School Library Journal Day of Dialog 2021 Fall

Join us October 7 for the most anticipated librarian gathering of the fall 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.  

Come 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. 

EVENT HOURS: 9:00 AM ET - 6:00 PM ET 


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, 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 the 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

9:00 AM - 9:30 AM ET | Exhibit Hall Opens



In Booth Chats


9:00 AM - 9:30 AM ET Live Author Chat with Sharon Cameron (Scholastic)
9:10 AM - 9:35 AM ET In-Booth Chat: Spotlight on STEM (Owl Kids)
9:30 AM -10:00 AM ET Live Chat with Kathy Kacer (Second Story Press)


9:30 AM - 10:00 AM ET | Opening Keynote Conversation

Dr. Crystal FlemingRise Up! How You Can Join the Fight Against White Supremacy

(Macmillan) in conversation with Brendan KielyThe Other Talk (Simon & Schuster).

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



In Booth Chats


10:00 AM - 11:00 AM ET Author Chat with Juana Medina and Raúl The Third (Baker & Taylor)
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM ET Jessica Speer In-Booth Chat (Familius)
10:00 AM - 12:00 AM ET Chat with Clavis staff
10:30 AM - 11:00 AM ET Chat with Roberta Bergman, fitness instructor for Fitness for Kids (Dreamscape)

Two Sessions Running Concurrently


10:05 AM - 10:55 AM ET | Friendships: Fragile, Fraught, or Life-Altering

Friendships play important, sometimes life-changing roles in adolescents’ lives.

Kelly J. Baptist, Isaiah Dunn Saves the Day (Random House)
Tae KellerJennifer Chan Is Not Alone (Random House) 
Sophie LabelleCiel in All Directions (Second Story Press)

Colleen Nelson, The Undercover Book List (Pajama Press)

SteenzHeart of the City (Andrews McMeel)

Moderator: Maegen Rose, Middle School Librarian, Rye Country Day School


10:05 AM - 10:55 AM ET | Nonfiction Spotlight
Personal histories, timely topics, and compelling narratives populate these titles for secondary students and fans of nonfiction.

Nancy CastaldoWhen the World Runs Dry: Earth’s Water in Crisis (Workman)
Kate KellyOrdinary Equality: The Fearless Women and Queer People Who Shaped the U.S. Constitution and the Equal Rights Amendment (Gibbs Smith)

Cicely LewisMass Incarceration, Black Men, and the Fight for Justice (Lerner)

Cory Silverberg with Fiona SmythYou Know, Sex (Triangle Square/Seven Stories)
Candacy TaylorOverground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America (Abrams) 
Moderator: Ashley Rayner, Librarian at NORC, University of Chicago (IL)



In Booth Chats

11:00 AM - 11: 20 AM ET Author Chat with Cicely Lewis (Lerner)
11:30 AM - 12:00 PM ET Live Chat with Rita and Helen Winkler (Second Story)

Two Sessions Running Concurrently


11:00 AM - 11:30 AM ET | Mary Roach, author of Packing Mars for Kids (Norton), on The Seductive, Often Gross, and Spectacular World of Space Travel.

Moderator: Kristi Chadwick, Massachusetts Lib. Syst., Northampton


11:00 AM - 11:50 AM ET | Nonfiction Across the Curriculum 

Share these titles to pique students’ interest in nonfiction, spark discussions, highlight unfamiliar stories, or use them as mentor texts.
Larry Dane Brimner, Without Separation (Astra)
Uma Krishnaswami, 
Two at the Top (Groundwood)
Rochelle Strauss, The Global Ocean (Kids Can Press)
Pamela S. Turner, How to Build a Human (Charlesbridge)

Anastasia Magloire Williams, It’s Her Story: Ida B. Wells: A Graphic Novel (Sunbird Books)

Moderator: Dr. Amina Chaudhri, College of Education, Northeastern Illinois University


11:50 AM - 12:30 PM ET | Break/Visit the Exhibit Hall



In Booth Chats

11:50 AM - 12:15 PM ET In-Booth Chat: Illustrators in Dialog (Owl Kids)
11:50 AM - 12:30 PM ET Illustrators Gracey Zhang, Jessixa Bagley, Paula Cohen, and Young Vo will be in conversation about their Spring 2022 picture books. (Chronicle) 11:50 AM - 12:15 PM ET Booth Chat with Padma Venkatraman (PRH Middle School) 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM ET Emily Lauren Dick In-Booth Chat (Familius)
12:00 PM - 12:30 PM ET  Chat with Misako Rocks!, author of Bounce Back (MacMillan)
12:00 PM - 12:20 PM ET Chat with Marty Chan (Orca)
12:30 PM - 1:00 PM ET Go Between The Pages with Alane and learn more about her exciting new video series. (Alane Adams)
1:00 PM – 1:30 PM Chat with Gildart Jackson from Fireside Reading (Dreamscape)


