9:00–9:30 AM | Breakfast and Registration (Morning Sessions–Kid Lit)

9:30–9:40 AM | Welcome Remarks

9:40–10:20 AM | The Art (and Heart) of Picture Books

What makes a great picture book? How do illustrators approach the process of adapting the words into visual storytelling? Who is the audience for picture books and how has that changed over the years? What is it like to bring to life a real-life figure within the pages of a picture book? In this panel, award-winning creators, as well as up-and-coming artists, will take us behind the scenes of their work—the joys and the challenges.

Raul Colón, Miguel’s Brave Knight: Young Cervantes and His Dream of Don Quixote (Peachtree)
Aram Kim, No Kimchi for Me (Holiday House)
Emma Otheguy, Martí’s Song for Freedom/Martí y sus versos por la libertad (Lee & Low)
Brian Pinkney, In Your Hands (Simon and Schuster)
Eric Velasquez, Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library (Candlewick)

Della Farrell, SLJ Nonfiction and Series Made Simple Editor

10:20–11:00 AM | Caught in BeTWEEN: Meaningful Middle Grade

Tween readers: they’re not earnest little kids anymore, but they’re not quite prickly teenagers either. How do authors craft characters and narratives that speak to this unique developmental moment in a child’s life? What are the “big topics” being explored within the pages of middle grade literature, and how are authors expanding our preconceived notions of the genre? In this panel, veteran and debut authors will open up about writing for those readers caught in the middle.

Tony Abbott, The Summer of Owen Todd (Farrar)
David Barclay Moore, The Stars Beneath Our Feet (Random House)
Veera Hiranandani, Night Diary (Penguin)
George O’Connor, Hermes: Tales of the Trickster (Macmillan)
Additional panelists TBD

Kiera Parrott, SLJ and LJ Reviews Director

11:00–11:10 AM | Break

11:10–11:40 AM | Meet the SLJ Editors

Who are the people behind SLJ? Ever wonder how starred reviews or the Best Books of the year are selected? Curious about becoming a reviewer? In this fast session, you’ll have a chance to ask our staff questions–and offer suggestions!

Mahnaz Dar, Assistant Managing Editor, LJ & SLJ
Shelley Diaz, SLJ Reviews manager and SLJTeen Editor
Della Farrell, SLJ Nonfiction and Series Made Simple Editor
Kiera Parrott, SLJ and LJ Reviews Director

11:40–12:20 PM | Finding Your Voice: Authentic YA Lit

So much about young adulthood is figuring out who you are and how those identities can change from one day to another. So much about writing YA is tapping into that journey of actualization. These acclaimed and brand new authors bring their own experiences to creating authentic teen lit that speaks to all readers.

Arvin Ahmadi, Down and Across (Penguin)
Deborah Heiligman, Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers (Macmillan)
Sarah Moon, Sparrow (Scholastic)
Erika Sánchez, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter (Random House)
Adam Silvera, They Both Die at the End (HarperCollins)

Shelley Diaz, SLJ Reviews manager and SLJTeen Editor

12:20–12:50 PM | Closing Keynote

Daniel José Older, Shadowhouse Fall (Scholastic)

Wise words from the always dynamic and incisive best-selling author of Shadowshaper, Salsa Nocturna, and the “Bone Street Rumba” series.

1:15–1:45 PM | Registration & Coffee (Afternoon Sessions–Adult Lit)

1:45–5:00 PM | LJ Programming

The afternoon session will be devoted to adult books, featuring editors from leading houses and both veteran and debut authors discussing titles you need to know about from the winter/spring 2018 publishing seasons.

  • Editors’ Picks Panel: Special guest Johnny Temple, Akashic Books publisher and a driving force behind the Brooklyn Book Festival, will join with editors from Algonquin Books, HarperCollins, Hanover Square Press: Harlequin, and Liveright: Norton, to tell you about some two dozen new titles.

  • New Perspectives: From Beasts of No Nation author Uzodinma Iweala, whose Speak No Evil features a queer Nigerian-American teenager, to 2008 Obama campaign blogger Sam Graham-Felsen, who launches his fiction career with Green, about a white boy in a predominately African-American middle school, the authors on this panel take us to places we haven’t been.

  • Great Book Club Books: Stephanie Powell Watts knows about book clubs; her debut novel, No One Is Coming To Save Us, is the inaugural Sarah Jessica Parker Pick for ALA’s Book Club Central. Watts, who can also tell you about her relaunched story collection, is joined by National Book Award-winner Alice McDermott, Granta Best of Young American Novelists Dara Horn, and more.

Please stay tuned for more info.

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