School Library Journal Day of Dialog 2023 Spring

Join us May 18 for SLJ Day of Dialog, the most anticipated librarian gathering of the spring 2023 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. Certificates are not provided for sponsored content. 

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


In-Booth Chats

9:00 – 9:30 AM ET | Award-winning creators Eoin Colfer and P.J. Lynch in conversation about their new middle-grade Three Tasks for a Dragon (Candlewick Press)

9:10 – 9:30 AM ET | Meet Bella Higgin, author of the captivating Belle Morte series (Wattpad WEBTOON Book Group)


9:30 - 10:00 AM ET | Opening Keynote: The Ambassadors 

Award-winning authors and National Ambassadors for Young People's Literature Meg Medina, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass (Candlewick Press) and Jacqueline Woodson, Remember Us (Penguin Young Readers) discuss their books, their visions and platforms, and the opportunities presented by the distinguished role. 

Moderator: Shelley Diaz, Reviews Editor, SLJ


In-Booth Chat

10:00 – 10:40 AM ET | Compelling Series in YA Booth Chat (CamCat Books)




10:05 - 10:55 AM ET | A Sense of Belonging

Discovery and identity are at the heart of these new picture books. 


Nate Davenport, Bryson the Brave Bison (Zonderkidz)
Elrena Evans, When I Go to Church, I Belong (IVP Kids)

Mikki Hernandez, Cake Mix: Learning to Love All Your Ingredients (Paw Prints Publishing by Baker & Taylor)

Sandra Lamouche, We Belong to the Drum (Orca)

Nyasha Williams, Keep Dreaming, Black Child (Running Press Kids) 

Moderator: Denise Dávila, University of Texas, Austin


10:05 - 10:55 AM ET | New in Graphic

From sci-fi to realistic fiction, a look at some of the exciting new titles for middle grade and YA readers. 


Jarrett Lerner, A Work in Progress (Simon & Schuster)

Chad Sell, The Stupendous Switcharoo (Random House Children’s Books)

Nadia Shammas, Confetti Realms (Mad Cave)

Mel Valentine Vargas, illustrator of Meg Medina’s Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass: The Graphic Novel (Candlewick Press) 

Raymond Xu, Alterations (Union Square)

Moderator: Alea Perez, Youth Services Manager, Roselle Public Library District, Roselle (IL)


10:05 - 10:55 AM ET | Reflections

Memoirs and biographies offer readers insight into other eras, cultures, and sometimes, a road map to living their own best lives.


Eddie Chuculate, This Indian Kid: A Native American Memoir (Scholastic)

Lynn Curlee, The Other Pandemic: An AIDS Memoir (Charlesbridge)

Margaret Littman, It's Her Story: Irena Sendler: A Graphic Novel (Sunbird)

Clarie Lordon, One in a Million (Candlewick Press)

Kaz Rowe, Liberated: The Radical Art and Life of Claude Cahun (Getty)

Moderator: Justin Shannin, Teen Library Associate, Chicago Public Library (IL)




11:00 - 11:50 AM ET | Cursed! 

Maledictions and treacherous adversaries reign in these YA fantasies. 


Terry J. Benton-Walker, Blood Debts (Macmillan Library Marketing)

Philline Harms, Love and Other Wicked Things (Wattpad WEBTOON Book Group)

Elizabeth Lim, Her Radiant Curse (Random House Children’s Books)

Kristi McManus, Our Vengeful Souls (CamCat)

Katy Rose Pool, Garden of the Cursed (Macmillan Children’s)

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


11:00 - 11:50 AM ET | Spotlight on Black History

New books for elementary and middle grade readers in a range of formats highlight histories personal, familial, and geographic.


Jaha Nailah Avery, Those Who Saw the Sun: African American Oral Histories from the Jim Crow South (Levine Querido)

Alice Fay Duncan, Coretta's Journey: The Life and Times of Coretta Scott King (Astra Books for Young Readers) 

Tanisia Moore, I Am My Ancestors' Wildest Dreams (Scholastic)

Frank Morrison, Harlem at Four (Random House Children’s Books)

Jeffery Boston Weatherford, Kin (Simon & Schuster)

Moderator: Nicholl Montgomery, PhD, Adjunct Professor, Curriculum and Instruction Department at Boston College and the Children's Literature Department at Simmons University (MA)


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


In-Booth Chat

12:00 – 12:40 PM ET | YA Paranormal and Suspense Booth Chat (CamCat Books)


12:20 - 12:50 PM ET | Lunch Keynote: The Search for Home


Luma Mufleh, From Here (Penguin Young Readers) and Thien Pham, Family Style (Macmillan Children’s), who have experienced life as refugees, discuss their search for home and the meaning of belonging in these forthcoming young adult memoirs. 