12:30 PM - 1:00 PM ET | Afternoon Keynote Conversation

Sabaa TahirAll My Rage (Penguin Young Readers) in conversation with Neal ShustermanRoxy (Simon & Schuster).
Moderator: Kristin L. Anderson, Jackson County Library Services (OR) and School Library Journal Reviewer


Three Sessions Running Concurrently


1:05 PM - 1:35 PM ET | Artfully Told

Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey, picture book author and illustrator of Somewhere in the Bayou (Norton), in conversation.
Moderator: Cheryl Wolf, Librarian, The Neighborhood School and Star Academy (NY)


1:05 PM - 1:55 PM ET | Visualizing the Text

Illustrators working in various media discuss considerations when approaching a manuscript and their forthcoming works.

Alex BosticFree At Last (Sterling)

Gloria Félix, Alicia Alonso Dances On (Albert Whitman)
Brendan KearneyForest (DK)
Jaime KimMommy’s Hometown (Candlewick Press)

Rachael SmithThe Queen’s Favorite Witch (Papercutz)

Moderator: Betsy Bird, Collection Development Manager of Evanston Public Library (IL)


1:05 PM - 1:55 PM ET | Action, Adventure, Intrigue!

Wild adventures and mysterious happenings greet middle grade readers in these exhilarating new novels.

E. Latimer, Escape to Witch City (Tundra Books)

Rex OgleThe Supernatural Society (Inkyard Press)
Jamar J. PerryCameron Battle and the Hidden Kingdoms (Bloomsbury)

Julian Randall, Pilar Ramirez and the Escape from Zafa (Macmillan)
Ronald SmithThe Black Panther: Spellbound (Disney Publishing Worldwide)

Moderator: Monisha Blair, Librarian, Glasgow Middle School (VA)


1:55 PM - 2:40 PM ET | Break/Visit the Exhibit Hall                                                                      



In Booth Chats


1:55 PM - 2:30 PM ET In Booth Chat Fiction in Focus (Owl Kids)
2:00 PM - 3:00  PM ET Amparo Ortiz, author of Dragonblood Ring (Pagestreet)

2:00 PM - 2:20 PM ET Chat with Jodi Meadows (Holiday House) 
2:00 PM - 2:20 PM ET Chat with Mike and Nancy Deas (Orca)
2:00 PM - 2:30 PM ET Chat with Lauren Gibaldi & Eric Smith of BATTLE OF THE BANDS (Candlewick)
2:30 PM - 2:50 PM ET Chat with Grant Lawrence (Orca)
2:30 PM - 3:00 PM ET Live Chat with Jennifer Gold (Second Story Press)


Three Sessions Running Concurrently


2:40 PM - 3:10 PM ET | In the Mix: Poetry & Prose


Versatile creators Ibi Zoboi, Star Child (Penguin Young Readers) & Mahogany L. BrowneVinyl Moon (Random House), in conversation.

Moderator: Donna N. Gray, MLS, Library Operations and Instructional Coordinator, New York City School Library System


2:40 PM - 3:30 PM ET | Show Me the Way
Picture books can teach valuable lessons, initiate conversations, and open up a young child’s world.

Amal, My Key (Clavis)

Mary Ann FraserLet It Grow (Capstone)

Michael GenhartThey’re So Flamboyant (Magination Press)
Eva PilgrimWalter Does His Best (HarperCollins Christian)
Andrea WangLuli and the Language of Tea (Holiday House)

Moderator: Kristyn Dorfman, Lower and Middle School Librarian, Friends Academy (NY)


2:40 PM - 3:30 PM ET | Picture Book Positivity

Unfamiliar situations can evoke a range of emotions in young children. In words and images, books can help ease the way to new experiences.
Valerie Bolling, Together We Ride (Chronicle)
Bree Galbraith, Hold That Thought (Owlkids)

Jeffrey Kashou, The Proudest Color (Familius)
Rajani LaRoccaI’ll Go and Come Back (Candlewick Press)

Debora Pearson, My Words Flew Away Like Birds (Kids Can Press)

Moderator: Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library (CA)



In Booth Chat


3:30 PM - 4:00 PM ET Chat with Clavis Staff
3:35 PM - 3:55 PM Chat with Andrea Wang (Holiday House) 


3:35 PM - 4:25 PM ET | Growing Pains

Family and community take center stage in stories centered on tweens who struggle to find their voices as everything around them suddenly shifts.

