School Library Journal Day of Dialog 2023 Fall

Join us October 12th for the most anticipated librarian gathering of the Fall/Winter 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. 

The Virtual Environment is optimized for 1024 X 768 screen resolution. Joining the environment with a cell phone is not recommended. Please make sure your computer and browser are up to date. Chrome tends to work best. The event platform does not support IE11 + Windows 7 or older versions. 

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. 

If on the day of the event you find that you are unable to access the environment or join a session, please know that sessions will be available for on-demand viewing within 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 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. 

Having trouble registering? Contact the Event Manager. 

9:00 - 9:30 AM ET | The Exhibit Hall Opens / Visit the Booths

9:30 - 10:00 AM ET | Opening Keynote 

Actor, activist, and author George Takei shares the moving and powerful story of his childhood years spent in a Japanese American incarceration camp during WWll in his forthcoming picture-book memoir, My Lost Freedom (Random House Children’s). Mr. Takei will be interviewed by Kathy Ishizuka, Editor in Chief, School Library Journal.


10:05 - 10:55 AM ET | Families: Together, Apart, and Found
In prose and poetry these middle grade titles explore the meaning of family. 

Kate Albus, Nothing Else but Miracles (Holiday House) 
Crystal Allen, Between Two Brothers (HarperCollins Children’s Books)  
Andrea Beatriz Arango, Something Like Home (Random House Children’s Books)  
Anna E. Jordan, Shira and Esther's Double Dream Debut (Chronicle) 

Sherri Winston, Shark Teeth (Bloomsbury) 
Moderator: Heather Lassley, Librarian, Trent Middle School, Frisco ISD (TX)

10:05 - 10:55 AM ET | New in Graphic
From a story of vampires on roller skates to that of a real-life, 19th-century Shoshone guide, this season’s middle grade graphic novels encompass a range of genres.

Veronica Park Anderson, Blood City Rollers (Random House Children’s Books) 
Rick Stromoski, Schnozzer & Tatertoes: Shoot the Moon! (Union Square & Co.) 
Randy'L He-Dow Teton, It’s Her Story: Sacajawea (Phoenix International Publications) 
Gabriel Valentin, Digital Lizards of Doom: Dizzy Doom (Mad Cave Studios) 
Booki Vivat, Meet Me on Mercer Street (Scholastic) 
Moderator: Jasmine Amiri, Editor, Graphic Novels, SLJ

10:05 - 10:55 AM ET | Ready, Set, Go
A selection of books for emergent readers from some of our favorite authors. 

Sharon G. Flake, You Make Me Sneeze! (Astra Books for Young Readers)
Miranda Harmon, Market Day (Holiday House)
Naseem Hrab, Otis & Peanut Forever and Ever (Owlkids) 
Susan Lubner, Drag and Rex: Forever Friends (Pixel + Ink/Holiday House)  
Greg Pizzoli, Lucky Duck (Random House Children’s Books)
Moderator: Ben Perry, Coordinator, School Age Services, Brooklyn Public Library (NY)


11:00 - 11:30 AM ET | Inner Lives of Boys 
Meet two young male protagonists who explore their emotions through poetry. 

Aida Salazar, Ultraviolet (Scholastic) 
Alicia Williams, Mid Air (Simon & Schuster) 

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

11:00 - 11:30 AM ET | They Dreamed BIG  
Three forthcoming picture book biographies feature individuals on a mission. 

Emily Inouye Huey, Wat Kept Playing: The Inspiring Story of Wataru Misaka and His Rise to the NBA (Shadow Mountain Publishing) 
Carole Lindstrom, Autumn Peltier, Water Warrior (Macmillan Children’s) 
Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail, Freddie the Flyer (Tundra Books) 
Moderator: Florence Simmons, Associate Editor, Generalist, SLJ

11:30 AM - 12:10 PM ET | Break / Visit the Exhibit Hall


12:10 - 1:00 PM ET | An Invitation to Imagine  
A sense of wonder, a new perspective, and an unleashed imagination: forthcoming picture books open readers’ eyes to worlds of possibilities.

Linsey Davis, Girls of the World: Doing More Than Ever Before (Zonderkidz) 
Patrice Karst, Ruby and Lonely (Amazon Publishing) 
Thao Lam, One Giant Leap (Owlkids) 
Ana Siqueira, La Mala Suerte Is Following Me (Charlesbridge) 
Darcy Day Zoells, The New Bicycle (Clavis Publishing) 
Moderator: Ruth Guerrier-Pierre, Supervising Librarian, Youth Services The New York Public Library 

12:10 - 1:00 PM ET | A Potpourri of New YA 
From graphic novels to memoirs, a selection of new titles for teens. 

Annie Cardi, Red (Union Square & Co.) 
Jonell Joshua, How Do I Draw These Memories? (Levine Querido)
Tomi Oyemakinde, The Changing Man (Macmillan)

Paul Tobin, Voyage de Gourmet (Mad Cave Studios) 
Dale Walls, The Queer Girl Is Going to Be OK (Levine Querido) 
Moderator: Christina Vortia, Rare Books Librarian, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University (D.C.)

