PRH Spring Book & Author Festival

This National Library Week, join Penguin Random House, Library Journal, and School Library Journal on April 7 for our Spring 2022 virtual book and author festival, a free day-long event celebrating reading, authors, 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: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM ET | 7:00 AM - 2:00 PM PT


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.

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 Library Journal Privacy Policy and Code of Conduct Policy and agreeing that Library Journal may share your registration information with current and future sponsors of this event.

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


In Booth Chats

10:00 – 10:30 AM ET Chat with Cara Giaimo & Christina Couch, authors of Detector Dogs, Dynamite Dolphins, and More Animals with Super Sensory Powers


10:30 - 11:00 AM ET | Opening Keynote
David Levithan
, Answers in the Pages (Knopf Books for Young Readers), discusses the perils of censorship and what librarians can do to advocate for readers and educate the public.
Moderator: Ashley Leffel, Librarian, Frisco (TX)


Two Sessions Running Concurrently


11:05 - 11:55 AM ET | Debuts of Note
New authors gather to discuss writing their first novels and explore history, family, secrets and truths.


Alison FairbrotherThe Catch: A Novel (Random House)
Zoe SivakMademoiselle Revolution (Berkley)
Belinda Huijuan TangA Map for the Missing: A Novel (Penguin Press)
LaToya WatkinsPerish: A Novel (Tiny Reparations)
Moderator: Linda Griswold, Youth Services Librarian, Wake County Public Libraries


11:05 - 11:55 AM ET | Finding Yourself: Middle Grade Novels about Discovering Your Truth
These four works from powerhouse authors examine all the struggles that pull at tweens’ hearts—family, friendship, and standing up for oneself, and superpowers?


Zetta ElliotThe Witch’s Apprentice (Random House Children’s Books)
Margarita EngleSinging with Elephants (Viking Books for Young Readers)
Lisa McMannMap of Flames (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers)
Elly SwartzDear Student (Delacorte Press)
Moderator: Myiesha Speight, Book Reviewer, Common Sense Media and SLJ


Two Sessions Running Concurrently


12:00 - 12:50 PM ET | Personal Stories
Powerful memoirs recount life in the 21st century. 


Diya AbdoAmerican Refuge: True Stories of the Refugee Experience (Truth to Power)
Hua HsuStay True: A Memoir (Doubleday)
Sara Kruzan, I Cried to Dream Again: Trafficking, Murder, and Deliverance—A Memoir (Pantheon)
Jesse LeonI'm Not Broken: A Memoir (Vintage)
Carmen Rita WongWhy Didn’t You Tell Me?: A Memoir (Crown)
Moderator: Maryann Penzvalto, Branch Manager, Chagrin Falls and Gates Mills Branches, Cuyahoga County Public Library


12:00 - 12:50 PM ET | Relationship Fiction
From chance encounters to confronting the past, these novels take readers on journeys of love, loss, and life’s bittersweet lessons.

Carter BaysThe Mutual Friend: A Novel (Dutton)
Linda HolmesFlying Solo: A Novel (Ballantine Books)
Tomi ObaroDele Weds Destiny: A Novel (Knopf)
Clare PooleyIona Iverson's Rules for Commuting: A Novel (Pam Dorman Books)
Cecily WongKaleidoscope: A Novel (Dutton)
Moderator: Ron Block, Branch Manager, Cuyahoga County Public Library System (OH)


12:55 - 1:45 PM ET | Lunchtime Cookbook Club
What’s on the menu? Spicy recipes, accessible go-to meals for the busy home cook, and more. Our cookbook authors take you into their kitchens and offer the behind-the-scenes stories of what food means to them.

