Steve Sheinkin is the recipient of the 2020 Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring his significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens for “Bomb: The Race to Build - and Steal- the World's Most Dangerous Weapon,” “The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights,” and “The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism, & Treachery,” and “Lincoln's Grave Robbers.” Sheinkin is a powerful force in today’s ever-expanding field of nonfiction for teens, a genre that offers a particularly unique avenue for teens to become aware of themselves and to answer their questions about their role in society and in the world. Sheinkin’s ability to tell a story that is contextualized with rich details about the time and place that surround it allows teens to delve deeply into a range of issues and ideas. Like any great fiction writer, Sheinkin brings his characters to life by building a plot that gently unfolds, allowing the reader a chance to get to know the history on a very personal level.
Adalyn Grace’s fantasy debut ALL THE STARS AND TEETH (an instant New York Times bestseller) is set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice. This thrilling fantasy is the first in a new duology for fans of Stephanie Garber’s Caraval and Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series. Booklist calls it “breathtakingly adventurous.” Adalyn Grade graduated from Arizona State University when she was nineteen years old. She spent four years working in live theater and acted as the managing editor of a nonprofit newspaper before studying storytelling as an intern on Nickelodeon Animation’s popular series The Legend of Korra. Adalyn splits time between San Diego and Arizona.
Jordan Ifueko's debut epic fantasy Raybearer (April 2020) weaves in traditional West African mythology with a story that’s completely original and exciting. Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood. That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself? With extraordinary world-building and breathtaking prose, Raybearer is the story of loyalty, fate, and the lengths we’re willing to go for the ones we love.
Bethany C. Morrow A California native, Bethany graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a BA in Sociology. Following undergrad, she studied Clinical Psychological Research at the University of Wales, Bangor, in Great Britain before returning to North America to focus on her literary work. She is the author of the adult novel Mem (Unnamed Press) and the editor of the young adult anthology Take the Mic (Arthur A. Levine Books). A Song Below Water is her standalone YA debut.
Ashley Schumacher is a young adult author with a degree in creative writing from the University of North Texas. She lives in a small town with her antisocial but lovable husband and more books than is strictly necessary. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her belting Disney or Broadway songs, protecting her snacks from her greedy golden retriever, hand embroidering, or playing Mario Kart. Amelia Unabridged is her first novel. She lives in Dallas, Texas.
Moderated by Ben Philippe, a New York–based writer and screenwriter, born in Haiti and raised in Montreal, Canada. He has a BA from Columbia University and an MFA in fiction and screenwriting from the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas. He also teaches screenwriting at Columbia University. He is the author of the William C. Morris YA Debut Award-winning novel The Field Guide to the North American Teenager. He can be found online at www.benphilippe.com.
Romina Garber (pen name Romina Russell) is a New York Times and international bestselling author. Originally from Argentina, she landed her first writing gig as a teen—a weekly column for the Miami Herald that was later nationally syndicated—and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Her books include Lobizona. When she’s not working on a novel, Romina can be found producing movie trailers, taking photographs, or daydreaming about buying a new drum set. She is a graduate of Harvard College and a Virgo to the core.
Adib Khorram lives in Kansas City, Missouri. When he isn't writing, you can probably find him trying to get his hundred-yard freestyle under a minute, learning to do a Lutz jump, or steeping a cup of oolong. His debut novel, Darius the Great Is Not Okay, earned several awards, including the William C. Morris Debut Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Young Adult Literature, and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor.
Mark Oshiro is the Hugo-nominated writer of the online Mark Does Stuff universe (Mark Reads and Mark Watches), where they analyze book and TV series. Their debut novel, Anger Is a Gift, was a recipient of the Schneider Family Book Award for 2019. Their lifelong goal is to pet every dog in the world.
Courtney Summers is the bestselling author of several novels, whose career in writing began in 2008, when she was 22. Her work has been released to critical acclaim and multiple starred reviews, received numerous awards and honors including the Edgar Award, the John Spray Mystery Award, the Cybils Award, the Odyssey Award, the Audie Award, and has enjoyed the recognition of many library, state, 'Best Of' and Readers' Choice lists. Courtney has reviewed for The New York Times, is the founder of #ToTheGirls, a 2015 worldwide trending hashtag, and in 2016, she was named one of Flare Magazine's 60 under 30. She lives and writes in Canada.
Moderator Scot Smith is the librarian at Robertsville Middle School in Oak Ridge, TN and teaches graduate classes for the School of Information Sciences at the University of Tennessee. He was a member of the 2018 Printz Committee and is presently serving on the committee for 2021 Schneider Family Book Award. His professional interests include storytelling, narrative non-fiction, and literature of diversity.
Aida Salazar is arts activist and award-winning author of the middle grade verse novels, THE MOON WITHIN (International Latino Book Award Winner), THE LAND OF THE CRANES (Fall, 2020), and the bio picture book JOVITA WORE PANTS: THE STORY OF A REVOLUTIONARY FIGHTER (Spring, 2021). She is slated to co-edit with Yamile Saied Méndez, CALLING THE MOON: A middle grade anthology on menstruation by writers of color (Candlewick Press 2022). She is a founding member of Las Musas - a Latinx kidlit debut author collective.
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 many young adult novels and lives in Orlando, Florida, with her husband and children.
