Meet the Team
Urania Smith has a B.A. in English and has been writing for children for 14 years. She is the New Member Chairperson and a Diversity Committee Member for the Illinois chapter of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Urania is the winner of the 2017 We Need Diverse Books Mentorship in the Picture Book category and is mentored by author Tara Lazar. Urania loves to cook, garden, decorate, and DIY projects.
She is from Chicago and currently lives in the South Suburbs of Chicago with her family and the laziest shih tzu on the planet, Lucy.
Christine Mapondera-Talley is the author of Makanaka’s World, a children’s book series designed to teach children about the globe, new cultures, and languages in a fun and engaging way! Christine was born in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe and now resides in the south suburbs of Chicago with her husband and two children. She’s a dental assistant by trade and once a fashion designer. Christine is once again expressing herself, digging deeper into her imagination and reconnecting with the little girl inside her with the book series Makanaka’s World. Growing up bilingual and experiencing life in both Zimbabwe and the U.S. gives Christine a unique advantage when it comes to helping children learn about geography and the world around them.
You can find her online at www.Christinemapondera.com.
Matthew J. Kirby is the critically acclaimed and award-winning author of the middle grade novels The Clockwork Three, Icefall, The Lost Kingdom, Infinity Ring Book 5: Cave of Wonders, and The Quantum League series, the Dark Gravity Sequence, and the Assassin’s Creed series, Last Descendants. He was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start, he has won the Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery, the PEN Center USA award for Children’s Literature, and the Judy Lopez Memorial Award, and has been named to the New York Public Library’s 100 Books for Reading and Sharing, and the ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults lists. He is also a school psychologist, and currently lives in Utah with his wife and three step-kids.
You can find him online at www.matthewjkirby.com.
Angela M. Isaacs
Angela M Isaacs has always been a writer. She just didn’t realize it until she was half-way through in PhD in Cognitive Psychology. Now she works as a freelance writer, editor, and author. Her academic past still shows – both in the knowledge she brings to her writing and her abiding love of footnotes.
Angela’s freelance work has included educational materials from kindergarten-college. She has worked with textbook publishers, educational companies, and with academic researchers.
In children’s literature, Angela writes board books and picture books. Her love of science comes out in the many nonfiction themes in her work and in her nonfiction works for middle grade readers.
When not reading or writing, she can usually be found cycling around the Illinois flatlands with her two daughters in tow. You can find her online at www.angelamisaacs.com
B A Binns is an award-winning African American author of contemporary, multicultural children’s novels and adult short stories. This African American author of contemporary, multicultural children’s novels and adult short stories, has degrees in Biochemistry and Computer Science. She is the eldest of five children and grew up on Chicago’s south side. Like many of her characters, she was forced to assume adult roles at a young age. Now she hopes to inspire both readers and fellow authors of color.
She finds writing the perfect follow-up to her life as an adoptive parent and cancer survivor, and is a frequent contributor to the Arlington Almanac, a quarterly publication situated in Arlington Heights, Il. She has connections in both the writing and librarian communities, and is a member of the American Library Association (ALA), the Association of Children’s Authors and Illustrators of Color (ACAIC), Romance Writers of America (RWA), the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and BCALA (Black Caucus of the ALA). She teaches on-line writing classes to authors interested in inserting diversity in their works, and speaks at high schools and libraries across the Midwest. She has spoken at various venues, including the Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Children, the Ohio Educational Library Media Association, the Indiana Library Federation, the Connecticut Library Association, the American Library Association, the Illinois School Library Media Association, and the Illinois Reading Council.
Her debut young adult novel Pull won several awards, including the 2009 Golden Rose contest, the 2010 National Readers Choice Award. It was named one of the 2012 YALSA Quick Picks For Reluctant Young Adult Readers. She has also written Being God (2012) and Minority Of One (2013), and numerous short stories. Harper Collins will publish her debut middle grade novel, Courage, in 2018.
She blogs about YA and multicultural issues on http://babinns.com/blog, She is also a guest blogger once a month at the Romancing the Genres blog –http://romancingthegenres.blogspot.com/
KidLit Nation would like to thank Author-Illustrator Russ Cox for the KidLit Nation Logo. To check out more of Russ Cox’s work, visit him at: http://smilingotis.com/