Andy BaraghaniThe Cook You Want to Be (Lorena Jones Books)
Ariel FoxSpice Kitchen: Healthy Latin and Caribbean Cuisine (Kingston Imperial)
Deb PerelmanSmitten Kitchen Keepers (Knopf)
Ruby Tandoh, Cook As You Are: Recipes for Real Life, Hungry Cooks, and Messy Kitchens: A Cookbook (Knopf)

Moderator: Thea JamesCooking for Wizards, Warriors, and Dragons, Media Lab Books & Sr Dir, Digital Customer Operations, Penguin Random House


Two Sessions Running Concurrently


1:50 - 2:20 PM ET | Afternoon Keynote Conversation
Join Lisa Lucas, senior vice president of Knopf Doubleday and former executive director of the National Book Foundation, and debut novelist Laura Warrell, author of Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm, as they discuss books, publishing, editing, and more.
Moderator: Barbara Hoffert, Editor, Prepub Alert, Library Journal


1:50 - 2:20 PM ET | Afternoon Keynote Conversation
Writing duo Irene Latham and Charles Waters, known for their thought-provoking poetry for young readers, introduce their debut Young Adult title, African Town (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers).
Moderator: Kristyn Dorfman, Lower and Middle School Librarian, Friends Academy (NY)


Two Sessions Running Concurrently

2:25 - 3:15 PM ET | Thrills & Chills   
These novels will leave you on the edge of your seat with techno transformations, cold secrets, and sinister summits.  


Blake CrouchUpgrade: A Novel (Ballantine Books)
Ashley FlowersAll Good People Here: A Novel (Bantam)
Tess GerritsenRizzoli & Isles: Listen to Me: A Novel (Ballantine Books)
Amy McCullochBreathless (Anchor)
Deanna RaybournKillers of a Certain Age (Berkley)
Moderator: Ashley Rayner, Librarian, NORC at the University of Chicago (IL)


2:25 - 3:15 PM ET | Love Is a Mystery: Books Your Teens Will Love
From rom-coms to thrillers, these YA novels are too irresistible to miss.


Navdeep Singh DhillonSunny G's Series of Rash Decisions (Dial)
Karen McManusNothing More to Tell (Delacorte Press)
Kelis RoweFinding Jupiter (Crown Books for Young Readers)
Julian WintersRight Where I Left You (Viking Books for Young Readers)
Moderator: Desiree Thomas, Librarian, Worthington Library (OH)


Two Sessions Running Concurrently


3:20 - 4:10 PM ET | Fiction of Connection
Four novels explore the multiple bonds between family, friends, and those still lost and searching.        


Tess GuntyThe Rabbit Hutch: A Novel (Knopf) 
Celeste Ng, Our Missing Hearts: A Novel (Penguin Press)
Emma Straub, This Time Tomorrow: A Novel (Riverhead)
Gabrielle ZevinTomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow: A Novel (Knopf)
Moderator: Migdalia Jimenez, Adult Services Librarian, Chicago Public Library


3:20 - 4:10 PM ET | The Horror!
With supernatural torments and ghostly encounters, these terrifying page-turners are not for the faint of heart.


Isabel CañasThe Hacienda (Berkley)
Clay McLeod ChapmanGhost Eaters: A Novel (Quirk Books)
Ramona EmersonShutter (Soho Crime)
Alma KatsuThe Fervor (Putnam) 
Josh MalermanDaphne: A Novel (Del Rey)
Moderator: Becky Spratford, Readers' Advisory Specialist


Two Sessions Running Concurrently


4:15 - 4:45 PM ET | La Familia as the Foundation of Hispanic/Latinx Literature
While different in style and approach, both juvenile and adult books in Latinx literature honor our roots and celebrate la familia as core elements of our community’s stories.


