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

Shells LegoullonMachille 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 SchulmanLisa 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 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 / 2019 Conference Co-Coordinator

Nadia SalomonNadia Salomon

Nadia Salomon graduated from Emerson College with a degree in Journalism and Public Policy. She started her career as a videographer and TV reporter in Fairbanks, Alaska with her hedgehog, Pavorotti. She covered news across South Carolina, Mississippi and Massachusetts, and freelanced for The Boston Globe. Now, Nadia 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 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 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.


Regional Illustrator Coordinator

Julie BaylessJulie 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. Julie has published picture book, Roar! (Running Press, 2015) and illustrated Crawly School for Bugs, by David L. Harrison (Penguin Random House, 2018).


Illustrator Meeting Co-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.

Illustrator Meeting Co-Coordinator

Kamela PortugesKamela Portuges

Kamela Portuges is a co-founder of Images In Motion Inc.,, 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.


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.


Sonoma County North Bay Meeting Coordinator

Colleen DwireColleen 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.


Marin County Meeting Co-Coordinator

Merriam SaundersMerriam 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, CA. 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 U.S. and Italian citizen, and her dog, Lucky, vastly prefers her husband. Merriam’s book My Whirling Twirling Motor (Magination Press, 2019), will be coming out in March. 


Marin County Meeting Co-Coordinator

Jennifer GennariJennifer 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


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

Zainab KhanZainab 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.



Contra Costa County Meeting Co-Coordinator

Aimee HaburjakAimee Haburjak

Once a practicing veterinarian, Aimee experienced the wild world of animals from fleas to African wild dogs to cheetahs. Now residing in Northern California, she explores the wild world of pictures books with her four semi-wild children, veterinary husband and menagerie of pets. SCBWI, 12 x 12 and CBI member, Aimee enjoys the wonder also found in the writing community and picture book courses.

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.


Conference and Intensives Registrar

Louise HenriksenLouise 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 HeffernanNanette Heffernan

Nanette spends her days writing middle-grade eco-adventure stories, blogging (, 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.


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.


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.


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.