Axie Oh is a first-generation Korean American born in NYC and raised in New Jersey. She studied Korean history and creative writing as an undergrad at the University of California San Diego and holds an MFA in writing for young people from Lesley University. Her passions include K-pop, anime, stationery supplies, and milk tea. She currently resides in Las Vegas, NV, with her puppy, Toro.
Christina Soontornvat is the award-winning author of over a dozen books for children of all ages. Her picture books include The Ramble Shamble Children, illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Lauren Castillo, and Simon at the Art Museum, illustrated by Christine Davenier. She is the author of the beloved Diary of an Ice Princess chapter book series. Her recent works include the middle grade fantasy, A Wish in the Dark, which was named a 2021 Newbery Honor Book, and was chosen as Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post and School Library Journal, and All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team, which has received numerous nonfiction awards and was also named a 2021 Newbery Honor Book.
Debbi Michiko Florence’s middle grade novel Keep It Together, Keiko Carter is about changing friendships and first crushes (and chocolate). The companion novel Just Be Cool, Jenna Sakai will be published August 3, 2021. She is also the author of the Jasmine Toguchi chapter book series. A third-generation Japanese American, Debbi was born and raised in California. She is a former raptor rehabilitator, classroom teacher, and zoo educator, and now writes full-time in Connecticut. She loves passion fruit bubble tea and all chocolate, but favors dark, caramel and maple flavors, and no nuts.
Deeba Zargarpur is an Editor at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and Salaam Reads, an imprint which aims to showcase Muslim characters as the heroes of their own stories. When she is not editing, she can be found spinning eerie tales in the middle of the night. Her debut YA novel, THE SONG WE LOST, releases in 2022 (FSG BYR). Follow her on Twitter and IG at @deebazargarpur.
Gail D. Villanueva is the author of Sugar And Spite (Scholastic, 2021). Her debut novel, My Fate According to the Butterfly (Scholastic, 2019), was named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, an Amazon Best Book of the Month Editor’s Pick, and a NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People. Born and based in the Philippines, Gail’s daily routine includes running a web design company with her husband while trying to keep up with the shenanigans of their many pets—dogs, ducks, turtles, cats, and random birds they befriend in the backyard. Learn more at www.gaildvillanueva.com.
Heidi Heilig is the author of several acclaimed YA novels published at home and abroad, including THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE series and the Shadow Players Trilogy that begins with FOR A MUSE OF FIRE. She has also contributed to various anthologies including VAMPIRES NEVER GET OLD, UNBROKEN: 13 STORIES STARRING DISABLED TEENS, and (DON’T) CALL ME CRAZY. She is, in fact, crazy (bipolar) and she lives in Brooklyn with her family.
Ilene Wong, MD (also known as I.W. Gregorio) is a practicing urologist by day, masked avenging YA writer by night. She is author of THIS IS MY BRAIN IN LOVE, which was named an Amazon Best Young Adult Book, and awarded the 2020 Schneider Family Book Award by the American Library Association.
After getting her MD, she did her residency at Stanford, where she met the intersex patient who inspired her debut novel, None of the Above, which was a Lambda Literary Finalist, a Publishers Weekly Flying Start, and an ALA Rainbow List selection. She is proud to be a board member of interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth, and is a founding member of We Need Diverse Books. Her essays have been published in Newsweek, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Scientific American, among others. Find her online at www.iwgregorio.com and on Twitter/Instagram at @iwgregorio.
Janella Angeles is a Filipino-American writer and bestselling author of WHERE DREAMS DESCEND. Her writing journey began with many trips to the library and a whole lot of fanfiction. Since then, she’s never stopped looking for magic, and enjoys getting lost in any form of great storytelling. WHEN NIGHT BREAKS, the epic finale to her debut duology, will release in Fall 2021.
Jessica Kim writes about Asian American girls finding their way in the world. Before she was an author, Jessica studied education at UC Berkeley and spent ten years teaching third, fourth, and fifth grades in public schools. Like Yumi, Jessica lives with her family in Southern California and can’t get enough Hot Cheetos, stand-up comedy, and Korean barbecue.