Rebecca Balcárcel, Shine On, Luz Véliz! (Chronicle)
Sundee T. FrazierMighty Inside (Levine Querido)

Veera Hiranandani, How to Find What You’re Not Looking For (Penguin Young Readers)

K. IburaWhen the World Turned Upside Down (Scholastic)

Laura Ojeda Melchor, Missing Okalee (Shadow Mountain Publishing)

Moderator: Taylor Worley, Youth Services Librarian, Springfield Public Library (OR)


3:35 PM - 4:25 PM ET | The Journey to Adulthood 

Bullying, toxic masculinity, family dynamics, and sexual identity are just some themes explored in these books featuring young males.
Damian Alexander, Other Boys (Macmillan)
Ernesto CisnerosFalling Short (HarperCollins)

Gary LonesboroughReady When You Are (Scholastic)

Zack SmedleyTonight We Rule the World  (Page Street Kids)

Moderator: Karen Ginman, Manager of Collections and Digital Resources, Herrick District Library (MI)


4:30 PM - 5:20 PM ET | Powerplays
YA fans of fantasy and epic battles of will and guile will exult in these electrifying reads.
Ayana Gray, Beasts of Prey (Penguin Young Readers)
Lizz HuertaThe Lost Dreamer (Macmillan)
Makiia LucierYear of the Reaper (Clarion Books)
Jodi MeadowsNightrender (Holiday House)
Vincent TiradoBurn Down, Rise Up (Sourcebooks)
Moderator: Jesse Sanders, Branch Manager, Fairview Park Branch, Cuyahoga County Public Library (OH)


5:30 PM - 6:00 PM ET | Closing Keynote Conversation

Growing Up Trans: In Our Own Words (Orca):  Co-editor Dr. Lindsay Herriot is joined by contributors Maisie Bodrug and Grayson Threlfall.

Moderator: Tash McAdam, Author, Educator, Activist



Keynote Speakers


Maisie Bodrug lives in Victoria, BC and is 17 years old. She likes to play Hatsune Miku Project Diva F and racquet sports. She won the Outwrite Ezine competition and read her winning poems at the Pride in the Word event in 2018. She has also read her poetry at the Outstages event for the Fringe festival. Her art has been displayed at the UVIC Legacy art gallery for the previous second Gender Generations Project event. She hopes to go to university to learn languages and travel internationally.


Dr. Crystal M. Fleming is an award-winning sociologist and writer. She is Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies at Stony Brook University. Crystal completed her Ph.D. at Harvard University and publishes scholarly research on racial oppression and anti-racism. She is the author of an academic book on race and white supremacy in France, as well as the critically acclaimed How to Be Less Stupid about Race: On Racism, White Supremacy and the Racial Divide. Her work appears in Newsweek, The Root, Huffington Post, and more.


Dr. Lindsay Herriot is a special education teacher at the middle-school level and an adjunct professor in the School of Child and Youth Care and the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria. A cisgender, bisexual, white settler, Lindsay now lives on the unceded territory of the Lekwungen Peoples in Victoria, British Columbia with her spouse and two young children.


Brendan Kiely is the New York Times bestselling author of All American Boys (with Jason Reynolds), The Last True Love Story, The Gospel of Winter, Tradition, and The Other Talk. His work has been published in ten languages; received a Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award, the Walter Dean Myers Award, and the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award; has twice been awarded Best Fiction for Young Adults by the American Library Association; and has been a Kirkus Reviews Best Book. Originally from the Boston area, he now lives in New York City.


Neal Shusterman is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty award-winning books for children, teens, and adults, including the Unwind dystology, the Skinjacker trilogy, Downsiders, and Challenger Deep, which won the National Book Award. Scythe, the first book in his latest series, Arc of a Scythe, is a Michael L. Printz Honor Book. He also writes screenplays for motion pictures and television shows. Neal is the father of four, all of whom are talented writers and artists themselves.


Sabaa Tahir is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Ember in the Ashes series, which has been translated into over thirty-five languages. She grew up in California's Mojave Desert at her family's eighteen-room motel--an experience that inspired ALL MY RAGE, her forthcoming contemporary novel. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks, and all things nerd.