12:10 - 1:00 PM ET | “The Course of True Love Never Did Run Straight”
From slo-burn to enemies to lovers, sparks fly in these new YA romances.

Tashie Bhuiyan, Stay with My Heart (Inkyard Press)
Nora Shalaway Carpenter, Fault Lines (Hachette Book Group) 
Jackie Johnson, Bladestay (CamCat Books)
Beth Revis & Sara Raasch, Night of the Witch (Sourcebooks) 

Jonny Garza Villa, Canto Contigo (Macmillan Library Marketing) 
Moderator: Clair Quaintance, Librarian, Regis High School (NY)

1:05 - 1:35 PM ET | Afternoon Keynote 

Join author/illustrator power duo Renée Watson and Ekua Holmes in conversation about their semi-autobiographical book of poetry, Black Girl You Are Atlas (Penguin Young Readers), which explores themes of home, identity, and the intersections of race, class, and gender.  
Moderator: Ashleigh Williams, Associate Editor, Middle Grade & Chapter Books, SLJ


1:40 - 2:30 PM ET | Spotlight on Nonfiction
A stellar group of new titles offer secondary students a lens into events historical, political, social, and personal.  

Candy J. Cooper, Shackled: A Tale of Wronged Kids, Rogue Judges, and a Town that Looked Away (Astra Books for Young Readers) 
Candace Fleming, The Enigma Girls: How Ten Teenagers Broke Ciphers, Kept Secrets, and Helped Win World War II (Scholastic) 
Sherri L. Smith and Elizabeth Wein, American Wings: Chicago's Pioneering Black Aviators and the Race for Equality in the Sky (Penguin Young Readers) 
Paula Yoo, Rising from the Ashes: Los Angeles, 1992. Edward Jae Song Lee, Latasha Harlins, Rodney King, and a City on Fire (Norton Young Readers)
Moderator: Justin Shannin, Teen Library Associate, Chicago Public Library (IL) 


1:40 - 2:30 PM ET | Thrills Galore…and Gory  
Psychological thrillers, paranormal suspense, and straight-up horror characterize new books brimming with spirits, monsters, and more. 

Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos, The Doomsday Archives: The Wandering Hour (Zando Young Readers) 
Katya de Becerra, When Ghosts Call Us Home (Page Street YA)
Samantha Mabry, Clever Creatures of the Night (Hachette)

Jamison Shea, I Feed Her to the Beast and the Beast Is Me (Macmillan Children’s) 
Justine Pucela Williams, The Otherwoods (Bloomsbury)
Moderator: Ashley Leffel, Librarian, Frisco (TX)

2:35 - 2:45 PM ET | Special Conversation with Matthew McConaughey

Academy Award–winning actor, bestselling author, and co-founder of the just keep livin foundation, Matthew McConaughey, talks about his new picture book, Just Because (Penguin Young Readers), “a soulful and irreverent collection of life lessons” for readers, big and small. Dr. Rose Brock, Sam Houston State University (TX), will interview the author. 

2:45 - 3:25 PM ET | Break / Visit the Exhibit Hall


 3:25 - 3:55 PM ET | Story Time for All  
Looking for interage library programming? This hugely successful program paired teens with preschoolers in a multimedia, weeks-long storytime project. Hear from the program coordinators and take a look at the spectacular results. 

Jessica Ralli, Coordinator of Early Literacy Programs, Brooklyn Public Library (NY)
Karen Keys, Coordinator of Young Adult Services, Brooklyn Public Library (NY)


3:25 - 3:55 PM ET | Strengthening Your Practice Through Design Thinking  
Design thinking offers a way to examine your practice in an iterative way. Engage in a shared reflective activity with your peers to discover new ideas and approaches and brainstorm ways to grow your practice for a successful school year.  

J. Elizabeth Mills, Program Manager, WebJunction


4:00 - 4:30 PM ET | Collaborators in Conversation  
Superstar author/illustrator duo discuss their heartwarming YA graphic novel about fate, family, and falling in love.

Gene Luen Yang and LeUyen Pham, Lunar New Year Love Story (Macmillan Children’s) 
Moderator: Jasmine Amiri, Editor, Graphic Novels, SLJ


4:00 - 4:30 PM ET | Queer Is Here 
Joyful texts and illustrations introduce children and teens to pronoun use and the LGBTQIA+ contribution to the English language.

Lindz Amer, Hooray for She, He, Ze, and They! (Simon & Schuster) 
Chloe O. Davis, The Queens’ English (Simon & Schuster) 
A.M. Wild, Not He or She, I’m Me (Macmillan Children’s) 
Moderator: Kerra Mazzariello, Library Media Specialist (NY)


4:35 - 5:25 PM ET | Good Trouble
Informative, inspirational, and affirmative: new nonfiction titles for middle grade and high school students offer models of engagement.

