Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Meet Our Volunteers

Chelsea AlamedaCHELSEA ALAMEDA (Co-REGIONAL ADVISOR) grew up moving around the world as an Air Force dependent, but now lives in Clovis, California with her husband, two young daughters, and their growing menagerie of pets. She is a certified teacher with a Masters in Education, who has loved teaching children of all ages, from pre-school to high-school. It has been her honor to be a member of SCBWI for the past five years. She has a passion for literacy, good storytelling, and the limitless possibilities the world of reading can open up for children.



Craig AlamedaCRAIG ALAMEDA (Co-REGIONAL ADVISOR) Craig Alameda is an illustrator, animator, and graphic designer. He currently works as the Media Specialist for the Tulare County Office of Education Planetarium and Science Center. He has been involved with SCBWI since 2015, with an interest in illustration. Craig lives in Clovis, California with his two young daughters and wife/fellow SCBWI teammate, Chelsea. He hopes to use his time as RA to help bring even more awesome SCBWI opportunities to the CA: North/Central region.



Merry Miller-Gass (ILLUSTRATOR COORDINATOR) is a freelance artist who specializes in children’s book illustration. When creating with traditional mediums, she enjoys working in gouache, watercolor, pastel, acrylic & oil. For most projects, she uses the digital version of these tools. Merry grew up in the coastal region of Ventura County, located in sunny Southern California. She now lives in the foothills of the Sierras with her husband, children, and their pets.




Anthony Tong

Originally from Ohio and a lifelong Browns fan, ANTHONY TONG (Co-ASSISTANT REGIONAL ADVISOR)  has lived in Northern California for over 25 years, working in engineering design and management. He loves picture books and the shared read aloud experience. Tony authored several self-published titles, illustrated by wonderful SCBWI illustrators, and is querying manuscripts for traditional publication. His stories focus on humor, heart, STEM, and Asian American #ownvoices.



Alma Galapon

ALMA GALAPON (Co-ASSISTANT REGIONAL ADVISOR) has always been a reader and writer, even before she started kindergarten! Now she is growing the next generation of readers and writers as a fourth grade teacher in Northern California. Born and raised in the Monterey Bay, Alma is the daughter of Filipino immigrants and has connected her family history to the Delano Manongs, the group of Filipino farm workers who worked with Cesar Chavez in the Delano Grape Strike of 1965. Alma is active in her local, state, and national teacher’s union and has presented on topics such as ethnic studies and the Asian American/Pacific Islander experience. When she’s not writing young adult novels, Alma enjoys spending time with her family and their two dogs. However, Alma will not play board games with her family for she is a sore loser.


Sheila AlfordSHEILA ALFORD (MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR) may live in Northern California, but she’s a southern girl at heart. She grew up just outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in East Tennessee. Sheila mainly writes picture books, but she recently dove in to writing a middle-grade mystery novel and loves it. When she’s not writing, she loves traveling to far-flung places, dog sitting Bichon Frisés, or reading any kind of mystery. You can also find her exploring California with her husband Chris and spending time with her two grown children.



Kimberly A. Gordon BiddleKIMBERLY A. GORDON BIDDLE (EQUITY AND INCLUSION TEAM LEADER) was raised in a small village in Illinois by a single parent in poverty. She currently lives in a suburb in California. Her nose was always in a book as a child. She began writing fiction some time ago, but her first book was published in 2017. She mostly writes picture books, but is venturing into middle grade novels. She writes realistic, contemporary fiction. She taught college students for 28 years. She received career awards from her alma maters University of Redlands and Stanford University. Her first fiction book, LaDonna Plays Hoops, was a finalist in the 2019 American Fiction Awards. Her second fiction book, LaDonna’s Easter in Paris, was released in 2020. Her third one, Darlene’s Double Dutch Dreams, will be released in 2021. She has benefitted tremendously from being a member of SCBWI. She is happy to volunteer for an organization that has given her so much. She is a wife and mother of one son. She has a pet cat named pumpkin. Visit her at