Writers Lab Members
A brief biography of each current member is provided below.
Selene Castrovilla is an award-winning teen and children’s author. Her titles include By the Sword and Upon Secrecy (historical picture books) and Saved by the Music & The Girl Next Door (YA.) She holds an MFA in creative writing from The New School. Visit her website: www.SeleneCastrovilla.com.
Caron Lee Cohen
Caron Lee Cohen has written 15 successful picture books. She's especially proud of How Many Fish? a My-First-I-Can-Read Book, and Broom, Zoom! an ample story with a minimal text. Noteworthy also is The Mud Pony, a retelling of a Pawnee tale, as it has revealed valuable spiritual truths to her. She has two graduate degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University, has taught young children and lives in New York City.
Yvonne Wakim Dennis
Yvonne Wakim Dennis is the Education Director for the Children’s Cultural Center of Native America and is a board director of Nitchen, Inc. an advocacy organization for Indigenous families in the New York City metro area. She serves on the Arab American National Museum committee for the children/young adult book award, which she received in 2015.
Barbara Shook Hazen
Barbara Shook Hazen has published more than 90 children’s books, including Tight Times; Where Do Bears Sleep? and Amelia’s Flying Machine. Favorite genre? The picture book. Also beginning readers, chapter books, and books in verse. (She was once a poetry editor.) Favorite subjects? Relationships, overcoming fears, the environment, animals and, always, wordplay.
Arlene Hirschfelder has authored more than 25 award-winning books for children and young adults dealing with American history and contemporary social issues. Her nonfiction works include Children of Native America Today; Kick Butts: A Kid’s Action Guide to a Tobacco-Free America, and Photo Odyssey: Solomon Carvalho’s Remarkable Western Adventure, 1853-54.
Elisabeth Jakab's children’s books: Louis Pasteur: Hunting Killer Germs, The Halloween Party, The Mummy Who Wouldn’t Die. Also published adult fiction and nonfiction, reviewed for The New York Times Book Review, was senior editor at major book publishers and editorial director of a literary magazine. Previously co-managed Bank Street Writers Lab with Dorothy Carter, and served as writer/editor/project manager in BSC’s Division of Institutional Advancement. Current project: adult/young adult mystery set in the American Southwest.
Jackie Azúa Kramer
Jackie Azúa Kramer is the author of How Lilly Ate The Rainbow (FastPencil 2011) and The Green Umbrella (North South Books)-- Publishers Weekly wrote-- “Kramer’s storytelling passages sustain their lofty tone with no off notes—no easy task.”
Jackie is a member of SCBWI and her article, Light My Fire, appeared in the 2016 Bulletin. She studied acting and voice at NYU and has her MA, Queens College, Counseling in Education. Her work with children presented her with an opportunity to address their concerns, secrets and hopes through storytelling. Jackie has travelled to 10% of the world and hopes to close in on 100% one day. Visit jackieazuakramer.com.
Four of my works have appeared in Highlights for Children. “Do Not Open Until the Year 3000,” in January 2015. “Am I a Frog Yet?” appeared in the August 2010 issue. “No Petting the Orangutans, Please,” a non-fiction piece, was published in July 2006, and “Racing Team,” December 2004, received Best in Issue Award. “Circus of the Senses,” appeared in Spider, The Magazine for Children, in the May-June 2014 issue. A nonfiction article, “Mystery Killer—A Lobster Whodunit,” appeared in the March-April 2004 issue of Skipping Stones. “My Summer with the Monks” will be published in the July-August, 2017 issue of Spider, The Magazine for Children, A short middle-grade novel, To the Tower, A Greenwich Adventure, about a mysterious tower on an island in Greenwich, CT was published by the Greenwich Historical Society in 2002 and reprinted in 2012.
I am a member of SCBWI, Bank Street Writers Lab, Greenwich Pen Women, and The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures for which I screen and vote on best films of the year.
Early childhood educator and storyteller Susan Milligan combines jazz music with stories. She co-authored three jazzy fairy tales included on CD in Jazzy Fairy Tales: A Resource Guide for Introducing Jazz Music to Young Children (Alfred Music Publishing). Jazz Mosaic: Jazz Activities for the Early Childhood Classroom will be published in 2013. www.jazzyfairytales.com
Orel Protopopescu, children’s author and poet, has been published by major houses. Her most recent picture book, Thelonious Mouse (FSG, 2011) was SCBWI’s Crystal Kite winner, 2012, for the New York Metro Region. A Word’s A Bird, an interactive, animated, bilingual poetry application for Apple iPad, launched in May, 2013.
Cynthia Weill is the Director of the Center for Children's Literature and chairs the Bank Street Writers Lab. She holds a doctorate in education from Teachers College Columbia University as well as masters degrees from Wesleyan and the University of Pennsylvania. Cynthia has lived in Europe, Asia and Latin America. Her books Ten Mice for Tet, ABeCedarios, Opuestos, Colores de la vida, Count me in!, Mi Familia Calaca and Animal Talk reflect her travels and use local artisanal work to illustrate basic concepts. See www.cynthiaweill.net.
