SLJTeen Live! Our Voice, Our Time

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This Year’s Theme Is Our Voice, Our Time

Often thought of as quiet places, libraries are, in fact, hotbeds of passionate communication, dialogue, and activity. Young adult fiction has always been about finding and raising your voice. Like Greta Thunberg, Emma González, and other young activists, real teenagers around the world are making themselves heard, at home and abroad.

This year, many teens will vote for the first time, and even the youngest have powerful perspectives worth sharing. Meanwhile, #OwnVoices creators increasingly share stories that have long been silenced. As adults, it’s equally important that we listen to and amplify young voices, inside and outside our communities. The conference’s author panels and library programming sessions will help you support and engage teens during this complex moment and beyond.

Explore the virtual exhibit hall, download materials, enter contests, hear directly from publishers about their newest books, and live chat with staff, authors, and peers!

Registration includes access to the SLJTeen Live! on-demand archives for up to three months.


Sponsored by

Candlewick Press Candlewick Press
Candlewick Press Oni Press Junior Library Guild


9:00 – 10:00 AM ET | Explore the Exhibits

Booth Chats
9:00 AM – 9:30 AM ET: Live Chat with Isabella Rotman, creator of A Quick & Easy Guide to Consent (Oni Lion Forge Booth)
9:30 AM – 10:30 AM ET: Chat with Author Annet Schaap, Of Salt and Shore (Charlesbridge)
9:30 AM – 10:00 AM ET: Anthony Del Col, The Death of Nancy Drew (Diamond)
9:30 AM – 9:50 AM ET: Ashley Woodfolk Author Chat, Lux: The New Girl #1 (Penguin Teen Giveaways)
9:40 AM – 10:10 AM ET: David Lopez, author and artist, Blackhand & Ironhead (Image Comics)
10:00 AM – 10:30 AM ET: Live Chat with Emmett Helen and Rick Spears, creators of My Riot (Oni Lion Forge Booth)
10:00 AM – 10:30 AM ET: Live Chat with J. Scott Savage author of The Lost Wonderland Diaries (Shadow Mountain Publishing)


10:00 – 10:50 AM ET | Opening Keynote

From award-winning, bestselling author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five comes a powerful YA novel in verse about a boy who is wrongfully incarcerated.

Presented by: Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam, Authors, Punching the Air (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray)

Moderated by: Kristin Anderson, Jackson County Library (OR)

Booth Chats
10:50 AM – 12:00 PM ET: Chat with Author Dana Alison Levy, author of Above All Else (Charlesbridge)
10:50 AM – 11:05 AM ET: Chat with E. Lockhart, author of Again Again (Random House Children’s Books)
11:00 AM – 11:20 AM ET: Brigid Kemmerer, author of A Vow So Bold and Deadly (Bloomsbury)


11:00 AM – 12:00 PM ET | Two YA Panels Running Concurrently
Reclaiming the American Experience

There is no singular American story, but rather a multitude of unique identities and experiences. These authors will discuss how—in poetry, humor, fantasy, realism, and historical fiction, with characters who are immigrants or the children of immigrants—they craft stories that disrupt traditional narratives.

Romina Garber, Lobizona (St. Martin’s/Wednesday)
Candice Iloh, Every Body Looking (Dutton)
Malinda Lo, Last Night at the Telegraph Club (Dutton, 2021)
Syed M. Masood, More Than Just a Pretty Face (Little, Brown)
Ben Philippe, Charming As a Verb (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray)
Jenny Torres Sanchez, We Are Not From Here (Philomel)
Moderated by: Adi Alsaid, Editor/Contributor, Come On In (Inkyard)

Acting Up
YA books have long been about finding your voice and fighting for what’s right, and real teens around the world are advocating for change in their communities and beyond. These authors will discuss their books—both fiction and nonfiction—about taking a stand.

