Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2018 Midsouth Fall Conference Faculty

Stephanie Appel has worked as the manager of books for young readers at Parnassus Books, Nashville’s independent bookstore for independent people, for the past four years. Her responsibilities include frontlist purchasing and inventory maintenance for all titles from board books to YA, overseeing Parnassus’s children’s and YA events calendar, and selecting titles for ParnassusNext, a YA subscription box. Before coming to Parnassus, she served as a youth services librarian at the Austin Public Library in Austin, Texas. She holds an MA in media studies and an MLS with a focus on library youth services from the University of Texas at Austin. She has the neatest handwriting you’ve ever seen.


Marcie Colleen has been a teacher, an actress, and a nanny, but now she spends her days writing children’s books! She is the author of The Super Happy Party Bears chapter book series with Macmillan/Imprint, as well her debut picture book, Love, Triangle, illustrated by Bob Shea (Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins), and Penguinaut!, illustrated by Emma Yarlett, to be published by Scholastic in October 2018. She is a frequent presenter at conferences for SCBWI and serves as a faculty member at San Diego Writer’s Ink and the University of California San Diego Extension. Visit her at or @MarcieColleen1 on Twitter.


Bess Cozby is an editor at Tor/Forge books, where she is building her list with a focus on historical fiction for adult and YA readers. On the adult side, Bess is also seeking suspense and women’s fiction. For YA, she also would love to find fun, fast, or nail-biting thrillers and contemporary novels with a high-concept hook. An element of romance is always a plus. The intersection of commercial, heart-warming, and surprising is where she is building her list. Representative titles: Becoming Bonnie by Jenni L. Walsh, Nottingham by Nathan Makaryk, Dive Smack by Demetra Brodsky, and Prettyboy Must Die by Kimberly Reid.


Debbie Dadey is the author and co-author of 166 traditionally published children’s books, with a focus on reaching reluctant readers. A former first grade teacher and school librarian, she grew up in Kentucky, but now lives in Sevierville, Tennessee, with her husband, a schipperke, and a greyhound. Her three children live along the east coast and continue to inspire her. Her first book (co-authored with Marcia Thornton Jones), Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots, became the best-selling series, The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids. Ready, Set, Goal! is the newest in Debbie’s Mermaid Tales multicultural series from Simon and Schuster.


Susan Eaddy is an author and illustrator who works in her attic studio writing picture books and playing with clay. As a former art director she won international 3D illustration awards and a Grammy nomination. Her clay-illustrated trade books include: My Love for You Is the Sun and Papa Fish’s Lullaby. She is the author of Poppy’s Best Paper, illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet (Charlesbridge), Poppy’s Best Babies (2018), and Eenie Meenie Halloweenie (Harper Collins, 2020). She is the regional advisor for the Midsouth chapter of SCBWI and also serves on the International SCBWI Bologna team. Susan loves to travel and has spoken at schools all over the world, including Taiwan, Brazil, Switzerland, and Hong Kong.


Claire Easton began her publishing career at Painted Words in 2012 as an assistant and worked her way up to agent. She represents picture books, chapter books, and middle grade novels, with picture books being her sweet spot. She is proud to represent a group of talented authors and illustrators who include #1 New York Times-bestselling illustrator Jaime Kim; Ashley Spires, author-illustrator of The Most Magnificent Thing; and Alyssa Bermudez, illustrator of Lucia the Luchadora. She lives in New York City and is a member of a writing group and too many book clubs.



Patti Ann Harris is a creative director at Scholastic Inc., overseeing the art and design for the Orchard Books and Cartwheel Books imprints. With more than twenty years’ experience designing children’s books, she has worked on many award-winning titles spanning a wide variety of formats, including novelty and interactive books for preschoolers as well as Caldecott Award-winning picture books.



Carter Hasegawa is an associate editor at Candlewick Press. He came to children’s publishing in a roundabout way. After a decade of working in grocery, followed by a two-year stint in textbook publishing, he left everything behind to follow his passion for children’s books and went back to school to get his MA in children’s literature from Simmons College. Since 2008, he’s been a children’s bookseller at various independent bookstores in Seattle and Cambridge, which he continues to do part-time. He is also a photographer at Long River Photography. Some of his favorite non-Candlewick books include: The Notorious Benedict Arnold, Jellicoe Road, Ready Player One, Three Times Lucky, and many, MANY more. Basically anything that has a great voice, is a good story, and is “unputdownable.” Follow him on Instagram @chbostonphoto.


