Speakers

Keynote Authors
 
Meg MedinaMeg Medina is an award­-winning Cuban American author who writes picture books, middle grade, and YA fiction. Her picture book Mango, Abuela and Me was named a 2016 Pura Belpré Honor Book and her young adult novel Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass was the 2014 Pura Belpré Medal winner, as well as the winner of the 2013 CYBILS Fiction award and the International Latino Book Award. She is also the 2012 Ezra Jack Keats New Writers medal winner for her picture book Tía Isa Wants a Car. When she is not writing, Meg works on community projects that support girls, Latino youth and/or literacy.
 
Maggie StiefvaterMaggie Stiefvater has been called “a master storyteller” by USA Today, and “one of the finest YA novelists writing today” by Entertainment Weekly. She is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shiver series. Her stand-alone novel The Scorpio Races was named a Michael L. Printz Honor Book by the American Library Association. Stiefvater’s #1 New York Times bestselling series The Raven Cycle has received 19 starred reviews from industry journals across four books. The first book in the series The Raven Boys was a PW Best Book of the Year, the second book, The Dream Thieves, was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, and the fourth and final book in the series, The Raven King, was called a “crowning achievement” by School Library Journal. Stiefvater is also an artist and musician. She lives in Virginia with her husband and their two children. You can visit her online at www.maggiestiefvater.com.

Panelists & Moderators
Mental Health in YA Lit
 
Nyrae DawnNyrae Dawn, author of Turn the World Upside Down, can almost always be found with a book in her hand or an open document on her laptop. She couldn’t live without books—reading or writing them. Whether she’s writing young adult, new adult, or adult you can always count on a healthy dose of romance from her books. She likes to tackle tough subjects, and believes everyone needs to see themselves in the stories they read.
 
Stephanie KuehnStephanie Kuehn is the critically acclaimed author of four young adult novels, including Charm & Strange, which won the ALA’s William C. Morris Award for best debut novel. Booklist has praised her work as “Intelligent, compulsively readable literary fiction with a dark twist.”
 
 
Jennifer NivenJennifer Niven is the author of the New York Times and international bestseller All the Bright Places. She has also written four novels for adults—American Blonde, Becoming Clementine, Velva Jean Learns to Fly, and Velva Jean Learns to Drive—as well as three nonfiction books—The Ice Master, Ada Blackjack, and The Aqua Net Diaries, a memoir about her high school experiences. She grew up in Indiana and now lives with her fiancé and literary cats in Los Angeles. For more information, visit JenniferNiven.com, GermMagazine.com, or find her on Facebook or Twitter.
 
Natasha RaziNatasha Razi is an editor of the website Disability in Kidlit and a writer of genre-bending young adult and adult fiction. She has seven years of experience as an editor and three years as a counselor, and this is her first time moderating a panel.
 
 
Teresa TotenTeresa Toten won the Schneider Family Book Award and Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award for The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B. She is also the author of the acclaimed Blondes series, as well as The Game, The Onlyhouse, and, with Eric Walters, The Taming. Teresa Toten lives in Toronto. Visit her online at teresatoten.com and on Facebook, and follow @TTotenAuthor on Twitter.
 
Susan VaughtSusan Vaught is the director of psychology at Western State Hospital, and author of Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy which won the 2016 Edgar Award in the Best Juvenile category and was a Junior Library Guild Selection. The Horn Book called it “compelling, offbeat, and fearless.” Her many books for teens include Trigger, which received three starred reviews and was an ALA Best Books for Young Adults; Insanity; My Big Fat Manifesto; and Freaks Like Us.
 
Genre-Bending SFF

Sarah Rees BrennanSarah Rees Brennan, author of Tell the Wind and Fire and popular teen fantasies including The Demon’s Lexicon and Unspoken. She wrote Team Human with Justine Larbalestier and also coauthored The Bane Chronicles with Cassandra Clare and Maureen Johnson. Visit her online at www.sarahreesbrennan.com
 
 
Traci CheeTraci Chee is an author of speculative fiction for teens. An all around word geek, she loves book arts and art books, poetry and paper crafts. She studied literature and creative writing at UC Santa Cruz and earned a master of arts degree from San Francisco State University. The Reader is her YA debut.
 
