Penguin Random House Winter Book & Author Festival

Join Penguin Random House, Library Journal, and School Library Journal for the second free, day-long virtual book and author festival as we celebrate 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. 


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Exhibit Hall Opens/Visit the Booths


Opening Keynote Conversation with Marlon James, Moon Witch, Spider King, Riverhead, and Dr. andré carrington, Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside.


Picture Books that Connect Us
Picture books can get at the core of big themes with only a few words. From celebrating unsung heroines to shedding light on the immigrant experience, the following works are testament to the deceptively simple format’s brilliance.
Tracey Baptiste, Because Claudette, Penguin Young Readers/Dial
Ruth Behar, Tía Fortuna's New Home: A Jewish Cuban Journey, Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Daniel Minter, Blue: A History of the Color as Deep as the Sea and as Wide as the Sky, Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Jenny Torres Sanchez, With Lots of Love, Viking Books for Young Readers
Moderator: John Scott, Library Media Specialist, Powhatan Elementary School, Baltimore County Public Schools (MD)

This World and Others: Fantasy and Magical Realism  
Retellings, family, magic, and magical realism are key notes in these enthralling speculative fiction works that explore lands of vast imagination and relationships closer to home.    
Ayanna Lloyd Banwo, When We Were Birds, Doubleday
Natasha Bowen, Skin of the Sea, Random House Books for Young Readers   
Liz Michalski, Darling Girl, Dutton
Rory Power, In a Garden Burning Gold, Del Rey
V. E. Schwab, ExtraOrdinary, Titan
Moderator: Ashley Rayner, Librarian at NORC, University of Chicago (IL)

Debuts to Note
New voices gather to discuss writing, first novels, and the stories they have created. While different in style and approach, they collectively center on family, the legacy of generations, and how the past and future are forged through ties that bind. 
Aamina Ahmad, The Return of Faraz Ali, Riverhead
Sarah Manguso, Very Cold People, Hogarth
Leila Mottley, Nightcrawling, Knopf
Cleyvis Natera, Neruda on the Park, Ballantine Books
Tara M. Stringfellow, Memphis, The Dial Press
Moderator: Migdalia Jimenez, Adult Services Librarian, Chicago Public Library (IL)

Essential Asian American Pacific Islander Voices in Young Adult Literature
The importance of Asian American Pacific Islander Voices in Young Adult Literature and the relevance of these works now more than ever will be discussed from the writers' and children's services perspective.
Samira Ahmed, Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know, Soho Teen
Marie Myung Ok Lee, Finding My Voice, Soho Teen
Chandra Prasad, Mercury Boys, Soho Teen
Moderator: Seungyeon (Sue) Yang-Peace, Children’s Department Head, Las Vegas Clark County Library (NV)


Lunchtime Cookbook Book Club
What’s on the menu?  Family narratives, cultural heritage, and accessible recipes for the home cook. 
Tanorria Askew, Staples + 5: 100 Simple Recipes to Make the Most of Your Pantry, DK Publishing
Eric Kim, Korean American: Food That Tastes Like Home, Clarkson Potter
Rick Martínez, Mi Cocina: Recipes and Rapture from My Kitchen in Mexico: A Cookbook, Clarkson Potter
Dan Zuccarello, More Mediterranean: 225+ New Plant-Forward Recipes Endless Inspiration for Eating Well, America’s Test Kitchen

Keynote Conversation
Kwame Mbalia, Black Boy Joy: 17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood, Delacorte Press, in conversation with Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson, Recognize! An Anthology Honoring and Amplifying Black Life, Crown Books for Young Readers.
Moderator: Desiree Thomas, Librarian, Worthington Library (OH)

Keynote Conversation
Susan Cain, Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole, Crown, in conversation with Anita Mechler, Writer, Archival Consultant.