Mary Fairhurst Breen, Pride and Persistence: Stories of Queer Activism (Second Story Press) 
Tiffany Jewel, Everything I Learned About Racism I Learned in School (HarperCollins Children’s) 
Allison Matulli, Your Freedom, Your Power (Hachette Book Group)  
Sonya Renee Taylor, The Book of Radical Answers (Penguin Young Readers) 
Moderator: Alicia Abdul, School Librarian, Albany High School (NY)

4:35 - 5:25 PM ET | Ready to Read 
Finding early chapter books for children can be challenging. Not so this season. Lean into a conversation about some exciting, soon-to-be published titles. 

Angela Ahn, Julia on the Go: Swimming into Trouble (Tundra Books) 
Saadia Faruqi, Ali the Great (Capstone) 
Nina LaCour, The Apartment House on Poppy Hill (Chronicle) 

RaQia Lowo, Weekend and Zay: Saturday School (Reycraft Books) 
Kirk Reedstrom, Duck and Moose: Duck Moves In! (Disney Publishing Worldwide) 
Moderator: Mandi Harris, PhD Student, University of Washington Information School

5:30 - 6:00 PM ET | Closing Keynote 

Acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson is back with Rebellion, 1776 (Simon & Schuster), an “eerily timely” novel about a girl struggling to survive during the Revolutionary War against the backdrop of a smallpox epidemic and the public’s fear of vaccines. Ms. Anderson will discuss her novel with her editor, Caitlyn Dlouhy, Vice President & Publisher of Caitlyn Dlouhy Books. 
Moderator: Shelley Diaz, Reviews Editor, SLJ







Matthew McConaughey is the Academy Award-winning actor and #1 New York Times bestselling author of Greenlights. He also created Greenlights: Your Journal, Your Journey, a guided companion that inspires readers to write down and reflect on their feelings, adventures, and dreams. Matthew and his wife, Camila, founded the just keep livin Foundation, which is dedicated to empowering high school students by providing them with the tools to lead active lives and make healthy choices for a better future. He is professor of practice and a Minister of Culture for the University of Texas at Austin, where he lives with his wife and three children. Matthew is a storyteller, a tree house builder, and a pickle expert. You can visit Matthew on Instagram @OfficiallyMcConaughey or on Twitter @McConaughey. 



Laurie Halse Anderson is a New York Times-bestselling author known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists. Two more, The Impossible Knife of Memory and Shout were long-listed for the National Book Awards. She is still stunned (and grateful) to be the 2023 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award Laureate—the most significant award in children's literature in the world—given by the Swedish government in honor of the memory of Astrid Lindgren. She is powerfully committed to issues related to sexual violence, diversity, public education, and censorship and has been honored for her work against censorship by the National Coalition Against Censorship and the National Council of Teachers of English. 

Ekua Holmes is a collage-based artist who investigates family histories, relationship dynamics, childhood impressions, and the power of hope, faith, and self-determination in her work. For her work in illustrating children’s literature, Holmes is the recipient of a Caldecott Honor, Coretta Scott King’s John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award, Robert Sibert and Horn Book awards. She is also currently Commissioner and Vice-Chair of the Boston Art Commission, along with Associate Director at the Center for Art and Community Partnerships at MassArt. 

George Takei is a civil rights activist, social media superstar, Grammy-nominated recording artist, New York Times bestselling author, and pioneering actor whose career has spanned six decades. He has appeared in more than 40 feature films and hundreds of television roles, most famously as Hikaru Sulu in Star Trek, and he has used his success as a platform to fight for social justice, LGBTQ+ rights, and marriage equality. His advocacy is personal: during World War II, Takei spent his childhood unjustly imprisoned in United States incarceration camps along with 120,000 other Japanese Americans. He now serves as Chairman Emeritus and a member of the Japanese American National Museum’s Board of Trustees. Takei served on the board of the Japan-United States Friendship Commission under President Bill Clinton, and, in 2004, was conferred with the Gold Rays with Rosette of the Order of the Rising Sun by the Emperor of Japan for his contribution to US-Japan relations. 

Renée Watson is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, educator, and community activist. Her young adult novel, Piecing Me Together (Bloomsbury, 2017), received a Coretta Scott King Award and a Newbery Honor. Her children's picture books and novels for teens have received several awards and international recognition. Her poetry and fiction center the experiences of Black girls and women, and explore themes of home, identity, and the intersections of race, class, and gender. 


Angela Ahn is a former teacher and librarian. She is the author of several children's books including Krista Kim-Bap, Peter Lee's Notes from the Field and Double O Stephen and the Ghostly Realm. Peter Lee's Notes from the Field was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award and the OLA Silver Birch Award, among others, and was named an USBBY Outstanding International Book. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her family. 

Kate Albus is the award-winning author of A Place to Hang the Moon, a JLG Gold Standard Selection, a Kids Indie Pick, an ALSC Notable Children’s Book, a CCBC Choice book, and an SCBWI Crystal Kite Award Winner. Nothing Else but Miracles is rich with details from her grandparents’ stories of Coney Island and the Fulton Fish Market. Kate grew up in New York and now lives with her family in rural Maryland.  

