About Us

Monica Acker grew up in the suburbs of New York City. An avid reader, books brought comfort, delight, and a ticket to anywhere. She went on to receive a BA in Creative Arts and a MAT in Childhood Education. Teaching young children reignited a spark for children’s literature and caring for her own three girls turned that spark into a flame. Now, Monica writes to bring comfort and delight to young readers.

Monica currently resides in Massachusetts with her husband and three daughters where they laugh, dance, and eat lots of cookies. 

Website: www.monicaacker.com

Twitter: @MonicaAcker1

Instagram: @monicaacker1/

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Denise Adusei has a passion for social entrepreneurship and children's literature. To support emerging writers of color and increase diverse representation in children's books, she co-founded both #BlackCreatorsinKidLit and #LatinxPitch. 

After earning her bachelors from Brown University and a MBA from Columbia University, Denise launched a preschool and became a professional imagineer for children in Harlem. Her direct experience with educators and children in the classroom inspired her to write children's stories that tap into childhood experiences. Her goal is to write fun stories that can be utilized in the classroom and read aloud at home. 

To launch writer support groups and a preschool school, Denise drew from her previous experience in nonprofit management, consulting for child development, healthcare organizations, New York City agencies.

Website: www.deniseadusei.com

Twitter: @DeniseLit4Kids

Instagram: @lit4kids

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Buffalo, NY native Alliah L. Agostini has marketed everything from tampons to scrappy start-ups, but motherhood helped her return to her first love: children's literature. She writes for two primary reasons: 1- to spread joy, because we can always use more of it, and 2- because she knows first-hand how valuable it is for more people, young readers especially, to finally see themselves reflected on the page.

A member of SCBWI, Alliah also founded and contributes to Grownesque, a blog and social media destination for Xennial women. Alliah currently resides in New Jersey where she enjoys impromptu dance parties and making up corny jokes with her husband and two children.  She has an A.B. and M.B.A. from Harvard.

Website: www.alliahagostini.com/

Twitter: @alliago

Instagram: @alliago

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Gabriella Aldeman is a Panamanian American translator and children’s book author. She began her writing practice at seven, when all her diary entries began with Hoy me levanté y fui a la escuela… Fast forward several years, she now writes (and translates) picture books in hopes that more children become readers and for all readers to feel seen. 

Gabriella lives in Fairfax, VA with her husband, daughter, and son. When she is not writing or translating, she can be found plotting new life experiments. (Past experiments include running marathons, paddling from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, and raising two children.) Gabriella holds degrees from Georgetown University and the College of William and Mary.

Twitter: @write_between

Instagram: @write_between

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Laurie Carmody created “Lady Laurlox’s Lovely Library” in her Upstate NY home when she was ten and after giving out her copies of Nancy Drew to the neighbors she decided that sharing and celebrating stories was her great passion. She now writes picture books with themes of finding inner strength, embracing uniqueness, and building empathy. She also loves a good pun and seeks to find humorous wordplay in many of her stories. 

Laurie lives in Maryland with her husband and two children. When she isn’t writing, she’s homeschooling, playing piano, or attempting to jog around her hilly neighborhood. She holds degrees from Ithaca College and Indiana University in Instructional Design. 


Twitter: @LaurieECarmody

Instagram: @Laurlox

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Jill Dana is an author, illustrator, award-winning filmmaker, and certified elementary educator. She has master’s degrees in television and film production and elementary education plus TESOL. She is the author of the Butternut series, about a little butternut squash and his supermarket world, with themes of identity, friendship, #WhereFoodComesFrom, and more. Jill is a Rate Your Story judge, an active SCBWI member. and an Author’s Guild member. Visit Jill on social media @JillDanaBooks and her website www.JillDanaBooks.com. 