Books for Middle School: Stories of Belonging and Becoming 
Growing pains and earth-shattering crushes. Friendships made and friendships broken. The awkward middle school years are adeptly captured in these middle grade novels.
Emma Otheguy, Sofía Acosta Makes a Scene, Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Aisha Saeed, Omar Rising, Nancy Paulsen Books
Brenda Woods, When Winter Robeson Came, Nancy Paulsen Books
Lisa Yee, Maizy Chen’s Last Chance, Random House Children's Books
Moderator: Monisha Blair, Librarian, Glasgow Middle School (VA)

Relationship Fiction Panel
The complicated, intertwined, brave, and bold lives of five very different characters metaphorically gather in this panel which explores how women frame their lives, explore their choices, and come to resolutions.
Jennifer E. Smith, The Unsinkable Greta James, Ballantine Books
Bonnie Garmus, Lessons in Chemistry, Doubleday
Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Take My Hand, Berkley
Lauren McBrayer, Like a House on Fire, Putnam
Lizzie Damilola Blackburn, Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband?, Viking
Moderator: Ron Block, Branch Manager, Cuyahoga County Public Library System (OH)

Big Spring Books: Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry    
Hear from the authors who will be topping holds and bestseller lists in the months to come as they talk about historical fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and the contemporary past. From communist Romania to a Kentucky horse farm, these books plumb character, language, and setting. 
Chris Bohjalian, The Lioness, Doubleday
Geraldine Brooks, Horse: A Novel, Viking
Benjamin Gilmer, The Other Dr. Gilmer: Two Men, a Murder, and an Unlikely Fight for Justice, Ballantine Books
Ruta Sepetys, I Must Betray You, Philomel Books
Ocean Vuong, Time Is a Mother, Penguin Press
Moderator: Wendy Bartlett, Collection Development and Acquisitions Manager, Cuyahoga County Public Library (OH)

Escape Into a Fantastical Feminist Future with P. C. Cast
P. C. Cast, Into the Mist, Crooked Lane, in conversation with Thea James, Cooking for Wizards, Warriors, and Dragons, Media Lab Books & Sr Dir, Digital Customer Operations, Penguin Random House

Closing Keynote Conversation
Adriana Trigiani, The Good Left Undone, Dutton, in conversation with Lisa Scottoline, What Happened to the Bennetts, Putnam.
Moderator: Ron Block, Branch Manager, Cuyahoga County Public Library System (OH)




Named one of the top ten influencers in the world by LinkedIn, Susan Cain is a renowned speaker and author of the award-winning books Quiet Power, Quiet Journal, and Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Translated into more than forty languages, Quiet has appeared on many best-of lists, spent more than seven years on the New York Times bestseller list, and was named the #1 best book of the year by Fast Company, which also named Cain one of its Most Creative People in Business. Her TED Talk on the power of introverts has been viewed over forty million times. Her new book Bittersweet: How Longing and Sorrow Make Us Whole will be published on April 5th 2022.

Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson are the co-founders of Just Us Books, Inc. For over thirty years they have published, written, and collaborated on books that reflect the diversity of Black history, heritage, and experiences, including the treasury collections We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices, which received four starred reviews and was a Jane Addams Peace Association Honor Book, and The Talk, which was a New York Times, NPR, New York Public Library, Chicago Public Library, and Center for Multicultural Literature Best Book of the Year. The husband-wife team live in East Orange, NJ.

Marlon James is the author of the New York Times bestselling National Book Award finalist Black Leopard, Red Wolf, the Booker Prize-winning A Brief History of Seven Killings, and The Book of Night Women and John Crow’s Devil. In addition to the Booker Prize, his novels have won the American Book Award, the Los Angeles Times’ Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Born in Jamaica, James lives in New York City.

Kwame Mbalia is a husband, father, New York Times bestselling author, and former pharmaceutical metrologist, in that order. His debut middle-grade novel, Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, and the sequel, Tristan Strong Destroys the World, are published by Rick Riordan Presents/Disney-Hyperion. A Howard University graduate and a Midwesterner now in North Carolina, he survives on dad jokes and Cheez-Its.

