School Library Journal Day of Dialog 2022 Fall

Do you love authors and hearing about their creative process? Do you live to add books to your TBR pile and library? Skip the travel, and join us October 6 for the most anticipated librarian gathering of the fall 2022 publishing season—fully virtual and free to attend! Our daylong program of author panels, in-depth conversations, and keynote talks will leave you informed, inspired, and entertained.

Come hear about the hottest forthcoming titles for children, tweens, and teens, from nonfiction and romance to picture books and graphic novels. You can also visit the virtual exhibit hall to network with leading publishers, enjoy intimate author chats, and download digital galleys and other free resources.

EVENT HOURS: 9:00 AM - 6:00 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.

CE certificates are available in the event environment for all keynotes and panels, whether you view them live or on-demand.

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 - 9:30 AM ET

Exhibit Hall Opens/Visit the Booths


9:00 - 9:30 AM ET

In Booth Chats

American Psychological Association

Author Rob Sanders discusses The Mother of a Movement which is a true story of parental support and unconditional love.It tells the story of Jeanne Manford, the cofounder of PFLAG. When her son Morty was beaten by New York City officials for handing out pro-gay leaflets, Manford wrote a powerful letter to the New York Post to complain about how Morty was treated. In the letter she came out as the mother of a gay son. The letter was published. Morty invited his mother to march with him in the June 1972 Christopher Street Parade. While marching, she had the idea to form a group to help parents and families of LGBTQ+ people. That was the beginning of PFLAG.


Cozy Comedy: Laughter and lessons in friendship through kidlit-You won't want to miss this pair! Acclaimed author-illustrator team Naseem Hrab and Kelly Collier join Owlkids for a discussion about their two most recent books.

Reycraft Books

Kelly Starling Lyons & Tonya Engel (My Hands Tell a Story)



9:30 - 10:00 AM ET

Opening Keynote:  Where the Best Questions Lead

Not all questions have answers. Some have more than one answer. And others have endless answers, unfolding out to the edges of the world.


Mac Barnett, Twenty Questions (Candlewick)

Moderator: Ruth E. Quiroa, Ph.D., Associate Professor, National Louis University






10:05 - 10:55 AM ET

Do the Right Thing 

Fictional stories for middle grade and up featuring characters at crossroads in their lives.


Isaac Blum, The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen (Penguin Young Readers)

Marina Budhos, We Are All We Have (Random House Children’s Books)

Eric Gansworth, My Good Man (Levine Querido)

James Klise, I’ll Take Everything You Have (Workman)

Ari Tison, Saints of the Household (Macmillan Children’s)

Moderator: Elizabeth Libberton, Library Media Specialist, St. Charles East High School (IL)



10:05 - 10:55 AM ET

Down a Dark Road 

Edgy, haunting stories young adult readers won’t soon forget.  


Dana Claire, Hunterland (CamCat)

Cherie Dimaline, Funeral Songs for Dying Girls (Tundra)

Sofia Lapuente and Jarrod Shusterman, Retro (Simon & Schuster)

Brittany N. Williams, That Self-Same Metal (The Forge & Fracture Saga, Book 1) (Abrams)

Moderator: Elisa Garcia, Supervising Librarian, MyLibraryNYC Collections, NYPL


10:00 - 10:30 AM ET

In Booth Chat

American Psychological Association

Author Brenda Miles chats about Avocado Feels a Pit Worried: A Story About Facing Your Fears. Avi is an anxious avocado. He worries about EVERYTHING always wondering what-if? what-then? what’s going to happen? Versatile enough for family's reading, classroom, or school counselor use, readers will be rooting for Avi as he navigates situations that he once avoided.

Reycraft Books

Joe Bruchac (Voices of the People)


10:30 - 11:30 AM ET

Second Story

Kathy Kacer & Sarah Silberstein Swartz Booth chat- Authors Kathy Kacer (HIDDEN ON THE HIGH WIRE) and Sarah Silberstein Swartz (HEROINES, RESCUERS, RABBIS, SPIES: UNSUNG WOMEN OF THE HOLOCAUST) discuss bringing history to life in their new books for young readers about the Holocaust.


11:00 - 11:30 AM ET

Reycraft Books

Chuck Gonzales (Carlos Gomez Freestyles, Heavy on the Style)

11:00 - 12:00 AM ET

American Psychological Association

Co-authors Jane Yolen and Maddison Stemple-Piatt delight audiences with Big, Bold, Beautiful Me. The characters find themselves marching along and standing side-by-side protagonists just like them who portray body positivity is a loud, proud, and very fun way. Grown-ups will welcome the message of healthy attitudes when facing negative or derogatory comments of others. Together it is a valuable resource for young readers to confidently embrace who they are with big bold beautiful appeal to teachers, librarians, counselors, and parents, too.






11:00 - 11:55 AM ET

All in a Day’s Play

Don’t miss these engaging, high-interest stories for emergent through middle grades readers featuring buckets of humor and loads of visuals.


Jay Albee, Riley Reynolds Slays the Play (Capstone) 

Jenn Bailey, Henry, Like Always (Chronicle)

Jim Benton, Fann Club: Batman Squad (DC Comics)

Vikram Madan, Owl and Penguin (Holiday House)

Jarrett and Jerome Pumphrey, Link and Hud: Heroes by a Hair (Norton) 

Moderator: Anna Taylor, Freelance Youth Services Librarian/Editor, SLJ


11:00 - 11:55 AM ET

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way  

Possessed with grit, perseverance, and imagination, nothing could stop these individuals.