Veronica Chambers, Finish the Fight (HMH)
Adam Eli, The New Queer Conscience (Penguin Workshop)
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Imaginary Borders (Penguin Workshop)
Darcy Van Poelgeest, Little Bird: The Fight for Elder’s Hope (Image)
Liza M. Wiemer, The Assignment (Delacorte)
Moderated by: Mahnaz Dar, Graphic Novels Editor, SLJ

12:00 – 12:30 PM ET | Break, Explore the Exhibits

Booth Chats
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM ET: Chat with Author Tami Charles, author of Like Vanessa and Becoming Beatriz (Charlesbridge)
12:00 PM – 12:30 PM ET: Chat with Roseanne Brown, author of Songs of Wraiths and Ruin (HarperCollins)
12:00 PM – 12:20 PM ET: Chat with Natalia Sylvester, author of Running (Houghton Mifflin)
12:00 PM – 12:30 PM ET: Chat with author/editor Adi Alsaid (Inkyard Press)
12:00 PM – 12:30 PM ET: Author Chat with Debut Author Syed Masood, author of More Than Just a Pretty Face (LBYR)
12:00 PM – 12:30 PM ET: Live Chat with Jonathan Hill, creator of Odessa (Oni Lion Forge Booth)
12:00 PM – 12:20 PM ET: David Yoon Author Chat, Super Fake Love Song (Penguin Teen Giveaways)
12:00 PM – 12:30 PM ET: Candace Fleming, author of The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh (Random House Children’s Books)
12:30 PM – 1:00 PM ET: Phil Hester, artist, Family Tree (Image Comics)
1:10 PM – 1:40 PM ET: Johnnie Christmas, author and artist, Tartarus (Image Comics)


12:30 – 1:20 PM ET | Lunch Speaker
In today’s complex media environment, it’s essential that students learn how to identify the source of information, verify it, and analyze how it was designed to make them feel, according to news and information literacy experts. This speaker will discuss misinformation and basic digital verification skills.

Peter Adams, Senior Vice President of Education, News Literacy Project
Moderated by: Sarah Bayliss, News & Features Editor, SL

Booth Chats

1:20 PM – 1:50PM ET: Author Chat with Zoraida Córdova, author of Incendiary (LBYR)
2:00 PM – 2:20 PM ET: Nikki Grimes, author of Legacy (Bloomsbury)
2:00 PM – 2:30 PM ET: In Booth Book Buzz (Charlesbridge)
2:00 PM – 2:30 PM ET: Live chat with Heather B. Moore author of The Paper Daughters of Chinatown (Shadow Mountain Publishing)


1:30 – 2:30 PM ET | Two YA Panels Running Concurrently
Rethinking, Retelling

Well-known stories are ripe for reimagining, and established characters always have more to say. These speakers will discuss putting a new spin on fairy tales, classics, and myths to create stories that feel entirely fresh.

Kalynn Bayron, Cinderella is Dead (Bloomsbury)
Jennifer Donnelly, Poisoned (Scholastic)
Lilliam Rivera, Never Look Back (Bloomsbury)
J. Scott Savage, The Lost Wonderland Diaries (Shadow Mountain)
Erik Ko, Editor in Chief of Manga Classics / Anne of Green Gables (Diamond)
Moderated by: Kimberly Fakih, Picture Book Editor, SLJ

BeTween: Books for Young Teens
YA fiction is not one-size-fits-all. The themes, prose, and characters of some books are sometimes too advanced for middle and early high school readers. Still, it’s possible to find the perfect book for tweens and young teens. These authors will discuss their books that are a good match for readers in that in-between space.

Mike Curato, Flamer (Holt)
Melissa De La Cruz, Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy (Roaring Brook) 
Jarad Greene, Scullion: A Dishwasher's Guide to Mistaken Identity (Oni)
Amparo Ortiz, Blazewrath Games (Page Street)
Annet Schaap, Of Salt and Shore (Charlesbridge)
Moderated by: Katy Hershberger, YA Editor, SLJ

2:30 – 2:50 PM ET | Break, Explore the Exhibits

Booth Chats
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM ET: Chat with Author Karol Ruth Silverstein, author of Cursed (Charlesbridge)
2:30 PM – 2:45 PM ET: Chat with Rebecca Schaeffer, author of When Villains Rise (Houghton Mifflin)
2:30 PM – 3:00 PM ET: Author Chat with Jennifer Lynn Barnes, author of The Inheritance Games (LBYR)
2:30 PM – 3:00 PM ET: Live Chat with Rodney Barnes, writer of Quincredible (Oni Lion Forge Booth)
2:30 PM – 2:50 PM ET: Melissa de la Cruz Author Chat, Jo and Laurie and The Queen’s Assassin (Penguin Teen Author Portal)
3:30 PM – 4:00 PM ET: Live Chat with Rachel Dukes, creator of Frankie Comics (Oni  Lion Forge Booth)


2:50 – 3:50 PM ET | Two Teen Services/Programming Presentations Running  Concurrently
Virtual Events

As schools and libraries closed around the country, librarians have had to figure out how to adapt their events programming without a physical space, which presents both opportunities and challenges, including the possibility of online abuse. These speakers will discuss how they’ve hosted engaging virtual events, and how to maintain the safety of both presenters and attendees.

