Penguin Random House Book & Author Festival

Join Penguin Random House, Library Journal, and School Library Journal for a free, day-long virtual book and author festival as we celebrate National Library Week and librarians everywhere! Enjoy a day packed with author panels and interviews, book buzzes, virtual shelf browsing, and adding to your TBR pile.

You’ll hear from many of your favorite authors, whose work runs the gamut from Picture Books to Young Adult titles to the best new Fiction and Nonfiction for adults. There is something of interest for every reader. Attendees will also have the opportunity to check out the virtual exhibit hall, chat directly with authors, access eGalleys, and enter to win prizes and giveaways.

Event Hours: 10:00AM ET - 5:00PM ET
 

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Please note that the event environment and the sessions have attendance capacity limits. If on the day of the event you find that you are unable to access the environment or join a session, please know that sessions will be available for on-demand viewing within 24hrs, and the entire event will be accessible for three months from the event date.

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.

By registering for this event or webcast, you are agreeing to the School Library Journal Privacy Policy and Code of Conduct Policy and agreeing that School Library Journal may share your registration information with current and future sponsors of this event.

If you have any questions, email us at sljevents@mediasourceinc.com.

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM ET | Visit the Exhibit Hall
 

10:30 AM - 11:00 AM ET | In Conversation: Megan Madison & Jessica Ralli, co-authors of Our Skin: A First Conversation About Race
Listen in as Megan Madison and Jessica Ralli, co-authors and experts in the fields of early childhood and activism against injustice, discuss their first book in a new topic-driven board book series offering clear, concrete language that young children can grasp and adults can use to begin important conversations in an informed, safe, and supported way.
Introduced by: Sarah Bayliss, News & Features Editor, SLJ

 

10:30 AM - 11:30 AM ET Chat with Author Ruth Spiro & Editor Monica Perez (Charlesbridge) 
 

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM ET - Chat with James Kennedy, author of Dare to Know (Adult Quirk Books)

TWO CONCURRENT PANELS

11:05 AM - 11:55 AM ET | Illuminating Book Club Picks
Novels and memoirs offer stories to sustain conversation.
The Ugly Cry by Danielle Henderson, a hilarious and heartrending memoir that redefines what it means to be family (Viking)
Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez, a coming-of-age debut that grapples with race, class, and identity (Doubleday)
Things We Lost to the Water by Eric Nguyen, a debut novelist with one of the most anticipated books of the year (Knopf)
Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner, a memoir that builds on her viral 2018 New Yorker essay of the same title (Knopf)
Moderator: Migdalia Jimenez, Adult Services Librarian, Chicago Public Library (IL)

 

11:05 AM - 11:55 AM ET | Making a Difference: Picture Books
These four picture books feature inspiring stories celebrating community, giving back, and achieving one’s goals.
My Two Border Towns by David Bowles, the loving story of a father and son’s weekend ritual, a demonstration of community care, and a tribute to the fluidity, complexity, and vibrancy of life on the U.S.-Mexico border (Kokila)
The Cot in the Living Room by Hilda Eunice Burgos, a Dominican American girl’s journey from jealousy to empathy as her parents babysit children whose families work overnight shifts (Kokila)
Areli Is a Dreamer: A True Story by Areli Morales, a DACA Recipient, a debut children’s book where hope prevails (Random House Studio)
Shirley Chisholm Dared: The Story of the First Black Woman in Congress by Alicia D. Williams, a Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King-John Steptoe New Talent Author Award winning author (Anne Schwartz Books)
Moderator: Melanie KletterSchool Library Journal Reviewer

 

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM ET Chat with Author Manuel Hinds & Editor Kevin Stevens (Charlesbridge)
 

12:00 PM - 12:30 PM ET Chat with Yan Ge and Jeremy Tiang, author and translator of Strange Beasts of China (Melville)
 