David Aguilar, Piece by Piece: How I Built My Life (No Instructions Required) (Amazon Publishing)

Colleen Nelson, If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It: How 25 inspiring individuals found their dream jobs (Pajama Press) 

Emma Bland Smith, Mr. McCloskey's Marvelous Mallards: The Making of Make Way for Ducklings (Astra Books for Young Readers)
Mahani Teave and Marni Fogelson, The Girl Who Heard the Music: How One Pianist and 85,000 Bottles and Cans Brought New Hope to an Island (Sourcebooks)
Laurel van der Linde, Black Swans (Sunbird Books) 

Moderator: Denise Dávila, PhD, University of Texas, Austin (TX)



11:55 AM - 12:25 PM ET 

Break/Visit the Exhibit Hall


11:55 - 12:25 PM ET


In Booth Chat Max Brallier


Family Ties: Kidlit about what brings us together-A forest fire, a beaver family reunion, and a Lunar New Year feast; in the three picture books this panel explores, people draw closer in times of crisis and in times of celebration.


12:00 - 12:45 PM ET


Dark Magic Reads Booth Chat


12:00 - 12:25 PM ET

American Psychological Association

Chat with Sibert medalist Tanya Lee Stone about her newest MG Nonfiction, Peace Is a Chain Reaction: How World War II Japanese Balloon Bombs Brought People of Two Nations Together. She will be in conversation with editor Hilary Van Dusen.


12:05 - 1:00 PM ET

Amazon Publishing

Author Josh Funk and illustrator Edwardian Taylor chat about their popular picture book series, It’s Not a Fairy Tale, in which the characters interact with the narrator to shape the stories, including their new title, It’s Not the Three Little Pigs.



12:25 - 12:55 PM ET

Afternoon Keynote: Crafting from Memory

Two award-winning authors take the leap into graphic autobiography.


Dan Santat, A First Time for Everything (Macmillan Children’s)

Christina Soontornvat, The Tryout (Scholastic)

Moderator: Andrew Eliopolis, Graphic Novels Editor, SLJ


1:00 - 1:45 PM ET


YA Books & Magical Choas Booth Chat (CamCat)






1:00 - 1:30 PM ET

Native Voices Across Time and Place

Joseph Bruchac, Voices of the People (Reycraft Books) and Duncan Tonatiuh, A Land of Books: Dreams of Young Mexihcah Word Painters (Abrams) in conversation with David Bowles (Lee & Low).



1:00 - 1:30 PM ET

Poetry and Song Visualized
How does an artist approach illustrating song or verse? Does it differ from story illustration? Three award-winning artists discuss their creative process and work in new and forthcoming children's books.


Sawyer Cloud, illustrator of Sugar Pie Lullaby (Sourcebooks) by Carole Boston Weatherford

Michaela Goade, illustrator of Jo Harjo’s Remember (Random House Children’s Books)

Frank Morrison, Standing in the Need of Prayer (Random House Children’s Books) by Carole Boston Weatherford

Moderator: Jessica Schriver, PhD Candidate, Childhood Studies, Rutgers University, Camden (NJ)


1:30 - 2:00 PM ET

In Booth Chat

Reycraft Books

Annette Whipple (Meow! The Truth About Cats)






1:35 - 2:05 PM ET

Black Lives Matter

New titles address the movement and highlight antiracist concepts.


Caroline Brewer, Say Their Names (Reycraft Books)

Taimani Emerald, We Are Allies! (Macmillan Children’s)

Laleña Garcia, How We Can Live: Principles of Black Lives Matter (Lee & Low)

Moderator: Dr. Michelle H. Martin, Beverly Cleary Endowed Professor for Children and Youth Services, Information School, University of Washington



1:35 - 2:05 PM ET

Did Someone Say Epic?

Actor and producer Omar Epps and his co-writer Clarence A. Haynes, authors of the forthcoming young adult fantasy, Nubia: The Awakening (Random House Children’s Books).

Moderator: Cicely Lewis, Media Specialist, Meadowcreek High School (GA)


2:00 - 2:30 PM ET

In Booth Chats

American Psychological Association

Author Chloe Douglass chats about Better Together, an upbeat resource for educating little ones—on being assertive, feeling empowered, and ready to cope with disharmony within their own band of friends.


2:20 - 2:50 PM ET

Baker & Taylor 

In Booth Chat Jesse Byrd


YA Series with Epic Leaders Booth Chat


Illustrators in Dialog-Discover how printmaking, painting, and digital art bring stories to life with picture book illustrators Erin Taniguchi (SECRET SCHOOLS by Heather Camlot, pub. September 15), Salini Perera (BEAUTIFUL YOU, BEAUTIFUL ME by Tasha Spillett-Sumner, pub. October 15) and Yaara Eshet ( A STAR EXPLODES by James Gladstone, pub. March 15, 2023).


2:30 - 3:00 PM ET

Reycraft Books

Judy Goldman (Mercado: The Heart of the Barrio)



2:10 - 2:20 PM ET

Special Conversation with Reese Witherspoon

Join Academy Award–winning actress, founder, and bestselling author, Reese Witherspoon as she discusses her picture book Busy Betty (Penguin Young Readers), a story about a creative, curious, and exuberant young girl who has big plans and an even bigger heart.

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



2:20 - 2:45 PM ET

Break/Visit the Exhibit Hall






2:45 - 3:35 PM ET

Across the Curriculum

News- and classroom-worthy topics are addressed in a wide-ranging selection of titles guaranteed to pique the interest of readers – and educators.


Frank W. Baker, We Survived the Holocaust: The Bluma and Felix Goldberg Story (Imagine and Wonder)

Danielle Greendeer, Keepunumuk: Weeâchumun's Thanksgiving Story (Charlesbridge)

Sameea Jimenez and Corinne Promislow, What Does Hate Look Like? (Second Story Press)

Gillian King-Cargile, Vaccines Change the World (Albert Whitman)

Katherine Marsh, The Lost Year (Macmillan Children’s)

Moderator: Alicia Abdul, School Librarian, Albany High School (NY)



2:45 - 3:35 PM ET

More for the Story Shelves

A sense of self and community are the focus of these new picture books perfect for storytime.


