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 holds an M.S. Ed. in reading and literacy education from Bank Street College.  She currently works as a substitute classroom and library teacher at the Bank Street School for Children, and freelances as both a reading/writing tutor and a copy editor.

  • 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.

  • Rita Auerbach

    Rita Auerbach, a retired school librarian, is chair of the Ezra Jack Keats Award Committee and a member of the Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award Committee. She chaired ALA’s 2018 Legacy Award Committee which honored Jacqueline Woodson and the 2010 Caldecott Award Committee which honored The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney. She has chaired ALA’s Notable Children’s Books Committee, and has served on the Newbery, Coretta Scott King, Batchelder, and New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books Committees. She received the Colleen Salley Storytelling Award from the University of Southern Mississippi and has told stories at the Connecticut Storytelling Festival, the Hans Christian Andersen statue in Central Park, and the Museum of Natural History, and she has taught storytelling to teachers and librarians throughout the metropolitan area.

  • 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 has served on the Caldecott Committee twice and the Newbery Committee once. She has also chaired the Ezra Jack Keats Award Committee. Her long career as a storyteller has led her to teach many storytelling classes for adults, particularly librarians. She currently reviews for School Library Journal and Horn Book Guide.

  • 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 and consistently advocated 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.

  • Linda Colarusso

    Linda Colarusso has been a proud member of the Children’s Book Committee since 2002.  She studied children’s book illustration with Natalie Babbitt and spent many years as a fine artist and arts administrator. She currently works at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

  • Ayanna Coleman

    Ayanna Coleman has a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with a concentration in youth services. She has spent her career working in the children’s book publishing industry and inside nonprofits that support fostering a love of reading in kids while providing opportunities through initiatives and partnerships that help wonderful, diverse books reach the young readers who crave them.

  • 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.

  • Becky Eisenberg

    Becky Eisenberg is a 9/10s 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.

  • Gillian Engberg

    Gillian Engberg is an editorial consultant and children’s literature specialist who works with schools, libraries, publishers, and other organizations focused on children’s literacy and health. Previously, she was the editor of Book Links magazine, as well as the editorial director of books for youth at Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association. She has served as a consultant for numerous youth literature and audiobook award committees.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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 over 40 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.  Most recently, she was the Director of Briarcliff Manor Public Library.  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, The Horn Book Guide, and Shelf Awareness, an online newsletterShe is happy to rejoin the Children’s Book Committee in 2017, having previously served from 2005 – 2011.

  • 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.

  • Catherine Hong

    Catherine Hong spent two decades working as an editor at publications including Vogue, Allure, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, Us Weekly, and W magazine. These days she is a freelance writer specializing in food and design. She also reviews children’s books for the New York Times Book Review and writes about children’s books for her blog, She is a former Bank Street School for Children parent.

  • 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.

  • 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 is the author of several picture books, including her most recent title – Little Red Ruthie. She 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 children’s books one of which is the middle grade biography, Steve Jobs: Thinking Differently. Her latest is the 4 book Made By Hand Series published by Simon & Schuster. She makes frequent school visits where she shares her writing experience and also gives writing workshops to students and teachers.

  • Caren Leslie

    Caren Leslie is now an Assistant Principal for Kindergarten to Second Grade at Academy of the City in Woodside, Queens.  After earning her masters in curriculum development from Bank Street, she has taught elementary grades in NYC independent schools, directed early childhood programs and taught community college students, and bachelor’s and master’s candidates education courses.  She began her interest in children’s literature while a senior at Smith College.

  • Elizabeth Levy

    Elizabeth Levy has been writing children’s books since 1971, with over 100 books published, including the Something Queer Mysteries, illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein, and My Life as A Fifth Grade Comedian. In August 2019, Roaring Brook will publish, Bringing Down A President: the Watergate scandal.  She co-authored the book with Andrea Balis, History professor at John Jay College.  She does frequent school visits and also loves to write with children, working on stories with children from the Bronx to India.

  • 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’s 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 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 holds a PhD in Germanic Languages and Literatures with a specialty in World War II children’s literature. She has also been a classroom teacher in the NYC public schools working with challenged and at risk students, as well as teaching German and research skills at the college level. Now semi-retired, she still works as a researcher and is writing a YA novel and a comprehensive bibliography of World War II children’s literature.

