The Cherry Lake Publishing Group Advisory Committee is made up of a group of individuals who have different experiences and perspectives. They are committed to our mission of inclusion. Their different views will further aid Cherry Lake Publishing Group to publish books for every child that are authentic, inclusive, and reflective of the diverse society we live in.
Kathy Burnette was a school librarian for over 16 years before she decided to open her own bookstore in South Bend, Indiana. Her store, Brain Lair Books, focuses on selling high-quality titles for children and young adults that foster inclusivity, empathy, and community. “I’ve also been looking at a lot of what We Need Diverse Books is doing, as well as this nonprofit that’s looking to publish new indigenous voices,” she said. “I grew up on the South Side of Chicago and most of the books we had in school did not represent who we were. I was lucky I could still find role models, but I think because we are so isolated today, kids need to see themselves in books so that they can have something to aspire to.”
Shameka Coleman is an Assistant Principal of an elementary school in Massachusetts. Prior to becoming an Assistant Principal, she was an elementary school teacher for six years and received her Master of Education. She is also the founder of a nonprofit organization dedicated to diversifying the volunteering field.
Alex Fernández has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a Minor in Theatre from Florida International University in Miami, Florida. His law degree is from Georgetown University Law Center. He has practiced law for close to 30 years. In addition, he has taught law locally at colleges and universities and enjoys substitute teaching in PK-12. His theatre credits range from Stage Managing at the Kennedy Center to directing local and professional theatre productions. You can find his writings in publications that include Red Tricycle and Fatherly. He is Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Mr. Alex’s Bookshelf, a website dedicated to reviewing children's literature and promoting healthy parenting habits.
After earning her BA in English from TAMUCC, Crystal Hernandez-Drillen earned a graduate degree in Library Science from the University of North Texas. She has been a librarian for 6 years with Nueces County Public Libraries. She is also part of the planning committee with Teen Bookfest By the Bay which was created 4 years ago in Corpus Christi, Texas. Her hobbies include spending time with family, traveling, playing the piano and reading. She enjoys reading almost any kind of genre and category from adult, nonfiction, young adult, and kids’ books.
Dr. Virginia Loh-Hagan
Dr. Virginia Loh-Hagan is an author, university faculty member, and former K-8 teacher. She’s currently the Director of the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Center at San Diego State University. She writes books about things that geek her out. She especially likes to write about her Chinese-American heritage. After all, she was born on Flag Day in the Year of the Dragon. She’s also interested in writing fun facts about monsters, weird bodily noises, urban legends, hot dogs, and anything on the odd side. She lives in northern San Diego with two non-trained naughty dogs and one semi-well-trained husband.
Hedreich Nichols is a curriculum designer and Middle Years program district tech lead. She is also an equity advocate and consultant who helps teachers amplify the voices of all students. Hedreich also has a vlog on YouTube, Small Bites, that focuses on "equity strategies for busy people." Prior to being an educator, she was a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter. Hedreich received her Master of Education at Texas A&M University.
Bryan Overholt has been a librarian for ten years, and is currently the Children's and Teen Librarian at Bexley Public Library, where he does a little bit of everything, from leading Rhyme Time, to supervising volunteens, to co-hosting bar trivia, and much, much, more! When he's not at the library, he's playing drums in the bands We Are the Movies and Thief Club, playing hockey, listening to music, playing video games, or watching TV and movies. He lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife Elaine, dog Penny, and cats Sally and Kevin.