Middle Grade Magic 2022

Join School Library Journal on March 10 for our fourth annual Middle Grade Magic virtual event, a day-long celebration of authors and creators dedicated to crafting literature for children ages eight through 12. Get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at some of the most anticipated new titles for kids and tweens, from modern coming-of-age tales to eye-popping graphic novels to immersive fantasy. Attendees will also have the opportunity to check out the virtual exhibit hall, chat directly with authors, download educational resources, and enter to win prizes and giveaways.

EVENT HOURS: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM ET | 6:00 AM - 2:00 PM PT

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9:00 - 9:30 AM ET | Exhibit Hall Opens/Visit the Booths


In Booth Chat

9:00 - 9:30 AM ET Chat – How it Works – On Demand Virtual Hand Sewing Workshops with Optional Patron Project Kits with Ellen (Sew it Workshop)

9:30 - 10:00 AM ET | Keynote Conversation with Michael G. Long and Yohuru Williams, Call Him Jack: The Story of Jackie Robinson, Black Freedom Fighter (Macmillan)
Moderator: Shelley Diaz
, Reviews Editor, SLJ

Two Sessions Running Concurrently


10:05 - 10:55 AM ET | Cloudy, with a Chance of Rain
Meet a group of awesome tweens & tweens weathering challenges on multiple fronts.

Jodi CarmichaelThe U-nique Lou Fox (Pajama Press) 
Anika FajardoMeet Me Halfway (Simon & Schuster) 
Alma FullertonFlipping Forward Twisting Backward (Peachtree) 
K.A. HoltJordan J and the Truth about Jordan J (Chronicle)  
Olugbemisola Rhuday-PerkovichOperation Sisterhood (Random House Children’s Books) 
Moderator: Maegen Rose, Middle School Librarian, Rye Country Day School (NY) 

10:05 - 10:55 AM ET | New in Graphic
The exponential growth and variety of genres embraced by the graphic format is reflected in these forthcoming books. 

Chuck Gonzales (au/illus)Carlos Gomez Freestyles: Heavy on the Style (Reycraft)
Dustin Hansen (au/illus)The Legend of the Dream Giants (Shadow Mountain Publishing)  
Irma Kniivila & Tri Vuong (au/illus)Everyday Hero Machine Boy (Skybound) 
Yehudi MercadoSci-Fu Vol. 2: It Takes 2 (Oni Press)  
KC OsterRabbit Chase (Annick)
Moderator: Alea Perez, Head of Kids' Library, Elmhurst Public Library (IL)

In Booth Chat

10:30 - 11:00 PM ET Chat with author Kathy Kacer (Second Story)

Two Sessions Running Concurrently

11:00 - 11:50 AM ET | Another Time, Another Place
Five novels take fans of realistic and historical fiction across time and place.

Salma HussainThe Secret Diary of Mona Hasan (Tundra)
Anna Rose JohnsonThe Star that Always Stays (Holiday House) 
Amina Luqman-DawsonFreewater (Little, Brown) 
Suzanne Meade
A Terrible Tide (Second Story Press) 

Lauren WolkMy Own Lightning (Penguin Young Readers) 
Moderator: Sandra Farag, MLIS, Head of Youth Services, Kalamazoo Public Library (MI)

11:00 - 11:50 AM ET | Sensational Series Starters 
Make room on your shelves for these exciting new series in a range of genres.

Michelle BarryPlotting the Stars 1: Moongarden (Pixel+Ink) 
Roseanne A. BrownSerwa Boateng’s Guide to Vampire Hunting (Disney Publishing Worldwide) 
Michel GuyonArchibald Finch and the Lost Witches (Andrews McMeel)
Arnée FloresThe Firebird Song (Bloomsbury)

Jonathan SchnappOrder of the Night Jay: The Forest Beckons (Top Shelf) 
Moderator: Ashley Rayner, Librarian, NORC at the University of Chicago (IL)

In Booth Chats

11:20 - 11:50 AM ET Chat with Yehudi Mercado, Sci-Fu Vol. 2  (Oni Press)

11:30 AM - 12:00 PM ET Chat with Cynthia Lord and Stephanie Graegin, Book Buddies: Marco Polo, Brave Explorer (Candlewick)

11:45 AM - 12:15 PM ET Chat with Eldon Yellowhorn, author of SKY WOLF'S CALL (Annick Press)

