Children’s Book Committee

Committee Members

Today’s Committee comprises more than 45 members, all volunteers from various professions and backgrounds concerned with children and books. Members use their skills and expertise to foster the unique point of view bequeathed to us by our founding organization, namely how books can affect young readers, and what books can do for them.

  • Jina Accardo

    Jina Miharu Accardo: Literacy specialist. B.A. English, Hofstra University. M.S. Ed., reading and literacy education, Bank Street College. Former actuarial analyst, computer skills teacher, and copy editor. Currently tutoring graduate students in academic writing, and substitute teaching. She has never forgotten what her third grade teacher said, which was that “reading is the key that opens the door to the land of knowledge.” She is proud to be a part of the Children’s Book Committee’s mission (since 2014), to shine a light on stories that enlighten, delight, and inspire, and in which children can find themselves.

  • Marilyn Ackerman

    Marilyn Ackerman retired from New York Public Library’s BookOps and Brooklyn Public Library after serving as a children’s materials selector, branch librarian, and curriculum materials specialist.  A member of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), Marilyn has been a member of the Newbery, Caldecott, Batchelder, and Carnegie Medal/Notable Children’s Videos committees.  She has also served as a storyteller for Brooklyn Public Library’s Hospital Storytelling Program.

  • Alice Belgray

    Alice Belgray earned a Ph.D. in Musicology but changed careers many years ago. She studied children’s literature and worked as a children’s book editor for several major publishing firms. She later joined the Children’s Book Committee, which she chaired from 1997 to 2011.

  • Jennifer M. Brown

    Jenny Brown, senior editor of Shelf Awareness, has spent the past 30 years toggling between her two passions – education and bookmaking. She has served as director of the Center for Children’s Literature and interim children’s librarian at Bank Street College of Education, and publisher of Knopf Books for Young Readers. When she’s not combing bookshelves for her next read, you can find her performing cabaret at Don’t Tell Mama in New York. Jenny lives with her husband in Hewitt, NJ.

  • Sheila Browning

    Sheila Browning received her MS degree in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street in 1970 and began her teaching career at PS 3, an alternative public school in Greenwich Village. In 1977, she was a founding member on the staff of PS 234 in TriBeCa where she taught Grades K-3, was trained and served as a Reading Recovery Teacher, and worked as a part-time Librarian. After her retirement from the NYCDOE in 2004, Sheila had a small private tutoring practice. Returning to Bank Street in 2017, 47 years later, brings her career full circle, a most meaningful next chapter.

  • Miriam Lang Budin

    Miriam Lang Budin was a children’s librarian for over forty years before her 2017 retirement. As a member of ALSC, she served on the Caldecott Award Committee twice and the Newbery Award Committee once. She also chaired the Ezra Jack Keats Award Committee twice and the Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Committee more times than she can remember. She has reviewed books and published articles in School Library Journal, The Horn Book, The Horn Book Guide, and Kirkus. Her long career as a storyteller has led to teaching many storytelling classes for children and adults, particularly librarians.

  • Teresa Chang

    Teresa Chang, is the Head Children’s Librarian at the Eastchester Public Library in Westchester County, NY. She earned her BA in Foreign Languages and Literature from National Taiwan University, Taiwan, MLS from St. John’s University and MS in Computer Science from Pace University. For 27 years, she has passionately served in readers’ advisory, creating innovative programs and publications in STEAM, Early Childhood Literacy and Bilingual Education to promote and deepen the impact of inspirational children’s literature. Joined CBC since 2021, she is currently a member of the Marketing Subcommittee of the Bank Street Children’s Book Committee.

  • Christina Clark

    Christina Clark has a bachelor’s degree in Art History from Smith College and a Master’s degree in Education from Harvard University.  She has lived in China, the Netherlands and the UK where she received a Post Graduate Degree in Education from the University of London.  Christina has been an elementary and middle school teacher and has taught in both the British and the US school systems.  She helped design the middle school program at the Neighborhood House Charter School in MA.  Christina served on the Board of Rhyl Primary School in London and Hong Kong Academy in China.

