Rate Your Story judges are not paid employees of RYS.

All judges volunteer their time to help give back to the literary community.

Lisa Amstutz

Lisa Amstutz is the author of more than 80 nonfiction books for children and co-author of one adult title. She specializes in topics related to science and agriculture. Lisa has written fiction, poetry, and articles for a variety of magazines, including Ladybug, Highlights, Cricket, ASK, and Jack and Jill. She is represented by Victoria Selvaggio of Storm Literary Agency. Lisa serves on the board of SCBWI: Northern Ohio, and enjoys mentoring new writers. For information on her manuscript critique service, visit www.LisaAmstutz.com.

Amie Borst

Amie Borst is the author of the Scarily Ever Laughter series for middle-grade readers. Cinderskella and Little Dead Riding Hood are the first in the series, followed by Snow Fright. She believes in unicorns, uses glitter whenever possible, and devours chocolate. Sometimes she gets the three confused which explains the vast shortage of unicorns lately (sorry!). Amie is a founding and contributing member of the group blog, From the Mixed-Up Files…of Middle-Grade Authors. She is also an active member of the SCBWI. You can find her on social networking as well as her blog www.amieborst.blogspot.com and her website www.amieborst.com

Pam Calvert

Pam Calvert is an author of children’s picture books, easy readers, and short stories. She has four picture books nationally published that have been translated into Chinese, Korean, Catalan, and Spanish and she has a new character driven series entitled, Brianna Bright Ballerina Knight. Her Princess Peepers series has won awards and some of her books are Scholastic Book Club titles, including Multiplying Menace: The Revenge of Rumpelstiltskin. She offers a free picture book workshop, Picture Book University, on her blog as well as a highly praised critique service. She is represented by Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. You can visit her website by clicking here

Lori Degman

Lori Degman is a picture book author and teacher of deaf and hard-of-hearing students.  Her first picture book, 1 Zany Zoo (Simon and Schuster, 2010), was the winner of the 2nd Annual Cheerios New Author Contest and was a featured title on the 2013 Illinois Reads Book List. Her second picture book, Cock-a-Doodle Oops! (Creston Books, 2014) was a 2015 International Literacy Association Honor Book. Her third picture book is titled Norbert's Big Dream (Sleeping Bear Press, 2016). She writes mostly in rhyme, sometimes in prose, and always with humor.  “I love helping writers with their rhyming picture book stories," she said. "My professional critiques include comments on all aspects of the story, as well as a line-by-line review of both rhythm and rhyme.”  Learn more about Lori’s critique service on her website: www.Loridegman.com.

Katrina DeLallo

Katrina DeLallo is a spiritual, fantasy writer whose work has been published in several eZines, SuperTeacherWorksheets.com, and in print anthologies published by Static Movement. Her earliest writing memory stems from the age of six, when she wrote her first story into a journal given to her by one of her older sisters. She adores imagining new worlds, new places, new people and characters. Her main draw is to fantasy, because fantasy allows her to create worlds that do not exist. Visit Katrina's blog or request a critique at her website: www.katrinadelallo.blogspot.com.

Katie Frawley

Katie Frawley earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Florida (GO GATORS!) and a master’s in literature from Florida Atlantic University. From there, she had the good fortune to teach English in middle and high schools. When Katie left the classroom to grow her family, she rediscovered her literary roots in the world of picture books. These days, Katie lives in South Florida with her husband and four children. Her debut picture book will be coming out in Spring 2020 (details forthcoming!) If you're interested in a full critique, message her on Twitter (@KatieFrawley1) or email her (Ktfrawley11@gmail.com) to request a quote. For more, visit: https://katiefrawley.wordpress.com

Sophia Gholz

Sophia Gholz is an award-winning children's book author, music lover and magic seeker. Sophia enjoys writing fiction with humor and heart. When writing nonfiction, she pulls on her love of science and her strong family background in ecology. Since 2017, Sophia has helped oversee the Henry L. Gholz SEEDS National Field Trip Endowment for The Ecological Society of America, funding ecological field experiences for students from diverse backgrounds. She is also a founding board member of KidLiteracy.org, a nonprofit organization focused on early literacy initiatives. Previously, Sophia worked as an advertising copywriter and made a career working with visual artists in New York City. Sophia’s debut book, The Boy Who Grew a Forest: The True Story of Jadav Payeng, received the Florida State Book Award Gold Medal, a Eureka! Nonfiction Honor Award, and was named was named a 2020 Green Earth Honor Book among other accolades. When she’s not writing, you can find Sophia on Twitter or in her cave (aka office). For more about Sophia and her upcoming titles, visit: www.sophiagholz.com.

