Mary Brigid Barrett
Site Director, Head Writer, and Chief Researcher of
President and Executive Director of the NCBLA

Mary Brigid Barrett is a children’s book author and illustrator; a professional educator; and the founder, president, and executive director of The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance.

Her most recent books are: All Fall Down and Pat-A-Cake illustrated by LeUyen Pham, published by Candlewick Press Publishing; and Shoebox Sam illustrated by Frank Morrison, published by HarperCollins/Zondervan. Both All Fall Down and Pat-A-Cake were recently named by the esteemed education institution Bank Street College to its Best Children’s Books of the Year list. To find out more about Mary Brigid’s books and illustration work, visit her website and her Facebook page.

Barrett taught children’s book writing and illustration, and professional practices for illustrators, at The Rhode Island School of Design. She is a guest lecturer at area colleges and universities and conducts writing and illustration workshops for children and adults.

Edie Ching
Guest Writer

Edie Ching is a lecturer for the University of Maryland, School of Information Studies. Mrs. Ching holds a Bachelor of Artsin American Literature from Middlebury College, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Harvard University, and a Master of Library Science from the University of Maryland.  Mrs. Ching was a high school English teacher for eight years at Oyster Bay High School in New York, followed by a teaching position at Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii. A “Jill-of-all-Trades,” Mrs. Ching has been a program developer for computer-generated programs for the Mitre Corp in McLean, VA; a training specialist for the IRS; an instructor at Montgomery College, and an instructor of technical writing at the University of Maryland College Park.  For several years she was the lower school librarian at St. Albans School for Boys in Washington, D.C., and set up a library for the Washington Latin Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.  Mrs. Ching is an active member of The Children’s Book Guild in Washington, D.C.

Geri Zabela Eddins
Researcher and Writer, Site Editor, NCBLA Assistant Director, Program Director

Geri Zabela Eddins is Assistant Director and Program Director of the NCBLA. Geri is a voracious reader who has indulged a lifelong passion for the written word in her education, work, and volunteer experiences. She is thrilled to be actively engaged in promoting literacy through her communications, website, and project and event planning tasks for the NCBLA. Geri’s additional career experience includes over twenty five years as a technical writer and editor in the computer software industry. Her volunteer experience includes working with children in classrooms and tutoring ESL students at the town library. Geri holds both a BA and MA in English. She lives in Massachusetts.

Daphne Kalmar
Guest Writer, NCBLA Board Member

Daphne was a teacher for 20 years in grades 3-8 in Massachusetts, California, and Vermont. She began teaching when the whole language movement was at its height and studied with Donald Graves and Linda Rief at the University of New Hampshire for two summers. Throughout her teaching career she ran reading and writing workshops in her classroom. Daphne has led workshops in language arts and hands-on science education. She developed and wrote an after-school math/science education program for the Providence, Rhode Island schools. She was a California Mentor Teacher and a peer reviewer for The Reading Teacher. In January 2010 Daphne completed an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College. She currently divides her time between writing and small-scale organic farming.

Helen Kampion
Guest Writer, NCBLA Treasurer

Helen Kampion is a graduate of the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College, and also holds an MBA from Boston University. After a successful career in business, she became a writer of both fiction and non-fiction for young readers, including middle-grade novels and picture book biographies. Her picture book manuscripts have been recognized by The Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult & Children’s Writing sponsored by Hunger Mountain (Paddy Cats, Special Mention, 2015) and by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (Francesca’s Funky Footwear, Finalist, 2013). When she’s not at her desk busy writing or “treasurer-ing”, you can find her helping fellow authors with marketing events targeted to get their books into the hands of new readers, volunteering at the New England SCBWI conference, or teaching creative writing workshops for children.

Heather Lang
Guest Writer

Heather Lang first put to use her passion for writing and research as a public health attorney. When she took a break from law to raise her four children, she rediscovered her love for children’s books. Heather now writes fiction and nonfiction for children, from picture books to chapter books. Heather Lang’s books include: Queen of the Track: Alice Coachman, Olympic High-Jump Champion, illustrated by Floyd Cooper (Boyds Mills Press, 2012); The Original Cowgirl: The Wild Adventures of Lucille Mulhall, illustrated by Suzanne Beaky (Albert Whitman, 2015); and Fearless Flyer: Ruth Law and Her Flying Machine, illustrated by Raúl Colón (Calkins Creek, 2016).

Heather especially loves the challenge of making nonfiction interesting and engaging for children. She lives in Eastern Massachusetts with her husband and children. Learn more at and her Facebook page.

Reneé Critcher Lyons
Guest Writer, NCBLA Advisory Board Member

Reneé Critcher Lyons is an assistant professor in the School Library Media Program at East Tennessee State University, teaching children’s and young adult literature to future librarians. Prior to her appointment at ETSU, she served as both a school (elementary, middle, and high school) and instructional (community college) librarian. Reneé is the author of three books: Teaching Civics in the Library: An Instructional and Historical Guide for School and Public Librarians (McFarland, 2015); Foreign-Born American Patriots: Sixteen Volunteer Leaders in the Revolutionary War (2013); and The Revival of Banned Dances: A Worldwide Study (2012). She is a graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts (MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults) and Appalachian State University (Master of Library Science).