Pearl AuYeung, The Best Kind of Mooncake (Page Street Publishing)

Misty Lee Coolidge, We All Stir the Pot: to End Hunger! (Paw Prints Publishing)

Elle Rowley, Agnes and the Sheep (DK)

Shadra Strickland, Jump In! (Bloomsbury)

Lindsay Zier-Vogel, Dear Street (Kids Can Press)

Moderator: Florence Simmons, Associate Editor, Generalist, SLJ


3:00 - 3:30 PM ET

In Booth Chat

American Psychological Association

Authors Silvi Guerra, Anna Pozzatti, and Bonnie Massimino discuss the Kid Confident 3 & 4 Books. This series gives you a real look at the social life of middle graders and offers expert ways to deal when unbalanced social power situations and unfriendly peers happen. Loaded with safe and appropriate strategies and easy-to-apply advice, you'll get just what to need to blossom and grow through an often turbulent time in your life. With this, you will thrive in your friendships, figure out who you are, become the best version of yourself, and have a rock-solid sense of confidence. Middle school doesn't have to be the worst thing ever!

Reycraft Books

Jennifer Swanson (Footprints Across the Planet)






3:40 - 4:30 PM ET

Conversation Starters

Share these picture books as stories or as social-emotional reflection points.


Tiania Haneline, I’m Going to Have a Good Day (Zonderkidz)

Thao Lam, The Line in the Sand (Owlkids)

C.K. Malone, A Costume for Charly (Beaming Books)

Mariana Ríos Ramírez, Santiago’s Dinosaurios (Albert Whitman)

Moderator: Jonathan Hunt, Coordinator, Library Media Services, San Diego County Office of Education (CA)



3:40 - 4:30 PM ET

Sports As Metaphor

Competition may be what ties these books together, but in sports, like life, there’s always more to the story.


Judy Allen Dodson, The Ashe Brothers: How Arthur and Johnnie Changed Tennis Forever (Capstone)

Torrey Maldonado, Hands (Penguin Young Readers)

Cory McCarthy, Man o’ War (Penguin Young Readers)  

Charles R. Smith Jr., Soccer Queens (Candlewick)

Brie Spangler, Fox Point's Own Gemma Hopper (Random House Children’s Books)

Moderator: Abby Bussen, Children's Librarian, Muskego Public Library (WI)


4:30 - 5:00 PM ET

In Booth Chat

Reycraft Books

Shannon Hitchcock (Story Quilts: Appalachian Women Speak)






4:35 - 5:25 PM ET

Myth, Magic, and Romance  

Sweeping, adventure-filled tales for middle grade and young adult readers.


J.C. Cervantes, The Lords of Night (Disney Publishing)

Lindsay Eagar, The Family Fortuna (Candlewick)

Joan He, Strike the Zither (Macmillan Children’s)

Tehlor Kay Mejia, Lucha of the Night Forest (Random House Children’s Books)

Sara Shepard, Wait for Me (Union Square & Company)

Moderator: Gillian Engberg, Consultant, Children's Books and Media



4:35 - 5:25 PM ET

A Potpourri of Forthcoming Fiction

A potpourri of forthcoming MG and YA fiction from new and award-winning authors.


Stephane Dunn, Snitchers (Lee & Low)

Malinda Lo, Scatter of Light (Penguin Young Readers)

Gillian McDunn, When Sea Becomes Sky (Bloomsbury)

James Ramos, The Wrong Kind of Weird (Inkyard Press)

Cynthia Leitich Smith, Harvest House (Candlewick)

Kim Spencer, Weird Rules to Follow (Orca)

Moderator: Ashley Leffel, Librarian, Frisco (TX)



5:30 - 6:00 PM ET

Closing Keynote: The Ties that Bind

A new country, language, and home situations challenge two tweens in heartfelt stories about navigating change and the meaning of family.


Kelly Yang, Finally Seen (Simon & Schuster)

Betty C. Tang, Parachute Kids (Scholastic Graphix)

Moderator: Roxanne Hsu Feldman, Middle School Librarian, The Dalton School (NY)




Reese Witherspoon is an award-winning actress, entrepreneur, producer, and New York Times bestselling author. She won an Academy Award® for her portrayal of June Carter Cash in Walk the Line and was later nominated in that same category for Wild in 2014, which she also produced. Witherspoon also starred in beloved films Sweet Home Alabama, Legally Blonde, and Election, as well as the award-winning television series Big Little Lies, Little Fires Everywhere, and The Morning Show. Her other film credits include Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time, Universal Pictures’ animated musical comedy Sing and Sing 2. In addition to her acting and producer roles, Witherspoon is an author and entrepreneur. In 2018, Reese released her first book, Whiskey in a Teacup, which was an instant bestseller. In 2016, she established Hello Sunshine, a media brand and content company dedicated to female authorship and storytelling across all platforms. Hello Sunshine is also home to Reese’s Book Club and Reese’s YA Book Club, which focus on storytelling with women at the center. Witherspoon sold Hello Sunshine to Blackstone in September 2021. Now Hello Sunshine is the cornerstone of a larger media company called Candle Media. Witherspoon is an advocate and activist for women’s issues across the globe.



Mac Barnett is a New York Times-bestselling author of many beloved picture books for children, including Just Because, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault; A Polar Bear in the Snow, illustrated by Shawn Harris; and Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, a Caldecott Honor Book and E. B. White Read-Aloud Award winner illustrated by Jon Klassen. Mac Barnett lives in California.