Anne Johnson

Anne E. Johnson writes fiction in many genres. Her works include the middle-grade paranormal mystery Ebenezer's Locker (MuseItUp), middle-grade historical mystery Trouble at the Scriptorium (Royal Fireworks), and noir sci-fi series The Webrid Chronicles (Candlemark & Gleam). She has had dozens of short stories published in magazines and anthologies, and many of them can now be found in her book Things from Other Worlds: 15 Alien and Fantasy Stories for Kids. Visit Anne's website to inquire about professional critique services or to learn more about her books and stories. 

Lauren Kerstein

Lauren Kerstein is an author and psychotherapist. She is a Jersey girl at heart who loves reading, drinking tea, and devouring chocolate. Lauren currently lives in Colorado with her husband, Josh, their two dragons...er, daughters, Sarah and Danielle, and Hudson, the dog.  Her picture book, ROSIE THE DRAGON AND CHARLIE MAKE WAVES, is swimming to shelves near you in June 2019. Her writing goals are simple. Read voraciously. Embrace feedback. Grow each day. Work hard. Be passionate. Write courageously. Touch children’s hearts. You can visit her at www.LaurenKerstein.net.

Silvia López

Silvia López is a Cuba native raised in Miami. As children’s librarian in schools and public
libraries for over three decades, she spent her entire professional life among books for kids. So,
the next logical step was to write them! Her first picture book, Just Right Family: An Adoption
Story (Whitman) won the 2018 Florida Book Award. Her second book, Handimals: Animals in
Art and Nature (Macmillan, 2019), a collaboration with Italian artist Guido Daniele, was starred
in Booklist and received Silver Medal in the Nautilus awards. Her other books include Pacho
Nacho (Capstone, February, 2020), bilingual PB biographies, Queen of Tejano Music: Selena
(Little Bee Books) scheduled for release August, 2020, and chosen as Junior Library Guild
selections, and My Little Golden Book Biography of Frida Kahlo (Penguin Random House), due
out in March, 2021. Silvia is represented by Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary Agency.

Heather Macht

Heather Macht, author of YOU JUST MAY BE A DINOSAUR (Pelican, 2015), THE ANT FARM ESCAPE! (Pelican, 2018), and more!, is an active children's author who has been creating stories since the third grade! She earned her AA in fine arts from Florida State College at Jacksonville and held a career in the I.T. world before becoming a full-time writer and mom. Macht’s an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and lives with her family in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. In her spare time, she dwells in poetry and picture books and enjoys painting. For more, visit www.heathermacht.com.

Lynne Marie

Lynne Marie is the author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten - illustrated by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic, 2011), Hedgehog's 100th Day of School – illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic, January 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play (Sparkhouse Family, 2018) and Moldilocks and the 3 Scares (Sterling, 2019). Her stories, poems, and folk tales have appeared in many magazine markets, including Family Fun, Highlights, High Five, Spider, Baby Bug and more. She is the Editor/Agent Feature Columnist and an on-staff writer for Jon and Laura Bard's Children's Book Insider, a book reviewer and a 2016 Cybils Picture Book Panelist. She is a former New Yorker who now lives a simpler life on a lake in South Florida with her daughter and several resident water birds. You can learn more about her at www.LiterallyLynneMarie.com.