Ruth BeharCartas de Cuba, Vintage Español
Sandra CisnerosLa casa en Mango Street, Vintage Español
Erika L. SánchezYo no soy tu perfecta hija mexicana, Vintage Español
Moderator: Elisa Garcia, Librarian, New York Public Library


4:15 - 4:45 PM ET | Audio Panel
Audiobooks bring graphic novels to life in a new way, thanks to a unique creative vision, sound effects, and multiple voice actors! Hear from bestselling graphic novel authors, Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Lunch Lady series), Judd Winick (Hilo series), and Veronica Agarwal and Lee Durfey-Lavoie (Just Roll with It) and award-winning producer Nick Martorelli on how they create immersive recordings that tackle the challenges of adapting a visual storytelling medium to an audio production.
Moderator: Sarah Hashimoto, Community Engagement Manager, Jackson District Library




Irene Latham and Charles Waters are the writing duo of the much acclaimed Can I Touch Your Hair: Poems of Race, Mistakes and Friendship and Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes and Anecdotes from A to Z. In starred reviews their poetry partnership has been described as brave, touching and thought-provoking. In their YA debut, African Town, they tell a powerful, untold story with important resonance for today’s readers.


David Levithan is a children’s book editor in New York City and the New York Times bestselling author of several books for young adults, including Someday, Another Day, Every Day, Boy Meets Boy, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with John Green). In 2016, David received the Margaret A. Edwards Award, given to honor an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature. You can learn more about him at


Lisa Lucas is Senior Vice President and Publisher of Pantheon and Schocken Books. Prior to her current position, Lisa served as the Executive Director of the National Book Foundation and as publisher of Guernica Magazine.


Laura Warrell is a contributor to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Tin House Writers’ Workshop, and is a graduate of the creative writing program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her work has appeared in HuffPost, The Rumpus, Salon, and Los Angeles Review of Books, among other publications. She has taught creative writing and literature at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and through the Emerging Voices Program at PEN America in Los Angeles, where she lives.





Diya Abdo is the first daughter and grand-daughter of Palestinian refugees born in their country of displacement, Jordan. A graduate of Yarmouk University, she earned master's and doctorate degrees from Drew University. She is a full professor in the English department of Guilford College, where she founded the first chapter of Every Campus A Refuge (ECAR), which aims to host global refugees. Diya is the recipient of several national community engagement awards, including the 2021 J.M.K. Innovation Prize for her work with ECAR. She lives in Greensboro, NC, with her partner, daughters, and cats.


Veronica Agarwal is a Cartoonist and Illustrator from NYC. She graduated from SVA in May 2016 with a BFA in Cartooning. She loves plants, summertime, dogs and her 3 cats! Her work focuses on mental health, coming-of-age stories, and friendship.

Lee Durfey-Lavoie, a college dropout who was able to find a career in writing, loves role-playing games and spending time with his cats. Just Roll with It is his debut graphic novel.


Andy Baraghani is a food writer and recipe developer who grew up watching a lot of cooking shows on PBS while learning to cook at home under the careful supervision of his mother (and with the help of a footstool). His experiences at Chez Panisse and Estela cemented his love for cooking, and his bold, highly achievable flavors became his signature cooking style during his time as a food editor at Bon Appétit. Andy lives in New York City with his partner—and an extensive mortar and pestle collection.


Carter Bays is the co-creator of the Emmy-winning series How I Met Your Mother. He lives in California with his wife and three children. The Mutual Friend is his first novel.


Ruth Behar, the Pura Belpré Award–winning author of Lucky Broken Girl, was born in Havana, Cuba, grew up in New York, and has also lived in Spain and Mexico. In addition to writing for young people, her work includes poetry, memoir, and the acclaimed travel books An Island Called Home and Traveling Heavy, which explore her return journeys to Cuba and her search for home. She was the first Latina to win a MacArthur “Genius” Grant, and other honors include a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and being named a “Great Immigrant” by the Carnegie Corporation. She is an anthropology professor at the University of Michigan and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Isabel Cañas is a Mexican-American speculative fiction writer. After having lived in Mexico, Scotland, Egypt, and Turkey, among other places, she has settled (for now) in New York City, where she works on her PhD dissertation in medieval Islamic literature and writes fiction inspired by her research and her heritage.


