2017 Conference Authors & Illustrators
“ONCE READ, NEVER FORGOTTEN: CREATING READERS ONE BOOK AT A TIME” |
JUNE 26 -30, 2017
Click on an author/illustrator below to learn more about them:
“If we can get boys to read, we can get them inside other people’s lives and get them to be more empathetic characters. It’s a way for you to see someone else’s point of view, which is a huge thing. If we could do that around the world, I think we’d all be better off.” Jon Scieszka
Jon Scieszka delivers a powerful message on the importance of reading. From 2008-2010 he served as the first National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. With classics like The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, Jon Scieszka has been connecting humor and a love of reading for children of many ages. He has also written the Time Warp Trio novels as well as the popular picture book series Trucktown and he is the editor of the Guys Read series. Selling over 11 million copies around the world, Jon Scieszka has also won numerous awards including four American Library Association Notable Children’s Book Award and was recently recognized with the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion for his lifetime contribution to children’s literature. His new Frank Einstein series for middle grade readers was inspired by bugs, brains and outer space!
“My childhood was difficult. Books and my Grandmother’s ‘porch stories’ stirred my imagination and kept my spirit alive. I always wanted to write a story that perhaps, one day, would inspire a child when they needed it most.” Jewell Parker Rhodes
Jewell Parker Rhodes is the author of the Louisiana Girls children’s book trilogy, which includes Ninth Ward, Sugar, and Bayou Magic. Her children’s books have received the Parents’ Choice Foundation Award, the Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award, and the Jane Addam’s Children’s Book Award, among others. Towers Falling, her newest middle grade novel, is on the Master List for the Texas Bluebonnet Award and was named one of the best young adult books of the year by Seventeen Magazine. Jewell is the Founding Artistic Director and Piper Endowed Chair at the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University. She has also written many award-winning books for adults.
“I actually love making my characters’ lives a little difficult! Books aren’t really very fun to read if there’s no conflict, and I think what makes a character interesting is the way in which he or she deals with tough situations. So I like to throw whatever I can think of at my characters and see how they respond.” Lisa Graff
Lisa Graff is the critically acclaimed and award-winning author of the 2013 National Book Award nominee, A Tangle of Knots, as well as Lost in the Sun, Absolutely Almost, Double Dog Dare, Umbrella Summer, The Life and Crimes of Bernetta Wallflower, The Thing About Georgie and Sophie Simon Solves Them All. She is not afraid to tackle difficult subjects. Her protagonists face life’s obstacles with extraordinary grit, determination and a healthy dose of humor. She evokes empathy while portraying everyday characters dealing with struggles. In 2016 she published her first picture book, It is Not Time for Sleeping, illustrated by Lauren Castillo. Her books have been named to more than forty state award lists and have been touted as Best Books of the Year by booksellers, teachers, and librarians.
“I think it’s very important for children to see books where they see themselves. When they see a book where they see their culture represented and different things that they can identify with, I think they are much more motivated to read, to write and, just in general, to realize that their voices, their stories are important.” Duncan Tonatiuh
Duncan Tonatiuh is an award-winning, Mexican-American author and illustrator whose written works include Pancho Rabbit and Coyote, The Princess and the Warrior, Separate is Never Equal, Dear Primo: A Letter to my Cousin and Diego Rivera: His World and Ours. He is the illustrator of Esquivel! written by Susan Wood and Salsa written by Jorge Argueta. His books have received multiple accolades, among them the Pura Belpré Medal, the Sibert Medal, The Tomás Rivera Mexican-American Children’s Book Award, The Américas Award, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award and the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award. His most recent book, The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes was named a 2017 Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Book.
“I’m lucky because I spend a lot of time in schools. I visit hundreds of schools every year, and my favorite voices are those of the kids I meet. They send me their stories and drawings, tell me what they dream of, tell me what they love and what they fear. We write stories together. It’s always their voices that I’m reaching for when I write.” Jacqueline Davies
Jacqueline Davies is the talented writer of several novels and picture books, including The Lemonade War series and The Boy Who Drew Birds illustrated by Melissa Sweet and Panda Pants illustrated by Sydney Hanson. She has also penned a young adult novel entitled Lost. Jacqueline Davies’s books have won numerous awards, including the NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12, the John Burroughs List of Nature Books for Young Readers, The Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award, the New York Library’s Best Books List, the NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People, the IRA/CBC Children’s Award Notable Book for Fiction, the Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Books, and the CCBC Choices Award.