12:00 PM - 12:50 PM ET | Real-Life Narratives
Follow WWII soldiers, explorers, and a 63-year-old equestrian on the ride of her life.
Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II by Daniel James Brown, the bestselling author of The Boys in the Boat (Viking)
The Confidence Men: How Two Prisoners of War Engineered the Most Remarkable Escape in History by Margalit Fox, winner of the William Saroyan Prize for Literature and author of three previous books, Conan Doyle for the DefenseThe Riddle of the Labyrinth, and Talking Hands (Random House)
The Ride of Her Life: The True Story of a Woman, Her Horse, and Their Last-Chance Journey Across America by Elizabeth Lettsbestselling author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion and Finding Dorothy (Ballantine Books)
Every Day the River Changes: Four Weeks Down the Magdalena by Jordan Salama, a writer who travels from the source of the Río Magdalena in the Andes to where it meets the Caribbean sea (Catapult)
Madhouse at the End of the Earth: The Belgica's Journey into the Dark Antarctic Night by Julian Sancton, a senior features editor at Departures magazine, who gained the first official access to the expedition’s logbook (Crown)
Moderator: Jesse Sanders, Branch Manager, Fairview Park Branch, Cuyahoga County Public Library (OH)

 

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM ET Chat with Author Molly Beth Griffin with Publisher Yolanda Scott (Charlesbridge)
 

12:50 PM - 1:30 PM ET | Break / Visit the Exhibit Hall
 

1:00 PM - 1:30 PM ET Chat with Robert Lloyd, author of The Bloodless Boy (Melville)
 

1:00 PM - 1:15 PM ET Chat with Daniel James Brown (PRH Library Marketing)
 

1:30 PM - 2:00 PM ET | Andy Weir in Conversation
Bestselling novelist Andy Weir discusses his upcoming novel, Project Hail Mary (Ballantine Books), a survival tale about a lone astronaut fated to save the Earth.
Introduced by: Barbara Williams, AeroAstro and Physics Librarian, MIT Libraries (MA)

 

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM ET Chat with Author Irene Latham with Editor Karen Boss (Charlesbridge)

TWO CONCURRENT PANELS

2:05 PM - 2:55 PM ET | Genre-Busting Thrillers
Meet the authors blowing the doors off the thriller genre.
Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia, a debut novelist who takes readers back to 1920s Harlem (Berkley)
Dead of Winter by Stephen Mack Jones, his third “August Snow” novel (Soho Crime)
Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, the bestselling author of Mexican Gothic who now turns her brilliant talents from speculative fiction to noir. (Del Rey)
Bath Haus by P. J. Vernon, his second novel after his splashy debut, When You Find Me (Doubleday)
Moderator: Ashley Rayner, Branch Manager, Chicago Public Library (IL)

 

2:05 PM - 2:55 PM ET | Finding Your Truth: YA
These novels explore the complexities of friendships, identity, and love.
Chlorine Sky by Mahogany L. Browne, a novel-in-verse about a young girl coming-of-age and stepping out of the shadow of her former best friend (Crown BFYR)
The Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimons, a feel-good contemporary young adult romance about a trans teen who must decide between standing up for his rights and staying stealth (Dial Books for Young Readers)
Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, a collection of stories that connect the lives of young people from small towns in Alaska and the American west (Wendy Lamb Books)

Switch by A.S. King, a surreal and timely novel about isolation and human connection from Michael L. Printz Award winner (Dutton Books for Young Readers)
Moderator: Desiree Thomas, Librarian, Worthington Library (OH)

 

2:55 PM - 3:30 PM ET | Break / Visit the Exhibit Hall
 

3:00 PM - 3:20 PM ET Chat with G.Z. Schmidt (Holiday House)
 

3:00 PM - 3:30 PM ET Chat with Mike Rothschild, author of The Storm is Upon Us: How QAnon Became a Movement, Cult, and Conspiracy Theory of Everything (Melville)
 

3:00  – 3:15 PM ET Chat with Lauren Weisberger (PRH Library Marketing)
 

3:00 - 3:45 PM ET - Chat with Natalie Nelson, author and illustrator of Dog's First Baby (Ages 2-5 Quirk)
 

