The Creators

Members of Picture The Books are authors, illustrators, or author/illustrators whose debut (first) picture books are being released in 2017 in the United States. To learn more about these new voices in children’s literature, check out the bios and links below.

Wondering how you can show support for debut book creators? Visit their websites, follow on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, share their book news with your friends, put their books on your Goodreads “to be read” shelf, pre-order, and check back here frequently for upcoming in-person events and signings!!

androscamilleframeCamille Andros is the author of Charlotte the Scientist is Squished, her picture book debut, illustrated by Brianne Farley (HMHKids/Clarion, March 2017). She loves asking questions and won first place in the school science fair when she was in Kindergarten. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with her husband and six children who know a little something about being squished. Visit Camille online at on Twitter @camdros, and Instagram @camilleandros.



Hannah Barnaby is a former children’s book editor and independent bookseller, and served as the first Children’s Writer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library. The author of two acclaimed young adult novels, Hannah makes her picture book debut with Bad Guy, illustrated by Mike Yamada (Simon & Schuster, May 2017), the story of a little boy who learns that being a bad guy is awesome…but it can come with consequences. In June 2017 comes Garcia & Colette Go Exploring, illustrated by Andrew Joyner (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), in which two friends journey to outer space and the deep sea and find that the best place of all is somewhere in between. Hannah lives with her family in Charlottesville, VA, where she teaches creative writing to students of all ages. You can find her online at, or on Twitter @hannahrbarnaby.

bernstienarielframeAriel Bernstein is a picture book, chapter book, and short story writer. Her debut picture book is I Have a Balloon, illustrated by Scott Magoon (Simon and Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, Fall 2017.) Monkey desperately wants Owl’s balloon and tries everything to get what he wants—this is not a book about sharing. Ariel’s debut chapter book, Warren & Dragon’s 100 Friends (Viking Children’s, Spring 2018) is a modern-day CALVIN AND HOBBES-esque tale involving a dreamy boy, his smarty-pants twin sister, and his vain dragon companion. You can find Ariel online at, or on Twitter @ArielBBooks.

colleenmarcieframeMarcie Colleen has been a teacher, an actress, and a nanny, but now she spends her days writing children’s books. Her debut picture book, Love, Triangle (Balzer+Bray/ HarperCollins, Fall 2017) is about best friends Circle and Square, and the Triangle that comes between them. It will be illustrated by Bob Shea. Marcie is also the author of the Super Happy Party Bears chapter book series (Macmillan/Imprint). She lives in San Diego, California with her husband and their mischievous sock monkey. Visit her at or on Twitter @MarcieColleen1.




Gaia Cornwall is an illustrator who loves making patterns for surface design, illustrating for children, and writing picture books. Her images can be seen in magazines, online, in logos, on various products, and even in a couple movies. Jabari Jumps is her first picture book (Candlewick Press, May 2017.) She lives in Providence, Rhode Island. You can see more of her work at


dilorenzobarabaraframeBarbara DiLorenzo is the author and illustrator of Renato and the Lion, her debut picture book (Viking Children’s Books, 2017). She studied illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design and painting at the Art Students League of New York.  She is a signature member in the New England Watercolor Society as well as the Society of Illustrators. Currently she teaches at the Arts Council of Princeton, and is co-president of the Children’s Book Illustrators Group of New York. Barbara is represented by Rachel Orr of the Prospect Agency. Visit her at, or catch her on Twitter @wavepaint.


Anna Forrester has taught kindergarten and second grade, and designs landscapes for play. She writes picture books, chapter books and middle grade novels. Anna’s debut picture book, Bat Count (Arbordale, Spring 2017), is a ‘ficinformational’ story of bats, citizen science and hope. Anna loves books and she loves exploring – in Philadelphia where she lives, in rural Pennsylvania on her family’s farm, and in all the places her adventures take her. Visit Anna on line at, on Twitter @annaforr, on Facebook at anna.v.forrester, and on Pinterest at Anna Forrester.


gallaherjasonframeJason Gallaher is a picture book and middle grade writer who loves to create stories that mix the flamboyantly wacky with the slightly dark. His debut picture book, WHOBERT WHOVER, OWL DETECTIVE, releases on July 18, 2017, from Margaret K. McElderry Books. When not writing, Jason zips about Austin, Texas, with his Pomeranian, Pom Brokaw. He loves dinosaurs, unicorns, dinosaurs riding unicorns, and Anjelica Huston. Jason is a self-described Hufflepuff, and he is actively looking for an Andalite friend. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @draftingjason, or visit him on YouTube.



