Wendy McClure

Wendy McClure is Editorial Manager at Albert Whitman and Company in Chicago. Her recent projects include the YA novels Dig Too Deep by Amy Allgeyer, Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs, and the picture book Next to You by Lori Haskins Houran. She is also the longtime editor of The Boxcar Children Mysteries. Wendy writes books as well, most recently the adult memoir The Wilder Life: My Adventures of the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie and the middle-grade series Wanderville.

Idaho Conference on Children's Literature and Writing April, 2017 Boise, Idaho, Keynote speaker, Senior Editor, Albert Whitman & Company, Wendy Mcclure

Bonny Becker

Bonny Becker is the author of 15 children’s books, including the best-selling Mouse and Bear picture books. The first in the series, A Visitor for Bear, was a New York Times bestseller, winner of the E.B. White Read Aloud Award and the SCBWI Golden Kite. Her latest book is The Christmas Crocodile with Caldecott-winning illustrator, David Small. She has taught her secrets to picture book writing in numerous classes and workshops, including as a faculty member for the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. Bonny lives in Seattle, WA.

Idaho Conference on Children's Literature and Writing April, 2017 Boise, Idaho, Picture Book intensive with Bonny Becker

Michelle Witte

Michelle Witte is a literary agent with Mansion Street Literary Management specializing in children’s fiction and nonfiction. As an agent, her tastes vary widely, and she represents authors across the spectrum of kids books, from illustrated board and picture books to middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction. Michelle is always on the lookout for fascinating stories that are well told, especially those with a distinct and distinctive voice. She also writes nonfiction humor when she’s not agenting. Her published work includes the forthcoming Happy Little Accidents: The Wit and Wisdom of Bob Ross (May 2017) and The Craptastic Guide to Pseudo-Swearing. She lives in Utah.

Idaho Conference on Children's Literature and Writing April, 2017 Boise, Idaho, Agent, Michelle Witte, Mansion Street Literary

Tess Hilmo

Tess Hilmo is the author of three novels for young readers: With a Name Like Love, 2011, Skies Like These, 2014, and Cinnamon Moon, 2016 from Macmillan Publishing. Her work has garnered starred reviews in addition to several awards including an ABC New Voices Award, James Patterson Read-Kiddo-Read Honor Award, School Library Journal Best Books of the Year listing, Booklist Top Ten Historical Reads for Teens listing, Bankstreet College Best Books listing, two Whitney Awards, Rhodda Award and various state listings.

Idaho Conference on Children's Literature and Writing April, 2017 Boise, Idaho, Speaker Tess Hilmo

Dr. Maggie Chase

Dr. Maggie Chase has worn several educational hats over a twenty-two year period before joining Boise State: she was a school library media specialist, a classroom teacher and a school administrator. Now she gets to share her wealth of experience, knowledge, and stories with pre-service and graduate students at BSU. She received her undergraduate degree in English Education from DePauw University, and a Masters in Library Science and a Ph.D. in Language Education from Indiana University. She currently serves as Chair of the Department of Literacy, Language & Culture and teaches a writing class, both of which take just a little too much time away from reading for pleasure.

Idaho Conference on Children's Literature and Writing April, 2017 Boise, Idaho, Keynote Speaker Maggie Chase

Leslie Patricelli

Leslie Patricelli writes and illustrates picture books and board books, including Boo!, Hop Hop, Yummy Yucky and more.

Idaho Conference on Children's Literature and Writing April, 2017 Boise, Idaho, Author/illustrator Leslie Patricelli

Alane Ferguson

Alane Ferguson has published over thirty books, from picture books to early middle grade to young adult. She won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for her first YA novel, Show Me the Evidence, as well as three additional nominations for her later books. Alane served as a judge for the YA 2014 Edgar Alan Poe Award, which, she declared, “…only deepened my devotion to mysteries.” But it is within her newest trilogy that Alane believes she has pushed her storytelling boundaries, explaining, "Since I was young, I’ve found myself drawn to the world that exists beyond our sight. I am someone who has been called a ‘Magical Thinker’! Having said that, building a different reality from the ground up can be anything but ‘magical.’ As challenging as it’s been, my newest trilogy, DRAGONFLY EYES, is also the most gratifying work I’ve ever done!” In addition to writing, Alane loves to teach the craft to others, because, “I can’t wait to help unlock all those amazing stories just waiting to be told!”

