SCBWI

Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Regional Team

SCBWI regions are run by member volunteers like you! Several lead the region, while many more volunteer in their counties, at conferences, and at local events. When you volunteer, you learn more about the industry and your craft. Join us! Contact any of us to volunteer.

 

 

Co-Regional Advisor

Dean GlosterDean Gloster

Dean Gloster is a young adult and middle-grade writer who lives in Berkeley, California. His contemporary YA debut Dessert First is out from Simon Pulse. He has an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. His checkered past includes stand-up comedy, being a lawyer for decades, and being a law clerk for two U.S. Supreme Court Justices. His hobbies include downhill ski racing and Aikido. He is thrilled and honored to be a co-RA for the San Francisco North & East Bay Region effective January 1, 2021. deangloster.com

 


Co-Regional Advisor

Merriam SaundersMerriam Saunders

Merriam Saunders is a psychotherapist by day and author by night while shepherding three kids to adulthood in between. Her three published titles to date include the picture books My Whirling, Twirling Motor and My Wandering, Dreaming Mind (Magination Press), and the middle-grade novel Trouble with a Tiny T (Capstone), which all deal with ADHD. Merriam is also the co-founder of www.ANovelMind.com, a blog and database of mental health and neurodiversity in kidlit. When she’s not writing, she’s learning a new language, playing the ukulele, crocheting, traveling, and loving up her kids, hubby, and dogs. merriamsbooks.com 

 

Co-Assistant Regional Advisor

Natasha YimNatasha Yim

Natasha Yim is the author of six picture books: Otto’s Rainy Day (Charlebridge Publishing, 2000); Cixi, The Dragon Empress (Goosebottom Books, 2011); Sacajawea of the Shoshone (Goosebottom Books, 2012); Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2014); The Rock Maiden (Wisdom Tales Press, 2017); and Mulan’s Lunar New Year (Disney Press, 2018). She has written for the children’s magazines, Highlights for Children, Faces, Appleseeds, and Muse, and is a regular contributor to Mendocino Arts Magazine. Natasha is currently working on a couple of picture book projects and two middle-grade novels.

 

Co-Assistant Regional Advisor / 2021 Conference Co-Coordinator

Nadia SalomonNadia Salomon

Nadia Salomon is the author of Goodnight Ganesha (Philomel, 2021). A graduate of Emerson College with a degree in Journalism and Public Policy, she has worked as a television journalist and freelanced for The Boston Globe. Now, Nadia writes picture book, middle-grade, and graphic novel manuscripts with themes of South Asian and Caribbean culture, STEM, non-fiction, and humor. Nadia is the winner of the 2020 SCBWI Service Award and the 2019 SCBWI WOOP Honor Award for work of outstanding progress for her non-fiction, picture book manuscript, Myrlie: A Voice of Hope.  Her work is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Photo courtesy of Di Starr.) www.nadiasalomon.com

 

Illustrator Regional Advisor

Kamela PortugesKamela Portuges

Kamela Portuges is a co-founder of Images In Motion Inc., www.imagesmedia.com, a company that specializes in puppetry for TV and film, where she creates content and is the production designer. She is also a children’s book author and illustrator. Kamela works in many mediums; from writing and illustration to video and 3D design. Her sculptural work can be seen in various films including the marionettes for the cult classic “Being John Malkovich.” Kamela has a BS in Business and Marketing, and an MA in Theater and Marketing.

 

Illustrator Meeting Coordinator

Valery LarsonValery Larson

Val studied classical realism at Atelier Lack in Minneapolis, Minnesota and The Art Academy in St. Paul, Minnesota, and taught illustration to children at the Art Academy. She has worked as an illustrator in the Middle East and for traditional publishers and self-published authors in the U.S and England, including the writing and illustration of a picture book for singer, Tony Bennett (Tony’s Happy Heart), and for Fairmont San Francisco (Phoebe at Fairmont San Francisco). Val is currently focused on putting as much love as she can into her own picture books as well as illustration for other freelance projects. She lives and works in a little cottage in the Redwoods in Sonoma County with her husband, a big white dog and a couple of cats, one of whom thinks he is a dog. www.zhibit.org/crosseyeddog

 

Speaker Coordinator 

Illona BrayIllona Bray

Ilona Bray believes that the boundaries between magic and real life are not quite clear, as explored in her first published children’s book, Mossby’s Magic Carpet Handbook. (See www.ilonabraylit.com) Her day job is an eminently practical one, however, as author/editor of how-to law books and articles for Nolo, in Berkeley. She is trying her hand at kids’ book manuscripts across the age spectrum: PB, MG, and YA. And she has enjoyed various volunteer roles with SCBWI, from bookstore helper (eek, math!) to food coordinator (ah, guaranteed gluten-free snacks).