11:45 AM - 12:29 PM ET  Chat - Summer Reading Programs and New! Book Catalog with Ellen (Sew it Workshop)

11:50 AM - 12:10 ET Chat with Kelly Yang, author of NEW FROM HERE (Simon & Schuster)

11:50 AM - 12:20 PM ET Chat with Marti Dumas, author of Wildseed Witch (Abrams)

11:50 AM - 12:20 PM ET Chat with Leonarda Carranza, author of ABUELITA AND ME (Annick Press)

12:00 - 12:20 PM ET Chat with Alma Fullerton (Peachtree)

12:05 - 12:35 PM ET Chat with Chris Grine, Secrets of Camp Whatever Vol. 2 (Oni Press)


11:50 AM - 12:20 PM | Break/Visit the Exhibit Hall

12:20 - 12:50 PM ET | Keynote Conversation with B.B. Alston, Amari and the Great Game (HarperCollins) and Tae Keller, Mihi Ever After (Macmillan)
Moderator: Ashleigh Williams
, Associate Editor, Middle Grade & Chapter Books, SLJ

Two Sessions Running Concurrently

12:55 - 1:45 PM ET | Peers and Fears 
Almost every aspect of an adolescent’s life seems magnified when viewed by peers. Meet a group of protagonists coping with the ups and downs of school life.  

Svetlana ChmakovaEnemies (Yen Press) 
Johnnie ChristmasSwim Team (HarperCollins)
Jonathan HillTales of a Seventh-Grade Lizard Boy (Candlewick Press)
Mari LoweAviva vs the Dybbuk (Levine Querido)

India Swift, The Girl and the Glim (IDW)  
Moderator: Ashley Leffel
, Librarian, Frisco (TX)

12:55 - 1:45 PM ET | Ready for Chapter Books
For readers inching toward middle grade: a silly romp, an animal story, and some familiar and new characters to greet. 

Katherine ApplegateDoggo and Pupper Save the World (Macmillan)  
Elana K. ArnoldJust Harriet (HarperCollins)
Cynthia LordBook Buddies: Marco Polo, Brave Explorer (Candlewick Press)

Shenaaz NanjiAlina in a Pinch (Second Story Press) 
Linda TrinhThe Secret of the Jade Bangle and The Power of the Pearl Earrings (Annick) 
Moderator: Emily Beasley, Library Media Specialist, Franklin Elementary (NE)

In Booth Chat

1:30 - 2:00 PM ET Chat with Stephanie Young and Allyson Lassiter, Star Beasts  (Oni Press)

1:45 - 2:15 PM ET Chat with Linda Williams Jackson, The Lucky Ones (Candlewick)

1:45 - 2:15 PM ET Chat with Ellen and Prizes! (Sew it Workshop)

1:45 - 2:05 PM ET Chat with Xiran Jay Zhao, author of ZACHARY YING AND THE DRAGON EMPEROR (Simon & Schuster)

1:50 - 2:20 PM ET Chat with Maggie Edkins Willis, creator of Smaller Sister (MacMillan)

1:55 - 2:15 PM ET Chat with Anna Rose Johnson (Holiday House)

2:00 - 2:20 PM ET Chat with VANDERBEEKERS author Karina Yan Glaser! (HCC)


1:45 - 2:15 PM ET | Break/Visit the Exhibit Hall

Two Sessions Running Concurrently

2:15 - 3:05 PM ET | A Matter of Life or Death 
The stakes are high in these action-packed adventures.  

Aya de LeónUndercover Latina (Candlewick Press)  
Lev GrossmanThe Golden Swift (Little, Brown)
Sylvia LiuHana Hsu and the Ghost Crab Nation (Penguin Young Readers)
Kali WallaceHunters of the Lost City (Quirk)
Jenna YoonLia Park and the Missing Jewel (Simon & Schuster)  
Moderator: Jesse Sanders, Branch Manager, Fairview Park Branch, Cuyahoga County Public Library (OH)

2:15 - 3:05 PM ET | Growing Pains  
An adolescent’s growing awareness of self and others includes insight into the responsibilities, struggles, and sometimes, missteps, that can come with adulthood.

