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Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators



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It’s Season 2 of our Podcasts!

Episode 13: A conversation with Mike Curato

Mike Curato is the award-winning author/illustrator of Little Elliot picture book series, as well as the illustrator of Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian, the All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle. Mike tells us about his career journey, what it took to get his portfolio ready, and how SCBWI changed everything…

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Episode 12: A conversation with Cheryl Klein

Cheryl speaks of the insights she’s gained as an editor, the importance of diverse voices, the publishing and writing sides to the question “who can write what?”, telling the story of your heart, and her own books, the writing craft “The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults” and the picture books “Things with Wings” and “Thunder Trucks.”

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Episode 11: A conversation with Nancy Paulsen

Nancy shared about her vision, her list, the process of revision for Middle Grade novels, what goes into publishing a picture book, and much more!

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Episode 10: A Conversation with Raúl Colón

Raul discussed his inspirations, from comic books to the impressionists, dives deep into his process, discusses digital versus analog methods of creating art, offers his advice to illustrators still trying to find their unique style, and much more!

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Episode 9: A Conversation with Jennifer Laughran

Covering Jennifer’s running start as a (now senior) agent at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, the importance of sharing a vision with her author and illustrator clients, the elements of building a career, the years behind some “overnight successes,” and much more!

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Episode 8: A Conversation with Stephanie Garber

Stephanie Garber SCBWI Podcast logo

Covering Stephanie’s publishing journey, her writing process, and the success of her debut YA fantasy that hit the New York Times Bestseller list, Caraval.

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Episode 7: A Conversation with Javaka Steptoe


Covering Javaka’s art education (both in-school and out) as well as his creative process and the role of curiosity, Theo Baker’s conversation with Caldecott-winning, Coretta Scott King Award-winning, and New York Times Bestselling author/illustrator Javaka Steptoe is not to be missed!

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Episode 6: A Conversation with Zareen Jaffery


Spanning the challenges of being an editor, thoughts on world-building and character, and insight into the founding of the Salaam Reads imprint, Zareen Jaffery’s conversation with Theo Baker overflows with her passion for increasing the diversity of children’s literature and smart advice about how to be part of the solution.

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Episode 5: A Conversation with Sean Qualls


Covering Sean’s journey to becoming a children’s book creator, what inspired him, and how his own style evolved. Award-winning children’s book illustrator, artist, and author Sean Qualls’ one-on-one conversation with Theo Baker is packed with insights about his process, his collaborations, and much more.

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Episode 4: A Conversation with Allyn Johnston

Podcast_Allyn Johnston

Covering the questions Allyn asks of each project, and the lessons she’s learned as an editor and publisher. Vice-President and Publisher of Beach Lane Books Allyn Johnston’s one-on-one conversation with Theo Baker is filled with wisdom, and stories of Beach Lane Book’s authors and illustrators.

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Episode 3: A Conversation with Neal Porter


Covering how a background in theater paid off in picture books, the many different roles of an editor, the business of children’s books… and where it’s going! Join Neal Porter, Editorial Director of Neal Porter Books at MacMillan’s Roaring Brook Press, in a one-on-one conversation with Theo Baker.

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Episode 2: A Conversation with Julie Strauss-Gabel


Covering the apprenticeship process of becoming an editor, the importance of YA, what makes it on her own list, the surprising book she read as an 8th grader that changed everything… and much more! Join President and Publisher of Dutton Books, Julie Strauss-Gabel, in a one-on-one conversation with Theo Baker.

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Episode 1: A Conversation with Linda Sue Park 


Covering poetry, revision, her process, #WeNeedDiverseBooks, and so much more! Join Newbery Award-Winning Author Linda Sue Park in a one-on-one conversation with Theo Baker.

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Season 1:


Episode 11: Jordan Brown

Jordan Brown is Executive Editor, Walden Pond Press & Balzer + Bray, at HarperCollins Children’s Books. He has worked with such esteemed authors and illustrators as Jon Scieszka, Anne Ursu, Gris Grimly, Steve Brezenoff, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Chris Rylander, Erin McGuire, and Laura Ruby. In this podcast Jordan discusses diversity, the state of publishing, and his road to publishing.


Episode 10: Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander is the Newbery Award winning author of The Crossover. In this is podcast, Kwame discusses developing a love of poetry in school, working trade shows for his father’s independent publishing company, and why he chose the writerly life.