Lisa Scottoline is the New York Times-bestselling author of thirty-two novels. She has 30 million copies of her books in print in the United States and has been published in thirty-five countries. Scottoline also writes a weekly column with her daughter for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Lisa has served as President of Mystery Writers of America and has taught a course she developed, "Justice in Fiction" at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, her alma mater. She lives in the Philadelphia area.


Adriana Trigiani is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty books of fiction and nonfiction, including the blockbuster The Shoemaker’s Wife. Her books have been published in 38 languages around the world. She is an award-winning playwright, television writer/producer, and filmmaker. Among her screen credits, Trigiani wrote and directed the major motion picture adaptation of her debut novel Big Stone Gap. Adriana grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where she co-founded The Origin Project. Trigiani is proud to serve on the New York State Council on the Arts. She lives in New York City with her family.




Aamina Ahmad, a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, has received a Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, a Pushcart Prize, and a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award. Her short fiction has appeared in One Story, The Southern Review, Ecotone, and elsewhere; she is also the author of a play, The Dishonored. She lives in Berkeley, CA.


Samira Ahmed was born in Bombay, India, and grew up in a small town in Illinois in a house that smelled like fried onions, cardamom, and potpourri. A graduate of the University of Chicago, she’s lived in Vermont, Chicago, New York City, and Kauai, where she spent a year searching for the perfect mango. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @sam_aye_ahm.


Tanorria Askew is a passionate home cook turned chef. She was a 2016 MasterChef contestant and is now the owner of Tanorria's Table, a personal chef and catering business. Tanorria has a keen sense of flavor and takes pride in making everything she cooks memorable. With cooking roots in Tennessee and strong ties to the local Indiana food community, Tanorria puts a modern spin on American comfort food. She lives in Indianapolis, where she serves as Diversity and Inclusion chairperson on the board of Slow Food Indy. Find her on Instagram @tanorriastable or visit her website


Ayanna Lloyd Banwo is a writer from Trinidad and Tobago. Her work has been published in The Caribbean Writer, Moko Magazine, Small Axe, POUi, Pree, Callaloo, and Anomaly. She is a graduate of the M.A. in Creative Writing program from the University of East Anglia and is now a postgraduate researcher in Creative-Critical Writing at UEA. She is a contributor to Colonial Countryside: National Trust Houses Reinterpreted, forthcoming from Peepal Tree Press in 2021. When We Were Birds is her first novel.


In addition to her new picture book Because Claudette, Tracey Baptiste is the New York Times bestselling author of Minecraft: The Crash, as well as the creepy Caribbean series The Jumbies. She's also written the contemporary young adult novel Angel's Grace and nine nonfiction books for kids in elementary through high school. A former elementary school teacher, Tracey does numerous author visits, and is on the faculty at Lesley University's Creative Writing MFA program.


Ruth Behar is an acclaimed author of adult fiction and nonfiction, and Lucky Broken Girl – winner of the Pura Belpre Award – was her first book for young readers. She was born in Havana, Cuba, grew up in New York, and has also lived and worked in Spain and Mexico. Her honors include a MacArthur "Genius" Award, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright Senior Fellowship, and a Distinguished Alumna Award from Wesleyan University.



Born and raised in London, Lizzie Damilola Blackburn is a British-Nigerian writer who won the Literary Consultancy Pen Factor Writing Competition in 2019 with an early draft of her debut novel. She has been on the receiving end of the question in the title of her novel many times, and now lives with her husband in Milton Keynes, England.



Chris Bohjalian is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of twenty-three books, including Hour of the Witch, The Red Lotus, Midwives, and The Flight Attendant, which is an HBO Max limited series starring Kaley Cuoco. His novels Secrets of Eden, Midwives, and Past the Bleachers were made into movies, and his work has been translated into more than thirty-five languages. He is also a playwright (Wingspan and Midwives). He lives in Vermont.