Julie Abe writes magical adventures for readers of all ages, including the EVA EVERGREEN, SEMI-MAGICAL WITCH middle grade fantasy series and the young adult novel THE CHARMED LIST. Keep up Julie’s latest books and adventures on instagram.com/julieabebooks or sign up for her newsletter at julieabebooks.com/newsletter.
Julie C. Dao is the author of several acclaimed novels for teens and children, including FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS and BROKEN WISH, published by Disney Books. A proud Vietnamese-American who was born in upstate New York, she now lives in New England. Follow her on Twitter @jules_writes.
Kat Cho is an international bestselling YA author who loves to incorporate her Korean heritage in her writing, especially if it involves describing food. She loves anything that encourages nerding out, including reading, K-dramas, K-pop and anime. She’s the author of Wicked Fox and Vicious Spirits (Putnam/Penguin).
Find her online at KatChoWrites.com
Katie Zhao is the author of the Chinese-inspired middle grade fantasy The Dragon Warrior and its sequel, The Fallen Hero. She’s also the author of the forthcoming Asian American young adult thriller How We Fall Apart and middle grade sci-fi Last Gamer Standing. Katie grew up in Michigan, where there was little for her to do besides bury her nose in a good book or a writing journal. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in English and a minor in political science; she also completed her master’s in accounting there. In her spare time, Katie enjoys reading, singing, dancing (badly), and checking out new Instagram-worthy restaurants. She now lives in Brooklyn, New York. www.katiezhao.com • @ktzhaoauthor
Keala Kendall (pronounced: kay-ah-luh) was born and raised in Hawaii, splitting her time between a remote Molokai farm and urban Oahu. She went to school for screenwriting and surprised everyone—herself included—when she finished a novel instead. After graduating, she married her best friend and now lives in Los Angeles writing mixed-race characters like herself. She is represented by Cortney Radocaj.
Lydia is the author of the young adult novels TOXIC, THE NOVEMBER GIRL, CONTROL, and CATALYST. Her short stories can be found in the anthologies COLOR OUTSIDE THE LINES and STAR WARS: FROM A CERTAIN POINT OF VIEW: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. She also writes adult historical fiction including A BEAUTIFUL POISON, THE IMPOSSIBLE GIRL, and OPIUM AND ABSINTHE, as well as the nonfiction book QUACKERY: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything. She is a practicing physician at the University of Nebraska and lives with her family in Omaha.
Lyla Lee is the author of the Mindy Kim series as well as the YA novel, I’ll Be the One. Although she was born in a small town in South Korea, she’s since then lived in various parts of the United States, including California, Florida, and Texas. After working various jobs in Hollywood and studying Psychology and Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, she now lives in Dallas, Texas. When she is not writing, she is teaching kids, petting cute dogs, and searching for the perfect bowl of shaved ice.
Malinda Lo is the critically acclaimed author of several books, including the historical novel Last Night at the Telegraph Club, which received eight starred reviews. Her debut novel Ash, a lesbian retelling of Cinderella, was a finalist for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award, the Andre Norton Award for YA Science Fiction and Fantasy, the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, and was a Kirkus Best Book for Children and Teens. She has been a three-time finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. She can be found on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @malindalo, or at her website, malindalo.com.
Marie’s middle-grade novel, EVERLASTING NORA, released in 2018, has received two starred reviews, is a 2018 Book Expo of America Buzz Pick for Middle Grade, a School Library Journal Day of Dialogue Selection, a Junior Library Guild Selection and a Best Book of 2018 Selection in Middle Grade by Kirkus,. Her book has been nominated for the 2020 Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award Intermediate Category and the 2021 Grand Canyon Reader Award Intermediate Category. She was awarded the 2019 Excellence in a Work of Juvenile Fiction by the Children’s Literature Council of Southern California. Her book was included in the 2020 National Geographic Summer Learning Series.
Marie is also a clinical laboratory specialist and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, grown up kids and a hamster named Patches.