“My favorite books—the ones I care for deeply, the ones that feel like a profound part of who I am—are the ones I read when I was young. Winnie-the-Pooh. The Wind in the Willows. The Little House. The Snowy Day. The authors and illustrators who make books for children create a world for us to step into, a world we can visit whenever we like for the rest of our lives.” Sophie Blackall
Sophie Blackall was awarded the 2016 Caldecott Medal for Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, written by Lindsay Mattick. She has illustrated over thirty books for children including Meet Wild Boars by Meg Rosoff, Pecan Pie Baby by Jacqueline Woodson, The Crow and Pearblossom by Aldous Huxley and the Ivy and Bean books by Annie Barrows. In addition to the 2016 Caldecott Medal her many honors include a BCCB Blue Ribbon, Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award and the Society of Illustrators Founders Award. Her artwork has also appeared in murals as part of the New York City MTA’s “Arts for Transit” program.
“I would add that every detail in any picture book– from the moment you pick it up, the trim size, the endpapers, the font, the content of the art– is a decision. There are no random choices, but there’s serendipity with collage, which is why I love it. Paper gets pushed around all day until I get surprised by something. In the end, after all the decisions have been made, the book is designed to be a true representation, to share the essence of someone and to inspire young readers.” Melissa Sweet
Melissa Sweet is the illustrator of over 100 children’s books from board books to picture books and nonfiction titles. Melissa has illustrated three books by author Jen Bryant: A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams; The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus, both garnered Caldecott Honors. A Splash of Red: The Art of Horace Pippin, was a Sibert Award and Orbis Pictus Award winner. She has also written and illustrated Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade, which was awarded the 2012 Sibert Informational Medal and the 2012 Jefferson Cup Award, Tupelo Rides the Rails, and Carmine: A Little More Red. Her most recent offering sees Melissa Sweet as author and illustrator in her book Some Writer: The Story of E. B. White.
“Images are powerful storytellers. I like to think of a children’s picture book like a movie with a story that unfolds. I start from the beginning and work to create a visual ebb and flow punctuated in parts that makes sense to young readers.” Rafael Lopez
Rafael López is an internationally recognized illustrator and artist whose work includes Me llamo Celia/My Name is Celia, Yummm! Mmmm! ¡Qué Rico! and Our California. He won the 2016 Pura Belpré for his illustrations for Drum Dream Girl. He has been awarded the 2017 Tomás Rivera Children’s Book Award, three Pura Belpré honors and two Américas Book Awards. He is passionate about creating books that reflect and honor the lives of all young people. He is a founder of the Urban Art Trail movement in San Diego’s East Village creating a series of large-scale murals created by the community. His most recent book, Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood is based on his work with the Urban Art Trail.
2017 CALDECOTT HONOR BOOK
“Making a book, and then having it resonate with a reader, is an experience that is humbling and heartening beyond words. No matter their age, knowing that a book I’ve made has connected with another person, makes me feel and on some level understood.” Brendan Wenzel
Brendan Wenzel is the author and illustrator of They All Saw a Cat, a 2017 Caldecott Honor Book. He has illustrated several acclaimed animal-themed picture books, including Some Bugs and Some Pets by Angela DiTerlizzi and Beastly Babies by Ellen Jackson and One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree by Daniel Bernstrom. He has been described as an ardent conservationist. He proudly collaborates with many organizations such as TRAFFIC, Flora Fauna International and the Wildlife Conservation Society working to ensure the future of wild places and threatened species. He has traveled to jungles, savannas, and everything in between in search of fascinating animals. His newest book, Life, written by Cynthia Rylant will be published in June 2017.
