Middle Grade Magic 2024

Join School Library Journal on March 7th for our sixth annual Middle Grade Magic virtual event, a day-long celebration of authors and creators dedicated to crafting literature for kiddos ages eight through 12. Get a first look at some of the most anticipated new titles for your young readers, 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 and reps, download educational resources, and enter to win prizes and giveaways.

EVENT HOURS: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM ET 




All live sessions will be on Zoom. Make sure to log in to your work or personal Zoom account before the day starts to avoid having to log in for each session. 

The Virtual Environment is optimized for 1024 X 768 screen resolution. Joining the environment with a cell phone is not recommended. Please make sure your computer and browser are up to date. Chrome tends to work best. The event platform does not support IE11 + Windows 7 or older versions. 

CE certificates are available in the event environment for all keynotes and panels, whether you view them live or on-demand. Certificates are not provided for sponsored content. 

If on the day of the event you find that you are unable to access the environment or join a session, please know that sessions will be available for on-demand viewing within 24 hours, and the entire event will be accessible for three months from the event date. 

By registering for this event or webcast, you are agreeing to School Library Journal Privacy Policy and Code of Conduct Policy and agreeing that School Library Journal may share your registration information with current and future sponsors of this event. 

Having trouble registering? Contact the Event Manager.

10:00 – 10:30 AM ET | The Exhibit Hall Opens / Visit the Booths

10:30 – 11:00 AM ET | Opening Keynote with Dan Santat & Lisa Yee

When a notorious thief is out for priceless treasure (gems! cats! general decorum!)—who're you gonna call? An elite team of crime-fighting underdogs, that's who! The Misfits are on the case in this hilarious illustrated series from Newbery Honoree Lisa Yee and Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat! (Random House Children's Books)
Moderator: Roxanne Hsu Feldman, Middle School Librarian, The Dalton School (NY)

11:05 – 11:55 AM ET | Echoes of the Past            
Encounter history vividly brought to life as our storytellers transport young readers across eras, blending fictional narratives with historical accuracy.                                                                                           

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, The Night War (Penguin Young Readers)
Ann & Ben Brashares, Westfallen (Simon & Schuster Children's)
Chas! Pangburn & Kim Shearer, Double Booking: The Tail of The Mummy Cat (Mad Cave Studios)
Jenni L. Walsh, Operation: Happy: A WWII Story of Courage, Resilience, and an Unbreakable Bond (Zonderkidz)

Moderator: Ruth E. Quiroa, PhD, Associate Professor, National Louis University (IL)

11:05 – 11:55 AM ET | Emotional Resilience
Immerse yourself in the world of emotional resilience as our panel delves into stories delicately addressing mental health, offering insights and support for young readers chartering the complexities of their emotions.                                                                                                      

Veronica Agarwal, Sink or Swim (Random House Children's Books)
Adam Borba, This Again? (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Petti Fong, Alone Together (Orca)
Joanne Levy, Bird Brain (Orca)
Leah Stecher, The Things We Miss (Bloomsbury)

Moderator: Monisha Blair, Head Librarian, Key Middle School, Fairfax County (VA)

12:00 – 12:20 PM ET | Author & Editor Spotlight with Gayle Forman & Kristin Gilson, Not Nothing (Simon & Schuster Children's)

12:00 – 12:20 PM ET | Author & Editor Spotlight with Chanel Miller & Jill Santopolo, Magnolia Wu Unfolds It All (Penguin Young Readers)

12:20 – 12:55 PM ET | Break / Visit the Exhibit Hall

12:55 – 1:25 PM ET | Afternoon Keynote with Katherine Applegate

The fourth and final book in the modern classic, award-winning, bestselling One and Only series by superstar author Katherine Applegate, The One and Only Family follows Ivan on his most exciting adventure yet—parenthood. (HarperCollins Children’s)
Moderator: Maegen Rose, Director of Library Services & Upper School Librarian, Brooklyn Friends School (NY)

1:30 – 2:20 PM ET | Debut Voices
Dive into the colorful world of 2024 debut authors, whose unforgettable stories promise to make a lasting impact in young minds.                                                                                                    

Megan Brennan, Kira and the (Maybe) Space Princess (Random House Children’s Books)
Ritu Hemnani, Lion of the Sky (HarperCollins Children's)
Jenna Lee-Yun, The Last Rhee Witch (Disney Publishing)
Mónica Mancillas, Sing It Like Celia (Penguin Young Readers)
Alex Thayer, Happy & Sad & Everything True (Simon & Schuster Children's)

Moderator: Dr. Grace Gipson, PhD, Assistant Professor of African American Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University

1:30 – 2:20 PM ET | Other Realms
Explore unworldly landscapes where survival and success depend on trust, teamwork, and hope.

