Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Speaker bios



Sarah Jane Abbott, Assistant Editor
Paula Wiseman Books & Beach Lane Books: Have a Heart: Writing Picture Books with a Message in Mind

Critiques: Picture books, and dummies only. Non-fiction accepted.

Bio: Sarah Jane Abbott is an assistant editor for Paula Wiseman Books and Beach Lane Books at Simon & Schuster. She started her career at S & S as a publicity assistant in 2013 before joining Paula Wiseman Books and Beach Lane as editorial assistant in 2014. She is also on the editorial boards of Simon & Schuster’s and She is actively seeking agented and SCBWI submissions for Paula Wiseman Books. She loves quirky, character driven picture books with a lot of heart and unique, literary middle grade novels.


Hannah Mann, Junior Agent, Writers’ House

Talk: Seeking Perfection through Imperfection: Character Flaws

Critiques: limited number of middle grade and young adult only. Will accept non-fiction.

Bio: Hannah Mann grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and has always loved stories. She got a BA in Narrative Studies from the University of Southern California, where her career goal morphed from doctor to writer to editor to agent. As Steven Malk’s assistant since 2013, she has had the privilege of working closely with a variety of extraordinarily talented bestselling and award-winning authors and illustrators. In 2017 she began building her own client list, focusing on character-driven children’s work from the youngest picture books to mature young adult.


Allison Moore, Editor, Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Talk: What’s Your Big Story Idea?

What makes a manuscript rise to the top? What makes editors snooze? Should you be following trends? Join her for an answer to the oft-asked question “What is your house looking for?” and a focus on recent books and book deals with one-of-a-kind, memorable “Why didn’t I think of that?” story ideas that stand out from the pack. Inspire yourself to think bigger!

Critiques: Mostly picture books, accepting a limited number of middle grade and young adult. No non-fiction.

Bio: Allison’s recent and upcoming books include New York Times bestseller Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes, Extraordinary Birds by Sandy Stark-McGinnis, The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle, Dad by my Side by Soosh, Love the World by Todd Parr, and the More Than a Princess, Butterfly Wishes and President of the Whole Sixth Grade series. Her sweet spots are contemporary realistic fiction and magical realism, though she enjoys all stories that delve into real feelings, choices, issues, and perspectives in fresh and accessible ways. She also loves picture books with original hooks.   Twitter: @AllisonM610


Lorin Oberweger, Agent, Adams Literary

Talk: “Tension and Desire: How your Character’s Deepest Longings make for Page-Turning Fiction”: Mostly middle grade and young adult, accepting a limited number of picture books. Non-fiction accepted.

Bio: As a newly minted agent with Adams Literary Lorin is actively acquiring authors for her list. She has also served as a highly sought-after independent book editor, helping to shepherd hundreds of books–including many bestsellers–to publishing success. Lorin’s ghostwritten books have received glowing notices from the New York Times and Kirkus Reviews. And she is co-author of Boomerang, Rebound, and Bounce (Harper Collins) under the pen name Noelle August. She is a popular speaker at conferences around the country, including many appearances at SCBWI events. Teaching writing craft rates right up there in her list of favorite things to do.

Critiques: Middle grade and Young adult mostly. Very limited number of picture books. Non-fiction accepted.



Carol Heyer is a full time illustrator and writer. Heyer has worked for a movie production company as production designer and writer of feature films. She has written and illustrated thirty-one children’s picture books. To date over two million of Heyer’s picture books have been sold. Her art has appeared on everything from book covers to bookmarks. Among her clients: WOTC, TSR, LLEWELLYN, DISNEY, BAEN Books and BLOOMSBURY. Her awards include Spectrum, Print’s Regional Design Annual, The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and The Society of Illustrators LA. Her biography is included in Who’s Who in America Contemporary Authors.


Happy LaShelle is a writer, mom of three, and wife to a Basque baker who brings home loaves of crusty sourdough every day. She lives near the mission bells in sunny Santa Barbara, but she loves the rainy banks of London’s Thames River just as much as the sandy shores of her Newport Beach hometown. She studied History at UCLA and has a passion for Shakespeare plays, period films, and iced mocha lattes. According to Audrey is her debut novel.




Picture book author Andrea J. Loney received the 2014 Lee & Low New Voices Award for her biography Take a Picture of Me, James VanDerZee! a Junior Library Guild Fall 2017 and NAACP Image Award Nominee. Bunnybear (Albert Whitman 2017) was published the same year, and Double Bass Blues will be published by Random House Knopf in 2019. Andrea is a proud member of The Brown Bookshelf, SCBWI, and 12×12. She also volunteers with second graders for Reading to Kids. Andrea lives in Inglewood with her towering stacks of children’s books, her devoted family, and their incredibly spoiled pets.



Terry Pierce is the author of twenty-two books for young children. Her most recent works include Mother Earth’s Lullaby, Jack and Jill and T-Ball Bill, Mama Loves You So, and My Busy Green Garden. She loves playing with words and creating books that will hook children into becoming lifelong readers. A former Montessori teacher of twenty-two years, she now writes full-time, teaches for the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, and is a visiting author to elementary schools. Terry holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Please visit her at



Additional Critique-Only Faculty

Mary Penney Hershey is the author of five humorous (and heartfelt, she hopes) middle grade novels. Her next novel, entitled GREEN EYES & HAM will be published by Harper Collins Winter 2018. Mary holds a Masters Degree in Education, and is a certified Personal and Executive Coach. She is a longstanding SCBWI Cen-Cal member and served on the Board for our region for a number of years. She has taught workshops for Cen-Cal and served as a faculty member at SCBWI Nationals. She is our region’s current 2018 mentor.

CRITIQUES: middle grade fiction only.


 Lee Wardlaw is the award-winning author of 30 books for children, ranging from picture books to YA novels. Her newest titles include: WON TON – A CAT TALE TOLD IN HAIKU, recipient of the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award and the SCBWI Crystal Kite Member Award; and the NCTE Notable WON TON AND CHOPSTICK. A former teacher, Lee has 40+ years’ experience presenting lively, interactive programs for grades K-8th; she’s also taught numerous classes and workshops for teachers, librarians, parents, and aspiring writers. Lee was our 2017 mentor for picture books and poetry. For more info:

CRITIQUES: picture books. Non-fiction accepted.