Crystal Allen is the author of the middle grade novels How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy, The Laura Line, and the three books in The Magnificent Mya Tibbs series. Her many accolades include the Sid Fleischman Humor Award for The Magnificent Mya Tibbs: The Wall of Fame Game and induction to the Texas Institute of Letters. Crystal is also a committee member of The Brown Bookshelf, the co-director of Kindling Words East, and a faculty member of Highlights for Children. She lives in Texas with her husband, Reggie, and two sons, Phillip and Joshua.  

Lindz Amer makes queer stuff for kids, parents, educators, and allies. They created their award-winning LGBTQ+ family webseries, Queer Kid Stuff. They are the author of the nonfiction parenting book, Rainbow Parenting: Your Guide to Raising Queer Kid and Their Allies, and the picture book, Hooray for She, He, Ze, and They! What Are Your Pronouns Today?. They host the Rainbow Parenting podcast, perform at schools and libraries across the country, and write and consult for children’s television.  

Veronica Park (VP) Anderson (she/they) is a neurodivergent, queer, feminist millennial writer with a resume that Victor Frankenstein would disown for being “a bit much.” V’s previous job titles include: award-winning community theater actor, professional lecturer on cruise ships, indie film producer, literary agent, and creative project manager; however, “writer” is the title that always fits. V plays competitive flat track roller derby as “Scarlet Five” #55 and prefers the pivot role, aka “surprise jamming.” She currently lives with her partner in Upstate NY. 

Andrea Beatriz Arango is the Newbery Honor-winning author of Iveliz Explains It All. She was born and raised in Puerto Rico, and is a former public school teacher with almost a decade of teaching experience. Andrea now writes the types of children’s books she wishes students had more access to. She balances her life in Virginia with trips home to see her family and eat lots of tostones de pana. When she’s not busy writing, you can find her enjoying nature in the nearest forest or body of water. 

Katya de Becerra was born in Russia, studied in California, lived in Peru, and then stayed in Australia long enough to become a local. She was going to be an Egyptologist when she grew up, but instead she earned a PhD in Anthropology. She is the author of YA horror-thrillers When Ghosts Call Us Home, What the Woods Keep and Oasis

Tashie Bhuiyan is the author of Counting Down with You and A Show for Two. She’s a New Yorker through and through, and hopes to change the world, one book at a time. She loves writing stories about girls with wild hearts, boys who wear rings, and gaining agency through growth. When she's not doing that, she can be found in a Chipotle or bookstore, insisting 2010 is the best year in cinematic history (read: Tangled and Inception).  

Mary Fairhurst Breen authored the memoir Any Kind of Luck at All and the children’s book Pride and Persistence: Stories of Queer Activism. As a queer feminist author, writing is Mary’s current form of activism after decades spent working for social change and equal rights. She lives in Toronto. 

Annie Cardi is the author of The Chance You Won’t Return, which received starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, and was named a Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year for 2015. She has an MFA from Emerson College, and she currently lives with her family and dog in the Boston area. 

Nora Shalaway Carpenter is editor of the YA short story anthology Rural Voices which was named an NPR Best Book of the Year, a YALSA Best Fiction YA selection, a TAYSHAS list selection, and a Bank Street Best Book of the Year. Her debut YA novel The Edge of Anything was named a Bank Street Best Book, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book, and A Mighty Girl Best Book of the Year.  Her next anthology, Ab(solutely) Normal, is out now from Candlewick. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. 

Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail is the author of several books about aviation and reconciliation, including the picture book Alis the Aviator: An ABC Aviation Adventure. She has cherished her visits to the Western Arctic and was Writer in Residence at Berton House in Dawson City, Yukon. Danielle lives by the sea in Nova Scotia/Mi’kma’ki with her young family. Her new book is Freddie the Flyer

Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos are best friends with a shared love of roleplaying games, epic fantasy, and spooky stories. Together, they are the authors of The Adventurers Guild trilogy. Separately, Zack is the author of The Lock-Eater, and Nick has written more than a dozen officially licensed Minecraft books. Zack lives in Brooklyn, where he keeps a collection of potentially mystical artifacts. Nick lives in Upstate New York, beside an allegedly haunted river. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, they still game together every week. 

Candy J. Cooper is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and winner of the Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting. She has been a staff writer for four newspapers, including The Detroit Free Press and The San Francisco Examiner. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Columbia Journalism Review and The Chronicle of Higher Education, among other publications. She is the author of Poisoned Water: How the Citizens of Flint, Michigan Fought For Their Lives and Warned the Nation, published by Bloomsbury. 

Chloe O. Davis is a performer, choreographer, and author who works in the entertainment industry in New York City. She has performed at premier theaters and has appeared in film/TV features on Netflix, Amazon, and Paramount+. Davis’s debut book, The Queens’ English: The LGBTQIA+ Dictionary for Lingo and Colloquial Phrases celebrates the etymological diversity of over eight hundred terms to describe the collective gay and queer experience. Her new edition, The Queens’ English: The Young Readers' LGBTQIA+ Dictionary of Lingo and Colloquial Phrases will release in Spring 2024. 

