Ci10 Speakers and Authors

View Ci10 appearing authors collected excerpts

More authors will be added as they are confirmed.

= Indies Introduce Children's Author

Keynote Speakers

Charlie Jane Anders
Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak, Tor Teen

Charlie Jane Anders is the author of Victories Greater Than Death, the first book in the Unstoppable trilogy, Even Greater Mistakes: Stories, Never Say You Can’t Survive, The City in the Middle of the Night, and All the Birds in the Sky. She’s won the Hugo, Nebula, Sturgeon, Lambda Literary, Crawford, and Locus Awards. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, McSweeney’s, Mother Jones,, Tin House, and other places. Her TED Talk, “Go Ahead, Dream About the Future” got 700,000 views in its first week, and she co-hosts the podcast Our Opinions Are Correct.

Danielle Greendeer
Keepunumuk: Weeâchumun’s Thanksgiving Story, Charlesbridge

Danielle Greendeer is a citizen of the Mashpee Wampanoag Nation and works in the areas of tribal governance, cultural perpetuation, and food sovereignty. Keepunumuk: Weeâchumun’s Thanksgiving Story is her debut book, co-written with Anthony Perry and Alexis Bunten. She lives in Mashpee.

Cynthia Leitich Smith
Sisters of the Neversea, Heartdrum, an imprint of HarperCollins Children's Books

Cynthia Leitich Smith is the bestselling author of books for all ages, including the AIYLA winning Hearts Unbroken; she is also the anthologist of Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids. Most recently, she was named the 2021 NSK Neustadt Laureate, and is the author-curator of Heartdrum, a Native-focused imprint at HarperCollins Children’s Books. She serves on the MFA faculty in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is a citizen of the Muscogee Nation and lives in Austin, Texas. Visit her online

Traci Sorell
Powwow Day, Charlesbridge

Traci Sorell writes fiction and nonfiction for children featuring contemporary characters and compelling biographies. Her books include We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga and We Are Still Here!: Native American Truths Everyone Should Know, and she is a multiple-time AIYLA Honor and Sibert Honor winner. A former federal Indian law attorney and policy advocate, Traci is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation and lives in northeastern Oklahoma where her tribe is located.

Karen Walrond
The Lightmaker's Manifesto : How to Work for Change without Losing Your Joy, Broadleaf Books

Karen Walrond is a lawyer, leadership coach, photographer, author, and activist. Her latest book, The Lightmaker’s Manifesto: How to Work for Change Without Losing Your Joy, beckons readers toward lives of integrity, advocacy, conviction, and joy. She is a Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator and serves on the board of the Houston Coalition Against Hate. Karen has been featured on PBS, Huffington Post,, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. She curates the award-winning blog Chookooloonks, is the host of The Make Light Show, and is the author and photographer of The Beauty of Different. Karen and her family live in Houston, Texas.


Featured Presenters

Victoria Aveyard
Blade Breaker, HarperTeen

Victoria Aveyard was born and raised in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, a small town known only for the most complicated traffic rotary in the continental United States. She now lives in Los Angeles, where traffic is definitely worse. As an author and screenwriter, she uses her career as an excuse to read too many books and watch too many movies. She is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Red Queen and Realm Breaker series, and you can visit her online at

Sam Fox
Director of Digital Marketing, HarperCollins Children's Books

Sam Fox is the director of digital marketing at HarperCollins Children’s Books, where she oversees a team of social media managers, video producers, and blog specialists to produce BookTok, Bookstagram, BookTube, and Book Blog content on the HarperKids (early readers), Shelf Stuff (middle grade), and Epic Reads (teen) digital platforms. Prior to joining HarperCollins, Sam was the director of brand marketing at Condé Nast’s Teen Vogue and Them, where her role included executing compelling brand-awareness and sales opportunities across social media and other digital outlets.