Moderator: Andrew Eliopulos, Graphic Novels Editor, SLJ


Creators & Their Editors in Conversation


12:55 - 1:25 PM ET | Author Stephanie Garber and her editor, Sarah Barley, go behind the scenes of the high-interest, YA fan-favorite Caraval series and Garber’s A Curse for True Love, the conclusion to her Once Upon a Broken Heart trilogy (Macmillan Library Marketing).


12:55 - 1:25 PM ET | Debut author Gary Gray, Jr. and Caldecott honoree Oge Mora, and editor, Donna Bray, will discuss the inception and development of the forthcoming story-in-verse picture book, I’m From (HarperCollins Children’s). 




1:30 - 2:20 PM ET | Magic and Myth

Goddesses, ghosts, aliens, and an assortment of mythical creatures are just some of the characters that populate these stunning new fantasies for middle grade readers.


P. Djèlí Clark, Abeni's Song (Macmillan Children’s)

Oskar Källner, Children of the Phoenix (Mad Cave)

Malia Maunakea, Lei and the Fire Goddess (Penguin Young Readers)

Shanna Miles, The Fall of The House of Tatterly (Union Square)

DaVaun Sanders, Keynan Masters and the Peerless Magic Crew (Inkyard Press)

Moderator: Brandi Grant, Teacher-Librarian, Frisco ISD (TX)


1:30 - 2:20 PM ET | The World Around Us

Engaging topics accompanied by eye-catching illustrations are featured in this selection of books perfect for both library and elementary classroom shelves.


Cathy Linh Che, An Asian American A-Z (Haymarket) 

Raj Haldar, This Book Is Banned (Sourcebooks)

Barbara Kerley, Footsteps on the Map (National Geographic/Disney Publishing)

Dan Paley, They Hold the Line (Chronicle)

Jessica Stremer & Gordy Wright, The Great Carrier Reef (Holiday House) 

Moderator: Abby Bussen, Community Engagement & Outreach Librarian, Waukesha Public Library (WI)


2:20 - 2:45 PM ET | Break / Visit the Exhibit Hall


In-Booth Chats

2:20 – 2:40 PM ET | Meet Nicole Nwosu, author of The Bad Boy and the Tomboy and recently released sports-themed YA romance, Hitting the Crossbar (Wattpad WEBTOON Book Group)

2:30 – 3:00 PM ET | Anti-Heroes and Cons Booth Chat (CamCat Books)


Collaborators In Conversation 


2:45 - 3:05 PM ET | David Bowles and Guadalupe García McCall, Secret of the Moon Conch (Bloomsbury)


2:45 - 3:05 PM ET | Charles Waters and Traci Sorell, Mascot (Charlesbridge)
Moderator: Sylvia Vardell, Professor Emerita, Texas Woman's University


2:45 - 3:05 PM ET | Angela and Tony DiTerlizzi, A Very Cranky Book (HarperCollins Children’s)
Moderator: Karen Grenke, Library Co-Director, The Town School (NY)




3:10 - 4:00 PM ET | Books to Read with the Lights On     

YA fans of horror will relish these page-turners. 


Kalynn Bayron, You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight (Bloomsbury)

Alex Brown, Damned If You Do (Page Street)

Kathleen Hannon, The Confession of Hemingway Jones (CamCat)

Autumn Krause, Before the Devil Knows You’re Here (Peachtree Teen/Peachtree)

Kristen Simmons, Find Him Where You Left Him Dead (Tor Teen)

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


3:10 - 4:00 PM ET | Humor: It’s Elementary

Give early readers storylines on steroids brimming with laughs, and they’re hooked on books for life. A look at what this publishing season has to offer. 


Tom Angleberger, Two-Headed Chicken: Beak to the Future (Candlewick Press)

Kitty Curran, Grave Mistakes (Disney Publishing Worldwide)

Rachel Dinunzio, Forsythia: Rise of the Cupcakes (Paw Prints Publishing by Baker & Taylor)
Shauna J. Grant,
Mimi Boo-Hoo Blahs (Scholastic)

Nathan Hale, The Mighty Bite (Abrams)

Moderator: Myiesha Speight, Book Reviewer, SLJ


In-Booth Chat

4:45 – 5:30 PM ET | YA Sci-Fi Booth Chat (CamCat Books)




4:05 - 4:55 PM ET | Spreading Wings

For fans of realistic fiction, stories of teens navigating conflict and solutions.  


Jennifer Baker, Forgive Me Not (Penguin Young Readers)

Jackie Khalilieh, Something More (Tundra)

Aamna Qureshi, When a Brown Girl Flees (Lee & Low)

Rhonda Roumani, Tagging Freedom (Union Square)

Hannah V. Sawyerr, All the Fighting Parts (Abrams)

Moderator: Taylor Worley, Librarian, Eugene Public Library (OR)


4:05 - 4:55 PM ET | You Don’t Say?
Middle grade kids confront real-life, from family drama and illness to celebrating the joy of good friends and self-discovery.


