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

Machille Legoullon

Shells Legoullon is a young adult author from Northern California where she owns and operates an indoor trampoline park. She’s been an active member of SCBWI for nearly 14 years and is published in Chicken Soup for the Child’s Soul and Chicken Soup for the Runner’s Soul. Shells is represented by the talented Stephen Fraser with the Jennifer De Chiara Agency where her YA Futuristic Thriller, PULSE, is currently out on submission. She is honored to take on the role of Co-RA for the San Francisco North & East Bay Region effective September 1, 2018. 




Co-Regional Advisor

Lisa Schulman

“L.B. Schulman” writes for middle grade and young adult readers. She has published two YA novels. The most recent, STOLEN SECRETS (Boyds Mills Press, 2017) was named a Notable Selection by the Sydney Taylor Book Awards. STOLEN SECRETS is about a 16-year-old who finds Holocaust journal entries in her grandmother’s home, leading her to suspect a shocking link to Anne Frank. Her debut title, LEAGUE OF STRAYS (Abrams, 2012), explores the ways we respond to bullying. She is also a Co-Regional Advisor of the San Francisco North and Easy Bay region, residing in Marin County with her husband and two daughters.To learn more, please visit






Co-Assistant Regional Advisor

Natasha Yim

Natasha Yim is the author of five 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); and The Rock Maiden (Wisdom Tales Press, 2017). 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 / 2019 Conference Co-Coordinator

Nadia Salomon

She graduated from Emerson College with a degree in Journalism and Public Policy. She started her career as a videographer and t.v. reporter in Fairbanks, Alaska with her hedgehog, Pavorotti. She covered news across South Carolina, Mississippi and Massachusetts, and freelanced for The Boston Globe. Now, she writes picture books and incorporates the life lessons she’s learning from her feisty beta, Brightfin into the her stories. (Photo courtesy of Di Starr.)


Speaker Coordinator 

Illona 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 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 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.



Regional Illustrator Coordinator

Julie Bayless

Julie has a BA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and a BFA in Animation/Illustration from San Jose State University.  Prior to delving full-time into writing and illustrating picture books, she worked for Electronic Arts and freelance as an animator.  She has won three “Best Portfolio” awards at SCBWI conferences in the past two years, and her debut picture book, “Roar!”, will be published by Running Press in 2015.



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Illustrator Meeting Co-Coordinator

Susan Szecsi

Susan is a a freelance illustrator, 2D artist living in Berkeley, CA. She was traditionally trained in two prestigious art studios in Hungary where she happily immersed herself in fine art and teaching until a few years ago she fell in love with illustrating. Susan has lived in four continents and works with clients from all over the world like Oxford Designers and Illustrators, UC San Francisco, or TSI Lab from Hamburg. Susan holds an MA in English Language and Literature. She is a proud owner of


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Illustrator Meeting Co-Coordinator

Anna Cosper

Anna Cosper studied illustration at CABK Art Academy in the Netherlands. She created stop-motion animation for television and galleries before becoming involved in puppet theater productions in the Netherlands and abroad. Currently Anna is based in Berkeley, California where she is writing and illustrating children’s books.




Social Media Coordinator

Carrie 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.





Sonoma County North Bay Meeting Coordinator

Colleen Dwire

Colleen studied literature and illustration at UC Berkeley and is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature. She is a printmaker and is on the path to write and illustrate picture books. Adventures of the Hotel Sisters (2015), a middle-grade book by local author Sandy Baker is her first published collaboration. She loves to make art and to print letterpress editions on her Vandercook press.



Colleen Dwire

Marin County Meeting Co-Coordinator

Merriam Saunders

Merriam loves to weave a bit of magic and twists into her stories. Although she started writing YA, it is her middle grades and a picture book that her rockstar agent is currently hustling while she waits (and waits) for good news. She peels herself off her computer only to soccer-mom her three kids (well, only 2 now. One’s in college) and to shrink heads as a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in her office in Kentfield. She works mostly with families that have kids with ADHD & Autism, and (shocker!) that’s what a lot of her books wind up being about. Fun facts: she is addicted to crochet, grew up in the Boston area, used to manage the Ansel Adams Trust, lived in Japan and France, is a dual Italian citizen, and her dog, Lucky, vastly prefers her husband. 



Merriam Saunders

Marin County Meeting Co-Coordinator

Jennifer Gennari

Jennifer Gennari, a SCBWI member since 1999, is the author of 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, she loves poetry, reading, biking, and kayaking. She lives on a houseboat and shares updates on her writing and waterfront life @JenGenn and at



Contra Costa County Meeting Coordinator

Zainab Khan

Zainab has a BA from Boston University. A former elementary and preschool teacher, she scribbles quirky, interactive picture books in her journal. She also writes about multiculturalism, social injustice, poverty, disability and loss–all issues dear to her heart. At night, when the world lays dreaming and the veil to the heart is lifted, Zainab pens poetry emanating from the throes of her soul. When not writing, she enjoys traveling the globe with her husband and two kids.



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Contra Costa County Meeting Co-Coordinator

Jillian Michel

Jillian Michel is a fourth-generation writer, though it took her until she was nearly thirty to realize storytelling was her true obsession. Her great-grandfather was a playwright – one of the four men who started the Friar’s Club in New York City. Jillian has two small children with her husband, and they live in Northern California, where Jillian works full time as a docket supervisor for a patent law firm.



Alameda County Meeting Co-Coordinator

Annemarie 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.



Conference and Intensives Registrar

Louise Henriksen

Baby chicks, butterflies, flowers and finches are a few of Louise’s favorite things. She can be described as a farmer’s daughter, a farmer, a dietitian, a software product manager, a business owner, a writer, an artist, and an aspiring illustrator. She is always learning!  Louise has an MS, MBA and is working on a third master’s degree. Louise’s writing and art focuses on nature and farm fun.




New Member Welcome and CritConnect Critique Group Coordinator

Nanette Heffernan

Nanette spends her days writing middle grade eco-adventure stories, blogging (, homesteading, and volunteering. She draws on her education as a 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.



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Alameda County Meeting Coordinator

Colleen 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.
Mendocino County Meeting Coordinator

Terri 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

Kathleen Kull Urban

Kathy is published in Highlights for Children, Spider, Babybug, Humpty Dumpty’s Magazine, and local newspapers and websites. She enjoys writing stories for young readers of board books, rhyming picture books, nonfiction, and middle grade novels.  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.