Linsey Davis is a New York Times bestselling author and Emmy Award-winning journalist. She anchors World News Tonight as well as ABC News Live Prime. She is a correspondent for World News Tonight, Good Morning America, 20/20, and Nightline and is also the bestselling author of several children’s books including Girls of the World, The Smallest Spot of a Dot, The World Is Awake, One Big Heart, Stay This Way Forever, and How High is Heaven. Linsey lives in New York with her husband and son, who is her biggest inspiration. You can follow her on Instagram @linseytdavis. 

Saadia Faruqi is a Pakistani American writer, interfaith activist, and cultural sensitivity trainer featured in O, The Oprah Magazine. Author of the Yasmin chapter book series, Saadia also writes middle grade novels, such as Yusuf Azeem Is Not a Hero, and other books for children. Saadia is editor-in-chief of Blue Minaret, an online magazine of poetry, short stories, and art. Besides writing, she also loves reading, binge-watching her favorite shows, and taking naps. She lives in Houston with her family. 

Sharon G. Flake won the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award for her bestselling first novel, The Skin I'm In, and is a two-time Coretta Scott King Author Honor winner. Her books have sold a combined total of more than a million copies. You Are Not a Cat! was her first picture book. 

Candace Fleming is the versatile and acclaimed author of more than twenty books for children and young adults, including Crash from Outer Space: Unraveling the Mystery of Flying Saucers, Alien Beings, and Roswell; The Curse of the Mummy: Uncovering Tutankhamun’s Tomb; The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh, winner of the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award; the Sibert Award winner Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera; The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of the Russian Empire; and the critically acclaimed Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart. 

Miranda Harmon is a comics artist and storyboarder living in Los Angeles. She is the author/illustrator of two I Like to Read® Comics to date, Spring Cakes and the upcoming Market Day. Miranda is also the co-creator of the graphic novel series Mayor Good Boy and a storyboarder on the Cartoon Network show The Fungies. Her work has appeared in Chainmail Bikini and The Nib and her clients include Lion Forge and BOOM! 

Naseem Hrab is an award-winning author of many stories for children including Weekend Dad, The Sour Cherry Tree, How to Party Like a Snail and the Otis & Peanut series. Naseem’s words have been praised by outlets including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, and Bank Street College, and The Sour Cherry Tree won a Governor General's Literary Award for Young People's Literature. She worked as a librarian for a time and currently works in children's publishing. She lives in Toronto, Ontario. 

Emily Inouye Huey is an author of historical books for children and teens. Her first novel, Beneath the Wide Silk Sky, has received several awards, including the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ Golden Kite Award and the Whitney Award for Youth Novel of the Year. Emily holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University and lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Tiffany Jewell is the Black biracial #1 New York Times bestselling and #1 Indie bestselling author of This Book Is Anti-Racist and The Antiracist Kid. She is a twin sister, first-generation American, cisgender mama, and anti-bias antiracist (ABAR) educator who has been working with children and families for two decades. She lives on the homeland of the Pocumtuc and the Nipmuck with her two young storytellers, husband, a turtle she’s had since she was nine years old, and a small dog with a big personality.  

Jackie Johnson is a San Diego born poet and novelist. Her background as a journalist, BA in history, and education in armed defense gives her a uniquely authentic voice within the historical genre. She’s been riding horses for over twenty years and had her own real-life cowboy love story when she fell in love with and married a horse trainer. Together, they established a ranch in Southern California where she spends her days writing, riding, and chasing after their dreams, their two children, four horses, six cats, and two dogs. Bladestay is her first novel. 

Anna E. Jordan, an author and middle grades educator, was the recipient of the 2013 PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery award and has an MFA from the Writing for Children and Young Adults program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Shira and Esther's Double Dream Debut (Chronicle Books) is her first novel. In addition to This Pup Steps Up, her poems appear in the anthology The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How to Poems.  

Jonell Joshua found her calling for art at a young age – precisely 2nd grade – after she found her mother's art portfolio in the bedroom of her childhood home. Hoping to emulate her mother's talents, soon after, Jonell started drawing kid’s portraits in the cafeteria during lunch. In later years she dove deeper into the arts, continuing to create in and out of school, finding ways to express herself and connect with others. Today Jonell is an award-winning illustrator based in Brooklyn, New York. She has worked with clients including The New York Times, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, and NPR.  

Patrice Karst is the bestselling author of The Invisible String, which has sold more than a million copies and been translated into fifteen languages, and its companion titles, The Invisible Leash, The Invisible Web, You Are Never Alone: An Invisible String Lullaby, and most recently, The Invisible String Backpack. She is also the coauthor of The Invisible String Workbook with Dr. Dana Wyss. She also wrote The Smile that Went Around the World, illustrated by Jana Christy. Born in London, England, she now lives in Southern California. 

Karen Keys is Coordinator of Young Adult Services at Brooklyn Public Library where she oversees programs and services for teens at 61 locations. She advocates a for-teens-by-teens service model and provides training, mentoring, and coaching to young adult services staff throughout Brooklyn. Karen is part of the team named LJ’s 2023 “Librarians of the Year” for their efforts on the Books Unbanned anti-censorship campaign. 