Michaelbrent Collings, The Witch in the Woods (Shadow Mountain Publishing)
David Anthony Durham, The Longest Night in Egypt: The Shadow Prince Book #2 (Lee & Low Books)
H.E. Edgmon, The Flicker (Macmillan Children's)
David A. Robertson, The Sleeping Giant (The Misewa Saga #5) (Tundra)
Mac Smith, Scurry (Skybound Entertainment/Image Comics)

Moderator: Myiesha Speight, Book Reviewer, SLJ

2:20 – 2:50 PM ET | Break / Visit the Exhibit Hall

2:50 – 3:40 PM ET | Bridges of Belonging
Experience themes of belonging and self-acceptance as our panelists navigate stories resonating with the universal theme of identity, constructing bridges for young readers.

Hanna Kim, The Magic Black Belt (Capstone)
Lyla Lee , Gigi Shin Is Not a Nerd (Simon & Schuster Children's)
Deke Moulton, Benji Zeb Is a Ravenous Werewolf (Tundra)
Wali Shah, Call Me Al (Orca)
Brenda Woods, With Just One Wing (Penguin Young Readers)

Moderator: Ashley Leffel, Librarian, Frisco (TX)

2:50 – 3:40 PM ET | Inquisitive Minds
Uncover the wonders of wisdom within nonfiction! Facts and information guide young readers on an educational voyage.

Sarah-SoonLing Blackburn, Exclusion and the Chinese American Story (Random House Children’s)
Rachel Poliquin, I Am Wind: An Autobiography (Tundra)
Rebecca Siegel, Loch Ness Uncovered: Media, Misinformation, and the Greatest Monster Hoax of All Time (Astra Books for Young Readers)
Jin Wang, Born Naughty (Random House Children's Books)
Steve Watkins, The Mine Wars: The Bloody Fight for Workers' Rights in the West Virginia Coal Fields (Bloomsbury)

Moderator: Desiree Thomas, Librarian, Worthington Library (OH)

3:45 – 4:05 PM ET | Author & Publisher Spotlight with Tracey Baptiste & Kwame Mbalia, Moko Magic: Carnival Chaos (Freedom Fire/Disney Publishing)

3:45 – 4:05 PM ET | Author & Editor Spotlight with Dawn Quigley & Rosemary Brosnan, Red Bird Danced (Heartdrum/HarperCollins Children’s)

4:10 – 5:00 PM ET | Brave Hearts
Embark on inspiring tales that empower young readers to face life's challenges with strength, compassion, and determination.                                                                                                 

Angela Ahn, Team Park (Tundra)
Lisa Fipps, And Then, Boom! (Penguin Young Readers)
Justina Ireland, Tales from Cabin 23 (HarperCollins Children's)
Jennifer Torres, Vega's Piece of the Sky (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Anne Ylvisaker, One Alley Summer (Marble Press)

Moderator: Allison Tran, Library & Cultural Services Supervisor, City of Mission Viejo (CA)

4:10 – 5:00 PM ET | Ink and Imagination
Step into the vibrant world of graphic novels, where the art of storytelling brings captivating tales to life through words and illustrations.                                                                                                              

Vera Brosgol, Plain Jane and the Mermaid (Macmillan Children's)
Hena Khan & Safiya Zerrougui, We Are Big Time (Random House Children's Books)
Brenda Maier, Surprise! The Adventures of Penguin and Panda (Marble Press)
Sarah Mlynowski, Fairest of All: The Graphic Novel (Whatever After #1) (Scholastic)

Moderator: Jessica Agudelo, Youth Collections Coordinator, BookOps (NY)







Katherine Applegate is the Newbery Medal-winning and #1 New York Times bestselling author of numerous books for young readers, including the One and Only series, the Endling series, Crenshaw, Wishtree, the Roscoe Riley Rules chapter books series, and the Animorphs series. She lives with her family in Nevada.


