School Library Journal Day of Dialog 2021

The SLJ Day of Dialog is the most anticipated librarian gathering of the spring 2021 publishing season—fully virtual and free to attend. Our daylong program of author panels, in-depth conversations, and keynote talks will keep you informed, inspired, and entertained, and provide insight into industry trends as you work to grow and diversify your collections.

Hear about the latest and most exciting forthcoming titles for children, tweens, and teens, from picture books and nonfiction to graphic novels and YA, and engage in Q&A sessions with authors and illustrators. There will also be opportunities to visit the virtual exhibit hall to network with leading publishers, enjoy additional author chats, and download digital galleys and other free resources.


Please note that the event environment and the sessions have attendance capacity limits. 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 24hrs, 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.

If you have any questions, email us at


5 Minutes. 5 Books. Picture Books (Bloomsbury)

Chat with Marietta Collins (Magination Press)

Chat with Candace Fleming (Scholastic)

Creator Chat with Craig Battle (Owlkids)

Chat with Juliet Menendez (Baker & Taylor)

Chat with Miranda & Baptiste Paul (NorthSouth)


Opening Keynote Conversation
Christina Soontornvat, A Wish in the Dark, All Thirteen (Candlewick) and Steve Sheinkin, Fallout: Spies, Superbombs, and the Ultimate Cold War Showdown (Macmillan Children’s) compare notes on the inspiration and research behind their nonfiction titles.
Moderator: Daryl Grabarek, Librarian and SLJ Contributor


Reclaiming History
Featuring a range of voices and approaches, these authors revisit histories and narratives that for too long have been missing from our national conversation.
Tracey Baptiste, African Icons (Workman)
Veronica Chambers, Call and Response: The Story of Black Lives Matter (HMH)
Brandy Colbert, Black Birds in the Sky: The Story and Legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre (HarperCollins)
Kekla Magoon, Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party’s Promise to the People (Candlewick Press)

Schele Williams, Your Legacy: A Bold Reclaiming of Our Enslaved History (Abrams)
Moderator: Ashley Rayner, Branch Manager, Chicago Public Library (IL)

Navigating the Road to Adulthood
Middle grade readers will relate to these novels featuring tweens & teens grappling with family issues, fears, racism, and questions of identity.
Lesa Cline-Ransome, Being Clem (Holiday House)
Samantha Edwards, A Tale As Tall As Jacob (Andrews McMeel)
Alex Sanchez, The Greatest Superpower (Capstone)
Wendy S. Swore, Strong Like the Sea (Shadow Mountain Publishing)

Andrea Wang, The Many Meanings of Meilan (Penguin Young Readers) 
Moderator: Myiesha Speight, Resident Librarian, Towson University (MD)



Chat with Ian Doescher (Quirk Books)

Chat with Christine Taylor-Butler (Reycraft)

Interview and Q&A with Nhung Tran-Davies (Second Story Press)

Chat with Lydia M. Sigwarth (Dreamscape)

Chat with Aida Salazar and Estelí Meza (NorthSouth)

Chat with Wiley Blevins (Reycraft)

Boyhood Unbound
Authors Jay Coles, Things We Couldn't Say (Scholastic) and George M. Johnson, We Are Not Broken, (Little, Brown) address sexual identity, family, and Black boyhood in their forthcoming teen books.
Moderator: Dr. Kimberly N. Parker, Director, Crimson Summer Academy at Harvard University (MA)


Dazzling Debuts
See what these fierce debut authors have in store for YA readers.
Angeline Boulley, Firekeeper’s Daughter (Macmillan Children’s)
Asha Bromfield, Hurricane Summer (Macmillan/Wednesday Books)
Rachel Griffin, Nature of Witches (Sourcebooks)
Alexis Nedd, Don’t Hate the Player (Bloomsbury)
Natalie Walton, Revenge of the Sluts (Wattpad)
Moderator: Lisa Krok, MLIS, MEd, Adult and Teen Services Manager, Morley Library (OH)


Life's Lessons, Gently Learned
Through humor and heartwarming stories, authors offer parents and educators opportunities to address young children’s social and emotional needs.
Mac Barnett, What Is Love? (Chronicle)
Ryan T. Higgins, Norman Didn’t Do It (Disney)
Naseem Hrab, The Sour Cherry Tree (Owlkids)
Richard Jones, Perdu (Peachtree)

Yuyi Morales, Bright Star and Lucero (Holiday House)
Dan Yaccarino, The Longest Storm (minedition)
Moderator: Ruth Quiroa, National Louis University