Sheela ChariKarthik Delivers (Abrams) 
Frances O’Roark DowellHazard (Simon & Schuster)
Lenka Glassman, PhDKidConfident #2: How to Master Your Mood in Middle School (Magination Press) 
Henry HerzComing of Age: 13 B’nai Mitzvah Stories (Albert Whitman) 
Kyle LukoffDifferent Kinds of Fruit (Penguin Young Readers) 

Moderator: Kristin L. Anderson, Jackson County Library Services (OR) and SLJ Reviewer


In Booth Chat

2:30 - 3:00 PM – Chat with Dave Scheidt and Scoot McMahon, Agents of S.L.A.M. (Oni Press)


3:10 - 4:00 PM ET | Mystery, Mischief, and Strange Happenings
There are mysteries to solve, pranks to resolve, and strange happenings to get to the bottom of in these new titles.

Derrick ChowRavenous Things (Disney Publishing Worldwide) 
Kekla MagoonChester Keene Cracks the Code (Random House Children’s Books) 
Kel Mitchell, Prank Day (HarperCollins Christian) 
Lisa Moore RaméeMapmaker (HarperCollins) 
David A. RobertsonThe Stone Child: The Misewa Saga, Book Three (Tundra) 
Moderator: Monisha Blair, Librarian, Glasgow Middle School (VA)

4:05 - 4:35 PM ET | Keynote Conversation with Melissa Benoist, The Powers series and Jo Whittemore, Supergirl series (Abrams)
Moderator: Marybeth Kozikowski
, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY and SLJ Reviewer

4:35 - 5:00 PM ET | Visit the Exhibit Hall


In Booth Chat

4:40 PM - 5:00 PM ET Chat with Michelle A. Barry (Pixel+Ink)

View On Demand

Keynote Speakers


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B. B. Alston lives in Lexington, SC. His debut novel, Amari and the Night Brothers, is a New York Times and Indie bestseller. When not writing, he can be found eating too many sweets and exploring country roads to see where they lead.

Melissa Benoist is an actress best known for her roles in Glee, Whiplash, and Supergirl (in which she plays Supergirl). She and sister Jessica Benoist are lifelong readers of fantasy, and their passion for using books as a vehicle for making topical themes accessible to young readers is reflected in their new middle-grade series THE POWERS. Their first book Haven’s Secret (which came out last fall) is an epic tale of two sisters coming to terms with their extraordinary powers that is sure to appeal to fans of Chris Colfer, Rick Riordan, and Tui T. Sutherland.

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Tae Keller grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she subsisted on kimchi, purple rice, and stories. Now, she writes about biracial girls trying to find their voices, and lives in Seattle with her husband and a multitude of books. She is the author of The Science of Breakable Things and When You Trap a Tiger, winner of the Newbery Medal.

Michael G. Long is the author or editor of books on civil rights, religion, and politics, including Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography, which was selected as a best book of the year by Publishers Weekly; Gay Is Good: The Life and Letters of Gay Rights Pioneer Franklin Kameny; Beyond Home Plate: Jackie Robinson on Life after Baseball; Martin Luther King, Jr., Homosexuality, and the Early Gay Rights Movement; and Marshalling Justice: The Early Civil Rights Letters of Thurgood Marshall. Long also served as an expert historian for Ken Burns's documentary on Jackie Robinson. He lives in Pennsylvania with his family.

Jo Whittemore is the author of numerous fantasy and humor novels for kids, including: The Silverskin Legacy trilogy; Me & Mom vs. the World; the Confidentially Yours hexalogy; Lights, Music, Code!, a series novel for Girls Who Code; and the original adventure based middle-grade series based on the hit TV show, SUPERGIRL. Jo is a member of SCBWI (the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and is part of the Texas Sweethearts and Scoundrels. Jo writes from a secret lair in Austin, Texas. Find her online at jowhittemore.com.

Yohuru Williams is a professor at St. Thomas University, and Chief Historian for the Jackie Robinson Foundation and Museum in New York, NY. He is the author of Black Politics/White Power: Civil Rights, Black Power and the Black Panthers in New Haven and Teaching U.S. History Beyond the Textbook: Six Investigative Strategies, Grades 5-12, as well as editor and co-editor on numerous projects and publications. He lives in Minnesota.



Katherine Applegate is the New York Times-bestselling author of Wishtree, Willodeen, Crenshaw, and Home of the Brave, all from F&F, as well The One and Only Ivan, winner of the Newbery Medal, and its sequel The One and Only Bob. She lives in Southern California with her family. Katherineapplegate.com.