Dr. Faith Harper
Befriend Your Brain : Using Science to Get Over Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Freak-Outs, and Triggers, Microcosm Publishing

Dr. Faith G. Harper, LPC-S, ACS, ACN is a bad-ass, funny lady with a PhD. She’s a licensed professional counselor, board supervisor, certified sexologist, and applied clinical nutritionist with a private practice and consulting business in San Antonio, Texas. She’s been an adjunct professor, a TEDx presenter, and is proud to be a woman of color and uppity intersectional feminist. She is the bestselling author of the book Unf*ck Your Brain and many other popular works. She publishes in academic spaces as well, most recently with a chapter in the book Understanding Indigenous Perspectives.

Alisha Rai
While You Were Dreaming, Quill Tree Books

Alisha Rai pens award-winning adult romantic comedies. Her novels have been named Best Books of the Year by Washington Post, NPR, The New York Public Library, Entertainment Weekly, Reader’s Digest, Kirkus, “O” the Oprah Magazine, and Cosmopolitan Magazine, as well as Indie Next picks. While You Were Dreaming is Alisha’s debut YA novel. Visit her online at


Appearing Authors

Alex Aster
Lightlark, Abrams Books

Alex Aster is an author of YA fiction as well as award-winning middle grade fiction, including the Emblem Island series, which was published to critical acclaim. Alex graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied creative writing. Find out more on TikTok (@alex.aster) or Instagram (@byalexaster).

David Barclay Moore
Holler of the Fireflies, Random House Children's Books

David Barclay Moore is the author of The Stars Beneath Our Feet, which won the Coretta Scott King–John Steptoe Award for New Talent. David was born and raised in Missouri. After studying creative writing at Iowa State University, film at Howard University in Washington, DC, and language studies at l’Université de Montpellier in France, David moved to New York City, where he has worked in film, journalism, and communications. David now divides his time between Brooklyn, New York; Los Angeles, California; and St. Louis, Missouri.

Derrick Barnes
Victory. Stand!, Norton Young Readers

Derrick Barnes is the author of the New York Times bestseller The King of Kindergarten, as well as the critically acclaimed picture book Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, which received a Newbery Honor, a Coretta Scott King Author Honor, the Coretta Scott King Author Honor, and the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Young Readers. Derrick is a graduate of Jackson State University and was the first African American male creative copywriter hired by greeting card giant Hallmark Cards.

Michelle Barry
Plotting the Stars 1: Moongarden, Pixel+Ink

Michelle A. Barry grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts, and was later cajoled over the border into Connecticut by her future husband. She has worked as a newspaper reporter, freelance writer and editor, and marketing professional. She currently lives in Granby, Connecticut with her charming husband and their two delightful children. Moongarden is her first novel.


Terry J. Benton-Walker
Blood Debts, Tor Teen

Terry J. Benton-Walker (he/him) lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and writes fiction for adults, young adults, and children, which also means he spends a lot of time holed up in coffee shops. He has an Industrial Engineering degree from Georgia Tech and an MBA from Georgia State, and is a management consultant and entrepreneur whenever he can pull himself away from his books. Blood Debts is his first novel. You can find him on Twitter @terryjbenton.

Daniel Bernstrom
A Bear, A Bee, and A Honey Tree, Hippo Park

Daniel Bernstrom is a poet and the author of six picture books, including One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree and Big Papa and the Time Machine, a Minnesota Book Award winner. All Daniel’s previous books feature Black characters, reflecting everyday adventures and joy. This is Daniel’s first book that features animals exclusively. Daniel lives in Worthington, Minnesota, with his wife and five adorable children.


Rose Bousamra
Frizzy, First Second, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

Rose Bousamra is a freelance illustrator and comic creator born and based in Michigan. Frizzy is their first graphic novel, with their forthcoming solo debut graphic novel Gutless also being published with First Second. When they’re not making or reading comics they love baking sweets and playing fantasy video games. Their website is


Matthew Burgess
Sylvester’s Letter, Enchanted Lion Books

Matthew Burgess is a full-time professor at Brooklyn College and a part-time teaching artist in New York City public schools. He is the author of six books for young readers, including Enormous Smallness: A Story of E.E. Cummings, Drawing on Walls: A Story of Keith Haring, and most recently, Bird Boy and Make Meatballs Sing: The Life & Art of Corita Kent. He is also the editor of Dream Closet: Meditations on Childhood Space and Spellbound: The Art of Teaching Poetry. Matthew lives with his husband in Brooklyn and Berlin.