Grayson Threlfall is a first year student at the Simon Fraser University School of Criminology. He is a queer, trans man, born and raised on Lekwungen territory, more commonly referred to as Victoria, BC.



Damian Alexander is a cartoonist and storyteller who grew up in and around Boston. His first graphic novel, Other Boys, is based off his viral and award winning autobiographical webcomics. Damian’s illustrations and comic shorts can be found on The Trevor Project, Narratively, The Nib and others. He loves ghost stories, miniatures, and watching cartoons with his cats on sunny afternoons.

Amal is an illustrator whose art has been featured in magazines, museums, and posters. She received her MFA in Illustration from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco, and is the 2020 Gold Medal Winner of Clavis Publishing's Key Colors Competition. Her work has also been shortlisted for a regional IBBY Award. She lives in the peculiar village of Port Jefferson, NY, with one husband, one daughter and one dog.

Kelly J. Baptist is the inaugural winner of the We Need Diverse Books short-story contest. Her story is featured in the WNDB anthology Flying Lessons & Other Stories and inspired her first full-length novel, Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero. Kelly is also the author of and The Swag Is in the Socks which was inspired by her love of unique socks, as well as her older sister’s hero work as a speech-language pathologist. When she’s not writing, Kelly is usually thinking about writing . . . and dreaming of palm trees while living in southwest Michigan. She keeps beyond busy with her five amazing children, who always give her plenty of story ideas and background noise to write to.

Rebecca Balcárcel’s novel, THE OTHER HALF OF HAPPY (2019), is a Pura Belpré Honor Book, an ALSC Notable Book, and was called “a must-have for all library collections” by School Library Journal. She serves the students of Tarrant County College as Associate Professor of English. Look for her next novel, SHINE ON, LUZ VÉLIZ!, about a girl who codes, May 3, 2022.

Valerie Bolling has been an educator for almost 30 years and a writer since age 4. She is a graduate of Tufts University and Columbia University, Teachers College and currently works as an Instructional Coach. Her next picture book, TOGETHER WE RIDE, publishes on April 26, 2022. 

Alex Bostic began his career as a studio artist, working in Los Angeles and New York City. He lives in Mississippi and is an associate professor of art at Mississippi State University.

Larry Dane Brimner is the award-winning author of a number of civil rights and social justice titles for Calkins Creek, including Finding a Way Home: Mildred and Richard Loving and the Fight for Marriage Equality; Accused! The Trials of the Scottsboro Boys: Lies, Prejudice, and the Fourteenth Amendment; and Blacklisted!: Hollywood, the Cold War, and the First Amendment. Visit

Mahogany L. Browne is a writer, organizer & educator. Executive Director of Bowery Poetry Club & Artistic Director of Urban Word NYC & Poetry Coordinator at St. Francis College. Browne has received fellowships from Agnes Gund, Air Serenbe, Cave Canem, Poets House, Mellon Research & Rauschenberg. She is the author of recent works: Chlorine Sky, Woke: A Young Poets Call to Justice, Woke Baby, & Black Girl Magic.

Nancy F. Castaldo has been writing about the planet for over 20 years. She’s contributed to the Sierra Club Waste Paper, NRDC’s Personal Action column, and others. She is the author of many STEM books including, Sniffer Dogs: How Dogs (and Their Noses) Save the World, Back from The Brink: Saving Animals From Extinction, and Beastly Brains: Exploring How Animals Think, Talk, and Feel. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley. Visit her at, on Twitter @NCastaldoAuthor, and on Instagram @naturespeak.

Ernesto Cisneros was born and raised in Santa Ana, California, where he still teaches. His first novel, Efrén Divided, won the Pura Belpré Children’s Author Award. You can visit him online at

Gloria Felix is a professional artist from Mexico based in Los Angeles, CA. Besides working as a Visual Development Artist and Illustrator, Gloria likes to spend her time painting in traditional mediums and doing plein-air painting.

Mary Ann Fraser has written and illustrated more than 70 books for young readers and has been awarded Junior Library Guild Selections, SLJ Best Book of the Year, Book Links Book of the Year, IRA Young Readers Choice Award, and American Booksellers “Pick of the List.” When she is not writing or painting, Mary Ann is most likely digging in the garden, hiking the trails of Idaho, or playing her hammered dulcimer.

Sundee T. Frazier is the ALA Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent award-winning author of Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything in It. Mighty Inside was inspired by her Black family's real-life experiences integrating a white neighborhood in Spokane, WA, in the 1950s and her childhood memories of Spokane's proud, tight-knit, African-American community. She lives in Seattle, WA, with her husband and two daughters.