Elana K. Arnold is the award-winning author of many books for children and teens, including the middle grade novels The Question of Miracles, Far from Fair, A Boy Called Bat, and The House That Wasn't There as well as the YA novels Red Hood, the Michael L. Printz Honor book Damsel, and the National Book Award finalist What Girls Are Made Of. She holds a master’s degree in creative writing/fiction from the University of California, Davis, and is a member of the faculty in Hamline University's MFA in writing for children and young adults program. Elana currently lives in Huntington Beach, CA, with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of animals. You can find her online at www.elanakarnold.com.

Michelle A. Barry grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts, and was later cajoled over the border into Connecticut by her future husband. She has worked as a newspaper reporter, freelance writer and editor, and marketing professional. She currently lives in Granby, Connecticut with her charming husband and their two delightful children. Moongarden is her first novel.

Roseanne "Rosie" A. Brown was born in Kumasi, Ghana and immigrated to the wild jungles of central Maryland as a child. She worked as an assistant teacher, journalist, and editorial intern before writing her first two young adult novels, A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, an instant New York Times best-seller, and A Psalm of Storms and Silence. Rosie currently lives outside Washington, D.C., where she can usually be found explaining memes to her elderly relatives or thinking about Star Wars. She can neither confirm nor deny if she has ever been possessed by a vampire.

Jodi Carmichael is a multi-award-winning author and a champion for the underdog and for kids who think differently. Like Lou in The U-nique Lou Fox, Jodi has ADHD and celebrates the creativity, empathy, and adventurousness it brings to her life. Her other books include the YA novel Forever Julia which won The Manitoba Book Award and the Bronze Moonbeam Award, the middle-grade novel Family of Spies: Paris, and the chapter book Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food and Other Life Lessons, which won the Silver Moonbeam Award and the Silver Benjamin Franklin Award. Jodi lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba with her family.

Sheela Chari is the author of Finding Mighty, a Junior Library Guild Selection and Children's Choice Award Finalist; The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel series based on the Peabody Award-winning mystery podcast; and Vanished, an APALA Honor Book, Edgar finalist, and Al’s Book Club Pick on the Today Show. She has degrees from Stanford University, Boston University, and New York University, where she received an MFA in Fiction. She is a faculty member at Vermont College of the Arts and teaches fiction at Mercy College.

Derrick Chow is an author, illustrator, and comic creator. His short stories have been featured in several comic anthologies; and his illustrations appear in newspapers, magazines, and books across North America. He lives in Toronto, where he is very active in the local arts scene. Ravenous Things is his first novel.


Svetlana Chmakova was born and raised in Russia until the age of 16, when her family emigrated to Canada. She quickly made a name for herself with works like Dramacon, Nightschool, the manga adaptation of James Patterson's Witch & Wizard, and the webcomic Chasing Rainbows. She graduated from Sheridan College with a three-year Classical Animation Diploma. Her latest work for middle grade readers, Awkward, has been a runaway critical success and was named one of YALSA's 2016 Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens!

Johnnie Christmas is a #1 New York Times Best Selling graphic novelist. Best known for co-creating the series Angel Catbird with celebrated writer Margaret Atwood, he has adapted William Gibson’s lost screenplay for Alien 3 into a critically acclaimed graphic novel of the same name. He was nominated for the Outstanding Cartoonist 2019 Joe Shuster Award for his graphic novel, Firebug. He also co-created the series Sheltered. A graduate of the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, he earned a BFA in Communication Design/Illustration. He currently lives in Vancouver.

Aya de León is the Afro-Latina author of several suspense novels for adults, as well as The Mystery Woman in Room Three, an open-source online novel about two undocumented Dominican teens who uncover a kidnapping plot to stop the Green New Deal. She teaches creative writing at the University of California, Berkeley, and is producing a free online conference this spring, Black Literature vs. The Climate Emergency. She lives in Northern California.

Frances O’Roark Dowell is the bestselling and critically acclaimed author of  over twenty books for young readers, including Dovey Coe, which won the Edgar Award and the William Allen White Award; Where I’d Like to Be; The Secret Language of Girls and its sequels The Kind of Friends We Used to Be and The Sound of Your Voice, Only Really Far Away; Chicken Boy; Shooting the Moon, which was awarded the Christopher Award; the Phineas L. MacGuire series; Falling In; Trouble the Water; the Sam the Man series; The Class; How to Build a Story; and, the forthcoming novel-in-verse, Hazard. She lives with her family in Durham, North Carolina. Connect with Frances online at FrancesDowell.com.