Dan Santat is the Caldecott Medal–winning and New York Times–bestselling author and illustrator of The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend and the road trip/time travel adventure Are We There Yet? His artwork is also featured in numerous picture books, chapter books, and middle-grade novels, including Dav Pilkey's Ricky Ricotta series. Dan lives in Southern California with his wife, two kids, and many, many pets.

Christina Soontornvat is the author of two Newbery Honor books A Wish in the Dark and All Thirteen. She also is the author of Scholastic’s beloved fantasy series Diary of an Ice Princess, and the picture books The Ramble Shamble Children, The Blunders, and Simon at the Art Museum, as well as To Change a Planet. Christina holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a master’s degree in Science Education. Christina lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, two young children, and one old cat. You can learn more about her work at

Betty C. Tang is the New York Times bestselling illustrator of the Jacky Ha-Ha series of graphic novels by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein. She has worked for various Hollywood animation studios including Disney TV and Dreamworks Animation, and codirected an animated feature called Where’s the Dragon? Betty is also a fourth degree black belt in aikido, a Japanese martial art. Born in Taiwan, Betty immigrated to California as a Parachute Kid when she was ten. She lives in Los Angeles. Learn more about her work at

Kelly Yang is the New York Times bestselling author of Front Desk (winner of the 2019 Asian Pacific American Award for Children’s Literature), Parachutes, Three Keys, Room to Dream, New From Here, and Finally Seen. Front Desk also won the Parents’ Choice Gold Medal, was the 2019 Global Read Aloud, and has earned numerous other honors including being named a best book of the year by Amazon, The Washington Post, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and NPR. Learn more at


David Aguilar and his father, Ferran Aguilar, are from Andorra. David was born missing part of one arm. At the age of nine, he designed his first prosthesis with LEGO bricks, and in high school he built the next generation. David’s father encouraged him to make a video about his prosthesis and the huge role that LEGOs played in his life, and it went viral. David is also the protagonist of the Spanish documentary Mr. Hand Solo. David is currently developing his own brand, Hand Solo, which will aim to benefit various organizations for the disabled and fight against the stigma of “diff-ability,” as he calls it.

Jay Albee is the joint penname for a LGBTQ+ couple named Jen Breach and J. Anthony. Between them they’ve done lots of jobs: archaeologist, illustrator, ticket taker, and bagel baker, but now they write and draw all day long in their rowhouse in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Jen has never been in a play. J. is the stage star of this partnership.

Pearl AuYeung was born in Hong Kong, raised in Shanghai, and now lives in California. Childhood visits to her grandma and uncle’s pajama hawker stall on the delightfully crowded Tai Yuen Street inspired Pearl to tell this story in her debut picture book. Passionate about food and the past, she enjoys cooking and researching the histories of food and surnames.

Jenn Bailey has her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her work has received the Candlewick Picture Book Scholarship and the Beyond Words award, among others. Jenn is a frequent guest lecturer and workshop leader for SCBWI, Heartland Writers for Kids and Teens, and the One Year Adventure Novel workshops.

Frank W. Baker is an internationally recognized media literacy educator. He maintains the Media Literacy Clearinghouse and Close Reading The Media websites. His lifelong work in media literacy was recognized in 2019 by UNESCO. He is the author of “Close Reading The Media”  and “Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom.”  He resides in Columbia, South Carolina.

Jim Benton is the Reuben divisional award winning cartoonist and New York Times Bestselling author behind more than thirty book titles in fifteen-plus languages. With more than ten million books in print, some of his book series include Catwad, Dear Dumb Diary, and Franny K. Stein, as well as the international licensing hit, It's Happy Bunny®, which has generated over 3/4 of a billion dollars at retail. Benton is very excited to team up with DC Comics to bring his unique style and sense of humor to the Batman universe.

Isaac Blum (he/him) is a writer and educator. He’s taught English at several colleges and universities, and at Orthodox Jewish and public schools. He lives with his wife in Philadelphia where he watches sports and reads books that make him laugh while showing him something true about the world. The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen is his debut novel.

Caroline Brewer is the Indiana-born daughter of an Alabama-born storyteller. She hopes to one day tell stories as well as her mom. For now, when Caroline writes from her home in Washington, DC, she commits to her words making worlds where peace and harmony reign, where everybody’s dancing on a soul-to-soul train.

Joe Bruchac is a writer and traditional storyteller, who lives in the Adirondack Mountains region of northern New York. Much of his work is inspired by his Native American (Abenaki) ancestry. He is the author of more than130 books for young readers and adults.

Marina Budhos is the author of award-winning fiction and nonfiction. Her novels for young people are The Long Ride, Watched, Tell Us We’re Home, and Ask Me No Questions. Her nonfiction books are Remix: Conversations with Immigrant Teenagers and two coauthored books, Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro & the Invention of Modern Photojournalism and Sugar Changed the World, written with her husband, Marc Aronson. Budhos has received an NEA Fellowship in Creative Writing and has been a Fulbright Scholar to India. Visit her online at

J. C. Cervantes grew up in San Diego and was fascinated by stories about Maya gods and magic as a child. Those tales inspired her to write a best-selling middle grade fantasy trilogy about children of Maya and Aztec gods for Rick Riordan Presents: The Storm Runner, The Fire Keeper, and The Shadow Crosser, two of which featured Ren as a main character. For more work by J. C. Cervantes, look for her YA rom com, Flirting with Fate, and her entry in the YA fiction series The Mirror: Fractured Path.

Dana Claire is an award-winning author whose stories explore identity, fate, and destiny in the crossroads of romance and adventure. Her love of romantic tension and the supernatural effortlessly translates into spine-tingling action and unforgettable characters. Dana is also sharing her stories through speaking events and book signings. She lives in Los Angeles, CA with her adoring husband living her dreams: writing books, telling stories, and changing the world, one reader at a time.