Website: https://jilldanabooks.com

Twitter: @JillDanaBooks


Instagram: @jilldanabooks/

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Stacy B. Davids, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist who works as a school psychologist. She’s also a former special education teacher. Her gender-identity themed, fiction picture book, ANNIE’S PLAID SHIRT, was praised by the GLBT Roundtable of the American Library Assoc., and won Silver in the Foreword Reviews’ INDIES Book of the Year Awards. Her consent and boundaries-themed picture book, SIMON THE HUGGER, will be published in Nov. 2022. She’s also the author of Hi-Lo (high interest, low reading level), nonfiction books – STRANGE BUT TRUE WEATHER, STRANGE BUT TRUE SCIENCE, and HIP-HOP GREATS. Stacy threw out her dresses and high heels years ago and wears men’s and women’s clothes. She lives in Florida, and loves cats, cookies, and chocolate.

Website: www.stacybdavids.com

Twitter: @stacybdavids

Facebook: www.facebook.com/stacybdavids 

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Betsy Ellor lives in a home filled with canine chaos and creative projects run wild. Midwest-born, she started as a playwright, earning a degree in Creative Writing from Ball State University before shifting her focus to middle-grade novels and picture books.

Betsy works as an interior architect. She designs offices, condos, restaurants, science labs, hospitals, and more. This explains her uniquely visual voice and her passion for stories that keep creative thinking at the heart of scientific exploration. Betsy lives near the beach in Massachusetts with her young son (aka the bringer of chaos).

Betsy loves nothing more than lifting up her creative community. Her author interviews have been featured in Spine Magazine and she ran the writers market segment of The Creative Collective for years. She is an active member of SCBWI and 12 x 12, as well as an adjunct professor at Endicott College. She spends way too much time on the computer but escapes outdoors for hiking, biking, and beach time whenever she can.  

Website: www.wordsunboundstudio.com

Twitter: @bewordsunbound

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bewordsunbound 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/betsy_ellor_words_unbound/

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Sara A. Fajardo first discovered the power of words when she was four. Newly arrived in the United States from Peru, her English vocabulary consisted of the word “monkey,” which she promptly turned into her favorite greeting, “Hola Monkey!” The amused reaction to that phrase started her on a lifelong path of telling stories—first as a photojournalist, then as a multimedia storyteller for humanitarian aid and agricultural research organizations, and now as a writer for children Her words and camera have taken her across Latin America and Africa. While covering emergency responses, refugees, and farming communities she learned from kids that abandoned ant hills make the best mud for making toys in Malawi, how to make a car from a bottle in post-earthquake Haiti, and that plastic bags wrapped really tight make great soccer balls in Kenya. These experiences have deepened her commitment to our common humanity and have taught her that the only thing that separates us is our circumstances. She is a founding member of LatinxPitch a Twitter pitch event dedicated to connecting Latine creators with agents and editors.

Website: TBA

Twitter: @safajarwrites
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Karina Nicole González is a bilingual speech-language pathologist and children’s book author. Currently, she works with school-age children at a Title I, public school in Brooklyn, NY. Utilizing play therapy techniques, she invites her students to exercise their creativity while developing their speech and language skills. While targeting students’ storytelling skills through therapy, their boundless imagination inspired Karina’s dream to write picture books of her own. She resides in Brooklyn, NY and Aguadilla, PR with her partner and numerous plants.


Twitter: @wordsbykarina

Instagram: @karina.nikole
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Mary Baca Haque is a self-taught writer who loves to bring diversity, acceptance, and peace to her writing. She is a full-time real estate title professional and a former realtor. Her hobbies include unique paper crafting of decoupage and gift cards, along with any artsy technique that has pretty paper involved.

Mary's love of picture books stems from reading to her children in their younger years, which led her to writing her own stories and dabbling in poetry on the side.

In her spare time, she loves to spend time with family, shop for antiques, try new recipes, bike ride, travel, and review books.

Mary is a mother to two very talented adult children. She resides in Chicago, Illinois 
with her fiancé and her mini Goldendoodle named Georgina.  


Instagram: @marybacahaque
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Shachi Kaushik is a writer and a storyteller. Part of the children's media industry, she creates content for children that is entertaining, enlightening, and educational. She is currently working on the YouTube Original Animated Series "The Guava Juice Show." In the past, Shachi has hosted Bilingual Hindi-English Storytime for children at the Round Rock Public Library. She has also been awarded Mentor of the Year 2019 from Mentorship Award Round Rock Independent School District. Her articles have also appeared in Austin Family, Brown Girl Magazine, and Austin South Asian. Raised in India, Shachi currently lives in Vancouver with her husband. 