Jake Maia Arlow, The Year My Life Went Down the Toilet (Penguin Young Readers)

Winsome Bingham, Welcome to Fort Goode (Reycraft Books)

Jenn Bishop, Free Throws, Friendship, and Other Things We Fouled Up (Chronicle)

Alex Gino, Green (Scholastic)

Michelle Kadarusman, We the Sea Turtles: A Collection of Island Stories (Pajama Press)

Moderator: Ashley Leffel, Librarian, Frisco (TX)


5:00 - 5:30 PM ET | Family Ties

A trio of new titles rooted in family for the picture bookshelves.


Mabel Mnensa, Kantiga Finds the Perfect Name (Interlink Publishing Group)

Jesús Trejo, Papás Magical Water-Jug Clock (in English); El Barrilito Mágico de Papá (in Spanish) (Astra Books for Young Readers)

Roxanne Troup, My Grandpa, My Tree, and Me (Yeehoo Press)

Moderator: Amalia E. Butler, Librarian, Park Avenue School, Orange (NJ)


5:30 - 6:00 PM ET | ¡Vamos! Let's Go on a Tour of Raúl the Third's Studio

Join three-time Pura Belpré Award-winning, author-illustrator of the World of ¡Vamos! series, Raúl the Third, in his studio as he discusses his career, creative process, characters, and the forthcoming ¡Vamos! Let's Go Read (HarperCollins Children’s).



Meg Medina is the author of the Newbery Medal–winning Merci Suárez Changes Gears and its sequels, Merci Suárez Can’t Dance and Merci Suárez Plays It Cool, as well as the young adult novels Burn Baby Burn and the Pura Belpré Award–winning Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass. She is also the author of several award-winning picture books. The daughter of Cuban immigrants, Meg Medina lives in Richmond, Virginia.


Luma Mufleh is the founder of Fugees Family, with schools now in Georgia and Ohio and an expanding footprint, bringing educational equity to refugee resettlement communities across America. Her TED Talk on educational justice for refugee families was viewed more than 1.8 million times.


Thien Pham is a graphic novelist, comic artist, and educator based in Oakland, CA. He is the author and illustrator of the graphic novel Sumo and did the art for the middle-grade graphic novel Level Up, written by Gene Luen Yang, and is an ongoing comic contributor to Eater SF. Currently Pham is working on his next graphic novel, teaching, and eating. A lot. Follow Thien on Twitter and Instagram.


Raúl the Third is the New York Times bestselling, three-time Pura Belpré Award–winning author-illustrator of the World of ¡Vamos! series and the illustrator of Schneider Family Award honoree Stuntboy, in the Meantime, written by Jason Reynolds. He lives in Medford, Massachusetts, with his New York Times bestselling collaborator, Elaine Bay.


Jacqueline Woodson received a 2020 MacArthur Fellowship, the 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Award, the 2018 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, and the 2018 Children’s Literature Legacy Award, and she was the 2018–2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Her NY Times bestselling memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming, won the National Book Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor, and the NAACP Image Award. Her dozens of books for young readers include Before the Ever After, The Day You Begin, Harbor Me, FeathersShow Way, After Tupac and D Foster, and Each Kindness.




Tom Angleberger is the author and illustrator of many children’s books, including the Origami Yoda series, which has sold millions of copies worldwide. He lives in Virginia with his wife, Cece Bell.


Jake Maia Arlow is a podcast producer, writer, and bagel connoisseur. She studied evolutionary biology and creative writing (not as different as you might think) at Barnard College. They live with their girlfriend and their loud cat in the Pacific Northwest. 


Jaha Nailah Avery is an African American woman and proud Southerner. Hailing from Asheville, North Carolina, she received her law degree from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied constitutional and civil rights law. She spent several years in the startup tech space before embarking on her professional writing career, and her work can be found in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and Architectural Digest. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and a Diamond Life member of the NAACP.


Jennifer Baker is a publishing professional of twenty years, the creator and host of the Minorities in Publishing podcast, and editor of the short story anthology Everyday People: The Color of Life. She has volunteered with organizations such as We Need Diverse Books and I, Too, Arts Collective, and spoken widely on topics of inclusion, the craft of writing, podcasting, and the inner workings of the publishing industry. Her fiction, nonfiction, and criticism have appeared in various print and online publications.


Kalynn Bayron is the New York Times and Indie bestselling author of the YA fantasy novels Cinderella Is Dead and This Poison Heart. Her latest works include the YA fantasy This Wicked Fate and the middle grade paranormal adventure The Vanquishers. She is a CILIP Carnegie Medal Nominee, a three-time CYBILS Award nominee, a LOCUS Award finalist, and the recipient of the 2022 Randall Kenan Award for Black LGBTQ fiction. She is a classically trained vocalist and musical theater enthusiast. When she's not writing you can find her watching scary movies and spending time with her family.


Terry J. Benton-Walker grew up in rural GA and now lives in Atlanta with his husband and son, where he writes fiction for adults, young adults, and children. He has an Industrial Engineering degree from Georgia Tech and an MBA from Georgia State. When he’s not writing, he can be found gaming, eating ice cream, or both. Blood Debts is his first novel.


