The Writer/Illustrator-In-Residence at the Reinberger Children’s Library Center (RCLC), home of the Marantz Collection for the Study of Picturebook Art, volunteers his/her expertise to students by participating in workshops, course lectures, student group events, the Virginia Hamilton Conference and the Marantz Picturebook Research Symposium. The writer/illustrator in residence shares office space in the RCLC and may use the Reinberger and Marantz collections as inspiration for their own work.


Dave Szalay

Dave Szalay is an award-winning illustrator, designer and aspiring writer who was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. As a children’s book illustrator, Szalay creates whimsical images with digital drawing and painting techniques.

As author-illustrator in residence at the Reinberger, Szalay hopes to develop and publish more quality books for children and their respective caretakers and educators. He also plans to conduct scholarly research on storytelling with visual narratives by analyzing works in the Marantz and Reinberger collections.

Szalay has received the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) National Portfolio Showcase Honor Award, the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for Illustration, and the Highlights Pewter Award for Best Illustration. In addition to his work as an illustrator and designer, Szalay is an associate professor at The Myers School of Art at The University of Akron.


Will Hillenbrand

Will Hillenbrand has written and illustrated more than 60 children’s picture books and has won numerous prestigious awards, including the Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators, International Reading Association Children’s Choice Awards and an American Library Association Notable Book Award.

The late Kenneth Marantz, Ph.D., a former art professor at The Ohio State University, book reviewer, and devoted advocate for picturebook artists had a huge influence on the life and work of Hillenbrand. What began as a student-teacher relationship, turned into a more than 30-year friendship. This friendship is what makes Hillenbrand’s role as the writer- and  illustrator-in-residence a special one. The Marantz Collection in the RCLC was a gift from Marantz and his wife, Sylvia, and represents their lifelong devotion to the study of picturebook art.


Angela Johnson

Angela Johnson served as the iSchool’s first writer-in-residence from 2014-2016. Johnson has published more than 40 children’s books that celebrate African-American history, and her personal childhood experience.

In 2018, she was awarded the prestigious Margaret A. Edwards Award by the Young Adult Library Services Association. The award honors the author and a specific body of work for a significant contribution in writing for young adults.

Johnson has received the American Library Association’s Coretta Scott King Award three times for Toning the Sweep in 1994, Heaven in 1999, and The First Part Last in 2004. She also received the MacArthur Genius Grant in 2003 and the Michael L. Printz Award in 2004.