Chat with Brendan Wenzel (Chronicle)

Chat with Rachel Griffin (Sourcebooks)

Chat with Don Brown (Abrams)

Chat with Yuyi Morales (Holiday House/Peachtree)

Chat with Frank Sileo, Blossom and Bud (Magination Press)

5 Minutes. 5 Books. Middle Grade (Bloomsbury)

Chat with Janet Costa Bates (Candlewick)

Chat with Stephanie Cooke, author of ParaNorthern (HMH)

Chat with Erika J. Kendrick (Little, Brown Books)

Chat with Bestselling Author Gayle Forman! (Penguin Middle Grade)

Chat with Johnny Ray Moore (Reycraft)

Chat with Gracey Zhang (Scholastic)

Chat with Jamie Sumner (Simon & Schuster)

Creator Chat with Naseem Hrab (Owlkids)

Chat with Richard Jones (Holiday House/Peachtree)

Zoom with Alane Adams Learn More About Between The Pages! (Alane Adams)

Chat with Tori Bovalino, author of THE DEVIL MAKES THREE (Pagestreet)

Lunch Keynote Conversation
Daniel Nayeri
, Everything Sad Is Untrue (Levine Querido) and Malinda Lo, Last Night at the Telegraph Club (Penguin Young Readers) share hard, coming-of-age truths about finding identity against the odds.


Crunk Feminist Collective

Brittany Cooper, Susana M. Morris, and Chanel Craft Tanner, the authors of the hip-hop infused Feminist AF: A Guide to Crushing Girlhood (Norton Young Readers), discuss their forthcoming book for teens with Cicely Lewis.

She Persisted
Chelsea Clinton with the authors of the first volumes of a new series for young readers devoted to inspirational American women.
Sayantani DasGupta, Virginia Apgar (Penguin Young Readers)
Michelle Knudsen, Nellie Bly (Penguin Young Readers)
Meg Medina, Sonia Sotomayor (Penguin Young Readers)
Chelsea Clinton, She Persisted (Philomel)
Moderator: Kristin L. Anderson, Jackson County Library Services (OR) and School Library Journal Reviewer



Chat with Elizabeth Raum (Reycraft)

Chat with Val Emmich (Little, Brown Books)

Publisher’s Picks Chat #1: Social-Emotional Learning & #OwnVoices (Owlkids)

Chat with Andrea Debbink (Quirk Books)

Chat with Lori M. Lee, author of FOREST OF SOULS and BROKEN WEB (Pagestreet)

Chat with Joe Bruchac (Reycraft

Behind the Drawing Board
Prolific, international author and illustrator Torben Kuhlmann takes readers behind the creation of his soon-to-be released picture book with a STEM twist, Einstein: The Fantastic Journey of a Mouse Through Space and Time (North/South). Author Beth Beckman and illustrator Holly Maher consider the design challenges and opportunities of their new interactive series, “Little Kid, Big City” (Quirk).


Journeys: Finding Home
Journeys, emotional, physical, and political, are addressed in these new titles for young readers.
A.M. Dassu, Boy, Everywhere (Lee & Low)
Jen Sookfong Lee, Finding Home: The Journey of Immigrants and Refugees (Orca Books)
Michaela MacColl, View From Pagoda Hill (Boyds Mills & Kane)
Steven J. Pemberton, A Chance in the World (Young Readers Edition): An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past, and How He Found a Place Called Home (HarperCollins Christian)
Kao Kalia Yang, From the Top of the Trees (Lerner)
Moderator: Grace Enriquez, Ed.D., Professor, Language & Literacy Division, Lesley University (MA)


Worlds of Mystery and Adventure
Kids love them. Educators welcome them. The lure of familiar characters and formats and fast-paced plots draw both avid and rising readers to series titles. Meet the authors of series you won’t want to miss.
Alane Adams, The Medusa Quest (SparkPress)

Deborah Lerme Goodman, Rescue of the Unicorn (Chooseco)
Michael Hutchinson, The Case of the Burgled Bundle (Second Story Press) 
Fracaswell Hyman, Mango All the Time (Sterling Press)
David A. Robertson, The Great Bear (Penguin Random House Canada)
Moderator: Taylor Worley, Youth Services Librarian, Springfield Public Library (OR)


Chat with Joshua Shifrin, The Homework Squad's ADHD Guide to School Success (Magination Press)

Chat with Lesa Cline-Ransome (Holiday House/Peachtree)

