Meet the GROG Authors:

Contributing Authors

Tina Cho- is the author of four picture books-- Rice from Heaven: The Secret Mission to Feed North Koreans (Little Bee Books/Bonnier Publishing August 2018), Korean Celebrations (forthcoming Tuttle August 2019), Breakfast with Jesus (forthcoming Harvest House 2020), and a new sale yet to be announced. Although she grew up in Iowa, she currently lives in South Korea with her husband and two children while teaching at an international school.

Tina is passionate about writing picture books and writing for the educational and Christian markets. She plays piano and scrapbooks. Find out more at her website. She is represented by Adria Goetz of Martin Literary Management.

Kathy Halsey- 
Kathy Halsey is a children’s author who grew up climbing trees, reading mysteries, and writing poetry in her diary. Her first work for hire board book releases fall, 2023.  Currently she serves on the State Library of Ohio's "Choose to Read Ohio" program and writes curricular toolkits for SLO’s award-winning children’s books. She also spends time digging in gardens, writing haiku, and working with her writing group, The Saucy Supremes. Kathy is a former K-12 school librarian, seventh grade English teacher, and bookseller for a children’s independent bookstore. She lives in Columbus Ohio with her husband and rescue Corgi Scrappy Doo.


Kathy is proud to have received a 2019 PBChat Mentorship with author Lindsay Leslie and to serve as the first Community Manager for Storyteller Academy. She’s SCBWI Ohio Central-South Co-Assistant Regional Advisor, and former Ohio Educational Library Media Association Past President. She loves connecting creatively with students and helping other authors and illustrators with her consulting business, Ask Infowoman: A Library Consult. Kathy is available for speaking engagement for school visits, literary and library conferences, book festivals and more here.

Sue Heavenrich has studied the sex lives of cockroaches, taught high school science, and spent six months hiking the Appalachian Trail. Her books include The Pie that Molly Grew,  Funky Fungi (with Alisha Gabriel), Thirteen Ways to Eat a Fly, Diet for a Changing Climate (with fellow Grogger, Chris Mihaly), and Are Ants Like Plants? Sue shares hands-on science activities and book reviews on her blog, Archimedes Notebook and is an active SCBWI volunteer. Sue is represented by Heather Cashman of Storm Literary Agency. Find out more at her website.
Fran Hodgkins went to journalism school, but quickly realized reporting wasn't for her! She much preferred writing for children. Since publishing her first picture book in 2000, she's written fiction and nonfiction books, stories, and articles for young readers. She's also worked on the other side of the desk as the director of editorial, design, and production at a small trade publisher in Maine. Her most recent book is In a Patch of Grass, which Kirkus called "slapstick science." She is a longtime member of the SCBWI. Visit her website at

Christy Mihaly started writing for young people after 25 years of legal writing (which was generally, though perhaps not entirely, non-fiction). She finds writing for kids is more fun. 

Christy writes primarily nonfiction. Her three 2022 books run the gamut: The Supreme Court and Us, illustrated by Neely Daggett, introduces young readers to a timely topic; Patience, Patches! (illustrated by Sheryl Murray) is a fiction PB about a dog and a new baby; and The Ultimate Food Atlas, co-authored with Nancy Castaldo and published by National Geographic Kids, takes young readers on a world food tour. Among Christy's prior books, Free for You and Me: What Our First Amendment Means, illustrated by Manu Montoya, discusses the freedoms protected by the First Amendment, using poems, historical vignettes, and a contemporary story that shows a group of kids using their political rights. Hey, Hey, Hay! (A Tale of Bales and the Machines That Make Them) (Holiday House 2018, illustrated by Joe Cepeda) is a rhyming picture book celebrating haymaking. Diet for a Changing Climate: Food for Thought (Lerner/TFCB 2018) is a YA nonfiction about the relationship between our food and our environment, co-written with GROGger Sue Heavenrich. 

Christy has published a couple dozen books for the educational market. She also writes for magazines: articles, stories, essays, and poetry. In her pile of manuscripts, you'll find a true adventure story, historical fiction, and biographies of varying lengths.  She writes for young readers because she believes that our best hope for the future is raising kids who love to learn. Her passions include music, history, travel, her family, nature and the environment. She loves walking in the woods with her dog and playing the cello (though not simultaneously). Christy is represented by Erzsi Deak, of Hen&ink Literary StudioFind out more at her website, and follow her on Twitter (@CMwriter4kids), and Instagram (@christymihaly). And thanks!