 

Social Media Coordinator

Emily BattagliaEmily Battaglia

Emily Battaglia is a storyteller at heart, and she’s been able to parlay that skill in to several jobs: high school history teacher, educational video game writer, professional singer, online learning developer, and one of those is not true. (She can’t sing, not even a little.) She loves to travel and enjoy nature whenever possible, but reading anything she can get her hands on and writing young adult historical fiction are her true passions. Emily lives in Northern California with her husband, son, and elderly Jack Russell Terrier.

 

Social Media Coordinator

Carrie SalazarCarrie Salazar

Carrie is a visual storyteller and driven to tell her own story, or other people’s stories, through art. She gets her inspiration from dreams, history, people, events, and her mischievous childhood in the South. The daughter of immigrants and born in the New Orleans, Carrie now lives and works in Berkeley, CA. carriesalazar.com

 

Tapestry of Voices Co-Coordinator

L.M. QuraishiL. Michelle Quraishi

Raised by a Pakistani father and American mother in the small town of Half Moon Bay, California, L. Michelle Quraishi grew up searching for identity, belonging, and connection in books. Her experiences with straddling multiple cultures drive her commitment to exploring cultural edges and understanding. An SCBWI member since 2013, she’s written numerous picture books and is currently working on a middle-grade novel in verse. She now lives with her husband, two children and mother in Walnut Creek, California Learn more at www.lmquraishi.com.

 

Tapestry of Voices Co-Coordinator

Natasha TripplettNatasha Tripplett

Natasha Tripplett loves to find the beauty in all things around her. She uses her words to help readers experience the details that make life rich. Natasha has written many picture books and has been published in various magazines. As a black woman, raised in a white family by way of adoption, Natasha has a unique perspective on issues of race and claiming one’s identity. Along with her husband and four children, Natasha lives in Dublin, California. 

 

Equity and Inclusion Award Co-Coordinator

Meera SriramMeera Sriram

Meera Sriram grew up in India and moved to the U.S in 1999. An electrical engineer in the past, she now enjoys writing for children, leading early literacy initiatives, and advocating for diverse bookshelves. Meera is the author of #OwnVoices picture books The Yellow Suitcase and A Gift For Amma. She has also co-authored several kids’ books in India. Meera believes in the transformative power of stories and likes to write on people, places, and experiences less visible in children’s literature. Find out more at meerasriram.com.

 

Equity and Inclusion Award Co-Coordinator

Vanitha SankaranVanitha Sankaran

Vanitha Sankaran is both a medical communications director working in rare diseases and a novelist. Her debut novel, Watermark, was a work of adult historical fiction; she has since written a YA contemporary fantasy and is working on a YA cross between science fiction and the history of slavery. She was a co-founding editor of the literary journal flashquake for its 10-year run and has served multiple times as the Conference and Program Chair for the Historical Novel Society of North America’s Biannual Conference. She currently lives with her husband and greyhounds in Moss Beach, California. Learn more at www.vanithasankaran.com/

 

New Member Welcome and CritConnect Critique Group Coordinator

Nanette HeffernanNanette Heffernan

Nanette spends her days writing middle-grade eco-adventure stories, blogging (crunchywisdom.com), homesteading, and volunteering. She draws on her education as an MBA, certified Master Gardener, and Sustainability Consultant, to grow over half her family’s food, run the District Green Team for her local school district, and sit as VP on the board of Sustainable Lafayette. She is pleased to share her efforts have earned her three Environmental Awards of Excellence. Nanette lives in Northern California with her husband, three children, eight chickens, and cast of characters from her books who she chatters with daily. nanetteheffernan.com

 

Sonoma County North Bay Meeting Coordinator

Jennifer AlvarezJennifer Lynn Alvarez

Jennifer Lynn Alvarez is the author of middle grade fantasy novels for children. She received her degree in English from UC Berkeley. The Healdsburg Literary Guild selected her as the 2019/20 Literary Laureate for her work on building literacy in her community. She also sits on the Sonoma County Library Advisory Board and is a member of SCBWI.

 

Marin County Meeting Co-Coordinator

Jennifer GennariJennifer Gennari

Jennifer Gennari is the author of Muffled (Simon & Schuster, 2020) and My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2012), a Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year selection and American Library Association Rainbow List title. A graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts and an SCBWI member since 1999, she loves poetry, reading, biking, and kayaking. She lives on a houseboat and shares updates on her writing and waterfront life @JenGenn and at www.jengennari.com.