Alison Goldberg writes books for children. Her debut picture book, I Love You for Miles and Miles (Farrar Straus Giroux, December 2017), illustrated by Mike Yamada, is a love book for kids who love trucks and trains. Learn more at or on Twitter @alisongoldberg.




higginscarterframeCarter Higgins is a librarian at a K-6 independent school in Los Angeles. This is Not a Valentine is her debut picture book (Chronicle Books, Fall 2017). Her middle grade novel also debuts in 2017, A Rambler Steals Home (HMH, February 28, 2017). She is an Emmy-winning visual effects and motion graphics artist. Carter writes about picture books and graphic design at her blog, Design of the Picture Book, and is a team member of All the Wonders, a home for readers to experience the stories they love in wondrous ways. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @carterhiggins.



Jannie Ho is the author/illustrator of her debut picture book, Bear and Chicken (Running Press Kids, Nov 2017). She received her BFA in illustration from Parsons School of Design, worked as a designer and an art director before leaving to pursue illustration full time. Jannie’s illustrations appear in books, magazines, toys, crafts and digital media. Also known as Chicken Girl, Jannie currently lives and plays in Boston, MA. Visit her website at, @Chickengirldesign on IG and @JannieHo on twitter.


howeskateyframeKatey Howes writes books for children and blogs about raising kids who love to read. Her debut picture book, Grandmother Thorn (Ripple Grove Press, September 2017), is set in Japan and told in folk-tale style. Katey’s second book, Magnolia Mudd and the Super Jumptastic Launcher Deluxe (Sterling, Fall 2017) follows spunky, smart Magnolia as she attempts to invent her way out of a flower girl dress. You can find Katey in her basement, where there is a small office, a large castle, and a medium-sized trebuchet. Or find her online at, at All the Wonders, on Twitter @KateywritesFacebook or Instagram.


KeelyCherylFrame.pngCheryl Keely became a journalist because she never wanted to stop learning.   But she also likes playing – digging in the dirt, running agility with her dog, blowing bubbles and making messes in the kitchen.   Writing picture books is the best of both worlds. Her debut picture book, A Book of Bridges: From Here to There and Me To You, (Sleeping Bear Press, February 2017) is about the technical way bridges connect us as, as well as the heartfelt way we connect as human beings.  She lives in Louisville, Ky., with her husband, a dog, a cat and a fish she’s training to do tricks. Please visit Cheryl online at, on Facebook or on Twitter @clkeely.

KellerJoyFrame.pngJoy Keller isn’t a monster, but she does have experience driving trucks on a blueberry farm. Her debut picture book, Monster Trucks (Henry Holt, 2017), is all about monsters and the vehicles that match their personalities, from the skeleton crew that fixes roads to the werewolf who digs, digs, digs. Joy currently teaches elementary students of all ages and lives in Fairport, NY with her husband, two children, and four cats. You can visit her at or find her on Twitter @jrkeller80.


kirkfieldvivianframeVivian Kirkfield chose a career path paved with picture books. Her very first job was in a children’s library. Then, as a kindergarten.teacher, she helped hundreds of kids become lovers of books and reading.  Her debut picture book, Sweet Dreams, Sarah: From Slavery to Inventor (Creston Books, March 2017) is about former slave, Sarah E. Goode, and her desire to create something of lasting value for her Chicago community. Vivian is also the author of the parent-teacher guide, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting, and Cooking. She lives in the quaint New England village of Amherst, New Hampshire where the old stone library is her favorite hangout and her eight-year old grandson is her favorite Monopoly partner. You can visit her at Picture Books Help Kids Soar or on Facebook,Twitter @viviankirkfield, and Pinterest.

KokiasKerriFrame.pngKerri Kokias credits most of her story ideas to her “fly on the wall” personality. This means she’s both a keen observer of social interactions and a nosey eavesdropper. Her debut picture book, Snow Sisters (Knopf, November 2017) is about two sisters who enjoy a snow day in their own unique ways. Kerri lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband, two children, and three dogs. Learn more about Kerri and her writing on her website, or connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @kerrikokias.


loneyandreajpngAndrea J Loney earned her MFA in Dramatic Writing from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Her upcoming debut picture book, TAKE A PICTURE OF ME, JAMES VANDERZEE! (Lee & Low, May 2017), is a New Voices Award-winning picture book biography of the legendary black photographer who documented Harlem for several decades. Her picture book BUNNYBEAR, (Albert Whitman & Company, January 31, 2017) is about a bear who believes in his heart that he is really a bunny. A third book is coming in 2019. A community college computer instructor, Andrea is also a proud volunteer for Reading to Kids and the We Need Diverse Books campaign. She lives in sunny Los Angeles, California with her devoted family, embarrassingly spoiled pets, and towering stacks of picture books. Visit her online at or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest @andreajloney.

