Rochester New York has one of the strongest children's and young adult writers communities in the nation. They virtually all revolve around RACWI -- the Rochester Areas Children's Writers and Illustrators.

Like a great deal else in the world of writing in Rochester, RACWI grew out of a writing class at Writers & Books. The students of a class for children's writers found they enjoyed the subject and each others' company enough to continue the meetings after class.

RACWI has since grown to over seventy members, and has reached the point where new members are only considered if they have either published a children's book, or have written it and are actively marketing it.

The current membership includes writers who have won the highest awards in the field, including Newbery Award winner Linda Sue Park and Edgar Award winner Vivian Vande Velde.

M. J. Auch

M. J. AuchM.J. Auch writes and illustrates picture books and is also the author of works of historical fiction, such as Ashes of Roses.

Her newest book is One-Handed Catch. MJ is also the wife of the celebrated newspaper graphic artist and illustrator Herm Auch, with whom she collaborated on her book, I Was A Third Grade Science Project.

Web site:


Wren Blackberry

Wren Blackberry enjoys researching science topics and often builds her books around the results. Her Métrico Mesh series for middle readers features two Portuguese-American children living on the coast of Massachusetts. The pre-teens stumble across dinosaur footprints, unusual fungi, and are caught in a blackout connected with the northern lights. Wren teaches computer classes between writing, pursuing business ventures, and feeding noisy guinea pigs. Her books include: Under the Grass, Levitical Day, Deep Echoes to Deep, Anything But Static, and Math Fiction.

Web site:


Kathleen Blasi

Kathleen BlasiA former technical editor and currently a real estate manager, Kathy Blasi's first historical novel, A Name of Honor, is scheduled for publication in August 2006 by Mondo Publishing. The novel is an immigration story told with vivid historical detail. Kathy also writes story picture books for 4- to 8-year-old children and is currently under contract to write a mid-grade non-fiction book about youth sports.


Bruce Coville

Bruce CovilleBruce Coville has written numerous picture books (including retellings of Shakespeare plays) and novels. He is the founder of Full Cast Audio, a recording company where he began so as to create unabridged, full cast recordings of books for young readers. Its authors include Sid Fleischman, Paula Danziger, Shannon Hale, and many others. His wife, graphic illustrator Katherine Coville, has worked with Bruce on the Moongobble And Me series. His most recent book is Thor's Wedding Day.

Web site and blog:

Email: For business inquiries, contact Mike Ruffo at

Will Hubbell

Will HubbellWill writes and illustrates books for very young children to elementary school students. His detailed illustrations give readers a visual involvement with the topics of his books. He also writes science fiction novels for adults and older teenagers. His titles include Cretaceous Sea and Sea of Time, both dealing with time travel.

Web site:

Carol Johmann

Kathleen BlasiCarol Johmann has a Ph.D. in Biology from the U of R, has worked as a research biologist, as ascience reporter for Time and Discover, and as a manager in the international R&D division of a pharmaceutical company. She now spends her time writing activity-based, non-fiction books for kids ages 8 to 13, serving as president of RACWI (the Rochester Area Children's Writers & Illustrators), and organizing the Rochester Children's Book Festival. Carol is available for author visits and hands-on programs at area schools, libraries, and museums. Her books include Bridges!, Skyscrapers!, The Lewis & Clark Expedition, and Going West.

Web site:

Laurie Thurston

Laurie ThurstonLaurie Thurston teaches English in the Crossroads Program at Gates Chili High School and writes whenever she's not in the classroom.

Laurie has had articles published about writing and teaching in magazines including The Writer and Writer's Digest, as well as in online publications such as SmartWriters Journal and the Institute for Children's Literature.

Laurie is currently working on her third young adult novel and is waiting word on the others.

You can learn more about Laurie at her web site at:

Vivian Vande Velde

Vivian Vande VeldeVivian Vande Velde is the Edgar Award-winning author of more than two dozen books of mostly science fiction and fantasy, primarily for middle grade students and teens. Her book titles include A Hidden Magic, Smart Dog, Never Trust a Dead Man, and Now You See It. She also has three books coming out later this year: The Book of Mordred (Houghton Mifflin), Three Good Deeds (Harcourt), and Witch Dreams (Marshall Cavendish).

Web site:

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