Mike Jung is the author of Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities, Unidentified Suburban Object, and The Boys in the Back Row, and contributed to the anthologies Dear Teen Me, Break These Rules, 59 Reasons to Write, (Don’t) Call Me Crazy, and The Hero Next Door. His books have been honored by the Bank Street College of Education, Children’s Book Council Reading Beyond List, Cooperative Children’s Book Center, Georgia State Book Awards, Iowa Children’s Choice Awards, Kansas State Reading Circle, National Parenting Publications Awards, Parents Choice Foundation, and Texas Bluebonnet Awards. Find Mike on Facebook, Twitter, or at www.mikejung.com.
Misa Sugiura’s ancestors include a poet, a priestess, a samurai, and a stowaway. She is the author of the award-winning It’s Not Like It’s A Secret, the highly acclaimed This Time Will Be Different, and a short story entitled “Where I’m From” in Come On In, a young adult anthology of stories about immigration. Her latest book, Love & Other Natural Disasters, will release on June 8, 2021, and is available for pre-order. Misa lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, with her husband, two sons, and three cats.
Rebecca Kuss (she/her) is a senior editor at Rick Riordan Presents/Disney Hyperion, specializing in middle grade and young adult fiction. Previously, she was an editor with HarperCollins and also worked as a Netflix’s book-to-film scout for their children’s division.
She was raised by a hard working immigrant mom in the icy suburbs of Wisconsin, where she spent hours finding cozy spots to read in her public library. With a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, where she studied issues of representation in children’s literature, she then came to New York City to champion stories that provide mirrors, windows, and doors for marginalized and underrepresented voices. Follow her on twitter @reebsthereader for daily thoughts on Claudia Kishi, the perfect french fry, and of course, books.
Sabina Khan is the author of ZARA HOSSAIN IS HERE (Scholastic/ April 6, 2021) and THE LOVE & LIES OF RUKHSANA ALI (Scholastic, 2019). She is an educational consultant and a karaoke enthusiast. After living in Germany, Bangladesh, Macao, Illinois and Texas, she has finally settled down in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, with her husband, two daughters and the best puppy in the world.
Sarah Kuhn is the author of the popular Heroine Complex novels—a series starring Asian American superheroines. She also wrote the beloved Japan-set romantic comedy I Love You So Mochi, the acclaimed graphic novel Shadow of the Batgirl, and the Star Wars audiobook original Doctor Aphra. Her newest novel, From Little Tokyo, With Love—a modern fairy tale with a half-Japanese heroine—is a Junior Library Guild selection and was chosen as Penguin Random House’s One World, One Book title of the year and featured in the New York Times’ YA Books to Add to Your Reading List.
Stacey Lee is an award-winning author of historical and contemporary young adult fiction, including UNDER A PAINTED SKY, OUTRUN THE MOON, winner of the 2017 Pen Center Award for Young Adult Fiction and the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association YA Book of the Year, THE SECRET OF A HEART NOTE, which sold in eight countries, and her most recent THE DOWNSTAIRS GIRL, which received five starred reviews and which Booklist called “Spectacular.” Her books have been selected for the Amelia Bloomer list for feminist fiction, the as well as the YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults List, and the New York Public Library’s Best Books for Teens. A native of southern California and fourth-generation Chinese American, she is a founder of the We Need Diverse Books movement and writes stories for all kids (even the ones who look like adults).
Swati Teerdhala is the author of The Tiger at Midnight series, which has appeared on both Barnes and Noble and Book Riot’s Most Anticipated Novels lists. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BS in finance and BA in history, she tumbled into the marketing side of the technology industry. She’s passionate about many things, including how the right ratio of curd-to-crust in a lemon tart. She currently lives in New York City.
Tif Marcelo is a veteran US Army nurse and holds a BS in Nursing and a Master’s in public administration. She believes and writes about the strength of families, the endurance of friendship, heartfelt romances, and is inspired daily by her own military hero husband and four children. She hosts The Stories to Love Podcast, and is the USA Today bestselling author of In a Book Club Far Away, Once Upon a Sunset, The Key to Happily Ever After, and the Journey to the Heart series. Her website is www.TifMarcelo.com