Welcome to our authors and illustrators page. The folks below look forward to providing you with some really great books during the coming months. From picture books to middle grade, these stories are sure to entertain you and your families.


Directory of Authors and Illustrators Mary Beth Benton Bill Borders Carol Bullman Melizza Chernov Alayne Kay Christian Polina Gortman Tara Hannon Sarah Hoppe Laurie Smollett Kutscera Lydia Lukidis Brian Martin Nadine Poper Milanka Reardon Janie Reinart Joan Sloane Morgan Taylor Alicia Young

Mary Beth BentonMary Beth Benton was born in Michigan and moved with her family to Arizona at the age of five. They lived on the Navajo/Hopi reservations where her mother was a nurse for the government-run hospital system. While growing up in northern Arizona, she was able to explore the beautiful, mysterious landscape and became influenced by its beauty, as well as the beauty of Native American art. A sense of adventure was born from living in that unique and lonely landscape. Her family later relocated to Tucson, in the beautiful Sonoran Desert area.

Mary Beth resides with her best friend and husband, Andrew, and their four-legged furry children. Her favorite pastimes, along with creating art, are being with her animals and exploring ghost towns, haunted locations, and when she can, going to Disneyland.

Mary Beth studied art at local community colleges in the state hoping to someday work for Disney. She is largely self-taught, inspired by her favorite children’s book illustrators. She is a member of the SCBWI and has illustrated many books, including Bub and the Nut, Fuz and the Skunk, Special Delivery, The Book With No Words, as well as the upcoming titles Wiggle Your Hips Wildebeest and Digging for Bones. You can view Mary Beth’s work by going to her SCBWI page.

Return to Top

Carol Bullman Carol Bullman earned her Master of Arts in English with an emphasis in creative writing at the University of North Texas. She lives in an English-style cottage in Texas where she thanks God for her husband and sons, the books spilling across the coffee table, the magic of music, the hummingbirds and flowers in her garden, and all the “children’s-book moments” in life. You can visit her online at CarolBullman.com and aChildrensBookWorld.com.

Return to Top

Bill BordersBorn in Tulsa, Oklahoma but raised in Southern California, Bill Borders received his B.S. Degree in Marketing from Cal State University of Northridge just when advertising was becoming cool as a part-business/part-creative craft. He first put his degree to work at a small ad agency in Hollywood before moving on and up to other agencies as copywriter then creative director. One morning an earthquake fractured his house, as well his fondness for California, and he moved to greener pastures in Oregon. He eventually co-founded Borders, Perrin and Norrander, a creative-focused agency that earned national acclaim. It also helped him earn an honor by Communication Arts magazine as “One of the Top 50 Creative Directors in America.” He eventually sold the company he helped start and moved to Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho where he could focus on writing lyrics, screenplays, cartoons, and children’s books. Besides writing, Bill enjoys photography, motorcycling, working out, playing guitar, and traveling.

Return to Top

Melizza ChernovMelizza Chernov graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts, Illustration from Rhode Island School of Design. After graduating, an opportunity to live in a small cabin with no running water, heat, or electricity, on ten acres of land in the New Mexico desert presented itself. You might ask, who could say “no” to that kind of adventure? Or if you’re a reasonable person, you might not. Nevertheless, it was the beginning of a long and wondrous education about the natural world that she continues to pursue. The shapes, colors, movement and flow of nature strongly influence Melizza’s work as an illustrator.

A deep and abiding desire to tell a tale visually has traveled with Melizza through her many adventures. She currently lives in a small Massachusetts coastal town surrounded by farms and wildlife reserves that she visits regularly. You can see more about that on her Instagram and Facebook pages. In addition to writing and illustrating stories, Melizza teaches small children how to make great big artistic messes (and they teach her the same thing in return ;-).