Chat with  Sundee Frazier & Pauline Vaeluaga Smith (LQ)

5 Minutes. 5 Books. Young Adult (Bloomsbury)

3:00 PM - 3:20 PM ET Erin Bowman, author of Dustborn (HMH)

Chat with Kao Kalia Yang (Lerner)

Chat with J. S. Puller (Little, Brown Books)

Chat with Sean Julian (NorthSouth) 

Creator chat Deborah Kerbel (Owlkids)

Chat with David A. Robertson (PRH Canada)

Chat with Kim Smith (Quirk Books)

Chat with Salima Alikhan (Reycraft)

Chat with Dan SaSuWeh Jones (Scholastic)

Interview and Q&A with Helen Wolfe (Second Story Press)

Publisher’s Picks Chat #2: STEM & Summer Reading (Owlkids)

Luther Tsai (Reycraft)

Zoom with Alane—Ask Alane! (Alane Adams)


Afternoon Keynote Conversation
James Patterson (Jimmy Patterson Books) and Chris Grabenstein (Little, Brown) discuss collaborating on their geeky new middle grade title, Best Nerds Forever.
Introduced by: Thomas Maluck, Richland Library (SC) and School Library Journal Reviewer


Picture This: Community
From joyful celebrations of the streets we live on to stories that offer discussion potential, these picture books get to the heart of what community means, and the people who comprise one.
Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, We Laugh Alike/ Juntos nos reímos: A Story That's Part Spanish, Part English, and a Whole Lot of Fun (Charlesbridge)
Marcy Campbell, Something Good (Little, Brown)
Ian & Sarah Hoffman, Jacob’s School Play: Starring She, He, and They (Magination Press)
LeUyen Pham, Outside, Inside (Macmillan Children’s)
Tricia Elam Walker, Dream Street (Random)
Moderator: Mary Ann Cappiello, Author, Classroom Bookshelf blogger, and Professor, Language and Literacy, Lesley University (MA)


All Heart
Authors of uproariously funny romcoms, swoony love stories, and tales that address questions of identity, discuss their novels and the genre.
Tashi Bhuiyan, Counting Down With You (Inkyard Press)
Adiba Jaigirdar, Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating (Page Street)
Marisa Kanter, As If On Cue (Simon & Schuster)
TJ Klune, Flash Fire (Macmillan/Tor)
Sarah Kuhn, From Little Tokyo, With Love (Penguin Young Readers)
Moderator: Susannah Goldstein, Librarian, The Brearley School (NY)


Closing Keynote
Traci Sorell, One Land, Many Nations: Volume 1 (Reycraft Books) discusses her forthcoming middle grade title exploring the rich history and contemporary life of the Cherokee Nation.
Moderator: Christy Lau, Children's Librarian, New York Public Library's Chatham Square Branch



Chat with Claire Freeland and Jacqueline Toner, Psychology for Kids (Magination Press

Keynote Speakers


Chris Grabenstein is the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of the "Mr. Lemoncello", "Wonderland",  "Smartest Kid", and "Dog Squad" series. He has also co-authored over two dozen fast-paced and funny page turners with James Patterson including the "I Funny", " Jacky Ha-Ha", "Treasure Hunters", "House of Robots", and "Max Einstein" series.

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Malinda Lo is the critically acclaimed author of several young adult novels, including, most recently, the historical romance Last Night At the Telegraph Club, which has received eight starred reviews. Her novel Ash, a lesbian retelling of Cinderella, was a finalist for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award, the Andre Norton Award for YA Science Fiction and Fantasy, the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, and was a Kirkus Best Book for Children and Teens. She has been a three-time finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. She lives in Massachusetts with her wife.

Daniel Nayeri was born in Iran and spent a couple of years as a refugee before immigrating to Oklahoma at age eight with his family. His autobiographical novel, Everything Sad Is Untrue (a true story), won the 2021 Michael L. Printz medal and was named one of the best books of the year by NPR, The Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times.

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James Patterson received the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community from the National Book Foundation. He holds the Guinness World Record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers, including Max Einstein, Middle School, I Funny, and Jacky Ha-Ha, and his books have sold more than 385 million copies worldwide. He lives in Florida with his family.

