Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Meet our 2021-2022 Mentors

Meet our 2021-2022 Mentors


Michele Bacon loves prime numbers, tabletop games, roller derby, downhill skiing, and traveling. Always eager to immerse herself in other cultures, she’s visited all 50 states and dozens of countries. She so adores kids and young adults that she often skipped college classes to volunteer in schools. Whoops! As a child, Michele was drawn to people’s stories, and she remains eager to learn how you got that scar or fell in love. Her contemporary realistic fiction focuses on families, friends, and the complicated relationships therein. (She knows you know about complicated.) Michele’s published YA novels are Antipodes and Life Before. Visit Michele’s website at, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.


Mary Boone has ridden an elephant, jumped out of an airplane, hung out backstage with a boy band, and baked dozens of cricket cookies—all in the interest of research for her books and magazine articles. She’s written 60+ nonfiction books for young readers, ranging from inventor biographies to how-to craft guides. Her newest book, Bugs for Breakfast: How Eating Insects Could Help Save the Planet (Chicago Review Press), is scheduled for release in fall 2021. Mary, who helps coordinate SCBWI WWA’s Tacoma Network, is represented by agent Stacey Kondla of The Rights Factory. Visit Mary’s website at, and follow her on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.


Courtney Gould writes books about queer girls, ghosts, and things that go bump in the night. She graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and Publishing. Born and raised in Salem, OR, she now lives and writes in Tacoma, WA, where she continues to write love letters to the haunted girls and rural, empty spaces. The Dead and the Dark and Echo Sunset will be published in 2021 and 2022. Visit Courtney’s website at, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.


Sarah Kapit is a middle-grade author. Her debut novel, Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen!, came out from Penguin Random House in 2020, receiving three starred trade reviews. Sarah’s second novel, The Many Mysteries of the Finkel Family, will be out in March of 2021. She lives with her family in Bellevue, WA. Visit Sarah’s website at, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.


Katherine Kirkpatrick has published nine fiction and nonfiction books, including Redcoats and Petticoats, now being filmed as a family drama mini-series; The Snow Baby, a James Madison Book Award Honor Book; and Mysterious Bones, a Golden Kite Honor Book for Nonfiction, and a NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book. Redcoats and Petticoats, Keeping the Good Light, and Trouble’s Daughter are available in paperback and on Kindle. Katherine has a forthcoming title with The History Press. She recently completed the University of Washington’s two-year Advanced Fiction Writing certificate program and is eager to share what she has learned about structuring and crafting novels. Visit Katherine’s website at, check out her blog, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


Catherine Linka loves when readers confess they stayed up way too late trying to finish her book. She’s the award-winning author of three YA novels, including 2020’s What I Want You to See, the story of an art student so desperate to hold on to her scholarship that she becomes a pawn in a masterful crime. Catherine earned her M.F.A. at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and estimates she’s spent over 300 hours critiquing and being critiqued since her writing journey began. Visit Catherine’s website at, and visit her on Facebook and Instagram.


Vikram Madan grew up in India, became a techie, and eventually followed his heart into the arts. His self-illustrated book A Hatful of Dragons: And More Than 13.8 Billion Other Funny Poems (Boyds Mills & Kane, 2020) has been selected as a 2020 Best Book by Kirkus Reviews, New York Public Library, and others, and was shortlisted for the 2021–2022 Texas Bluebonnet Award. Two earlier collections, The Bubble Collector and Lord of the Bubbles, both won Moonbeam Book Awards for Children’s Poetry. Vikram’s early-reader series Bobo & Pup-Pup (Penguin Random House) launches in 2021. He is represented by Stimola Literary Studio. Visit Vikram’s website at, and follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.


Curtis Manley’s fiction and nonfiction picture books are informed by his background in poetry, science (geology), the tech industry, and technical writing and editing. Just Right: Searching for the Goldilocks Planet, his nonfiction picture book about exoplanets, won an SCBWI Golden Kite Honor and the Science Communication Award from the American Institute of Physics. He also mixes factual elements into his fictional stories, helping create picture books that entertain while making the universe a little more understandable. Curtis grew up in Pennsylvania and now lives near Seattle, WA, with his wife, their daughter, and a cat. Visit Curtis’s website at, and find him on Facebook.


Joy McCullough’s debut young-adult novel, Blood Water Paint, won the Washington State Book Award and the Pacific Northwest Book Award, as well as honors including the National Book Award longlist and finalist for the ALA Morris Award. Her debut middle-grade novel, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, is a Junior Library Guild Selection. In 2021, she’s releasing a picture book (Champ & Major: First Dogs), a middle-grade novel (Across the Pond), and a YA novel (We Are the Ashes, We Are the Fire). Visit Joy’s website at, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.