  • Deborah E. Cohen

    Deborah E. Cohen retired after working for 32 years in public school libraries in Maryland and New Jersey. Deborah designed curriculum for secondary school students and specialized in both the research process and information literacy while consistently advocating for students to become life-long readers. She received a BA degree in Library Science Education from the University of Maryland and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Services from Rutgers University. She has been a member of the Children’s Book Committee since 2015.

  • Carmen Colón

    Carmen Colón is an Advisor and Instructor at the Graduate School at Bank Street College of Education. She has been an Educational Consultant in Curriculum Development in Dual language, General and Special Education practice and Getting ready for Pre-K: An Institute for Educators. Previously she has been an Early Childhood educator and after school Spanish teacher.

  • Jonah Dragan

    Jonah Dragan received a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College and has taught preschool in New York City for over a decade. He writes book reviews for School Library Journal and co-curates their year-end Best Books list. His many other hats include author, professional storyteller, rare book collector, and parent. A member of the Children’s Book Committee since 2020, Jonah is proud to champion the importance of literature in children’s lives.

  • Becky Eisenberg

    Becky Eisenberg is a 10/11s Humanities teacher at the Bank Street School for Children. Becky has a passion for teaching reading and for children’s literature. She received an M.S.Ed. in Teaching Literacy and Childhood General Education from Bank Street College. Becky’s favorite young readers are her two children.

  • Margery Fisher

    Margery Fisher served as the Library Media Specialist at Coleytown Middle School in Westport CT for 25 years. During that time she guided the automation of the Library, assisted with the change from junior high to middle school, served as Advisor to the Student Government and began a Service Program for students. Since her retirement, she has been a member of the Children’s Book Committee and has been an editor of the annual list.

  • Franciene Forte

    Franciene Forte is the Senior Director of Production at The New Press and has worked in trade book production for over twenty years. She joined the Children’s Book Committee in 2022.

  • Helen Freidus

    Helen Freidus is newly retired from the faculty of the Bank Street College Reading and Literacy Program where she taught for the past 25 years.  She has conducted research and published about the uses of digital pedagogy in constructivist classrooms, knowledge development of pre-service and in-service teachers, and early childhood literacy development.  Her understanding of early literacy has taken a quantum leap in the past few years as she has watched her grandchildren follow diverse pathways through the world of reading and writing.

  • Alexandra Grannis

    Alexandra Grannis is a learning disabilities specialist who works with children who have difficulty in learning to read. She is interested in promoting the best children’s literature for all students, but especially for the children she teaches. She is co-director of the Young Reviewers Program.

  • Melinda Greenblatt

    Melinda Greenblatt has been a librarian for almost 50 years. She was the Chief Librarian of the Information Center on Children’s Cultures, a service of the U.S. Committee for UNICEF, where she began her long-standing study of diversity in children’s literature.  Through the Library Power and Library Connections programs, she created better school libraries throughout the NYC public school system and the Archdiocese of NY.  She was the Director of Briarcliff Manor Public Library and currently works for Queens Public Library as an Outreach Librarian for MYLibraryNYC, a collaborative project with the New York City Public Schools.  She has served on the Newbery and Pura Belpré committees for the American Library Association and currently reviews children’s and YA literature for Kirkus Reviews  and Shelf Awareness, an online newsletterShe is currently volunteering for a special project with the Diverse Book Finder.  She served on the Children’s Book Committee from 2005 – 2011 and rejoined in 2017.

  • Linda Greengrass

    Linda Greengrass was the Children’s Librarian at Bank Street for over 15 years. She then became the director of the Bank Street Library, a position she held for eleven years. She has served on the Children’s Book Committee for more than 35 years and is currently co-chair of the Committee.

  • Suzanne Grossman

    Suzanne Grossman, with an MLS from the Palmer School of Library Science, is a children’s librarian with over 25 years experience sharing her passion for literature with young people. Recently retired she is honored to be a member of the Children’s Book Committee.  Inspired by the children in her life Suzanne now is creating her own books for young readers.

  • Todd Jackson

    Todd Jackson was a Learning Specialist in the Bank Street School for Children for 20 years. Upon retirement from the SFC, she joined the Children’s Book Committee, where she is co-director of the Young Reviewers program. She works to enrich the language arts and library program at the Cornelia Connelly Center – a private middle school for low-income girls on the Lower East Side.