Clay McLeod Chapman writes novels, comic books, and children's books, as well as for film and TV. He is the author of the horror novels The Remaking and Whisper Down the Lane. Visit him at


Poet, short story writer, novelist, essayist and artist, Sandra Cisneros, is the author of Bad Boys, My Wicked Wicked Ways, Loose Woman, Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories, The House on Mango Street, Caramelo, Have You Seen Marie?, Vintage Cisneros—a compilation of her works— and Bravo, Bruno. Her most recent books are A House of My Own: Stories from My Life, which is illustrated with photographs, and Puro Amor in a dual-language edition translated by Liliana Valenzuela and featuring illustrations by the author. Born in Chicago in 1954, she is a citizen of both the United States and Mexico. She makes her living by her pen.


Blake Crouch is a bestselling novelist and screenwriter. His novels include Recursion, Dark Matter, and the Wayward Pines trilogy, which was adapted into a television series for FOX. Crouch also co-created the TNT show Good Behavior, based on his Letty Dobesh novellas. He lives in Colorado.


Navdeep Singh Dhillon has worked as a linguist in the U.S. Navy, a photographer, dishwasher, paperboy, ESL teacher in China, and is currently adjunct professor of creative writing and composition at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. He was born in England and spent his childhood in East and West Africa, the Middle East, and the Central Valley of California. Sunny G’s Series of Rash Decisions is his debut novel.


Zetta Elliott was born in Canada and moved to the United States in 1994. She is the author of over twenty-five books for young readers, including the Dragons in a Bag series and the award-winning picture books Bird and Melena's Jubilee. She is also a contributor to the anthology We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices. Elliott is an advocate for greater diversity and equity in publishing. Visit or follow her on Twitter @zettaelliott and Facebook: Author Zetta Elliott.


Ramona Emerson is a Diné writer and filmmaker originally from Tohatchi, New Mexico. She has a bachelor’s in Media Arts from the University of New Mexico and an MFA in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts. After starting in forensic videography, she embarked upon a career as a photographer, writer, and editor. She is an Emmy nominee, a Sundance Native Lab Fellow, a Time-Warner Storyteller Fellow, a Tribeca All-Access Grantee and a WGBH Producer Fellow. In 2020, Emerson was appointed to the Governor’s Council on Film and Media Industries for the State of New Mexico. She currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she and her husband, the producer Kelly Byars, run their production company Reel Indian Pictures.


Margarita Engle is the Cuban American author of many books including the verse novels Your Heart, My Sky; With a Star in My Hand; The Surrender Tree, a Newbery Honor winner; and Forest World. Her verse memoirs include Soaring Earth and Enchanted Air, which received the Pura Belpré Award. Her picture books include Drum Dream Girl; Dancing Hands; and The Flying Girl. Singing with Elephants is her new middle grade novel-in-verse that publishes in May.


Alison Fairbrother is an associate editor at Riverhead Books. She worked as a journalist in Washington, D.C., before getting her MFA at Stony Brook University. She lives in Brooklyn.


Ashley Flowers is the founder and chief executive officer of audiochuck, the award-winning, independent media and podcast production company known for its standout content and storytelling across different genres such as true crime, fiction, comedy, among others. She also hosts and produces several audiochuck shows, including the top-rated podcast Crime Junkie. In addition to her work with audiochuck, Flowers has collaborated with Parcast to launch and host several podcasts, including International Infamy, Very Presidential, and Supernatural with Ashley Flowers, which debuted at number one on the podcast charts. Flowers was born and raised in Indiana, where she continues to live with her husband, newborn daughter and their beloved dog, Chuck.


Ariel Fox is an award-winning chef celebrated for her healthy culinary philosophy and passion for fresh, seasonal ingredients with a focus on heritage cooking.  Having been selected to compete on both chef Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen” and walking away the winner of the 2nd “Hell’s Kitchen All Stars”, Chef Ariel has an enviable career that has brought her coast to coast.  Today Chef Ariel is Vice President of Culinary for Landry’s and appears as a guest chef on Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay. Ariel’s first book, The Freckle-Faced Foodie (Mascot Books, 2020), taught kids to explore their passions, learning about their roots, culture and, of course, food! 