Bree Galbraith lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with her family, and likes writing stories that inspire kids and adults to think critically about the world around them. Her books include Usha and the Stolen Sun, Milo and Georgie, and the Wednesday Wilson series. Bree holds a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, and a Master’s degree in Communication Design from Emily Carr University.

Michael Genhart, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in San Francisco. He has also written Rainbow: A First Book of Pride, Cake & I Scream!, Mac & Geeeez!, Peanut Butter & Jellyous, Ouch! Moments, I See You, So Many Smarts!, and Accordionly. He lives with his family in Marin County.

Ayana Gray is an author of speculative works and lover of all things monsters, mythos, and #MelaninMagic. Originally from Atlanta, she now lives in sunny Florida, where she reads avidly, follows Formula One racing, and worries over her adopted baby black rhino, Apollo. Beasts of Prey is her debut novel. 

Veera Hiranandani, author of the Newbery Honor-winning The Night Diary, earned her MFA in creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College. A former editor at Simon & Schuster, she now teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College's Writing Institute. Her newest book is How to Find What You’re Not Looking For.  

Lizz Huerta is a widely-admired short story writer and essayist. Huerta has been a 2018 Bread Loaf Fellow, a five-time VONA Fellow, and the winner of the LUMINA fiction contest, selected by Roxane Gay, who called her writing “a menacing inescapable seduction.” She has appeared on CSPAN’s BookTV to discuss the erasure of Mexican American Studies in Arizona, and has taught creative writing to homeless youth through San Diego nonprofit So Say We All.

K. Ibura was born as the middle child in a family of seven (five kids plus parents!) in New Orleans, Louisiana. When they weren’t disagreeing about everything, K. Ibura and her siblings played competitive rounds of jacks and a card game called Crazy Eights. They also built insane obstacle courses throughout the house involving stacked chairs, sheets, and timers. Her parents were independent thinkers who filled the home with music, culture, and strong principles. Today, she lives in Brooklyn, where she makes art, writes, and does puzzles while her daughter cheers her on. To learn more about K. Ibura and her writing, visit

Sheila Modir is a pediatric psychologist, and Jeffrey Kashou is a marriage and family therapist. As Middle Eastern Americans (Iranian and Palestinian) and as clinicians, they advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion and work toward promoting resilience in children.

Brendan Kearney is a children’s book illustrator and author whose first picture book Musical Mac was published in 2019. He is also the illustrator of the popular Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast book series written by Josh Funk. Forest is Brendan’s second book with DK, following on from Fish.

Tae Keller is the Newbery Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of When You Trap A Tiger and The Science of Breakable Things. She was born and raised in Honolulu, where she grew up on purple rice, Spam musubi, and her halmoni's stories. After high school, she moved in search of snow, and now lives in Seattle.

Kate Kelly is an American feminist, activist, and human rights lawyer. She helped organize the Utah contingent of the Women’s March on Washington and worked with Columbia University’s Human Rights Institute to provide training to local governments implementing various international human rights conventions. She holds a J.D. degree from American University Washington College of Law and is a nationally known advocate for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Jaime (Jimyung) Kim was born and raised in Korea before moving to the United States at the age of eighteen. She has illustrated many books for young readers, including La La La: A Story of Hope by Kate DiCamillo, And Then Comes Summer by Tom Brenner, Around the Table that Grandad Built by Melanie Heuiser Hill, and Isle of You by David LaRochelle. Jaime Kim lives in North Carolina.

Uma Krishnaswami was born in India and now lives in Victoria, BC. Her latest novel, Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh, won the Asian Pacific American Award for Literature. Uma’s other publications include Book Uncle and Me, illustrated by Juliana Swaney, winner of the ILA Social Justice Literary Award; Out of the Way, Out of the Way, illustrated by Uma Krishnaswamy; and The Girl of the Wish Garden, illustrated by Nasrin Khosravi. Uma has been nominated twice for the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. She teaches Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

E. Latimer lives in Vancouver, Canada. Her breakout success on the online writing platform Wattpad has resulted in a fanbase of nearly 90k followers, with over 20 million combined reads. Her debut novel, The Strange and Deadly Portraits of Bryony Gray, was shortlisted for the OLA Red Maple Award and the Manitoba Young Readers Choice Award. A former children's bookseller, she is focusing on her writing. She lives in British Columbia with her family.

Sophie Labelle is an internationally renowned visual artist and author from the South shore of Montreal, in French Canada. She is the transgender cartoonist behind Assigned Male, a webcomic about a group of queer and trans teenagers that has been running since 2014 and has touched millions of readers. She lives in Finland.

