Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

About Us




Regional Advisor – Beth Mills is an author and illustrator represented by Painted Words. Her primary interest is picture books, but she does quite a bit of illustration for the educational market as well. Beth studied illustration at the Academy of Art University, where she learned how much she loves creating characters and giving them interesting stories while receiving her MFA. Beth is currently working on her debut picture book, which will be released Fall 2019. Beth lives near Dallas, TX with her husband, children, and too many cats and dogs. Follow Beth on Instagram beth.mills.illustrations , on Facebook Beth Mills Illustrator , and on her website


Assistant Regional Advisor – Lenora Biemans is a dedicated picture book writer, reader and  an enthusiastic member of the SCBWI community. She lives in Dallas, TX with her husband, son and muppety Bordoodle. When she’s not writing, she is immersed in writing courses, personal development courses and dorky video games. Follow Lenora’s antics on Twitter @BiemansLenora, on Instagram @HowToEmpowerKids, and on her website



Illustrator Coordinator – Erin Nielson is a freelance illustrator in McKinney, Texas, (just outside of Dallas). Her love of art started early, with her paintings and artwork hung in my grandmother’s home.  She attended college at Brigham Young University and graduated with a BFA in illustration. Soon after graduating, she married my husband, Matt, and moved to Texas for new adventures. She works from my home studio, and collaborates with clients on everything from commissioned pet portraits to magazine graphics and illustrations to middle grade cover and interior artwork.  She’s a few years into her illustration career, and she really enjoy diving deep into projects and new industries.  Her current #1 driving goal is to illustrate middle grade fiction books, although she still creates artwork for picture books and other children’s publications. Erin loves to create imaginative and whimsical artwork (especially if she gets to include an animal or two in it), and past clients include BYU Independent Study, Who Chains You Publishing, and The Friend Magazine.


Published and Listed (PAL) Coordinator – Nancy Churnin is the  author of eight picture book biographies, including The William Hoy Story, on several state reading lists, Irving Berlin, a Sydney Taylor Notable, Manjhi Moves a Mountain, a 2018 South Asia Book Award and Anne Izard Storytellers Choice winner, plus two Social Studies Notables, two Silver Eureka Award winners, a Mighty Girl listing and more. The former theater critic for the Dallas Morning News and Los Angeles Times San Diego Edition, she’s now a full time writer and peace negotiator between her dog and cats. A member of the Nonfiction Ninjas and the Book Meshuggenahs, she lives in North Texas.



Critique Group Coordinator – Michelle Schusterman is the author of over a dozen books for kids and teens, including SPELL & SPINDLE, OLIVE AND THE BACKSTAGE GHOST, and the series THE KAT SINCLAIR FILES and I HEART BAND. She co-authored the YA novel THE PROS OF CONS with Alison Cherry and Lindsay Ribar, and co-authored the SECRETS OF TOPSEA series under the name M. Shelley Coats. Michelle’s novels have earned starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, and Publisher’s Weekly, and two have been Junior Library Guild selections. She resides in Dallas, where she teaches writing workshops and eats too many tacos.



SCBWI North Texas serves 120 counties (indicated in yellow below) and approximately 350 members. We are part of the international SCBWI nonprofit organization. Our job is to serve local members by providing education and encouragement to enhace our craft and connect with national and international writers and illustrators of children’s and teen literature. 



Our longest-term members joined SCBWI in 1980, and the chapter was formally founded in 1981 by Mary Brite, the first regional advisor. The chapter was known as North Central/Northeast Texas until May 2013 when the name changed to North Texas.


  • Jackie Kruzie (2016-2019)
  • Carrie Charley Brown (2016)
  • Carol Barreyre (2013-2015)
  • Alan Stacy (2012)
  • George Hellstern (2009-2011)
  • Linda Powly (2006-2008)
  • Kathy Lay (2003-2005)
  • Karen Ferrell (2000-2005)
  • Jane Shuffer (1997-1999)
  • Crosby Holden (1995-1996)
  • Jan Peck (1992-1994)


  • Kristine Tague (2016-2018)
  • Cindy Rodella-Purdy (2013-2015)
  • Alan Stacy (2001-2011)