Winsome Bingham is the author of The Fort Goode, a chapter books series centering children of military servicemembers and published by Reycraft Books. Her debut picture book, Soul Food Sunday, was one of The New York Times Best Books of the Year, as well as The Connecticut Book Award Medal winner for picture books. She is a connoisseur of soul food and a master cook. She is a teacher by trade and a disabled military veteran by circumstance. She received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education, and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults.


Jenn Bishop is the author of many middle-grade novels and a former children’s librarian. She received her MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she and her husband have season tickets for the University of Cincinnati men’s basketball team. Visit her online at


A Mexican American author and translator from south Texas, David Bowles has written several award-winning titles, most notably They Call Me Güero and My Two Border Towns. His work has also been published in multiple anthologies, plus venues such as The New York Times, School Library Journal, Strange Horizons, English Journal, Rattle, Translation Review, and the Journal of Children's Literature. He is the co-author of the forthcoming Secret of the Moon Conch, which is David’s first collaboration with award-winning author Guadalupe García McCall.


Alex Brown is a queer biracial Filipino American writer who was the showrunner’s assistant on the final season of Supernatural and the upcoming Resident Evil TV adaptation for Netflix. Alex was one of the inaugural recipients of the SCBWI On-The-Verge Emerging Voices award, was a Tin House Scholar for their YA Winter ’21 Workshop, and a finalist for the 2021 Walter Grant. She is also the co-creator of the narrative podcast, The Bridge, which has well over a million downloads. Damned If You Do is her debut.


Cathy Linh Che is a Vietnamese American writer and multidisciplinary artist. She is the author of Split (Alice James Books), winner of the Kundiman Poetry Prize, the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the Best Poetry Book Award from the Association of Asian American Studies. She is also the co-author, with Kyle Lucia Wu, of the children’s book An Asian American A to Z: A Children’s Guide to Our History (Haymarket Books), which will be published in May 2023. 


Eddie Chuculate is an American fiction writer of Muscogee (Creek) and Cherokee descent. He received his MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Chuculate won a PEN/O. Henry Award in 2007 for his story, "Galveston Bay, 1826," from his short story collection Cheyenne Madonna. Chuculate's stories have appeared in ManoaPloughshares, the Iowa ReviewBlue Mesa ReviewMany Mountains Moving, and The Kenyon Review. He also earned a degree in creative writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts and held a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in creative writing at Stanford University. He currently lives in Minneapolis.


Born in New York and raised mostly in Houston, P. Djèlí Clark (he/him) spent his formative years in Trinidad and Tobago. He is the author of A Master of Djinn and the novellas Ring ShoutThe Black God’s Drums, and The Haunting of Tram Car 015Abeni's Song is his middle-grade debut. His stories have appeared in many online venues, and in print anthologies, including Griots, Hidden Youth, and Clockwork Cairo. He is also a founding member of FIYAH Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction and an infrequent reviewer at Strange Horizons.


A Southerner by birth and a Yankee by choice, Lynn Curlee began his art career as a gallery artist in New York City after graduating with a master’s degree in art history from the University of Pennsylvania. In his 20’s, Lynn got his first one man show at the Christopher Gallery on Madison Avenue. In the 1990s, Lynn had the opportunity to illustrate a children’s book. He began writing books and found a new career. He has written and illustrated many books for young readers, including the Sibert Honor book Brooklyn Bridge, Skyscraper, Trains, and The Great Nijinsky—a finalist for the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction.


Kitty Curran is the co-author of two adult books published by Quirk (For Your Consideration: Keanu Reaves and My Lady’s Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel), as well as a YA time-travel fantasy graphic novel forthcoming from Boom! Studios. Kitty has also worked as a designer and had her work featured in Time, Upworthy, CNN, HelloGiggles, CBS, and The Huffington Post. She is a London native who is now based in Chicago. Grave Mistakes is her middle grade debut.


Nate Davenport resides in Huntington, WV, whose city mascot is the bison! He and his wife Suzanna have two children, Crews and Lyla, and a goldendoodle named Heidi. Nate’s passion for literature and writing comes from his father Jeff, who is an author too! Nate earned a degree in youth ministry from Cedarville University, where he also played baseball. He currently works as a sales leader in the medical space, where he focuses on helping those recovering from addiction. Nate’s mission is to impact the lives of children through whimsical literature filled with positivity and truth. 


Rachel DiNunzio is a trained artist, children’s author, and graphic designer, whose work revolves around kindness & creativity. She lives in Buffalo, NY with her husband, two kids, and many animals.


Angela DiTerlizzi is a mom, wife, and author. In 2013, her debut picture book, Say What?, appeared in over one million boxes of Cheerios as a part of the General Mills Spoonfuls of Stories program. Her other books, which include Some Bugs, Baby Love, Just Add Glitter and The Magical Yet, have been chosen as Buzzfeed Best Picture Books and Amazon Best Books of the Month. She and her husband, Tony DiTerlizzi, reside with their daughter and their dog in Amherst, Massachusetts.