Bestselling author Tess Gerritsen is also a physician, and she brings to her novels her first-hand knowledge of emergency and autopsy rooms. Her thrillers featuring homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles inspired the hit TV series Rizzoli & Isles. But Gerritsen's interests span far more than medicine and crime. As an anthropology student at Stanford University, she catalogued centuries-old human remains, and she continues to travel the world, driven by her fascination with ancient cultures and bizarre natural phenomena.


Tess Gunty earned an MFA in Creative Writing from NYU, where she was a Lillian Vernon Fellow. Her work has appeared in The Iowa Review, Joyland, Los Angeles Review of Books, No Tokens, Flash, and elsewhere. She was raised in South Bend, Indiana and lives in Los Angeles.


Linda Holmes is a novelist, a pop culture correspondent for NPR, and one of the hosts of the popular podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which has held sold-out live shows in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere. She appears regularly on NPR radio shows including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. Before NPR, she wrote for New York magazine online and for TV Guide, as well as for the groundbreaking website Television Without Pity. Her first novel, Evvie Drake Starts Over, was a New York Times bestseller. In her free time, she watches far too many romantic comedies, bakes bread, plays with her wonderful dog, and tries to keep various plants thriving.


Hua Hsu is a staff writer at The New Yorker and an associate professor of English at Vassar College. Hsu serves on the executive board of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. He was formerly a fellow at the New America Foundation and the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center at the New York Public Library. He lives in Brooklyn with his family.


Alma Katsu is the award-winning author of six novels, most recently Red Widow, The Deep, and The Hunger. She is a graduate of the master's writing program at the Johns Hopkins University and received her bachelor's degree from Brandeis University. Prior to the publication of her first novel, Katsu had a long career as a senior intelligence analyst for several U.S. agencies. She lives in West Virginia with her husband.


Jarrett J. Krosoczka, known since boyhood as "JJK," is the New York Times bestselling author/illustrator behind more than forty books for young readers, including his wildly popular Lunch Lady graphic novels, select volumes of the Star Wars™: Jedi Academy series, and Hey, Kiddo, which was a National Book Award Finalist. Krosoczka creates books with humor, heart, and deep respect for his young readers—qualities that have made his titles perennial favorites on the bookshelves of homes, libraries, and bookstores over the past twenty years. In addition to his work in print, Krosoczka produced, directed, and performed in the audiobook adaptation of his graphic memoir, which garnered both Audie and Odyssey Awards for excellence in audiobook production.


Sara Kruzan, a survivor of sex trafficking, is an advocate for the rights of incarcerated women and children. She and her daughter, Summer, live in California. Cori Thomas is an author, a screenwriter, and an award-winning playwright. She lives in New York City.  


Jesse Leon is a social-impact consultant to foundations, impact investors, non-profits, and real estate developers on ways to address issues of substance abuse, affordable housing, and educational opportunities for at-risk youth. Since receiving a master’s degree from the Harvard Kennedy School, Jesse has managed multi-million dollar philanthropic grantmaking for various foundations and banking institutions, managed over $1B in public sector investments for affordable housing, and built thousands of units of mixed-income housing as a real estate developer for Bank of America. Jesse recently moved back to San Diego to be closer to his mother and to pursue his dream of publishing this book. He is a native Spanish speaker and fluent in English and Portuguese.


Josh Malerman is a New York Times bestselling author and one of two singer-songwriters for the rock band The High Strung. His debut novel, Bird Box, is the inspiration for the hit Netflix film of the same name. His other novels include Unbury Carol, Inspection, A House at the Bottom of a Lake, and Malorie, the sequel to Bird Box. Malerman lives in Michigan with his fiancée, the artist-musician Allison Laakko.