3:30 PM - 4:20 PM ET | Big Summer Reads
Two debut authors and three fan favorites shine with must-have beach reads. These are the books your patrons will be asking about and lining up to check out.
The Personal Librarian by best-selling authors Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray, an NAACP Image Award winner (Berkley)
Songs in Ursa Major by buzzy debut author and publishing insider Emma Brodie (Knopf)
The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller, another debut author and former head of drama series at HBO (The SopranosSix Feet Under, and The Wire) (Riverhead)
Where the Grass Is Green and the Girls Are Pretty by Lauren Weisberger, best-selling author of The Devil Wears Prada and When Life Gives You Lululemons (Random House)
Moderator: Wendy Bartlett, Collection Development and Acquisitions Manager, Cuyahoga County Public Library (OH)

 

4:30 PM - 5:00 PM ET | Listen Up: Audiobooks Read by the Author
Spoken word poet Jasmine Mans, author of Black Girl, Call Home and Pulitzer-winning playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes, author of My Broken Language, will discuss their writing, the power of the spoken word and their experiences narrating their own audiobooks.

ON-DEMAND SPONSOR SESSIONS | Available starting at 11:00 AM ET

PRHPS Kids’ Corner Author Panel l An Exploration of History, Conservation, Life Stories, and More!
Andrea Debbink, The Wild World Handbook: Habitats (Quirk Books) An inspiring guide for the next generation of climate activists, conservationists, and nature lovers.
Traci Sorell, We Are Still Here! (Charlesbridge) Twelve Native American kids present historical and contemporary laws, policies, struggles, and victories in Native life.
G. Z. Schmidt, The Dreamweavers (Holiday House) Twin siblings journey through the City of Ashes and visit the Jade Rabbit to save their grandpa in this Chinese folklore-inspired fantasy adventure.
Gail Jarrow, Ambushed!: The Assassination Plot Against President Garfield (Astra Publishing House) This thrilling title for young readers blends science, history, and medical mysteries to tell the story of the assassination and ultimately horrible death of President James Garfield.
Moderated by Christy Lau, New York Public Library Children's Librarian

 

What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?: A Q&A with Michal Oshman
Michal Oshman, author of What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid? (May 4) and Head of Company Culture, Diversity and Inclusion at TikTok Europe, joins DK’s Kristen Pozzuoli in a Q&A that will inspire you to ask yourself that very question. As a mentor for leaders in top global companies, Michal has created a unique personal growth methodology based on the life-changing principles of Jewish wisdom. Hear about her personal journey toward self discovery and the practical advice she offers in her new book to help readers find courage and move forward freely with no fear at all.

 

Fairy Tale Retellings
Sophisticated and subversive fairy tales for the twenty-first century reader. A princess falls for an evil sorceress, Cinderella wants Prince Charming dead, Wendy’s life after Neverland, and The Arabian Nights with a YA twist.
The Wrath and the Dawn by bestselling author Renée Ahdieh (Penguin Young Readers) 
The Charmed Wife by Olga Grushin, winner of the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award has written her biggest idea yet (Putnam)
Malice by Heather Walter, is a buzzy debut from a former English teacher and current librarian (Del Rey)
Wendy, Darling by A.C. Wise, writer of speculative fiction and nominee for the 2020 Nebula Award for Best Short Story (Titan Books)

Moderated by Kristi ChadwickLJ Columnist and Reviewer

 

Penguin Random House Partners Book Buzz
Hear about must-have fiction, non-fiction, YA, and Fandom titles from summer and fall of 2021 for ALL readers! Join Penguin Random House Library Marketing and several of their distribution partners for a full presentation of forthcoming books you won’t want to miss! Titles from the following publishers will be included:
Boyds, Mills & Kane
Charlesbridge
Holiday House
Melville House
Quirk Books
Soho Press
And more!

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Keynotes

  

Quiara Alegría Hudes, author and narrator of My Broken Language, is a writer, wife, mother of two, barrio feminist, and native of West Philly, USA. Hailed for their exuberance, intellectual rigor, and rich imagination, her plays and musicals have been performed around the world. They include the Broadway hit In the Heights and the Pulitzer Prize–winning drama Water by the Spoonful. She also founded Emancipated Stories, an online gallery where people behind bars can share one page of their life story with the world.