Julie Phend loves everything about the writing process. Following a career teaching writing and literature, she retired to follow a lifelong dream of becoming a published author.

She is the author of D-Day and Beyond: A True Story of Escape and POW Survival, written with D-Day survivor Stanley Edwards. In addition, Julie has completed two novels for young people, not yet published.

Julie lives in Virginia with her husband and their rescue dog, Duke. Their two children and four grandchildren live nearby. Julie loves going on adventures with her grandchildren and making unique photo-story books for them. Other interests include cooking, travel, volunteering, and taking long walks with the dog.

Julie belongs to The Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), the Historical Novel Society, Riverside Writers, and the Lake Authors club. She is active in two critique groups, and loves to speak at schools and other groups about her books and the writing process. Visit her on the web at

Former Contributors

JAN GODOWN ANNINO/ J.G. Annino. In 2020, her poem about an eccentric figure was honored by the POEMS on PANES project. She lives with her family in woody North Florida. JG has worked as a reporter and editorial page editor for her local newspaper. SHE SANG PROMISE is her Florida Book Awards gold medal biography of Betty Mae Tiger Jumper, a book also honored by the Library of Congress/ National Book Festival. It was created in collaboration with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. At Group Blog, Jan especially enjoyed hosting picture book creator Stephanie Roth Sisson. She leads a long-running critique group & is also an active part of the online Poetry Friday community. Her Middle Grade poetry is pubbed in Milkweed Editions Literary Field Guide: South Atlantic & Piedmont. Jan frequently blogs at  Bookseedstudio or reach Jan via twitter @BkSeedStudio.

Marcie Flinchum Atkins grew up in Thailand, went to boarding school in Malaysia, and she read her way around every library she came across. Today she is an elementary school librarian outside of Washington, DC. and has over 20 years experience as classroom teacher and librarian. In the wee hours of the morning, she makes time to write her own stories. Marcie holds an M.A. and M.F.A. in Children’s Literature from Hollins University, and has five nonfiction titles forthcoming in 2019. She also muses about mentor texts and making time to write at You can follow her on Twitter @MarcieFAtkins and read about her #writerlife on Instagram at @marciefatkins.  
Carol Coven Grannick
I love words, written and spoken, that connect us to the world we live in and to one another.
I love the times words come out ‘just right’ but I also love working and re-working words until they become ‘just right’.
 I love reading stories to young children and I love conversations with them about the stories and how they connect to their own lives.
 As children’s author and clinical social worker, I’m particularly interested in the creative inner journey, how we navigate and negotiate the ups and downs of our writing journeys and lives. Perennial resilience holds me steady as a writer in a business and a world that requires endurability. My MG novel in verse will debut from Fitzroy Books in 2020, and my poetry and fiction for very young children appears/is forthcoming in Cricket, Ladybug, Babybug, Highlights, Hello, Roar! Magazine for Kids, and once on the north suburban Chicago buses!
 I am a columnist for the SCBWI-Illinois Prairie Wind (“The Inside Story”) and Cynthia Leitich Smith’s Cynsationsblog (“The Writer’s Heart”). I am honored now to be a member of the wonderful GROG!
 I treasure every day I have on this earth, and I treasure the people in my lives.
I feel profound gratitude for the time I spend writing for children.

I picked this flower for you!
Suzy Leopold  
I am a wife to Perry. We are proud parents to five boys and three daughters-in-law. Pa Perry and Oma Sue [grandparents] adore their seven sweet, smart, and sassy grandkids. 

Perry and I are gardeners on the Illinois Prairie. Together we cook and bake for family and friends. 

I am an educator of hundreds of students. I've shared read-alouds with preschool students through eighth grade, including college-level students. Conducting staff development for administrators and educators always included a picture book read aloud. Currently, I am an adjunct instructor at Lincoln Land Community College.

I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, a Bilingual certification, a Reading Recovery® certificate, and a Master of Science degree in Reading. 

I am a reader and a writer of fiction and nonfiction. I am a creator. Painting with acrylics & watercolors is my favorite medium. I am a cyclist on a pink Marin Portofina. I am a walker who enjoys discoveries while out and about. 

Most Saturdays you'll find me at Afterwords Book Store for storytime.  

Sharing the importance of learning and growing is a passion of mine. The key to new knowledge is through the power of the written word. 

Reading + Writing = Student Success. I am honored to share my thoughts and discoveries about the kidlit world on the GROG Blog. 