Return to Top

Alayne Kay ChristianAlayne Kay Christian is the content and developmental editor for Blue Whale Press and an award-winning children's book author. She is the creator and instructor of a picture book writing course, Art of Arc. She is a professional picture book and chapter book critique writer and a critique ninja for Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 picture book forum. Alayne is a graduate of the Institute for Children’s Literature and she has spent the last ten years studying under some of the top names in children’s literature.

Return to Top

Polina Gortman Polina Gortman is an illustrator living and working in Seattle, Washington. Polina draws her inspiration from old fairy tales, wildlife and nature. Her hobbies include picking at stalagmites of books that grow in random locations around her house, and stargazing. Polina is an active member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and a local author-illustrator critique group The Broad Strokes.

You can read more about Polina by going to gortmanillustration.com.

Return to Top

Tara HannonTara Hannon has always loved to illustrate. As a child, her wish lists included only one desire: more art stuff! Now that she is an adult, her wish lists really haven’t changed—the more art stuff the better! She is truly grateful to be doing what she loves for a living.

Tara’s illustrations have been described as whimsical, playful, and quirky. She works happily from her home studio in Crownsville, Maryland.

When Tara is not illustrating, she can be found playing in the sand with her two daughters, jogging, and drinking strong coffee. It is her dream to find a way to do all of these things at once.

Return to Top

Sarah Hoppe Sarah Hoppe is a born and bred Minnesotan, a photographer, and an author who loves to write weird stories and be outside with nature. When she isn’t with her camera and family traipsing about the woods, she can be found inside working at her computer and creating different worlds.

Sarah loves dogs, books, campfires and pizza, and used to be a third-grade teacher. Living in Rochester, Minnesota with her husband, two boys and two dogs, you can often find Sarah and her family out on an adventure or trying craft projects with lots of hot glue. You can visit Sarah at sarahhoppe.com.

Return to Top

Laurie Smollett KutsceraLaurie Smollett Kutscera was born in Greenwich Village and grew up in Queens, New York. At the age of 11, she performed her first magic trick and was destined to be a ventriloquist with the aid of her childhood friend, Neil, who today is a real magician! But rather than follow in the footsteps of Houdini, she went on to study fine art and children’s book illustration at Queens College with Caldecott medalist Marvin Bileck. She is an award-winning graphic designer, a published children’s book illustrator, and toy designer.

Laurie’s passion for writing began 12 years ago while cruising the eastern seaboard from Nantucket to the Virgin Islands. Today she continues to write and illustrate and is currently working on several contemporary picture books and middle grade novels.

Laurie lives on the North Shore of Long Island with her husband Nick and rescue doggie, Cody. You can learn more about Laurie by going to lskillustration.com.

Return to Top

Lydia LukidisLydia Lukidis is a children’s author with over thirty-four books and eBooks published, a dozen educational books as well as numerous short stories, poems and plays. She writes fiction and nonfiction for ages 3-12. Her background is multi-disciplinary and spans the fields of literature, science and puppetry.

Lydia is passionate about spreading the love for literacy. She regularly works with children in elementary schools across Quebec through the Culture in the Schools program giving literacy and writing workshops. In addition to her creative work, she enjoys composing educational activities and curriculum aligned lesson plans.

You can learn more about Lydia by visiting lydialukidis.com.

Return to Top

Brian MartinBrian Martin started his career as an internationally syndicated cartoonist following his graduation from The Savannah College of Art and Design. During that time, he also created his own comic strip, Creek. He quickly channeled his love for his work as a professional illustrator and comic cartoonist into storytelling and writing of children’s picture books. To date, Brian has illustrated over 20 published children's books, including his first authored and illustrated book, Lippy Lisbey's Monster Lie. Brian will gladly tell anyone that being a children’s book illustrator has been an amazing experience for him, and as a result, he is constantly looking for opportunities to bring stories to life for both children and parents to enjoy. When Brian isn’t busy making art, he can be found playing with his four kids in historic Richmond, Virginia.