  

Megan Madison is a lifelong student of radical Black feminism and an early childhood educator. She holds an MS in early childhood education from Dominican University and a BA in studies in religion from the University of Michigan. She is currently pursuing her PhD at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy. When she's not working on finishing up her dissertation, she works as a trainer for the Center for Racial Justice in Education, the Human Root, and the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute, facilitating workshops for teachers on race, gender, and sexuality.

  

Jasmine Mans, author and narrator of Black Girl, Call Home, is a Black American poet, artist from Newark, New Jersey. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison, with a B.A. in African American Studies. Her debut collection of poetry, Chalk Outlines of Snow Angels, was published in 2012. Mans is the resident poet at the Newark Public Library. She was a member of The Strivers Row Collective.

  

Jessica Ralli is the Coordinator of Early Literacy Programs at Brooklyn Public Library, where she develops and manages programming for BPL's award-winning First Five Years initiative. She received her MA in Early Childhood Special Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and previously taught in schools, childcare centers, and museums. She has written about early literacy and library services for young children in School Library Journal (where she co-authors the "First Steps" column with Rachel G. Payne) and has presented on play-based learning at the American Library Association Conference, Young Child Expo, and the Bank Street Center for Children's Literature.

  

Andy Weir built a two-decade career as a software engineer until the success of his first published novel, The Martian, allowed him to live out his dream of writing full-time. He is a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of such subjects as relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. He also mixes a mean cocktail. He lives in California.

 

   Speakers

   

Twenty-four-year-old Nekesa Afia just finished her undergrad degree (bachelor's in journalism, with a minor in English) and is a publishing student. When she isn't writing, she's dancing, sewing, and trying to pet every dog she sees. She's been writing since she was a child and Dead Dead Girls is her debut novel.

 

Renée Ahdieh is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In her spare time, she likes to dance salsa and collect shoes. She is passionate about all kinds of curry, rescue dogs, and college basketball. The first few years of her life were spent in a high-rise in South Korea; consequently, Renée enjoys having her head in the clouds. She and her family live in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is the #1 New York Times and international bestselling author of the “Wrath and the Dawn” series, the “Flame in the Mist” series, and “The Beautiful” series  

  

Marie Benedict is a lawyer with more than ten years' experience as a litigator. A graduate of Boston College and the Boston University School of Law, she is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Only Woman in the Room, The Mystery of Mrs. Christie, Carnegie's Maid, The Other Einstein, and Lady Clementine. All have been translated into multiple languages. She lives in Pittsburgh with her family.

 

David Bowles grew up in the Río Grande Valley of South Texas. As a kid, he would regularly cross the border with his father to visit family, buy historietas, and watch movies. It’s a tradition he continued with his own children, making sure they became part of the transnational community he loves so much. David has written many books that center Mexican Americans in the borderlands, including the award-winning They Call Me Güero and the "13th Street" series. My Two Border Towns, available in English and Spanish, is his debut picture book.

 

Emma Brodie has worked in book publishing for a decade, most recently as an executive editor at Little, Brown's Voracious imprint. She graduated from the Johns Hopkins University's Writing Seminars program, and is a longtime contributor to HuffPost and a faculty member at Catapult. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their dog, Freddie Mercury.  

Daniel James Brown is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Boys in the Boat, The Indifferent Stars Above, and Under a Flaming Sky. He lives outside of Seattle.

 

Mahogany L. Browne is a California-born, Brooklyn-based writer, educator, activist, mentor, and curator. She has published several books of poetry, and she is an Urban Word NYC Artistic Director (as seen on HBO's Brave New Voices), founder of Women Writers of Color Reading Room, and Director of BLM@Pratt Programming, and facilitates performance poetry and writing workshops throughout the country

 

Hilda Eunice Burgos is the author of the middle grade novel Ana María Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle (Lee&Low). Her parents emigrated from the Dominican Republic before she was born, and she grew up in Washington Heights as one of four sisters. She now lives with her family near Philadelphia, where she works as an environmental lawyer.