Steve Sheinkin is the award-winning author of fast-paced, cinematic nonfiction histories for young readers. The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights, was a National Book Award finalist and received the 2014 Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for Nonfiction. The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery, won both the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award and the YALSA award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. Bomb: The Race to Build-and Steal-the World's Most Dangerous Weapon was a Newbery Honor Book, a National Book Award Finalist, and winner of the Sibert Award and YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War was a National Book Award finalist, a YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award winner, and a Boston Globe/Horn Book Nonfiction Award winner. Sheinkin lives in Saratoga Springs, New York, with his wife and two children.

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Christina Soontornvat is the award-winning author of over a dozen books for children of all ages. Her picture books include The Ramble Shamble Children, illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Lauren Castillo, and Simon at the Art Museum, illustrated by Christine Davenier. She is the author of the beloved Diary of an Ice Princess chapter book series. Her recent works include the middle grade fantasy, A Wish in the Dark, which was named a 2021 Newbery Honor Book, and was chosen as Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post and School Library Journal, and All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team, which has received numerous nonfiction awards. It has been named a 2021 Sibert Honor Book, a YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award Finalist, and a 2021 Newbery Honor Book. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, two young children, and one old cat.

Traci Sorell is the award-winning author of We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga (which is a Sibert, Orbis Pictus, Boston Globe-Horn Book and American Indian Youth Literature Award (AIYLA) honor book); At the Mountain's Base (AIYLA Honor book); and co-wrote Indian No More which won the AIYLA Middle Grade category and was the 2020 Global Read Aloud selection for upper elementary. She is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation and lives on her tribe's reservation in northeastern Oklahoma. Among other publishers, one of her 2021 titles is coming at Reycraft Books -- One Land, Many Nations.



Alane Adams is the author of the Legends of Orkney™ series for middle grade readers, and The Coal Thief, The Egg Thief, The Santa Thief, and The Circus Thief, historical picture books set in the 1920s. Alane has also launched a prequel series, "The Witches of Orkney" featuring The Blue Witch, The Rubicus Prophecy, and Witch Wars. She is also the author of the" Legends of Olympus" series, including the most recent installation The Medusa Quest, available for purchase April 2021. Most recently, she has brought her popular in-person school visit program online in the free virtual program Between the Pages, a classroom resource for all grade levels.

Tracey Baptiste lived in Trinidad until she was fifteen; she grew up on jumbie stories and fairy tales. She is a New York Times bestselling author of Minecraft: The Crash, and a former teacher who works as a writer and editor. Visit her online at and on Twitter: @TraceyBaptiste.

Mac Barnett is the New York Times bestselling author of over 20 books for children, including Extra Yarn and Sam and Dave Dig A Hole, both illustrated by Jon Klassen, and both winners of a Caldecott Honor and the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award. Mac writes the Mac B., "Kid Spy" series and with Jory John, "The Terrible Two" series. He lives in Oakland. You can visit him at

Beth Beckman is the editor and founder of the namesake website, Little Kid, Big City, and is trusted by parents across the country as an authority on traveling with kiddos. An avid explorer and adventure seeker, she provides travel and activity recommendations on her Instagram account of the same name. You can find her online at

Carmen T. Bernier-Grand is the author of numerous books for children, including Picasso: I The King, Yo el rey; Alicia Alonso: Prima Ballerina; and Diego: Bigger than Life, a Pura Belpré honor book. She speaks about her work and the history of Puerto Rico, where she grew up, to elementary students. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Tashie Bhuiyan is a Bangladeshi American writer based in New York City and a recent graduate from St. John's University, with hopes to change the world, one book at a time. She loves writing stories about girls with wild hearts, boys who wear rings, and gaining agency through growth. When she's not doing that, she can be found in a Chipotle or bookstore, insisting 2010 is the best year in cinematic history.

Angeline Boulley, an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, is a storyteller who writes about her Ojibwe community in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. She is a former Director of the Office of Indian Education at the U.S. Department of Education. Angeline lives in southwest Michigan, but her home will always be on Sugar Island. Firekeeper's Daughter is her debut novel.

Asha Bromfield is an actress, singer, and writer of Afro-Jamaican descent. She is known for her role as Melody Jones, drummer of Josie and the Pussycats in CW’s Riverdale. She also stars as Zadie Wells in Netflix’s hit show, Locke and Key. Asha is a proud ambassador for the Dove Self-Esteem Project, and she currently lives in Toronto where she is pursuing a degree in communications. In her spare time, she loves studying astrology, wearing crystals, burning sage, baking vegan desserts, and taking walks to the park with her dogs Luka and Kyra. Hurricane Summer is her debut novel.