Instagram: @storiesbyshachi
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Angela Quezada Padron is a Latina author-illustrator who spent her childhood days doodling on garage walls of her New Jersey home and summers visiting family in the Dominican Republic. She writes picture books, board books and middle grade novels and creates colorful, textured illustrations with diverse characters and heartwarming scenes. So far, Angela has illustrated two books, “The Hero in You” with Alberto Whitman & Co. and “My Body Belongs to Me” with Free Spirit Publishing, and a short story "Firefighter Mom" in Cricket Magazine. She was also chosen as a semi-finalist for the SCBWI Tomie dePaola Award in 2014. She’s an avid seashells collector, Broadway musical enthusiast, and admirer of the wonder of nature and engineering marvels. Angela’s debut author/illustrator picture book bio, AS THE SEAS RISE, about environmental scientist and activist Nicole Hernandez Hammer, debuts with Atheneum Books in September, 2023. Member of SCBWI. Represented by Saritza Hernandez at Andrea Brown Literary saritza@andreabrownlit.com.

Website: www.angelapadron.com

Twitter: @angela_padron

Facebook: www.facebook.com/angelapadron/

Instagram: @angela.padron

Behance: https://www.behance.net/AngelaPadron

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Alyssa Reynoso-Morris is a queer Afro-Latinx Dominican and Puerto Rican writer, wife, mother and community organizer.

During the day she is a Chief of Staff working with community members, non-profit organizations, and government officials to make the world a better place. 

Then she puts her writer’s hat on to craft heartfelt stories about home, family, food, and the fun places she has been. 

Alyssa was born and raised in The Bronx, New York and currently lives in Philadelphia, PA with her partner and daughter. 

Alyssa’s amazing agent is the talented Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez at Context Literary Agency. Alyssa is also an active member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

Website: www.alyssaauthor.com/

Twitter: @AReynosoMorris

Facebook: www.facebook.com/superwoman.aly

Instagram: @areynosomorris/

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Medeia Sharif was born in New York City and presently calls Miami her home. She received her master’s degree in psychology from Florida Atlantic University. After becoming a voracious reader in high school and a relentless writer dabbling in many genres in college, she found her niche writing picture books, short stories, and novels for young people. In addition to being a published author, she’s a public-school teacher.

When she’s not writing, she is busy collecting recipes and is fond of baking. She also loves to garden and take care of her feline fur babies.

Website: www.medeiasharif.com 

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/4086531.Medeia_Sharif 

Twitter: @medeiasharif 

Instagram: @medeiasharif

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Srividhya Venkat's first-ever story was illustrated and hand-published by her brother when she was 8 years old. She then grew up to be just-another-adult. But after reading several books to her children, she sort of became a kid again and began weaving new stories. Today she is a children’s author and storyteller. 

Srividhya has lived across three countries during different stages of her life, and is extremely grateful to have found warmth and inspiration in each of them. She dreams of a world truly without borders, and tries to do her part by creating and sharing stories about our big, beautiful world where everyone is different, yet the same.

Srividhya lives in sunny Singapore with her family.

Website: www.srividhyavenkat.com/

Twitter: @VenkatSrividhya

Facebook: www.facebook.com/srividhyavenkatauthor/

Instagram: @srividhyavenkat

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Gwendolyn Wallace was born and raised in Connecticut and graduated with a degree in the history of science and medicine from Yale University. She is currently a fellow at the International African-American Museum in Charleston, South Carolina. Additionally, Gwendolyn is a writer of both creative nonfiction and children’s literature. She was also the winner of the 2021 Elizabeth Alexander Creative Writing Award. Her art practices and research are based in Black feminism, health justice, and ecomemory work. Gwendolyn can usually be found gardening, exploring used bookstores, or listening to the radical impulses of young children.

Twitter: @gwendolynw__

Instagram: @g.m.wallace