 

Andrea Debbink is the author of several books for kids and a former editor at American Girl magazine. Her favorite way to explore our wild world is hiking a trail or kayaking a river. She lives and writes in Madison, Wisconsin, and you can learn more about her at AndreaDebbink.com.

 

  

Isaac Fitzsimons is a lifetime dabbler in the arts. His background includes performing sketch comedy in college, learning how to play three songs on the banjo, and, of course, writing. He currently lives outside Washington, DC, and does research for an arts advocacy nonprofit in the city.

 


 

Margalit Fox originally trained as a cellist and a linguist before pursuing journalism. As a senior writer in The New York Times’s celebrated Obituary News Department, she wrote the front-page public sendoffs of some of the leading cultural figures of our age. Winner of the William Saroyan Prize for Literature and author of three previous books, Conan Doyle for the Defense, The Riddle of the Labyrinth, and Talking Hands, Fox lives in Manhattan with her husband, the writer and critic George Robinson.

 

  

Olga Grushin was born in Moscow and moved to the United States at eighteen. She is the author of three previous novels, Forty Rooms, The Line and The Dream Life of Sukhanov. Her debut, The Dream Life of Sukhanov, won the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, earned her a place on Granta's once-a-decade Best Young American Novelists list, and was one of The New York Times' Notable Books of the Year. Both it and The Line were among The Washington Post's Ten Best Books of the Year, and Forty Rooms was named a Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction of the Year. Grushin writes in English, and her work has been translated into sixteen languages. She lives outside Washington, DC, with her two children.

 

  

Miranda Cowley Heller has worked as senior vice president and head of drama series at HBO, developing and overseeing such shows as The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, Deadwood, and Big Love, among others. The Paper Palace is her first novel. She grew up spending summers on Cape Cod, and now lives in California.

 

Danielle Henderson is a TV writer whose credits include Maniac, Divorce, and Difficult People. A retired freelance writer and former editor for Rookie, she has been published by The New York Times, The Guardian, AFAR Magazine, BuzzFeed, and The Cut. A book based on her popular website, Feminist Ryan Gosling, was released in 2012. Danielle currently co-hosts the podcast I Saw What You Did There with Millie De Chirico about the weird ways we respond to and learn to love movies. She likes to watch old episodes of Doctor Who when she is on deadline, one of her tattoos is based on the movie Rocky, and she will never stop using the Oxford comma.

 

Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock was born and raised in Alaska. She worked for many years commercial fishing with her family and as a public radio reporter all over the state. Her debut novel, The Smell of Other People's Houses, was a William C. Morris Award Finalist and was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. She currently lives and writes in a yurt outside Fairbanks. Visit her online at hitchcockbs.com.

 

Gail Jarrow is the author of nonfiction books and novels for ages 8-18. Her nonfiction books have earned the Robert F. Sibert Honor Book, Orbis Pictus Honor Book, YALSA Award Nomination for Excellence in Nonfiction, ALA Notable Book, Notable Social Studies Trade Book, Outstanding Science Trade Book, a NSTA Best STEM book, the Jefferson Cup Award, the Eureka! Gold Award, SCBWI Golden Kite Honor Book, as well as Bank Street, BCCB, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews and School Library Journal Best Books and VOYA Honor Book distinctions.

 

Stephen Mack Jones is a published poet, an award-winning playwright, and a recipient of the prestigious Hammett Prize, Nero Award, and the Kresge Arts in Detroit Literary Fellowship. He was born in Lansing, Michigan, and currently lives in the suburbs of Detroit. Dead of Winter is his third novel.

 

A.S. King is the award-winning author of many acclaimed books for young readers. Her novel Dig won the 2020 Michael L. Printz Award, and Ask The Passengers won the 2013 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. The New York Times called her “one of the best YA writers working today.” King lives with her family in Pennsylvania, where she returned after living on a farm and teaching adult literacy in Ireland for more than a decade. www.as-king.com.