 

Marin County Meeting Co-Coordinator

Michael GenhartMichael Genhart, PhD

Michael Genhart, PhD is the author of nine picture books including his most recent: Accordionly: Abuelo and Opa Make Music (Magination Press, 2020), Rainbow: A First Book of Pride (Magination Press, 2019), and Love is Love (Sourcebooks, 2018). Two more picture books release in 2021: May Your Life Be Deliciosa (Cameron Kids) and They’re So Flamboyant! (Magination Press). His books are inspired by his work as a clinical psychologist, being a gay dad, and growing up in a multicultural family. Michael lives with his husband in Mill Valley, and their daughter is a teacher in Washington State. He is represented by Nicole Geiger, Full Circle Literary. www.michaelgenhart.com.

 

Solano and Napa Counties Coordinator

Pamela HerronPamela Herron

Pamela is a poet, writer, educator, and gardener living in the North Bay Area of California. She is interested in issues of sustainability and diversity. She teaches and writes about China, Chinese culture, and Confucianism and Daoism and their relevance to today’s culture. Follow Pamela’s blog at Books for Children and Young People; find her books for adults on her Amazon page.

 

Contra Costa County Meeting Co-Coordinator

Genevieve “Gennie” Gorback.Genevieve “Gennie” Gorback

Genevieve “Gennie” Gorback has a Masters of Education in Teaching from UC Santa Barbara. When she is not writing/revising/critiquing picture book manuscripts, she is an early literacy curriculum writer/app developer, a toy designer, and the President of the California Kindergarten Association (2021-2023). She lives in the East Bay with her husband and two young daughters. Gennie is not-yet-published and is currently querying agents. Twitter: @kindlingeducat1 IG: @myfavoritebooksforkids Website: www.kindling-education.com 

 

 

Alameda County Meeting Co-Coordinator

Annemarie O'BrienAnnemarie O’Brien

Annemarie O’Brien is the author of the award-winning middle-grade novel, Lara’s Gift (Knopf, 2013). She has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and teaches writing courses at UC Berkeley, Stanford, and Pixar. She is the founder of the blogs, World Reads and Dog Reads, which post author interviews about books set outside the United States and feature dogs, respectively. Annemarie has an MBA in international business which paved a path to working overseas in Russia, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, and Bosnia where some of her stories are set. When Annemarie isn’t writing, she’s carting her daughters to soccer games or taking long walks with her borzoi dogs. annemarieobrienauthor.com

 

Alameda County Meeting Coordinator

Colleen RiordanColleen Riordan

Originally from the Midwest, Colleen Riordan has bounced from coast to coast, using a variety of styles and media to tell her stories. In her YA and MG fiction, she enjoys writing political intrigue, subverting tropes, and exploring the meaning of family. Colleen is a past winner of the Young Adult Writer Mentorship from the SCBWI Wisconsin Chapter. When she isn’t writing, Colleen is a book marketing consultant for Wild Ink Marketing, where she specializes in children’s books. WildInkMarketing.com

 

Mendocino County Meeting Coordinator

Terri NicholsonTerri Nicholson

Terri wrote her first story, a science fiction piece about Martians, in fourth grade. Unfortunately, her teacher was more interested in fine penmanship than an engaging plot. Eventually, her interest in writing and the teaching profession came together. She has spent most of her career sharing her love of literature and joy in the art of writing with young people. She was a teacher-consultant for the Redwood Writing Project and co-taught several summer writing intensives for teachers. She has written one historical novel, Enter Emma, and is at work on the sequel. She also writes memoir, mostly about her adventures learning Chinese and studying Buddhism with a Buddhist monk from Manchuria.

 

Website Co-Coordinator

Kathy UrbanKathleen Kull Urban

Kathy enjoys writing wacky, funny, and sweet stories for readers of board books, picture books, nonfiction, and middle grade novels. She’s published in Highlights for Children, Spider, Babybug, Humpty Dumpty’s Magazine, newspapers, websites, and anthologies. When she’s not writing, Kathy volunteers for Guide Dogs for the Blind (the first puppy she raised is guiding a veteran in Hawaii), tutors an adult ESL student for Project Second Chance, creates fabric art through quilting, and bakes outrageously delicious cakes and cookies for family and friends. kathleenkullurban.com

 

Website Co-Coordinator

Trish HenryTrish Henry

Trish has a BFA in Video and an MFA in Writing. She writes science fiction and fantasy stories for children and adults. She also paints eyeball aliens, dragons, and Godzilla! She taught video at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, and has worked in and around the web for 20 years. Claim to fame: In 2005 she traveled to England to meet Diana Wynne Jones. Talk about a fangirl! Find her on Facebook.