Michelle Medlin Hasty teaches secondary literacy and instructional coaching courses at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. She thinks reading for work and talking about books all day is the best gig ever. Classroom experience teaching adolescent readers and writers led to her research interests in writing instruction, students’ perceptions of themselves as readers and writers, and critical literacy. Her favorite days are spent persuading high school teachers to use picture books with their students and sharing stories with her four sons. You may contact Michelle at


Cheryl Klein is the editorial director at Lee & Low Books, which publishes a wide array of children’s and YA books by and about marginalized people. She is also the author of The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults (W. W. Norton); its previous self-published incarnation, Second Sight; and two forthcoming picture books. Prior to her work at Lee & Low, she spent sixteen years at Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, where she edited a number of bestselling and award-winning titles. You can sign up for her newsletter at and follow her on Twitter at @chavelaque.


Andrea J.Loney is an award-winning author of children’s picture books. After earning an MFA in Dramatic Writing at NYU, she ran away with a circus, then she joined the Walt Disney Company. Currently a computer professor at LA Trade Technical College, she’s a member of the 12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge and The Brown Bookshelf. She’s also a 2nd grade reader/coordinator for Her works include TAKE A PICTURE OF ME, JAMES VANDERZEE (Lee & Low Books 2017), BUNNYBEAR (Albert Whitman & Company 2017), and DOUBLE BASS BLUES (Random House Knopf 2019). Learn more at


Sean McCarthy founded his own full-service literary agency in 2013. He began his publishing career as an editorial intern at Overlook Press and then worked at the Sheldon Fogelman Agency prior to becoming a full-time literary agent. He works on children’s books for all ages, and his clients include New York Times bestseller Zachariah OHora, Jamie A. Swenson, Hyewon Yum, Mark Fearing, Dana Wulfekotte, Andrea Offermann, Kurt Cyrus, and Judith Robbins Rose, among others. Sean graduated from Macalester College with a degree in English-creative writing, and is grateful that he no longer has to spend his winters in Minnesota.


Natascha Morris is an agent at the BookEnds Literary Agency who spent most of her childhood in a leather chair with her nose in a book. Formerly an editorial assistant at Simon & Schuster, her passion for books across genres and her desire to finding amazing talent drove her to make the transition from editorial to literary agent. Her editorial philosophy stems from the idea that all books should be well written and entertaining. Natascha is primarily looking for picture book, middle grade, and young adult manuscripts across most genres, including contemporary, mysteries, thrillers, fantasy, historical fiction, and narrative nonfiction. She is also looking for artists who speak to her creatively.


Heather L. Montgomery writes for kids who are wild about animals. The weirder, the wackier, the better. An award-winning educator, Heather uses yuck appeal to engage young minds. She has a B.S. in biology and an M.S. in environmental education and has published over a dozen nonfiction books. Her 2018 books include: Bugs Don’t Hug (Charlesbridge) and Something Rotten: A Fresh Look at Roadkill (Bloomsbury). Find her at



Alyssa Mito Pusey is an editor at Charlesbridge Publishing, specializing in nonfiction, who firmly believes there is nothing as astonishing as real life. Almost any topic can hook her—as long as it’s approached from an unexpected angle. In addition to nonfiction, she edits the occasional fiction title with memorable characters and strong school-and-library hooks. In both nonfiction and fiction, she looks for innovative structure, clarity, and a distinctive voice. Humor is a plus! Alyssa’s titles include Samurai Rising by Pamela S. Turner, Bugs Don’t Hug by Heather L. Montgomery, Poppy’s Best Babies by Susan Eaddy, and the Baby Loves Science series by Ruth Spiro.


Allison Taylor started her career in publishing as a typesetter and is grateful to have worked her way up to art director. With a background in graphic design, she currently oversees the art and design direction for Flyaway Books, a premier children’s imprint reflecting themes of diversity, inclusivity, kindness, compassion, self-esteem, and care for our world. As an artist herself, she loves the opportunity to develop children’s books in a collaborative environment and sees her work as a privilege and joy. She lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with her husband and is passionate about helping others to create their best life.


Mary Uhles has created illustrations for the books The Little Kids Table and Beyond the Grave, as well as the poetry collection Kooky Crumbs by Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis. Her newest book, A Tuba Christmas, arrives in 2018. Mary has twice been awarded the Grand Prize for Illustration from the SCBWI Midsouth Conference and her piece, Eat, was a finalist in the 2014 SCBWI Bologna Book Fair Gallery. Mary serves as the illustrator coordinator for the Midsouth region of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and lives with her family in Nashville, Tennessee. You can see and learn more at