2018 Conference Authors & Illustrators
“WE ARE WHAT WE READ: FUELED BY BOOKS, CONNECTED BY STORIES, EMPOWERED BY WORDS” | JUNE 25 -29, 2018
Click on an author/illustrator below to learn more about them:
“I turn to books for a feeling of companionship: for somebody knowing what I have known.”
Lois Lowry received the prestigious Newbery Medal, for Number the Stars and The Giver. In 2000, Lois Lowry released the second book in The Giver Quartet titled Gathering Blue, Messenger in 2004 and concluded with Son in 2012. She is the author of more than thirty-five books, including the popular Anastasia Krupnik and Gooney Bird Green series for younger readers. She has received countless honors, among them the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the California Young Reader’s Medal, and the Mark Twain Award. In 2007, she received the Margaret Edwards Award from the American Library Association for her contribution in writing for teens.
“Those kids who are lucky enough to have wonderful, trauma-free lives can learn what it’s like to not be so lucky from my books. That helps them develop empathy and compassion.”
Laurie Halse Anderson is the New York Times bestselling author who writes for all ages. She won the Golden Kite award, the Edgar Allan Poe Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for the novel, Speak, a National Book Award finalist. Chains was a National Book Award finalist in 2008 and it won the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction in 2009. She received the Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association in 2009 for her contribution to young adult literature. Speak: The Graphic Novel illustrated by Emily Carroll was released in February 2018.
“I’ve been very fortunate that on most every level, all of my books have been incredibly rewarding. I’m perhaps most honored by the opportunity to have illustrated the classic, Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper because of what the book has meant to so many of us and in particular, what it meant to my mother and me and our lasting close bond.”
Loren Long is the author and illustrator of the New York Times bestselling picture books Otis and the Tornado, Otis and the Puppy, An Otis Christmas and Otis and the Scarecrow. He is the #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator of President Barack Obama’s picture book Of Thee I sing, the re-illustrated edition of The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper, and Mr. Peabody’s Apples by Madonna. He has most recently illustrated Good Day, Good Night by Margaret Wise Brown and Love by Newbery Medalist, Matt de la Peña.
“Speaking of his book Love, illustrated by Loren Long, Matt de la Pena says, “As a child, I never saw my experience in the sweet little picture books the librarians read to us or any of the happy endings deemed appropriate for young audiences. I can’t imagine how different things would have been for me if I had a book like this with my feelings right there on the page.”
Matt de la Peña is the recipient of the 2016 Newberry Medal for his book Last Stop on Market Street illustrated by Christian Robinson. He is the author of six young adult novels including Ball Don’t Lie,Mexican White Boy, We Were Here and I Will Save You, all of which were named ALA-YALSA Best Books for Young Adults. His novel, The Living, was named a 2014 ALA Pura Belpré Author Honor Book. He is also the author of the critically-acclaimed picture book Love illustrated by Loren Long.
“We adults are neglecting or at least underusing a resource with tremendous potential for good. That powerful love young people have for stories . . . . So can a children’s book save the world? No, but the young people who read them can.”
Linda Sue Park, recipient of the Newbery Medal for A Single Shard, is the bestselling author of many books for young readers, including picture books, poetry, and historical and contemporary fiction. A Long Walk to Water, received the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award and tells the true story of Salva Dut and his journey as a “Lost Boy” of Sudan. Since the book was published in 2010, students, their families, and school communities have raised over $1 million for Water for South Sudan. Her most-recent titles include picture books, What Does Bunny See? Xander’s Panda Party and Yak’s Yak: Animal Word Pairs and the fantasy adventure Wing and Claw series.
“In life, we meet amazing lovely people who we are made better for knowing them. We also come in contact with those that hurt us. I want to make kids resilient when they come in contact with these people.”
Meg Medina is an award-winning Cuban-American author who writes picture books, middle grade readers, and young adult fiction. She is the 2016 recipient of the Pura Belpré honor medal for her picture book, Mango, Abuela and Me, and the 2014 Pura Belpré Award winner for her young adult novel, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass. Meg also earned the 2012 Ezra Jack Keats New Writers medal for her picture book Tia Isa Wants a Car. In March 2014, she was recognized as one of the CNN 10 Visionary Women in America.
“Picture books are important because they can speak universal truths to people of all ages. They can make you cry and laugh all in the same little book.”
Angela Dominguez is the author and illustrator of several books for children including Maria Had a Little Llama, which received the American Library Association Pura Belpré Illustration Honor. In 2016, she received her second Pura Belpré Honor for her illustrations in Mango, Abuela, and Me (written by Meg Medina). Her bilingual books include How Do You Say, Cómo Se Dice? and the soon to be released How Are You, Cómo Estas? Her debut middle grade novel, Stella Diaz Has Something to Say, was published January 2018.
“It’s so important kids realize they don’t have to be bystanders in life, that cruelty must be countered with kindness, and ignorance with knowledge.”
Katherine Applegate won the 2013 Newbery Medal for the children’s novel, The One and Only Ivan. With illustrator G. Brian Karas she streamlined the novel to create the picture book Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla. Her book Home of the Brave has won the SCBWI 2008 Golden Kite Award for Best Fiction. Her numerous books include Crenshaw, Roscoe Rile Rules chapter book series and the popular Animorphs series which she wrote with her husband, Michael Grant. Her most recent work, Wishtree, is an inspiring tale of kindness and tolerance told from the perspective of a wise, 216 year-old tree.