Anika Fajardo was born in Colombia and raised in Minnesota. She wrote a book about that experience, Magical Realism for Non-Believers: A Memoir of Finding Family. Anika is also the author of What If a Fish, which won a Minnesota Book Award and was a CCBC Choices selection. She lives with her family in the very literary city of Minneapolis.

Arnée Flores is the author of The Firebird Song and is a Vietnamese-American transracial adoptee. She has been a classical pianist, a Montessori preschool teacher, a waitress, and a student. She currently lives in Seattle with her family. www.arneeflores.com.

Alma Fullerton couldn’t read until she was in the fourth grade. Today she works with students who have learning disabilities. She is the author of several middle grade and young adult novels that garnered acclaim and awards in her native Canada. Alma is also the author/illustrator of several picture books. She is on faculty with the Highlights Foundation for teaching novel in verse writing and is an RA for SCBWI’s Canada East region.

Lenka Glassman, PsyD, is a licensed psychologist specializing in the treatment of anxiety and related conditions. She runs a private practice in Washington, DC and Bethesda, MD where she works with children, teens, adults, and families on issues related to anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and self-esteem. In addition to her clinical training and career in psychology, Dr. Glassman has worked as a group fitness leader for over 18 years, and views physical exercise as an important component in overall psychological well-being. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland. Visit drlenkaglassman.com and @drlenkaglassman on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Chuck Gonzales is an author and illustrator. He grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a lovely town which, at the time, was mostly filled with Anglos—white people which, given his Mexican-American heritage, he is not. He wanted to write a story that was both current and also reflective of his childhood. Struggling with race, gender identity and a pronounced lisp, life wasn’t easy but it eventually got better for Chuck as it does for Carlos Gomez, in the debut graphic novel, Carlos Gomez Freestyle: Heavy on the Style—a hero after his own heart!

Lev Grossman is the author of seven novels including The Silver Arrow, and the #1 New York Times bestselling Magicians trilogy, which has been published in thirty countries. A TV adaptation of the trilogy ran for five seasons as the top-rated show on Syfy. Grossman is also an award-winning journalist who spent fifteen years as the book critic and lead technology writer at Time magazine, where he published more than twenty cover stories. In addition, he has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Wired, The Believer, The Village Voice, NPR, Salon, Slate, and Buzzfeed, among many others. He lives in New York City with his wife and three children.

Michel Guyon was born in France, in a small medieval town perched on a rock, surrounded by high walls, with the remains of an ancient fortress at its heart. That's where the author had his first brush with ancient myths, puzzling legends, and dark tales of the Middle Ages. Since then, Michel has learned a thing or two about mining for clues and connecting the dots, mainly as an investigative journalist for newspapers and magazines. While his childhood fed his fertile imagination, his travels as a reporter, from Bosnia to Afghanistan, were crucial in shaping his view of the world.

Dustin Hansen is an international award-winning video game developer and has been creating story and art for the children’s entertainment world for decades. He has also worked in theme parks, and as the Innovation Director for Hasbro Inc. As a dyslexic writer, Dustin’s drive to combine visuals with the written word has been a thread throughout his career.

Henry Herz is the author of ten picture books, including 2 Pirates + 1 Robot, Cap’n Rex & His Clever Crew, and How the Squid Got Two Long Arms. Henry's nonfiction book, I Am Smoke, earned a Kirkus star and was listed in School Library Journal's The Most Astonishingly Unconventional Children's Books of 2021, New York Public Library's Best Books for Kids, Kirkus's 150 Most Anticipated Fall Books, ALA Notable Children's Books, and National Council for the Social Studies 2022 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People. He has co-edited the YA anthology, The Hitherto Secret Experiments of Marie Curie and the MG anthology, Coming of Age: 13 B'Nai Mitzvah Stories. Henry also writes fantasy, science fiction, and horror short stories for adults. He lives in San Diego with his wife, kids, and dog. Find him at www.henryherz.com

Jonathan Hill is the creator of Odessa and the cocreator of Americus and Science Comics: Wild Weather: Storms, Meteorology, and Climate. An Ignatz Award–nominated graphic novelist, illustrator, and educator, he lives in Portland, Oregon.

Kari Anne Holt is the award-winning author of many middle grade novels-in-verse including Ben Bee and the Teacher Griefer, Redwood & Ponytail, Knockout, House Arrest, and Rhyme Schemer. She is also the author of From You to Me, Gnome-a-geddon, and several other books for young readers, including I Wonder, a picture book illustrated by Kenard Pak. Kari Anne lives in Austin, TX.