 
Kate ElliottKate Elliott is the author of more than twenty­five novels, including her young adult debut Court of Fives, its prequel e­novella Night Flower, and Black Wolves. She has also written the Spiritwalker trilogy, the Novels of the Jaran, and the Crossroads trilogy, among others, and two of her books have been finalists for the Nebula Award and the World Fantasy Award. Visit her online at www.kateelliott.com. Follow her onTwitter @KateElliottSFF.
 
Rachel LouRachel Lou, author, The Bridge (Harmony Ink)
 
 
 
 
Amanda SunAmanda Sun is the author of Heir to the Sky. An archaeologist by training, her intense fear of spiders keeps her indoors, where she writes novels instead. The Paper Gods series is inspired by her time living in Osaka and traveling throughout Japan. Ink, her first novel, was released to critical acclaim, and was a Kids’ Indie Next Pick and a Chapters Indigo Top Teen Pick, and was followed by Rain and Storm. Visit her online at www.amandasunbooks.com. Follow her on Twitter @Amanda_Sun.

Stranger than Fiction: NF 4 Teens

Neal BascombNeal Bascomb researched the facts behind Sabotage for years, gaining access to volumes of diaries, letters and reports, some of it that had never before been released. Bascomb is also the author of the New York Times bestselling books The Perfect Mile and Hunting Eichmann, as well as Higher, Red Mutiny and The New Cool. He lives in Seattle, Washington. Visit him online at www.nealbascomb.com and follow him on Twitter at @nealbascomb.

Reyna GrandeReyna Grande is an award-winning novelist and memoirist. She has received an American Book Award, the El Premio Aztlán Literary Award, and the Latino Book Award. Her second novel, Dancing with Butterflies, received critical acclaim. In 2012, she was a finalist for the prestigious National Book Critics Circle Awards for her memoir The Distance Between Us. Her works have been published internationally in countries such as Norway and South Korea.

Bridget HeosBridget Heos is the author of more than seventy nonfiction children’s titles, including Blood, Bullets, and Bones; Stronger than Steel: Spider Silk DNA and the Quest for Better Bulletproof Vests, Sutures, and Parachute Rope (a Junior Library Guild selection); and It’s Getting Hot in Here: The Past, Present, and Future of Global Warming. Bridget lives in Kansas City with her husband and four children. You can visit her online at www.authorbridgetheos.com.

Robert HogeRobert Hoge has done pretty much every kind of writing there is. He has worked as a journalist, a speechwriter, a science writer, and a political advisor. He’s also written numerous short stories, articles, and interviews that have been published in Australia and overseas. When he’s not writing, Robert enjoys photography and talking with people about looking different and being disabled. He lives in Brisbane, Australia, and is married and has two amazing daughters. Visit him at RobertHoge.com and follow him @RobertHoge.

Leonard S. MarcusLeonard S. Marcus is one of the world’s leading writers about children’s books and the people who create them. He is the award-winning author and editor of The Wand in the Word: Conversations with Writers of Fantasy; Funny Business: Conversations with Writers of Comedy; Show Me a Story! Why Picture Books Matter; Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom, as well as many other books. His essays, interviews, and reviews appear in the New York Times Book Review and the Horn Book magazine. Leonard S. Marcus lives in Brooklyn.

Sarah MillerSarah Miller is the author of The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden & the Trial of the Century, and two historical fiction novels, Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller, which was called “an accomplished debut” in a starred review from Booklist and was named an ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Book, and The Lost Crown, about the Romanovs, hailed as “fascinating” in a starred review from Kirkus Reviews and named an ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Adults.

Thrills & Chills: Suspense & Horror

Eileen CookEileen Cook, author of With Malice is a multi‐published writer, with her novels appearing in eight different languages. Her books have been optioned for film and television. Visit her online at www.eileencook.com
 
 
 
Emily GraceEmily Grace is the Youth Services Librarian for Mt. Pleasant Library (Providence Community Library) in Rhode Island who enjoys all creatures great and small, Netflix binges, and tattoos. She is the secretary of the RI chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance, a regular contributor to School Library Journal, and recently coauthored a featured article on customer experience management for Public Libraries Magazine.
 
Ryan GraudinRyan Graudin is the author of The Walled City, Wolf by Wolf, and Blood for Blood. When she’s not traveling, she’s busy photographing weddings, writing, and spending time with her husband and wolf­dog. Visit her online at www.ryangraudin.com
 
 
Leo HuntLeo Hunt wrote Thirteen Days of Midnight in his first year of college and signed with an agent the following year. When he was younger he wanted to be either an archaeologist or an author, and when he learned that archaeologists didn’t unearth piles of perfectly preserved dinosaur bones every time they put a spade in the ground, he decided to write books instead. He lives in northeast England.
 