Sawyer Cloud is a freelance artist living in Madagascar, her native country. Her passion for kids’ literature pushed her to turn it into a living as she just couldn’t consider any other occupation than creating pictures for children. After working on many independent projects, she built a career as an illustrator, got represented by Advocate Art in 2020, and now works on many titles with most of the major publishers in kids publishing.

Misty Lee Coolidge is a mom, wife, and entrepreneur with a passion for volunteering and activism. As Mrs. Worldwide 2022, Misty currently travels across the country and internationally to help at local food banks and will not stop until hunger is a thing of the past. She lives in Maine with her husband and their three children.

Cherie Dimaline is an author from the Georgian Bay Métis Community. Her book The Marrow Thieves, won the prestigious Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature, the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature, and the Governor General’s Literary Award, among others. Its sequel, Hunting by Stars, was published in 2021 to great acclaim, and has been selected as Book of the Year from NPR, Indigo, and Kobo, and is a Good Morning America Buzz Pick. Her latest book is Funeral Songs for Dying Girls.

Judy Allen Dodson is all about the book, reading it as a librarian, preserving it as an archivist, and writing it as a children’s book author. Judy is the winner of the SCBWI On-the-Verge Emerging Voices Award, the recipient of multiple NorthCarolina ArtsCouncil grants, a Highlights Foundation DiversityFellow in Children’s Literature, and the regional co-ambassador for the Authors Guild. She’s the author of the Junior Library Guild selection, Escape FromHurricane Katrina. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her family. Visit heronline at and follow her on Twitter @jadlibrarian.

Stephane Dunn is a writer, filmmaker and professor. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, Vogue, Ms. magazine, Chronicle of Higher Education,, The Root, and Best African American Essays 2009, among others. She is the author of Baad Bitches & Sassy Supermamas: Black Power Action Films, and the Tirota/Finish Line Social Impact Script Competition award-winning screenplay, Chicago '66. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her family.

Lindsay Eagar is the highly acclaimed author of the middle-grade novels Hour of the Bees, Race to the Bottom of the Sea, The Bigfoot Files, and The Patron Thief of Bread. The Family Fortuna is her debut novel for young adults. She lives in the mountains of Utah with her husband and their two daughters.

Taimani Emerald is a single mother, an author, illustrator, and activist focused on using art to help us all learn about the big stuff. Her whimsical illustrations create a ripple effect of change throughout the entire world. She and her work have been featured on GMA, Huffington Post, I Heart Radio, UNTV NEWS and Koin 6 News. Taimani has hand-sold over 3,000 copies of her posters, and has also run several campaigns that allowed her to spread the message of inclusive education by sending free posters to schools and institutions in need around the world.

Actor and producer Omar Epps was first introduced to audiences as Q in Ernest Dickerson’s cult classic Juice, opposite Tupac Shakur. He has gone on to star in the beloved romance Love & Basketball, as Dr. Eric Foreman on massively popular TV show House, as Jeff Cole in In Too Deep, as Isaac Johnson on Shooter, and as Darnell on This Is Us. He is the author of a memoir, From Fatherless to Fatherhood. Nubia: The Awakening is his first novel.

Marni Fogelson is a children's book author, lifestyle writer, and community volunteer. She has an insatiable love for reading and believes that books have a tremendous power to make us better humans. Marni lives with her husband, two children, and a very loud and affectionate hound in Philadelphia.


Eric Gansworth, Sˑha-weñ na-saeˀ, (Onondaga, Eel Clan) is a writer and visual artist, born and raised at Tuscarora Nation. He’s been widely published and has had numerous solo and group exhibitions. His work has received a Printz Honor Award, was Longlisted for the National Book Award and has received an American Indian Library Association Youth Literature Award, PEN Oakland Award and American Book Award. Gansworth’s work has also been supported by the Library of Congress, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Arne Nixon Center, the Saltonstall and Lannan Foundations.

Laleña Garcia has been teaching children in New York City since 2000, and educators across the country since 2017. How We Can Live grew out of her work with Black Lives Matter at School, a coalition of educators and parents striving for racial justice in education. A graduate of Yale University and Bank Street College of Education, she lives in Brooklyn.

Michaela Goade is a Caldecott Medalist and a #1 New York Times bestselling artist. She is the illustrator of a number of award-winning and bestselling books, including We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom and I Sang You Down from the Stars by Tasha Spillett-Sumner. Her latest title, Berry Song, is her first book as an author/illustrator. She is a member of the Tlingit Nation and grew up in her ancestral homelands along the southeast coast of Alaska, where she lives today on an island at the edge of a wide, wild sea. Find her on Twitter at @MichaelaGoade and on Instagram at @michaelagoade.

Danielle Greendeer is a citizen of the Mashpee Wampanoag Nation and works in the areas of tribal governance, cultural perpetuation, and food sovereignty. She lives in Mashpee, Massachusetts.

Tiania Haneline and Scarlett Gray Smith make up one of TikTok's most positive (and self-love-centric) mother/daughter duos. The East Coast-based pair is well-known for their sweet affirmation videos, with their most viral moments attracting the attention of Good Morning America, POPSUGAR, USA Today and more. Growing up in an affirming household herself, Tiania was determined to pass the same values onto Scarlett and her two sons, Walker and Reice. With the power of TikTok, Tiania and Scarlett are spreading that joy and self-love to an audience of more than four million.

Clarence A. Haynes has worked as an editor for a variety of publishers that include Penguin Random House and Amazon Publishing as well as Legacy Lit, an imprint of Hachette Book Group. He has edited top-selling fiction titles like The Hundredth Queen, Scarlet Odyssey, Legacy of Lies, These Toxic Things, and The Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestseller The Vine Witch, along with its two sequels. He is also the author of the nonfiction work The Legacy of Jim Crow.