I am a member of SCBWI. I was selected for the #PBChat Mentorship 2021 with Justin Colón and I received an honorable mention for the Kids' Choice Kidlit Writing Contest 2022, hosted by Kailei Pew.

Read, write, and create every day.

Sherri Jones Rivers wrote her first
picture book when her children were
were small. She loved the Richard
Scarry books and wrote a story about
a black lab called Dixie Goes to the
Dentist. Unfortunately, it never found a

Her published writings through the years include work in adult magazines, newspaper op-ed articles, and stories in humor anthologies. She has written verse for more than 100 greeting cards, including two sold to American Greetings. She presently writes for Warner Press boxed cards.

She started writing for children after completing the online Institute of Children's Literature course. Her work for children has appeared in Flicker, Pockets, Child Life,, Jack and Jill, Lady Bug, Hopscotch, and Highlights. She has been the winner of the SCBWI Southern Breeze Illustrated Books for Children Contest in 2011 and 2018. Her feature in Highlights, "Transforming a Garden into Art" won a Magazine Merit Award in SCBWI's 2016 contest.

Her passions in children's writing include biographies and poetry. She loves finding stories of unknown, but important people who have overcome adversity that she can share with children. In her business Rhymes for Special Times, she has written over 250 poems for clients for a variety of occasions.
When she's not writing, she enjoys gardening, volunteering, movies with popcorn, and cuddling with her two cats.

You can visit her at her website at  And if you want to see her playful side, visit She has been dressing a garden frog and putting him on her wall since 2000!

Patricia Toht-  entered the children's book world as owner/operator of Never Never Land, a book and toy store in the Chicago suburbs. When the store closed, she turned to writing. She is the author of four picture books - ALL ABOARD THE LONDON BUS (Frances Lincoln Books/Quarto, 2017), PICK A PINE TREE (Walker/Candlewick, 2017), DRESS LIKE A GIRL (Harper Children's Books, 2019), and PICK A PUMPKIN (Walker/Candlewick, 2019).

In addition to being an author, Patricia is a middle school library associate. Her writing passions are picture books and poetry. She loves to travel, and her favorite destination is London. Website, Twitter @PatriciaToht
Leslie Colin Tribble- has many years of experience providing nature education to children and adults at facilities across the west. She's a freelance writer and photographer specializing in nature and the outdoors. Leslie is passionate about all things nature and loves helping others appreciate the world that surrounds us. She loves birding, Nordic skiing, photography, hiking, quilting and knitting and writing about the natural world. Leslie's best day involves bushwhacking in the wilderness with her camera and dog.

Anne Iverson is a retired Early Childhood Education living in Evans, Georgia with her husband, a retired Army Colonel, and their 2 Scottish Terriers, Tosca and Duncan.  We have 3 grown children.  I enjoy walking and hiking with my dogs, cooking, hunting for antiques/attending auctions, reading, and traveling.  Dark chocolate are the words of the day! I taught Preschool in many of the places we lived including Germany, Florida, Alabama, Kansas, Virginia, and Georgia.  

As a parent and teacher I believe in introducing the wonderful world of books and love of reading to children—the earlier the better.  In many of the places I taught I developed reading programs which encouraged parent-child reading adventures and interactions, parent volunteer reading time in the classroom, outings to the library, in-home activities, and making class books for the children to share with their families.  The class mascot, Fluffer-Nutter (a stuffed dog), his suitcase of outfits, and his journal went home each weekend with a different student. Parents or siblings would record the weekend’s activities/adventures in the journal. Oh, the places Fluffer-Nutter went, the things he saw, and the people he met! I enjoyed writing stories for my children and students and my love of writing for young children continues.  My picture book passion is fiction, but I’m also determined to pursue honing my rhyming and nonfiction skills.

Pat Miller wrote her first book at age 6 for her grandmother who made such a fuss over it that Pat thought of herself as a writer from that day on. Pat made a career as reading specialist, classroom teacher, and elementary librarian. She and her husband have grown children on all three coasts, and six grandkids under 4 who are read to nightly. Pat makes sure they have well-stocked personal libraries!