Lorie LangdonLorie Langdon has over ten years of experience writing online and print advertising for a Fortune 500 company, and left her thriving corporate career to satisfy the voices in her head. Now as a full‐time author and stay‐at‐home mom, she spends her summers editing poolside while dodging automatic water‐gun fire, and the rest of the year tucked into her cozy office. Lorie is one‐half of the author team that writes the popular Doon, a YA reimagining of Brigadoon!, and her first solo novel, GILT HOLLOW, will release fall of 2016.
 
Mindy McGinnisMindy McGinnis is the author of The Female of the Species, Not a Drop to Drink and its companion, In a Handful of Dust, and the Edgar Award–winning novel A Madness So Discreet. A magna cum laude graduate of Otterbein University with a BA in English literature and religion, Mindy is an assistant YA librarian who lives in Ohio. You can visit her online at www.mindymcginnis.com.
 
From the Teen Room to the Director’s Chair

Faythe ArredondoFaythe Arredondo is a Collection Development and Technical Services Manager/Librarian in the middle of agricultural California. She loves working with teens, stats, and spreadsheets, watching hockey, Star Wars movies (4-7 of course), and Captain America movies. You can usually find her on Twitter @farre ranting about something.
 
 
 
JoAnn ConlonJoAnn Conlon is the Director of Innovative Resource Media Systems for Spring Branch Independent School District in Houston, Texas. She obtained her Masters of Library Information Science from University of Denver. Prior to Texas, she lived in Colorado working at Cherry Creek High School and Cache LaPoudre Junior High School. Her professional affiliations include: AASL, TLA, TASL, TCEA and ASCD. Joann is an advocate for the impact Teacher-Librarians have upon the academic success of every student.

Justin HoenkeJustin Hoenke is currently the Executive Director of the Benson Memorial Library in Titusville, Pennsylvania. Before that, he was Coordinator of Teen Services at the Chattanooga Public Library in Chattanooga, TN where Justin created The 2nd Floor, a 14,000 square foot space for ages 0-18 into a destination that brings together learning, fun, the act of creating and making, and public programming. Justin is a member of the 2010 American Library Association Emerging Leaders class and was named a Library Journal Mover and Shaker in 2013. Follow Justin on Twitter at @justinlibrarian and read his blog at justinthelibrarian.com.

Chris ShoemakerChris Shoemaker is a teen librarian turned administrator. Before becoming the Director of the Rye Free Reading Room, Chris was the Young Adult Programming Specialist for the New York Public Library. At NYPL, he was the host of both TeenLIVE @ NYPL and The New York Public Library’s teen fashion showcase, Design NYPL, programs that connect youth with library collections and resources through cultural trends and inspirational research. His area of expertise includes programming, outreach, and partnerships. He is also a Past President of YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services Association.

Robyn VittekRobyn Vittek is the Director at Mt. Lebanon Public Library in PA. A Certified Public Librarian in Ohio and Pennsylvania, Robyn held the position of Director at St. Clairsville Public Library for nearly two years before taking the helm at Mt. Lebanon Public Library in 2015. Previously, she served as Assistant Youth Services Coordinator at Akron-Summit County Public Library, where she began her professional career as a teen librarian in 2002. Robyn was named a 2010 ALA Emerging Leader and a member of the 2012 class of Library Leadership Ohio. One of her proudest career accomplishments is helping to found “Take 5! A Day of Dialogue” for youth services library staff.

College & Career Readiness

K.C. BoydK.C. Boyd is the Lead Librarian for the East St. Louis School District #189 in East St. Louis, IL. Boyd is a second generation educator and holds Master’s degrees in Library Information Science, Media Communications and Education Leadership. Her favorite quotes, “Reading is the gateway skill that makes all learning possible,” and “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth,” drives her commitment to serving marginalized African-American children, young adults and school communities. She is a 2015 Library Journal Mover and Shaker and recipient of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Leadership Award in 2015.

Sara FreySara Frey is the Instructional Media Specialist and Technology Integration Coach for Plymouth Whitemarsh High School in Plymouth Meeting, PA. In addition to managing the school’s library program, Sara hosts events in the library’s maker space and provides support for teachers concerning best practices for using technology in instruction. She has presented at the ISTE annual conference, AASL annual conference, and other state library and technology events and received PaLA’s 2015 Best Practices Award for high schools. Sara received her Masters of Library and Information Sciences from the University of Kentucky.