Natasha Bowen is a writer, a teacher, and a mother of three children. She is of Nigerian and Welsh descent and lives in Cambridge, England, where she grew up. Natasha studied English and creative writing at Bath Spa University before moving to East London, where she taught for nearly ten years. Her debut book was inspired by her passion for mermaids and African history. She is obsessed with Japanese and German stationery and spends stupid amounts on notebooks, which she then features on her secret Instagram. When she's not writing, she's reading, watched over carefully by Milk and Honey, her cat and dog.


Geraldine Brooks is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel March and the international bestsellers The Secret Chord, Caleb’s Crossing, People of the Book, and Year of Wonders. She has also written the acclaimed nonfiction works Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence. Born and raised in Australia, Brooks lives in Massachusetts.  


P. C. Cast is a #1 New York Times and #1 USA Today bestselling author who has more than twenty million books in print in over forty countries. She is a proud member of the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame and is the author of the wildly popular HOUSE OF NIGHT series, as well as many other YA, fantasy and paranormal romance books. P.C. splits her time between her beloved Tulsa, Oklahoma and the Pacific NW.


Bonnie Garmus is a copywriter and creative director who has worked widely in the fields of technology, medicine, and education. She’s an open water swimmer, a rower, and mother to two pretty amazing daughters. Born in California and most recently from Seattle, she currently lives in London with her husband and her dog, 99.


Dr. Benjamin Gilmer is a family medicine physician in Fletcher, North Carolina. A former Albert Schweitzer fellow, he is an associate professor in the department of family medicine at the UNC School of Medicine at Chapel Hill and at the Mountain Area Health Education Center. A former neurobiologist turned rural family practitioner, Dr. Gilmer has lectured across the country about medical ethics, bias in medicine, and criminal justice reform. He lives with his wife and two children in Asheville, North Carolina.


Eric Kim is a New York Times staff food writer born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, by Korean immigrants. He worked his way through the literary and culinary world to eventually become a digital manager at Food Network and a senior editor at Food52, where he amassed a devoted readership for his "Table for One" column. He now hosts regular videos on NYT Cooking's YouTube channel. A former contributing editor at Saveur, Eric taught writing and literature at Columbia University, and his work has been featured in The Washington Post, Bon Appétit, and Food & Wine. He lives with his rescue pup, Quentin Compson, in New York City.


Marie Myung-Ok Lee is the author of two other YA novels: Necessary Roughness and Saying Goodbye, the sequel to Finding My Voice, as well as the middle grade novels If It Hadn’t Been for Yoon Jun and Night of the Chupacabras. Her books have won multiple awards, including Friends of American Writers, New York Public Library’s Best Books for the Teen Age, and NCTE’s Children’s Choice. She has been a judge for the National Book Awards, a Fulbright Fellow, and was one of the first Korean American journalists allowed into North Korea. Follow her on Twitter: @MarieMyungOkLee.


Sarah Manguso is the author of eight books. Her previous book, 300 Arguments, a genre-defying work of aphoristic nonfiction, was named a best book of the year by more than twenty publications. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Hodder Fellowship, and the Rome Prize. Her work is regularly featured across The New York Times Magazine, O: The Oprah Magazine, and The New Yorker, among others. She grew up in Massachusetts and now lives in Los Angeles. Very Cold People is her first novel.


Rick Martínez is the host of the YouTube series “Pruébalo” on Babish Culinary Universe and the Food52 video series “Sweet Heat” and a regular contributor to Bon Appétit magazine and the New York Times. He also hosts live, weekly cooking classes for the Food Network Kitchen. He currently resides in Mazatlán, cooking, eating, and enjoying the Mexican Pacific coast.


Lauren McBrayer is a graduate of Yale with a law degree from UC Berkeley. A working mom of three, she is the head of business affairs for a television network in Los Angeles. Like a House on Fire is her adult debut.  



Liz Michalski is the author of Evenfall and a contributor to Writer Unboxed and Author in Progress. A former reporter and editor, Liz lives with her family in Massachusetts, where she loves reading fairy tales and sometimes, writing them. Darling Girl is her second novel.



