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WRITING ON THE DOOR: Children’s Literature Conference

April 6 @ 9:00 am - April 8 @ 2:00 pm

The Children’s Literature Conference brings together some of the region’s best writers of picture books, chapter books, and young adult literature for two-and-a-half days of presentations and workshops. We are proud to offer this conference in conjunction with the Wisconsin chapter of the Society of Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) annual luncheon. Please visit their website for more details and registration information for the luncheon. (Please note that conference and luncheon are two separate registrations! You must register for the conference with Write On and for the luncheon with SCBWI.)

All conference events will take place in downtown Sturgeon Bay.

Registration for the conference is $120 before March 16. After March 16, registration is $150. To register for the conference, please click here. Sunday’s SCBWI luncheon with keynote speaker Catherine Laudone, assistant editor at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, is $50 for SCBWI members, $80 for non-members. To register for the SCBWI Annual Luncheon, please click here.


Swati Avasthi’s debut young adult novel Split received the 2011 International Reading Award and has been translated into German, Dutch, Korean, and Hungarian. Her follow-up novel, Chasing Shadows, was a Junior Library Guild Selection. She teaches in the MFA in Children’s Literature program at Hamline University.

M. Molly Backes is the author of the young adult novel The Princesses of Iowa(Candlewick Press, 2012), which was named Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best Fiction for Teens (2013), Forever Young Adult’s Best YA Books of 2012, and was a finalist on NPR.org’s Best-Ever Teen Novels list in 2012. Her work has appeared in The Prairie Wind, Human Parts, The Rumpus, and the anthology Good Dogs Doing Good. An accomplished teacher, she has run creative writing workshops for adults and teens across the Midwest and is a frequent guest at writing conferences and festivals across the country.

Nalani Bicoy is a sophomore at Sturgeon Bay High School. She enjoys reading all types of books, ranging from wizards and fantasy to international studies on the brain. Her favorite author always has been and probably always will be Sharon Creech.

John Coy is the author of young adult novels, the 4 for 4 middle-grade series, and fiction and nonfiction picture books. He has received numerous awards for his work including a Marion Vannett Ridgway Award for best debut picture book, the Burr/Warzalla Award for Distinguished Achievement in Children’s Literature and the the Kerlan Award in recognition of singular attainments in the creation of children’s literature. John lives in Minneapolis and visits schools around the world.

Kathleen Ernst is the award-winning, bestselling author of thirty-six published books, which together have now sold over 1.7 million audio, ebook, and printed copies. Her books include historical fiction for readers ages 8 and up, the American Girl mysteries, American Civil War books for young readers and adults, and the Chloe Ellefson mystery series. Kathleen’s work has earned numerous honors, including an Emmy for children’s educational programming, a LOVEY Best Traditional Mystery Award, and an Edgar and multiple Agatha national mystery award nominations.

Melissa Gorzelanczyk is a writer who loves simple, beautiful, everyday things. Her young adult novel, Arrows, was published by Penguin Random House. Booklist calls it, “A sweet high-school twist on Greek mythology with added substance about teen parenting and breaking out of a bad relationship.” She is a proud member of the SCBWI and The Sweet Sixteens. She lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with her husband and family.

 Since graduating in Art From UW-Madison, Jill Harding has been interested in combining the written word with visual images. She received her Master Degree in Education and taught in the Green Bay Public Schools for 20 years as a classroom teacher and as a Gifted Student Advocate. Jill currently lives on the north end of the Door County peninsula. She has published two picture books: The Sign Fairy and Dragonfly Magic.

Ann Heyse is the founder of Sand Beach Press, a poet, novelist, blogger, and children’s picture book author. She is the author of Good Morning, Door County and her poetry has been published in numerous journals and anthologies. She has worked for many years as an educator, helping children, teens, and adults hone their writing skills.

Carol Hinz is Editorial Director of Millbrook Press, a division of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc. She oversees and edits a range of informative picture books, illustrated nonfiction titles, and inspiring photo-driven titles for grades K–5. Recent and upcoming science titles from Millbrook includeBone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons by Sara Levine, Plastic, Ahoy! by Patricia Newman, A Rock Can Be…by Laura Purdie Salas, and The Great Monkey Rescue by Sandra Markle. In her spare time, Carol enjoys playing with and reading to her 4-year-old and 2-year-old sons.

Lora Hyler’s debut middle grade novel, The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes, will be published in March 2018. She founded her Wisconsin-based public relations and marketing company in 2001. She is a member of SCBWI and the Wisconsin Writer’s Association. She holds a 2016 Jade Ring award from the Wisconsin Writers Association for an adult short story, several screenwriting and news awards, and has published hundreds of corporate articles. She was the recipient of a 2017 artist residency at Marnay sur Seine, France and two previous residencies at Noepe Center for the Literary Arts on Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

11 year-old twin sisters Abby & Anna Jarosh have been avid readers since their Goodnight, Gorilla days over a decade ago and now enjoy reading everything from Harry Potter to historical biographies about the past Presidents of the United States.  Instead of earning an allowance, they prefer credit toward their monthly school book orders and have amassed an impressive book collection during their elementary school years.  To share their love of books and reading, Abby & Anna have built a “Little Free Library” in front of their home in Jacksonport that they keep filled up with interesting children’s books and they also keep shoveled out all winter for year-round access for passing book lovers.