Nick Martorelli is an executive producer with Penguin Random House Audio, where he works on a wide variety of titles. He produces the Star Wars audiobooks, including the recent full-cast productions Tempest Runner and Doctor Aphra. He has a love of full-cast audio dramas, and has produced the audio adaptations of multiple graphic novels, including Lucy Knisley’s Stepping Stones, the Hilo series by Judd Winick, and the Max and the Midknights series by Lincoln Peirce. Before joining PRH team, Nick was a professional actor, and he’s always willing to talk at length about Star Trek, Sherlock Holmes, and Superman.


Amy McCulloch is an internationally bestselling Chinese-White author, raised in Ottawa, now based in London, UK. She has written eight novels for children and young adults, and her work has been translated into fifteen languages. Breathless is her adult fiction debut. In addition to writing, she loves to seek out adventure, especially by hiking in remote corners of the globe. Amy knows the dangerous world of high-altitude mountaineering very well: in September 2019, she became the youngest Canadian woman to climb Mount Manaslu in Nepal—the world’s eighth-highest mountain at 8,163 meters. It was on this expedition that she began writing Breathless.


Lisa McMann is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of dozens of books, including The Unwanteds series, the Wake trilogy, and her most recent novel, Map of Flames. She is married to fellow writer, Matt McMann, and they have two adult children—her son is artist Kilian McMann and her daughter is actor Kennedy McMann. Lisa spends most of her time in Arizona, California, and Vancouver, British Columbia, and loves to cook, read, and watch reality TV.


Karen M. McManus is a #1 New York Times and international bestselling author of young adult thrillers. Her books include the One of Us Is Lying series, which has been turned into a television show on Peacock and Netflix, as well as the standalone novels Two Can Keep a Secret, The Cousins, You’ll Be the Death of Me, and Nothing More to Tell. Her work has been translated into more than 40 languages. To learn more about Karen and her books, visit, or follow @writerkmc on Twitter and Instagram.


Celeste Ng is the number one New York Times bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere. Her third novel, Our Missing Hearts, will be published in October 2022. Ng is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, and her work has been published in over thirty languages.


Tomi Obaro is a senior culture editor at BuzzFeed News whose cultural criticism and essays have been published in BuzzFeed News, The Morning News, and The Toast. She lives in Brooklyn.


Deb Perelman is a self-taught home cook and photographer and the creator of the award-winning blog, She lives in New York City with her husband and their children.   


Clare Pooley graduated from Cambridge University, and then spent twenty years in the heady world of advertising before becoming a full-time writer. Her debut novel, The Authenticity Project, was a New York Times bestseller, and has been translated into twenty-nine languages. Pooley lives in Fulham, London, with her husband, three children, and two border terriers. Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting is her second novel.  

Deanna Raybourn is the New York Times bestselling author of the Edgar Award–nominated Veronica Speedwell Mysteries, as well as the Lady Julia Grey series and several stand-alone works.


During her past life as a market research analyst, Kelis Rowe kept her creative juices flowing after-hours as a blogger and YouTuber, which included a two-year stint as one of twenty national Clinique Beauty Brand Insiders and a brief assignment as an Austin Honeybee for Honey Magazine. Kelis grew up in Memphis, where she had her first big love as a teenager. She did not see herself or her big love reflected in the pages of a YA novel at the time and now writes contemporary YA to give Black young people more reflections of themselves and their love to enjoy. Follow her at @KelisRowe on Twitter and Instagram.


Erika L. Sánchez is a Mexican-American poet, novelist, and essayist. Her debut poetry collection, Lessons on Expulsion, was published by Graywolf in July 2017, and was a finalist for the PEN America Open Book Award. Her debut young adult novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, published in October 2017 by Knopf Books for Young Readers, was a New York Times bestseller and a National Book Awards finalist. It is now being made into a film directed by America Ferrera. Sanchez was a 2017-2019 Princeton Arts Fellow, a 2018 recipient of the 21st Century Award from the Chicago Public Library Foundation, and a 2019 recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.