Rajani LaRocca was born in Bangalore, India, and immigrated to the US when she was a baby. She grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, graduated from Harvard with both a BA and an MD, and has worked as a primary care physician since 2001. She is the author of several books for young readers. Rajani LaRocca lives in Concord, Massachusetts, with her family.

Cicely Lewis is a writer and librarian living in Georgia. She is the founder of the #ReadWoke movement and was recognized by School Library Journal as the 2020 School Librarian of the Year.

Gary Lonesborough is a Yuin man who grew up on the Far South Coast of NSW as part of a large and proud Aboriginal family. Growing up a massive Kylie Minogue and North Queensland Cowboys fan, Gary was always writing as a child, and continued his creative journey when he moved to Sydney to study at film school. Gary has experience working in Aboriginal health, the disability sector (including experience working in the Youth Justice System), and the film industry. He was Bega Valley Shire Council Young Citizen of the Year, won the Patrick White Young Indigenous Writers’ Award, and has received a Copyright Agency First Nations Fellowship. Ready When You Are (published in Australia as The Boy from the Mish) is Gary’s debut YA novel.

Makiia Lucier grew up on the Pacific Island of Guam and holds degrees in journalism and library studies from the University of Oregon and the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. She is the author of A Death-Struck Year, Isle of Blood and Stone, and Song of the Abyss.

Jodi Meadows wrote the INCARNATE and FALLEN ISLES trilogies (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen), and is a coauthor of The New York Times bestsellers MY LADY JANE and MY PLAIN JANE (HarperTeen). NIGHTRENDER is her first book with Holiday House. Jodi lives in rural Virginia.

Laura Ojeda Melchor is from Montana and grew up in a Spanish-speaking home that celebrated her family’s Cuban culture. She is a self-described bookworm who graduated with a MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in Alaska with her husband and son. 

An author and junior high school teacher, Colleen Nelson earned her Bachelor of Education from the University of Manitoba in her hometown of Winnipeg. Her previous works include the award-winning Harvey Comes Home and Harvey Holds His Own, which is a finalist for the 2020 Governor General’s Literary Awards. Colleen writes daily in between appearances at hockey rinks and soccer fields in support of her two sports-loving sons.

Rex Ogle has had lots of jobs, some involving waiting tables, moving boxes, or cleaning toilets, but now he’s a full-time writer and the author behind Free Lunch, winner of the YALSA Award for Excellence in Non-Fiction. And he’s written the first book in The Supernatural Society series because, while it was fun to clean toilets, it is much more fun to write about monsters.

For the past decade, Debora Pearson has been a children’s librarian with the Toronto Public Library. She is also the author of numerous books for children. Her latest picture book, My Words Flew Away Like Birds, was inspired by her work at the library with newcomer families who are learning English for the first time.

Dr. Jamar J. Perry is a debut author who received his PhD in Literacy Education, Language, Culture, and Social Inquiry from the University of Maryland, College Park. Before, he taught middle school Language Arts for four years, where the majority of the students were Black boys. Now, his work centers Black boy vulnerable and progressive masculinity and focuses on training English instructors to teach these students in the middle school and high school classroom. Like Cameron, he hopes that one day all Black boys can understand how magical and joyful they really are, no matter how different they may feel.

Eva Pilgrim is an ABC correspondent and co-host of Good Morning America: Weekend Edition. Eva is building her life and career on kindness. From a young age, Eva's mom taught her that kind was the best thing she could be, and Eva still lives by that philosophy. Eva and her colleagues at Good Morning America have developed a #nicegirls movement, and she believes that it makes the newsroom a happier place and that it produces better work. She wants young people to know that kindness is a strength, and we all have an opportunity to make the world brighter, one action at a time.

Brothers Jarrett and Jerome Pumphrey have been collaborating on projects together since they were kids. The duo shares duties as author and illustrator on their projects, including their award-winning author-illustrator debut, The Old Truck (Norton Young Readers), an Ezra Jack Keats Writer Honoree and 2020 Best Book of the Year. Their follow-up picture book, The Old Boat, is available now, and their forthcoming picture book, Somewhere in the Bayou, will be published by Norton Young Readers in March 2022. Jarrett is a former tech CEO and Jerome is a graphic designer for The Walt Disney Company. Originally from Houston, both brothers now live in Austin, TX.

