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Who We Are

The 24/7s are a group of seven traditionally published authors--an eclectic bunch--with books for young readers, ages 8-12, debuting in 2024. On our 24/7s blog ,  we'll interview one another pre- and post-publication. We'll share our cover reveals, host book launch parties, have giveaways, and shout WOOT! if our books receive starred reviews or garner any other kidlit kudos.

 

Thanks oodles for stopping by and for helping us celebrate our 2024 debut middle-grades as they are released. Please follow us on Twitter @KidLit247 and come back often throughout 2023, 2024, and beyond!

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Deborah Lakritz
deborahlakritzbooks.com

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Deborah is the author of A Place to Belong, a picture book biography of beloved Jewish singer/songwriter, Debbie Friedman, and forthcoming debut middle grade novel, Things That Shimmer, set in 1973-74, whose release will coincide with the 50th anniversary of tennis legend Billie Jean King’s victory over Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes, the Watergate scandal, and President Nixon’s resignation. Her first book, Say Hello, Lily, was a Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Young Readers, and PJ Library selection. A former school social worker, Deborah lives in Wisconsin where she and her husband raised five children. She is represented by Susan Cohen of Writers House.

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Diana is a Chinese American author of young adult and middle grade books who teaches at North Seattle College. Her debut young-adult novel Heiress Apparently was a 2021 Washington State Book Award finalist in Young Adult Literature. Diana was also a 2019 We Need Diverse Books mentee and is a Highlights Foundation Muslim Storytellers Fellow. With a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington and an MA with a Creative Writing focus from the University of Illinois, Chicago, Diana is represented by Christa Heschke and Daniele Hunter of McIntosh and Otis. Diana's middle-grade debut, The Unbeatable Lily Hong, will be forthcoming from Clarion books in 2024.

Mónica Mancillas
monicamancillas.com

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Monica, born in the small coastal town of Ensenada in Baja California, México, moved with her parents to the United States when she was two-years-old. As a child, she loved nothing more than to study and explore self-expression through writing and music. After graduating Valedictorian from the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts, she earned a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley, after which she moved to Los Angeles where she worked for ten years in the recording industry. Today, Mónica runs her own business teaching children how to play the piano. She spends her days writing, reading, and tending to her much-adored daughter, husband, and dog, Annie. Mónica's work includes picture books: Mariana and Her Familia, The Worry Balloon, and How to Speak Spanglish. Her debut middle grade, Sing It Like Celia, will be released in 2024, with a nonfiction middle-grade, Leyendas/Legends! to follow in 2025. All of Mónica's books center on themes of identity, culture, and mental health, and challenges outdated tropes that have historically left Latine voices in the margins. Monica is represented by Melissa Edwards at Stonesong Literary.

Ritu Hemnani
rituhemnani.com

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Ritu is a journalist, teacher, voice actor, motivational speaker, and a storyteller who hopes every child will discover books where they can see themselves on the pages within, and will know that their stories matter. Ritu recognizes herself as ethnically Indian, and is a British national who calls Hong Kong her home, where she lives with her husband and three children. Ritu is passionate about promoting diversity and nurturing inclusivity and empathy through writing stories that center marginalized communities and encompass universal truths. She is also passionate about spotlighting human interest articles with heart, and collaborating with local literary and charity organizations to promote literacy. Ritu is the author of the picture book, Gope and Meera--a Migration Story. Her debut historical middle-grade novel-in-verse, Three Colors of Hope, is set for publication in the Spring of 2024. When not writing or teaching, Ritu delights in family game nights, strumming the strings of her guitar, and paddling through Hong Kong waters on her carrot-colored kayak. Ritu is represented by Rubin Pfeffer of Rubin Pfeffer Content, LLC. To learn more about Ritu, tune in to "An Inheritance Worth Sharing" on TEDx Talk, where she shares the seeds of her writing journey and what inspired her deep dive into her family’s history.

Jennifer Ann Richter
jenniferannrichter.com

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Dionna L. Mann
dionnalmann.com

Jennifer’s varied interests, hobbies, and endless curiosity have taken her from Philadelphia to Frankfurt, and has led to some interesting career changes, from the U.S. Foreign Service to secondary education, from finance to audio description for television. Despite her many moves and jobs, there have been two constants in her life--writing and her husband, whom she met in Germany while on her first tour as a foreign service officer. Jennifer's hobbies and interests, in particular, her love for birding and astronomy, often find their way into all of her work, be it poetry, short stories, or novels. When it comes to writing for children, Jennifer hopes to expand young people’s horizons and imaginations, as well as to promote racial harmony. Her kidlit work has appeared in Fun for Kidz, Shine Brightly, Balloons Lit. Journal, Cricket, and Spaceports & Spidersilk. Her space-themed YA short story, “Partings,” won Honorable Mention in the 2020 Writer’s Digest annual writing competition. Her latest short story, “The Nerdy Birders” has been accepted for publication in Cricket magazine. Now a resident of Northern Virginia, Jennifer enjoys hiking, crocheting, following the latest news from NASA, and writing in a small upper-floor room overlooking her bird feeders. Jennifer is represented by Amy Thrall Flynn of Rubin Pfeffer Content, LLC. Her debut middle-grade will be forthcoming from Holiday House in 2024.

Dionna was born in Chicago, but grew up in the Windy City’s south suburbs where her imagination placed her onto her bike and into the woods on all-day-make-believe adventures. As a young woman, Dionna called South Bend, Indiana, her home, and it was on the lawn of the University of Notre Dame where her husband proposed. Since then, Dionna has lived in a rural town surrounded by hand-waves to passersby and the gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge Mountains where she raised three beautiful and talented children. For twenty years, she volunteered and worked within the local school system, and was known as the oxymoron Mrs. Mann. Dionna’s work has appeared in Ladybug, Cricket, and Spider. She has published fiction and nonfiction books with Capstone, Lerner, Little, Brown, Scholastic, and other educational markets. Dionna loves shining the light on lesser-known individuals tucked within the margins of African-American history. She especially hopes to share with young people the inspiring stories of African-Americans who were not enslaved Before Freedom Came, and who accomplished amazing things in the fields of science, medicine, education, and more despite the obstacles of the time. Dionna is represented by Kelly Dyksterhouse and Jacqui Lipton of The Tobias Literary Agency. Her debut middle-grade, Mama's Chicken & Dumplings is expected to release from Margaret Ferguson Books, an imprint of Holiday House, in 2024.

Anna.jpg
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Anna is a Latinx-Asian writer from Maryland. Her writing aims to highlight the diversity within the Latinx community, focusing primarily on Central American and other Latinx immigrants and the diversity within that community. Her collection spans multiple geographies, histories, identities and experiences within the Latinx experience and within a Central American immigrant community often stereotyped and seen as homogenous. Through her own work, she hopes to inspire young people to speak up for themselves at school and in the world. Her upcoming middle-grade debut, MANI SEMILLA FINDS HER QUETZAL VOICE, was acquired by Levine Querido. Anna is represented by Ellen Goff of HG Literary.

 

Photo Credit: Tomas Alejo

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