MarlboroughMikeFrame.pngMike Malbrough was born in Reisterstown, Maryland where he learned to draw and tell stories with art gypsies in his hometown. When he was all grown up he moved to New Jersey where he worked as an illustrator for 10 years. After an eternity of client-centered work in comics, apparel advertising and beyond, Mike rediscovered the world of picture books in 2015. By the summer of 2016, Mike had signed with Lori Kilkelly at Rodeen Literary Management and found a home for his debut picture book Marigold Bakes a Cake with Philomel Books. The cakes will be ready in June 2017. Visit Mike on the web at or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @studiomalbrough.


Peter McCleery is the author of the upcoming picture book series, Bob and Joss Get Lost!(HarperCollins February 2017), his debut book, and Bob and Joss Take a Hike! (coming in 2018). Both illustrated by Vin Vogel. He lives and occasionally gets lost in Portland, Oregon with his wife and two sons. Years ago he studied architecture at Rhode Island School of Design and sculpture at the San Francisco Art Institute. And now that he writes books for kids wishes he had also studied illustration. He’s also written for grown-ups on the McSweeney’s humor website. Find him at and at Twitter @pmccleery

mclellangretchenbrandenburgframeGretchen Brandenburg McLellan i
s a former reading specialist and literacy advocate, now devoted to writing for children. Her debut picture book MRS. MCBEE LEAVES ROOM 3, illustrated by Grace Zong will be released by Peachtree April 1, 2017. No fooling. WHEN YOUR DADDY’S A SOLDIER, illustrated by E.B. Lewis, will be released in the fall by Beach Lane, followed by two books in 2018, I’M DONE! (Holiday House, Spring 2018) and BUTTON AND BUNDLE (TBA). Gretchen plans to take up the nomadic lifestyle of her army brat youth and travel promoting all her books. She hopes to meet you face to face at a bookstore, conference, school or online at

OtheguyEmmaFrame.pngEmma Otheguy’s debut picture book, Martí’s Song for Freedom, illustrated by Beatriz Vidal (Lee & Low Books, Spring 2017) is a biography of Cuban poet and national hero José Martí. Emma’s other publications include “Fairies in Town” (Highlights, 2013) and the scholarly article “Sermonizing in New York: The Children’s Magazines of Mary Mapes Dodge and José Martí” (Ashgate, 2014).  Visit Emma on the web at, or find her on Facebook , Twitter @EmmaOtheguy or on Instagram @emma.otheguy.


PerryGinaFrame.pngGina Perry is an author and illustrator working under the tall pines in New Hampshire. She grew up in Massachusetts, drawing, playing with yarn, and burning through all the books in the library. Gina went to Syracuse University and worked in animation and as an art director before realizing that children’s books were her true calling. Her debut picture book, It’s Great Being a Dad (Tundra, April 4, 2017), written by Dan Bar-el, is a hilarious story about imagination, play, and the best parts about being a dad. Her picture book debut as author/illustrator, Small (little bee books, August 29, 2017), is an empowering story about a small girl in the city, who shows us what happens if you take one big and brave step. Future books include Too Much Not Enough (Tundra, Summer 2018) and a yet untitled picture book (Tundra, Summer 2019). Visit her at or on twitter @ginamarieperry or instagram @ginapineapple

petersenjessicaframeJessica Petersen started inventing new tricks for old tracks when her son was a train-obsessed toddler. Their adventures inspire her blog, Play Trains!, where she writes about playing and learning (and reading!) with kids who love trains. She wrote, photographed, and illustrated her debut picture book, Old Tracks, New Tricks, in her home in Seattle, Washington, where she lives with her husband, her son, and lots of happy wooden train tracks. You can visit her online at, and follow her on Instagram playtrains and Twitter @j_e_petersen.


PreusserHeatherFrame.pngHeather Preusser graduated from Williams College and earned an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast program. In her debut picture book, A Symphony of Cowbells (Sleeping Bear Press, March 2017), a Swiss dairy cow loses her bell and disrupts the harmony of the herd. When not writing, Heather teaches high school English, bikes the European countryside, and attempts to learn ridiculously long German words. She and her husband reside in Colorado. She can also be found online at and on Twitter @HeatherPreusser.