Jillian Ehlers, School Librarian, Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School (NY)
Damla Bek, Young Adult Librarian, Brooklyn Public Library, Mill Basin (NY)
Kelly Yang, Author, Three Keys (Scholastic)
Moderated by: Regina Townsend, Young Adult Services Manager, Forest Park Public Library (IL)

A Space for All
Whether in person or virtually, the library must be a welcoming place for all patrons. These speakers will discuss creating a safe and accessible space for Black and Latinx teens and people with disabilities, in our virtual world and beyond.

Maisy Card, Teen Services Librarian, Newark Public Library (NJ)
Sandy Ho, Research Associate, The Lurie Institute for Disability Policy
Moderated by: Janet Rene Damon, MLIS, Ed.S, Library Services Specialist, Denver Public Schools (CO)

Booth Chat
3:50 PM – 4:20 PM ET: Cat Seaton, author, Norroway Series Book 2 (Image Comics)


4:00 – 5:00 PM ET | Closing Keynote Conversation

While systemic racism and an unequal justice system have long existed in the U.S., the events of this summer have thrown these truths into even sharper relief. Black teens face this reality daily, and every young person is affected by these issues in our world. These authors will discuss writing fictional stories about social justice that are all too real.

Kim Johnson, This is My America (Random)
Maika and Maritza Moulite, One of the Good Ones (Inkyard, 2021)
Christina Hammonds Reed, The Black Kids (S. & S.)
Nic Stone, Dear Justyce (Crown)
Moderated by: Desiree Thomas, Librarian, Worthington Library (OH)

Keynote Speakers

Peter Adams is the News Literacy Project’s senior vice president of education and has been with the organization since 2009. He began his career in education as a classroom teacher in the New York City schools. He has also worked as a trainer with the New York City Teaching Fellows Program, a youth media after-school instructor in the Chicago public schools and an adjunct instructor at Roosevelt University and Chicago City Colleges.

Kim Johnson held leadership positions in social justice organizations as a teen. She's now a college administrator who maintains civic engagement throughout the community while also mentoring Black student activists and leaders. This Is My America is her debut novel. It explores racial injustice against innocent Black men who are criminally sentenced and the families left behind to pick up the pieces. She holds degrees from the University of Oregon and the University of Maryland, College Park. Kim lives her best life in Oregon with her husband and two kids.

Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite are self-professed bookworms who have been devouring YA for years. They grew up in Miami with two more Moulite sisters, a large extended family, a love for the ocean and their own Haitian culture. The character Alaine is an amalgamation of their experiences (to a certain degree) and their goal is to make Haitian culture and history more accessible through a fun, fast-paced, but also introspective story line that anyone can relate to.

Christina Hammonds Reed holds an MFA from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. A native of the Los Angeles area, her work has previously appeared in the Santa Monica Review and One Teen Story. The Black Kids is her first novel.

Dr. Yusef Salaam was just fifteen years old when his life was upended after being wrongly convicted in the “Central Park jogger” case, along with four other boys who are now known as the Exonerated Five. In 2002, after the young men spent between seven and thirteen years of their lives behind bars, their sentences were overturned, and they were fully exonerated. Their story has been documented in the award-winning film The Central Park Five by documentarians Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon. As well as in Ava DuVernay’s highly acclaimed series When They See Us, one of Netflix’s most-watched original series of all time. Yusef is now a poet, activist, and inspirational speaker who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama, among other honors. You can find him online at

Nic Stone is an Atlanta native and a Spelman College graduate. After working extensively in teen mentoring and living in Israel for several years, she returned to the United States to write full-time. Nic's debut novel for young adults, Dear Martin, was a New York Times bestseller and William C. Morris Award finalist. She is also the author of the teen titles Odd One Out, a novel about discovering oneself and who it is okay to love, which was an NPR Best Book of the Year and a Rainbow Book List Top Ten selection, and Jackpot, a love-ish story that takes a searing look at economic inequality.