Cam Montgomery (non-binary she/her/Dad) spends her time teaching dance to queer kids, bingeing anime, tending bar and writing romancey novels. Two of her YA novels—Home and Away and By Any Means Necessary—are available now. Of late, she also finds herself the editor of a YA romance anthology—titled All Signs Point to Yes—out with Inkyard Press in winter 2022. Having ditched L.A., the transplant now lives in Seattle, WA, and has made a habit of complaining about the weather even though she secretly loves it. Visit Cam’s website at, and follow her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Goodreads.


Eric Ode is the author of 11 picture books and children’s poetry collections and co-author of four additional picture books. As a children’s songwriter, Ode has been recognized with six Parents’ Choice Awards. His lyrics have been featured on a Grammy-nominated and a Grammy-award-winning album, and his poetry has appeared in dozens of anthologies. Ode is a high-school English teacher and loves to work with and help others find their voice. His upcoming picture books include Stop That Poem! (Kane Miller Books) and Larry Gets Lost in the Library (Sasquatch Books). Visit Eric’s website at, and find him on Facebook.


Craig Orback is an award-winning children’s book illustrator in Everett, WA. He received his B.F.A. in illustration from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle in 1998 and has illustrated more than 20 book titles including Born to Draw Comics: The Story of Charles Schulz and the Creation of Peanuts, Gifts From the Enemy, and The Can Man. He also illustrates for the educational market and children’s magazines. Clients include Henry Holt Books/Macmillan, Little Brown, Scholastic, Simon and Schuster, McGraw Hill, Boy’s Life, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Lerner Publishing, Lee & Low Books, and Highlights for Kids. He has been teaching children’s book illustration for 20 years. Visit Craig’s website at, and follow him on Facebook and Instagram.


Ellie Peterson is the author-illustrator of It’s a Round, Round World! and The Reason for the Seasons from Boyds Mills Kane, and illustrator of Bea’s Bees, written by Katherine Pryor. Her work is inspired by her 18 years of teaching experience and upbringing as a biracial army brat. Ellie serves as the Equity Inclusion Coordinator for the Western Washington chapter of SCBWI and is a member of The Broadstrokes, an all-female illustration critique group. She is represented by Adria Goetz of Martin Literary Management. Her next book, How to Hug a Pufferfish will release with Roaring Brook Press in 2022. Visit Ellie’s website at, and follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.


Katherine Pryor is the author of three picture books and one board book. Her first book, Sylvia’s Spinach, sold over 50,000 copies and is widely used by school garden educators and antihunger organizations. Her second book, Zora’s Zucchini, won the 2016 Growing Good Kids Book Award. Her third book, Bea’s Bees, was called “a necessary addition to elementary library shelves” by School Library Journal. Her first board book, Hello, Garden!, releases in May 2021. She works primarily with school, library, government, and non-profit markets. She is represented by Adria Goetz of Martin Literary Management. Visit Katherine’s website at, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.


Dan Richards is a beloved children’s author known for his humorous picture books and middle-grade novels. His latest picture book, Once Upon a Goat, received a Booklist starred review and was a Junior Library Guild Selection, Amazon Best of the Month Book, and an Indie Next Selection. His first middle-grade novel, Stu Truly, was an official selection of Follett Book Fairs. Dan lives in Bothell, WA, with his wife, two kids, and two mischievous doodles. Visit Dan’s website at, and follow him on Twitter.


Will Taylor is a reader, writer, and massive middle-grade fan. He was a #DVPit mentor in 2017, a #KidsNeedMentors classroom mentor in 2019, and a guest creative-writing teacher at Garfield High School 2017–2019. His first two MG books, Maggie and Abby’s Neverending Pillow Fort and Maggie and Abby & the Shipwreck Treehouse, were published by HarperCollins Children’s in 2018 and 2019. Scholastic will publish his next books, The Language of Seabirds and Catch That Dog, in 2022. He is represented by Brent Taylor at Triada US. Visit Will’s website at, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.


Trudi Trueit writes the kinds of stories she loves to read; tales of adventure, friendship, and learning to be your own hero. A former TV news reporter and weather forecaster, Trueit has published more than 100 fiction and nonfiction books for children, including the bestselling Explorer Academy series (National Geographic), My Top Secret Dares & Don’ts, and the Secrets of a Lab Rat series (all from Simon & Schuster). Born and raised in Seattle, WA, Trudi lives in the Northwest with her husband, Bill, under the careful snoopervision of their four cats. She is represented by Rosemary Stimola. Visit Trudi’s website at, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Liz Wong was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she spent her early childhood painting and clambering about in mango trees. Winning the first-place trophy in her elementary-school poster contest encouraged her to pursue art instead of a sensible career in finance like the rest of her family. Liz is the author-illustrator of Quackers, The Goose Egg, and I Am Not a Penguin, and the illustrator of Pirate Queen: A Story of Zheng Yi Sao, written by Helaine Becker. Liz holds a B.F.A. in Art and a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Washington and currently resides in Edmonds, WA, with her husband and son. Visit Liz’s website at, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.