The NCBLA would like to acknowledge the contributions of the following organizations and individuals whose work and donations have helped us bring Empowering Young Writers to life! Click on a category or scroll down to discover all our special contributors.

Katherine Paterson and the Paterson Family Foundation
Karen Lotz, Candlewick Publishing Director-at-Large
Calef Brown, Illustrator and Author
Annisha Jeffries, Children’s Literature Librarian and Youth Services Department Manager
Ginger Knowlton, Executive Vice President of Curtis Brown, Ltd.
Participating Publishers
Granters of Special Permissions
Empowering Young Writers Staff
Personal Note of Acknowledgement from Mary Brigid Barrett, NCBLA President and Executive Director


Katherine Paterson and the Paterson Family Foundation

The NCBLA is indebted to author Katherine Paterson, not only for her passionate advocacy of this project, but also for the financial support provided by her family foundation that enabled us to research and create Empowering Young Writers.

Learn more about Katherine Paterson’s extensive body of award-winning books on her website KatherinePaterson.com, and connect with her on Facebook (Terabithia).


Karen Lotz, Candlewick Publishing Director-at-Large

Karen Lotz has been the NCBLA’s champion, editor, and esteemed advisor for over twenty years. She edited the NCBLA’s award-winning publication, Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, as well as the wild and wacky The Exquisite Corpse Adventure: A Progressive Story Game, in which the NCBLA collaborated with the Library of Congress.

Karen committed to the Empowering Young Writers national initiative in its early stages, advocating for its goals throughout the children’s publishing community. Without her early and ongoing support, Empowering Young Writers would not have been realized.


Calef Brown, Illustrator and Author

The NCBLA has been gifted with a long-standing creative relationship with Calef Brown, and we are so grateful that he joined us again to create the Empowering Young Writers project illustration. Learn more about Calef and his work on his websites CalefBrown.com and CalefBooks.com, and be sure to follow him on Instagram (calefbrownart).


Annisha Jeffries, Children’s Literature Librarian and Youth Services Department Manager, Cleveland Public Library

Annisha Jeffries brought her extensive knowledge and passion for children’s literature to Empowering Young Writers as our literature/diversity consultant by reviewing every word, illustration, and text excerpt featured in all our slideshows. Her thoughtful insight and recommendations helped us ensure the Empowering Young Writers content is not only engaging, but also relevant and educationally meaningful to all of America’s students. Read Annisha’s bio on our Staff page. And check out her list of “Recommended Reading for Middle-Grade Students.”


Ginger Knowlton, Executive Vice President of Curtis Brown, Ltd.

Ginger Knowlton assisted us throughout our two-year quest to attain permissions to include illustrations and text excerpts from over 500 books. She cheerfully offered guidance regarding the process and helped us make contact with various publishers, agents, and creators. Thank you, Ginger!


Participating Publishers

Empowering Young Writers would not exist without the extensive array of stunning artwork and gripping text excerpts that publishers from across the world granted us free permission to include! We are particularly grateful to the publishers’ Permissions Department directors and associates for their commitment of time and work on our behalf. We invite you to explore even more books by all these remarkable publishers and their imprints.

Abrams Books | Agate Bolden | Albert Whitman & Co. | Aladdin | Allen & Unwin | Amistad | Annick Press | Arte Público Press | Arthur A. Levine Books | Astra Publishing House | Atheneum | Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books | Balzer + Bray | Barefoot Books | Beach Lane Books | Big Picture Press | Bloomsbury | Book Island | Calkins Creek | Candlewick Press | Candlewick Studio | Capstone | Carolrhoda Books | Charlesbridge | Chronicle Books | Clarion Books | Compendium | Crocodile Books | Crown Publishers | Cuento de Luz | DC Comics | Delacorte Press | Dial Books for Young Readers | Disney Books | Disney Hyperion | DK | Doubleday | Dr. Seuss Enterprises | Dutton Children’s Books | Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. | Enchanted Lion Books | Farrar, Straus and Giroux | First Second Books | Floris Books | Flying Eye Books | Frances Lincoln | J. Paul Getty Museum | Golden Books | Greenwillow Books | Greystone Books | Groundwood Books | Hachette Book Group | HarperCollins | Heartdrum | Henry Holt & Company | Heyday Books | HighWater Press | Holiday House | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | Katherine Tegen Books | Kids Can Press | Alfred A. Knopf | Kokila | Lantana | Lee & Low Books | Lerner | Levine Querido | Little Bee Books | Little Bigfoot | Little, Brown | Little Hare | Little Simon | Macmillan | Make Me a World | Margaret Ferguson Books | Margaret K. McElderry Books | Millbrook Press | Minnesota Historical Society Press | MoMA | Nancy Paulsen Books | Neal Porter Books | NorthSouth | W.W. Norton | NYR Children’s Collection | Orca Book Publishers | Orchard Series Books | Christy Ottaviano Books | Owlkids | Page Street Publishing Co. | Pajama Press | Paula Wiseman Books | Peachtree Books | Penguin Books | Penguin Random HousePhilomel | Piñata Books | Pitchstone | Prestel | Princeton Architectural Press | Puffin | G.P. Putnam’s Sons | Random House Children’s Books | Readers to Eaters | Rebel Girls | Roaring Brook Press | Rocky Pond Books | Running Press Kids | Salaam Reads | Sasquatch Books | Scholastic | Schwartz & Wade | Scribble | Shen’s Books | Simon & SchusterSimply Read Books | Sleeping Bear Press | Sono Nis Press | Sourcebooks | Templar Books | TOON Books | Tundra Book Group | Union Square & Co. | Viking Penguin | Viking Books for Young Readers | Wide-Eyed Editions | Words & Pictures | Yosemite Conservancy