Dan Santat is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of over a hundred books. His picture book The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend received the Caldecott Medal. He also illustrated The Blur, Lift, and Drawn Together, both written by Minh Lê, which received critical acclaim. Dan is also the creator of the Disney animated hit The Replacements. He lives in Southern California with his family.


Lisa Yee has taken a private investigator course, and it’s slightly possible that she’s a secret undercover operative. She’s also a Newbery Honoree and a National Book Award finalist for Maizy Chen’s Last Chance. Some of her other twenty-one novels are the groundbreaking Millicent Min, Girl Genius; Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time; and the DC Super Hero Girls series. A frequent contributor to NPR’s Books We Love, she divides her time between Western Massachusetts and Los Angeles.



Veronica Agarwal is a Cartoonist and Illustrator from NYC. She graduated from SVA in May 2016 with a BFA in Cartooning. She loves plants, summertime, dogs and her three cats! Her work focuses on mental health, coming of age stories, and friendship.


Tracey Baptiste (she/her) was born in Trinidad and lived there for fifteen years before moving to Brooklyn, New York. She is the New York Times best-selling author of Minecraft: The Crash, as well as the creepy Caribbean-inspired series The Jumbies, which includes The Jumbies, Rise of the Jumbies, and The Jumbie God's Revenge. Tracey has also written the contemporary YA novel Angel's Grace and many nonfiction books, including African Icons, which was named a Best Book of 2021 by the New York Public Library, Kirkus, and School Library Journal.


Dr. Sarah-SoonLing Blackburn is an educator, speaker and professional learning facilitator. She was born in Bangkok, Thailand into a Malaysian Chinese and white American family. As a professional trainer, Sarah’s areas of focus have included workplace cultures, leadership skills, and diversity, equity and inclusion. Sarah has an M.A. in Social Justice and Education from University College London’s Institute of Education. Her doctoral research at Johns Hopkins University explored strategies for retaining rural educators, and her Ed.D. specialization was Instructional Design in Online Teaching and Learning.


Adam Borba is the author of Outside Nowhere, The Midnight Brigade, and the upcoming This Again? When he’s not writing, he develops and produces movies like Pete’s Dragon and Peter Pan & Wendy with his friends. He is a graduate of Palm Springs High School, the University of Southern California, and the William Morris Agency mailroom. Adam and his wife live in California with their two young children who love books.


Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (she/her) is the author of Newbery Honor winners Fighting Words and The War that Saved My Life. The sequel to the latter, The War I Finally Won, appeared on many state-award and best-books lists and was described as “stunning” by The Washington Post and “honest” and “daring” by The New York Times. Kimberly and her husband have two grown children and live with their dog, several po­nies, a highly opinionated mare, and a surplus of cats on a fifty-two acre farm in Bristol, Tennessee.


Ann Brashares is a writer and mother of four living in New York City. She is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series as well as several other novels. Before becoming a writer, she was a student of philosophy, a receptionist, an editor, a ghostwriter, and, briefly, the copresident of a small media company.


Ben Brashares lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with his wife and three children. He’s the author of Being Edie Is Hard Today and The Great Whipplethorp Bug Collection. He holds an MFA in creative writing and has worked at and written for several magazines, including Rolling Stone, Men’s Journal, and Entertainment Weekly.


Megan Brennan is an indie comics sweetheart who has been publishing zines for years. She has also worked on the production side of comics on books like DRAMA, AMULET, and THE ADVENTURE ZONE: HERE BE GERBLINS. Kira and the (Maybe) Space Princess is her debut graphic novel.


Vera Brosgol was born in Moscow, Russia, in 1984 and moved to the United States when she was five. Her two graphic novels, Anya's Ghost and Be Prepared, were published by First Second, and her debut picture book Leave Me Alone! was a 2017 Caldecott Honor book. She’s also worked in story on several animated films, including Coraline and Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her dog Omar, a mere two hours from the sea.