Episode 9: Emma Dryden

Emma Dryden is the founder of drydenbks, a premier children’s editorial and publishing consultancy firm. Emma has edited over a thousand books for children and young readers and many of her titles hit bestseller lists in USA Today, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Publishers Weekly. In this podcast Emma chats about how a creative upbringing shaped her life and career, and provides her expertise on editing for authors.


Episode 8: Ellen Hopkins

Ellen Hopkins is a poet and the award-winning author of ten New York Times best-selling young adult novels-in-verse and two adult novels. Her eleventh YA, Rumble, published in 2014; and her third adult novel, Tangled, recently released in spring 2015. She is a current SCBWI Board member. Learn more about her literary upbringing, writing inspiration, and methods of craft in this episode.


Episode 7: Jack Gantos

Jack Gantos has written books for readers of all ages, from picture books and middle grade fiction to novels for young adults and adults. His works include Hole in My Life, a memoir that won the Michael L. Printz and Robert F. Sibert honors; Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, a National Book Award Finalist, Joey Pigza Loses Control, a Newbery Honor book, and Dead End in Norvelt, the 2012 Newbery Award Winner, and the Scott O’Dell Award Winner for Best Historic Fiction. In this wide-ranging conversation, Jack Gantos delves into the heart of his craft, dispensing everything from practical writing tips to his thoughts on the fundamentals of why children read and why we write for them.
Episode 6: Pat Cummings 

Pat Cummings is the author/illustrator of over thirty-five books for young readers. She also edited the award-winning series, Talking With Artists, which profiles prominent children’s book illustrators. She teaches at Parsons and Pratt, and her children’s book illustration class has a growing number of notable illustrator/authors among its graduates. Pat serves on the SCBWI Board as well as on the boards of the Authors Guild, the Authors League Fund, The Authors Guild Foundation, and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. In this podcast, Pat talks about growing up on a military base in Germany, her career as an author and illustrator, her creative process and adapting to change: “you’ve got to swim in the water the way you find it.”



Episode 5: Gill Evans

Gill Evans is an editorial director at Walker Books. She began her publishing career in 1980 at Heinemann Educational Books before moving on to Reed Children’s Books, where she worked on BlytonTintin, Winnie the Pooh, Miffy, the Little Prince, and Babar. She entered the world of digital publishing in 1997 with Ahlberg’s Jolly Postman, one of the earliest CD-ROMs. In 2000 she became Head of Publishing at Random House Children’s Books. She joined Walker Books in 2003 as Editorial Director and Fiction Publisher. Here she talks with Lin Oliver about the role of the editor in the life of a work of art, the changing publishing landscape, “360 degree publishing,” self-publishing and the future of bookselling.

Episode 4: Laurie Halse Anderson 

Laurie Halse Anderson is the New York Times best-selling children’s book author known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity.   Her work has earned numerous American Library Association and state awards. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists. Chains also made the Carnegie Medal shortlist in the United Kingdom. Laurie was the proud recipient of the 2011 Free Speech Defender Award given by the National Coalition Against Censorship and presented to her by her hero, Judy Blume. In this episode of Conversations she talks about her writing path and the issue of diversity in children’s literature.


Episode 3: Arthur A. Levine 

Lin Oliver talks with Arthur A. Levine, vice president and publisher of Arthur A. Levine Books, an Imprint of Scholastic Inc. While Levine has edited and published exceptional books for children of all ages including Erin Bow’s Sorrow’s Knot, Alan Say’s The Favorite Daughter, Jaclyn Moriarty’s A Corner Of White and Alaya Dawn Johnson’s The Summer Prince, he is perhaps most recognized as co-editor of the Harry Potter series by J. K Rowling. Levine is the author of A Very Beary Tooth Fairy, illustrated by Sarah Brannen, and Monday Is One Day, illustrated by Julian Hector. He takes special pleasure in launching the careers of authors he’s met through SCBWI.


Episode 2: Matt de la Peña 

In the second episode of SCBWI’s Conversations, we talk with author Matt de la Peña author of the young adult novels Ball Don’t Lie, Mexican White Boy, We Were Here, I Will Save You and his latest, The Living.


Episode 1: Melissa Manlove

In the first episode of SCBWI’s Conversations, we talk with editor Melissa Manlove, of Chronicle Books, about picture books, mythology, poetry and the power of the spoken word, and the life and work of a picture book editor.


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