Meet the GROG Authors:

JAN GODOWN ANNINO/ J.G. Annino, grew up playing with marionettes on the stage her father made. She published her writing at age 13 in The Barracuda Bylines. SHE SANG PROMISE, her illustrated biography in collaboration with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, is an ALA/Amelia Bloomer Top Ten. It won the Florida Book Awards & is a 2015 Library of Congress Best Read for Kids. 
Jan has climbed Mt. Katahdin (ME) & Mt. LeConte (TN). She loves to walk in city parks & wildlife refuges. Jan lives with her family in North Florida, where she floats on clear springs visited by manatees & investigates sand dune shores where ghost crabs scuttle. Jan shares nonfiction tips learned in her news-writing days & likes to offer poetry prompts. Her poems are published in a children's anthology by Milkweed Editions & in other publications. Her honors include studying as an associate artist at Atlantic Center for the Arts. Contact Jan through Bookseedstudio or follow Jan @BkSeedStudio.

Marcie Flinchum Atkins-writes for children and young adults in the wee hours of the morning then goes to her day job where she teaches fourth graders how to write using mentor texts. She's been teaching for 16 years and has an M.A. and M.F.A. in children's literature from Hollins University. She is a writing coach for She also blogs about making time to write and using mentor texts to teach kids how to write at

Marcie really loves a good organization or time management tool and is always trying to convince people that they CAN find time to write in their busy schedules. She also loves children's books so much that she can't remember the last time she read a book for adults. She spends her days seeking ways to help kids get more excited about writing.

Todd Burleson- is a passionate educator. For twenty-four years he's been 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. 

Todd loves researching, which is probably why he inhales historical fiction and biographies. He 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. 

Todd was recently named as the 2016 School Library Journal's School Librarian of the Year.  He is honored to be part of a global community of learners!

Tina Wheatcraft Cho- is an author of 25 guided reading books from Lakeshore Learning and Compass Media. A coloring book, God Is So Good, from Warner Press was published in 2013. Three nonfiction books are forthcoming from Legacy Press Kids. She is a former elementary teacher who currently homeschools her two children. Though she grew up in Iowa, she is now living outside of Seoul, South Korea.

Tina is passionate about writing/reading picture books and writing for the educational and Christian markets. She plays piano and scrapbooks.

Kathy Halsey- is a children’s writer, a former school librarian and Past President of The Ohio Educational Library Media Association. She taught seventh grade and attended every school dance for seven years! Kathy wrote curriculum for the State Library of Ohio’s “Choose to Read Ohio” program and served for nine years on the Buckeye Children’s Book Award board, Ohio’s reader choice award. Currently, she’s a charter board member of Page One Literary Center in Phoenix AZ and volunteers as a reading tutor in a local elementary school

Kathy is passionate about literacy, libraries, education issues, picture books, Corgis, and storytelling. She is particularly interested in stories that showcase strong female characters. She enjoys middle-grade humor and writes both fiction and nonfiction.

Sue Heavenrich has studied the sex lives of cockroaches, taught high school science, and spent six months hiking the Appalachian Trail. As an independent journalist she reports on environmental and community news for local and regional newspapers. Sue prefers writing about science and nature for children, and her articles have been published in Ranger Rick, Highlights, Boy’s Quest, Cobblestone, Wild Outdoor World and Odyssey. She shares hands-on science activities and book reviews in the bimonthly parenting paper, Ithaca Child, as well as her science blog, Archimedes Notebook and her kid-lit blog, Sally’s Bookshelf. She shares co-leadership of the Ithaca area SCBWI Shop Talk and has written a couple articles for the SCBWI Bulletin.

Sue is passionate about sharing science and loves a diversity of critters from Arthropoda to Xenacoelomorpha, but her passion resides with the six-leggeds. She is involved in citizen science (the Great Sunflower Project and Cayuta-Catatonk Water Watch), enjoys gardening, and would love to explore all the national parks.

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.

Suzy Leopold - I am a wife who is adored by my husband, Perry. We are proud parents to five boys and three daughters in law. Pa Perry and Oma Sue [grandparents] adore their seven sweet, smart grandkids, who reside in Texas. I am an educator of hundreds of students, throughout the years in Texas, from preschool through eighth grade, including college level students, administrators, and co-teachers. I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, a Bilingual certification, Reading Recovery certificate, and a Master’s of Science in Reading. My husband and I are organic gardeners on the Illinois prairie, who enjoy cooking and baking for family and friends. I am a reader and a writer. I am a painter of acrylics & watercolors and a creative crafter. I am a cyclist on a pink Marin Portofino. I am a walker and an occasional 5K jogger. Leaving the world a better place is important to me.

