Jacqueline Alcántara is an illustrator and educator from Chicago. She studied education at DePaul University and taught high school art before transitioning into illustration. Jackie spends her days drawing, traveling and seeking out new music, usually in the company of her dog, Possum. She is particularly excited about promoting inclusiveness and diversity in children’s literature. In 2016, Jackie won the inaugural We Need Diverse Books Illustration Mentorship award, followed by the WNDB Walter Grant. Her first published picture book releases March 2018 with North South Books, titled “The Field”(written by Baptiste Paul). Find out more about her at www.jacquelinealcantara.com. Follow her on Instagram & Twitter @jchuggie.
Before Linda Camacho moved to Gallt & Zacker Literary, she was with Prospect Agency and held various roles on the publishing side. After graduating from Cornell in 2005, she interned at Simon & Schuster and Writers House literary agency, and worked at Penguin and Random House. She has an MFA in writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
She’s seeking middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction across all genres (especially upmarket and women’s fiction/romance); also seeking select picture book and graphic novel writer-illustrators. Diversity of all types welcome!
Crystal Chan, Author and Illinois PAL
Crystal Chan watched with amazement at the exotic zoo outbreak in Zanesville, Ohio in 2011, where scores of animals—hungry lions, panthers, and tigers—ran loose around the county. That incident helped inspire her most recent novel, All That I Can Fix.
When Crystal isn’t writing, her passion is giving diversity talks to adults and kids alike, telling telling stories on Wisconsin Public Radio, and hosting conversations on social media.
Her debut novel, Bird, was published in nine countries and is available on audiobook in the US. Amandla Stenberg, who played Rue in THE HUNGER GAMES, is the narrator.
She is the parent of a teenage turtle (not a ninja).
Carolyn Crimi received her MFA in Writing for Children from Vermont College in 2000. She has published many books for children, including Don’t Need Friends, Boris and Bella, Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies, Where’s My Mummy? and Dear Tabby. Her newest book, There Might Be Lobsters, received SCBWI’s Golden Kite Award for picture book text. Carolyn has also garnered over thirty state awards and was given The Prairie State Award in 2012 for her body of work. When she’s not writing, Carolyn enjoys visiting elementary schools all around the world to talk about how she hunts for new ideas and revises her stories. Her website, www.carolyncrimi.com, gives more details about her books and her background.
Annie Nybo is an Editor at Albert Whitman, where she is delighted to work on books of every format and age range. She was previously an Associate Editor at Margaret K. McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster. She’s been honored to work with many talented creators such as Catherynne M. Valente, Jason Gallaher, Patrick Weekes, Susan Cooper, William Alexander, and Hilary McKay. Annie’s heart lies in middle grade, but is looking for nonfiction, early readers, picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and YA.
I have spent a lifetime in books. I started out with a brief stint as a librarian, but found it a bit too staid, so moved on to publishing. My first job was at Pinnacle Books where as assistant to the President I was given a book to edit the third week of my employment. I then moved on to Rodale Press and then Salem House where I helped bring British books to the US, finally moving up the publishing ladder to Pantheon’s Associate Publisher, where I worked with some of the major cultural icons of our time, including Noam Chomsky, Studs Terkel, Matt Groening and Art Spiegelman. After fifteen years on the editorial side of the business, I made the jump to agenting – spending twelve years as at the William Morris Agency as an agent and as Vice President and Director of Foreign Rights; five years as president of my own agency; five years at Sterling Lord Literistic as an agent and Director of Foreign Rights; and I’m now here – and very happy – at Folio. Editorial skill and a deep knowledge of the publishing industry sets me apart from many of my colleagues. When I work with my authors, I’ll focus editorially on how to make the book as strong as it could be – whether that book be terrific women’s fiction or an extraordinary YA debut (or any of the other categories I represent). During that process, I’m able to bring to bear all the institutional memory I possess, knowing which editors and which publishing houses have a penchant for a certain subject, or a different voice, or a particular kind of author. My clients include Newbery Honor winner and New York Times bestseller Jacqueline Kelly, New York Times bestseller Sheri Reynolds, autism advocate Christina Adams, Kristi Cook, Christopher Grant, Gretchen Kelley, Jerri Corgiat, former baseball pitcher Bob Tewksbury, and Marbles: The Brain Store among others.
Alexandra Weiss is an Associate Literary Agent at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Publishing from Columbia College Chicago, and currently resides in the Windy City (don’t worry, she travels to NYC on the regular). She has worked for online publications and media websites such as Bustle as a Books and Features Writer, and has held several different positions within the Marketing and PR world. Previously, she was an Acquisitions Editor for an award-winning fiction and non-fiction anthology. Before joining as an Agent, Alexandra interned with JDLA for over two years. She has also interned for boutique book publicist, Kaye Publicity, where she assisted with numerous book publicity campaigns. Alexandra volunteers for numerous literary organizations, including Story Week, Young Chicago Authors, and Printers Row Lit Fest. If not at home with a good book or manuscript in hand, she can usually be found wandering local museums or exploring the city.
Alexandra specializes in children’s fiction, including picture books, middle grade, and young adult. She is open to most genres but tends to favor contemporary, magical realism, light fantasy, and science fiction. She also loves stories that include magic, folklore, science, astronomy, or anything STEM related. She’s actively seeking literature from diverse and underrepresented voices, and is eager to find stories with strong, smart female characters.
Jonathan Westmark is an associate editor at Albert Whitman & Company in Park Ridge, IL. Early in his career, he bounced between a fashion media publisher in New York and two literary presses in Minnesota before finding a home in children’s publishing. He spent two years editing and writing children’s nonfiction, and in 2016 moved into trade at Albert Whitman. Jon manages AW’s Boxcar Children brand and has a particular soft spot for middle grade fiction, but he’s on the lookout for manuscripts of all formats that get kids to look at life in different ways—whether through building well-imagined worlds, presenting hilarious new points of view, or exploring lesser-known narratives.