Maryland Instructors


Gary D. Schmidt

Gary D. Schmidt is the author of middle grade and young adult novels, as well as several picture book biographies. The Wednesday Wars won a Newbery Honor, and Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy won both a Newbery Honor and Printz Honor. Okay for Now was a National Book Award finalist and a Children's Choice winner. His latest novel, Orbiting Jupiter, has garnered nominations in many state contests. He teaches writing, children's literature, and medieval literature at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI. He also teaches at Hamline University, in the MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults Program. He has been bringing students to Concord, MA, for twenty-five years--but in January, when Walden is covered in ice and snow. June suddenly seems very attractive.


Kathryn Erskine

Kathryn Erskine is the author of six novels for young people, including National Book Award winner, Mockingbird, Jane Addams Peace Award honor book Seeing Red, and most recently, The Incredible Magic of Being, about a boy with anxiety who believes in the power of the universe to save us. She also recently wrote an award-winning picture book, Mama Africa, a biography of South African singer and activist Miriam Makeba.  Kathryn Erskine draws on her life stories and world events for her writing and is currently working on several more novels and picture books.

She loves to travel and eats too much chocolate and drinks too much coffee but takes long walks in the woods with her Labradoodle to make up for it!



Writer-teacher-editor Patricia Lee Gauch, Patti,  was longtime Editorial Director of Philomel Books, where she introduced and edited the Redwall epic by Brian Jacques, as well as editing National Book Award winner Kathy Erskine, Andrew Clements, T.A. Barron, Janet Lisle, Sally Keehn, and Jane Yolen among others. Editor of Patricia Polacco, she also edited the Caldecott award-winning books Owl MoonSo You Want to Be President,and Lon Po Po. A faculty member of the Chautauqua Highlights Summer Writers Conference for many years, she has also taught at Manhattanville College, Drew and Rutgers Universities and is currently on the staff of the Highlights Foundation Writers Program. Patti holds a doctorate in English Literature from Drew and is the author of the classic Christina Katerina and the Box.


Rick Margolis

For nearly 15 years, Rick worked for School Library Journal, the world’s largest reviewer of books for young readers. As SLJ ’s executive editor, he had the pleasure of interviewing many remarkable children’s book creators, including Kate DiCamillo, Mo Willems, Katherine Paterson, Gene Yang, Rita Williams-Garcia, Markus Zusak, Rebecca Stead, and Jon Klassen. In 2014 he launched Rising Bear Literary Agency, LLC, specializing in what he most loved: picture books, early- and middle-grade fiction, young adult literature, and adult novels with unforgettable teen characters. Rising Bear aims to help writers and illustrators do their best possible work, to pair them with the perfect publisher, and to see them develop long, rewarding careers. Rising Bear is excited to work with people who are passionate about creating exceptional books—and who are ready to change the world, one fabulous title at a time. They offer a full range of services that include foreign, film, and merchandising rights in all forms of media.