Authors & Illustrators

Maya Abu-Alhayyat (c) Salim Abu Jabal (1).jpg The Blue Pool of Questions


Maya is an award-winning Palestinian novelist, poet, and children’s book writer. She has published three collections of poetry, three novels, and several children’s books. Her writing has been featured in international journals and magazines and has been translated into English, French, German, Swedish, and Korean. Since 2013 Maya has worked as the director of the Palestinian Writing Workshop in Birzeit, West Bank, Palestine. She lives in Jerusalem with her husband and children. Maya is the author of The Blue Pool of Questions. More about Maya at

Sawsan Chalabi


Sawsan is a Lebanese-American illustrator and designer. She earned her MFA in Illustration from Savannah College of Art and Design. Her work is mostly digital and also incorporates traditional techniques. She loves applying subtle wit and humor in her pieces. Her work has been published in several magazines and publishing houses such as Cricket Magazine, Bust Magazine, Wine & Spirits Magazine, Applied Arts Magazine, Penguin and Lee & Low Books among others. She currently resides in Washington, D.C. where she continues to explore the power in the silent communication of art. Sawsan illustrated and lettered H is for Haiku. More about Sawsan at

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In Hebrew shira means poem and song. True to her name, Shira loves to write poems and sing songs. She also loves to draw pictures. Shira's art can be found in The Huffington Post, PBS NewsHour’s Poetry Series, The Rumpus, on sidewalks, in living rooms, and in your boombox. She immigrated from Israel to the US when she was six and now lives in Brooklyn where she teaches and creates. Her favorite compound word is seesaw. She is the author and illustrator of Be/Hold: A Friendship Book. More about Shira at



Born in Lima, Peru, to two journalists, Mariana developed an early passion for writing. She studied theater in the prestigious CuatroTablas school in Lima. She has lived in Oklahoma since 2002, where she worked as a teacher in a preschool center. She has published seven books independently in English and Spanish and through virtual technology has chatted with students from more than 150 schools around the world to promote literacy. In December 2017 she was recognized with a Human Rights Award by the United Nations Association of Oklahoma City and the Human Rights Alliance of Oklahoma for her work promoting literacy. She is the author of Luca’s Bridge / El punte de Luca. More about Mariana at

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Jose is an illustrator from Venezuela who now resides in San Fransisco. After beginning his art education in Caracas, he finished his illustration degree at the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2017. His art addresses complex ideas in a way that is simple and engaging, focusing on social and political activism while incorporating humor and lightheartedness. Thank You, Crow is Jose’s first book, and he was thrilled to work on it with his husband, Michael.

Tiffany McKnight, NUVEAU: The Future of Patterns


Tiffany was born in Miami, Florida, and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her patterns have been published on the labels of certain flavors of San Francisco’s Clearly Kombucha and on luxury wallpaper. Tiffany was recently named a 2016 Angel Award recipient. The Angel Award acknowledges unsung heroes who have effected positive change in the lives of others. Tiffany is the creator and illustrator of NUVEAU: The Future of Patterns.

photo by Carrie Strong

Aniela Sobieski, The Day We Lost Pet


Aniela is an artist from Minnesota. She earned a BFA in painting from the University of Wisconsin--Madison and an MFA from Syracuse University. Her artwork has been exhibited and collected both nationally and internationally. She lives with her husband and two-year-old daughter in St. Paul. The Day We Lost Pet is her debut as a children's book illustrator. More about Aniela at

Morgana Wallace


Morgana was born into an artistic family in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and later moved to Victoria, British Columbia, where she studied at the Victoria College of Art, before becoming a full time artist. As a child, she was captivated by book illustrations, and still believes they are as important as the narrative. Her medium is mainly paper collage, but she incorporates watercolor, ink, and pen to create her imaginary world of characters. She has had several successful shows at Victoria’s Madrona Gallery, as well as completing four commissions for the British children’s magazine, Aquila. Hedy and Her Amazing Invention is her first children’s book. More from Morgana at



Jan is the author of Hedy and Her Amazing Invention and over one hundred children’s books, including Coretta Scott King Honor-winner Little Eight John and the Christopher Medal-winner Humphrey’s Bear. Bowling Green State University awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters in recognition of his continuing work in children’s literature and in the history of film. Jan lived and wrote in Toledo, OH. He died in January 2019.