Salma Hussain grew up in the U.A.E., and immigrated to Canada when she was thirteen years old. She has a B.A. (Hon.) in English Literature, with a concentration in creative writing from the University of Calgary, a law degree from the University of Calgary, and a Masters in Law from McGill University. Her short stories and poems have been published in Filling Station, West Coast Line, Other Voices, and in the anthology Homebound: Muslim Women Poetry Collection (Outburst Press). She is a graduate of the Humber Summer Writing Workshop and won the International Festival of Authors’ Litjam short story competition (2018). She was also a mentee in the Diaspora Dialogues long-form mentorship program last year. She lives with her family in Toronto.

Storytelling has always been a part of Anna Rose Johnson’s life—especially timeless tales tinged with vintage charm. She grew up fascinated by the early 20th century and now writes historical middle grade novels that reflect her love of classic children’s literature. A member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Anna Rose enjoys exploring her heritage through her stories, including her forthcoming middle grade novel The Star That Always Stays. Anna Rose lives on a farm in northern Wisconsin along with a delightful assortment of ponies, dogs, flowers, vegetables, and honey bees. You can visit her bookish blog at: http://annarosejohnson.com/blog/.

Irma Kniivila is a Toronto-based cartoonist and illustrator. She is co-author of Everyday Hero Machine Boy (Skybound), with Tri Vuong. She has worked with Penguin Random House, Marvel, Boom! Studios and IDW, and her illustration work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Reader's Digest and The Walrus, among others. For more, visit irmaillustration.com.

Sylvia Liu, the author of Hana Hsu and the Ghost Crab Nation, grew up with books and daydreams in Caracas, Venezuela. Once an environmental attorney protecting the oceans, she now spins stories for children, inspired by high tech, ghost crabs, and strong girls. Sylvia lives in Virginia with her family and a very fluffy cat.

Cynthia Lord is the author of award-winning middle-grade fiction. Her titles include Book Buddies: Ivy Lost and Found, the Newbery Honor Book Rules, Touch Blue, Half a Chance, A Handful of Stars, Because of the Rabbit, and other books for young readers. Cynthia Lord lives in Maine.

Mari Lowe has too little free time and spends it all on writing and escape rooms. As the daughter of a rabbi and a middle school teacher at an Orthodox Jewish school, she looks forward to sharing little glimpses into her community with her books. She lives in New York with her family, menagerie of pets, and robotic vacuum. Marilowe.com.

Kyle Lukoff is the author of many books for young readers, including his most recent novel Different Kinds of Fruit. His debut middle grade novel, Too Bright To See, received a Newbery honor, the Stonewall award, and was a National Book Award finalist. While becoming a writer he worked as a bookseller for ten years, and then nine more years as a school librarian.

Amina Luqman-Dawson loves using writing to tell stories and to build an understanding of race, culture and community. Her published writing includes op-eds in newspapers, magazine articles, travel writing and book reviews. She authored the pictorial history book Images of America: African Americans of Petersburg (Arcadia Publishing). She’s worked as a policy professional, researcher and consultant on issues of education and criminal justice. She has a BA in Political Science from Vassar College and a Master of Public Policy from UC Berkeley. She’s a proud mother of a 13-year-old son. She, her husband, and son reside in Arlington, VA.

Kekla Magoon is the author of many novels and nonfiction books for young readers, including The Season of Styx Malone, The Rock and the River, How It Went Down, and the Robyn Hoodlum Adventure series. She has received the Margaret A. Edwards Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the John Steptoe New Talent Award, three Coretta Scott King Honors, the Walter Award Honor, an NAACP Image Award, and been long listed for the National Book Award. Kekla holds a B.A. from Northwestern University and an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she now serves on faculty.

Suzanne Meade is a Canadian author specializing in historical fiction. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, she is passionate about telling stories that connect with girls, women, and other marginalized communities. In her spare time, she enjoys genealogy, yoga, reading, watching sci-fi, fantasy, and superhero movies, and playing video games. She currently teaches elementary school French and lives with her family and pets in Hamilton.