Ibi Zoboi holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her novel American Street was a National Book Award finalist and a New York Times Notable Book. She is also the author of Pride and My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich, a New York Times bestseller. She is the editor of the anthology Black Enough. Born in Haiti and raised in New York City, she now lives in New Jersey with her husband and their three children. You can find her online at




Kalynn Bayron is a debut author and classically trained vocalist. She grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. When she’s not writing you can find her listening to Ella Fitzgerald on loop, attending the theater, watching scary movies, and spending time with her kids. She currently lives in San Antonio, Texas with her family.

Damla Bek (she/hers) is a born-and-bred Brooklynite helping teens claim a stake for themselves in the world through public library work. You can reach her at

Maisy Card is a writer and a librarian at the Newark Public Library. Her first novel, These Ghosts are Family, was published in March. Her writing has appeared in Lenny Letter, School Library Journal, Guernica and other publications.

Veronica Chambers is the editor of Past Tense at The New York Times. She recently created the anthology "The Meaning of Michelle," a collection by 16 writers celebrating the former first lady, and edited the upcoming "Queen Bey: A Celebration of the Power and Creativity of Beyoncé Knowles-Carter." She is a prolific author, best known for her critically acclaimed memoir, Mama's Girl. Born in Panama and raised in Brooklyn, she writes often about her Afro-Latina heritage. She speaks, reads, and writes Spanish, but she is truly fluent in Spanglish. She is currently a JSK Knight fellow at Stanford University.

Mike Curato is the author and illustrator of the Little Elliot series and has illustrated a number of other books for children, including Worm Loves Worm. Flamer is Mike's first graphic novel.

Melissa de la Cruz is the #1 New York Times-USA Today-Wall Street Journal-Los Angeles Times-and Publishers Weekly-internationally bestselling author of many critically acclaimed books for readers of all ages, including the Alex & Eliza trilogy and Disney's Descendants novels.

Jennifer Donnelly is the author of A Northern Light, which was awarded a Printz Honor and a Carnegie Medal, Revolution (named a Best Book by Amazon, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, and the Chicago Public Library, and was nominated for a Carnegie Medal), the Deep Blue series, and many other books for young readers, including Lost in a Book, which spent more than 20 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. She lives in New York's Hudson Valley.

Jillian Ehlers is the school librarian at the Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School, a public school in NYC, serving students grades 6-12. She is the American Association of School Librarians’ 2020 Collaborative School Library Award winner and the New York City School Librarians’ Association President-Elect. She also currently serves on a few NYLA, ALA, AASL, and YALSA committees.

Adam Eli is a community organizer and writer in New York City. He is the founder of Voices4, a nonviolent direct-action activist group committed to advancing global queer liberation and was included in Out Magazine's 100 most influential queer people of 2018. He believes that when you mess with one queer, you mess with us all.

Romina Garber (pen name Romina Russell) is a New York Times and international bestselling author. Originally from Argentina, she landed her first writing gig as a teen—a weekly column for the Miami Herald that was later nationally syndicated—and she hasn’t stopped writing since. When she’s not working on a novel, Romina can be found producing movie trailers, taking photographs, or daydreaming about buying a new drum set. She is a graduate of Harvard College and a Virgo to the core.

Jarad Greene is a cartoonist who loves creating fantasy, adventure, and memoir comics for kids and young adults. After many years in humid and sunny cities in Florida and South Carolina, Jarad currently finds himself in the foggy and peculiar train town of White River Junction, Vermont, where he works for The Center for Cartoon Studies. He does love to bake, but isn’t too fond of doing the dishes. He’s been told he looks a bit like Tom Hanks, or maybe a Jonas brother, but he has yet to be chased by the paparazzi… or trolls. Take a peek at what’s on his desk @JaradGreene.