Daniel Minter is a fine artist and illustrator. His paintings, carvings, block prints and sculptures have been exhibited at galleries and museums both nationally and internationally. He has illustrated numerous books for children, and is the recipient of the Coretta Scott King Illustration Honor and Caldecott Honor. He lives in Portland, Maine with his family.



Leila Mottley is the 2018 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate. Her work has been featured in The New York Times and Oprah Daily. She was born and raised in Oakland, where she continues to live. Nightcrawling is her first novel.


Cleyvis Natera was born in the Dominican Republic in 1977. She immigrated to the US with her mother and siblings when she was ten years old. She grew up in Harlem and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Skidmore College and a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Fiction from New York University. Cleyvis is the Co-Founder of Love As A Kind of Cure. Her debut novel, Neruda on the Park, is forthcoming Spring 2022 from Penguin Random House. She lives in Montclair, NJ with her husband and two young children.  

Emma Otheguy is the author of the middle-grade novel Silver Meadows Summer (Knopf, 2019) and the bilingual picture book Martí's Song for Freedom (Lee & Low, 2017) which received five starred reviews, was named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, and the New York Public Library. She co-authored The Unicorn Rescue Society: The Madre de Aguas of Cuba with Adam Gidwitz (Dutton 2020), and her most recent publication is her contribution to the new Carmen Sandiego universe, Secrets of the Silver Lion (HMH 2020).



Rory Power lives in Rhode Island. She has an MA in prose fiction from the University of East Anglia, and is the New York Times bestselling author of Wilder Girls and Burn Our Bodies Down.


Chandra Prasad is the author of the critically acclaimed novels On Borrowed Wings, Death of a Circus, Breathe the Sky, and Damselfly, a female-driven young adult text used in classrooms in parallel with Lord of the Flies. Prasad is also the editor of—and a contributor to—Mixed, the first-ever anthology of short stories on the multiracial experience. Her shorter works have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The Week, New Haven Noir, and Teen Voices, among others. Follow her on Twitter: @chandrabooks.


In addition to the upcoming Omar Rising, Aisha Saeed also wrote the New York Times bestseller Amal Unbound, Written in the Stars, Yes No Maybe So (with Becky Albertalli), and Diana and the Island of No Return, and is a Pakistani American writer, teacher, and attorney. As one of the founding members of the We Need Diverse Books Campaign, she is helping change the conversation about diverse books. Aisha lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and sons.


Jenny Torres Sanchez is a full-time writer and former English teacher. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, but has lived on the border of two worlds her whole life. She is the author of We Are Not From Here; The Fall of Innocence; Because of the Sun; Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia; and The Downside of Being Charlie. With Lots of Love is her first picture book. She lives in Orlando, Florida, with her husband and children.


Victoria “V.E.” Schwab, is the  #1 New York Times bestselling author of acclaimed Shades of Magic series, the Villains series, and The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. She lives in Edinburgh and is usually tucked in the corner of a coffee shop, dreaming up monsters.


Ruta Sepetys is an internationally acclaimed, #1 New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction published in over sixty countries and forty languages. Her novels Between Shades of Gray, Out of the Easy, Salt to the Sea, and The Fountains of Silence have won or been shortlisted for more than forty book prizes. Her next novel, I Must Betray You, which tackles communist Romania and its citizen spy network, comes out in February.


Jennifer E. Smith is the author of nine books for young adults, including The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between, both of which have been adapted for film. She earned a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and her work has been translated into thirty-three languages. She currently lives in Los Angeles.


Poet, former attorney, Northwestern University MFA graduate, and semifinalist for the Fulbright Fellowship, Tara M. Stringfellow has written for Collective Unrest, Minerva Rising, Jet Fuel Review, WomensArts Quarterly Journal, and Apogee Journal, among other publications. After having lived in Okinawa, Ghana, Chicago, Cuba, Spain, Italy, and Washington DC, she moved back home to Memphis, where she sits on her porch swing every evening with her hound, Huckleberry, listening to records and chatting with neighbors.  