Marcy Campbell's debut picture book, Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse!, was a Junior Library Guild Selection, a Top 10 Indie Next Pick, Winner of the Comstock Read Aloud Award, and the Crystal Kite Award, and was translated into eight languages. She enjoys days filled with good-somethings in rural Ohio, where she lives with her husband, children and pets.

Veronica Chambers is the editor for Narrative Projects at The New York Times. She is a prolific author, best known for the New York Times-bestseller Finish the Fight!, which was named a best book of the year by The Washington Post, the New York Public Library, and others. Born in Panama and raised in Brooklyn, she writes often about her Afro-Latina heritage.

Lesa Cline-Ransome is the author of more than twenty books for young readers. Her work has received a plethora of honors, including dozens of starred reviews, NAACP Image Award nominations, Coretta Scott King Honors, and a Christopher Award. Her upcoming novel, Being Clem, is the third book in a trilogy, the first of which, Finding Langston, was the recipient of the Scott O’Dell Award and a Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award. Many titles have been named to ALA Notable Books and Bank Street Best Children’s Books lists. She lives in upstate New York with her husband, James E. Ransome.

Chelsea Clinton is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling "She Persisted" series and many other children’s books. She is also the Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation, where she works on many initiatives, including those that help empower the next generation of leaders. She lives in New York City with her husband, Marc, their children and their dog, Soren.

Brandy Colbert is the critically acclaimed author of the young adult novels Pointe, The Voting Booth, Finding Yvonne, The Revolution of Birdie Randolph, and Stonewall Award winner Little & Lion, as well as the middle grade novel The Only Black Girls in Town. A trained journalist, she also worked with boundary-breaking ballet dancer Misty Copeland to adapt her memoir into the best-selling book Life In Motion: Young Readers Edition, and is also the author of the young readers edition of The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks. Born and raised in Springfield, Missouri, Brandy now lives and writes in Los Angeles, and is on the faculty at Hamline University's MFA program in writing for children and young adults. You can find her online at

Jay Coles is a graduate of Vincennes University and Ball State University. When he’s not writing diverse books, he’s advocating for them, teaching middle school students, and composing for various music publishers. His debut novel Tyler Johnson Was Here is based on true events in his life and inspired by police brutality in America. Things We Couldn’t Say, his sophomore novel that touches on family, loss, and love, will be available in fall 2021.

Brittney Cooper is an associate professor at Rutgers University, cofounder of the Crunk Feminist Collective, and author of Eloquent Rage.

In addition to writing She Persisted: Virginia Apgar, Dr. Sayantani DasGupta is the New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed, Bengali folktale, and string theory-inspired Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond books, the first of which--The Serpent's Secret--was a Bank Street Best Book of the Year, a Booklist Best Middle Grade Novel of the 21st Century, and an EB White Read Aloud Honor Book. Sayantani is a pediatrician by training, but now teaches at Columbia University.

A. M. Dassu is the author of the internationally-acclaimed novel Boy, Everywhere, which is one of The Guardian’s and Bookriot’s Best Children’s Books of 2020, has earned starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Booklist, and is on Amnesty’s Books That Inspire Activism list. She is Deputy Editor of SCBWI BI's magazine Words & Pictures, and a Director of Inclusive Minds. She is also one The National Literacy Trust‘s Connecting Stories campaign authors which aims to help inspire a love of reading and writing in children and young people.

Samantha Edwards is a children’s librarian and illustrator combo who lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her two cats and husband. She loves cartoons, video games, comics, and all forms of visual storytelling.

Deborah Lerme Goodman grew up in New York, where she saw The Hunt of the Unicorn, tapestries that inspired a lifetime’s fascination. Those amazing textiles also inspired her to study tapestry weaving in college! Besides The Rescue of the Unicorn and The Magic of the Unicorn, she has written three other books in the original Choose Your Own Adventure series. She lives with her husband in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she teaches English to adult immigrants.

Rachel Griffin lives just outside of Seattle with her husband and dog, Doppler. She was fortunate enough to witness the 2017 total solar eclipse, and became a certified weather spotter for the National Weather Service while doing research for this project. The Nature of Witches is her debut. Visit her online at

Ryan T. Higgins ( is the author and illustrator of the New York Times best-selling Mother Bruce, which received the E. B. White Read-Aloud Award and the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor. In addition to the Mother Bruce series, Higgins is also the author and illustrator of We Don’t Eat Our Classmates, We Will Rock Our Classmates, BE QUIET, and What About Worms!?, an Elephant & Piggie Like Reading book, which received a Geisel Honor. He lives in Maine with his wife and kids and lots of pets.