Nina LaCour is the bestselling and award-winning author of the acclaimed young adult novels We Are Okay, which received the Printz Award and was selected by Time Magazine as one of its 100 Best YA Books of All Time, Hold Still, The Disenchantments, and Everything Leads to You, as well as the adult novel Yerba Buena. Her debut chapter book The Apartment House on Poppy Hill will be available this November from Chronicle Books. Born and raised in the East Bay, LaCour now lives in San Francisco with her wife and their daughter.  

Thao Lam is the critically acclaimed author/illustrator of The Line in the Sand, 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. Thao fled from Vietnam to Canada with her family as a child. Learning English was difficult, and it was picture books that helped her understand this new world and ignited her passion for visual storytelling. She has an insatiable love for colored and textured papers, which she uses to create her exuberant collages. 

Carole Lindstrom is the author of the New York Times bestselling and Caldecott Award-winning We Are Water Protectors. She is Anishinabe/Métis and is a proud member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe Indians. She was born and raised in Nebraska and currently makes her home in Maryland. 

RaQia Lowo has worked with children for over 20 years and loves being in their presence. She is the founder of Motivational Educators, a creative academic mentoring company for struggling students. She is known for her child-like sense of humor, love of music, dance, culture, creativity, and her delicious cakes and dishes. RaQia was born in Harlem, NY, and has two adult sons whom she affectionately calls her Boyz2Men. She writes chapter books and middle-grade novels with an urban voice geared toward reluctant readers and rhyming Picture Books.  

Susan Lubner is the author of the middle grade novels Lizzy and the Good Luck Girl and The Upside of Ordinary, as well as three picture books. Her Noises at Night, co-authored with Beth Glass, was featured on the Today Show as a “Best Book for Young Children.” Her most recent book is the chapter book, Drag and Rex 1: Forever Friends, illustrated by Blythe Russo. Susan grew up in Bangor, Maine, and currently lives in Massachusetts. 

Samantha Mabry is the author of A Fierce and Subtle Poison; All the Wind in the World, which was longlisted for a National Book Award; Tigers, Not Daughters; and, most recently, Clever Creatures of the Night. In addition to writing, Samantha teaches college-level composition at Southern Methodist University and is the mother of an energetic young son. Samantha and her family divide their time between Dallas and Mineral Wells, Texas.  

Allison Matulli is the Founder of The Little Lawyers. A former attorney and educator, Allison is now an educational activist empowering children to know their rights. She holds a J.D. from Howard University, a M.Ed. from Endicott College, a B.A. from St. Joseph’s University, and is a Global Fulbright Scholar. 

Elizabeth Mills, Ph.D., is a program manager at WebJunction, where she develops various educational materials for library staff to enhance and strengthen their practice. Her research focuses on the role of reflection in the ways in which children's librarians produce their programs, as well as the nature and role of technology in the lives of families and how children's media can be used to promote diversity and inclusion. She is also a children's book author, and her book The Spooky Wheels on the Bus is a perennial bestseller, soon to be followed by the sequel The Merry Wheels on the Bus in Fall 2024. 

Tomi Oyemakinde grew up in London, before being uprooted at the age of six to head across the North Sea to the Netherlands. He is committed to crafting stories centered on Black protagonists thriving across genres, audiences & worlds. When Tomi is not busy writing, he can be found daydreaming about his future dog (namely a Rottweiler named Pan) and geeking out over all things anime. The Changing Man is his debut novel. 

LeUyen Pham has illustrated more than one hundred books for children, including the Caldecott Honor book Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris and the bestselling Princess in Black series by Shannon and Dean Hale. She is the co-creator, along with Shannon Hale, of the bestselling graphic memoirs Real Friends, Best Friends, and Friends Forever. Her own books include The Bear Who Wasn't There and Big Sister, Little Sister. A graduate of the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, LeUyen lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two sons.  

Greg Pizzoli is the creator of the Baloney and Friends graphic novel series, as well as the author and illustrator of the award-winning picture books The Watermelon Seed, Good Night Owl, and The Book Hog. He also writes nonfiction for kids, including the New York Times Best Illustrated title Tricky Vic, and he is the illustrator of the Jack series by Mac Barnett. Greg Pizzoli works in a studio he shares with his wife, Kay Healy, who is a printmaker and fiber artist. They live in South Philadelphia with their two daughters, dog, and cats. 

Sara Raasch is the New York Times bestselling author of the Snow Like Ashes series, These Rebel Waves, and These Divided Shores.  

Jessica Ralli is the coordinator of early literacy programs at Brooklyn Public Library where she manages grant-funded programming for BPL’s First Five Years initiative. She has an M.A. in Early Childhood Special Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and has taught in museums, schools, and libraries. In 2020, Ralli received the prestigious Library Journal Movers and Shakers Award for her advocacy work in libraries. She is currently co-authoring the award-winning, critically acclaimed "First Conversations" series for young children published by Rise X Penguin Workshop. 

