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Meet PB Spree

Get to know our emerging children’s book authors.

Jilanne Hoffmann

Jilanne Hoffmann is the author of River of Dust: How Wind-borne Nutrients from the North African Sahel Nourish the Amazon Rainforest (Chronicle Books, 2023). She has a BS in Industrial Engineering and an MFA in Creative Writing, has been a freelance writer for nonprofits, and co-produces Kidquake, the elementary school program of Litquake, San Francisco’s annual literary festival. Jilanne has read at Listen to Your Mother – San Francisco and received an Honorable Mention in Literary Death Match’s Flash Fiction Bookmark Competition judged by Daniel Handler. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, son, and a rescue dog named Wrigley. Please follow her Website/blog/ Twitter/ Instagram.

Ellen Leventhal

Ellen Leventhal is an educator and writer in Houston, TX. She is the co-author of Don’t Eat the Bluebonnets, (2017), the author of Lola Can’t Leap (2018),  A Flood of Kindness (2021), and Debbie’s Song: The Story of Debbie Friedman (2023). Her work has also appeared in various poetry and short story anthologies. Ellen’s favorite days are when she can share her love of literacy, diversity, and kindness with children. To find out more about Ellen’s books, writing projects, and school visits, please go to  Twitter: @EllenLWrites 

Jyoti Rajan Gopal

Jyoti Rajan Gopal is a Kindergarten teacher and a writer. She was born in India but grew up all over the world, from Thailand and Indonesia to Myanmar and China. She now lives in New York, where she and her husband raised their two daughters in a very old house with an amazing porch. Jyoti writes stories that speak to her heart, that reflect her multiple identities, that she wishes her daughters had growing up, that she wishes her students had now. Her forthcoming picture books are AMERICAN DESI (LBYR, Summer 2022), MY PAATI’S SARIS (Kokila, Fall 2022), DESERT QUEEN (Levine Querido, Spring 2023), ONE SWEET SONG (Candlewick, Fall 2023), SISTER DAY (FSG, Winter 2024), and LOVE IS HERE WITH YOU (Candlewick, Fall 2024).

Lydia Lukidis

Lydia Lukidis is the author of 48 trade and educational children’s books, as well as 31 e-books. Her latest book, THE BROKEN BEES’ NEST (Kane Press, 2019), was nominated for a CYBILS Nonfiction Award, and her forthcoming STEM book, DEEP, DEEP, DOWN: The Secret Underwater Poetry of the Mariana Trench, will be published by Capstone in 2023. A science enthusiast from a young age, she now incorporates her studies in science and her everlasting curiosity into her books. Lydia is represented by literary agent Miranda Paul from the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. For more information, please visit Twitter: @LydiaLukidis.

Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

Jennifer Chambliss Bertman is the author of the New York Times bestselling Book Scavenger series as well as Sisterhood of Sleuths. She holds an MFA in creative writing and has worked in a variety of roles with children and in publishing. A Good Deed Can Grow is her picture book debut. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jennifer now lives in Colorado with her family. She invites you to visit her at

Erika Jones

Erika Jones enjoys creating quirky characters and stories that affirm and celebrate cultures. Her creative mission is to show every child they are worthy of good and deserve positive representations of themselves in literature. Her stories encourage children to express and process-wide a range of emotions from joy to anger around their life experiences. She loves working in mixed media and collage because it reminds her of time spent with her mother, who helped make sure all of her school projects had that special artistic shine. Erika grew up in St. Louis and now lives in the Dallas area with her husband and three daughters.

Susan Johnston Taylor

Susan Johnston Taylor is a Writing Barn fellow and author of Colorful Creatures: Poems About Animals in Surprising Shades (Gnome Road Publishing, 2023). Her poetry also appears in 10.10 Poetry Anthology: Celebrating 10 in 10 different ways. As a freelance writer for over a decade, she’s written over a dozen titles for the educational market and published nonfiction articles in children’s magazines including FACES, Highlights and Scout Life. Her writing for grownups has appeared in The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, Entrepreneur and Fast Company. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and their two rescue dogs. Website: / Twitter: @UrbanMuseWriter

