Who We Are
We Need Diverse Books™ is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and a grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry. Our aim is to help produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people.
Our Mission Statement
Putting more books featuring diverse characters into the hands of all children.
A world in which all children can see themselves in the pages of a book.
Our Definition of Diversity
We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, Native, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities*, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.
*We subscribe to a broad definition of disability, which includes but is not limited to physical, sensory, cognitive, intellectual, or developmental disabilities, chronic conditions, and mental illnesses (this may also include addiction). Furthermore, we subscribe to a social model of disability, which presents disability as created by barriers in the social environment, due to lack of equal access, stereotyping, and other forms of marginalization.
We Need Diverse Books™
We Need Diverse Books™
Campaign Video with John Green
The Real Reason We Need Diverse Books
Ellen Oh , CEO & President
Ellen Oh is co-founder, President, and CEO of We Need Diverse Books (WNDB), a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing diversity in children’s literature. She is also a former adjunct college instructor and corporate/entertainment attorney. She is the author of the YA fantasy trilogy The Prophecy Series and the MG novel Spirit Hunters: Book 1. Spirit Hunters: Book 2 will be published Summer 2018.
Dhonielle Clayton , Chief Operating Officer
Dhonielle Clayton is COO of We Need Diverse Books. She is the co-author of the Tiny Pretty Things series and The Belles series. She grew up in the Washington, DC suburbs on the Maryland side and spent most of her time under her grandmother’s table with a stack of books. A former teacher and middle school librarian, Dhonielle is co-founder of CAKE Literary, a creative development company whipping up decidedly diverse books for a wide array of readers. She’s got a serious travel bug and loves spending time outside of the USA, but makes her home in New York City, where she can most likely be found hunting for the best slice of pizza.
Judy Schricker , Chief Financial Officer
Judy Schricker has over twenty years of experience in corporate finance and accounting. She worked in the Silicone Valley for over ten of those years, and was fortunate to be a part of taking two start-up companies public. It was a compelling time in the Silicon Valley, and she enjoyed working with extremely innovative and talented people and gaining invaluable experience. She later started her own business consulting and setting up finance operations for small businesses and non-profits.
Growing up in New Jersey, right outside of New York City, Judy loved the melting pot atmosphere. She attended the University of Maryland and UCLA, graduating with a BS in Business Economics, an emphasis in Accounting. She now resides in Reno, Nevada with her husband and two active teenage boys. In her free time she volunteers on school committees and boards, and she takes an active part of the sports organizations that her sons are involved in. When she does get a chance to read, she loves books that embrace diversity, and she’s so excited to be a part of WNDB for her kids and all kids.
Caroline Tung Richmond , Program Director
Caroline Tung Richmond is the Program Director for WNDB. She’s also an award-winning YA author; and her novels include The Only Thing to Fear, The Darkest Hour, and Live In Infamy (Scholastic, 2018). Additionally, she will co-edit an anthology of food-related short stories called Hungry Hearts (Simon Pulse, 2019).
Evelyn N. Alfred
Evelyn N. Alfred is an information professional, poet, social media content curator, and prose reader at Linden Avenue Literary Journal. She lives in the D.C. area with her wife.
Jim Averbeck works, plays, and evades the law in San Francisco, California. His first book, In a Blue Room, was a Charlotte Zolotow Honor book. His popular books Except If and Oh No, Little Dragon! feature charming protagonists with pointy teeth. His book The Market Bowl and his middle grade novel A Hitch at the Fairmont were Junior Library Guild Selections. His most recent book, One Word From Sophia, was an IndyNext Top 10 for Summer 2015. Look for his upcoming picture books: Trevor, from Neal Porter Books and Two Problems for Sophia and Sophia 3-D (Margaret K. McElderry Books). Spy agencies can find Jim online at jimaverbeck.com
Tracey Baptiste is a Trinidadian-American writer who has wanted to be an author since the age of three when she was given a book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. In her life, she has been a ballerina, an elementary school teacher, and an amateur librarian who hoped everyone would bring back their books late so she could be rich! Currently, Tracey is the author of the forthcoming middle grade novel Rise of the Jumbies, a sequel to The Jumbies, a creepy middle grade fairy tale set in the Caribbean which was a Junior Library Guild selection, a We Need Diverse Books “Must Read,” a New York Public Libraries Staff Pick, and a Bank Street Books Best of 2016. Her other 12 books include Angel’s Grace and The Totally Gross History of Ancient Egypt. She volunteers with We Need Diverse Books, The Brown Bookshelf, and I Too Arts Collective. She is a faculty member in Lesley University’s Creative Writing MFA program teaching Writing for Young People, and runs the editorial company Fairy Godauthor. Find her online at www.traceybaptiste.com.
Elsie Chapman is the author of the YA science fiction duology Dualed and Divided (RHCB). Upcoming books are YA historical fiction Along The Indigo (Abrams, 2018), YA anthology A Thousand Beginnings and Endings (retellings of Asian and South Asian mythology, co-editor and contributor, HarperCollins, 2018), her MG debut All The Ways Home (Macmillan, 2019), and YA anthology Hungry Hearts (interconnected stories about food, family, and culture, co-editor and contributor, Simon & Schuster, 2019). A CBC (Canadian-born-Chinese), she currently lives in Tokyo with her family.
