Wendy Thomas Russell is an award-winning journalist, author and publisher. A native midwesterner, Russell has spent the bulk of her career in Southern California, writing and editing for newspapers, magazines, and other online and print publications. For 10 years, she covered criminal justice and special projects at the Long Beach Press-Telegram — for which she won dozens of awards and honors, including being named Journalist of the Year by the Society for Professional Journalists’ Greater Los Angeles Chapter.

Inspired by her own experience as a secular mother raising a young daughter, Russell wrote a book, Relax, It’s Just God, for secular parents unsure about how to address the topic of religion with their children. The book was released in March 2015 by Brown Paper Press, a publishing company she helped found. The company has since published six more books, all focused on progressive nonfiction.

On the side, Russell began writing an occasional parenting column for PBS NewsHour and, in 2019, released ParentShift: Ten Universal Truths That Will Change the Way You Raise Your Kids in collaboration with parenting educators Linda and Ty Hatfield.

A member of the Yale Humanist Community Advisory Board, she lives in Long Beach, Calif., with her husband and daughter.


Next Generation Book Award
• 2017 How-To Book Award, Gold Medal

Independent Book Publisher Award
• 2016 Parenting Book Award, Silver Medal

Association of Educational Publishers
• 2011 Distinguished Achievement Award, Finalist

Best of the West
• 2008 General Reporting, 3rd Place
• 2001 Immigration and Minority Affairs Reporting, 3rd Place
• 2000 Explanatory Reporting, 3rd Place

Los Angeles Press Club
• 2007 Hard News, 1st Place
• 2007 News Feature, 2nd Place
• 2004 News Feature, 1st Place
• 2004 News Feature, 1st Place
 • 2002 Investigative Reporting, Finalist
• 2000 Print Journalist of the Year, 2nd Place
• 2000 Investigative Reporting, 2nd Place

 California Newspaper Publishers Association
• 2006 Enterprise Reporting, 1st Place

Associated Press News Executive Council
• 2005 Feature Writing, 1st Place
• 2004 Investigative Reporting, 1st Place

Society for Professional Journalists, Greater Los Angeles Chapter
• 2001 Print Journalist of the Year  

Children’s Advocacy Institute
• 2001 Price Child Health and Welfare Journalism Award, 1st Place

The Livingston Awards for Young Journalists
• 2000 Livingston Award, Finalist