AUTHOR ISRAEL ADVENTURE
Jonathan Auxier is the New York Times bestselling author of strange stories for strange kids. His books include the Peter Nimble series and The Night Gardener, which won the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award. His new book, Sweep: The Story of a Girl and her Monster, was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2018 and won the 2019 NCTE Charlotte Huck Award for Outstanding Fiction for Children. Jonathan is an avid yo-yo player and board gamer. He grew up in Canada but currently lives in Pittsburgh.
Ariel Bernstein has the voice of an owl, a monkey, and a boy with a dragon for a pet. In other words, she's a children's book author. Ariel's debut picture book, I Have a Balloon, illustrated by Scott Magoon, is a Fall 2017 Junior Library Guild Selection. Her debut chapter book series, Warren & Dragon, illustrated by Mike Malbrough, is called "adorable fun for chapter book newbies" by Kirkus Reviews. Ariel lives in New Jersey with her family, a highly energetic cat, and the occasional deer in the backyard.
Emma Carlson Berne
Emma Carlson Berne is the author of the YA novels Still Waters and Never Let You Go, and many other titles. She has written for Simon & Schuster, American Girl Publishing, Alloy Media and Capstone Publishing, among others. Emma recently authored a Star Wars series called Forces of Destiny (Disney Lucasfilm, 2018), despite never having seen all the Star Wars movies. (Isn’t that what research is for?) Emma often ghostwrites YA thrillers and romances, as well as writing articles for Scholastic’s Geography Spin magazine and occasionally, song lyrics. She was the 2018 Writer-in-Residence for the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Emma lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband (whom she met while living in Jerusalem) and three little boys.
Adam Jay Epstein
Adam Jay Epstein spent his childhood in Great Neck, New York, when he wasn't aboard his father's sailboat. He spent many days sitting in the neighborhood park, traveling to fantasy lands in his head (occasionally when he was supposed to be doing his homework). In college, he circled the world on a ship, visiting Brazil, Kenya, India and China (but not Israel.) He is the author of Snared: Escape to the Above, which was given a starred review from Publisher's Weekly and honored as a Junior Library Guild Selection. He is the co-author of the internationally bestselling middle-grade fantasy series The Familiars, and the middle-grade sci-fi series Starbounders. He has written film and television projects for Disney, Sony, Fox, MGM, Paramount, MTV, SYFY, and HULU. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, two daughters, and dog, Pixel.
Debra Garfinkle has published 32 chapter books, middle-grade novels, and YA novels, mostly humorous and mostly under the names D.L. Green or D.L. Garfinkle. Her book Storky: How I Lost My Nickname and Won the Girl received a Publishers Weekly starred review. Debra practices law in Newport Beach, California and writes fiction ridiculously early in the morning. She is a mother of three and a very recent empty-nest-er.
Donna Gephart is a vegetarian book-nerd who recently moved from South Florida to Haddonfield, NJ to be near family. She shares a home office with her hubby and canine assistant, Benji — the world’s sweetest retriever mix. She loves exploring nature, kayaking, hiking, biking, reading, writing and playing the occasional game of Scrabble. She usually plays well with others. Donna Gephart's novel Death by Toilet Paper was awarded the Sydney Taylor Silver Medal in the Older Readers category and is a PJ Our Way selection.
Adam Gidwitz was a teacher for eight years. Now, he writes full time, which means he writes a couple of hours a day and lies on his couch staring at the ceiling the rest of the time. He is the New York Times bestselling author of the children's books A Tale Dark and Grimm and its companions, as well as The Empire Strikes Back: So You Want to Be a Jedi. Since receiving a Newbery Honor for his middle grade novel, The Inquisitor's Tale in 2017, Adam has been collaborating with other authors on a brand-new adventure series called The Unicorn Rescue Society. The fourth installment, The Chupacabras of the Río Grande, debuts April 16th. And if that isn’t enough, Adam is the creator GRIMM, GRIMMER, GRIMMEST, a podcast from Pinna, which was the #1 show for kids on Apple Podcasts when it debuted in October.