Julie Buxbaum
The Area 51 Files, Random House Children’s Books

Julie Buxbaum is the New York Times bestselling author of the young adult novels Tell Me Three Things, What to Say Next, Hope and Other Punch Lines, and Admission. She also wrote the critically acclaimed The Opposite of Love and After You. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children. She frequently has UFOs (Unidentified Food Objects) all over her shirt.


Kacen Callender
Lark & Kasim Start a Revolution, Amulet

Kacen Callender is the bestselling and award-winning author of multiple novels for children, teens, and adults, including the Stonewall Honor Book Felix Ever After and the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature winner King and the Dragonflies. Callender enjoys playing RPG video games, practicing their art, and focusing on healing and growth in their free time. They currently live in St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, where they were born and raised.

Meg Cannistra
How to Heal a Gryphon, Inkyard Press

Meg grew up in Sarasota, Florida where she spent her adolescence writing horror and fantasy stories and dreaming of living in a lighthouse. While her lighthouse dreams may not have been realized (yet), she’s still writing about things that go bump in the night. She has an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Hamline University, and her first middle grade book, The Trouble with Shooting Stars, is currently on shelves. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys watching teen shows and movies from the early ‘00s, antiquing for haunted dolls, and reading about unexplainable phenomena. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband and rambunctious cats, Doom and Fester.

Kay Davault
Star Knights, Random House Children’s Books

Kay Davault is an illustrator and comic artist based in Nashville. Best known for her webcomic Oddity Woods, she spends her time creating stories about cute characters in vibrant worlds. Star Knights is her debut graphic novel. You can find her online at @kaydavault.

Aya de León
Undercover Latina, Candlewick Press

Aya de León is the Afro-Latina author of several suspense novels for adults, as well as The Mystery Woman in Room Three, an open-source online novel about two undocumented Dominican teens who uncover a kidnapping plot to stop the Green New Deal. She teaches creative writing at the University of California, Berkeley, and is active in movements for racial, gender, and climate justice. She lives in Northern California.


Carmen Agra Deedy
Wombat Said Come In, Peachtree

Carmen Agra Deedy, a New York Times bestselling author (14 Cows for America) and nationally known storyteller has been writing and traveling around the world telling stories for more than 30 years. Her books have received numerous awards and honors, including a Pura Belpré honor, a Christopher Award, a Jane Addams honor, and a BolognaRagazzi Award. Carmen has presented at many prestigious venues, including the Kennedy Center and the TED Conference, but children are her favorite audience. Born in Havana, Cuba, she came to the United States as a refugee and like most immigrants sees the world from multiple perspectives. She lives in Georgia.

Christina Diaz Gonzalez
Invisible, Graphix (an imprint of Scholastic)

Christina Diaz Gonzalez is the award-winning author of Moving Target, The Red Umbrella and A Thunderous Whisper. Her books have received numerous honors and recognitions including the Florida Book Award and the Nebraska Book Award. They have also been named the American Library Association’s Best Fiction for Young Adults, a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People, and the International Reading Association’s Teachers’ Choice. Learn more at

Crescent Dragonwagon
Will It Be Okay?, Cameron Kids

Crescent Dragonwagon is the award-winning author of more than 50 books for readers of all ages, including the original edition of Will It Be Okay?, published in 1977 by HarperCollins. She lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Mark Fearing
Welcome to Feral, Holiday House

Mark has illustrated many books including: The Middle School Bites series, Great, Now We’ve Got Barbarians! and The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot. He’s written and illustrated a few too including: Earthling!, Giant Pants and The Great Thanksgiving Escape. Mark grew up in rural Minnesota but now lives with his family in Oregon along with two fluffy German Shepherds and two black cats. He has too many books, he knows this is a problem and is working on it. Really. He likes chocolate chip cookies hot from the oven. You can see more of Mark’s work at:

Gale Galligan
Freestyle, Graphix (an imprint of Scholastic)