Hanan Awad, The Blue Pool of Questions


Hanan, known to most as Debwania, is a Palestinian-American living in Edmond, Oklahoma. Debwania is an established street photographer. She received her undergraduate degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Rutgers University, a filmmaking certificate from New York Film Academy, where she also studied photography, and is completing her Masters in History at University of Central Oklahoma with a focus on Latin America and the Middle East. Hanan is the translator of The Blue Pool of Questions.

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Tara and Nate are a mother-and-son team who combine watercolor with ink to create magical illustrations. A to Zåäö: Exploring the American Swedish Institute (University of Minnesota Press, 2019) is their debut picture book. Henry the Boy is their second collaboration. Nate earned a B.A. in studio art from Saint Olaf College and an M.A. in special education from Augsburg University in Minnesota. He teaches special education. Tara earned B.S degrees in art and design from the University of WI and an M.F.A. from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She is professor emeritus at Augsburg University. As artists and educators Nate and Tara are committed to cultivating curiosity. They live in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Skip Hill, A Gift from Greensboro


Skip's body of art is comprised of illustrations, murals, collage paintings, and drawings that weave a rich tapestry of styles, languages, and philosophies rooted in cultures around the world. He explores images and forms from cultural sources as diverse as comic books, Folk art, Japanese Ukiyo-e prints, Graffiti, and European Art History to produce an art that embraces the viewer in a visually engaging experience. Skip is the illustrator of A Gift from Greensboro. More art from Skip at

Quraysh Ali Lansana, A Gift from Greensboro


Q has taught in elementary schools, high schools, and universities in Chicago, where he lives, and across the country. He teaches poetry and hip-hop at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, across the street from the famous museum with the lions out front. Q is the author of eight poetry books, three textbooks, three children's books, editor of eight anthologies, and coauthor of a book of pedagogy. He is the author of A Gift from Greensboro. More about Q at

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Tony is a two-time winner of the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People (DeShawn Days and I and I, Bob Marley) and the author/
editor of nineteen books for adults and young readers. A Professor of Creative Writing at Howard University, Medina has received the Langston Hughes Society Award, the first African Voices Literary Award, and has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes for his poems. Jacar Press recently published his anthology Resisting Arrest: Poems to Stretch the Sky, on police violence and brutalities perpetrated on people of color. Tu Books published Medina’s debut graphic novel I Am Alfonso Jones in 2017. Tony is the author of Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy. More about Tony at

Barbara Nye, Somewhere a Bell is Ringing


Originally from Cyclone, Texas, Barbara has been influenced in her artwork by her travels in many countries and her experiences living in South America and Canada. She has a degree in Spanish and Latin American studies and is fluent in Spanish. Barbara has lived in Australia for over 25 years, has been an Australian citizen since 1992, and raised her three children there. Barbara is the author and illustrator of Somewhere A Bell Is Ringing.

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Meera is a Canadian visual artist whose practice interdisciplinary practice poses questions about the relationship between migration, diaspora, identity and hybridity. Meera's work is in the permanent collection of the Royal Ontario Museum and the Wedge Collection and has been exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Art Gallery of Mississuaga, L'Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival. Her work has been featured in NBC, NPR, The Toronto Star, The Globe&Mail, The Fader, Vice, VOGUE India, CNN, MTV and Meera lives and works in Toronto and illustrated The Yellow Suitcase. More about Meera at

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Meera grew up in India and moved to the U.S at the turn of the millennium. An electrical engineer in her past life, she now enjoys writing for children and advocating early and multicultural literacy. Meera has co-authored several books published in India, and she is the author of The Yellow Suitcase. She believes in the transformative power of stories and writes on cross-cultural experiences that often take her back to her roots. Meera loves yoga and chai, and lives with her husband and two children in Berkeley, California, where she fantasizes about a world with no borders. More abour Meera at

Chuck Young, The Day We Lost Pet


Chuck lives and dads in his hometown of Clinton, Massachusetts. He was in a touring emo band, Orange Island, in the early 2000s and, more recently, managing editor of theEEEL by tNY.Press (a former channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books). He has published short fiction and poetry in various journals online and in print. The Day We Lost Pet is his first book.

