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2020 Picture Book Mentee
Alyssa Reynoso-Morris grew up listening to her Abuelas’ stories of hope and service. They motivated her to found Schools for Sustainability to establish environmentally sustainable schools that alleviate poverty. As a Career Coach, she helps teenagers and adults find the intersection between their skills and passion. These stories, experiences, and her Afro-Latinx identity inspired Becoming Gloriana.
2020 Picture Book Mentee
Born and raised in East Los Angeles, California, Celia Viramontes is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and a lover of libraries, which helped nurture her early love for stories. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Occidental College, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies. She holds a graduate degree in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research examining language policy, bilingual education, and immigrant civic engagement in California has been published in numerous academic publications, and her poems on growing up bilingual appear in the anthology, The Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes and Shifts of Los Angeles. She is a graduate of the Children’s Book Academy and recipient of its Yuyi Morales Picture Book Merit Scholarship. A writer and researcher based in Los Angeles, she is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators who draws inspiration from her bicultural background and bracero family history.
2020 Middle Grade Fiction Mentee
If Sara Kapadia was not a human she would be a thylacine, an extinct creature made up of seemingly contrasting and wildly fascinating parts. Sara is an artist, educator, yoga teacher, academic, and writer who uses a transdisciplinary approach in all her projects.
Sara has a bachelor's from the University of Cambridge, a master's from the University of London, and a PhD from Claremont Graduate University, all degrees specializing in education. Sara is the founder of an academic, peer-reviewed, open-access publication called The STEAM Journal focused on art and science. Sara's fiction writing is based on folk stories from South Asia and uses fantasy to transport the reader to other worlds.
2020 Young Adult Fiction Mentee
Swetha S. was born and raised in Coimbatore, India. She seeks to capture her immediate reality and explore worlds different from her own by writing speculative fiction set in and based on contemporary India. Her prose and poetry have appeared in Out of Print magazine, DUST Poetry magazine, and other magazines. She is also a fiction editor at Honey & Lime literary magazine. She is currently pursuing a B.A. in English with Creative Writing at the University of Nottingham, Malaysia campus. Find her on Twitter @SwethaWrites.
2020 Adult Fiction Mentee
Jeanne Paulino graduated cum laude from Northwestern University in 2020 with a degree in Sociology and International Studies, concentrating in social inequality. A first-generation, low-income college student and woman of color, Jeanne’s experiences and identity have informed her passions and endeavors to promote social justice and equity: being a peer mentor for younger students in her undergraduate career, teaching with Teach for America in Chicago, and writing her first book, IVYS LEAGUE. When she is not writing or teaching, Jeanne enjoys going on runs along Lake Shore Drive, eating brunch, and listening to Frank Ocean.
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