JB Michaels

JB Michaels is an award-winning and USA Today Bestselling Author of two series: Bud Hutchins Thrillers and the Tannenbaum Tailors. JB has spent his life studying story from riveting novels to the slam-bang action-packed world of comics, to the examination of film history. JB enjoys working on his craft and examining the elements that make a story incredible. In addition to writing, JB enjoys spending time with his family and helping other writers master their craft. For further help with your craft and to request a full critique from JB, please visit: privatewritingcoach.net

Lyn Miller-Lachmann

Lyn Miller-Lachmann is the former editor-in-chief of MultiCultural Review. Her young adult novel Gringolandia (Curbstone Press/Northwestern University Press, 2009), about a teenage refugee from Chile coming to terms with his father’s imprisonment and torture under the Pinochet dictatorship, was a 2010 ALA Best Book for Young Adults and received an Américas Award Honorable Mention from the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs. Her second novel, Rogue (Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Books, 2013), a Junior Library Guild selection, portrays an eighth grader with undiagnosed Asperger’s syndrome and an X-Men obsession, whose desire for a friend leads her to some difficult and dangerous choices. Her most recent novel is Surviving Santiago (Running Press, 2015), the companion to Gringolandia, which portrays younger sister Tina’s journey to Chile to visit her estranged father and her romance with a motorcycle-riding local boy whose secret threatens them all. Lyn reviews children’s and young adult books on social justice themes for The Pirate Tree (www.thepiratetree.com). Currently, she is writing a young adult novel set in Portugal, where she spends part of each year, and translating children’s books from Portuguese to English. Her first translation, the picture book The World in a Second (Enchanted Lion) received a starred review from Kirkus and was featured in the Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, and the Wall Street Journal. For more information, visit Lyn’s website, www.lynmillerlachmann.com.

Robin Newman

Raised in New York and Paris, Robin Newman is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the City University of New York School of Law. She was a practicing attorney and legal editor, but she now prefers to write about witches, mice, pigs, and peacocks. Author of the award-winning Wilcox & Griswold Mystery Series, she's a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, National Writing Project's Writers Council, the Bank Street Writers Lab, and PEN America, CYAB. She lives in New York with her husband, son, and three spoiled dogs. She is represented by Liza Fleissig at Liza Royce Agency. For more information, please visit www.robinnewmanbooks.com.

Dianne Ochiltree

Dianne Ochiltree is a nationally-recognized author of books for the very young. Her picture books have appeared on many recommended reading lists, used by teachers in the classroom lesson plans, been included in literacy programs such as the Dollywood Foundation's Imagination Library and honored with book awards, including two Florida Book Award medals for children's literature. Dianne is a certified yoga instructor; and the human half of a therapy dog team with Sally, the family's chocolate Labrador retriever. She and her husband, Jim, live in sunny Sarasota, Florida. To learn more about Dianne's books, writing workshops and manuscript critique services, go to dianneochiltree.com.

Laura Roettiger

Laura Roettiger has enjoyed working with children ever since she was no longer considered a child herself. She was a reading specialist and elementary teacher in Chicago, IL before moving to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado where she worked in Environmental Education and is now a mentor for reading and writing at a STEM school. She is a member of SCBWI, 12x12 Picture Book Forum and has participated in 12Days4Writers and StoryStorm. Her superpower is encouraging curiosity in children and letting them know she believes in them. She has three children of her own whose curiosity and creativity led all of them into STEM related professions. ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON, will be released by Eifrig Publishing in February 2019. For more, you can find Laura online at: www.LauraRoettigerBooks.com. You can also find Laura on Instagram: www.instagram.com/alianareachesforthemoon/ and on Twitter: @ljrwritenow

Judy Roberts

Judy (J.S.) Roberts writes middle grade fiction, which she describes as anything between picture books and young adult. Her short story Visions appears in the Baba Yaga edition of Timeless Tales, and her middle grade mystery Delayed was accepted into the 2015 agent round of Pitch Wars. You can learn more about her and on her website http://jsrobertsbooks.weebly.com/

