Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Meet The NJ Team



Meet the NJ SCBWI Regional Team

NJSCBWI_Com_CathyCathleen Thole Daniels • Regional Advisor

Cathleen Thole-Daniels is a picture book and Middle grade writer and illustrator. Her background is in freelance illustration in the fantasy field with previous clients such as Barnes & Noble, Simon & Schuster, Play Station, Sega Genesis, Marvel and DC Comics, etc. She taught high school commercial art for 12 years and has been an active volunteer for SCBWI since 2008.



NJSCBWI_Com_KarenKaren Romagna • Illustrator Coordintator

Karen is the Illustrator Coordinator for the New Jersey SCBWI chapter. Karen is an illustrator and writer living in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.  Coming from a well-established art career, she is now branching out into children’s illustration and picture books. Her many years painting portraits of children in the surroundings they love has provided much inspiration for her lively and colorful illustrations. Karen’s illustration work includes educational programs, advertising and greeting cards with clients such as MAXX Readers, InterFace design and Fox Hollow Designs. Karen’s debut book as an illustrator releases in 2014.



NJSCBWI_Com_LaurieLaurie Wallmark • Systems Analyst Advisor/Tech Support Coordinator

The picture book biography, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (Creston Books, 2015), is Laurie's debut. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.Laurie is the former Assistant Regional Advisor for NJ SCBWI.




Rosanne Kurstedt • NJ Membership Liason

Rosanne Kurstedt has a Ph.D. in education and is the acclaimed author of the self-published book, And I thought About You (illustrated by Lisa Carletta-Vietes), an honorable mention recipient at the New England Book Festival and the New York Book Festival.  She was also the recipient of a 2013 Barbara Karlin Grant Letter of Commendation.  In addition, she’s the author of a professional book for teachers, Teaching Writing With Picture Books as Models (Scholastic, 2000). You can visit Rosanne at, or at her blog,, and on Facebook,, and on Twitter too! @rlkurstedt


NJSCBWI_Com_KimKim Pfennigwerth • Volunteer Liason Co-Captain

A writer, reader, lover of children's picture books. Often found in the middle of two to seven dogs. Loves to travel both in the real world and in her imagination – those stories are often confused for one another. Moderator of two critique groups and member of SCBWI.



NJSCBWI_Com_AnnieAnnie Silvestro • Volunteer Liason Co-Captain

Picture book writer, active SCBWI member, passionate kidlit champion. Mom to two young bookworms and one seriously temperamental cat.




NJSCBWI_Com_KellyKelly Calabrese • Kidlit Social Liason / Marketing Support / Critique Group Admin / New Members

Writer, Actor, Creative Junkie – Kelly Calabrese – has been a proud member of SCBWI since 2002. She writes mainly YA, while also embracing every form of Kidlit creative expression. In addition to writing, Kelly works as an on-camera host, actor, and marketing copywriter ( PLUS! she's a small biz owner – Follow Kelly on Twitter! @KellyCalabrese


NJSCBWI_Com_CharCharlotte Bennardo • General Support/Events Special Needs Support

As the co-author of the YA Sirenz Series (Sirenz, Sirenz Back in Fashion- Flux) and Blonde Ops (Thomas Dunne 2014) Charlotte also writes solo novels (MG, YA) which she is working on and shopping around. She has written numerous articles for publications like NJSCBWI 'Sprouts', Centauri, Happy, Working Mother and other magazines, and given numerous workshops at the NJSCBWI annual conferences. She's looking for her backyard squirrel who lost his home when the tree was trimmed (He answers to "Jack.")


NJSCBWI_Com_NatalieNatalie Zaman • Event Bookfair Coordinator

Author Natalie Zaman lives in central NJ with her family and several fine looking chickens. Find out what she's up to at The Nearly Daily Nut (



NJSCBWI_Com_LeezaLeeza Hernandez • PAL Coordinator

Leeza Hernandez moved to the US from south coast of England in 1999 and currently works as an illustrator-author, art director and mum. She is a recipient of the SCBWI Art Showcase Award and the Tomie dePaola Portfolo Award. her picture books include: "Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo" (S&S) written by John Lithgow; "Cat Napped!" and "Dog Gone!" (G. P. Putnam's Sons) and the Eat Your Homework series written by Ann McCallum. Leeza is the former RA for NJSCBWI. Visit Leeza online at

NJSCBWI_Com_SheriSheri Perl-Oshins • Social Media Co-Captain

When her 16-year teaching career came to an end, Sheri decided it was time to pursue her dream of becoming a published children’s book author. First order of business; join NJ SCBWI. Wanting to join a writer’s group but unable to find one that met her needs, she founded the Hunterdon County Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group, affectionately known as HCCyWIG, in 2007. Her debut nonfiction book, THE ECONOMICS OF A ROCK CONCERT was published early 2014. As a Young Adult and Middle Grade novelist, Sheri aspires to write provocative stories which challenge the way teens view their world while embracing that anything’s possible. Sheri is former ARA for NJSCBWI.


NJSCBWI_Com_TaraTara Lazar • General Support/Events Transportation Coordinator

Tara Lazar loves trying to compose witty bios that make her sound interesting, but often fails. She is the author of THE MONSTORE (Aladdin/S&S, June 2013), I THOUGHT THIS WAS A BEAR BOOK (Aladdin/S&S, 2014) and LITTLE RED GLIDING HOOD (Random House, 2015). Her essay "Grow Up, Be Serious! Oh, Nevermind!" will appear in BREAK THESE RULES, a YA anthology due from Chicago Review Press in fall 2013. She lives in central NJ with her husband, two daughters, and 2,768 stuffed animals. Writing tips, book reviews and giveaways are on her blog at