Tony DiTerlizzi is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and illustrator. From fanciful picture books like The Broken Ornament and The Spider and The Fly (a Caldecott Honor book), to chapter books like Kenny and The Dragon and The Search for WondLa, DiTerlizzi imbues his stories with rich imagination. With Holly Black, he created the middle-grade series, The Spiderwick Chronicles. He teamed up with Lucasfilm to retell the original Star Wars trilogy as a picture book and his collaboration with celebrated author Mo Willems created the bestseller The Story of Diva & Flea.


Alice Faye Duncan is the author of multiple children’s books, including Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop, which received a 2019 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor and five starred reviews, and Just Like Mama, which was nominated for the NAACP Image Award. Her most recent books include Opal Lee and What it Means to Be FreeEvicted!, and Yellow Dog Blues. Visit


Elrena Evans (MFA, Penn State) is executive editor of Paper&String, a digital care package celebrating faith, creativity, and beauty in its many forms. She is the author of Special Grace: Prayers and Reflections for Families with Special Needs, a short story collection, This Crowded Night, and coauthor of the essay collection Mama, PhD: Women Write About Motherhood and Academic Life.


Stephanie Garber is the #1 New York Times and internationally bestselling author of Once Upon a Broken Heart, The Ballad of Never After, and the Caraval trilogy. Her books have been translated into thirty languages.


Alex Gino loves glitter, ice cream, gardening, awe-ful puns, and stories that reflect the diversity and complexity of being alive. Their first novel, Melissa, was a winner of the Children’s Stonewall Award, the Lambda Literary Award, and the Children’s Choice Book Award. For more about Alex, please visit them at


With a love for all things pink and magical, Shauna J. Grant is a cartoonist who creates cuteness! Shauna is on a mission to add diversity to the comics community by creating stories that feature Black girls as the heroines of their own adventures, and her work has appeared in Black Comix ReturnsNoisemakers, and The Secret Loves of Geeks. She enjoys spending her downtime daydreaming, reading Korean comics, and playing with her own magical dog, Sugarpaws. Shauna casts cuteness into the world via her comics from her home in New York City, the place she was born and raised.


Gary Gray Jr. is a Black Canadian poet and educator who writes for young children and adults, as well as host of the podcast “Its Personal.” Gray's love for literature stems from told and untold stories within his hometown of Preston, Nova Scotia, the largest Black community in Canada. He and his wife have been international educators for more than ten years.


Also known by his stage name Lushlife, Raj Haldar is an American rapper, composer, and producer from Philadelphia, PA. He’s also the #1 New York Times bestselling author of P Is for Pterodactyl.


Nathan Hale is the #1 New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series. He also wrote and illustrated the graphic novels One Trick Pony, Apocalypse Taco, and his most recent work, The Mighty Bite. Hale lives in Utah, and you can find him online at


Having worked as a Hollywood development executive for many years, Kathleen Hannon's career got turned upside down by the Writer's Strike of 2007. With nothing to edit, she turned her desk from west to north, and her editing skills to writing. Her Middle-Grade novel Bye for Now was published by Egmont in late 2011. After a couple screenplays for Hollywood, she has returned to books. The Confession of Hemingway Jones is her first YA novel. Hannon lives in Charlotte, N.C., and is the single mom of two daughters.


Philline Harms is a writer of queer contemporary YA romances, including Never Kiss Your Roommate. When she’s not working on a novel, she can be found analyzing her friends' birth charts, drinking her body weight in tea, or crafting obscurely specific Spotify playlists—sometimes simultaneously. She lives in Germany where she is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in Psychology.


Mikki Hernandez is an actress, voiceover artist, and writer. She attended UCLA earning a degree in Communications and works in film, television, and commercials. She is of mixed-race heritage and enjoys discussing culture and new perspectives on her blog MixedKids&Co.


Michelle Kadarusman grew up in Melbourne, Australia, and also lived many years throughout her father’s homeland of Indonesia before moving to Canada in the year 2000. Her books have earned numerous nominations, including for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Ontario Library Association Silver Birch Award, and the Green Earth Book Award. Her novels include The Theory of Hummingbirds, Girl of the Southern Sea, Music for Tigers, and Berani. Her first picture book, Room for More, was published in 2022. Michelle now lives in Toronto, Canada and Byron Bay, Australia.


Oskar Källner is an author devoted to all things science fiction. His passion was sparked when he was a kid and discovered Jules Verne and read absolutely everything by him in the city public library. He continued with Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke and C.J. Cherryh to only mention a few. Oskar has won several short story competitions and has a body of work consisting of novels, short stories, and children’s books. He’s been published in several languages, most recently in Future Science Fiction.