Gale Galligan is the creator of the New York Times bestselling Baby-Sitters Club graphic novel adaptations of Dawn and the Impossible Three, Kristy’s Big Day, Boy-Crazy Stacey, and Logan Likes Mary Anne! by Ann M. Martin. Gale was featured in The Claudia Kishi Club, a documentary now streaming on Netflix. When they aren’t making comics, Gale enjoys knitting, reading, and spending time with their family and adorable pet rabbits. They live in Pearl River, New York. Visit them online at

Yolanda Gampp
The Perfect Cake; The Giving Party, How to Cake It Books

While turning cake into pretty much anything, Yolanda, a bestselling author affectionately nicknamed by her fans as the “Queen of Cakes,” entertains with her irresistible personality, laughs at her own mistakes, and is one of the most respected and celebrated celebrity cake artists in the world. With over 4.5 million YouTube subscribers and 2.8 million Instagram followers, Yolanda, is completely self-taught with over twenty years of experience and has been featured on the Today show, Good Morning America, The Kelly Clarkson Show, Live with Kelly and Ryan, Netflix’s Nailed It, Best Baker in America, Cake Wars, and Crime Scene Kitchen, to name a few.

Liz Garton Scanlon
Lolo’s Light, Chronicle Books

Liz Garton Scanlon is the author of numerous beloved books for young people, including the highly acclaimed, Caldecott Honor-winning picture book All the World, illustrated by Marla Frazee; her debut novel for middle grade readers, The Great Good Summer; Another Way to Climb a Tree; In the Canyon; Bob, Not Bob!, coauthored with Audrey Vernick and illustrated by Matthew Cordell; and several others. Liz serves on the faculty of the Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a frequent and popular presenter at schools, libraries, and conferences. She lives with her family in Austin, Texas.

Adalyn Grace
Belladonna, LBYR

Adalyn Grace is the New York Times bestselling author of All the Stars and Teeth, which was named “2020’s biggest YA fantasy” by Entertainment Weekly, and the sequel, All the Tides of Fate. Prior to becoming an author, Adalyn spent four years working in live theatre, acted as the managing editor of a nonprofit newspaper, and studied storytelling as an intern on Nickelodeon Animation’s popular series The Legend of Korra. Local to San Diego, Adalyn spends her non-writing days watching too much anime, and playing video games with her bossy cat and two dorky dogs.

Anna Gracia
Boys I Know, Peachtree Teen

Anna grew up biracial in the Midwest, spending her formative years repeatedly answering the question, “What are you?” Before finding her way as a YA author, she was a CPA, a public school teacher, a tennis coach, and for one glorious summer, a waitress at a pie shop. She now lives on the West Coast, raising three kids and writing stories about girls navigating a world full of double standards.


Rachel Griffin
Wild is the Witch, Sourcebooks Fire

Rachel Griffin lives just outside of Seattle with her husband and dog, Doppler. She became a certified weather spotter for the National Weather Service while doing research for her New York Times bestselling debut The Nature of Witches. Visit her online at


Jas Hammonds
We Deserve Monuments, Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

Jas Hammonds was raised in many cities and in-between the pages of many books. They have received support for their writing from Lambda Literary, Sundress Academy of the Arts, and the Highlights Foundation. They are also a grateful recipient of a MacDowell James Baldwin Fellowship. We Deserve Monuments is their debut novel.

Maggie Horne
Hazel Hill is Gonna Win This One, Clarion Books

Maggie Horne is a writer and editor who grew up near Toronto, Canada. She studied at Oxford Brookes University, where she obtained both a BA in Publishing Media and a wife, which was a pretty good deal. She now lives outside of Ottawa with her family. Hazel Hill Is Gonna Win This One is her debut. Find her at @MaggieHasHornes.

Ali Kamanda
Black Boy, Black Boy, Sourcebooks Explore

Ali Biko Sulaiman Kamanda is an award-winning filmmaker and social entrepreneur from Sierra Leone, West Africa. He runs BIKO Studios, a cross-cultural film production company and is the President of Salone Rising, a not-for-profit organization that provides micro-financing and mentoring resources to small business owners in rural Sierra Leone.