  • Susan Pine

    Susan Pine retired from The New York Public Library after a career as a branch children’s librarian and Materials Specialist in the Office of Children’s Services where she was responsible for book selection, assisted in staff training, and edited the yearly publication Children’s Books – 100 Titles For Reading And Sharing.  She Also Edited THE BLACK Experience In Children’s Books, New York City summer reading lists, and brochures for New York State Parent Child Grants.  Susan is a member of ALSC where she has served on the Caldecott, Sibert and Batchelder committees.  She currently reviews for Kirkus Reviews.

  • Jaïra Placide

    Jaïra Placide is the Associate Director at New York University’s Institute of African American Affairs. She has taught composition, introduction to literature, and children’s literature courses at Medgar Evers College/CUNY and taught creative writing, fiction, and children’s book writing classes at the Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center in New York City. Prior to NYU, she worked in children’s book publishing for over a decade. Her past employers are William Morrow, HarperCollins, and Walt Disney. She is also the author of the young adult novel Fresh Girl, an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults and winner of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ Golden Kite Award.

  • Candice Ralph

    Candice Ralph is a teaching literary artist. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults from The New School, and a BA in English Language and Literature from The University of Chicago. She is also a WriteOn NYC 2018-2019 Fellow, and an occasional storyteller at Bank Street Bookstore.

  • 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 and continues as a part-time Children’s Librarian at the Scarsdale Public Library.

  • Caroline Schill

    Caroline Schill is a public librarian who has devoted her career to Children and Young Adult library services.  She has over 10 years of experience in the field.  Whether working as a library manager or as a floor librarian, she has always advocated tirelessly and enthusiastically for children and the adults who care for them.  As a librarian, Caroline worked hard to ensure access to a diverse and well curated collection of materials and to cultivate inspiring, safe, family friendly spaces. Currently at home raising 3 kids of her own, Caroline now gets to experience the library through new eyes as a parent and a patron.  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 recently retired as a psychotherapist working with adolescents and adults. She is presently involved in a prison education program, working with inmates at Sing-Sing Correctional Facility. She admires the work of the committee and is delighted to share her reactions to the amazing literature for children.

  • Jo Stein

    Jo Stein is an 8th grade teacher who has taught humanities in Los Angeles, the Bronx, Mexico City, Brooklyn, and for the last 10 years at Bank Street School for Children. A passionate reader, Jo loves discussing all genres of fiction with her students.

  • Susan Stires

    Susan Stires was an instructor/advisor in the Reading and Literacy program at Bank Street College of Education Graduate School, where she taught courses in language acquisition, literacy development, and children’s literature. She also taught at Teachers College, Columbia University and was a literacy staff developer in New York City public schools. She taught for thirty years in public and private elementary schools in Boston and mid-coast Maine. She is currently doing literacy support and tending the library at her daughter’s school, Juniper Hill School in Alna, Maine, and regularly travels to NY to attend CBC meetings.

  • 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.

  • 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 25 years.

  • Margaret Tice

    Margaret Tice is the head librarian at Magen David Yeshivah (grades K-8) in Brooklyn, NY, and is also an adjunct professor at the Queens College Graduate School of Library & Information Studies. 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 teaches Math and Science in the Lower and Middle divisions at Grace Church School. Previously, she taught 7th grade Math and Science at Bank Street School for Children, where she also helped facilitate middle school affinity groups for kids of color. Her other volunteer roles include mentor at iMentor, Dog Captain at the ASPCA, Master Composter through the NYC Compost Project hosted by the New York Botanical Garden, and member of the Diversity Committee for the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS).

  • 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.

  • Cynthia Weill

    Cynthia Weill is trained as an art historian and worked as both an educator and in humanitarian assistance.  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. She is the current director of the Center for Children’s Literature at Bank Street.

  • 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.

  • Todd Zinn

    Todd Zinn is a former elementary and middle school English and History teacher. He has two children who love to read. He has been a member of the CBC since 2016 and is the co-chair of the Young Reviewers Program.