Granters of Special Permissions

Many of the book illustrations used in Empowering Young Writers required special permission from the creators or family members of the creators. We extend our sincerest gratitude to the following for granting us these permissions:

  • Isabelle Arsenault, illustrator, for illustration in The Velocity of Being: Letters to Young Readers, edited by Maria Popova and Claudia Bedrick (Enchanted Lion, 2018).
  • Sophie Blackall, author and illustrator, for illustration in The Velocity of Being: Letters to Young Readers, edited by Maria Popova and Claudia Bedrick (Enchanted Lion, 2018).
  • Lauren Castillo, illustrator, for illustration in A Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider: The Story of E.B. White by Barbara Herkert (Henry Holt & Company, 2017).
  • Benjamin Chaud, author and illustrator, for illustration in The Velocity of Being: Letters to Young Readers, edited by Maria Popova and Claudia Bedrick (Enchanted Lion, 2018).
  • Cynthia Cliff, author and illustrator, for illustrations in her book The Wild Garden (Prestel, 2022).
  • Rebecca Green, illustrator, for illustration in A Place Called Home: Look Inside Houses Around the World by Kate Baker (Lonely Planet, 2020).
  • Abby Hanlon, author and illustrator, for illustrations in Ralph Tells a Story (Two Lions, 2012).
  • Lara Hawthorne, illustrator, for illustration in The Velocity of Being: Letters to Young Readers, edited by Maria Popova and Claudia Bedrick (Enchanted Lion, 2018).
  • Carl Hiaasen, author, for text excerpts from HOOT (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2002).
  • The Brothers Hilts, illustrators, for illustration in The Velocity of Being: Letters to Young Readers, edited by Maria Popova and Claudia Bedrick (Enchanted Lion, 2018).
  • Devon Holzwarth, illustrator, for illustration in Papa, Daddy, & Riley by Seamus Kirst (Magination Press, 2020).
  • Elise Hurst, author and illustrator, for an illustration in her book Imagine a City (Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 2016).
  • Steven Kellogg, author and illustrator, for an illustration in The Big Book for Peace, edited by Ann Durell and Marilyn Sachs (Dutton Children’s Books, 1990).
  • Marc Martin, author and illustrator, for an illustration in his book The River (Chronicle Books, 2017).
  • Sarah Massini, illustrator, for her illustration in The Girl and the Dinosaur by Hollie Hughes (Bloomsbury USA Children’s, 2020).
  • Frank Morrison, illustrator, for his illustration from Shoebox Sam by Mary Brigid Barrett (Zonderkidz, 2011).
  • Sarah Perry, author and illustrator, for illustrations in her book If (J. Paul Getty Trust, 1995 and 2020).
  • James Ransome, author and illustrator, for illustrations from Young Pele: Soccer’s First Star by Lesa Cline-Ransome (Dragonfly Books, 2011).
  • Peter Spier from his books: People (Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 1980) and We, The People (Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 1987).
  • Jack Wong, author and illustrator, for an illustration in his book When You Can Swim (Orchard Books, 2023).


Empowering Young Writers Staff

Several others poured their hearts and souls into developing and reviewing Empowering Young Writers, bringing all their professional skills and enthusiasm for the project’s goals into its creation. Learn more about these valuable contributors.


Personal Note of Acknowledgement from Mary Brigid Barrett, NCBLA President and Executive Director

When I began my own writing and illustration journey, there were no MFA programs in writing or illustrating for children. I had to devise my own educational program, seeking teachers and mentors. I was extraordinarily blessed. My teachers and mentors were creators Katherine Paterson, Natalie Babbitt, Jane Yolen, and David Macaulay. I also learned about the writing and illustration process from the authors and illustrators who served on the NCBLA board over the past thirty years: Steven Kellogg, Susan Cooper, Patricia MacLachlan, Fredrick and Patricia McKissack, M.T. Anderson, Nikki Grimes, Linda Sue Park, Gregory Maguire, and Lois Lowry. I am deeply grateful to have been able to learn from these remarkable creators.

I would like to thank the current NCBLA board for their shared wisdom and ongoing support of the Empowering Young Writers project: Steven Kellogg, Nikki Grimes, Helen Kampion, Reneé Lyons, and Jodi Rzeszotarski. Thank you to the NCBLA’s and my personal editor Karen Lotz for her support and encouragement. And thank you to Annisha Jeffries, the Youth Services Manager at the Cleveland Public Library, who gifted us with her many talents serving as our children’s literature and diversity advisor.

I am most grateful to three remarkable individuals not only for their abiding support on Empowering Young Writers, but for the wisdom and joy they have brought to my life. NCBLA Vice President Katherine Paterson has been my guiding light since the inception of the NCBLA. Quite simply, I love and adore her. NCBLA Assistant Director Geri Eddins, with humor, compassion, and grace, has worked tirelessly for the NCBLA. I am deeply grateful for her many gifts as a colleague and friend. And thank you Richard A. Groth Jr., dear husband, for 49 years of love, support, and . . . patience!

Teaching: one of the few professions that permit love. —Theodore Roethke, Poet and Educator

As a child and teen, my home was not a safe haven. I found my safe haven at school and at my local public library. I can never fully thank the teachers and librarians who helped me find my way; I can only pass along the gifts they gave me to others. Empowering Young Writers has been created to honor all of our nation’s teachers and librarians who work tirelessly, with love, to educate and guide our nation’s children.

With best wishes,

Mary Brigid Barrett

Mary Brigid Barrett
President, Executive Director, and Founder
The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance

Learn more about Mary Brigid Barrett on our Staff page and on her Board of Directors profile.