“My job is to try to peel away some of the layers and walls to expose the humanness and the connectivity in us all. Plus, just because we’re all different, have various backgrounds and customs, doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate the very creativity that makes us unique.”
Jason Reynolds is a best-selling author with an array of awards, including a 2018 Newbery Honor Award and Printz Honor Book for Long Way Down, multiple Coretta Scott King Book Award honors for All American Boys, As Brave as You, and Long Way Down, and an NAACP Image Award. He is passionate about getting teens, especially teen boys, to read. His other books include The Boy in the Black Suit, the Track series (Ghost, Patina, and Sunny), When I Was the Greatest, and Miles Morales: Spider-Man which was illustrated by Kadir Nelson.
“I’ve been reading animal books my whole life. I loved them all, but what I really wanted was to write something that says as much about us as it does about the wild animals on each page. A book that not only shares amazing animals with kids, but also gets them thinking critically about how they view the world, especially regarding their assumptions and judgments.”
Jess Keating is a zoologist turned author whose books blend science, humor, and creativity. Her My Life Is a Zoo book series includes How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes are Untied, How to Outswim a Shark Without a Snorkel, and How to Outfox Your Friends When You Don’t Have a Clue. Her other books include the award-winning World of Weird Animals nonfiction series which launched with Pink is For Blobfish. Her most recent book Shark Lady was named a Best Children’s Book of 2017 by Parents Magazine.
“A school library is like the Bat Cave: it’s a safe fortress in a chaotic world, a source of knowledge and the lair of a superhero.”
Tom Angleberger is the author of the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling Origami Yoda series. He is also the author of several other series, including the Qwikpick Papers, Rocket and Groot. Together with his wife, Cece Bell, he introduced young audiences to the Inspector Flytrap series in 2016. His juvenile fiction includes Fuzzy, Horton Halfpott and Fake Mustache, and among his picture books are McToad Mows Tiny Island and Crankee Doodle. He draws on what he calls his “Superpower,” his experience with Asperger’s syndrome, especially when writing about middle school.
“As writers, we have a superpower: the ability to make our readers feel, and it is through the experience of those feelings that hearts and minds–particularly those of young readers–are forever changed.”
Laurie Ann Thompson is dedicated to inspiring and empowering young readers. She is the author of Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something that Matters, a how-to guide filled with practical advice and inspiration for young social entrepreneurs. Her other titles include My Dog is the Best, and Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah which was the recipient of the Schneider Family Book Award. She is the coauthor of Two Truths and a Lie which seeks to help readers learn to recognize the difference between hard-to-believe truths and outright lies.
“I love to see when parents let their kids read stuff that they, themselves, don’t understand. Lord knows my parents couldn’t have begun to comprehend any of the fantasy and sci-fi books I was into when I was a kid, but they helped feed my habit, anyway.”
Matthew Holm is the New York Times Best-Selling author and illustrator of more than 35 books for children. Together with his sister, author Jennifer Holm, he co-created the graphic novel series Babymouse and Squish. With a combined total of 2.8 million copies sold, Babymouse and Squish have enticed even the most reluctant readers. The Holms have also collaborated on the My First Comics board books for beginning readers and the New York Times Best-Seller Sunny Side Up. Matthew recently released his first middle-grade novel, Marvin and the Moths, co -written with Jonathan Follett.
“I love that the images in a picture book often tell a story all on their own without the words, and the words of course tell a story, but when you use both words and images together, the depth of the story is reinforced into one complete and very unique package.”
Elizabeth Zunon is an author-illustrator whose inspiration comes from the bright colors of the Ivory Coast where she grew up. She has illustrated several picture-book biographies, including The Legendary Miss Lena Horne, A President from Hawaii and My Hands Sing the Blues. She illustrated two Children’s Africana Book Award winners; One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul and The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba. Her latest book project, scheduled for release in May 2019, Grandpa Cacao, is the first she has both authored and illustrated.
“In real life, there are very few people who are grumps and then at the drop of a hat they’re going to be happy and bubbly for the rest of their lives. Each book is about allowing Bruce to grow a little bit, but each book is also about finding out there’s more to Bruce than meets the eye.”
Ryan T. Higgins is the author and illustrator of Mother Bruce, Hotel Bruce, Bruce’s Big Move, Wilfred and BE QUIET! His book Mother Bruce received the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award and the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor. Wilfred was named a Wanda Gág Read Aloud Honor Book in 2014. Higgins has been drawing cartoons since he was 4 years old and counts as inspirations the Calvin and Hobbes comic series and Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. His latest book, We don’t Eat Our Classmates!, will be available in June.
“By putting a book into the hands of a child, we can put hope directly into that child’s hands. We can put love directly into that child’s hands. And we can show them, ‘Look- you have the power to make this world better.”
John Schumacher (AKA Mr. Schu) is a blogger, a part-time lecturer at Rutgers University, and the Ambassador of School Libraries for Scholastic Book Fairs. His blog Watch. Connect. Read., is a resource for the latest book trailers, chats with authors and illustrators and notable news in the children’s literature field. Library Journal named him “The Xteme Librarian” and Instructor Magazine named him a Cool Teacher for redefining what it means to be a teacher-librarian. He continually posts resources nearly 24/7 for those following him at @MrSchuReads. Most recently he contributed to The Creativity Project edited by Colby Sharp.
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