Return to Top

Nadine PoperNadine Poper is an elementary librarian for an urban Pennsylvania school district who loves how fortunate she is to be surrounded all day by books and children to share them with. As a mom to three boys and two dachshunds, Nadine became a huge wiener dog fan and self-published three children’s books about dachshunds. She is also a foster home for Coast to Coast Dachshund Rescue and donates portions of her book sales to the rescue.

When not writing, Nadine loves to travel to dog and dachshund events with her husband to promote her books. She also enjoys gardening in her Blandon, Pennsylvania backyard, and of course reading and writing children’s literature.

Return to Top

Milanka Reardon Milanka Reardon learned to illustrate at a very young age. When she emigrated to the U.S. from the former Republic of Yugoslavia at the age of six, no one in her school spoke her language, so her teachers sketched images of the English words for her. But instead of copying the words, Milanka took it upon herself to improve their work and draw more interesting pictures. Later, Milanka went on to earn a children’s book illustration certificate from the Rhode Island School of Design and was awarded the 2016 R. Michelson Galleries Emerging Artist Award. She is the central New England illustrator coordinator for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). You can read more about Milanka and see some of her artwork by going to MilankaReardon.com.

Return to Top

Janie ReinartJanie Reinart is an educator and author who never leaves home without her library card. Janie was the kid who read during lunch, read when she should have been doing chores, and read late at night with a flashlight under the covers.

A theater major, Janie has acted in plays and tried her hand as a professional puppeteer. She visited children in hospitals through a gentle clown ministry juggling, performing, and sprinkling laughter. As an interactive musical storyteller, Janie sang original tales in schools, and volunteered for ten years as a poet in residence at an inner-city school to help children find their voice. Best of all, Janie loves playing with words and writing for children.

Janie lives in Ohio with her husband, and is always up for bubbles, hopscotch, or dress-up—just ask her fifteen grandchildren! You can read more about Janie at Goodreads.

Return to Top

Joan SloanJoan Sloane was born during a blizzard in Montreal, Canada and has been whirling ever since. She grew up on Long Island, New York with eight brothers and sisters and an assortment of dogs, cats, birds and turtles.

A day dreamer by nature, Joan grew up drawing pictures and making up stories. She went to college for art, but her real passion turned out to be creative writing and theater. Joan once played a gorilla at a theme park, as well as the magician’s assistant. Her love of animals shines through in her characters who are almost always animals. She has two granddaughters who love to sing and dance, and one grand dog who loves to sleep.

Joan lives in Florida, mostly in front of her computer or at Barnes and Noble.

Return to Top

Morgan Taylor Morgan Taylor is a Philadelphia-area native who graduated from Arcadia University’s Bachelor of Arts Program for Illustration. She enjoys working mainly in oil paint and digital mediums. Morgan’s main focus is portraiture, nature, and things from everyday life. Morgan draws upon various life influences for her work. One of the earliest being her mother’s wide use of color in quilting. Additionally, her father would take her to book stores weekly as a child, and she would pick books based on their illustrations. Today, she can often be found either curled up with a good book and a cat or caring for her succulents and cacti. Her goal is to interpret and tell stories though art, and promoting an interest in what makes the seemingly ordinary beautiful.

Morgan currently resides in eastern Pennsylvania. You can learn more about her by going to M.A.T. Illustration.

Return to Top

Alicia YoungAlicia Young was raised in a very artistic home and surrounded by constant creativity. When she was 10 years old, Alicia’s parents started an art school for kids in her childhood home: This was a creative girl’s dream come true! Alicia Young attended the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in beautiful Connecticut and received her BFA degree in Painting in 2009. Since then, Alicia has enjoyed illustrating children’s books, painting portraits, and experimenting with new forms of art whenever she has the chance.

Alicia and her husband, Blake, have moved several times, but are now living in lovely Central Texas, where the rolling hills and white tailed deer look like living paintings every day! Alicia strives to spread joy and bring glory to God, the Master Artist, through each piece she creates. You can read more about Alicia and see some of her artwork by going to aliciayoungart.com.

Return to Top