Water Balloon (Clarion) will be released in September. Audrey is a two-time winner of the New Jersey Arts Council’s fiction fellowship. www.audreyvernick.comNancy Viau is the author of Samantha Hansen Has Rocks In Her Head (MG/Amulet Books), and I Can Do It! (PB/Abrams Books, forthcoming). She is a member of The Authors Guild, SCBWI, and The KidLit Authors Club—a regional marketing group she started that consists of children’s book authors who bring interactive book parties to bookstores, libraries, festivals, and conferences. Nancy loves to talk to kids of all ages (including grown-ups) about writing and create enough of a silly ruckus to inspire them. For her own inspiration, she hikes, bikes, or travels anywhere her frequent flyer miles take her.

Timothy Young is the author, illustrator and pop-up engineer of I’m Looking For A Monster! (Random House) He majored in illustration at Pratt Institute and has over 25 years experience as a professional artist. He has worked as a toy designer, illustrator, sculptor, puppetmaker, and a graphic designer, was design director for 2 toy companies and has created the iPhone App Creatures & Characters Mix-Em-Ups. His illustrations have been seen internationally, including the covers of Popular Science and Golf Digest.  
Natalie Zaman
is the co-author of Sirenz (Flux 2011), the first in a YA contemporary fantasy series. Her work has appeared in various magazines, newspapers, e-zines and anthologies for adults and children. She’s currently plotting disasters for the characters of Sirenz and working on a Victorian steampunk fantasy for teens. Natalie lives in central New Jersey with her family and several fine looking chickens. 


  1. How lucky are WE?! I hope I get to meet all of them in one way or another. And I’d really love to meet Sudipta’s imaginary pony, Penny 🙂 Then maybe I can get an imaginary pony ride (though I think I probably weigh more than the pony! lol


  2. Hey Kathy,

    I just got my copy of Sprouts — it’s fantastic.

    The article about writing as a team featuring authors Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman is truly inspiring, can’t wait for the conference!



    • I got mine, too, Mimi, and I’ve only been able to flip the pages so far, and quickly read the Tim Gillner article (love him). I’m looking forward to reading all of it, but especially looking forward to the conference! Less than 2 weeks! Oh, my!


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