Ocean Vuong is the author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection Night Sky with Exit Wounds and the New York Times bestselling novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. A recipient of the 2019 MacArthur "Genius Grant," he is also the winner of the Whiting Award and the T. S. Eliot Prize. His writings have been featured in The Atlantic, Harper's Magazine, The Nation, The New Republic, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he currently lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.



Brenda Woods is an artist and a photographer, and she has a bachelor of science degree from California State University. Along with her upcoming middle grade novel, When Winter Robeson Came, her award-winning books for young readers include The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA, Zoe in Wonderland, The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond, Coretta Scott King Honor winner The Red Rose Box, Saint Louis Armstrong Beach, and Emako Blue. She lives in Nevada.



Lisa Yee is the award-winning author of Millicent Min, Girl Genius; Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time; So Totally Emily Ebers; Absolutely Maybe; and many other books, including the DC Super Hero Girls novel series and numerous American Girl books. Lisa is a third-generation Chinese American. She says, “I wrote Maizy Chen’s Last Chance as a tribute to my grandparents and to all the immigrants who made the journey to America.” Lisa divides her time between Western Massachusetts and Los Angeles.


Dan Zuccarello is the executive food editor for cook books at America's Test Kitchen. His team is responsible for the development of over 500 foolproof recipes and 6 unique cookbooks each year. He is currently in his 12th year with America's Test Kitchen and got his start as a test cook on the book team. He is a graduate of Johnson and Wales University.




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.

Monisha Blair is a school librarian at Glasgow Middle School (Fairfax County Public Schools) in Alexandria, VA. She earned her Masters of Information from Rutgers University in December 2020, with a concentration in School Library Media. She achieved a B.A. in Journalism from George Washington University in 2005. Since January 2020, Monisha has reviewed middle grade fiction, picture books, and young adult fiction for School Library Journal. She served on the 2020 and 2021 SLJ Best Books Committees. Previously, Monisha volunteered at the Boonton Holmes Public Library, where she did the weekly baby storytime program and founded the Friends of the Library. Monisha lives in Burke, Virginia with her husband and two children.

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.

andré carrington is a scholar of race, gender/sexuality, and genre in Black and American cultural production. He is currently Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside. His first book, Speculative Blackness: The Future of Race in Science Fiction (Minnesota, 2016) interrogates the cultural politics of race in the fantastic genres. He is currently at work on a second book project, Audiofuturism, on race in science fiction radio drama. He has recently contributed to Keywords for Comics Studies (NYU Press) and the Cambridge History of Queer American Literature. Through 2023, he will be working with investigators at UC Riverside on a year-long public seminar titled, "UnArchiving Blackness: Why the Primacy of African and African Diaspora Studies Necessitates a Creative Reconsideration of Archives."

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 (available August 31, 2021) is her first cookbook.

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

Anita Mechler is an American writer, storyteller, painter, librarian, and archivist. She is a co-founder, editor, and contributor of a Chicago-based writing collective. Her work has been featured in Library Journal, The Vignette Review, and Our Urban Times. She lives in New Orleans with her fiancé and two cats.

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

A school librarian for almost 30 years, John Scott has taught in independent, international and public schools. Currently he is the Library Media Specialist at Powhatan Elementary School in Baltimore County Public Schools. John served on the 2010 Caldecott Committee and the 2016 Newbery Committee. He is also involved with the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation and is hosting a Mock EJK program this year at his school.  John has served on the Best Picture Books (2020) and Best Nonfiction Picture Books (2021) for School Library Journal.

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.

Seungyeon (Sue) Yang-Peace is a Youth Services Department Head at Las Vegas Clark County Library District. She is a 2019 ALA Spectrum Scholar and a 2020/2021 ALA Emerging Leader.







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