Karen M. Greenwald

Karen M. Greenwald’s debut, A Vote for Susanna, The First Woman Mayor, was named a Kansas 2022 Notable Book. The state’s Center for the Book named it their Library of Congress Great Read from Great Places selection. It represented Kansas at the Library of Congress National Book Festival. A Mighty Girl listed it among its 2021 Books of the Year. Karen belongs to SCBWI, 12×12, and co-founded #SunWriteFun, a non-fiction writing contest that raises money for minority kidlit charities. Her 2023 non-fiction picture book is tentatively titled, Mud Angels. It is a story close to her heart! She has won numerous international awards for STEM creative, writing, video, rebranding, and self-promotion. Learn more about Karen’s books or #SunWriteFun at

Marzieh Abbas

Marzieh Abbas is a baker-turned-author. She loves adding magic to her creations- whether that’s a seven-layered rainbow cake or the books she writes for children all over the world. She enjoys learning new skills, jumping rope, sipping chai, and observing nature. She is the author of several, upcoming children’s books. Marzieh dreams of owning a talking parrot someday. But, until then, she lives in Pakistan with her husband and children who inspire her every day. Visit her on the web at

Kelsey E. Gross

Kelsey E. Gross is the author of the forthcoming picture book Winter: A Solstice Story, illustrated by Renata Liwska (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, 2023). Kelsey strives to write books that inspire kids – and grown-ups – to take care of one another and the natural world. She grew up in Wisconsin and now lives in Michigan’s snowy Upper Peninsula with her partner and son. You can find Kelsey online at

Kari Ann Gonzalez

Kari Ann Gonzalez is a writer of children’s fiction and informational fiction, often with a heaping helping of humor. When she is not regaling her family with tall tales or creating colorful characters for her stories, you will find her reading voraciously. Two cats and six chickens are kind enough to share their home with Kari, her husband and their two little girls in California. How To Hatch A Reader is her debut picture book. For more information visit her website at:

Namita Moolani Mehra

Namita Moolani Mehra is a children’s book writer, cookbook author, and freelance food and parenting writer. She is the author of The Magic Spicebox and Superfoods for SuperheroesAnni Dreams of Biryani is Namita’s first picture book and will debut in September 2022. Namita runs a small social-impact business that helps fund hot meals for underprivileged children in India. Learn more at Namita currently lives in Singapore with her husband and two young children. / Twitter @namstwit / Instagram @indianspicebox 

Caroline Perry

Caroline Perry is a British children’s book author, journalist and documentary producer. While working as an entertainment correspondent she interviewed stars from across the celebrity spectrum, but she’s happiest when tinkering with a kids’ manuscript, whether it be a picture book biography or a whimsical rhyming text. When she’s not writing, Caroline loves to travel: she’s lived on three continents, and visited over sixty-five countries. Her adventures inspire her writing, and she has yet to find a cure for chronic wanderlust! She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband and three children. Caroline’s debut picture book, The Corgi and the Queen, will debut in January ’23 (Godwin Books/Macmillan). You can find Caroline online at / Twitter: @Caro_Perry 

Jessica Stremer

Jessica Stremer is a mom, military spouse, and the author of GREAT CARRIER REEF (Holiday House, 2023). Jessica enjoys writing books for children that instill curiosity, wonder and respect for our natural world. She received honorable mention for the SCBWI 2021 Ann Whitford Paul award, took first place for her nonfiction entry in the 2021 Rate Your Story writing competition, and has received honorable mention in the 50 Precious Words writing competition two years in 2021 and 2022. She obtained a B.S. in Biology, with an emphasis in Ecology, from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. When not writing, Jessica loves spending time with her family traveling, hiking, camping, and reading.

Natasha Khan Kazi

Natasha Khan Kazi is a Los Angeles-based children’s book author and illustrator, and Highlights Foundation Fellow. A digital content creator by training, she built Islamimommy, a platform for Islamic activities for kids and parents. She was born in Bangladesh and immigrated to the U.S. when she was 5 years old and has since lived in Texas, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California. Her debut picture book, Moon’s Ramadan, releases in 2023 with Versify/HarperCollins. She also has a second book to be released in 2024 with Versify/HarperCollins. Learn more at