Zoe Sivak advocates for the restoration of diverse stories and characters to historical fiction. In her writing, she strives to explore famous male figures through the lens of the women beside them—women who could have existed, even if history left them behind. When not engrossed in historical research, Zoe is pursuing both her Juris Doctor and master of public health in Philadelphia, PA. 


Emma Straub is the New York Times–bestselling author of four other novels—All Adults Here, The Vacationers, Modern Lovers, and Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures—and the short story collection Other People We Married. Her books have been published in twenty countries. She and her husband own Books Are Magic, an independent bookstore in Brooklyn, New York.


Elly Swartz grew up in Yardley, Pennsylvania. She studied psychology at Boston University and received her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. Finding Perfect, called "a clear, moving portrayal of obsessive-compulsive disorder" by Publishers Weekly, was her debut novel. She is also the author of Smart Cookie and Give and Take, novels for middle grade readers. You can find Elly on Twitter @ellyswartz, on Instagram @ellyswartzbooks, on YouTube's Books In the Kitchen with author Victoria J.Coe: Her website is


Ruby Tandoh is an author and journalist who has written for The New Yorker, The Guardian, Vittles, and Elle. A finalist on the 2013 Great British Bake Off, she is also the author of Crumb, Flavour, and Eat Up!, a book about the pleasure of eating.


Belinda Huijuan Tang is a 2021 graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow and recipient of the Michener-Copernicus Fellowship. She holds a BA from Stanford University and was a 2019 work-study fellow at the Middlebury Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She lived in China from 2016 to 2018 and, while there, she received an MA from Peking University in Beijing. She currently lives in Los Angeles.


LaToya Watkins’s writing has appeared in A Public Space, The Sun, McSweeney's, Kenyon Review, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, and elsewhere. She has received grants, scholarships, and fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, MacDowell, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, and A Public Space (she was one of their 2018 Emerging Writers Fellows). She holds a PhD from the University of Texas at Dallas. Perish is her debut novel.


Judd Winick is the creator of the beloved New York Times bestselling Hilo series. Judd lives in San Francisco with his wife and their two kids. Judd has written bestselling comic book series, appeared as a cast member of MTV's The Real World: San Francisco, and is the author of the acclaimed graphic novel Pedro and Me, about his Real World friend, AIDS activist Pedro Zamora.


Julian Winters is a bestselling and award-winning author of contemporary young adult fiction, including his new novel Right Where I Left You. His novels Running with Lions, How to Be Remy Cameron, and The Summer of Everything received accolades for their positive depictions of diverse, relatable characters. A former management trainer, Julian currently lives outside of Atlanta, where he can be found reading, being a self-proclaimed comic book geek, or watching the only two sports he can follow--volleyball and soccer.


Carmen Rita Wong is a writer and nonprofit board leader whose board positions include The Moth and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She was the co-creator and television host of On the Money on CNBC and was a national advice columnist for Glamour, Latina, Men’s Health, and Good Housekeeping. Wong is the author of a series of novels and two bestselling advice books. She is the founder and CEO of Malecon Productions, LLC, where she develops female-focused media and entertainment. She lives in Manhattan with her daughter.


Cecily Wong is the author of the novel Diamond Head, which was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, the recipient of an Elle Readers' Prize, and voted a best debut of the Brooklyn Book Festival. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Review of Books, Self Magazine, Bustle, and elsewhere. She is a graduate of Barnard College and lives in New York, where she is a writer at Atlas Obscura.


Gabrielle Zevin is the New York Times and internationally best-selling author of several critically acclaimed novels, including The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, which won the Southern California Independent Booksellers Award and the Japan Booksellers’ Award among other honors, and Young Jane Young, which won the South­ern Book Prize. Her novels have been translated into thirty-nine languages. She has also written books for young readers, including the award-winning Elsewhere. She lives in Los Angeles.