Laura Krantz
The Search for Sasquatch, Amulet

Laura Krantz is a print and audio journalist whose critically acclaimed podcast Wild Thing explores the intersection between science and society. She spent ten years as an editor and producer with NPR in Washington, DC and KPCC in Los Angeles, and her work has appeared in Smithsonian, Outside, and Popular Science. An Idaho native, Krantz received her BA from Whitman College and her MA from the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. She lives in Denver with her husband, New York Times bestselling author Scott Carney, and their two cats.

Susan Lee
Seoulmates, Inkyard Press

Susan Lee has had a lifetime of careers from bartender, to network engineer, to HR Executive at some of today’s most successful companies. But one thing has always been clear throughout: she was born to be a storyteller. And she has channeled her myriad of experiences into her writing of light-hearted, quirky novels about the oftentimes hilarious human condition. And love. Always write about love. She currently lives in Southern California (fighting her inner New Yorker from breaking free too often) with a pack of three feisty chihuahuas and a too-hearty obsession with K-pop and K-dramas.

Gillian McDunn
When Sea Becomes Sky, Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Gillian McDunn is the author of Honestly Elliott, These Unlucky Stars, The Queen Bee and Me, and Caterpillar Summer, which received two starred reviews, and was selected for the Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List, and Kirkus Reviews and Parents magazine Best Books of the Year lists. When she isn’t reading or writing, she is probably baking gluten-free treats, traveling, or spending time with her family. She lives near Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband and children, and a very silly dog named Friday. Find her online at @gillianmcdunn.

Lisa McMann
Map of Flames: The Forgotten Five, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Lisa McMann is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of dozens of books, including The Unwanteds series, the Wake trilogy, and her most recent novel, Clarice the Brave. 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, BC, and loves to cook, read, and watch reality TV. Visit Lisa at or follow her on Twitter and Instagram @lisa_mcmann.

Jamar Nicholas
Leon the Extraordinary, Graphix (an imprint of Scholastic)

Jamar Nicholas is an award-winning, Philadelphia-based artist and educator, dedicating his career to helping young people realize the power of visual narrative. Jamar aims to bring awareness to anti-bullying, healing, and positive images of people of color with the idea that everyone can be a hero. His work includes the adaptation of Geoffrey Canada’s powerful memoir, Fist Stick Knife Gun. Jamar is also a writer and columnist for DRAW! Magazine and a co-host of the Pencil-to-Pencil Podcast with industry legends Mike Manley and Bret Blevins.

Rex Ogle
Abuela Don't Forget Me, Norton Young Readers

Rex was born and raised mostly in Texas. He is the author of the memoirs Free Lunch, which won the 2020 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award, and Punching Bag. A former children’s book editor in New York City, Rex now lives in the Los Angeles area with his partner.


Ruth Ohi
Blanket, Groundwood Books

Ruth Ohi has illustrated over 60 books, 21 of which she is also the author. Her books have been selected for NYC Reads 365, Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books, the Canadian Toy Testing Council’s Great Books, the Ontario Library Association’s Best Bets and the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Best Books. Her recent books include Choose Kindness, No Help Wanted, Scribble, and the Fox and Squirrel series. Ruth is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design, and lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Meg Raby
My Brother Otto and the Birthday Party, Gibbs Smith

Meg Raby lives in Salt Lake City where you can find her playing and working with neurodivergent children as a Speech Language Pathologist and friend, or writing and planning big things in the second booth at her local coffee shop that overlooks the Wasatch Mountains while sipping on her Americano. Meg believes the essence of life is to understand, love, and welcome others and brings this energy into the story of Otto Crow and on her Instagram handle @author.meg.raby.

Lisa Moore Ramée
Mapmaker, Balzer + Bray

Lisa Moore Ramée was born and raised in Los Angeles, and she now lives in the Bay Area of California with her husband, two kids, and an obnoxious cat. She is the author of A Good Kind of Trouble, a Walter Dean Myers Honor Book, and Something to Say. You can visit her online at


Dana Simpson
Unicorn Selfies, Andrews McMeel Kids

Dana Claire Simpson grew up in Gig Harbor, Washington, drawing the entire time. She eventually graduated from The Evergreen State College, despite having spent all her time drawing, and not always for credit. From 1998 to 2008, she drew the internet comic strip Ozy and Millie. After winning the Amazon-sponsored Comic Strip Superstar Contest in 2009, Andrews McMeel Syndication signed her to a development deal for Heavenly Nostrils, which was later renamed Phoebe and Her Unicorn. She currently lives in Santa Barbara, California, with her tech genius spouse and her fairly stupid cat.