Sharing the importance of the love of learning is a passion of mine. The key to learning and growing is in the power of the written word. Knowing how to read, comprehend what is read, and the skill of writing are required skills that will equal student success. Parents are our children’s first teacher. Empowering parents and guardians with tips and tools that are needed to support their child’s learning at home and at school prepares the child for a successful future. I look forward to sharing my thoughts, ideas, and tips about the importance of promoting literacy for all children and students along with my love for learning and growing.

Eileen Meyer Ever since she can remember, Eileen Meyer has been crazy about picture books. As a kid, she read them everywhere – while walking to school (not recommended), in the bathtub (wrinkled pages warning), and under her bedcovers with a flashlight when she was supposed to be sleeping. Eileen’s passion for picture books has not waned – but now she writes them.

Eileen especially likes getting young readers excited about history and uncovering new, true stories to share. She is the author of the forthcoming picture book: The Superlative A. Lincoln (Charlesbridge 2019), which won 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. Eileen is represented by Deborah Warren at East West Literary Agency.

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.

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

Christy is looking forward to the 2018 publication of HEY, HEY, HAY!, her rhyming picture book celebrating haymaking, to be illustrated by Joe Cepeda and published by Holiday House. Christy has written several books for the school and library market, including All About Apps , Moose, Elephants, California's Redwood Forest, Getting Paid to Make Cosplay Costumes and Props, and Using Math in Fashion. She wrote about the national parks for National Geographic Kids' Junior Ranger Activity BookShe's also written articles about science, nature, technology and history for Appleseeds, Cobblestone, Ask, and other magazines. Her stories and essays have been published in Chicken Soup for the SoulImagination Cafe, and KidsVT, and she has sold poetry and activities to Highlights, Spider, and the SCBWI Bulletin.  

In her pile of manuscripts, you'll find a true adventure story, historical fiction, and biographies of varying lengths.  

Christy 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, Cheddar, and playing the cello (though not simultaneously). Find out more at her website. Christy is represented by Erzsi Deak, of Hen&ink Literary Studio.

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

Janie Reinart-  is a fellow with the National Writing Project, educator, author, poet and musical storyteller, Janie Reinart has a passion for reading and writing. She seeks ways of giving emerging writers of all ages a voice. Janie, dubbed Queen of Words by a student, 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 stories for 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 about our military heroes at Janie loves clowning around with her thirteen grandchildren, having family and friends over for a home-cooked meal, and traveling and singing with the Holy Angels Church choir in Europe.

Sherri Jones Rivers- is a former English and Drama teacher, considers herself a Jill of many trades, but a Master of none. She has written features for the adult Christian market, regional magazines, and op-ed newspaper pieces. She has been a bi-monthly columnist, had a humor story in two anthologies, and has written over 75 greeting cards, including several for American Greetings. For the children's market, she has published poetry, puzzles, raps, and feature articles.

She has written over two hundred personal poems for special occasions. She once won $100 in Saturday Evening Post's limerick contest.

Patricia Toht-  entered the children's book world as owner/operator of Never Never Land, a book and toy store in the suburbs of Chicago. When the store closed after seven years, she turned to writing. She has authored DAILY LIFE IN ANCIENT AND MODERN MOSCOW (Runestone Press) and has contributed fiction, nonfiction, and poetry to the children's magazines Ladybug, Spider, Highlights and High Five. Her poetry also appears in the sports anthology, AND THE CROWD GOES WILD!: A GLOBAL GATHERING OF SPORTS POEMS (Friesen Press).

Patricia is passionate about picture books, and especially loves a combination of poetry and nonfiction in a picture book. She loves to travel and is still working to master a foreign language. She's a decent baker. To her, a day without chocolate is a sad day, indeed.

Leslie Colin Tribble- has many years of experience providing nature education to children and adults at facilities across the west. I'm a freelance writer and photographer specializing in nature and the outdoors. I'm completely blessed to have the best summer job in the world - leading tours in Yellowstone National Park. Although I wrote my first picture book draft 25 years ago I'm finally pursuing my dream of becoming a children's author.

I am passionate about all things nature and love helping others learn to appreciate the world that surrounds us. I love birding, Nordic skiing photography, hiking quilting and knitting and writing about the natural world. A good day for me involves bushwhacking in the wilderness with my camera and dog.

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


  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. :)