Kirk Reedstrom has spent most of his adult life surrounded by books—he currently works at a public library, and he used to be a bookseller at Blue Willow, an independent bookstore in Houston, TX. He has led children’s art workshops at The Kimball Museum and interned with William Joyce at the Moonbot Studios. And he mixes all his past experiences with traditional and digital mediums to develop fun-filled characters with a little bit of mayhem. Kirk enjoys creating books that make people laugh. 

Beth Revis with books available in more than twenty languages. She writes science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary novels, including Across the Universe, Star Wars: Rebel Rising, Give the Dark My Love, and A World Without You. 

Aida Salazar is an award-winning author and arts activist whose writings for adults and children explore issues of identity and social justice. She is the author of the middle-grade verse novels The Moon Within (International Latino Book Award Winner), Land of the Cranes (Americas Award Winner), the picture book anthology In the Spirit of a Dream, and the picture book biography Jovita Wore Pants: The Story of a Mexican Freedom Fighter. She is a founding member of Las Musas, a Latinx kidlit debut author collective. 

Jamison Shea was once a flautist, violist, anthropologist, linguist, choreographer, dancer, professional fire alarm puller, digital producer, and account executive—but they've always been a writer. Born in Buffalo, NY and now surrounded by darkness and gloom in Finland, when Jamison isn't writing horror, they're drinking milk tea and searching for long-forgotten gods in eerie places. I Feed Her to the Beast and the Beast is Me is their debut novel. 

Ana Siqueira is a Spanish-language elementary teacher and an award-winning Brazilian children’s author. Her books include Abuela’s Super Capa, Bella’s Recipe for Success and If Your Babysitter Is a Bruja. Besides writing, Ana loves to read, teach, and play with her Cuban-Brazilian-American grandchildren. 

Sherri L. Smith is the author of several novels for young adults, including the critically acclaimed The Blossom and the Firefly, Flygirl, Orleans, and Pasadena, as well as the middle-grade novel The Toymaker’s Apprentice.  

Rick Stromoski is an experienced cartoonist and the author of Schnozzer & Tatertoes: Take a Hike! His comic strip Soup to Nutz ran in newspapers from 2000 to 2018. Stromoski is an active member of the National Cartoonists Society and was its president from 2005 to 2007. He lives in Connecticut. 

Sonya Renee Taylor is a world-renowned activist, award-winning artist, transformational thought leader, author of six books including the New York Times bestselling The Body is Not an Apology, and founder of the international movement and digital media and education company of the same name whose work has reached millions of people by exploring the intersections of identity, healing, and social justice using a radical self-love framework. She continues to speak, teach, write, create, and transform lives globally. 

Randy'L He-Dow Teton is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of Fort Hall, Idaho. Randy'L has gained wide recognition for her work in tribal government, communications, and public relations. She is proud to serve her family, tribe, state, and Indian Country by helping Tribes tell their story from their perspective. She lives in Idaho with her three children, Kumia, Pongose, and Abalone Rose and enjoys collecting coins. 

Paul Tobin is a New York Times-bestselling author. His writing includes Bandette; Colder; and many other comic books, graphic series and works of fiction. 'Bandette,' drawn by Colleen Coover, was awarded the Eisner Award for Best Digital Series in 2013; again in 2016; and was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award for Graphic Literature in 2016. Paul’s graphic novel 'I Was the Cat,' created with artist Benjamin Dewey, was nominated for an Eisner in 2015. 

Gabriel Valentin, the writer of Digital Lizards of Doom, possesses long standing passions for composition and storytelling. Valentin grew up on epic fantasy/adventure books, games and movies. With his story, he wants to help ignite that same fire in the hearts of young readers! 

Jonny Garza Villa (they/them) is an award-winning author of contemporary YA literature with characters and settings inspired by their own Tejane, Chicane, and queer identities. Whatever the storyline, Jonny ultimately hopes Latines, and, more specifically, queer Mexican American young people will feel seen in their writing. Jonny enjoys reading, playing Dungeons and Dragons, visiting taquerías, listening to Selena, and caring for their many cacti children. They live in San Antonio. 

Booki Vivat is the New York Times bestselling author-illustrator of the Frazzled series. She grew up in Southern California, telling stories and doodling. Before becoming an author, she taught middle school English abroad and worked in publishing in New York. Now she lives in Oakland, California and makes books for kids! 

Dale Walls is a culture writer, curator, and art historian based in San Francisco. They are currently pursuing an art history PhD and are a Knight-Hennesy Scholar at Stanford University. Dale has written for Teen Vogue, Artsy, and Google Arts and Culture and is a 2022 Lambda Literary Fellow. The Queer Girl Is Going to Be Okay is their debut novel.  

Elizabeth Wein is a recreational pilot and the owner of about a thousand maps. She is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Code Name Verity, as well as the novels Rose Under Fire; Black Dove, White Raven; The Pearl Thief; and The Enigma Game; as well as the nonfiction book A Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II.  