Julian Randall is a Living Queer Black poet from Chicago. His poetry and essays are published in the New York Times Magazine, POETRY, The Atlantic, and Vibe. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize. Julian holds an MFA in Poetry from Ole Miss. His first book, Refuse, won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. Julian has previously worked as a youth mentor, teaching writing workshops to children on house arrest. Pilar Ramirez and the Escape from Zafa is his debut children's novel.

Mary Roach is the author of several best-selling works of nonfiction for adults, including Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War, and, most recently, Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law. Her first book for young readers, Packing for Mars for Kids, will be published by Norton Young Readers in March 2022. Her writing has appeared in Outside, National Geographic, and the New York Times Magazine, among other publications.

Zack Smedley is the author of Deposing Nathan, which the New York Times said “is a superb story, told in an original and masterly way.” As a member of the LGBT community, his goal is to give voice to queer young adults, through gritty, morally complex narratives. 

Raised in the 1970s by a children's librarian and a sex therapist, Cory Silverberg grew up to be a sex educator, an author, and queer (not necessarily in that order). Cory received a master's degree in education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. Cory is the co-author of four books, including the ALA Stonewall Honor Book Sex Is a Funny Word, with Fiona Smyth.

Toronto feminist painter/illustrator/cartoonist/educator Fiona Smyth collaborated with sex educator Cory Silverberg on What Makes A Baby and Sex Is A Funny Word. Her comics appear in Francoise Mouly and Nadja Spiegelman's Resist #1 and 2, and she was inducted into the Doug Wright Awards' Giants of The North Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame alongside Alootook Ipellie in 2019. She teaches illustration and cartooning at OCAD U and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Rachael Smith’s debut graphic novel House Party came out in 2014 with Great Beast Comics to critical acclaim. The Rabbit, released by Avery Hill Publishing in 2015, is her second graphic novel and was nominated for Best Book in the British Comic Awards 2014/15. She lives in Hebden Bridge, in Yorkshire, in the UK.

Ronald L. Smith is an award-winning writer of children's literature including the middle grade novels Black Panther: The Young Prince, The Mesmerist, The Owls Have Come To Take Us Away, and Gloom Town, a Junior Library Guild Selection. His first novel, Hoodoo, earned him the 2016 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award and the International Literacy Association Award for Intermediate Fiction. Before he became a full-time writer, he worked in advertising and wrote TV commercials for big corporations. He is much happier writing books for young people. Follow him on Twitter @RonSmithBooks or Instagram at @ronsmithwriter.

Christina ‘Steenz’ Stewart is a St. Louis based cartoonist, editor, and professor. She's the co-creator of Dwayne McDuffie Award winning graphic novel Archival Quality from Oni Press and is featured in several short story anthologies such as Eisner and Ignatz Award-Winning Elements: Fire, Mine!, and the horror anthology Dead Beats. Steenz currently teaches cartooning at Webster University while editing titles from Tapas Media and Mad Cave Studios.

Rochelle Strauss is an award-winning author, freelance writer and education consultant in Toronto, Ontario. A graduate of McGill University and York University, Rochelle specializes in the development and implementation of environmental education, communication and outreach initiatives. Rochelle has consulted on national and international projects and her clients have included museums, architects, designers, parks, NGO's, governments, schools and school boards. She is the author of three books in Kids Can Press’s acclaimed CitizenKid collection: Tree of Life: the Incredible Biodiversity of Life on Earth; One Well: the Story of Water on Earth; and coming in spring 2022, The Global Ocean. 

Candacy Taylor is an award-winning author, photographer, and cultural documentarian. Her work has been featured in more than 50 media outlets, including The New Yorker and the Atlantic. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships and grants, including The Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University and the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

Vincent Tirado is a non-binary Afro-Latine Bronx native. They ventured out to Pennsylvania and Ohio to get their Bachelor’s degree in biology and Master’s degree in bioethics. They have had short stories published in Desert Rose Lit Mag and FIYAH! Magazine.

Pamela S. Turner has a master's degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley, and an abiding fascination with science, animals, and evolution. She is the author of several award-winning books for young readers, including Samurai Rising, a YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award finalist, and Crow Smarts, winner of the AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books. Her latest book, How to Build a Human In Seven Evolutionary Steps, will be published in April 2022 by Charlesbridge.

Andrea Wang is the award-winning author of Watercress, illustrated by Jason Chin, and the upcoming Luli and the Language of Tea, illustrated by Hyewon Yum. Andrea is also the author of The Nian Monster and Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando as well as the forthcoming middle-grade novel, The Many Meanings of Meilan. Andrea holds an M.S. in Environmental Science and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing for Young People. She lives in the Denver, Colorado area with her family.

