Middle Grade & Early Readers
DALE BASYE is a children’s author and an award-winning film critic. He is the author of the Heck series, the first book of which, HECK: WHERE THE BAD KIDS GO, was a finalist for the Borders Original Voices Award. Dale is currently working on the next books in the series.
JESSICA BRODY began her career working at MGM Studios before leaving to pursue life as a published author. She is the author of two novels for adults, THE FIDELITY FILES and LOVE UNDER COVER, and several novels for young adults—THE KARMA CLUB, MY LIFE UNDECIDED, 52 REASONS TO HATE MY FATHER, and the Unremembered trilogy. She is currently at work on A WEEK OF MONDAYS—a high stakes, hilarious, time-bending new novel for teens and her middle grade debut, ADDIE BELL’S SHORTCUT TO LIFE.
LORENE CARY is the celebrated author of BLACK ICE, a memoir of her experiences as a black student at the predominantly white St. Paul’s prep school; THE PRICE OF A CHILD, a stunning first novel about slavery in the pre-Civil War South; and PRIDE, an exuberant tale of lifelong friendships. She is also the founder of Art Sanctuary in Philadelphia, an African-American arts and letters organization devoted to presenting regional and national talent in the literary, visual, and performing arts. Her first children’s book, FREE!: GREAT ESCAPES FROM SLAVERY ON THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, is a collection of slave escape narratives. Her latest is IF SONS, THEN HEIRS, the story of a family striving to remain whole in the face of racial tensions, inequality, and violence in 1930s and 40s North Carolina and New York.
ERIN DOWNING SODERBERG writes novels for kids and teens. Under Erin Downing, she published her debut middle grade novel, BEST FRIENDS FOREVER (OR UNTIL SOMEONE BETTER COMES ALONG), about a mean girl trying to change her reputation. Her other books include, FOR SOCCER-CRAZY GIRLS ONLY and NONE OF THE REGULAR RULES, and most recently MOON SHADOW, a middle grade novel in which a girl is split in two by an eclipse and has to live up to the life her shadow self creates, and the series, SpacePop, about a group of Space Princesses. Under Erin Soderberg, she has written several books for teens and children, including the young readers series The Quirks. Erin is now continuing her work on the adorable series, Puppy Pirates, starring her own dog, Wally.
CECILIA GALANTE is an acclaimed children’s book author who teaches 8th grade English and fiction at a graduate school level. Her first adult novel, THE INVISIBLES, is a compelling exploration of four friends with troubled pasts who created a club in high school called The Invisibles and reunite in their early thirties after one of them has attempted suicide. It will be followed by BIRD OF PARADISE. Her most recent middle grade novels are THE WORLD FROM UP HERE, and STEALING OUR WAY HOME.
CHRIS GRABENSTEIN is the bestselling middle grade author of ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY and THE ISLAND OF DR. LIBRIS. Grabenstein also regularly hits the bestseller lists with his middle grade collaborations with James Patterson. His second Lemoncello installment, MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY OLYMPICS, was just published by Random House, and his next Random House series, WELCOME TO WONDERLAND, kicks off this fall. His Haunted Mystery series remains a perennial, as do his Riley Mack books.
A.J. HARTLEY is the Distinguished Professor of Shakespeare in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is also a screenwriter, theatre director and dramaturg. Despite his background in academia, he is a prolific commercial fiction writer, and his first novel, an international thriller entitled THE MASK OF ATREUS, was sold in over 12 countries, and became a USA Today bestseller. He is also the author of ON THE FIFTH DAY, which hit the New York Times bestseller list, WHAT TIME DEVOURS, and the SEKRET MACHINES and CATHEDRALS OF GLASS trilogies with Tom DeLonge. He is also the author of two fantasy novels, ACT OF WILL and WILL POWER, were published as hardcover originals and ACT OF WILL received a starred PW review. He is the author of a 3-book middle grade series, DARWEN ARKWRIGHT. His first YA is STEEPLEJACK, a rich atmospheric novel about a young girl who climbs the tall towers in a land resembling Victorian Africa, which will be followed by two more novels in the series.
BRIDGET HODDER will make her debut with THE RAT PRINCE, a revisionist look at the Cinderella story, which will be published by Margaret Ferguson Books (FSG) in 2016.