Founder and Co-Organizer, Disability & Intersectionality Summit Sandy Ho is a disability community-organizer, activist, and disability policy researcher. Currently, she is a research associate at the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at Brandeis University where she manages the Community Living Policy Center. In 2015 she was recognized as a White House Champion of Change for her work in mentoring for transitional-age disabled women. Sandy is one third of the team behind Access Is Love, a campaign that is co-partnered by Alice Wong and Mia Mingus. Her areas of work include disability justice, racial justice, intersectionality, and disability studies. Most recently Sandy was named one of The Advocate's 2020 Champions of Pride. She is on the Board of Directors for Library Land Project. She is a disabled queer Asian American woman whose writing has been published by Bitch Media online.

Candice Iloh is a first generation Nigerian-American writer, teaching artist, and youth educator. She has performed her work around the country, most notably at Nuyorican Poets Café in New York City, the Women in Poetry & Hip Hop celebration at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore (where she performed as Nikki Giovanni), and as part of the Africa In Motion performing arts series at the National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of Howard University and holds an MFA in writing from Lesley University. Her work has earned fellowships from Lambda Literary and VONA among many others. Every Body Looking is her first novel.

Erik Ko has been in the project development business for over 25 years, starting his career by overseeing Star Wars and Star Trek merchandise back in 1993. In 2000, he formed UDON Entertainment, leading a group of international elite artists serving the entertainment industry; their clients include Disney, Marvel, DC Comics, Warner Bros, Universal, Bandai Namco, Capcom, Konami, Hasbro, and Mattel, to name a few. Being an immigrant from Asia, one of Ko’s goals is to bridge the cultures of East and West; his latest project is Manga Classics, which takes classic literature stories and presents them in Japanese manga format, a popular medium among young readers nowadays.

Malinda Lo is the critically acclaimed author of several young adult novels, including most recently A Line in the Dark, which was a Kirkus Best YA Book of 2017 one of Vulture's 10 Best YA Books of 2017. Her novel Ash, a lesbian retelling of Cinderella, was a finalist for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award, the Andre Norton Award for YA Science Fiction and Fantasy, the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, and was a Kirkus Best Book for Children and Teens. She has been a three-time finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. Malinda's nonfiction has been published by The New York Times Book Review, NPR, The Huffington Post, The Toast, The Horn Book, and the anthologies Here We Are, How I Resist, and Scratch. She lives in Massachusetts.

Earth Guardians Youth Director Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is a nineteen-year-old indigenous climate activist, hip-hop artist, and powerful voice on the front lines of a global youth-led environmental movement. At the early age of six, Xiuhtezcatl began speaking around the world, from the United Nations Summit in Rio de Janeiro to addressing the UN General Assembly in New York. His work has been featured on major media platforms, such as PBS, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, Vogue, The Daily Show, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, CNN, HBO, VICE, and more. He has received significant international awards, including the 2013 United States Community Service Award from President Obama, and was the youngest of twenty-four national change-makers chosen to serve on the President's youth council. Xiuhtezcatl is the author of We Rise and is also reaching his generation through hip-hop. He released his first EP, Broken, and his first album, Break Free, in 2018.

Syed M. Masood grew up in Karachi, Pakistan, and now lives with his wife and children in Sacramento, California, where he is a practicing attorney. He wrote a few couplets in Urdu when he was a teenager, and his family still tells everyone he is an Urdu poet. He is not. More Than Just a Pretty Face is his debut young adult novel.

Amparo Ortiz was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and currently lives on the island’s northeastern coast. Her short story comic, What Remains in The Dark, appears in the Eisner Award-winning anthology Puerto Rico Strong (Lion Forge, 2018), and SAVING CHUPIE, her middle grade graphic novel, comes out with HarperCollins in Winter 2022. She holds an M.A. in English and a B.A. in Psychology from the UPR’s Río Piedras campus. When she’s not teaching ESL to her college students, she’s teaching herself Korean, devouring as much young adult fiction as she can, and writing about Latinx characters in worlds both contemporary and fantastical.

Ben Philippe is a New York–based writer and screenwriter, born in Haiti and raised in Montreal, Canada. He has a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University and an MFA in fiction and screenwriting from the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas. He also teaches screenwriting at Columbia University. He is the Morris Award-winning author of Field Guide to the North American Teenager. He can be found online at

Lilliam Rivera is an award-winning writer and author of the young adult novels Dealing in Dreams and The Education of Margot Sanchez. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Elle, Lenny Letter, Tin House, Nightmare Magazine, and Magazine for Fantasy & Science Fiction, to name a few. Lilliam grew up in the Bronx and currently lives in Los Angeles.

