2024 June Conference  

Susanna Leonard Hill
Susanna Leonard Hill (susannahill.com) is the author of three New York Times bestsellers, including Moon's First Friends: One Giant Leap for Friendship, and is the award-winning author of over thirty more books for children, including Punxsutawney Phyllis, Can't Sleep Without Sheep, Alphabedtime, and the When Your Lion Needs a Bath series. She does frequent school and library visits, teaches picture book writing, and has a popular picture book blog. Susanna lives in New York's Mid-Hudson Valley with her two rescue dogs who will likely end up in a book one of these days. She loves animals, chocolate, and being outdoors.

 Alexandra Penfold
Alexandra Penfold is a literary agent at Upstart Crow Literary and the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling book, All Are Welcome, illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman. She and Suzanne  have also collaborated on Big Feelings, All Are Neighbors, Wherever You Go and several early readers including All Are Welcome: Welcome Back and All Are Welcome: Give What You Can.               
She is also the author of The Littlest Viking, illustrated by Isabel Roxas, We Are Brothers, We Are Friends, illustrated by Eda Kaban, Food Truck Fest, illustrated by Mike Dutton and Eat, Sleep, Poop, illustrated by Jane Massey. When she isn't writing and drinking strong iced coffee, she can be found perfecting her lattice crust. She lives in Brooklyn with her family. Photo by Donny Tsang.

Workshop title: "Deconstructing the Picture Book Revision Process."
Join literary agent and #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Alexandra Penfold as she deconstructs the picture book revision process giving real world examples of how stories moved from idea to that messy middle stage finally to published work. There will be hands-on writing exercises.
Mekisha Tefler
Mekisha Telfer is an editor at Roaring Brook Press and works on a wide range of picture books, middle grade and YA fiction and nonfiction, as well as select picture books and graphic novels. She is the editor of the 
Caldecott Award Winning picture book We Are Water Protectors, written by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michaela Goad; Anzu the Great Kaiju by Benson Shum; We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammonds, winner of the Coretta Scott King John Steptoe New Talent Award; She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen; and The Girl Who Sang by Estelle Nadel and Sammy Savos, among other amazing titles. 

She's excited to uplift underrepresented creators with her work, and she's especially drawn to stories that take their young readers seriously—exploring complex themes without sacrificing humor, joy, or a highly entertaining read. 

Workshop title: "A Little Louder Please: Turn up the Voice in Your Novel." Mekisha will lead the group through writing exercises, focusing on the voice of your characters in your novel.

Alison S. Weiss
Alison S. Weiss
has been in publishing for over fifteen years. She's currently acquisitions editor at Pixel+Ink (part of the Trustbridge Media Group), a publisher focused exclusively on series publishing with transmedia potential. Her series include The Curious League of Detectives and Thieves by Tom Phillips, Plotting the Stars by Michelle A. Barry, The Winterton Deception by Janet Sumner Johnson, Clara Poole by Taylor Tyng, The Sinister Secrets by Sean Ferrell, illustrated by Graham Carter, The Second Favorite Daughters Club by Colleen Oakes, Shiver-by-the Sea by Erin Dionne, illustrated by Jenn Harney, and Sky & Ty by Steve Breen among many others.

Alison ran her own editorial consultancy, working with publishers including Simon & Schuster, Audible, and Arctic, as well as private clients, and was editorial director at Sky Pony Press. Her books have been nominated for and received many awards and honors, among them a William C. Morris finalist and Edgars nominations, starred reviews, and have appeared on numerous end-of-year and state lists. You can follow her on Twitter (X), Bluesky, and Threads at @alioop7 and learn more about Pixel+Ink at www.pixelandinkbooks.com

Workshop title: "Publishing is a Rollercoaster: How to Hang on Tight and Enjoy the Ride!"

The publishing journey is full of highs and lows, and sometimes it can be hard to process all of the information coming at you. In this session, we'll dive into the business topics of publishing that can be a real headache for a creator (including P&Ls, contracts, and comp titles), examine some red flags to beware of, and examine steps to set you up for success. But the truth is you can do everything right, and things may still go wrong. We'll dig into different scenarios when it does: how to pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and use all you've learned to keep pushing toward your publishing dreams. Time will be reserved at the end for questions.