Autumn Krause is the author of the YA novel A Dress for the Wicked (Harper). Before the Devil Knows You’re Here is her first book with Peachtree Teen/Peachtree. Autumn received her MFA from VCFA and currently lives in Orange County, CA with her husband and two children, and can most often be found wearing a black lace dress.


Barbara Kerley is the award-winning author of numerous nonfiction picture books, including The Extraordinary Mark TwainThose Rebels, John and Tom, and A Home for Mr. Emerson. Her titles for National Geographic include The World Is Waiting for You; You and Me Together; A Little Peace; Brave Like Me; One World, One Day; With a Friend by Your Side; and A Cool Drink of Water.


Jackie Khalilieh is a Palestinian-Canadian writer with a love of nineties pop culture, Dad jokes, and warm and fuzzy romance. Like many autistic females, she received her diagnosis as an adult. She is passionate about positive representation within her writing. She currently resides just outside Toronto, Canada with her husband and two daughters, complaining nightly about having to cook dinner. Something More is her debut YA novel.


Sandra Lamouche is a Nehiyaw Iskwew (Cree woman) from the Bigstone Cree Nation in northern Alberta. She is a wife, mother of two boys with braids, champion women’s hoop dancer, award-winning educator and two-time TEDx speaker. She has a bachelor of arts in Native American studies and is currently completing a thesis on Indigenous dance as a determinant of well-being. Sandra and her family live in Blackfoot Territory (Treaty 7), the heart of powwow country in southern Alberta.


Author-illustrator Jarrett Lerner is the award-winning creator of the EngiNerds series, the Geeger the Robot series, the activity books Give This Book a Title and Give This Book a CoverThe Hunger Heroes series, and the Nat the Cat series for early readers. Jarrett is also the creator of the illustrated novel in verse A Work in Progress. Jarrett co-founded and co-organizes the #KidsNeedBooks and #KidsNeedMentors projects, and regularly spearheads fundraisers for various reading- and book-related causes. He can be found at He lives with his wife and daughters in Massachusetts.


Elizabeth Lim grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she was raised on a hearty diet of fairy tales, myths, and songs. Before becoming an author, Elizabeth was a professional film and video game composer, and she still tends to come up with her best book ideas when writing near a piano. An alumna of Harvard College and the Juilliard School, she now lives in New York City with her husband and her two daughters.


Margaret Littman is a writer whose ancestors came from Poland. She likes to tell stories of people who do things they never imagined they could. Margaret has written for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Preservation magazine, Condé Nast Traveler, Moon Travel Guides, and other publications. She conducted oral histories of Holocaust survivors for the USC Shoah Foundation.


Claire Lordon is an author, illustrator, and designer who creates children’s books, comics, murals, maps, and greeting cards. She is the author-illustrator of Lorenzo, the Pizza-Loving Lobster, the Taking a Walk series, and other picture books. One in a Million is her first graphic novel. Claire Lordon lives in Vancouver, Canada.


Malia Maunakea (she/her/hers) is a part-Hawaiian writer who grew up in the rainforest on the Big Island before moving to a valley on Oʻahu in seventh grade. She relocated to the continent for college, and when she isn’t writing can be found roaming the Colorado Rocky Mountains with her husband, their two children, and a rescue mutt named Peggy.


Born in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, and raised in Eagle Pass, Texas, Guadalupe García McCall is the author of several young adult novels, and many children’s poems. Guadalupe has received the Prestigious Pura Belpre Award, a Westchester Young Adult Fiction Award, and the Tomás Rivera Mexican-American Children’s Book Award, among many other accolades. Guadalupe is an advocate for literacy, diverse books, and Own Voices. She is now a full-time author/part time educator and lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband.


Kristi McManus is a Registered Nurse by trade but has been an avid reader and enthusiastic book lover all her life. Her writing experience began in the online and social media realms, penning various popular stories on Wattpad. Apart from writing she enjoys photography and art, and considers napping to be a form of cardio. Our Vengeful Souls is her first novel.


Born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina, Shanna Miles considers herself a dyed-in-the-wool Southern girl. She lives in Georgia with her family. When she’s not working as a high school librarian, she can be found writing. Visit her online at


Mabel Mnensa is an avid reader, poet, and writer. A lover of words and stories, she completed her Master’s degrees with distinctions—an MA in English Literature from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (2010) and an MA in Creative Writing from University College Dublin (2022). Her published work ranges from children’s picture stories to prose that explores alternate worlds and realities. Mabel’s debut children’s picture book, Kantiga Finds the Perfect Name, was inspired by her niece and the stories she was told growing up.


Tanisia Moore views writing as her avenue for giving hope, sharing life’s lessons, and sparking imaginations. She writes uplifting stories for all ages and wrote I Am My Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams, her first picture book, because she wanted to introduce children to more contemporary Black men and inspire readers to dream and live big. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband and three young children. Learn more at


Oge Mora graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in illustration. Her debut picture book, Thank You, Omu!, was a Caldecott Honor Book, a New York Times Notable Book and Editors' Choice, and a Junior Library Guild selection. She is also the author-illustrator of Saturday, as well as the illustrator of The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read and Everybody in the Red Brick Building. Oge lives in Providence, Rhode Island.