 

 

Elizabeth Letts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion and The Perfect Horse, which won the 2017 PEN Center USA Literary Award for research nonfiction, as well as three novels, Finding Dorothy, Quality of Care, and Family Planning. A former certified nurse-midwife, she also served in the Peace Corps in Morocco. She lives in Southern California and Northern Michigan.

 

Paul Mendez was born and raised in the Black Country. He now lives in London and is studying for an M.A. in Black British Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has been a performing member of two theatre companies, and worked as a voice actor, appearing on audiobooks by Andrea Levy, Paul Theroux and Ben Okri, most recently recording Ian Wright's A Life in Football for Hachette Audio. As a writer, he has contributed to the Times Literary Supplement and the Brixton Review of Books. Rainbow Milk is his debut novel.
 
Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed speculative novels Mexican Gothic, Gods of Jade and Shadow, Signal to Noise, Certain Dark Things, and The Beautiful Ones; the crime novel Untamed Shore; and the forthcoming Velvet Was The Night. She has edited several anthologies, including the World Fantasy Award-winning She Walks in Shadows (aka Cthulhu's Daughters). She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.  

Victoria Christopher Murray is one of the country's top African American contemporary authors with more than one million books in print. She has written more than 20 novels, including the "Seven Deadly Sins" series and Stand Your Ground, a Library Journal Best Book of the Year. She holds an MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business.
 

Michal Oshman is Head of Company Culture, Diversity and Inclusion at TikTok Europe and was formerly responsible for international leadership and team development at Facebook. Throughout her career, Michal has trained and coached hundreds of tech leaders. She served as an officer in the Israeli Defence Forces and has three university degrees in psychodynamic and systemic thinking, sociology and anthropology. Michal lives with her husband and their four children in London, UK. She practices Chassidic Judaism.
 

Areli Morales Romero was born in Puebla, Mexico, but was raised in New York City. She is a DACA recipient, and Areli Is a Dreamer is her debut children's book. A graduate of CUNY-Brooklyn College with a bachelor's degree in childhood bilingual education, she currently works as a substitute teacher. One day, Areli hopes to have her own classroom, where she can teach children to value the power of storytelling and empower them to share their own stories. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her family.
 

Eric Nguyen earned an MFA in Creative Writing from McNeese State University in Louisiana. He has been awarded fellowships from Lambda Literary, Voices of Our Nation Arts (VONA), and the Tin House Writers Workshop. He is the editor in chief of diaCRITICS.org. He lives in Washington, DC. Things We Lost to the Water is his first novel.
 
Jordan Salama is a writer, journalist, and producer. His essays and stories have appeared in The New York Times, National Geographic, Scientific American, and other outlets. He is the co-founder of The Lulus TV, a children's media brand on YouTube that has more than 1 million total subscribers and half a billion total views from around the world. A 2019 graduate of Princeton University, he is of Argentine, Syrian, and Iraqi-Jewish descent and is fluent in English and Spanish. He lives near New York City.  

Julian Sancton is a senior features editor at Departures magazine, where he writes about culture and travel. His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Esquire, The New Yorker, Wired, and Playboy, among other publications. He has reported from every continent, including Antarctica, which he first visited while researching this book.
 

G. Z. Schmidt was born in China and immigrated to the United States when she was six. She grew up in the Midwest and the South where she chased fireflies, listened for tornado warnings, and pursued a love of reading. In the third grade, she began writing stories in a spiral-bound notebook, and never looked back. Foreword Reviews called her debut novel No Ordinary Thing, “no ordinary time travel story; it contains timeless lessons on friendship, bravery, and letting go.” Her upcoming novel is The Dreamweavers, to be published by Holiday House in September. G. Z. Schmidt currently lives in Southern California with her husband and their tuxedo cat.
 

Traci Sorell is the award-winning author of We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, a Sibert, Orbis Pictus, and Boston Globe-Horn Book honor book; At the Mountain's Base; and co-wrote Indian No More. She is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation and lives in Oklahoma, where her tribe is located.
 

P. J. Vernon was born in South Carolina. His first book, When You Find Me, was published in 2018. He lives in Calgary with his partner and two wily dogs.  
Heather Walter is a native Southerner who hates the heat. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, she is both a former English teacher and a current librarian. Perhaps it is because she’s surrounded by stories that she began writing them. At any given moment, you can find her plotting. This is her first novel.  