Sarah and Ian Hoffman are children’s book authors who have written two other acclaimed books about Jacob, including Jacob’s Room to Choose. They live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit them online at

Naseem Hrab is a writer and storyteller, and the author of the Ira Crumb series and Weekend Dad. Her comedy writing has appeared on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and The Rumpus. Naseem worked as a librarian for a time and now works in children’s publishing in Toronto.

Michael Hutchinson is a member of the Misipawistik Cree Nation, north of Winnipeg. He is the author of the Mighty Muskrats Mystery series for young readers. He has spent much of his career telling the stories of Indigenous peoples and advocating for First Nation families and communities.

Fracaswell “Cas” Hyman is an award-winning television writer (Humanitas Prize, Alma Award, Peabody Award) and screenwriter (UCLA Extension Best Screenplay winner.) He is also a playwright, theater and television director, and producer who has created and executive produced successful live-action ("The Famous Jett Jackson", "Romeo", "Taina"), animated television series for Disney and Nickelodeon and Netflix’s educational web series, "Bookmarks".

Adiba Jaigirdar is a Bangladeshi and Irish writer and teacher and the author of The Henna Wars and Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating. She is also a contributor for Book Riot. She lives in Dublin, Ireland.

George M. Johnson is an award winning Black non-binary writer, author, and activist based in the New York City area and the author of memoirs We Are Not Broken and All Boys Aren't Blue. They have written on race, gender, sex, and culture for Essence, the Advocate, BuzzFeed News, Teen Vogue, and more than forty other national publications. They invite you to visit them online at and on Twitter @IamGMJohnson.

Richard Jones grew up in Leamington Spa, before moving down to Devon to study illustration at the University of Plymouth in Exeter, England. When not at his desk, he enjoys bobbing about in the sea, swimming in rivers, walking in woods, listening to audiobooks on the bus, and stroking the cat. He now works full time as an author and illustrator.

Marisa Kanter is a young adult author, amateur baker, and reality television enthusiast. She is the author of What I Like About You and As If on Cue. Born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, her obsession with books led her to New York City, where she got her degree in media studies and creative writing from New York University. Marisa works in the publishing industry to help books find their perfect readers.

TJ Klune is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling, Lambda Literary Award-winning author of The House in the Cerulean Sea, The Extraordinaries, and more. Being queer himself, Klune believes it's important—now more than ever—to have accurate, positive queer representation in stories.

Michelle Knudsen is the New York Times bestselling author of fifty books for young readers of all ages, including She Persisted: Nellie Bly. Her award-winning picture book Library Lion, which was selected by Time magazine as one of the 100 Best Children's Books of All Time. Michelle also works as a freelance editor and writing teacher and serves on the Writing for Young People MFA faculty at Lesley University. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Torben Kuhlmann was born in Germany in 1982. He studied illustration and design at the Hamburg University for Applied Sciences. He works as a freelance illustrator in Hamburg. His books Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse, Moletown, and Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon quickly became best sellers and owe their inventiveness to Torben’s great enthusiasm for unusual mechanical inventions. Edison: The Mystery of the Missing Mouse Treasure, his fourth picture book for NorthSouth Books, was chosen as a 2019 Batchelder Honor.

Sarah Kuhn is the author of From Little Tokyo, With Love, a modern fairy tale about a girl in search of a storybook ending. Her YA debut, the Japan-set romantic comedy I Love You So Mochi, was a Junior Library Guild selection and a nominee for YALSA's Best Fiction for Young Adults. A third generation Japanese American, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and an overflowing closet of vintage treasures.

A child of immigrants, Jen Sookfong Lee was born and raised on Vancouver's East Side, and she now lives with her son in North Burnaby. Her books include The Conjoined, nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award; The Better Mother, a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award; The End of East; and The Animals of Chinese New Year among others. Jen teaches at The Writer's Studio Online with Simon Fraser University, is an acquiring editor for ECW press and co-hosts the literary podcast Can't Lit.