Rosemary Brosnan is Vice President and Publisher of the Quill Tree Books and Heartdrum imprints at HarperCollins Children’s Books. Throughout her career, she has been committed to publishing diverse voices.


More than just a guy with a weird first name, Michaelbrent Collings is an international bestseller and multiple Bram Stoker Award and Dragon Award finalist. Best known as a master of thrills and chills, he has written bestsellers in science fiction, fantasy, mystery, YA, middle grade, suspense, humor, urban fantasy, and even Western romance. He also makes pretty good chocolate chip waffles.


David Anthony Durham is an award-winning historical, science fiction, and fantasy writer. George R.R. Martin says, "David Anthony Durham never disappoints. I can’t wait to read whatever he writes next." David's middle-grade solarpunk fantasy books, The Shadow Prince and The Longest Night in Egypt, are set in an alternate Egyptian universe and follow twelve-year-old Ash and his heroic friends on epic adventures.


H.E. Edgmon is an author of queer speculative fiction across genres. Once a stray dog in the rural south, he now makes his home in the Pacific Northwest with a family of his own design. Haunted and hopeful, his work aims to offer levity without flinching from hard truths. In his writing and his daily life, H.E. will always prioritize the pursuit of an Indigenous future, the safety of our most vulnerable, and making a terrible joke whenever possible. His debut series, The Witch King duology, is out now.


Lisa Fipps is the author of And Then, Boom! and Starfish, a Printz Honor winner. She is a graduate of Ball State University, an award-winning former journalist, and a former director of marketing for a public library (where she won the Sara Laughlin marketing award). She lives in Kokomo, Indiana.


Petti Fong is a journalist, educator and author. She was a staff reporter at the Vancouver Sun, the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and CBC and now writes for The Economist. Petti teaches journalism, ethics and business communications at Kwantlen University, Langara College and the University of British Columbia. Her podcast, Alone Together, has been downloaded by hundreds of thousands of listeners and heard in more than 30 countries. Petti lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.


Award-winning author and journalist Gayle Forman has written several bestselling novels, including the Just One series, Where She Went, and the number one New York Times bestseller If I Stay, which has been translated into more than forty languages and was adapted into a major motion picture. Her first middle-grade novel, Frankie & Bug, was a New York Times best children’s book of 2021. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her family.


Ritu Hemnani is a journalist, teacher, voice actor, and motivational speaker. She recognizes herself as ethnically Indian and a British national and calls Hong Kong her home, where she lives with her husband and three children. Lion of the Sky is Ritu’s debut middle grade novel. You can find her online at rituhemnani.com.


Justina Ireland is the New York Times bestselling author of Dread Nation and its sequel, Deathless Divide, as well as Vengeance Bound and Promise of Shadows. She is also one of the creators of the Star Wars High Republic series and is the author of the Star Wars adventures A Test of CourageOut of the Shadows, and Mission to Disaster. She lives with her family in Maryland, where she enjoys dark chocolate and dark humor and is not too proud to admit that she’s still afraid of the dark. You can visit her online at justinaireland.com.


Hena Khan is a Pakistani American writer. She is the author of the middle-grade novel Amina’s Voice, which was selected as a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus, NPR, Washington Post, and Chicago Public Library. Her other titles include Amina’s Song, More to the Story, and the Zara’s Rules series and picture books Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns, Under My Hijab, and It’s Ramadan, Curious George, among others. Hena lives in her hometown of Rockville, Maryland, with her family.


Hanna Kim is the author of the Ben Lee series. She is also a middle school English language arts teacher. She was inspired to write this story because of her dad, who learned tae kwon do when he was younger. In her free time, Hanna loves to draw, read, make fun crafts, and eat Korean snacks. She lives in Michigan with her husband and cat, Zoro.


Lyla Lee is the bestselling author of young adult novels like I’ll Be the One and Flip the Script. She also writes the Mindy Kim series for younger readers and the Gigi Shin books for the middle school crowd. Inspired by her English teacher, she started writing her own stories in fourth grade and finished her first novel at the age of fourteen. Born in South Korea, she has worked various jobs in Hollywood and studied Psychology and Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. Visit Lyla at LylaLeeBooks.com or on social media (Instagram, X, and TikTok @LiteraryLyla).