David Bizzaro, The Not In Here Story


David is a Puppeteer, Illustrator, and Funny Video maker living in NYC. He believes you can do anything you set your mind to as long as you have a positive outlook. When David is not making puppets or silly videos he is spending time with his wife Cassie and his cat Rita. Or he is making more puppets. He might have too many. David illustrated The Not In Here Story. More about David at

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Morgan was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She always loved to draw as a child but didn’t consider it to be a serious career option until high school when she attended a college preview program at the Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, Ohio. After graduating from high school, Morgan went on to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation at the Savannah College of Art & Design in Savannah, Georgia. She works as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator and loves to work on comic books and other forms of sequential art. Morgan illustrated A Card for My Father. More about Morgan at

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Molly , the author of Henry the Boy, has a physical disability called cerebral palsy. Her assistance dog, Patterson, was placed with her through Canine Companions for Independence. He helps her by opening doors, turning lights on and off, and much more. In 2016, they attended the Highlights Foundation Kid's Book Revision Retreat together in beautiful Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Molly received her M.A. from New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where she focused on creative writing and disability culture. She is committed to representing children of all abilities in her writing, and loves teaching English to Chinese students online. She lives in Alabama.

Anna López Real


Anna is a freelance illustrator born in Guadalajara, Mexico. She spent her early years in a small town with a big lake, in a bilingual home full of books, movies, diverse music and art. She has a BD in Graphic Design from Universidad de Guadalajara. Her favorite place is the beach, and she loves to read and hang out with her family and her cats and dogs. She is passionate about human rights, animal rights and has a great love for nature. Anna illustrated Luca’s Bridge / El puente de Luca.

Hassan Manasrah, The Blue Pool of Questions


Hassan is a visual artist, illustrator, and comic creator. From 2008 to 2010, he worked as assistant art director for the animated cartoon series Pink Panther & Pals. Since 2010, he has illustrated 25 children books. In 2016, he won an Etisalat Award for best illustration for the Palestinian edition of The Blue Pool of Questions. More art from Hassan at

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Michael is a Georgia native who gained a unique perspective growing up in the only Jewish family in a tiny, rural community before ending up at New York University’s Tisch School, where he graduated with a degree in filmmaking. He later graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a Master’s degree in film, but he’s also had fun being a news photographer, an SAT tutor, and running his family’s business. He was overjoyed to create and publish his first book, Thank You, Crow, with his husband, Jose.

Margaux Othats, The Hunt


Margaux is a French author-illustrator born in 1989. The Hunt, as La chasse (Éditions Magnani), was shortlisted for The Picture Book Prize at the Montreuil Children’s Book Fair in 2014. Her second book, Un jour dehors, was published in April 2016. Margaux's illustrations have appeared in various magazines and journals, including The New York Times. More art from Margaux at

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Syd (1929-1996) is the author of H is for Haiku. She lived, wrote, and taught in New York City. She was a charter member of the Haiku Society of America in 1968 and served as HSA’s Secretary in 1975. One of Syd’s “city haiku” was included in the delightful urban public art project, “Haiku On 42nd Street” in 1994, in which the marquees of shuttered movie theaters in Times Square were transformed into showcases for micro-poetry. Syd received her M.A. in English as a Second Language from Hunter College in 1972. She was married to Sam Rosenberg (d. 2003) for more than 40 years. They have two children, Amy Losak, married to Cliff; Nathan Rosenberg, married to Deborah; and two grown grandchildren, Zachary and Julia.

Samantha Thornhill


Samantha is a poet, educator, producer, and author of three children’s books, including A Card for My Father. A performer on stages across the United States and internationally, she holds an MFA from the University of Virginia. Samantha has taught poetry to acting students at the Juilliard School; served as a writer-in-residence at the Bronx Academy of Letters; co-founded Poets in Unexpected Places, which was profiled in the New York Times for their surprising pop-up poetry experiments all over New York City; and facilitated workshops for the Dialogue Arts Project, which uses creative writing as a tool to navigate uncomfortable discussions about social identity. Samantha is a native of the twin island nation of Trinidad & Tobago. More about Samantha at

Tracey Zeeck, The Not In Here Story


Tracey was born in Texas and raised in Oklahoma City, where she owns a boutique public relations firm specializing in clients with good business practices and better stories to tell. She and her husband were lucky enough to become parents through adoption in November 2007 and have been on a mission to tell the world their family’s love story ever since. She is the author of The Not In Here Story, the ever-evolving origin tale of her little family. More about Tracey at