Michaela MacColl is the award-winning author of several historical novels, including The Revelation of Louisa May, Always Emily, and The Lost Ones. She is the co-author of Rory's Promise and Freedom's Price. She has degrees in multi-disciplinary history from Vassar College and Yale University. She and her family live in Westport, Connecticut. Visit her at

Kekla Magoon's young adult novel The Rock and the River, which won the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award, was the first mainstream novel for young people to feature the Black Panther Party. She is the Margaret A. Edwards Award-winning author of more than a dozen books for young readers, including Fire in the Streets and How It Went Down. She is also the coauthor, with Ilyasah Shabazz, of X: A Novel, which was long-listed for the National Book Award and received an NAACP Image Award and a Coretta Scott King Honor. Kekla Magoon grew up in Indiana and now lives in Vermont, where she serves on the faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Holley Maher is the celebrated stationery designer behind Wink Wink Paper Co, as well as a songwriter and recording artist. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with a lazy dog named Booker. You can find her online at

Meg Medina is a Newbery award-winning and New York Times best-selling author who writes picture books, as well as middle grade and young adult fiction. She is the author of She Persisted: Sonia Sotomayor. Her works have been called “heartbreaking,” “lyrical” and “must haves for every collection.” She lives with her family in Richmond, VA.

Yuyi Morales was born in Xalapa, Mexico, where she currently resides. She lived for many years in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she still maintains close relations with librarians. Yuyi is a six-time Pura Belpré Award winner and a Caldecott Honor recipient. Her book Dreamers, was a New York Times Best Illustrated Book and a New York Times best seller. Her upcoming picture book, Bright Star, is for very young children looking for their place in a world full of uncertainty.

Susana Morris, PhD, is an associate professor at Georgia Tech and cofounder of the Crunk Feminist Collective.

Alexis Nedd is a Brooklyn-based pop culture "fanthropologist" who has only ever loved things in a big, obsessive way. As the Senior Entertainment Reporter at, she covers television, movies, and video games with a focus on sci-fi and fantasy universes like Game of Thrones and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Her writing has also appeared in Elle, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, and BuzzFeed. Don’t Hate the Player is her debut novel.

One of America’s most inspiring executives, Steve Pemberton serves as the Chief People Officer at Workhuman. A ward of the state for much of his childhood, Steve’s extraordinary life story of overcoming abuse and isolation continues to inspire audiences across the world. Steve’s tireless advocacy for the disenfranchised has earned him numerous accolades- including the prestigious Horizon Award by the United States Congress.

LeUyen Pham has illustrated more than one hundred books for children, including the Caldecott Honor book Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris and the bestselling "Princess in Black" series by Shannon and Dean Hale. She is the co-creator, along with Shannon Hale, of the bestselling graphic memoirs Real Friends and Best Friends. Her own books include The Bear Who Wasn't There; Big Sister, Little Sister; and most recently, Outside, Inside, a moving picture book celebrating essential workers and communities coming together to face COVID-19. A graduate of the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, LeUyen lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two sons.

David A. Robertson is the author of numerous books and graphic novels for young readers including When We Were Alone, which won the 2017 Governor General’s Literary Award and was nominated for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. A sought-after speaker and educator, Dave is a member of the Norway House Cree Nation and currently lives in Winnipeg. In 2021, he will publish a new picture book with Julie Flett, On the Trapline (Tundra Books, May 2021), and the second in his Misewa Saga, The Great Bear (Puffin Canada, September 2021).

Wendy S. Swore and her family are farmers. She writes part-time, particularly in winter when her farming chores give her time to plant seeds in her imagination. She is a member of SCBWI. Wendy is the Foreword INDIES Juvenile Fiction Gold winner for her middle grade novel A Monster Like Me.

Chanel Craft Tanner, PhD, is director of the Center for Women at Emory and founding member of the Crunk Feminist Collective.

Tricia Elam Walker is the Ezra Jack Keats award winning author of the picture book, Nana Akua Goes to School, which received four starred reviews. She is also a cultural and fashion commentator and blogger who has written for National Public Radio, the Washington Post, Essence magazine, HuffPost, and more. Tricia is an assistant professor of Creative Writing at Howard University.

Natalie Walton is the author of Revenge of the Sluts (2.2.21) and the host of the podcast Sex Ed Taught Me. She wrote Revenge of the Sluts while working toward her B.A. in sociology and criminal justice. In college, she worked as a reporter, volunteered on a sexual violence support hotline, and wrote a thesis on sexual harassment mythology. She is the 2019 Harry S. Truman Scholar for Delaware. She currently lives in Delaware, where she has lived for most of her life.

Andrea Wang is the award-winning author of the picture books The Nian Monster, Magic Ramen, and Watercress. The Many Meanings of Meilan is her debut middle-grade novel. The first character in Andrea’s Chinese name is an archaic one that means fragrant, but her parents’ friends all thought it was the character for jade, which sounds exactly the same. That sparked her lifelong interest in names and identity. She spent her childhood in Ohio and Boston and now lives in Colorado with her family.