ALLISON K. HYMAS has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brigham Young University. Her debut novel is UNDER LOCKER AND KEY, the first book in a middle grade series about a sixth grader who specializes in retrieving lost or stolen items who is conned into stealing the school skeleton key and has to team up with his nemesis to get it back. She’s currently at work on book two.
NICOLE C. KEAR is the author of the memoir NOW I SEE YOU, heralded as a Best New Book by People and Amazon, and chosen as a Must-Read by Family Circle, Redbook, Martha Stewart Living, Marie Claire UK and others. Her writing appears in the New York Times, Good Housekeeping, New York, Psychology Today, Parents, American Baby, as well as Salon, The Huffington Post and xoJane. She is currently at work on a chapter book series, THE FIX-IT FRIENDS, about a group of kids learning to solve their own social issues—with hilarious and heartwarming results. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, three children, and two feisty goldfish.
DEREK TAYLOR KENT is the well-loved author of HarperCollins’s SCARY SCHOOL series. His first picture book is EL PERRO EN SOMBRERO.
VICTORIA LAURIE is a professional psychic intuitive who lives in Michigan. She is the author of two New York Times bestselling series, the Psychic Eye mysteries about professional intuitive Abby Cooper in which she has already published more than a dozen novels, and the Ghost Hunter series about M. J. Holliday which wrapped up in early 2016. She is also the author of a historical fantasy series for a middle grade audience, THE ORACLES OF DELPHI KEEP and the YA thriller WHEN. Her next book for teens, FOREVER, AGAIN is forthcoming.
MARIAMA J. LOCKINGTON is a writer, nonprofit educator, and transracial adoptee who calls many places home. She is the founder of the womanist project the Black Unicorn Book Club and is published in a number of journals and magazines including the Washington Square Review, Prelude Magazine, Bodega Magazine, and The Comstock Review. Her essay “What A Black Woman Wishes her Adoptive White Parents Knew” trended on Buzzfeed News Reader in August 2016. Mariama lives in Michigan with her partner and their dapple-haired dachshund, Henry. When she is not writing or teaching, you’ll find Mariama singing karaoke, watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or re-reading her favorite book, Sula by Toni Morrison. Her middle-grade novel in verse MAKEDA AND THE GEORGIA BELLES is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus & Giroux for Young Readers in September 2018.
DEBORAH LYTTON is a writer, singer, an attorney and an actress who had a recurring role as Melissa Anderson on Days of Our Lives. She has appeared in many television shows and films, and has written articles for magazines including Fit Pregnancy. She is the author of the middle grade novel, JANE IN BLOOM, the young adult romantic drama SILENCE, and an upcoming middle grade series THE FICTIONAL AND SOMETIMES FABULOUS WORLD OF RUBY STARR.
LISA McMANN is the author of the New York Times bestselling Wake trilogy and The Unwanteds series, as well as stand-alone YA novels CRYER’S CROSS and DEAD TO YOU. Lisa’s other works include the Visions series, which follows a girl experiencing terrifying premonitions of an accident, and THE TRAP DOOR, the third book in the bestselling multi-author, multi-platform time-travel adventure Infinity Ring series. She is currently working on the Unwanteds spin-off series, and well as her newest middle grade series, Going Wild, about an advance technology that allows kids to harness the powers of animals.
TOM MITCHELL is a full-time father, part-time writer. Growing up in the West Country, he settled in London after a brief interlude in the East Midlands. HOW TO ROB A BANK is his first novel, written during the school holidays of his teaching job. He can be found tweeting at @cakesthebrain and Medium-ing at https://medium.com/@tommycm.
DAVID NEILSEN will make his debut with DR. FELL AND THE PLAYGROUND OF DOOM, a middle-grade supernatural thriller written with a Lovecraftian bent.
MICHAEL OECHSLE is a teacher and the author of the middle-grade novel THE LOST CIPHER. He lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina.
JANE PALEY is the author of the middle grade novel HOOPER FINDS A FAMILY: A KATRINA DOG’S SURVIVAL STORY. She is also a television producer of educational programs. Her work has won her an Emmy Award and a National Education Association award.