  • Andee Jorisch

    Andee Jorisch is a retired NYC elementary school teacher, having worked in Washington Heights, teaching 5th and 6th graders for 35 years. Book groups with her classes were her favorite. She taught at the Workshop Center for Open Education at City College, participated in the Lincoln Center Institute and the Metropolitan Opera program. She also worked with the Council on the Environment on Student Energy Projects, and was part of the Goddard Riverside Camping program.

  • Kharissa Kenner

    Kharissa Kenner is the Children’s Librarian for Bank Street College of Education/School for Children. She is also the co-chair of the Anti-Racist Resource Committee at Bank Street. She has taught several workshops and conferences for educators about anti-racism in children’s literature and writes reviews on children’s literature for School Library Journal and Shelf Awareness. She holds an M.L.S. as a School Library Media Specialist and has a B.A. in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in Special Education.

  • Danielle Kim

    Danielle Kim has a B.S. Finance, NYU Stern School of Business, M.S. Ed., childhood education and reading and literacy education, Bank Street College of Education.  Former operations analyst, Goldman Sachs, Tokyo and NJ. Taught grades 1 – 8 for five years. Fluent in Korean, Japanese, and English. As an immigrant and educator, she recognized the need for better AAPI representation in U.S. education, motivating her to join Fordham Law School’s Center on Asian Americans and the Law, where she strives for change.

  • Gloria Koster

    Gloria Koster has over 20 years’ experience as a children’s librarian, primarily at West Elementary School in New Canaan, Connecticut. She has also worked as a high school librarian and as the interim director of Pound Ridge (NY) Library. In addition, Gloria has written many educational books for early elementary students and is the author of several picture books, including Little Red Ruthie, The King with a Horse’s Ears, Dance the Hora, Isadora!, and the forthcoming The Misadventure of Bob the Book. Gloria reviews regularly for School Library Journal.

  • Mollie Welsh Kruger

    Mollie Welsh Kruger has been an early childhood and elementary school teacher in New York City for over twenty years. While working on her doctorate, she became engaged in deeper conversations regarding literacy and, thus, children’s literature. Currently, Mollie is on the graduate faculty of Bank Street College of Education in the Reading and Literacy Program and is co-chair of the Children’s Book Committee.

  • Patricia Lakin

    Patricia Lakin, a former elementary school teacher, is a full-time writer of children’s books. She has written over 60, one of which is the middle grade biography, Steve Jobs: Thinking Differently. Her two latest series from Simon & Schuster are: the 4 book Made By Hand Series. And just debuting for beginning readers, the 2 book series, Tow On The Go.  She enjoys making school visits where she shares her writing experience and also gives writing workshops to students and teachers.

  • Jeanne Lamb

    Jeanne Lamb is a retired Children’s Librarian. She worked at the New York Public Library for twenty-four years. Her final posting was as the Coordinator of Collections for Children and Teens at BookOps, the shared library service organization for both New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library , with a mission to ensure collections represent diverse communities at more than 150 locations.  An active member of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association, she has chaired a number of committees, including the National Planning of Special Collections Committee, Special Collections & Bechtel Fellowship Committee, and ALSC Legislation Committee. She has served on the Caldecott committee, the New York Times Best Illustrated committee, the New York Public Library’s annual Children’s Books lists, Summer Reading lists, Best Books for Teens, and 100 Great Children’s Books 100 Years list.

  • Sari Lehrer

    Sari Lehrer is a master’s degree candidate at Bank Street College of Education and a Literature and Storytelling Specialist at an independent school in Los Angeles. Previously, she worked as a magazine and book editor, including at the late, great Gourmet. She is passionate about pairing children and books and connecting with reluctant and dedicated young readers alike. She lives in California with her husband, four children (her favorite young readers), and an ever-expanding collection of children’s books.

  • Caren Leslie

    Caren Leslie is a former Elementary School Assistant Principal. After earning her masters in curriculum development from Bank Street, she taught elementary school in both NYC independent schools and charter schools, directed early childhood programs and taught education courses to students acquiring their associate, bachelors, and masters degrees. She began her interest in children’s literature while a junior at Smith College.  She has been a member of the Children’s Book Committee since 2014.

