Authors & Illustrators
The first thing to know is that I’m an only child. This explains how important the companionship of stories was to me growing up. My parents thought I should be a lawyer, so I didn’t go to art school. But I knew I wanted to tell stories with both words AND pictures. I would not have been a good lawyer, although they tell stories, too. So, I started out writing my own stories and pestering publishers. It worked. My first books were ones I wrote as well as illustrated. I have gone on to illustrate and/or write well over one hundred books. Since 1996, I've been the sole illustrator of Michael Bond's Paddington Bear books in all their various formats for all ages. I've also been lucky to collaborate with my charming wife and clever author, Zoë B. Alley. In 2010, I received a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor for "Pearl and Wagner: One Funny Day" written by Kate McMullan. In addition to illustration, I love to paint landscapes. Sometimes there are buildings. Often not. Lately, I'm finding trees, in their infinite variety, to be very interesting.
I have always loved books and laps…to read and be read to upon, in that order. That being said, I was thrilled to become a published author myself, with my first book, “There’s a Wolf at the Door”—illustrated beautifully by my wonderful and uber-talented husband, R. W. Alley (of “Paddington Bear” fame, among over 150 other books for children)! Since then, I have written its sequel, “There’s a Princess in the Palace”, as well as collaborated on four picture books based on the best-selling novel “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein. I am a New England girl, happily ensconced now for many years in Barrington, RI with said husband and two wonderful (now grown) kiddos, Cassandra and Max. Thanks for reading my books!
Janet Costa Bates is the author of the Rica Baptista chapter book series featuring a Cape Verdean American girl navigating family and friend relationships. First in the series is LLAMAS, IGUANAS, AND MY VERY BEST FRIEND (Candlewick), a Junior Library Guild selection. Her picture book, TIME FOR BED, OLD HOUSE (Candlewick), received four starred reviews, is listed on several 2021 best books lists, and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. SEASIDE DREAM (Lee and Low), received a Lee and Low New Voices Honor Award. Find her at janetcostabates.com or social media @jcostabates.
Diane deGroat has been illustrating children’s books since 1972, with over 150 books to her credit. Since 1995, she has been writing and illustrating her own stories. Her picture books about Gilbert the opossum are still beloved by young readers and grownups too! Favorites in the series include Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink and Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet. In 2011 she began illustrating the Charlie the Ranch Dog series for blogger and Food Network star, Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman. The newest book that Ms. deGroat has written and illustrated is The Adventures of Robo-Kid, a Junior Library Guild selection. It blends two parallel stories, one in the real world and one inside a comic book. Learn more about Diane on her website http://www.dianedegroat.com Read her blog posts about how she creates her books at https://www.thestorybehindthestories.com
Jannie Ho loves making books for kids. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Philadelphia, Jannie is the author/illustrator of HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR, a Festive Counting Story, BEAR AND CHICKEN, and illustrator of MITZI AND THE BIG BAD NOSY WOLF. She also makes comics and is the creator of SUPER CHICKEN AND SHELLY, which is a regular feature in Highlights High Five Magazine. She lives in the greater Boston area with her family.
Renée Kurilla is the author and illustrator of It's Fall!; One Springy, Singy Day; and the young graphic novel The Flower Garden. She has illustrated Chicks Rule! and Chicks Rock!, the Ada Lace chapter book series, and the My Pet Slime chapter books. Visit Renée online at kurillastration.com and on Instagram and Twitter @reneekurilla.
Comic illustrators Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb form an Eisner Award-winning art team collaborating on the Adventure Time comics, Midas, One Day a Dot and Making Scents. Braden is the colorist for several New York Times bestselling books, including Guts and The Baby-Sitters Club graphic novels. Shelli is Co-Director of a local arts festival, The Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo (MICE). Together, they share a passion for graphic storytelling for all ages. They are married and live in Salem, Massachusetts.
Rajani LaRocca was born in India, raised in Kentucky, and now lives in the Boston area, where she practices medicine and writes award-winning books for young readers, including the Newbery Honor winning middle grade novel in verse, Red, White, and Whole. She’s always been an omnivorous reader, and now she is an omnivorous writer of fiction and nonfiction, novels and picture books, prose and poetry. She finds inspiration in her family, her childhood, the natural world, math, science, and just about everywhere she looks. Learn more about Rajani and her books at www.RajaniLaRocca.com. She also co-hosts the STEM Women in KidLit Podcast.
Nancy Tupper Ling is a children’s author, poet, book seller and librarian. Basically, she surrounds herself with books! Occasionally, she creates a few books of her own, including her latest, For Every Little Thing, with co-author, June Cotner, plus The Story I’ll Tell, Double Happiness, The Yin-Yang Sisters and the Dragon Frightful and My Sister, Alicia May. www.nancytupperling.com
Gabriel Joy Reid is a comic artist, writer, animator, and filmmaker originally from Kansas City, Kansas. They are currently a fifth-year studying Media Arts & Screen Studies at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. From superheroes to social justice, sci-fi to slice-of-life, Gabriel strives to bring joy, knowledge, and hope to anyone who reads their stories. You can find more of their work at gabrielcreatesart.com
Heidi didn’t want to be a writer when she grew up. In fact, after she graduated from college, she became a probation officer in Florida. It wasn’t until she was 28 years old that she gave in and joined the family business, publishing her first short story in a book called Famous Writers and Their Kids Write Spooky Stories. The famous writer was her mom, author Jane Yolen. Since then, she has published more than thirty-five books and numerous short stories and poems, mostly for children. Heidi lives and writes on a big old farm in Massachusetts that she shares with one very large cat who lives inside, and a dozen deer, a family of bears, three coyotes, two bobcats, a gray fox, tons of birds, and some very fat groundhogs who live outside. Once a year she calls owls for the Audubon Christmas Bird Count.