RichmondLoriFrame.pngLori Richmond is a corporate creative director turned picture book author-illustrator. Her first solo book, Pax and Blue (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books), will publish in February 2017. Her second solo book, Bunny’s Staycation (Scholastic), will debut in 2018. Lori is also the illustrator of A Hop is Up! (Bloomsbury) and two more books coming in 2018. As a former contributing editor and media spokesperson for pregnancy and parenting brand, The Bump, Lori has appeared as a sought-after expert on all things baby on TODAY, Good Morning America, CNN, and more. She lives and creates with her family in Brooklyn, NY. Learn more about Lori at and on Twitter @loririchmond

schaubmichelleframeMichelle Schaub is a children’s author, poet, and teacher.  Her work appears in the anthologies And The Crowd Grows Wild:  A Global Gathering of Sports Poetry and The Poetry Anthology for Celebrations.  Her first picture book, Fresh-Picked Poetry:  A Day at the Farmers’ Market (Charlesbridge) debuts in March 2017. Michelle teaches middle school language arts at The Avery Coonley School in Downers Grove, Illinois, where she shares her love of poetry with her students.  When she’s not teaching and writing, Michelle loves hiking, biking, and exploring farmers’ markets. Learn more about Michelle at or on Facebook.

segalwaltersjulieframeJulie Segal-Walters is a children’s book author who lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband, son, and pesky cat. Before writing for children, Julie was a lawyer and advocate for civil rights and civil liberties, and an international democracy and civil society development specialist. In those days, she was a frequent writer, public speaker, and commentator on NPR, Court TV, and C-Span on civic engagement and religious liberty. These days, Julie can be found advocating for her many favorite children’s books to anyone who will listen. Julie is fluent in Spanish, and loves to cook, but not bake. She thinks baking has too many rules. This Is Not A Normal Animal Book is her first picture book (illustrated by Brian Biggs) (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, Fall 2017). Visit Julie online at or on Facebook, Twitter @j_s_dub, or Instagram @juliesegalwalters.

silvestroannieAnnie Silvestro is a lover of books who reads and writes as much as possible and can often be found shuffling piles of them around so she has a place to sit or someplace to put her teacup. Her debut picture book, Bunny’s Book Club, illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss (Doubleday, February 7, 2017) tells the story of a book-loving bunny who sneaks books from the library and shares them with his forest friends. Her debut title will be followed by Mice Skating, illustrated by Teagan White (Sterling, Fall 2017). Annie lives by the beach in New Jersey with her husband and two sons who also love to read, and a cat who does not. Visit Annie online at or on Twitter and Instagram @anniesilvestro.

simajessieframeJessie Sima is an author/illustrator living and working in NYC. She grew up in a small town in Southern New Jersey, unaware that she was a storyteller. Once she figured it out, she told her family and friends. They took it quite well. Her debut picture book, Not Quite Narwhal (Simon & Schuster, February 14, 2017), is the story of Kelp, a unicorn who grows up under the ocean believing himself to be a narwhal.Visit her at or on twitter @JessieSima.



sirotichericaframeErica Sirotich has a great affection for animals of all sorts, especially the ones we welcome into our families. Found Dogs, the first picture book she both wrote and illustrated, is about adopting a dog from the local shelter; it will be published by Dial in the summer of 2017. Erica has illustrated books for Running Press, Albert Whitman & Co, and Little Simon, and regularly contributes to children’s magazines like Highlights. She lives in St Petersburg, Florida with her very own found dog, Russell Redfur. Visit Erica online at or on Instagram @ericasirotich.


stiefelchanaframeChana Stiefel has written more than 20 nonfiction books for the educational market, including books about stinky castles, exploding volcanoes, and other fun topics. Her debut picture book, Daddy Depot (Feiwel & Friends, May 16, 2017), illustrated by Andy Snair, features a girl who returns her father to the daddy store. Wakawakaloch, Chana’s picture book about a cave girl who is steamed that no one can pronounce her name, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2019. Chana is also the author of Why Can’t Grandma Remember My Name?, published by the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation (November 2016), with proceeds benefiting research to find a cure. Chana is represented by John M. Cusick at Folio Literary. She shares author interviews and kidlit book reviews on her blog Check out Chana’s work at, and follow her @chanastiefel on Twitter or Facebook.

tohtpatriciaframePatricia Toht is happiest at the intersection of children and books, from owning a children’s bookstore to working in public and school libraries. Her debut picture book, All Aboard the London Bus, illustrated by Sam Usher (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, May 2017) is a collection of child-friendly poems that introduces readers to London and all its wonders. Her second book, Pick a Pine Tree, illustrated by Jarvis (Walker Children’s Books/Candlewick Publishing, Fall 2017) celebrates the magic of turning a plain pine tree into a holiday wonder. Find Patricia on the GROG or connect with her on Facebook or Pinterest.

WhalenLindaFrame.pngLinda Whalen is the former owner/operator of Whalen’s Country Childcare and lives with her husband on a plot of land in Northern California. Born a city kid, she married a farm boy from the mid-west and fell in love with country life.  Surrounded by family, pets and bunches of wild creatures, life is never dull.  Linda is now pursing her passion of writing for children. Her first picture book, Little Red Rolls Away is published by Sleeping Bear Press. She also enjoys time spent with her art supplies. Linda is represented by Karen Grencik at Red Fox Literary. Visit Linda at or on twitter @lindacwhalen