Jenna Lee-Yun resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, son, daughter, and mini-goldendoodle. She loves nothing more than writing middle-grade and young adult novels with a large cup of coffee. She reads as much as she can and finds there is never enough time to get ahead of her TBR pile. She is overjoyed to see so much more diversity in children's books. The Last Rhee Witch is her debut novel.


Joanne Levy is the award-winning author of a number of books for young people, including Double Trouble, Fish Out of Water and The Book of Elsie in the Orca Currents line and the middle-grade novels The Sun Will Come OutSmall Medium At Large and Sorry for Your Loss, which was nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award and won the Canadian Jewish Literature Award. She lives in Clinton, Ontario.


Brenda Maier is an author, mom, and teacher. She lives in Oklahoma, although she enjoys visiting schools all over the country to spread her enthusiasm for books and reading. Her hobbies include making things up, laughing at her own jokes, and trying to remember what she was looking for. In addition to the Penguin and Panda series, Brenda is the author of The Little Red Fort, which was named to multiple state reading lists along with being recognized as a Chicago Public Library Best Picture Book of the Year.


Mónica Mancillas based her debut middle-grade novel on her own childhood experiences and those of her beloved sister, who shares her love of music and will someday take the world by storm. Mónica received her BA in Anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley before pursuing a decade-long career in the recording industry. She currently teaches piano in Burbank, California, where she resides with her husband and daughter. Her previous work includes Mariana and Her FamiliaThe Worry Balloon, and How to Speak in Spanglish. Find out more about Mónica at www.monicamancillas.com


Kwame Mbalia (he/him) is a #1 New York Times best-selling author and the publisher of Freedom Fire, an imprint of Disney Hyperion devoted to stories about the Black diaspora by Black creators. His debut middle-grade novel, Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, was awarded a Coretta Scott King Author Honor, and it was followed by Tristan Strong Destroys the World and Tristan Strong Keeps Punching. He is the co-author of two Last Gate of the Emperor books with Prince Joel Makonnen, and the editor of the short story anthology Black Boy Joy: 17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood.


Chanel Miller is a writer and artist. Her memoir, Know My Name, was a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Book Review Notable Book, and a winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Ridenhour Book Prize, and the California Book Award. It was also a best book of the year in Time, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, NPR, and People, among others. She was named one of the Forbes 30 Under 30 and a Time Next 100 honoree and was a Glamour Woman of the Year honoree under her pseudonym Emily Doe. She has always dreamed of writing and illustrating children's books. You can visit her online at Chanel-Miller.com or follow her on Instagram @Chanel_Miller.


Deke Moulton is a writer currently living in the US Pacific Northwest. They are a former US Army drill sergeant and trained as an Arabic linguist during their time in service. Deke is also the author of Don't Want to Be Your Monster.


Sarah Mlynowski is the New York Times bestselling author of the Whatever After series, the Magic in Manhattan series, Best Wishes, Gimme a Call, and other books for teens and tweens, including the Upside-Down Magic series, which she cowrites with Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins and which was adapted into a movie for the Disney Channel. The first book in the Whatever After series is being adapted into a graphic novel and will be available in April 2024.


Be it as a writer, editor, and/or letterer, Chas! Pangburn puts words in balloons for a variety of publishers across the industry. He's been fortunate to have known Kim Shearer, his co-writer and big sister, since birth, so the highs and lows of sibling life are second nature to him. Which, speaking of, their mom says it's now his turn to play on the Nintendo.


Rachel Poliquin is a writer engaged in all things orderly and disorderly in the natural world. With a cross-disciplinary background in visual arts, cultural history and natural history, she holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of British Columbia and a Post-Doctoral Degree in History from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Rachel is the author of the Polite Predators and Superpower Field Guide series, and other children's books including Beastly Puzzles. She has also written for Science Friday, The Believer Magazine, and the New York Times.