Yehudi Mercado was born in Mexico City and grew up in Houston, Texas. He fell in love with hip-hop at an early age. After college, Yehudi worked in video games and eventually became an art director for Disney Interactive, where he co-wrote and art-directed the Guardians of the Galaxy mobile game. His graphic novels include Chunky, Hero Hotel, Rocket Salvage, Fun Fun Fun World, and Sci-Fu. Yehudi was the artist on the Epic Original graphic novel Cat Ninja. Yehudi also created a narrative podcast based on his graphic novel Hero Hotel for the Pinna Network. He has two adorable dogs named Bucky and Bosco, and usually sneaks one of his pets into his books.

Kel Mitchell is a two-time Emmy Award-nominated actor, producer, comedian, and youth pastor hailing from Chicago, Illinois. Currently Mitchell is executive producing and appearing in the new iteration of the beloved Nickelodeon series All That, bringing him full circle to the original award-winning show that was his big break. All That was Nickelodeon's longest-running live-action series, with 171 episodes across ten seasons from 1994 to 2005. All That was Nickelodeon's longest-running live-action series, with 171 episodes across ten seasons from 1994 to 2005. Mitchell recently released Blessed Mode on Dec. 14, 2021.

Born and raised in East Africa, Shenaaz Nanji is the award-winning author of over 13 books for children including Child of Dandelions, a finalist for Governor General Literary Award. She holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and currently lives with her family in Calgary, Canada. You can find her online at https://www.shenaaznanji.com/.

KC Oster (he/she/they) is an Ojibwe-Anishinaabe comic artist and illustrator. They live in the Rainy River District of Northwestern Ontario.

Lisa Moore Ramée was born and raised in Los Angeles, and she now lives in the Bay Area of California with her husband, two kids, and an obnoxious cat. She is the author of A Good Kind of Trouble, a Walter Dean Myers Honor Book, and Something to Say. You can visit her online at www.lisamooreramee.com.

Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich is the author of 8th Grade Superzero, It Doesn't Take a Genius, the nonfiction books Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow and Someday Is Now: Clara Luper and the 1958 Oklahoma City Sit-Ins, and the upcoming Mae Makes a Way and Saving Earth: The Climate Crisis and the Fight for Our Future. She is the coauthor of the middle-grade novel Two Naomis, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award, and its sequel, Naomis Too. Inspired by some of her favorite family stories and the city she loves, Operation Sisterhood is a celebration of the sweetness and spice of sisterhood. She lives with her family in New York City, where she writes, makes things, and needs to get more sleep.

David A. Robertson is the author of numerous books for young readers, including When We Were Alone and On the Trapline (both illustrated by Julie Flett), both of which won Governor General’s Literary Award. He is also the author of an acclaimed and bestselling middle-grade fantasy series called The Misewa Saga, as well as the graphic novel Reckoner series, and the adult memoir Black Water. The Barren Grounds (first in the Misewa Saga) was a Kirkus and Quill & Quire best middle-grade book of 2020, as well as a USBBY and Texas Lone Star selection. A sought-after speaker and educator, Dave is a member of the Norway House Cree Nation and currently lives in Winnipeg. His latest book, the third in the Misewa Saga, is The Stone Child.

Jonathan Schnapp lives in Rochester, NY, with his amazing wife and two obnoxious cats. He spends most of his time painting, drawing, writing, and running around the neighborhood. He also has worked with several STEM companies, doing STEM things. He received his MFA in Imaging Arts from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2008. While not his first comic, Order of the Night Jay is his first published graphic novel.

India Swift is an animator and storyteller currently living in Dublin, Ireland. Born in England and raised by parents who both worked as theater designers, she fostered a love of storytelling from an early age and exercised that whenever she could in her artwork. Nowadays, she balances working as a director and animator with Knights of the Light Table with creating comics. She aspires to create work with a sincerity at its heart that affects and inspires others, leaving a lasting impact and a positive, affirming message.

Linda Trinh is a Vietnamese Canadian author who writes fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. She explores identity, cultural background, and spirituality. Her work has appeared in anthologies and literary magazines. She lives with her family in Winnipeg.

Tri Vuong is a comic artist and writer based out of Toronto, Canada. He is the creator of the popular comic “The Strange Tales of Oscar Zahn” on Line Webtoon and the co-creator of Skybound Entertainment's Everyday Hero Machine Boy. He is a veteran of the video game and animation industry whose list of clients include Ubisoft, Corus Entertainment, C.O.R.E Digital Pictures, Koei, and Capybara Games. His work on “Bubble Guppies” and “Clash of Heroes” has won multiple awards.