  • Susan Levine

    Susan Levine has spent her life in libraries. Her professional career spans time spent working at the Lilly Library, a rare book and manuscript library at Indiana University, the Levy Library at the Mount Sinai Medical Center, West Nyack and New City (NY) Public Libraries, and The Browning School in New York from which she retired in June 2020. One of her greatest joys was establishing Guys Read, a book group for boys and the adult men in their lives, at Browning. This program quadrupled under her stewardship.

  • Elizabeth Levy

    Elizabeth Levy writes both fiction and non-fiction for children and young adults, with over 100 books published, including the Something Queer Mysteries, illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein, (1972) and Bringing Down A President: the Watergate scandal, (2019) which was co-authored Dr. Andrea Balis. In April 2024, her new book also co-authored with Dr. Balis, Witch Hunt, The Cold War, Joe McCarthy and The Red Scare will be published. She was also co-chair of the Pen American’s Committee for Children and Young Adult Authors, for many years and remains active in PEN fighting censorship.

  • Zach Libresco

    Zach Libresco holds an M.S. Ed. in Childhood General Education from Bank Street College. He was the inaugural fellow of the CBC in 2022-2023. Currently, he works for the NYC Department of Education as a classroom teacher in District 2. Previously, he modeled for the National World War I Memorial and acted in scripted fiction podcasts, films, and theater.

  • Muriel Mandell

    Muriel Mandell is the author of a dozen books for children that have been translated into more than a dozen foreign languages. She taught in New York City from kindergarten to graduate school, and, as assistant to the Director of Communications Arts of the NYC Board of Education, she wrote manuals for the teaching of both writing and reading. Earlier, with a Masters from the Columbia School of Journalism, she worked as a reporter, magazine editor and  Washington correspondent for Overseas News Agency.  In recent years she has written and adapted more than 50 stories for an app for young children. She has been on the CBC since 1984 and has been an editor of the annual list.

  • Kathryn L. Payne

    Kathryn L. Payne began her teaching career in IT, writing computer manuals and teaching adults and children how to use them. She later transitioned to a fourth grade public school classroom in the Bronx, where she worked with challenged and at risk students. She also holds a PhD in Germanic Languages and Literature with a specialty in World War II children’s literature written in Nazi Germany.

  • Susie Rolander

    Susie Rolander has taught in public schools for over 15 years, both as a bilingual teacher and as a reading specialist. She holds an M.S. Ed. in reading and literacy education from Bank Street College. She is currently a doctoral candidate at Fielding University where she is studying the Indigenous Worldview and how it has impacted her work as a teacher educator. She is on faculty at Bank Street College in the Reading and Literacy department. In addition, she tutors and consults with schools in the literacy field.

  • Martha Rosen

    Martha Rosen has been a member of the Book Committee for fifteen years. She was a Library Media Specialist at the Edgewood School in Scarsdale, NY for 23 years.

  • Caroline Schill

    Caroline Schill is a public librarian who has devoted her career to Children and Young Adult library services.  As a librarian, Caroline works hard to ensure access to a diverse and well-curated collection of materials and to cultivate inspiring, safe, family-friendly spaces. With 3 kids of her own, Caroline now gets to experience the library through new eyes as a parent and a patron and is helping set up a volunteer library at her children’s school.  Caroline joined Bank Street’s Children Book Committee in the summer of 2018.

  • Elizabeth Segal

    Elizabeth Segal earned a master’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Bank Street College of Education and is currently a freelance proofreader, copy editor, and fact-checker.

  • Charissa Sgouros

    Charissa Sgouros holds a master’s degree in elementary education and one in reading and literacy.  She is involved in elementary education teaching children, teachers, and teachers-to-be.  Charissa is the author of the picture book A Pillow for My Mom and is currently a learning specialist at LREI.

  • Dale Singer

    Dale Singer retired as a psychotherapist working with adults and adolescents.  She recently supervised an education program at Sing-Sing Correctional Facility.  She currently works at an independent bookstore.