“I do think that stories bind us together. In my three books, one of the themes is the red thread—a Chinese legend that says people who are destined to be together are tied together by an invisible, unbreakable red thread. To me, stories are those red threads. They connect us to each other—even to people we don’t know and will never meet.” Grace Lin
Grace Lin is a NY Times bestselling author and illustrator of picture books, early readers and middle grade novels. Grace’s novel Where the Mountain Meets the Moon was awarded the Newbery Honor in 2010 and Grace’s early reader, Ling and Ting was honored with the Theodor Geisel Honor in 2011. Most recently, the cover illustration for her novel When the Sea Turned Silver, a 2016 National Book Award Finalist, was displayed at the White House, where Grace was recognized as a Champion of Change for Asian American and Pacific Islander Art and Storytelling. Many of Grace’s books are about the Asian-American experience because she believes, “Books erase bias, they make the uncommon everyday, and the mundane exotic. A book makes all cultures universal.”
“The most astonishing thing to me is how deeply connected readers of today from many different walks of life and many different regions of the country feel to the characters in my books. On the days when things aren’t going well for me on the page, I flip to one of their letters or emails and it buoys me up tremendously. It’s the whole reason I write.” Jen Bryant
Jen Bryant writes picture books, novels and poems for readers of all ages. Her biography A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, received a Caldecott Honor. Their second collaboration A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin, won the ALA Schneider Family Book Award for Children, the Orbis Pictus award,
and was a 2014 Sibert Informational Honor Book. In 2015, The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, won the Robert F. Sibert award and was named a Caldecott Honor book. Other titles include Pieces of Georgia, The Trial, One Minute to Bedtime and Georgia’s Bones. Her latest book, Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille, won the 2017 ALA Schneider Family Book Award for Children.
“The time is now to make a commitment to turn every child into a “super reader,” to give them a sure way to become truly ready for the 21st century world and to experience the joy, pleasure and exaltation of an empowered reading life.” Pam Allyn
Pam Allyn is a world-renowned literacy expert, author and motivational speaker. She is the Executive Director and Founder of LitWorld, a groundbreaking global literacy movement serving children across the United States and in more than 60 countries, and LitLife, a cutting-edge education consulting group specializing in professional development for PreK-12 literacy instruction. Pam Allyn has co-written with Dr. Ernest Morrell an inspiring book called Every Child a Super Reader. She is also the co-author of The Complete Year in Reading and Writing series, K–5 and The Great Eight: Management Strategies for the Reading and Writing Classroom. Some of her other books include Your Child’s Writing Life and What To Read When.
2017 CALDECOTT HONOR BOOK
“School libraries are where it all begins. They are the opportunity to know yourself and to develop the great habit of reading. No matter what you are in to there’s a book waiting for you and it starts in that place.” R. Gregory Christie
Gregory Christie has illustrated over fifty books for children. He received a 2017 Caldecott Honor for his illustration work in Freedom in Congo Square, written by Carole Boston Weatherford. He is a three-time recipient of the New York Times10 Best Illustrated Children’s Books of the Year Award, a five-time recipient of the Coretta Scott King Honor Award in Illustration, and a winner of the Boston Globe’s Horn Book Award and the NAACP’s Image Award. Some of titles include Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth by Anne Rockwell, It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw by Don Tate, Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler and Roots and Blues: A Celebration by Arnold Adoff. A Time to Act: John Kennedy’s Big Speech by Shana Corey will be published in April 2017.
“I lived inside the books that I read as a kid, and I lived inside the stories I would then make up, which were often linked to the books I read as a kid. I made up stories all the time. I went to school pretty far away from the house I grew up in, and all my friends were far away, too, so I spent a lot of time by myself talking to my toys, making up stories, just kind of living in my head.” Mac Barnett
Mac Barnett is a New York Times bestselling author of more than 24 books for children, including two Caldecott-Honor-winning collaborations with Jon Klassen: Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, which also won the E.B White Read-Aloud Award, and Extra Yarn, which won both the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award and the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award. His picture books Leo: A Ghost Story and The Skunk, illustrated by Patrick McDonnell, were named two of the Ten Best Illustrated Books of 2015 by The New York Times. Battle Bunny coauthored with Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Matthew Myers was named a 2014 Notable Book. Mac writes the Brixton Brothers series of mystery novels and, with Jory John, The Terrible Two series. His most recent work includes Triangle illustrated by Jon Klassen and Noisy Night illustrated by Brian Biggs.
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