Vicky Rubin

Vicky Rubin is an author and illustrator. Her books are in prose, and her rhyming poems have appeared in CRICKET and SPIDER magazines. She offers detailed, multi-round critiques and editorial services. In her crits, she looks at voice, language, character, story, plot, pacing, structure and the takeaway. She's glad to answer your questions about the critique process. She has over 20 years of professional experience as a writer, proofreader, and copyeditor. Her goal is to work with you to make your story as strong as possible. Visit her at http://doodlesoop.com

Linda Skeers

Linda Skeers LOVES children's books! She's the author of picture books, children's nonfiction, magazine stories, poems and articles on the craft of writing. She is a former instructor for the Institute of Children's Literature and co-teacher of the annual Whispering Woods Picture Book Writing Workshop. Linda enjoys mentoring aspiring writers and does private manuscript critiques. For more information go to www.lindaskeers.com.

Meera Sriram

Meera Sriram loves to read, write, review, or to sometimes simply hug picture books! She's an early literacy instructor and a passionate advocate of multicultural literacy. Meera grew up in India and moved to the U.S at the turn of the millennium. She has co-authored several children's books published in India. THE YELLOW SUITCASE (March, 2019)  is her debut picture book in the U.S. She believes in the transformative power of stories and enjoys writing on exploring identity, immigrant perspectives, and on nature, or an undervalued art or tradition.  Meera lives with her husband and two children in Berkeley, California, where she fantasizes about a world with no borders, often over a steamy cup of chai.

Nancy Stewart

Nancy Stewart is the bestselling and award winning author of the four Bella and Britt Series books for children: One Pelican at a Time (eighteen weeks on Amazon Bestselling List), Sea Turtle Summer (International Classics Gold Book Award), Bella Saves the Beach and Mystery at Manatee Key. Her book, Katrina and Winter: Partners in Courage, is the authorized biography of Katrina Simpkins and her life changing relationship with Winter, the dolphin (International Classics Silver Award, 2013). Nancy's debut YA novel, Beulah Land was published in November 2017 by Interlude Press. Beulah Land won the YA First Place Award in the State of FL SCBWI Rising Kite Contest in 2015. A frequent speaker and presenter at writing conferences throughout the United States, Nancy conducts many for SCBWI and speaks to school children frequently. Learn more at www.nancystewartbooks.com, read her blog, or visit her on Twitter or Facebook.

Shannon Stocker

Shannon Stocker is an author, blogger, singer/songwriter, and mother (not necessarily in that order). Her debut picture book, CAN U SAVE THE DAY (rhyming), hits shelves in August, 2019 (Sleeping Bear Press). She’s been published three times in CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL, with a fourth story coming out in May, 2019. She received SCBWI’s Picture Book HM award (Midsouth), as well as first place and honorable mention awards for non-fiction essays with WOW! (Women On Writing). Cool facts: Shannon is a coma survivor and once performed two songs, including one original, as part of an opening act for Blake Shelton. She currently serves as SCBWI social co-director for Louisville, a judge for Rate Your Story, and created the blog series, Pivotal Moments: inHERview, highlighting transitional life stories of female picture book authors. Shannon is represented by Allison Remcheck of Stimola Literary Studio. To subscribe to her blog, visit her website, http://www.shannonstocker.com/blog/. She can also be found tweeting positive quotes, mantras, and adorable animal pics @iwriteforkidz. 

Allyn Stotz

Allyn Stotz was always a storyteller as a child, however it wasn’t until 2009 that she finally woke up and decided to put her stories down on paper. She has four picture books published, The Pea in Peanut Butter, Kailee Finds Magic IN Words, Hippo Bottomless and her latest, The Color of Love. She has also been published in various children’s online magazines. Allyn came from a family of writers. Her father wrote and owned the town newspaper in Edgerton, Ohio and her mother wrote a weekly column. One of her sisters is a freelance editor/writer in the commercial industry. Watching Allyn’s journey to publication convinced her sister and her 85 year old mother to team up and write a novel of their own. They just recently published their fourth book. Allyn is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, CBI Clubhouse and a member of the Livingston Parish Writer’s Group. Allyn lives in Baton Rouge, LA with her husband, two crazy dogs and one fat cat. For more, visit: www.allynstotz.blogspot.com.

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