In 2005, Andrew Karre helped launch the young adult imprint Flux. He was an editorial director at Lerner Publishing Group from 2008 through 2014, overseeing Carolrhoda Books and founding Carolrhoda Lab. He has published first novels by such noted authors as Maggie Stiefvater, A.S. King, Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, Blythe Woolston, Carrie Mesrobian, and E.K. Johnston. In 2015, he joined Dutton Books for Young Readers as executive editor, focusing on young adult and middle grade fiction and nonfiction. He works from his home in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Michael Kress-Russick studied illustration at Northern Illinois University (BFA) and Medical Illustration at the University of Illinois at Chicago (MAMS). He won the bronze medal for children’s illustration in the 3X3 Show in 2007 and in 2008 won the SCBWI illustrator contest. He is working on art for various picture book projects as well as writing his own young adult novels.

Recently returning to independent work, Reji Leberje began Bucket List to Bookshelf, a creative writing services company focused on a better world through better words. She is a celebrity co-author, independent writing mentor and consultant, and serves as coach to the Christian women’s publisher, FEW International Publications. Reji has more than twenty years working in all aspects of the writing and publishing industries, including as founder of the successful publishing company she sold in 2017.

Mary Losure writes innovative nonfiction (and the occasional fantasy) for kids. Her books have been praised in The Wall Street Journal, Kirkus, Booklist, School Library Journal, and other publications and have been selected for several “best of” lists for children’s literature. Her most recent book, Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal’d (Candlewick, February 2017), has received three starred reviews. A former reporter for Minnesota Public Radio and a contributor to National Public Radio, she lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota, with her husband Don (who is currently at work on a book about dragons, etc.) She has no pets, dragon or otherwise.

Along with writing novels for children, James Mihaley is a poet & trained hip hop dancer & choreographer.  His first novel, You Can’t Have My Planet, But Take My Brother, Please, was published by Macmillan.  A native of Door County,he currently lives in Los Angeles and does volunteer work at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.  He is part of the Literally Healing program, which believes in the healing power of children’s literature.  His job is to load up a cart shaped like a cow called the ‘Book Moo-bile’.   James wheels it around the hospital, handing out free books to children with serious illnesses. As an author, James is committed to empowering children to make a difference in the world.

Baptiste Paul is a man of many talents—from woodworking to gardening to entertaining hordes of children for hours on end. Born and raised in the West Indies (St. Lucia), Baptiste is a native Creole/Patois speaker and enjoys roasting his own coffee and chocolate as well as eating anything he can cook on a grill. Baptiste holds degrees in environmental studies and political science from Bucknell University and currently resides with his family near a wildlife sanctuary in Green Bay, Wisconsin. His first picture book, The Field, is published by NorthSouth Books, a division of Simon & Schuster.

Miranda Paul is an award-winning children’s author of One Plastic Bag and Water is Water, both named Junior Library Guild selections. Her titles have received starred reviews from School Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly in addition to being named to several recommended and “best of” reading lists. 10 Little Ninjas also was named an Amazon Best Book of the Month (August 2016). Miranda makes regular appearances at schools, libraries, and bookstores, and has been a guest presenter at the Library of Congress Young Readers Center along with environmental activist Isatou Ceesay. Miranda also serves as Mentorship chair for We Need Diverse Books™ (www.diversebooks.org), volunteers for Books for Africa, and is a regional advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers (Wisconsin Chapter). She believes in working hard, having fun, and being kind. Learn more about her current and forthcoming titles at www.mirandapaul.com.

Cameron Rass is a junior at Southern Door High School. He chairs Write On, Door County’s Teen Council and serves on their board of directors.

Holly Selle is the Library Media Director for Sturgeon Bay Schools. She has an MS in Library Media and Information Technologies from the University of Central Arkansas and an MFA in Creative Writing and Literary Arts from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She has two elementary-aged children which has taught her more about reading and writing children’s books than any college degree.

Mary Ellen Sisulak is the owner of Turtle Ridge Gallery and creates leather and fiber works of art. She is the author and illustrator of the picture book Pinklieee, the story of a “fancy rat” who often forgets to go to the bathroom at daycare.

Mark Smullen is in his second year Principal at TJ Walker Middle School in Sturgeon Bay.  His career started teaching high school history at in in Texas for 10 years earning a Recognized Teacher Award in 1995 and State Coach of the Year in 2000.  He returned to Wisconsin working in the School District of Beloit as a Dean, Assistant Principal, Athletic Director and Middle School Principal.  Mark resides in Sturgeon Bay with his wife Katie and their two children, Abigail and Annabel.



April 6 @ 9:00 am
April 8 @ 2:00 pm
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