Frank Morrison started his journey as a graffiti artist in New Jersey. It wasn’t until he visited the Louvre Museum in Paris as part of the Sugar Hill Gang's dance entourage that he realized painting was his true path. His work has been featured at Art Basel, SCOPE Miami Beach, and Red Dot art fairs, and shown at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the Mason Fine Art Gallery in Atlanta. He is the illustrator of over twenty children’s books, including R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Jazzy Miz Mozetta, Little Melba and Her Big Trombone and Let the Children March.


Dan Paley has an undergraduate degree in geography and planning and a graduate degree in science writing. He was inspired to create this book when, looking from the doorstep of his family home at fire on a distant ridge, he reassured his three young sons that expert firefighters were there to help. He lives with his family in Irvine, California. Learn more at


Katy Rose Pool, author of the Age of Darkness trilogy, was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, before graduating from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in history. Currently, she resides in Oakland, CA, where she can be found dreaming up spells and prophecies, rooting for the Golden State Warriors, and reading books that set her on fire.


Aamna Qureshi is a Muslim Pakistani American who adores words. She is the award-winning author of the YA fantasy novel The Lady or the Lion. She grew up on Long Island, New York, in a very loud household, surrounded by English (for school), Urdu (for conversation), and Punjabi (for emotion). When she's not writing, she loves to travel to new places where she can explore different cultures, or to Pakistan where she can revitalize her roots. She currently lives in New York.


Rhonda Roumani is a Syrian American journalist who lived in Syria as a reporter for U.S. newspapers. She has written about Islam, the Arab world, and Muslim-American issues for more than two decades. Currently, she is a contributing fellow at the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at USC and a journalism fellow for their Spiritual Exemplars Project. She lives in Connecticut with her family.


Kaz Rowe is a cartoonist, an illustrator, and a YouTuber.


DaVaun Sanders is a Black writer of speculative fiction residing in Phoenix, Arizona. He serves as executive editor for the award-winning FIYAH Literary Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction. His short fiction has appeared in the New York Times bestselling anthology Black Boy Joy, and elsewhere. When deadlines are scarce, he enjoys exploring the world with his wife and twins. Keynan Masters and the Peerless Magic Crew is his debut novel.


Hannah V. Sawyerr was recognized as the Youth Poet Laureate of Baltimore in 2016. Her spoken word has been featured on the BBC’s World Have Your Say program, as well as the National Education Association’s “Do You Hear Us?” campaign. Her written word has been included in gal-dem, Rookie, and xoNecole. She holds a BA in English from Morgan State University and an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. Sawyerr is an English professor at Loyola Marymount University and lives in Los Angeles, California. All the Fighting Parts is her debut novel.


Chad Sell grew up in a small town in central Wisconsin. He lived in a neighborhood much like the Cardboard Kingdom, where he and his friends bounded through backyards in imaginative games and outfits. He also drew a lot and came up with all kinds of colorful characters. His favorites were often the villains, because despite being different and misunderstood, they were powerful and confident, and they got the best costumes. Chad lives in Connecticut with his husband and two cats.


Nadia Shammas is a Palestinian-American comics and games writer from Brooklyn, NY now living in Toronto, Canada. She is best known for being the writer and co-creator of SQUIRE (HarperCollins), a Har-vey Award winning YA Middle Eastern fantasy graphic novel co-created with Sara Alfageeh. Her other original work includes WHERE BLACK STARS RISE. She is also known for her work on MS. MARVEL: STRETCHED THIN (Scholastic). Her clients include Marvel, DC Comics, IDW Publishing, First Second, Tor Nightfire, Penguin Random House, and HarperCollins. *


Critically-acclaimed young adult author of more than a dozen books, including the Article Five trilogy, The Deceivers series, and The Glass Arrow, Kristen Simmons’ writing is inspired by her work with trauma survivors as a mental health therapist. She currently lives with her husband and son in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she spins stories, herds a small pack of semi-wild dogs, and teaches Jazzercise. To learn more, join her circle on Instagram, or at her website & newsletter.


Traci Sorell writes fiction and nonfiction for children featuring contemporary characters and compelling biographies. She is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation and lives in northeastern Oklahoma, where her tribe is located.


Jessica Stremer has a B.S. in biology with an emphasis in ecology. She began writing nonfiction as a way to instill curiosity, wonder, and respect for our natural world. Jessica is married to a United States Marine Corps helicopter pilot who has deployed multiple times on Navy aircraft carriers. The Great Carrier Reef is her debut book for children.


Jesús Trejo is a comedian, the creator of the Showtime special Stay at Home Son, and an actor on the Netflix series Mr. Iglesias and the TV Land series Teachers. Jesús is also the host of the web series Tacos Con Todo, in which he navigates the L.A. taco scene with celebrity guests. Born and raised in Long Beach, California, where he still lives, Jesús appears regularly at international comedy festivals and stand-up venues. 