Anastasia Magloire Williams is an illustrator, writer and designer living in sunny Florida, USA. Raised on a healthy diet of books, animation, and video games, Anastasia's childhood hobbies would take her on fantastic adventures that she chased into art school, adulthood and beyond.   As a full-time storyteller, Ana cherishes the opportunity to bring tales to life for clients of all walks and to enrich readers and dreamers of all ages, combining traditional techniques with the flexibility and innovation of digital art software. Her mission is to be a vehicle for diversity and representation in entertainment media—to shine a light on voices and perspectives that are overlooked or excluded, and depict the eclectic and colorful world we all share.

Ibi Zoboi was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and holds an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her YA novel AMERICAN STREET was a National Book Award finalist and her debut middle grade novel, MY LIFE AS AN ICE CREAM SANDWICH, was a New York Times bestseller. Her newest book, STAR CHILD: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler, comes out next January.




Betsy Bird is the Collection Development Manager of Evanston Public Library and the former Youth Materials Specialist of New York Public Library. She writes for the School Library Journal blog A Fuse #8 Production and reviews for Kirkus. She is the host of the Story Seeds podcast as well as the co-host of Fuse 8 n' Kate. Betsy is the author of nonfiction, picture books, anthologies, and the new historical middle grade novel LONG ROAD TO THE CIRCUS, illustrated by David Small and out this October. You can follow Betsy at @FuseEight on Twitter or at

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. Monisha lives in Burke, Virginia with her husband and two children.

Kristi Chadwick is a Consultant for Massachusetts Library System, providing advisory and continuing education for multitype library members all across the Commonwealth. Kristi is also the columnist for Library Journal's Science Fiction & Fantasy reviews. You can find her discussing writing, books, libraries, and her love for coffee, chickens, and fountain pens on Twitter @booksnyarn.

Amina Chaudhri is an associate professor at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, where she teaches courses in children's literature, literacy, and social studies. She is a reviewer for Booklist, a member of the Biography Clearinghouse, and a former committee member of NCTE's Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children.

Kristyn Dorfman has been a school librarian for over a decade and has worked with children of all ages, from early childhood to High School Seniors. She has been reviewing for School Library Journal since 2013 and has served on several ALA and ALA affiliate committees including most recently APALA's 2020-2021 Youth Literature Award. She spends most of her free time reading, writing, doing the crossword, and spending time with her three young children.

Karen Ginman is a librarian and certified teacher. She is the Manager of Collections & Digital Resources for Herrick District Library in Holland, MI. She holds a M.A. in Teaching & a MLIS with a Certificate in Archives and Preservation of Cultural Materials. You can find out what she is reading on Twitter @karenginman.

Donna N. Gray is a Library Operations and Instructional Coordinator for the New York City School Library System/NYC Dept. of Education. She has over 20 years of experience in K-12 education, library services, and higher education. She is interested in developing strategies and programs that help students become engaged lifelong learners who are informed and active citizens in their communities and beyond. Donna is the NYLA conference curator for the New York Black Librarian’s Caucus and proudly serves as the committee chair for the Black Caucus of the American Library Association’s Children and Youth Literary Awards in partnership with School Library Journal.

Tash McAdam is a nonbinary author, educator and activist living on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. When they aren't writing or working with young people, you can usually find Tash in a lake or a hammock (with a cuppa) somewhere in the PNW. They are the author of YA SF series The Psionics (NineStar Press), and YA Contemporaries Blood Sport and Sink or Swim (Orca) as well as multiple magazine and anthology publications. 

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. 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.

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 the Senior Librarian for Children's Services at the Mission Viejo Library in California. She is passionate about empowering children and families with early literacy skills, and is an irrepressible book recommender. Allison reviews books and apps for School Library Journal, and is active in the California State Library Association. Before earning her Masters of Library and Information Science from San Jose State University in 2006, Allison taught English in Japan.

Cheryl Wolf is the librarian for The Neighborhood School (PS 363) and Star Academy (PS 63), two co-located elementary schools in New York City. Prior to becoming a librarian she worked in publications and curatorial departments of art museums. Her library is bursting at the seams with picture books, and she also maintains the premiere collection of children’s cookbooks and food-related books in New York City, a citywide collection for the New York City School Library System. In 2016 Cheryl served as judge for The New York Times Best Illustrated Books. In addition to reading with children, Cheryl enjoys cooking, looking at art, and making textiles (weaving, knitting, sewing).

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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