Lauren Weisberger is the New York Times bestselling author of The Devil Wears Prada, which was published in forty languages and made into a major motion picture starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway. Currently, producer Kevin McCollum and musician Elton John are adapting The Devil Wears Prada for the stage. Weisberger’s six other novels were all bestsellers, and her books have sold more than thirteen million copies worldwide. A graduate of Cornell University, she lives in Connecticut with her husband and two children.
 

Alicia D. Williams's debut, the middle-grade novel Genesis Begins Again, received a Newbery Honor and was a Kirkus Prize nominee and a Morris Award finalist. It also won the Coretta Scott King-John Steptoe New Talent Author Award. Alicia is a graduate of the MFA program at Hamline University. An oral storyteller in the African American tradition, she also teaches kindergarten. Learn more at aliciadwilliams.com.
 

A.C. Wise is a writer of speculative fiction and her work has appeared in various publications, including Uncanny, Tor.com, Shimmer, and several Year's Best anthologies. "Catfish Lullaby" was nominated for the 2020 Nebula Award for Best Novella, and "How the Trick Is Done" was nominated for the 2020 Nebula Award for Best Short Story.  

Michelle Zauner is best known as a singer and guitarist who creates dreamy, shoegaze-inspired indie pop under the name Japanese Breakfast. She has won acclaim from major music outlets around the world for releases like Psychopomp (2016) and Soft Sounds from Another Planet (2017).
 
   
 

 

Moderators

Wendy Bartlett joined Cuyahoga County Public Library in 2009 as the manager for the Beachwood branch, where she streamlined the collection and implemented 24-Door-to-Floor workflow for shelving returned materials. In 2011, she became the Fiction Buyer for the CCPL system, working with both author events and merchandising. In 2012, she became the Collection Development Manager, centralizing selection for the system and launching a floating collection. Wendy has several publications to her credit, including Floating Collections: A Collection Development Model for Long-Term Success. She is a member of Library Journal’s Review Advisory Committee for 2021.

Kristi Chadwick is an LJ Columnist and Reviewer.

Migdalia Jimenez is an Adult Services Librarian at the Chicago Public Library.

Melanie Kletter is a teacher and freelance writer who is passionate about picture books. At SLJ, Melanie writes and edits reviews, interviews authors, and has written feature stories on topics including news literacy and digital book displays. She has a master’s degree in elementary education and worked for many years as a classroom teacher in New York City public schools, where she still teaches part-time.

Christy Lau is a Children's Librarian at the New York Public Library's Chatham Square Branch. She holds a Master's of Information Studies from McGill University. In addition to providing Bilingual Storytimes in Mandarin and English, Christy also co-chairs this year's NYPL Best Books for Kids committee. When not reading graphic novels or playing the uke, she's volunteering with Heart of Dinner, a NYC-based Asian American nonprofit.

Ashley Rayner is a native South Sider. She is also the branch manager at Greater Grand Crossing. She reads and watches anything and everything, but is partial to science fiction and fantasy. Ashley also supports most Chicago sports teams.

Jesse Sanders is the Branch Manager of the Fairview Park Branch of Cuyahoga County Public Library, and has worked in Library Management and Supervision for over 10 years. A lifelong advocate of Public Libraries, Jesse specializes in collaborative, organic approaches to finding solutions that meet the needs of every library customer. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking and gardening and can usually be found doing both while listening to an audiobook.

Desiree Thomas is a Youth Services Librarian in Worthington Ohio. She has worked in libraries for the past 22 years and believes that our lives are made better when we share stories and learn about each other. She is an avid gardener, yogi, and reader’s advisory enthusiast.

Barbara Williams came to the MIT Libraries in 2008. Previously she worked as the Aerospace, Mechanical, Chemical, Environmental, Systems and Industrial librarian in the Science-Engineering Library at the University of Arizona. Prior to that she worked at Kettering University as the Mechanical and Business librarian.

 


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