Roxanne Troup grew up along the waterways of Missouri, where everyone had a pecan tree but few grew pecans commercially. Today, she lives in the mountains of Colorado (where no one grows pecans) and writes kids' books that celebrate wonder and family. She loves visiting schools to water seeds of literacy and teach about writing (and sometimes remembers to water the plants in her own garden).  


Mel Valentine Vargas is a Queer Cuban-American graphic novelist based in Chicago. They hope to draw the kind of illustrations that their younger self, and others like them, could have seen to feel less alone. Mel Valentine Vargas loves singing in Spanish, playing farming video games, and eating lots of gyoza with their friends.


Charles Waters is a children’s poet, actor, educator, and coauthor of African Town; Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z; and the award-winning Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes and Friendship. He lives near Atlanta.


Jeffery Boston Weatherford is an award-winning children's book illustrator and performance poet. His book, You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen, was named a best book of the year by the Association for Library Service to Children and National Council for the Social Studies, Cooperative Children's Book Center, New York Public Library and Kirkus Reviews. Jeffery holds a Master of Fine Arts in painting from Howard University where he was a Romare Bearden Scholar. 


Nyasha Williams, a passionate social justice griot, grew up living intermittently between the United States and South Africa. Nyasha's mission is to use words and stories to decolonize literature, minds, and spiritual practices. With her help, we can all find our voices and use them to write a better world. She currently has four children's book titles and five children's book titles coming out in 2023, along with an Oracle deck Fall of 2023. You can find her on Instagram at @writingtochangethenarrative and @decolonize_yourself on TikTok. She lives in Northglenn, Colorado, with her husband.


Gordy Wright is an illustrator and printmaker who paints by hand in gouache and acrylic. Books he has illustrated include Wild in the Streets by Marilyn Singer, and Strange but True by Kathryn Hulick. Gordy graduated with a first class degree in illustration from the University of the West of England.


Raymond Xu is a story artist and animator for television and feature films. Xu began doodling at an early age and never stopped, turning his passion into his profession. His recent work includes the 2021 Netflix animated smash hit The Mitchells vs. The Machines; DreamWorks’ Captain Underpants movie; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem; and more. He is currently based in Toronto.




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.


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).


Amalia E. Butler is a public school librarian (P-7) with experience in public libraries. She most recently served on the 2023 (John) Newbery Award Selection Committee; is a current co-chair of the ALSC Children & Libraries Editorial Advisory Committee; and was a recipient of the 2020 Penguin Random House Young Readers Group Award for public library programming.


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.


Shelley Diaz, Reviews Editor, School Library Journal


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.


Brandi Grant has 12 years experience as a school librarian and currently is a middle school librarian at Pearson Middle School in Frisco ISD. The mission statement that guides her professionally is to strive to educate, prepare, and inspire all students to achieve their highest potential with various resources, a contagious love of reading and a positive and fun environment. What she holds tight is to provide a safe, inclusive, and flexible learning environment where whoever enters through the doors feels that they are free to COLLABORATE, INNOVATE, and ESCAPE.


Karen Grenke is the Library Co-Director at The Town School (NYC) and the Resident Librarian at the Onteora Club. She is a second generation librarian, hailing from Canada by way of Taiwan. Her book-related projects have been published in SLJ and she’s twice been a panelist at Book Expo. Karen is a company member of Nerve Tank Media and a recipient of an Audio Verse Award for Best Storyteller. She is the current co-chair of the Education and Information Technology committee for the New York State Association of Independent Schools.


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.


Nicholl Montgomery, PhD, is an adjunct professor in the Curriculum and Instruction department at Boston College and the Children's Literature Department at Simmons University. Dr. Montgomery is a former middle and high school English teacher for Boston Public Schools.


Alea Perez has been a Youth and Young Adult Services manager in the Chicago suburbs since June 2015. She aims to help children, teens, and their caregivers discover the many services libraries provide. Alea is dedicated to advocacy for youth and teen services, youth and teen services management, graphic novels for youth and teens, and equity and inclusion in the field at large.


Justin Shannin is a teen library associate at Chicago Public Library, where he plans systemwide program initiatives and creates social media content. He reviews books for the library's teen "Best of the Best" committee and writes book recommendation blogs for the library's website. 


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


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.


Sylvia Vardell is Professor Emerita in the School of Library and Information Studies at Texas Woman’s University and the author of Children’s Literature in Action, Poetry Aloud Here, and editor of A World Full of Poems. She has collaborated with Janet Wong on multiple poetry anthologies for teachers and young readers. She has served on committees including the ALA Caldecott, Odyssey, Sibert, and Legacy committees, the NCTE Poetry Award Committee, taught at the University of Zimbabwe as a Fulbright scholar, and currently serves as President of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). 


Taylor Worley (she/her) is a Librarian at the Eugene 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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