Joan He was born and raised in Philadelphia but still will, on occasion, lose her way. At a young age, she received classical instruction in oil painting before discovering that storytelling was her favorite form of expression. She studied Psychology and East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Pennsylvania and currently writes in Chicago. She is the New York Times bestselling author of The Ones We're Meant to Find, Descendant of the Crane, and the forthcoming Strike the Zither, the first in a duology, releasing from Macmillan on October 25, 2022.

Sameea Jimenez is an elementary educator in the Toronto District School Board. Her teaching is rooted in anti-oppression and anti-racism and is committed to challenging social norms and paradigms. Sameea specializes in social justice education and is an advocate for systemic change within educational institutions. She has created and facilitated professional development around anti-racism and anti-discrimination for educators.

Gillian King-Cargile earned her BA in film production and an MFA in creative writing from Southern Illinois University. She has worked with schools, libraries, universities, and national labs to create exciting stories, games, events, and even stand-up comedy routines that spark a love of reading and learning. A member of the the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and the Horror Writers Association, Gillian has published picture books, middle-grade nonfiction books, and other works for readers of all ages. She is also a communications coordinator at Argonne National Laboratory, sharing their stories of groundbreaking research and pivotal discovery. In everything she does, Gillian seeks to use humor and creativity to kindle a love of reading and learning.

James Klise's novel The Art of Secrets won the Edgar Award for Best Teen Mystery and a Booklist Editor's Choice Award, among other honors. His first book, Love Drugged, was an ALA Stonewall Honor Award winner, as well as finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. He lives in Chicago, where he works as a high school librarian. His short stories have appeared in many journals, including StoryQuarterly, New Orleans Review, Ascent, and Southern Humanities Review. I'll Take Everything You Have is his third novel.

Thao Lam is the critically acclaimed author/illustrator of THAO, Wallpaper, My Cat Looks Like My Dad, Skunk on a String, and The Paper Boat, named a best book of 2020 by Kirkus, Booklist, School Library Journal, the Globe and Mail, CBC, and others. She studied illustration at Sheridan College and has an insatiable love of colored and textured papers, which she uses to create her exuberant collages. She draws inspiration from the stories she hears, from the beauty in everyday things, and from the work of the many illustrators she admires. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Sofía Lapuente is an author and screenwriter who writes novels with her partner, New York Times bestselling author Jarrod Shusterman. They have a passion for storytelling across many mediums, with love and multiculturalism as an ethos, and enjoy traveling the world and learning new languages. They live between Los Angeles and Spain and can be found on Instagram and TikTok @sofiandjarrod.

Malinda Lo is the bestselling and critically acclaimed author of several young adult novels, including most recently A Scatter of Light. Her novel Last Night at the Telegraph Club was the winner of the National Book Award, the Stonewall Book Award, and the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and received Michael L. Printz and Walter Dean Myers honors. She lives in Massachusetts with her wife.

Vikram Madan grew up in India, where he wanted to be a cartoonist, but ended up an engineer. After many years in the tech industry, he came to his senses and followed his heart into storytelling. He is the author/illustrator of A Hatful of Dragons, which received a starred review in Kirkus Reviews, was a Kirkus Reviews Best Book, and was named to the Texas Bluebonnet Master List and the NYPL Best Books List, as well as the Bobo and Pup-Pup series. He lives in Seattle. Visit him online at   

Torrey Maldonado, the author of the critically acclaimed What Lane? and Tight, is a teacher in Brooklyn, New York, where he was born and raised. His books reflect his students' and his experiences.

C.K. Malone (they/them) is a bigender educator and literature coach at the secondary level. When not grading essays or helping students, they're busy helping design culturally and LGBTQIA+ responsive units for the district and working as a climate and culture coach. They also coach and advise through alignment with the Genders and Sexualities Alliance Network. A Costume for Charly is their debut picture book.

Katherine Marsh is the Edgar Award-winning author of The Night Tourist, Nowhere Boy, The Twilight Prisoner, Jepp, Who Defied the Stars, and The Doors By the Staircase. Katherine grew up in New York and now lives in Washington, DC with her husband and two children.

Cory McCarthy (he/they) is the author of numerous books for young readers. He lives with his family in Vermont, where he teaches writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Gillian McDunn is the author of Honestly Elliott, These Unlucky Stars, The Queen Bee and Me, and Caterpillar Summer, which received two starred reviews, and was selected for the Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List, and Kirkus Reviews and Parents magazine Best Books of the Year lists. When she isn’t reading or writing, she is probably baking gluten-free treats, traveling, or spending time with her family. She lives near Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband and children, and a very silly dog named Friday.

Tehlor Kay Mejia is the author of the critically acclaimed young adult fantasy duology We Set the Dark on Fire and We Unleash the Merciless Storm. Her debut middle-grade series, Paola Santiago and the River of Tears, is in development at Disney as a television series to be produced by Eva Longoria. Tehlor lives with her daughter, partner, and two small dogs in Oregon, where she grows heirloom corn and continues her quest to perfect the vegan tamale.

Frank Morrison started his journey as a graffiti artist in New Jersey. It wasn’t until he visited the Louvre Museum in Paris that he realized painting was his true creative path. He is the illustrator of over twenty children’s books, including the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner R-E-S-P-E-C-T, the Coretta Scott King-John Steptoe Award winner Jazzy Miz Mozetta, and the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor books Little Melba and Her Big Trombone and Let the Children March.

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 recent works include The Undercover Book List, the award-winning Harvey Stories, and the picture book Teaching Mrs. Muddle. Colleen writes daily in between appearances at hockey rinks and soccer fields in support of her two sports-loving sons. The family’s West Highland Terrier Rosie adds an extra-loveable dose of liveliness, squirrel-chasing, and shoe-chewing to their lives.