Daniel Aleman was born and raised in Mexico City. A graduate of McGill University, he currently lives in Toronto. INDIVISIBLE is his first novel.
Guadalupe Garcia McCall is the Pura Belpre Award-winning author of UNDER THE MESQUITE, SUMMER OF THE MARIPOSAS, SHAME THE STARS, and ALL THE STARS DENIED. She was born in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico. She immigrated with her family to the United States when she was six years old and grew up in Eagle Pass, Texas (the setting of both her novels and most of her poems).
Yamile Saied Mendez is an Argentine-American who lives in Utah with her Puerto Rican husband and their five kids, two adorable dogs, and one majestic cat. An inaugural Walter Dean Myers Grant recipient, she’s also a graduate of Voices of Our Nations (VONA) and the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA Writing for Children’s and Young Adult program. She’s a PB, MG, and YA author. Yamile is also part of Las Musas, the first collective of women and nonbinary Latinx MG and YA authors.
Ernesto Cisneros is a 20-year veteran teaching reading and writing currently serving inner-city intermediate schools in the city of Santa Ana: the colorful but mostly dismissed section of Orange County, California. He holds an English degree from the University of California, Irvine; a teaching credential from California State University, Long Beach; as well as a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from National University.
Paula Chase Hyman is the co-founder of The Brown Bookshelf, an award-winning blog dedicated to highlighting Black children’s lit creatives, Chase has worked to increase access to a broader variety of literature for young readers for more than 12 years. Her YA series helped Kensington Books launch its YA line in the early 2000’s. Her MG includes Dough Boys, Turning Point (September 2020) and the critically acclaimed, So Done.
Barbara Dee is the author of eleven MG novels, including My Life in the Fish Tank, Maybe He Just Likes You (2020 ALA Notable Children’s Book, 2020 ALA Rise List), Everything I Know About You, Halfway Normal and Star-Crossed. Co-founder and former Board member of the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival. Former teacher and lawyer.
Aida Salazar is an arts activist and author of the middle grade verse novels, THE MOON WITHIN (International Latino Book Award Winner), THE LAND OF THE CRANES (Fall, 2020), and the bio picture book JOVITA WORE PANTS: THE STORY OF A REVOLUTIONARY FIGHTER (2021) -- all by Scholastic. She will co-edit with Yamile Saied Méndez, CALLING THE MOON: A middle grade anthology on menstruation by writers of color (Candlewick Press 2022). She is a founding member of Las Musas - a Latinx kidlit debut author collective.
Melanie Sumrow is the author ofThe Prophet Calls, a 2018 Writers’ League of Texas Award Finalist, and The Inside Battle. Before becoming an author, Melanie worked as a lawyer for more than sixteen years, with many of her cases involving children and teens. Melanie’s debut novel helped launch the Yellow Jacket imprint (distributed by Simon & Schuster) in 2018 with a focus on Upper Middle Grade books.
Margarita Engle is the Cuban-American author of verse books such as The Surrender Tree, Enchanted Air, Forest World, and Drum Dream Girl. Awards include the NSK Neustadt Prize, three Astrid Lindgren Award Nominations, a Newbery Honor, multiple Pura Belpré, Walter, Américas, Jane Addams, and International Latino Book Awards and Honors, as well as the Charlotte Zolotow, PEN USA, Golden Kite, Green Earth, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Arnold Adoff , and Claudia Lewis Awards, among others. Margarita served as the 2017-2019 Young People’s Poet Laureate. Her most recent books include With a Star in My Hand, Dreams From Many Rivers, and Dancing Hands. Forthcoming books include Your Heart, My Sky, and A Song of Frutas. Margarita was born in Los Angeles, but developed a deep attachment to her mother’s homeland during childhood summers with relatives on the island. She studied agronomy and botany along with creative writing, and now lives in central California with her husband. www.margaritaengle.com
Nikki Grimes is a New York Times bestselling author and the recipient of the 2020 ALAN Award for significant contributions to young adult literature, the 2017 Children's Literature Legacy Award, the 2016 Virginia Hamilton Literary Award, and the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. The author of Coretta Scott King Author Award-winner Bronx Masquerade, and recipient of five CSK Author Honors, her titles include the much-honored Words With Wings, Garvey's Choice and Boston Globe-Horn Book honor, Between the Lines, and One Last Word, winner of the 2018 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award. Her 2019 memoir Ordinary Hazards, won both a Printz Honor and a Sibert Honor. https://www.nikkigrimes.com/
Padma Venkatraman served as chief scientist on research vessels in Germany, directed a school in England, worked in a laboratory at Johns Hopkins University, and obtained her doctorate in oceanography at the College of William and Mary before becoming a full-time author. Her most recent novel, The Bridge Home has received eight starred reviews since its publication in 2019, is the winner of a Walter Award, Golden Kite Award, Nerdy Book Award, Paterson Prize, Crystal Kite Award, South Asia Book Award, and Audiophile Earphone Award, in addition to garnering numerous other honors. Her previous novels, A Time to Dance, Climbing the Stairs and Island’s End were also all released to multiple starred reviews and garnered several awards and honors. Visit her at at www.padmavenkatraman.com, on Twitter (@padmatv) and IG (venkatraman.padma).