Suzanne Slade
Dazzlin’ Dolly: The Songwriting, Hit-Singing, Guitar-Picking Dolly Parton, Calkins Creek

Suzanne Slade is the author of over 150 children’s books, including Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks, a Sibert Honor book; and Swish! The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globetrotters, a Junior Library Guild book. An engineer by training, she worked on rockets and cars before beginning her writing career.


Christina Soontornvat
The Tryout, Graphix (an imprint of Scholastic)

Christina Soontornvat is the author of two Newbery Honor books A Wish in the Dark and All Thirteen, which also won the Kirkus Prize and a Sibert Honor distinction. She also is the author of Scholastic’s beloved fantasy series Diary of an Ice Princess, and the picture books The Ramble Shamble Children, The Blunders, and Simon at the Art Museum, as well as the forthcoming To Change a Planet. Christina holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a master’s degree in Science Education. She spent a decade working in the science museum field, where she designed programs and exhibits to get kids excited about science and STEM. Christina lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, two young children, and one old cat. You can learn more about her work at

. Steenz
Heart Takes the Stage, Andrews McMeel Kids

Christina Stewart, known as Steenz, is a St. Louis-based cartoonist, editor, and professor. They are the cartoonist on the Ringo Award-nominated syndicated comic strip Heart of the City, the co-creator of Dwayne McDuffie Award-winning graphic novel Archival Quality (Oni Press), and are featured in short story anthologies such as Eisner and Ignatz Award-winning ELEMENTS: Fire, Mine!, and Dead Beats. Steenz launched and edited the popular RPG periodical Rolled & Told. They participate in and create community-building comics-related programming, and are a frequent panelist at comic cons. Steenz currently teaches cartooning at Webster University while editing titles from independent publishers. They live with their husband, two cats, and watch a lot of esoteric social documentaries.

Karen Strong
Eden’s Everdark, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Born and raised in the rural South, Karen Strong spent most of her childhood wandering the woods, meadows, and gardens on her grandmother’s land. She developed a deep adoration of books from her weekly visits to the public library. A graduate of the University of Georgia, she is an advocate of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). An avid lover of strong coffee, yellow flowers, and night skies, Karen currently lives in Atlanta. You can find her online at

Trang Thanh Tran
She Is a Haunting, Bloomsbury Children's Books

Trang Thanh Tran grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in a big family of Vietnamese refugees. They enjoy writing speculative stories about food, belonging, and the diaspora. Their favorite snack is iced coffee and a buttermilk biscuit, making the South the perfect home. She Is a Haunting is their debut novel.


R. Eric Thomas
Kings of B'More, Kokila

R. Eric Thomas is the bestselling author of Here for It, or How to Save Your Soul in America, a Read with Jenna book club pick featured on Today and a Lambda Literary Award finalist. He is the co-author of Reclaiming Her Time, a biography of Rep. Maxine Waters. He is also a television writer (AppleTV+’s Dickinson, FX’s Better Things), a playwright, and the long-running host of The Moth in Philadelphia and DC. For four years, he was a senior staff writer at where he wrote “Eric Reads the News.” Kings of B’more is his YA debut. Learn more at

XiXi Tian
This Place is Still Beautiful, Balzer + Bray

XiXi Tian was born in China and immigrated to the United States when she was a year old. She grew up in central Illinois. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in history and then attended Harvard Law School. She is a tech lawyer by day and a writer by night. She lives outside of New York City. You can visit her online at

Seema Yasmin
What the Fact?: Finding the Truth in All the Noise, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Seema Yasmin is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, medical doctor, professor, and poet. She attended medical school at Cambridge University and worked as a disease detective for the US federal government’s Epidemic Intelligence Service. She currently teaches storytelling at Stanford University School of Medicine, and is a regular contributor to CNN, Self, and Scientific American, among others.



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