  • Hadassah Tannor

    Hadassah Tannor is a psychologist/learning disabilities specialist with an M.A. in School Psychology. She is a Founder and Director of the Children’s Learning Improvement Center, specializing in the diagnosis and remediation of learning disabilities. Previously,she had extensive experience as a certified preschool teacher at day care centers and public and private schools that included The Dalton School.

  • Jane Thompson

    Jane Thompson was a NYC public school teacher in East Harlem for 30 years.  She helped develop the Title III program for her district and ran literature and writing after-school programs. She has developed a literature curriculum and taught teachers about approaches to literature for New York State. She has also worked with arts programs such as the Lincoln Center Institute and the Metropolitan Opera school program for many years.  In addition she has studied and lived in the Philippines, Mexico and Guatemala and has traveled extensively.  She has been a committee member for over 30 years.

  • Margaret Tice

    Margaret Tice, now retired, was the head librarian at Magen David Yeshivah (grades K-8) in Brooklyn, NY, and was also an adjunct professor at the Queens College Graduate School of Library & Information Studies for many years. A children’s librarian in the New York metropolitan area for over 35 years, Margaret was the Coordinator of Children’s Services at The New York Public Library from 2001-2009.  Margaret is active in the American Library Association and has served on the Newbery, Sibert, Notable Video and Carnegie Committees.

  • Morika Tsujimura

    Morika Tsujimura joined the Children’s Book Committee while a math and science teacher at Bank Street School for Children, and has since served on the juries for the Cook Prize and the Irma Black Award. She has also chaired the We Need Diverse Books Walter Dean Myers Awards committee. Morika is currently the JK-8 Science Department Chair at Grace Church School.

  • Leslie Wagner

    Leslie Wagner began her career in California as a criminal defense attorney specializing in juvenile court matters. She subsequently moved to New York where she first became a legal writer and editor. She is now a staff attorney at the Safe Passage Project, where she represents unaccompanied children in immigration court.

  • Caroline Ward

    Caroline Ward has worked as a public librarian in various capacities: Coordinator of Youth Services at the Ferguson Library in Stamford Connecticut; Children’s Services Consultant at the Vermont Department of Libraries, Library Publicity Manager at HarperCollins Publishers, and Youth Services Consultant at the Nassau Library System.  She has been an active member of the American Library Association serving as President of the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC) in 1999-2000.  She chaired the 1990 Newbery Committee, the 2006 Theodor Seuss Geisel Beginning Reader committee, and the 2009-2010 Notable Children’s Book Committee.  She has served on the ALA/Schneider Family Book award committee and the 2019 Caldecott Committee.  She recently chaired the Ezra Jack Keats Award Committee and is currently chairing the 2024 ALSC Legacy Committee. Caroline received the 2005 Grolier Award from the American Library Association for Outstanding Service to Youth, and in 2008 the ALSC Distinguished Service Award.

  • Oliver Weerasinghe

    Oliver Weerasinghe is a current graduate student at Bank Street College of Education, pursuing a degree in childhood general and special education. He has taught computer science and engineering for the past five years, and is now a student teacher in a fourth grade class at the Brooklyn New School. Oliver joined the Children’s Book Committee as the 2023 – 2024 graduate fellow.

  • Cynthia Weill

    Cynthia Weill is trained as an art historian and worked as both an educator and in  international development.  She holds a doctorate from Teachers College Columbia University.  She completed her dissertation work in Oaxaca, Mexico where she worked closely with artisans to collaboratively develop a series of bilingual children’s books published by Lee & Low.  She is the current director of the Center for Children’s Literature at Bank Street College.

  • Michele Weisman

    Michele Weisman is the Founder and Executive Director of Meet the Writers. Inc., an education nonprofit that promotes literacy by bringing inspiring authors to students in New York City schools. Prior to Meet the Writers, Michele worked for 25 years in product development with some of the most respected names in children’s publishing, including Children’s Television Workshop, Time for Kids, and Highlights for Children.

  • Mary Anne Wolpert

    Mary Anne Wolpert has a Masters degree in Children’s Literature from the University of Cambridge (UK) and was an elementary school teacher and a teacher educator in England for many years before moving to New York in 2018 where she now works as an Independent Literacy Consultant.