Pat has published 20 books and 240 articles for school librarians and five books for children. She is a professional storyteller and visiting author. She also organized the NF 4 NF-Nonfiction Writer's Conference in October.  The heat and humidity of the Houston area help her efforts as a Master Gardener. Pat is in the pool or line dancing every weekday after her early morning writing. Learn more about Pat’s books at
 Eileen Meyer writes picture books and poetry. She is the author of the award-winning picture book: The Superlative A. Lincoln (Charlesbridge 2019), which won the 2019 Silver Medal-Florida Book Awards, Older Children's Literature and the Most Promising Picture Book Award at the 2015 SCBWI Summer Conference. Her previously published children’s book titles include: Sweet Dreams, Wild Animals, Who’s Faster? and Ballpark. Her poetry has appeared in many children’s magazines, such as Highlight’s High Five and Ladybug

When she’s not writing or visiting schools, you can find Eileen cheering on her beloved Cubbies or walking the beach. Favorite times are those spent with her three sons. Eileen and her husband spend time in both Illinois and Florida. Visit her at and follow on twitter at @Writer_Meyer.
Janie Reinart wears many hats including teacher-consultant with the National Writing Project, educator, author, poet and musical storyteller. Janie has a passion for reading and writing. She seeks ways of giving writers of all ages a voice. Dubbed Queen of Words by a student, Janie encourages emergent writers to play with words and to tell their stories through prose and poetry. It is her mission to help others enjoy the sheer joy of writing.

A proud mother of a veteran, Janie had the honor of collecting, sharing her story, and editing stories in the anthology, Love You More Than You Know Mothers’ Stories About Sending Their Sons and Daughters to War (Gray & Co., Publishers, 2009, eBook 2012). She blogs a monthly challenge at Reading for Research Month (ReFoReMo).  Janie loves clowning around with her sixteen grandchildren, having family and friends over for a home-cooked meal, and traveling and singing with the Holy Angels Church choir in Europe. Her picture book, Until Water Makes Mud:A Story of Refugee Children, is debuting the summer of 2020.

Pam Vaughan
I have and MBA, (focusing on human services and nonprofit sector), a BA in English. For over 25 years I have been teaching Life Lessons, Exceeding Expectations, and Leadership to youth and high school student-athletes through sports. I have an extensive background in athletics; coaching, playing and watching. I have been the President of the Central Mass Soccer Coaches Association for the last 2 years. I ran a co-ed Leadership Symposium last summer for all of the captains for all of the sports teams for our local high school. During the Fall I have run weekly leadership workshops as well as team building activities and community service activities.
I write PB and MG stories with an emphasis on empowering children.
I belong to a The Writer's Loft a local writing community. (Check out
I won honorable mention from writers digest competition  for a poem I submitted. I have designed, edited and written inspirational stories for a team yearbook for 17 years.

My interests in addition to kids and writing and books...
I live in central MA with my husband, 2 daughters and English Shepherd, Paxton. Paxton enjoys trail running, hiking, trail biking, Xc skiing, frisbee, and soccer (yes my dog can dribble a soccer ball!!) She encourages me daily to participate with her in one or multiple activities because she likes company. Other passions:  ice hockey 3-4x a week, taking photos, watching my daughter RUN, watching my other daughter play soccer, boating around  the Boston harbor islands or down the cape with my husband and family.

Jackie Wellington is a children’s writer, poet, a military veteran, teacher, and educational consultant. I taught for fifteen years (still teaching, but teaching the parents) before embarking on a writing career. I lived in many countries and conversed with many people. I am passionate about helping parents destroy the red tape that prevents them from acquiring a good education for their children with disabilities. I have the tools that will enable the school districts to provide the right accommodations for all children.
Jackie Wellington is passionate about books, food, books, and reading & writing books She especially loves picture books and middle-grade books. If the main character is of multicultural descent, then that is just gravy over the rice. She writes fiction and is now crossing over into nonfiction. She loves serious books. Books dealing with social issues, family issues, and hard to discussed topics. You can find her blogging about picture books at

Founding Father 
Todd Burleson, is a passionate educator, working with elementary students and teachers in a variety of educational settings from classrooms to television studios. He is currently a teacher/librarian/technology specialist in Winnetka, IL. He loves historical fiction and biographies and especially enjoys exploring the lives of ordinary individuals who have done extraordinary things. He is always looking for ways to help teachers make curricular connections using literature. Being a techie, he also helps teachers integrate technology into their practice. He is honored to be part of a global community of learners! Todd was named: 
2016 School Library Journal's School Librarian of the Year.  


  1. Welcome wonderful researchers & writers!

    Jan Godown Annino

  2. It's nice to see you all in one place!

    Ping Wan

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. lovely to meet you all and thanks for the grog. :)

  5. It's fabulous to see this great group grow, with many appreciations for all the original folks & founder Todd Burleson.