Ron Block is a Branch Manager in the Cuyahoga County Public Library System in Cleveland, Ohio. His passion for libraries, reading and cooking have fueled non-traditional library programs and community collaborations. He was named a 2020 Library Journal Mover and Shaker and serves as a judge for the James Beard Cookbook Awards. Ron has recently become the Podcast Host for, representing 4 NYT Bestselling authors.


Kristyn Dorfman has been a school librarian for over a decade and has worked with children of all ages, from early childhood to High School Seniors. She has been reviewing for School Library Journal since 2013 and has served on several ALA and ALA affiliate committees including most recently APALA's 2020-2021 Youth Literature Award. She spends most of her free time reading, writing, doing the crossword, and spending time with her three young children.


Elisa A. Garcia is a Supervising Librarian of Teen Services at the New York Public Library. She is motivated to foster a love of reading in reluctant teen readers and therefore strives to introduce them to a diverse world and experiences through books.


Linda Griswold is a youth services librarian in North Carolina. She has coordinated the Mock Newbery and Mock Printz Clubs, and moderated book discussions for children and adults. Reading became relevant to Linda at the age of 9 when she found Jack London and discovered that books could have animals as the main characters. Linda particularly enjoys reader's advisory and recommending authors that offer tender insights into both the frailty and resilience of the human heart such as Kate DiCamillo, Kelly Yang, Lauren Wolk, Jacqueline Woodson, Ann Patchett, Amy Tan, Ian McEwen, and Ruth Ozeki.


Sarah Hashimoto is the Community Engagement Manager for Jackson District Library. She reads almost exclusively with her ears and has served on the Odyssey Award Committee, Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults, and the Listen List Council. She reviews for AudioFile Magazine and Library Journal and chairs Booklist's Advisory Board.


Barbara Hoffert is Editor, Prepub Alert, Library Journal.


Migdalia Jimenez is a Branch Manager at the Chicago Public library. She contributes reviews for Library Journal and writes Staff Picks for the Chicago Public Library website. She enjoys reading a wide variety of genres but especially Romance, Sci-fi, Fantasy, re-tellings of classics and books about the Latinx Diaspora. Her hobbies include travelling, cooking, bike-riding, and playing with her 4 cats.


Ashley Leffel is the librarian at Griffin Middle school 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.



Thea James is one half of the maniacal duo behind The Book Smugglers, a Hugo Award-winning sci-fi and fantasy book review blog. Thea is Filipina-American, but grew up in Hawaii, Indonesia, and Japan. She is a full-time book nerd who works in publishing for her day job and currently resides in Astoria, Queens with her partner and rambunctious cat. Cooking for Wizards, Warriors and Dragons is her first cookbook.


Maryann Penzvalto is a Branch Manager at the Chagrin Falls and Gates Mills branches of Cuyahoga County Public Library. When she's not at the library, she enjoys renovating old houses and competing on game shows, where she was a two-day champion on Jeopardy!


Ashley Rayner is a Librarian at NORC, University of Chicago (IL).


Myiesha Speight holds a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in English with a minor in History from Winston-Salem State University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In 2019, she received her Master's of Library and Information Science with a specialization in Diversity and Inclusion from the University of Maryland College Park’s iSchool located in College Park, Maryland. Myiesha Speight is currently a Book Reviewer for Common Sense Media and SLJ.


Becky Spratford [MLIS] is a Readers' Advisor in Illinois specializing in serving patrons ages 13 and up. She trains library staff all over the world on how to match books with readers through the local public library. She runs the critically acclaimed RA training blog RA for All. She is under contract to provide content for EBSCO’s NoveList database and writes reviews for Booklist and a horror review column for Library Journal. Becky is a 20 year locally elected Library Trustee [still serving] and a Board member for the Reaching Across Illinois Library System. Known for her work with horror readers, Becky is the author of The Reader’s Advisory Guide to Horror, Third Edition [ALA Editions, 2021]. She is a proud member of the Horror Writers Association and currently serves as the Association’s Secretary and organizer of their annual Librarians’ Day. You can follow Becky on Twitter @RAforAll


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. 










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