Schele Williams is a Broadway director committed to cultivating new musicals and devised work. She is directing the upcoming Broadway revivals of Aida (Disney Theatrical Group) and The Wiz as well as the premieres of Mandela the Musical and Indigo. Passionate about pairing social justice with the arts, Schele is on the steering committee of We Stand United and is a founding member of Black Theatre United. She has been a member of Broadway Inspirational Voices for over two decades and serves as Chairperson of the Board.

Children the world over know Dan Yaccarino from his children’s books, Parent’s Choice Award-winning animated TV series “Oswald” (Nick Jr), Emmy-winning “Willa’s Wild Life” (NBC and Qubo), and character designs for “The Backyardigans” (Nickelodeon), as well as his many illustrated toys, games, and other children’s products. Dan’s internationally recognized art style has earned him a large following in Japan, exhibits in New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Bologna, and a visit to the White House. He is also a contributing children’s book reviewer for the New York Times.


Kao Kalia Yang is a Hmong-American writer, teacher, and public speaker who was born in the refugee camps of Thailand. Yang holds degrees from Carleton College and Columbia University and is the author of multiple works of creative nonfiction in addition to children’s books, including A Map Into the World, The Shared Room, The Most Beautiful Thing, and From the Tops of the Trees. Her work has won numerous awards and recognition including multiple Minnesota Book Awards, a Charlotte Zolotow Honor, an ALA Notable Children's Book Award, Dayton's Literary Peace Prize, and a PEN USA Award in Nonfiction.



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.

Mary Ann Cappiello is a Professor of Language and Literacy in the Graduate School of Education at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. At Lesley, she teaches courses in children's and young adult literature and literacy methods, including a specialized course in nonfiction for children and young adults. She blogs about children's and young adult literature currently at "The Classroom Bookshelf," a School Library Journal blog, and is a founding member of the The Biography Clearinghouse, a project of the Children’s Literature Assembly of NCTE.

Susannah Goldstein (she/her) is a librarian at The Brearley School in New York. Susannah reviews YA literature and writes about research instruction for School Library Journal. She currently serves on the Young Adult Library Services Association board of directors. Susannah lives in New York City (Bronx) with her family, her two cats, and her overgrown supply of yarn.

Daryl Grabarek is a Librarian and SLJ Contributor.


Lisa Krok, MLIS, MEd, is the Adult and Teen Services Manager at Morley Library and a former teacher in Cleveland, Ohio. She is the author of Novels in Verse for Teens: A Guidebook with Activities for Teachers and Librarians (ABC-CLIO). She reviews YA for School Library Journal and blogs for Teen Librarian Toolbox, and her passion is reaching marginalized teens and reluctant readers through young adult literature. Lisa has served on both the Best Fiction for Young Adults and Quick Picks for Reluctant Reader’s teams. She can be found being bookish and political on Twitter @readonthebeach


Christy Lau is a Children's Librarian at the New York Public Library's Chatham Square Branch. She holds a Master's of Information Studies from McGill University. In addition to providing Bilingual Storytimes in Mandarin and English, Christy also co-chairs this year's NYPL Best Books for Kids committee. When not reading graphic novels or playing the uke, she's volunteering with Heart of Dinner, a NYC-based Asian American nonprofit.


Cicely Lewis, 2020 SLJ School Librarian of the Year, is the media specialist at Meadowcreek High School in Norcross, GA. She launched Read Woke in 2017 in response to the shootings of young unarmed black people, the repeal of DACA, and the lack of diversity in YA lit.

Thomas Maluck is a teen services librarian at Richland Library in South Carolina. He loves encouraging creativity and expression in young people and reviews graphic novels for School Library Journal and No Flying No Tights. His hobbies include running, rolling dice to tell stories, and talking too much about comics.

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 native South Sider. She is also the branch manager at Greater Grand Crossing. She reads and watches anything and everything, but is partial to science fiction and fantasy. Ashley also supports most Chicago sports teams.

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 the Resident Librarian at Towson University where she is doing what she loves and gaining valuable experience.

Taylor Worley (she/her) is a Youth Librarian at Springfield Public Library in Oregon. When she isn't reading, she can be found drinking tea while stuck in a video game, making art, or exploring. She loves middle grade fiction and graphic novels, as well as general fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and graphic novels.












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