Dawn Quigley is a citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe, North Dakota. Both her first book in the Jo Jo Makoons series, Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-to-Be Best Friend, and her debut YA novel, Apple in the Middle, were awarded American Indian Youth Literature Honors. She is a PhD education university faculty member and a former K–12 reading and English teacher, as well as an Indian Education program codirector. You can find her online at dawnquigley.com.


David Robertson is a Winnipeg-based Cree author for children. He has twice won the Governor General’s Award in Canada for his picture books – for When We Were Alone and On the Trapline – and his Misewa Saga series has been optioned for television by ABC Signature. The fifth book in that acclaimed series, The Sleeping Giant, comes out in August.


Growing up, Wali Shah faced pressure from his Pakistani-immigrant parents to choose a profession that would justify their many sacrifices. He surprised them by becoming a poet and public speaker, inspiring youth at hundreds of schools with his powerful, provocative verse. He is a fresh and current voice of the times at a diverse range of corporate events, has delivered TED talks, and once closed out a keynote speech made by President Barack Obama. Recently he served as poet laureate for the City of Mississauga, Ontario.


Kim Shearer has been a public educator for twenty years, serving students as an English teacher and librarian. She was named the 2012 Kentucky Teacher of the Year. She resides in Kentucky with her husband, her two daughters, and her two rescue dogs, Elmer and Gordie. She’s also a pretty amazing big sister to her co-writer, Chas! Pangburn.


Rebecca Siegel is the author of several nonfiction books, including To Fly Among the Stars and Mayflower, which was named a 2021 EUREKA! Nonfiction Children’s Honor Book. In 2022, she traveled to Scotland to conduct research for Loch Ness Uncovered. She currently lives and works in Chicago, IL.


Mac Smith is a self-taught comic artist living with his extremely furry dog. He also creates concept art for studios such as Blizzard, Warner Bros., Games Workshop, and Bethesda. SCURRY is his debut graphic novel. More of his work can be found at mac-smith.com.  


Leah Stecher was born and raised in Southern California and—after spending nearly a decade in New York City—currently lives in coastal Maine. By day, she edits policy papers for an environmental nonprofit; by night, she writes middle grade fiction and eats lots of dessert. She has strong opinions on tea blends, chocolate chip cookie recipes, and action movies. The Things We Miss is her debut novel.


Alex Thayer is the author of Happy & Sad & Everything True. She’s a former film and television actress and elementary school teacher. She lives in New England with her two sons.


Jennifer Torres is the author of Stef Soto, Taco Queen; The Fresh New Face of Griselda; and other books for young readers. She writes stories about home, friendship, and unexpected courage inspired by her Mexican American heritage. Jennifer started her career as a newspaper reporter, and even though she writes fiction now, she hopes her stories still have some truth in them. She lives with her family in Southern California.


Jenni L. Walsh worked for a decade enticing readers as an award-winning advertising copywriter before becoming an author. A Villanova University graduate, she lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her husband, daughter, son, and various pets. Jenni is a USA Today bestselling author of the nonfiction She Dared series and historical novels Hettie and the London BlitzI Am DefianceBy the Light of FirefliesOver and Out, and the upcoming Operation: Happy. She also writes historical novels for adults, including The Call of the Wrens, and Unsinkable. Visit jennilwalsh.com or @jennilwalsh on social media.


Jin Wang is from the tiny village of Nan Ba Zi, a province of Inner Mongolia. When she was thirty-five, she moved to the United States--where she taught herself English by watching videos on YouTube. Jin is a yoga instructor in California, and met the co-author of this book, Tony Johnston, when she was a student in her class. 


Steve Watkins is an award-winning author of more than ten books for young readers, including the 2009 Golden Kite Award winner for fiction, Down Sand Mountain. He has also written several books for grown-ups including a short story collection that won a Pushcart Prize. He is also a journalist and former professor of journalism at the University of Mary Washington, a world-renowned yoga instructor, and a father to four daughters. He and his family live in Fredericksburg, VA.


Brenda Woods (brendawoods.net), an artist and photographer, has a bachelor of science degree from California State University. Her award-winning books include When Winter Robeson CameThe Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USAZoe in WonderlandThe Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond, Coretta Scott King Honor winner The Red Rose BoxSaint Louis Armstrong Beach, and Emako Blue. Her numerous awards and honors include the Judy Lopez Memorial Award, FOCAL award, Pen Center USA’s Literary Award finalist, IRA Children’s Choice Young Adult Fiction Award, and ALA Quick Pick. She lives in Nevada.