Eric A. Kimmel
Eric A. Kimmel, a five-time winner of the National Jewish Book Award, is the author of more than 130 books for children, including the Hanukkah classic Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins. Eric and his wife Doris live in Portland, Oregon. When not writing, Eric is either on his bike or underwater, having just earned his Open Water Scuba Diving Certification.
Leslie Kimmelman is the author of many dozens of picture books for children, quite a few with Jewish themes. Her Everybody Says Shalom was a Sydney Taylor Honor Book; both The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah and Dance, Sing, Remember were Sydney Taylor Notable Books. Next on the list, coming out this spring, is The Rabbi Slurps Spaghetti. Leslie has been a children's book editor for more years than she wants to divulge, for the last twenty-plus years at Sesame Workshop. She created the new Muppet on the Street, Julia--who has autism--for the book, We're Amazing, 1, 2, 3! Sesame Workshop went on to receive a 2017 Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award for Julia and the accompanying autism initiative. Leslie grew up just outside Philadelphia, graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont, and now lives near New York City with her family.
Nancy Krulik is the author of more than 200 books for children and young adults including three New York Times bestsellers. She is best known for her chapter book series which include Katie Kazoo Switcheroo, George Brown Class Clown, Magic Bone, Princess Pulverizer and Project Droid (written with her daughter Amanda Burwasser). In addition, Nancy has written young adult romantic comedy novels and several picture books with Jewish themes including No Matzoh for Me, Penny and the Four Questions, and Is It Hanukkah Yet? When she's not writing, Nancy can be found running around Central Park with her crazy beagle mix, going to the movies, going to rock concerts (you don't even want to know how many various incarnations of the Grateful Dead shows she's attended) and of course, reading. Nancy lives in Manhattan with her husband, composer Daniel Burwasser.
Writing books for children is the only job Debbie Levy has held for more than six years. Lawyer at a big D.C. law firm: six years. Editor at a chain of legal newspapers: six years. Then she took a class at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Writing for children: Now here was a vocation with long-term potential. Since then, Debbie has written 25 books for young people, including the New York Times bestseller I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark, which won the Sydney Taylor Book Award and the National Jewish Book Award, and The Year of Goodbyes, a Kirkus Best Book and National Endowment for the Humanities “Nonfiction Favorite.” Debbie loves to kayak and fish—she is adept at filleting striped bass and perch—swim, bicycle, and throw balls for the dog, or Debbie, to “retrieve.” She and her husband, Rick Hoffman, live in Maryland. They have two grown sons. One is a jazz musician and the other is also in the book business, both in New York City.
Katherine Locke is the author of the 2018 Sydney Taylor Honor Book The Girl with the Red Balloon and The Spy with the Red Balloon. She's also a contributor to Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens edited by Marieke Nijkamp, and a co-editor and contributor to the forthcoming It's A Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes and Other Jewish Stories (Fall 2019, Knopf). She lives and writes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she's ruled by her addiction to chai lattes and her feline overlords.
Fran Manushkin is a former teacher and editor and has been a freelance writer for many years. Her latest picture book is Happy In Our Skin, which received a Publishers Weekly starred review. The first book she wrote was Baby (later retitled Baby, Come Out!). Soon after publication, it was selected by School Library Journal as the worst picture book of the year. Nevertheless, she persisted: Baby, Come Out! was later published in eight other countries and recently came out in China. Fran is also the author of Latkes and Applesauce: A Hanukkah Story, Miriam’s Cup: A Passover Story, The Matzah That Papa Brought Home, Many Days, One Shabbat, and more. Fran is a fervent reader and theatregoer and an especially fervent birdwatcher.
Leslie Margolis is the award-winning author of dozens of novels for children, including three Maggie Brooklyn mysteries, the Annabelle Unleashed series and single titles including We Are Party People, If I Were You, and Ghosted. One of her novels, Boys Are Dogs, was turned into the Disney Channel movie Zapped. Her work has been translated into many languages. Leslie has travelled across the country, speaking at schools, libraries, book festivals and graduations. She has also taught creative writing to teenagers in New York at 826nyc and in Los Angeles at Writopia. Leslie lives in Los Angeles. Her kids are eight and ten and have read and enjoyed most of her books, or at least that's what they tell her. In her free time, Leslie enjoys hiking, ping pong, yoga, and staring at the ocean.
Jonathan Rosen is a transplanted New Yorker, who now lives with his family in sunny South Florida. He spends his “free” time being a chauffeur for his three kids. Some of Jonathan’s fondest childhood memories are of discovering a really good book to dive into. Back then, it was the Choose Your Own Adventure books, but his all-time favorite is Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Jonathan is proud to be of Mexican-American descent, although neither country has been really willing to accept responsibility. He is the author of Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies, and its sequel, From Sunset Till Sunrise.
As a journalist, Madelyn Rosenberg spent a dozen years writing about colorful, real life characters. Now she makes up characters of her own. She lives in Arlington, VA, and is the author of ten books for children of all ages. Her titles include the How to Behave series, Take Care, and The Schmutzy Family, a picture-book finalist for the National Jewish Book Award and a PJ Library selection. This is Just a Test, a middle-grade novel she co-wrote with her friend Wendy Wan-Long Shang, was a Junior Library Guild selection, a PJ Our Way selection, and a Sydney Taylor honor book.
Sean Rubin was born in Brooklyn, New York. An only child, he entertained himself by collecting interesting things, learning about unusual subjects, and by drawing characters from books. He is an illustrator for the New York Times Bestselling Redwall series and of upcoming Astronaut Who Painted the Moon and Capital Magic. Sean graduated from Princeton University, where he met his wife, Lucy. They have two sons and live in Charlottesville, Virginia. Sean's masterful debut, Bolivar, received three starred reviews and was nominated for a 2018 Eisner Award. Bolivar is currently being developed as a feature film with Fox Studios.
Barney Saltzberg is the author and illustrator of Beautiful Oops!, Crazy Hair Day, Chengdu Could Not, Would Not Fall Asleep, the bestselling Touch and Feel Kisses series, and many other beloved children's books. Having written songs since he was 8 years old, Barney fell in love with a picture book after graduating art school. He realized he could combine his love for writing and illustrating to create children’s books. His 50+ titles have received multiple awards, including a Kirkus Star for Chengdu Could Not, Would Not Fall Asleep and a Parents Choice Award for Inside This Book (Are Three Books).
Laura Shovan's debut middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, won several awards including NCTE 2017 Notable Verse Novel and Arnold Adoff Poetry Award for New Voices honor book. Laura's second children's novel, Takedown, is a Junior Library Guild and PJ Library selection. Look for her next book, A Place at the Table, co-written with author/activist Saadia Faruqi, in 2020. Laura is a longtime poet-in-the-schools in her home state of Maryland. She likes to knit and draw robots.
Mark Shulman has been a JCC camp counselor, an NPR station announcer, a maitre d' in a fancy restaurant, a New York City tour guide, and for a long time, a creative advertising guy. He's written many books about many things--sharks, storms, bagels, robots, palindromes, anagrams, gorillas, dodo birds, Hamilton, Lincoln, Star Wars, how to hide stuff, how to voodoo your enemies, and how to make a video from start to finish. He's written picture books for Oscar de la Hoya (the boxer) and Shamu (the whale). Mark went to one of those high schools with metal detectors and armed guards, and he walked three miles every day in the snow, and he tells this to everyone. Especially his kids. Mark’s book Ann and Nan are Anagrams was named a Bank Street College Best Book of the Year, while Scrawl is an ALA Quickpicks choice for reluctant readers.