A.M. Wild is a queer, nonbinary writer of children’s books, poetry, and creative nonfiction. They look within and to their communities for fresh inspiration. Each project they work on is a unique reflection of the world as they see it or dream it could be. 

Alicia D. Williams is the author of Genesis Begins Again, which received Newbery and Kirkus Prize honors, was a William C. Morris Award finalist, and for which she won the Coretta Scott King - John Steptoe Award for New Talent; and picture books Jump at the Sun and The Talk, for which she received a Coretta Scott King Author Honor. A graduate of the MFA program at Hamline University, and an oral storyteller in the African American tradition, she lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Justine Pucella Winans is a queer and nonbinary writer who resides in Los Angeles with their husband and orange tabby cat. They graduated with a B.F.A in Acting from Chapman University and now work at a talent agency. Originally from Cleveland, they still say "pop" and have love for the city, just not the cold. When not writing, they try their best at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, read an alarming amount of manga, and try to make pasta even a fourth as good as their nonna's. 

Sherri Winston is the author of National Book Award longlist title Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution, President of the Whole Fifth Grade (a Sunshine State Young Readers Award selection), President of the Whole Sixth Grade (a Kids’ Indie Next pick), President of the Whole Sixth Grade: Girl Code, The Sweetest Sound (a Kirkus Best Book of the Year), Jada Sly: Artist & Spy, and The Kayla Chronicles. Before Sherri was an author, she was a longtime newspaper writer and columnist. She grew up in Michigan and now lives with her daughters in Orlando, Florida. 

Gene Luen Yang writes, and draws, comic books and graphic novels. He was named a National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress, and advocates for the importance of reading, especially reading diversely. His graphic novel American Born Chinese, a National Book Award finalist and Printz Award winner, has been adapted into an original series on Disney+. His two-volume graphic novel Boxers & Saints was a National Book Award Finalist. His nonfiction graphic novel, Dragon Hoops, received an Eisner award and a Printz honor. He was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow.  

Paula Yoo is a prolific TV writer/producer, freelance violinist, and author of several books for children and teens, including her award-winning YA nonfiction book, From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry. Her next YA nonfiction book, Rising from the Ashes, will be published by Norton Young Readers in April 2024. 

Darcy Day Zoells graduated from Northwestern University where she studied art history and studio art. For ten years, she ran a visual literacy program in a K-5 school. She still feels passionate about helping children look critically and verbalize their questions about what they see. Her art history foundation and these experiences have had a profound effect on her work. She is the winner of Clavis 2022 Key Colors Competition with The New Bicycle. 


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.AS 

Jasmine Amiri, Editor, Graphic Novels, SLJ. 

Dr. Rose Brock is a professor and educator at Sam Houston State University who has dedicated her career to turning young people into book lovers. In addition to her career as a librarian, Rose is the cofounder of NTTBF, the North Texas Teen Book Festival and was awarded the Siddie Joe Johnson Award for Outstanding Service to Youth by the Texas Library Association. She is the editor of Hope Wins: A Collection of Inspiring Stories for Young Readers, Hope Nation: Young Adult Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration, and author of Young Adult Literature in Action: A Librarian's Guide

Shelley Diaz, Reviews Editor, School Library Journal 

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. 

Ruth Guerrier-Pierre, Supervising Librarian, Youth Services The New York Public Library. 

Mandi Harris (Cherokee Nation) is a children’s librarian and PhD student at the University of Washington Information School, where she uses Indigenous Systems of Knowledge to examine children’s literature, education, and the futures of libraries. She is an American Library Association Spectrum Doctoral Fellow. Mandi has a Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of Washington and has a decade of experience working in youth services at public libraries.

Kathy Ishizuka, Executive Editor, SLJ. 

After 7 years of being a teacher, Heather Lassley felt a calling to another area in the school, the library. Heather has worked in Frisco ISD as a librarian for 13 years in the middle school area. Her passions are collection development, teaching research, and building a library for all students.  

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. 

Kerra Mazzariello is the full-time librarian at Eggert Elementary School and part time librarian at Hilbert College - both located just outside of Buffalo, NY. She also writes children's book reviews for School Library Journal and serves as a Staff Writer for "Die by the Blade," the Buffalo Sabres' community website. She is an avid sports fan, lover of fashion, and lives in Western New York with her husband and their two French bulldogs, Zoey and Monet. 

Ben Perry is the Coordinator of School Age Services at Brooklyn Public Library in New York City. He was a member of the 2023 Geisel Award Committee and reviews Children's and Young Adult books for Publishers Weekly. He loves books in all their forms and is usually reading or listening to one or more of them.  

Clair Quaintance has been working with tweens and teens in school libraries since 2010 and loving every minute of it. 

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.  

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.  

Christina Vortia is the Rare Books Librarian at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center of Howard University in Washington, DC, who curates and preserves rare books, journals, serials, and periodicals about the global Black experience. She is a career advocate for youth literature and has served on the 2017 Michael L. Printz Award, the 2019 and 2020 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee, the 2020 LA Times Book Prize, and as Chair of the 2023 John Newbery Book Awards Committee. 








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