Julie Gribble produces works for children’s media in the US and UK. While a Children’s Literature Fellow at Stony Brook Southampton, she founded KidLit TV and KidLit RADIO to help kids, parents & educators discover great children’s books, and connect with the people who create them. Her picture book, Bubblegum Princess, “a delightful book to read aloud” — Kirkus, celebrates the creative spirit. Member of the Children’s Committee of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts: BAFTA-NY and an Emmy Award nominated and multi award-winning writer, screenwriter, filmmaker, and producer. She creates picture books and graphic novels.
Writers Lab Members
Susanna Reich is an award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults. and Immediate Past Chair of the PEN America Children’s Book Committee. Among her honors are the Tomás Rivera Award, International Latino Book Award, Orbis Pictus Honor, ALA Notable, YALSA Best Books for Young Adults and 3 Bank Street Best Books of the Year.
Robin Newman was a practicing attorney and legal editor, but she now prefers to write about witches, mice, pigs and peacocks. Her debut early chapter book, The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake, A Wilcox & Griswold Mystery, illustrated by Deborah Zemke (Creston Books), earned a starred review and was selected a 2015 Best Middle-Grade Book by Kirkus Reviews and her debut picture book, Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep, illustrated by Chris Ewald (Creston Books), was an American Booksellers Association's 2016 ABC Best Books for Young Readers.
Amy Hest has written nearly 50 books for children of all ages, including the New York Times bestseller KISS GOOD NIGHT. She especially enjoys writing about family dynamics. And dogs. Something else she enjoys is helping new writers in the classes she teaches at Bank Street.
Emma Otheguy is the author of the bilingual picture book Martí’s Song for Freedom (Lee & Low, 2017) as well as the forthcoming Pope Francis: Builder of Bridges (Bloomsbury, 2018). Her short story “Fairies in Town” was awarded Magazine Merit Honors by SCBWI, and her scholarly article “Sermonizing in New York: The Children’s Magazines of Mary Mapes Dodge and José Martí” appeared in Ethics in Children’s Literature (Ashgate, 2014). Emma is a historian of Spain and colonial Latin America.
Angela Dominguez is the author and illustrator of several books for children including Maria Had a Little Llama, which received the American Library Association Pura Belpré Illustration Honor. Recently, she received her second Pura Belpré Honor for her illustrations in Mango, Abuela, and Me written by Meg Medina. Angela is a proud member of SCBWI, PEN America, and represented by Wernick and Pratt Literary Agency. As a child, she loved reading books and making a mess creating pictures. She's delighted to still be doing both.
Caron Levis is the author of the picture book Ida, Always (Atheneum) which the NY Times Book Review calls, "an example of children's books at their best." Stuck with the Blooz (HMH, 2012) was selected as one of Bankstreet College's Best Children's Books of the Year. Forthcoming titles will be illustrated by Andy Rash, LeUyen Pham, & Vanessa Brantley Newton. Caron is an adjunct professor and the coordinator for The New School's Writing for Children/YA MFA program, where she earned her degree.
Studying at the Art Students League and then Pratt Institute, Scott Menchin went on to become an Art Director, working for the magazines How and Seven Days. After many years as an art director Scott became an illustrator, working for many companies and publications. In 2000 his children's book, Man Gave Names to All the Animals with text by Bob Dylan was published. Scott has illustrated the picture books, Wiggle, Bounce and Stretch for writer Doreen Cronin. With the publication of Taking a Bath with the Dog and Other Things that Make Me Happy, Scott made his debut as author and artist. It won the prestigious Christopher Award and Bank Street Best Children's Book Honor. In 2012 his book, Riding in My Car was published based on the Woody Guthrie children's song. Recently he had two books published, Grandma In Blue With Red Hat, illustrated by Harry Bliss and Goodnight Selfie, illustrated by Pierre Collet-Derby. Another authored book, What Are You Waiting For will be out next year. Scott teaches at the Pratt Institute
Lyndall Callan began her writing career as an actor. Her first published work was the one-woman play, Homebound (Samuel French, Off-Off Broadway Festival Plays, 17th Series, ©1993). She co-authored Dirt On Their Skirts (Dial Books for Young Readers, ©2000) with Doreen Rappaport.
Doreen Rappaport is an award-winning author of fifty-seven non-fiction and books that celebrate multiculturalism, events in American and European history, the lives of world leaders, and stories of people she calls ‘not-yet-celebrated.’
Her books have received critical acclaim for her unique ability to combine historical facts with intimate storytelling, and for finding ‘new’ ways to present the lives of well-known heroes‚’ like Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Frederick Douglass, and the Statue of Liberty. A dynamic writer-teacher-storyteller in the classroom, she is a frequent speaker at educational conferences, universities, libraries, historical societies, book fairs, and community centers. She has been a featured author at the National Portrait Gallery, National Book Festival, the Smithsonian Museum of American History and the White House.