Kali Wallace is the author of books for children and adults, including City of Islands, Shallow Graves, and Salvation Day. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Lauren Wolk is the author of Echo Mountain and Scott O’Dell Award-winner Beyond the Bright Sea. Her most recent title is My Own Lightning, a follow up to her Newbery Honor-winning Wolf Hollow. Lauren was born in Baltimore and now lives with her family on Cape Cod.


Jenna Yoon studied Art History at Wellesley College and received her master’s degree in Korean Art History from Ewha Woman’s University. She’s lived about half her life in both Korea and the United States. When she’s not writing, Jenna loves to travel, find yummy eats, play board games and take skin care very seriously. Currently, she lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and two kids. Her newest book is Lia Park and the Missing Jewel. For more information, visit her website authorjennayoon.com, or follow her on Instagram and Twitter @authorjennayoon.



Kristin Anderson manages the Bear Creek Area and the Ashland Branch of Jackson County Library Services in Southern Oregon. Prior to her time in Oregon, she spent thirteen years working in youth services roles in Central Ohio libraries. She is passionate about the importance of diverse representation in literature for young readers. She has been an SLJ reviewer for nearly 15 years. She holds both an MLIS from Kent State University and an MBA from University of Texas at Austin.

Emily Beasley is an elementary school librarian and technology teacher with a passion for children's books. She loves connecting people with a book they love, especially kids, and  deeply enjoys being paid to purchase books. When she is not reading, she can be found running, exploring, cooking, watering my inumerable plants, and spending time with her husband Josh.


Monisha Blair is a school librarian at Glasgow Middle School (Fairfax County Public Schools) in Alexandria, VA. She earned her Masters of Information from Rutgers University in December 2020, with a concentration in School Library Media. She achieved a B.A. in Journalism from George Washington University in 2005. Since January 2020, Monisha has reviewed middle grade fiction, picture books, and young adult fiction for School Library Journal. She served on the 2020 and 2021 SLJ Best Books Committees. Previously, Monisha volunteered at the Boonton Holmes Public Library, where she did the weekly baby storytime program and founded the Friends of the Library. Monisha lives in Burke, Virginia with her husband and two children.

Shelley Diaz, Reviews Editor, School Library Journal

Sandra Farag, MLIS, is Head of Youth Services at Kalamazoo Public Library (MI).

Marybeth Kozikowski works as a Librarian II, Children's Services at Sachem Public Library in Holbrook, NY. She has been published in Children and Libraries, reviews for School Library Journal and is currently a member of the ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee.

Ashley Leffel is the librarian at Griffin Middle school in Frisco, TX.  Before becoming a librarian, she taught music for many years. She loves reading all types of books and fangirling for her favorite authors. When not reading, she enjoys Broadway musicals and can quote just about every episode of Bob’s Burgers.

Alea Perez, the 2020-2021 President of the ALA Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table, has been a Youth Services manager in the Chicago suburbs since June 2015. For over ten years, she has aimed to help children, teens, and their caregivers in both Illinois and Arizona discover the many services and opportunities libraries provide. Alea is dedicated to advocacy for children and teens, youth services management, graphic novels for children and teens, and anti-racism in the field at large.


Ashley Rayner is a Librarian at NORC, University of Chicago (IL).

Maegen Rose is currently the middle school librarian at Rye Country Day School in Westchester County, New York. She received a bachelor’s degree from Pitzer College, a master’s degree in social work from the University of Chicago, and a master’s degree in library science from Dominican University. Maegen is an active member of local and national library organizations including the American Library Association (ALA), Association of Library Services to Children (ALSC), American Association of School Librarians, Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT), Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Hudson Valley Library Association (HVLA), Association of Independent School Librarians (AISL), and School Library Media Specialists of Southeast New York (SLMSSENY). She reviews books for School Library Journal and served on the 2019-2021 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Jury. Maegen was named a Library Journal 2021 Mover & Shaker. In 2023, she will chair the Children’s Literature Legacy Award Committee.

Jesse Sanders is the Branch Manager of the Fairview Park Branch of Cuyahoga County Public Library, and has worked in Library Management and Supervision for over 10 years. A lifelong advocate of Public Libraries, Jesse specializes in collaborative, organic approaches to finding solutions that meet the needs of every library customer. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking and gardening and can usually be found doing both while listening to an audiobook.

Ashleigh Williams, Associate Editor of Chapter Books and Middle Grade, School Library Journal

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Running Press

Alane Adams

Alane Adams

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers




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