Advance Mentoring

Interested in working with a Mentor at the conference?


How it works:
1. Read the information below carefully. 
2. If you decide you would like to have one of our mentors work with you, contact them using their contact information. Put KIDZ LIT CONFERENCE MENTOR REQUEST in the subject line. 
3. If they accept your work, they will instruct you on what to send and where to send it, etc.
4. While at the conference, you will receive a 30-minute consultation with your mentor.

What you need to do:
1. Make sure you have signed up for our Kidz Lit conference.
2. Following the instructions of your mentor, send a check to them for $40 along with your work (according to their instructions).
3. Locate your mentor at Kidz Lit to find out what time your 30-minute session has been scheduled. They will have predetermined this during our faculty meeting.

Our 2020 Mentors:

Michelle Medlock Adams: Board Books and Picture Books. Email Michelle at: [email protected] 

Michelle Medlock Adams is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author, earning top honors from the Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Hoosier State Press Association.
Author of over 100 books with close to 4 million books sold, Michelle’s picture book, C is for Christmas (Little Lamb Books) won “The Gold” for best holiday book in the 2019 Illumination Awards, and her board book, My First Day of School (Worthy Kids) won AWSA’s Golden Scroll for Best Children’s Book, as well as the Selah Award for Best Children’s Book in 2018, becoming her fourth Selah win for Best Children’s Book since 2012. In 2014 Michelle’s board book God Knows You not only won the Selah for Best Children’s Book but also the esteemed Book of the Year honor over all other Selah winners.

Sally Apokedak: Children’s Fiction (for ages 0 to 18), any genre or children's nonfiction (for ages 0 to 18). Send first ten pages plus synopsis to [email protected]
Sally has been studying, reviewing, and marketing children’s books, as well as giving writing instruction for almost 20 years. She represents several award-winning and/or best-selling authors, including Hannah C. Hall, Taryn Souders, and Joyce Magnin. She is most interested in middle grade and young adult novels for the general market.
Jesse Florea: Magazine Articles, Devotions, and Biographies for Children. Email Jesse for more information at: [email protected]

Jesse Florea has worked at Focus on the Family for more than 26 years. Currently, he oversees Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. magazines. He also co-hosts the biweekly “Official Adventures in Odyssey” podcast that often exceeds 1 million listeners and the weekly “Official Average Boy” podcast. He has written or co-written more than 40 books (including the Defend Your Faith apologetics Bible for kids, The Case for Miracles for Kids, The Case for Grace for Kids, Guy Talk/Girl Talk: Devotions for Teens, and numerous Christian sports biographies). He lives with his wife, Stephanie, in Colorado Springs, and enjoys hanging out with his two adult children, their spouses and his two grandchildren.


Tessa Emily Hall: YA Fiction. Send first ten pages plus synopsis to [email protected]
Tessa is an award-winning author who writes inspirational yet authentic books to show teens they’re not alone. Her first teen devotional, COFFEE SHOP DEVOS, released with Bethany House September 2018. Tessa’s passion for shedding light on clean entertainment and media for teens led her to a career as an Associate Agent for Cyle Young at Hartline Literary Agency, YA Acquisitions Editor for Illuminate YA (LPC Imprint), and Founder/Editor of She’s guilty of making way too many lattes and never finishing her to-read list. When her fingers aren’t flying 116 WPM across the keyboard, she can be found speaking to teens, decorating art journals, and acting in Christian films. Her favorite way to procrastinate is by connecting with readers on her blog, mailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website:

Courtney Lasater: Devotions (will accept up to three). For more information, email Courtney at: [email protected]

Courtney Lasater is the children’s devotional editor at Keys for Kids Ministries, where she acquires and edits content for the Keys for Kids devotional. She’s also helping prepare for the launch of Unlocked, a new quarterly devotional for teens set to release in 2019. She graduated from Calvin College and has over a decade of experience in Christian publishing and retail. When she’s not at her desk, she can often be found scoping out the shelves of her local bookstore or heading to Michigan’s beautiful west coast for hiking, biking, and the beach.

Jill Roman Lord: Picture Books and Board Books (will accept up to five). Email Jill for more information at: [email protected]

Jill Roman Lord is an award-winning author of over twenty children’s books including two brand new Easter books: The Quiet Crazy Easter and The First Easter Day! She loves celebrating Jesus and hopes her writing will help others celebrate him, as well. She lives in Charlotte, NC and enjoys traveling with her husband of over 30 years, visiting her three children wherever they may be, and running with her Golden Retriever, Poppie. 

Nancy Lohr: Chapter Books (up to five). Email Nancy for details as to what to send at: [email protected]

Nancy Lohr, Acquisitions Editor at JourneyForth Books, has over twenty years of experience in book publishing and was an educator and children’s librarian before moving to publishing. She loves to teach about the art and craft of writing. On the editor’s side of her desk, her responsibilities range from acquiring manuscripts and illustrations to editing manuscripts and managing book production. As an author, her personal résumé includes two historical novels for children, curriculum stories and articles, and numerous book reviews and articles for parents and educators. She is an avid reader who reads widely, and she happily agrees with C.S. Lewis who said, “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
Leslie Santamaria: Up to five picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, and magazine stories. Email Leslie at: [email protected] FMI.

With over 200 pieces published in periodicals, including Highlights for Children, Pockets, and Spider, Leslie Santamaria is a candidate for Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing for Children at Spalding University. A longtime freelance editor for publishers, businesses, ministries, and individuals, she has coached many writers to publication. Her children’s picture book, A Mother Who Prayed, is available from Concordia Publishing House. A frequent contest judge and workshop presenter, Leslie specializes in children’s literature and would love to help you, too!

Taryn Souders: Children’s PB and Middle Grade novels. Picture Books: send full manuscript. Middle Grade Novels: send first ten pages (you may include a synopsis as part of the ten pages if you like) to [email protected]

Taryn has written both picture books and middle-grade novels. Dead Possums Are Fair Game and How to (Almost) Ruin Your Summer were both Crystal Kite Finalists. Her books have taken part in Battle of the Books, have also been listed on the Georgia Children’s Book Award list, and the Sunshine State Young Readers Award list. Her fourth middle grade novel, a mystery titled, Remains to be Seen, releases Spring 2020. Taryn is a member of both SCBWI and Word Weavers International where she serves as the executive admin to the president, and is represented by Sally Apokedak of the Apokedak Literary Agency. She currently lives in Sorrento, Florida with her husband, David, their three children, and two cats—an overly fuzzy Ragdoll named Mordecai, and a polydactyl Hemingway named Sebastian—who sleep on the sofa all day (the cats, not her husband or children). Her website is