Corinne Promislow is a principal in the Toronto District School Board with over 28 years of teaching and administrative experience. Corinne is dedicated to creating a positive culture against all forms of hate and inequity in her work with students and educators. She has developed resources, provided professional development, and chaired committees to foster inclusion and anti-discrimination. Corinne lives and works in Toronto and enjoys spending time with her little dog Bean.

Jarrett Pumphrey is an author/illustrator and the former cofounder and CEO of a tech startup. With Jerome Pumphrey, he is the author of It’s a Sign!, The Old Truck, The Old Boat, Somewhere in the Bayou, and Link and Hud: Heroes by a Hair (forthcoming from Norton Young Readers in March 2023).  He lives in Austin, Texas.

Jerome Pumphrey is an author/illustrator and a graphic designer at The Walt Disney Company. With Jarrett Pumphrey, he is the author of It’s a Sign!, The Old Truck, The Old Boat, Somewhere in the Bayou, and Link and Hud: Heroes by a Hair (forthcoming from Norton Young Readers in March 2023). He lives in Clearwater, Florida.

Mariana Ríos Ramírez is a Mexican author living in Anderson, South Carolina. She worked as a high school teacher and co-owned an online business before discovering her passion for writing. Mariana is a member of SCBWI, Storyteller Academy, Rate your Story, and Las Musas. Santiago’s Dinosaurios is her debut picture book.

James Ramos (he/they) is a nonbinary, unapologetically dorky Minnesota native who now calls Arizona home. Weaned on a steady diet of science-fiction, comic books, and classic literature, James wrote his first story at eight years old and hasn’t stopped writing them since. James is passionate about storytelling, particularly stories that give voice to marginalized people, especially those within the LGBTQ+ community and people of color. When he isn’t writing he can usually be found cosplaying with his friends or surrounded by his amazing family of cats.

Elle Rowley is a writer and founder of the award-winning baby carrier company Solly Baby. She lives in California with her husband and four children on a small, three-acre farm. They share the farm with two dogs, two cats, eight chickens, and a barn that they have turned into a one-room schoolhouse for the community, providing endless entertainment and inspiration for her writing.

Sara Shepard is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the sixteen-book Pretty Little Liars series, which has sold millions of copies worldwide, has been translated into more than twenty different languages, and became a popular TV show on Freeform. She’s also the author of The Perfectionists and The Lying Game, which also were TV series, as well as The Amateurs series, and several books for adults including The Heiresses, Reputation, and The Elizas. She’s written more than thirty novels in total and is also active in the screenwriting and podcasting spaces.

Cynthia Leitich Smith is the New York Times best- selling, award-winning author of Hearts Unbroken, the Tantalize series, and the Feral trilogy. An NSK Neustadt Laureate and the author-curator of Heartdrum, a Native-focused imprint at HarperCollins Children’s Books, she was named the inaugural Katherine Paterson Chair on the faculty of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at. A citizen of the Muscogee Nation, Cynthia Leitich Smith lives in Austin, Texas.

Emma Bland Smith is the award-winning author of Journey: Based on the True Story of OR7, the Most Famous Wolf in the West, as well as other fiction and nonfiction books for children. Many of Emma’s books include animals—wolves, dogs, pigs, even alligators! Emma is a librarian and author and lives in San Francisco with her husband, two kids, dog, and cat—but no wolf, pig, or alligator. Visit her online at and on Twitter at @emmablandsmith.

Author/illustrator of children's picture books, graphic novels, and YA novels, Brie Spangler loves to draw and write stories, and drink massive amounts of caffeine. Brie worked as an illustrator for several years before she began to write and immediately became a frothing addict. Her YA novel Beast was nominated for a Lambda Award and was named a Best Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly and Kirkus. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Brie now lives in the Bay Area with her family. Follow her on Twitter at @BrieSpangler.

Kim Spencer is a graduate of the Writers Studio at Simon Fraser University, where she focused on creative nonfiction. Two of her short stories were published in an anthology released through SFU, and an experimental short story of hers appeared in Filling Station magazine. Kim was selected as a mentee by the Writers Union of Canada for BIPOC Writers Connect, as well as for ECW's BIPOC Writers Mentorship Program. Her debut novel, Weird Rules to Follow, received a starred Kirkus review. Kim is from the Ts’msyen Nation in northwest BC and currently lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

Shadra Strickland studied design, writing, and illustration at Syracuse University, and completed her M.F.A. at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She won the Ezra Jack Keats Award and Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent in 2009 for her work in her first picture book, Bird, written by Zetta Elliott. Shadra travels the country conducting workshops and sharing her work with children, teachers, and librarians. She currently teaches illustration at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. / @ShadrasArt (Twitter) / @Shadrieka (Instagram)


Mahani Teave is an award-winning concert pianist from Rapa Nui (Easter Island). Her debut album, Rapa Nui Odyssey, launched as number one on the Billboard Classical charts. She is one of the founders of Toki Rapa Nui, a nonprofit dedicated to the island's ecological and cultural preservation. She lives with her family on Rapa Nui, where she leads the Rapa Nui School for Music and the Arts.


Ari Tison is a Bribri (Indigenous Costa Rican) American and African descended poet and storyteller. Her poems and short works have been published in Yellow Medicine Review, The Under Review, Rock & Sling, and POETRY's first ever edition for children. She was the winner of the 2018 Vaunda Micheaux Nelson award for a BIPOC writer with Lerner Publishing. She currently is the annual broadside editor for Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop where she gets to collaborate with the Minnesota Center for the Book Arts to bring incarcerated voices into the world. Saints of the Household is her debut novel.