Jenny Torres Sanchez is a full-time writer and former English teacher. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, but has lived on the border of two worlds her whole life. She is the author of We Are Not From Here; The Fall of Innocence; Because of the Sun; Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia; and The Downside of Being Charlie. She lives in Orlando, Florida, with her husband and children. Follow her on Twitter @jetchez and on Instagram @jennytsanchez.

J. Scott Savage is the author of the Mysteries of Cove and Farworld fantasy series. He has published more than seventeen novels, visited more than 1,400 schools, and taught dozens of writing classes. He has four children, five grandchildren, and lives with his wife, Jennifer, in a windy valley of the Rocky Mountains.

Annet Schaap has been working as an illustrator for thirty years and has illustrated over 200 books, including the How Do I Survive series, the Superjuffie series, and the work of Jacques Vriens. Her debut novel, Lampje, was first published in her home country of the Netherlands, where she now lives with her family. Lampje has won four prizes, including the best Dutch children’s book of the year for 2018 and shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal; it has been released in the UK as Lampie and the Children of the Sea and is now available in the United States as Of Salt & Shore.

Darcy Van Poelgeest is a multi-award winning writer and director. His film work has screened internationally at festivals, been broadcast on TV, shown in galleries, and become a best seller on iTunes. His debut comic series LITTLE BIRD (2019) is out now from Image Comics & Glènat Editions. He lives in Vancouver B.C. with his family, and prefers to walk whenever possible.

Liza Wiemer is an award-winning educator with over twenty years of experience. She is the author of two adult nonfiction books, as well as a young adult novel. She lives in Milwaukee with her family. Visit her at and follow @lizawiemer on Twitter and @lizamwiemer on Instagram.

Kelly Yang’s family immigrated to the United States from China when she was a young girl, and she grew up in California, in circumstances very similar to those of Mia Tang. She eventually left the motels and went to college at the age of 13, and is a graduate of UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School. Upon graduation, she gave up law to pursue her dream of writing and teaching kids writing. She is the founder of The Kelly Yang Project, a leading writing and debating program for children in Asia and the United States. She is also a columnist for the South China Morning Post and has been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Atlantic. Kelly is the mother of three children and splits her time between Hong Kong and San Francisco. Please find her online at and follow her on Twitter @kellyyanghk




Adi Alsaid was born and raised in Mexico City, where he spilled hot sauce on things. He still makes every dish he eats as spicy as possible. Along with writing and traveling the world, Adi has coached high school and elementary school basketball. In addition to Mexico, he has lived in Tel Aviv, Las Vegas, Monterey, and Chicago. He's the author of Let's Get Lost, a YALSA Best of YA 2015 nominee; Never, Always, Sometimes, a Kirkus Reviews Book of the Year nominee; North of Happy; Brief Chronicle of Another Stupid Heartbreak; and We Didn't Ask for This. Follow him on Instagram at

Kristin Anderson manages the Bear Creek Area and the Ashland Branch of Jackson County Library Services in Southern Oregon. Prior to her time in Oregon, she spent thirteen years working in youth services roles in Central Ohio libraries. She is passionate about the importance of diverse representation in literature for young readers. She has been an SLJ reviewer for nearly 15 years. She holds both an MLIS from Kent State University and an MBA from University of Texas at Austin.


Sarah Bayliss is School Library Journal’s Editor, News & Features

Janet Damon is the Library Services Specialist for Denver Public Schools supporting library programs around the city. She is the founder of Afros and Books, a collective of librarians of color & LGBTQ+ staff who promote liberation through libraries. The team advocates for equitable access to libraries in historically marginalized communities and designs professional development for schools and community organizations. She was recognized by Library Journal as a 2020 Mover and Shaker and Change Agent. In her free time, she writes a festival blog called MixMomma and she is a City Captain for Black Girls Hike Global.

Mahnaz Dar is School Library Journal’s Graphic Novels Editor.

Kimberly Fakih is School Library Journal’s Senior Editor, Picture Books.

 Katy Hershberger is School Library Journal’s YA Editor

Desiree Thomas has worked in the library profession for the past 21 years. She’s a youth services librarian who believes that stories have the power to change our worldview. She’s also a knitter, dancer, and yoga enthusiast.


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