DIANA PETERFREUND has published eight novels for adults and teens, including the four-book Secret Society Girl series, the Killer Unicorn series: RAMPANT, ASCENDENT, and ERRANT. Her other series, Stars, includes FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS, a post-apocalyptic retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, and ACROSS A STAR SWEPT SEA, a romantic science-fiction retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel. Her lastest work is a series of middle grade adventure novels, the first of which is OMEGA CITY; the second book in the series is in the works.
JEWELL PARKER RHODES is the author of the modern classic VOODOO DREAMS, a novel about famed voodoo priestess Marie Laveau, as well as VOODOO SEASON, YELLOW MOON, and HURRICANE: A NOVEL, which follow Marie Laveau’s modern day descendant. She is also the author of MAGIC CITY, a novel about the race riots in Tulsa, Oklahoma, during the early 20th century. DOUGLASS’ WOMEN is a fictional account of Frederick Douglass and the two women who loved him. Her nonfiction works include FREE WITHIN OURSELVES, and PORCH STORIES: A GRANDMOTHER’S GUIDE TO HAPPINESS. Her debut middle grade novel, NINTH WARD, set against the backdrop of Hurricane Katrina, was a Coretta Scott King Book Honor winner, and she’s written three other critically acclaimed novels: SUGAR, BAYOU MAGIC, and TOWERS FALLING. She is currently working on her next middle grade novel, GHOST BOYS.
JAMES RILEY is the author of the Half Upon a Time series. His most recent work is the New York Times bestselling The Story Thieves series, which follows the adventures of non-fictional Owen, his half-fictional friend, Bethany, who can travel in and out of books, and the famous boy wizard they find in one of these books, Kiel Gnomenfoot. James is currently at work on the next novel in the series.
J. SCOTT SAVAGE is the author of the Case File 13 series, which follows the adventures of three monster-obsessed boys as they solve the ghoulish mysteries around town throughout four books: ZOMBIE KID, MAKING THE TEAM, EVIL TWINS, and CURSE OF THE MUMMY’S UNCLE. He is also the author of the Farworld series and the Mysteries of Cove series, and lives in Utah with his wife and children. His most recent book is EMBERS OF DESTRUCTION, the third book in the Mysteries of Cove series.
SUZANNE SELFORS is a native of the Pacific Northwest and holds a Master’s degree in Communications from the University of Washington. Her books include the oddly delightful middle grade novels TO CATCH A MERMAID and FORTUNE’S MAGIC FARM, as well as the Smells Like Dog series. Her young adult novels SAVING JULIET, COFFEEHOUSE ANGEL, MAD LOVE, and THE SWEETEST SPELL, are known for their comedy, romance, and heart. Her most recent book is THE FAIRY SWARM, which is the sixth book of The Imaginary Veterinary series. The series follows two ordinary kids from a small town as they encounter with a secret hospital for imaginary creatures. She is currently working on SLEEPOVER SURPRISE, a middle grade novel about a young girl who’s sleepover for the popular girls turns into a party of misfits. She is also the author of the bestselling Ever After High (A School Story) series, which follows the school lives of the children of everyone’s favorite fairytale characters.
N.H. SENZAI writes for children and young adults. Her first middle grade novel was SHOOTING KABUL, which tells the story of an Afghani family fleeing to the United States just before the events of September 11, 2001. She is also the author of SAVING KABUL CORNER, about a decades old family feud from the old country that threatens to destroy the families’ news lives in America. Her most recent novel for middle grade readers, TICKET TO INDIA, is a contemporary novel about the Great Partition. She is currently at work on another middle grade novel, ESCAPE FROM ALEPPO.nhsenzai.com
ERIN SODERBERG lives in Minneapolis with her husband and three young children. She has written several books for teens and children, including the young readers series The Quirks. Erin is now working the adorable new series, Puppy Pirates, starring her own dog, Wally.
TRACEY EDWARD WYMER is a teacher and author of the middle-grade novel SOAR, as well as a contributor to the anthology BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: WRITING STORIES FROM REAL LIFE.
LESLIE YOUNGBLOOD is the author of LOVE LIKE SKY. She received an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She’s been awarded a host of writing honors including a 2014 Yaddo’s Elizabeth Ames Residency, the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Prize, a Hurston Wright Fellowship, and the Room of Her Own Foundation’s 2009 Orlando Short Story Prize.