Duncan Tonatiuh (toh-nah-tee-YOU) is an award-winning author-illustrator. He is both Mexican and American. He grew up in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and graduated from Parsons School of Design and Eugene Lang College in New York City. His artwork is inspired by pre-Columbian art. His aim is to create images and stories that honor the past, but are relevant to today's people, especially children. He currently lives in San Miguel with his family but travels in the United States often.

Brittany N. Williams is an actress, writer, Co-Artistic Director of The NOLA Project, and nerd of many fandoms. She’s performed across three continents—including a year spent as a principal vocalist at Hong Kong Disneyland—and her writing has been featured on,, in The Indypendent, The Gambit, Fireside Magazine, and in the Star Wars anthology From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @BrittanyActs and at Williams lives in New Orleans.

Author Laurel van der Linde began ballet class at age four. At seventeen, she toured with Oukhtomsky Ballet Classique and Los Angeles Ballet. She loved dancing en pointe, but her feet did not. So she traded her pointe shoes for character heels and danced on Broadway in My Fair Lady, A Chorus Line, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and Gower Champion's Annie Get Your Gun. Now she teaches creative writing at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Lindsay Zier-Vogel is a writer and arts educator and the creator of the internationally acclaimed Love Lettering Project. Her writing has been widely published in Canada and the United Kingdom, and her hand-bound books are housed in the permanent collection at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library in Toronto. Since 2001, she has been teaching creative writing workshops in schools and communities. She is also a professor for the professional writing program at Humber College and is a columnist with Open Book. Her debut novel, Letters to Amelia, was published in 2021. Lindsay lives in Toronto, Ontario.


Alicia Abdul is a high school librarian in Albany, NY. She shares her reading (and dresses) on Instagram @ReadersBeAdvised and blogs at She's served or chaired on several YALSA book committees, presents at local, state, and national conferences on books, programs, and graphic novels, and recently became an adjunct for two graduate programs on young adult literature.

David Bowles is a Mexican American author from south Texas, where he teaches at the University of Texas Río Grande Valley. He has written several award-winning titles, most notably The Smoking Mirror and They Call Me Güero. His work has also been published in multiple anthologies and media outlets. In 2017, David was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters.

After working for many years as a copywriter, Abby Bussen started growing her family and thought, "Huh, writing about old lady pants for a living is not it." She quit that line of work and earned her MLIS, shifting her focus from models and fabrics to molding the fabric of young minds as a children's librarian. She began an exciting side gig as an SLJ reviewer in 2015 and quickly earned a reputation as "the one who actually likes reading the sports books." Abby is a wife of one and mom of 3 who somehow finds time to read beneath a pile of happy pets including 3 dogs, 2 cats, and a fish (who mostly just observes).

Denise Dávila is an assistant professor of children's literature and literacy education at the University of Texas at Austin who has served on multiple book award committees. Her research agenda focuses on families' engagement with children's books by/for/and about members of marginalized communities to support early literacy development.

Andrew Eliopulos (he/him/his) is the Graphic Novels Editor at SLJ. He is also an author and former editor of middle grade and YA fiction. He received a B.A. from the University of Chicago and an MSW from Fordham University. He lives with his husband in upstate New York.

A former Editorial Director of Books for Youth at Booklist magazine, Gillian Engberg is currently an independent editor and children's literature consultant.

Roxanne Hsu Feldman is an immigrant from Taiwan who came to the U.S to study children's literature.  She holds a Master's in Children's LIterature from Simmons University and a MLS from The Palmer School at Long Island University.  She has been a children's or a school librarian for the past 30 years in New York City.  Roxanne served on the Newbery Award, Boston Globe-Horn Book award, and Kirkus Award selection committees, and other notable children's and YA book selection committees.

Elisa Anais Garcia is the Supervising Librarian of MyLibraryNYC, Collections at The New York Public Library in partnership with the New York City Department of Education, The Brooklyn Public Library, and The Queens Public Library. She is motivated to foster a love of reading in reluctant readers and therefore strives to introduce them to a diverse world of experiences through books.

Jonathan Hunt reviews for Horn Book, occasionally writes for School Library Journal, and frequently serves on award committees. Fortunately, he has an eight-year-old son, a two-year-old son, and a five-month-old daughter who help him evaluate picture books.

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.

Cicely Lewis, 2020 SLJ School Librarian of the Year, is an author and 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. When she is not reading, you can find Cicely writing for her bi-monthly column in the School Library Journal where she shares her book recommendations. Follow her on Twitter @cicelythegreat or check out her blog CicelytheGreat.

Elizabeth Libberton is the library media specialist at St. Charles East High School in St. Charles, Illinois. She currently writes book reviews for School Library Journal, and writes a monthly blog for AASL Knowledge Quest Journal. She is a member of the ALA Awards Selection Committee. Also, she is a member of the steering committee for the AISLE Lincoln Book Award.

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.

Jess Schriver is a PhD candidate of Childhood Studies at Rutgers University, in Camden, NJ. She studies how childhood is constructed in public libraries—work inspired by the many trips she made to her local childhood library. She lives in southern New Jersey with her four-year-old child, her husband, and lots and lots of books.

Florence Simmons is an associate editor for SLJ. She hails from sunny Florida, where she has held several editorial positions—from reviews editor at Taylor & Francis Group to reviewing children’s books at Booklist. She is also the founder of children's and YA reviews blog “Book Nerds Across America,” which has been running strong since 2010.

Anna Taylor is a Youth Services Librarian with a background in public libraries, bookstores, and theatre. She is currently a freelance librarian working as a consultant for publishers and editor for SLJ's Series Made Simple publication. Anna is very active in ALSC and recently served on the 2022 Caldecott Committee. She currently serves as Chair of the ALSC Nominating and Leadership Development Committee. Anna lives in Chattanooga, TN where she advocates for social justice and LGBTQ+ rights, performs/produces local theatre, and serves on the Chattanooga Public Library Board.

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.





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