Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2022 Fall Conference Faculty Bios

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Maria Modugno

I grew up in a house filled with books and can’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading. I’ve been an editor at Harcourt, Little Brown and Company, and HarperCollins before landing at Random House Studio. I like to edit kid-friendly picture books with wide appeal beginning with ThNapping House to the more recent Grumpy Monkey titles. Along the way I married my long-time best friend David and we traveled everywhere from Maine to Mainland China.  I recently moved from New York City to a small town outside of Chicago where I can walk to the shore of Lake Michigan. I love knitting, bookbinding, felting, and collecting antique buttons.  I am always replenishing my stacks of books so I never run out of something to read.


Sarah Stephens 

Sarah Hines Stephens is a children’s book enthusiast in every sense. She has worked as an editor, author, indie bookseller, and agent. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz and moving to Rhode Island, Sarah got her first editorial job at Houghton Mifflin in Boston. When East Coast winters grew too long, Sarah returned to the San Francisco Bay Area and continued her editorial career at Chronicle Books and Lucasfilm Licensing. She eventually left the office to raise her family, but never stopped writing and editing. She has published more than 100 books for kids including Maiden Voyage and the Rescue Dogs series (with Jane Mason), the Bug Girl series (with Ben Harper), and numerous licensed or ghostwritten books including Curious George, Star Wars, and DC titles. Most recently she has become a children’s agent with Red Fox Literary. When she is not doing all things book, Sarah enjoys gardening, cooking, competitive recycling, walking with her two dogs in the Oakland redwoods, and adventures with family and friends. Sarah Stephens bio development of the company’s lists; negotiating contracts; and supervising the work of the other editors.

Ann Rose

Ann Rose will not be presenting at the conference but will be offering a small number of YA critiques. You can find more information on the Critique PageAnn Rose has been exploring publishing by working and mentoring with literary agents in various capacities for the past several years. Everything she has experienced from editorial work to the magic of finding the perfect match between author and editor has hardened her resolve to join this wonderful profession. Now she’s thrilled to be building her own list at Prospect Agency and is actively seeking clients ready to grow amazing careers with her. Ann’s perfect manuscript is a character driven story that isn’t afraid to push boundaries. She loves an unlikable character — even though she is incredibly likable herself!





Rebecca Balcárcel

Rebecca Balcárcel is an Associate Professor of English at Tarrant County College and the author of SHINE ON, LUZ VÉLIZ! and THE OTHER HALF OF HAPPY, a Pura Belpré Honor Book and an ALSC Notable Book. Her next book, which she co-edited and also contributed to, is BOUNDLESS: 20 STORIES BY MULTI-CULTURAL AUTHORS, due out in 2023. Find Rebecca on YouTube where she analyzes literature and chats about writing as the SixMinuteScholar.



Nancy Churnin 

Nancy Churnin is an award-winning children’s book author who writes books about people who have made the world a better place and inspire children to be heroes and heroines, too. She won the 2021 National Jewish Book Award and 2022 Sydney Taylor Honor for Dear Mr. Dickens, a true story that is the subject of an educational program offered by The Charles Dickens Museum in London, and two Sydney Taylor Notables, for her 2021 A Queen to the Rescue, the Story of Henrietta Szold Founder of Hadassah and 2018 Irving Berlin, the Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing. Born and raised in New York City, Nancy lives in the Dallas area. Among her other book honors: three Social Studies Notable Trade Books for Young People; the South Asia Book Award, a Children and Teen’s Choice Book Awards finalist, two Junior Library Guild selections, three Silver Eureka Award-winners and starred reviews from School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly. Her books come with teacher guides, resources and projects on her website, Nancy is available for bookings at (Image credit: Kim Leeson)


Alexandra Boiger

Alexandra Boiger is a New York Times bestselling children’s book illustrator as well as the creator of the Max and Marla books. She grew up in Munich, Germany and studied graphic design at the Fachhochschule Augsburg. A career in feature animation at Warner Brothers and Dreamworks first brought her to the UK and finally to the US. Visual storytelling, the exploration of emotions, psychology, and history have always been at the core of Alexandra’s work. Many of the books she worked on focus on social justice and the breaking down of stereotypes including the She Persisted books by Chelsea Clinton. Several of her titles have been translated into different languages. She Persisted, The Musical was the first to be translated to stage. She lives in Northern California with her husband and daughter.