Anne Ylvisaker is the author of the picture book IAMASAURUS and five previous novels, including The Luck of the Buttons, Button Down, and The Curse of the Buttons, about the comically unlucky Button family; Little Klein, for which she was awarded the McKnight Loft Award in Children’s Literature; and Dear Papa, which was named to Booklist’s Top Ten Youth First Novels. She lives in Monterey, California with her husband, Dan, and Buster the very good dog.


Jenna Lee-Yun resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, son, daughter, and mini-goldendoodle. She loves nothing more than writing middle-grade and young adult novels with a large cup of coffee. She reads as much as she can and finds there is never enough time to get ahead of her TBR pile. She is overjoyed to see so much more diversity in children's books. The Last Rhee Witch is her debut novel.


Safiya Zerrougui is a cartoonist, character designer, and illustrator based in Montreal, Quebec. She’s worked with Netflix, Disney TVA, and HBO Max as a character designer and visual development artist. Safiya's work pulls inspiration from her Kabyle heritage, fashion history, bold colors, and intricate patterns. Give her a sketchbook, a cup of coffee, and a museum archive website, and she’ll be entertained for hours!





Jessica Agudelo is the Youth Collections Coordinator at BookOps, the technical services organization serving the New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library. Most recently, she served on the award committee for the 2023 John Newbery Medal and was chair of the 2021 Pura Belpré Award committee. Jessica contributes book reviews to several professional publications for Children's and Young Adult titles published in both English and Spanish. She comes from a large and vibrant Colombian family and was born and raised in Queens, New York.


Monisha Blair is the head librarian at Key Middle School in Springfield, 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 SLJ Best Books Committees for 2020-2022.


Roxanne Hsu Feldman


Grace D. Gipson, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of African American Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. As a Black future feminist/pop culture scholar, Dr. G's area of research interest centers on Black popular culture, digital humanities, representations of race and gender within comic books, Afrofuturism, and race and new media. Outside of the classroom, you can find Dr. G working in the community and on her social networks: Instagram- @lovejones20 and Twitter- @GBreezy20.


Ashley Leffel is the librarian 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


Ruth E. Quiroa, Ph.D., is an associate professor at National Louis University where she teaches graduate courses in youth literature and in literacy. A former kindergarten, bilingual second-grade educator, she completed her doctoral degree at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Ruth’s current research focuses on the history of Latinx youth literature. She has served on several youth literature award selection committees.


Maegen Rose is the Director of Library Program and Upper School Librarian at Brooklyn Friends School (NY). She received a bachelor’s degree from Pitzer College, a master’s degree in social service administration from the University of Chicago, and a master’s degree in library science from Dominican University. Maegen is an active member of many local and national library organizations. She reviews books for School Library Journal and served on the 2019-2021 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Jury. Maegen is a member of Library Journal’s 2021 class of Movers & Shakers and currently chairs the 2023 Children’s Literature Legacy Committee.


Myiesha Speight holds a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in English with a minor in History from Winston-Salem State University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In 2019, she received her Master's of Library and Information Science with a specialization in Diversity and Inclusion from the University of Maryland College Park’s iSchool located in College Park, Maryland. Myiesha Speight is currently a Book Reviewer for SLJ.


Desiree Thomas is a Youth Services Librarian in Worthington Ohio. She has worked in libraries for the past 22 years and believes that our lives are made better when we share stories and learn about each other. She is an avid gardener, yogi, and reader’s advisory enthusiast.


Allison Tran is a Library & Cultural Services Supervisor for the City of Mission Viejo in California. She's dedicated to fostering self-expression, curiosity, and empathy in the community through art and literature. Before earning her Masters of Library and Information Science from San Jose State University in 2006, Allison taught English in Japan.




Astra for Young Readers (4)


Disney-Stacked-black-HD (2)



Macmillan Childrens








SkyboundCometLogo_FINAL-Blue (2)

Tundra-New-300x300 (3)


We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing