Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 5, 2012

Authors Available for Critiques at NJSCBWI June Conference

Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen is the author of over thirty books for children, ranging from thirteen picture books to over a dozen nonfiction books for young readers to a newly-contracted chapter book series called Spectacles of Destiny. Her titles include Hampire!, The Worst Twelve Days of Christmas, Half-Pint Pete the Pirate, Pirate Princess, and Chicks Run Wild. She speaks at conferences, educator events, and schools across the country, teaching the craft of writing to children and adults.

Laurie Calkhoven is the author of nearly 50 books for young readers. In addition to writing her own fiction, she has ghostwritten middle grade mysteries, authored TV tie-in novels, and contributed to many nonfiction series for children. Currently she is writing historical action/adventure novels for her own series, Boys of Wartime, published by Dutton Books for Young Readers.

Felicia Sanzari Chernesky is a poet, writer, editor and editorial consultant. She is managing editor of the quarterly Academic Questions. A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she is pursuing a MFA in Poetry with an Emphasis in Formal Verse at Western State College of Colorado. Felicia writes poetry and prose for children and adults.

Leeza Hernandez won the Tomie de Paola Portfolio Award, at the 2009 SCBWI Winter Conference in New York City. She illustrated Bored Bella Learns Between Fiction and Non-Fiction (Picture Window Books) released Jan. 2010; Eat Your Math Homework (Charlesbridge), is due for release in Fall 2011 and Dog Gone! (G.P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin) which she wrote and illustrated releases in Spring 2012. Leeza volunteers as Illustrator Co-ordinator for NJ SCBWI and designs the chapter’s quarterly magazine, Sprouts.

Kami Kinard is the author of The Boy Project: Notes and Observations of Kara McAllister (Scholastic, January 2012). Her poetry, stories, articles, and essays have appeared in periodicals for children and adults. Kami also works as a teaching artist for SC schools, and teaches writing courses for continuing education programs at the Technical College of the Lowcountry. She lives with her family in Beaufort, SC.

Anita Nolan was Executive Editor of Sprouts, the NJ SCBWI magazine, although her day job is as a writer for a commercial real estate news organization. She’s written a work-for-hire historical fiction chapter book (Homecourt Publishing), annotations for Best Books for Children, and articles for children’s magazines. She also regularly posts on, a soccer blog. Prior to having kids, she was an editor for a food industry trade journal. Anita teaches adult education writing classes and speaks about the writing process to other groups. She writes contemporary and historical MG and YA fiction.

Susan Heyboer O’Keefe, former children’s editor at Paulist Press, is now senior copy editor there. She’s the author of almost 20 children’s books, including the midgrade novel Death by Eggplant (Roaring Brook), a nominee for the Disney Adventures Kid’s Choice Humor Award; the YA novel My Life and Death by Alexandra Canarsie (Peachtree Publishers), a TAYSHAS List pick; plus the best-selling picture book One Hungry Monster, as well as Hungry Monster ABC (Little Brown). In October, Susan makes her adult debut with Frankenstein’s Monster (Random House), a sequel to Mary Shelley’s book.

Sandra and Susan Steen are sisters and authors of Car Wash, an ALA notable picture book, and several nonfiction books, including Take It to the Hoop, a YASLA pick. They are school librarians, where they work with children to encourage a love for reading and writing. They will critique picture books, easy reads, early chapter books, and nonfiction.

We are doing something different with Stacey William-Ng, who is Creative Director at Demibooks. We have scheduled her to do an indepth workshop with the illustrators on the artwork and opportunities that interactive storybooks presents for them. But for the writers, she will meet and work with writers in groups of three, to share her expertise. She’ll share the behind the scenes process of interactive book development and discuss the various considerations authors must face to create stories suited for this medium. During the half hour you will get to discuss projects and ideas that you have for interactive books.

More Information on the other authors doing workshops later.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. We are SO lucky to have such talented, knowledgeable, successful authors available to give their experienced opinions to attendees at the conference. Every January, when all this info starts going up on your blog, I get that twinge of excitement for June! 🙂


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