Idaho Conference on Children's Literature and Writing April, 2017 Boise, Idaho, author, Alane Furgeson

Kristiana Gregory

Bestselling author Kristiana Gregory has written over thirty books for middle grade readers, several with Scholastic's Dear America, My America, and Royal Diaries series. Her first historical novel with Harcourt, Jenny of the Tetons, won SCBWI's Golden Kite Award for fiction. Currently she's self-publishing her Cabin Creek Mysteries, which were originally launched by Scholastic. The adventures are based on bedtime stories she told her sons when they were little; and the mountain town of Cabin Creek is a composite of several quaint western areas, such as McCall and Redfish Lake, Idaho.

Born in Los Angeles, Kristiana, grew up in Manhattan Beach, California, two blocks from the ocean. She always wanted to be a writer and received her first rejection letter (for a poem) at age 11. After high school, she took varied college courses and jobs that provided experiences for her writing career. Foremost were her positions as a daily newspaper reporter and as a book reviewer for the Los Angeles Times, which she chronicles in her memoir, Longhand: The Rise and Fall and Rise of My Career as a Children's Book Author She lives in Boise, Idaho.

Idaho Conference on Children's Literature and Writing April, 2017 Boise, Idaho, Speaker Kristiana Gregory

Elisabeth Sharp McKetta

Elisabeth Sharp McKetta grew up in Austin, Texas and now lives in Boise, Idaho. She is a well-loved storyteller and the author of four books: The Fairy Tales Mammals Tell (2013), described by novelist Ben Fountain as a collection of “wise, unflinching poems”; The Creative Year: 52 Workshops for Writers (2014), praised as a guidebook that “will make everyone want to write”; Poetry for Strangers (2015), a collection of fifty poems inspired from words given by strangers; and Fear of the Deep (2016), an atmospheric collaboration with artist Troy Passey. A fifth book, Energy: The Life of John J. McKetta, Jr., is forthcoming from University of Texas Press in 2017.

Elisabeth has literature degrees from Harvard, Georgetown, and the University of Texas at Austin. She wrote a PhD dissertation on the intersections between memoir and myth, a concept that now informs her teaching. She teaches writing at Harvard Extension School and also through private workshops.

Elisabeth lives with her husband, two children, and two Labradors. She enjoys hiking, reading, cooking, making new friends and drinking tea with old friends.

Idaho Conference on Children's Literature and Writing April, 2017 Boise, Idaho, Speaker Elisabeth Sharp McKetta

Gloria Skurzynski

Gloria Skurzynski is the author of more than sixty books for children and young adults, including Virtual War, The Clones, and The Revolt. Her middle grade mystery series, Mysteries in Our National Parks, are co-authored with her daughter Alane Ferguson. Gloria's books have won numerous awards, among them and award from the American Astronautical Society for This is Rocket Science, as well as the Christopher Award, the Spur Award, the Golden Kite Award, and the Science Book Award from the American Institute of Physics. She has written several nonfiction books for National Geographic including Are We Alone, an NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book for Young People and an IRA/CBC Young Adults Choice for 2006. She lives with her husband, Ed, in Boise, Idaho.

Idaho Conference on Children's Literature and Writing April, 2017 Boise, Idaho, Speaker Gloria Skurzynski

Stan Steiner

Stan Steiner has been an elementary classroom teacher and professor of children's and young adult literature at Boise State University. He has served on the John Newbery and Pura Belpré Award Committees as well as the Notable Books for a Global Society, Children' Choices, Young Adult Choices and Teacher's Choice in Literature Committees. He has authored/coauthored over 75 articles and 5 books including P is for Potato: An Idaho Alphabet Book. Stan is a regular reviewer of children's literature for a number of publishers. His research interests include multicultural literature, using youth literature across the content areas and reading motivation.

Idaho Conference on Children's Literature and Writing April, 2017 Boise, Idaho, Speaker Stan Steiner


Our Mission

The Idaho Conference on Children’s Literature and Writing offers an annual conference/workshop that supports, promotes, and educates.

Our team includes members from Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and Boise State University's Department of Literacy, Language, and Culture—all working together to:

    1. Improve the craft of those writing and illustrating for children and youth
    2. Offer opportunities for networking and review
    3. Explain common paths to publication in children’s literature
    4. Increase awareness of resources

Sarah Tregay

Assistant Regional Advisor
Utah/Southern Idaho Region
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators



Stan Steiner

Professor of Children's/YA Literature
Department of Literacy, Language and Culture
College of Education
Boise State University
1910 University Drive, Boise, ID 83725