Elizabeth KahnElizabeth Kahn has been a school librarian for 25 years and is currently working at Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy in Avondale, LA. The school serves 550 students in grades 6th-12th. She loves working with teens and reading young adult literature. Using technology for learning, teaching, and to provide high quality resources for her students is one of her passions. She has been honored with awards from state and national organizations for her work in a school library including AASL, ISTE, Gale Cengage, LACUE, and LASL. Find her on the web at www.talesfromaloudlibrarian.com.

Heather Moorefield-LangHeather Moorefield-Lang is an assistant professor at the University of South Carolina in the School of Library and Information Science. She received her masters in Library Science from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and her doctorate in Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research is focused in emerging technologies and their use in education and libraries. Her current research focuses on makerspaces and their subsequent technologies in libraries of all types and levels. To learn more about Heather and her work, see her website www.techfifteen.com or follow her on Twitter @actinginthelib.

Monica Tolva is the library media specialist at Vernon Hills High School in Vernon Hills, IL, where she is active in a professional networking group with fellow high school librarians. Formerly an elementary school librarian and a reference librarian at a branch college, she has a motto of “always moving forward!”

Instagram and Snapchat 101

Robin BrennerRobin Brenner is teen librarian at the Brookline Public Library in MA. An active member of YALSA, she has served on multiple awards committees. She is the editor-in-chief of the graphic novel review website No Flying No Tights.
 
 
 
Alanna GravesAlanna Graves is a teen services librarian at the Cape May County Library in NJ. When she is not reading, she is conquering enemies in video games and writing “Video Games Weekly” game reviews for Teen Librarian Toolbox.
 
 
 
Molly WettaMolly Wetta is a collection development librarian at Lawrence Public Library in KS. In addition to selecting young adult materials, graphic novels, and media, she is also a member of the social media team.
 
 
 
Serving the Underserved: Teen Parents; Incarcerated Teens; Homeless Teens

Sabrina Carnesi, Library Media Specialist, Crittenden Middle School (VA)

Amy CheneyAmy Cheney, currently the district library manager for Oakland Unified School District, has won three National awards for her work, I Love My Librarian award from the Carnegie Institution/New York Times and was honored at the White House with a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award along with being named a Mover and Shaker by Library Journal. She founded the In the Margins Booklist and Award bringing self published books by, for and about poor people of color into the mainstream and has over 20 years experience with outreach, program design and creation to serve the underserved from preschoolers to adult learners to incarcerated youth.

Nick FranklinNick Franklin has seventeen years of experience variously as a young adult librarian, library manager, and now as Coordinator for Transitional Services. These roles emphasize Nick’s commitment to public service and his desire to tailor library services to the diverse needs of thousands of Brooklyn residents.
 
 
Courtney SaldanaCourtney Saldana is the Youth Services Supervising Librarian at the Ovitt Family Community Library in Ontario, California. Managing Youth Services gives Courtney the best of both worlds: kids and teens. Courtney is the event lead and creator of Ontario’s annual Teen Book Fest (TBF). She is also a 2012 Eureka! Leadership Fellow. Her grant project focused on bringing Life Skills to Teen Moms and is now being offered by the California State Library as a state wide project called Skills for Teens Parents (STeP). She is the Co-Chair of the California Library Association’s Youth Service Interest Group and a 2016 Library Journal Mover and Shaker.

Jennifer VelásquezJennifer Velásquez serves as Coordinator of Teen Services for the San Antonio Public Library System and is a Lecturer at San Jose State University’s School of Information. She is an internationally regarded thought-leader in teen library services and programming. In 2011, Library Journal recognized Jennifer as a “Mover & Shaker” in the area of innovation and she is the recipient of The New York Times Librarian Award (2005). Her book Real-World Teen Services is available from ALA Editions Press.

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"A great resource for all Teen Librarians. You always learn something new. It is great to connect with the different publishers and authors at this event. I would highly recommend."
– YA Librarian, Amesbury Public Library, NH


"[SLJTeen Live] is an excellent virtual format to reach many of the authors or publishers that I would never have time to learn from individually."
– Teacher Librarian, Gale Ettrick-Trempeauleu School District, WI