Tonya Duncan Ellis

Tonya Duncan Ellis has had her nose in a book since she learned to read, so it’s no surprise that she’d one day become a writer. She is author of the bestselling Sophie Washington children’s book series, a former journalist, and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), the Authors Guild, Black Creators in KidLit, and the Brown Bookshelf’s Highlights Foundation-sponsored, Amplify Black Stories storyteller cohort. She’s a 2022 winner of SCBWI’s Independently Published Book Launch Marketing Grant. In 2021, she won the Austin SCBWI Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Award. Tonya loves learning about other cultures and has traveled to 49 states and 20 countries. Represented by Sara Megibow of KT Literary she lives in Houston, Texas and is married with three children.

Visiting Our Campus

Our campus (The Barn at Boyds Mills) is tucked away in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.  It's a few hours from both New York City and Philadelphia, but worlds away from everyday life.

Line drawing of the Barn at Boyds Mills

Our Mission in Action

Equity & Inclusion in Kidlit

The Highlights Foundation positively impacts children by amplifying the voices of storytellers who inform, educate, and inspire children to become their best selves.  Learn more about our impact.

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