A Black woman, smiling, with a turquoise Islamic headscarf


Nivair H. Gabriel is a writer, editor, and reviewer of books for children and teens. She works as an editor at Albert Whitman & Company, a 103-year-old independent children's book publisher in Chicago, Illinois, and reviews for Kirkus Reviews.

Nivair has presented work on intersectional feminism and indigenous futurist thought at several conferences, including the Children's Literature Association Conference, the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts, and the feminist science fiction convention WisCon. She also volunteers as the bookstore coordinator for Sirens, an annual conference dedicated to examining gender in fantasy literature. Her short stories have appeared in two Sirens benefit anthologies.

Nivair received her MA/MFA in children's literature and writing for children from Simmons College, and her BS in aerospace engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She's flown in zero gravity, and it was amazing.

Learn more about Nivair on her website.

SESSION: Pacing, Pattern, and Plot: Polishing Your Picture Book Manuscript

How do you elevate a mediocre picture book text to the level of a truly satisfying one? In picture books, text and images combine to offer readers a journey that is structured around a limited page count. We don’t often think of picture book texts as having a plot in the traditional sense, but there are certain elements a text can’t do without. Attention to page turns, patterns, and pacing are among the keys to making a successful picture book that editors will want to work with and children will fall in love with. In this session, participants will learn ways of revisiting their picture book texts with an eye for structural issues and narration strategies that will make their stories more appealing and satisfying to young audiences, their caregivers, and the publishers who make books for them. For writers of other genres, fluency with picture book structure could add something to your work that few others in the same genre have.

CO-PRESENTER: Autumn Allen