A journalist published by the New York Times, People, ABC News, Cosmopolitan and other major national media, Sona Charaipotra (Sr. VP Content Management) curates a kickass column on YA books and teen culture for Parade.com. A collector of presumably useless degrees, she double-majored in journalism and American Studies at Rutgers before getting her masters in screenwriting from New York University (where her thesis project was developed for the screen by MTV Films) and her MFA from the New School. When she’s not hanging out with her writer husband and two chatter-boxy kids, she can be found poking plot holes in teen shows like “The Vampire Diaries” and “Pretty Little Liars.” Call it research: a strong believer that three-act structure can work in fiction, Sona puts her outline-obsession to good use as the co-founder of CAKE Literary, a boutique book development company with a decidedly diverse bent. Her debut novel, Tiny Pretty Things (with CAKE co-founder Dhonielle Clayton), came out Summer 2015 from HarperTeen.
Sandie Chen is a feature writer, film critic, and book reviewer. She’s been writing about movies, books, and pop culture her entire professional career career, contributing to outlets such as Kirkus Books, Common Sense Media, Entertainment Weekly, Moviefone, the Washington Post, Variety, and Huffington Post. When she’s not running around the DC area with her husband and three kids, reading YA books, or screening movies and TV shows, she runs Teen Lit Rocks, a book blog and The DC Moms, a parenting lifestyle site.
Mayra Cuevas is an accomplished t.v. and digital journalist whose work has been featured in CNN, HLN, truTV, EFE International News Agency. A native of Puerto Rico, Mayra has a bachelor’s in communications and master’s in investigative journalism. She has taught workshops on research for writers at the Romance Writers of America national conference. When she is not working on a story, Mayra volunteers at her local Buddhist meditation center, where she serves on the board of directors. She is also an avid traveler and cook. Mayra lives in Atlanta with her husband, also a journalist, two teenage step-sons and their cat. In her blog, MayraCuevas.com, she writes about matters of craft and publishing.
Sayantani DasGupta is a writer of novels, stories, essays and articles. Originally trained in pediatrics and public health, she teaches race and ethnicity studies, social justice and health studies, and narrative medicine at Columbia University. She’s the author of a book of Bengali folktales The Demon Slayers and Other Stories: Bengali Folktales, as well as a memoir about race and gender in medical training. She is the co-editor of a book of women’s illness narratives and another academic collection on transnational surrogacy in India. Her work has appeared in Ms. Magazine, Z. Magazine, Feminist Studies, The Feminist Wire, Adios, Barbie, Salon, Racialicious, as well as many other venues. She lives in the New York area and is represented by Brent Taylor of Triada Literary Agency.
Steven Dos Santos
Alexandra Duncan is an author and public librarian. Her books include the award-winning YA sci-fi novel Salvage, its companion Sound, and the eco-thriller Blight. She lives with her husband and two monstrous, furry cats in the mountains of North Carolina. You can visit her online at www.alexandra-duncan.com.
Alex Gino loves glitter, ice cream, gardening, awe-ful puns, and stories that reflect the diversity and complexity of being alive. They would take a quiet coffee date with a friend over a loud and crowded party any day. Born and raised on Staten Island, NY, Alex has lived in Philadelphia, PA; Brooklyn, NY; Astoria (Queens), NY; Northampton, MA; and Oakland, CA. In April 2016, they put their books and furniture in storage to explore the United States in a motorhome.
Alex has been an activist and advocate for LGBTQ+ communities since 1997 and believes young people need tools to talk about and reflect on real issues in our world. The main character in their debut novel, George (Scholastic), is Melissa, a fourth grade transgender girl who wants to be Charlotte in her school’s play of Charlotte’s Web. GEORGE is a tale of friendship and being who you are. Their second middle grade novel, (Scholastic, TBD) will be a tale of baby sisters, Deafness, racist police violence, and learning about your own privilege.
Maurene Goo is the author of Since You Asked and I Believe In A Thing Called Love. She has very strong feelings about tacos and houseplants. You can find her in Los Angeles with her husband and two cats–one weird, one even more weird.
I.W. Gregorio , Bookseller Liaison
I. W. Gregorio is a practicing surgeon by day, masked avenging YA writer by night. After getting her MD, she did her residency at Stanford, where she met the intersex patient who inspired her debut novel, None of the Above (Balzer & Bray / HarperCollins), which was finalist for the 2016 Lambda Literary Award, a Spring 2015 Publishers Weekly Flying Start, an ALA Booklist Top Ten Sports Book for Youth, and a 2015 ABC Children’s Group Best Book for Young Readers. It was also named to the 2016 American Library Association Rainbow List and is under development as a TV series by Davis Entertainment and Stephen Chbosky, with Liz Maccie as screenwriter. Ilene is proud to be a board member of interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth. She also is a founding member of We Need Diverse Books™ and served as its VP of Development. Find her online at www.iwgregorio.com, and on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and Instagram at @iwgregorio.
Sarah Hamburg received her MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and served as children’s writer-in-residence at the Boston Public Library. Her humor writing has appeared in The Horn Book and The Toast.
Terry Hong , Walter Award Co-Director
Terry Hong created and maintains Smithsonian BookDragon, an extensive multi-culti book review blog for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, where she was media arts consultant for eight years. She’s an Advisor for Girl Rising, a global action campaign highlighting girls’ education; she was the Writer Wrangler for the film of the same name. She taught for Duke University’s Leadership in the Arts, a New York City-based performance and public policy program. She co-authored two books, Eastern Standard Time: A Guide to Asian Influence on American Culture from Astro Boy to Zen Buddhism and What Do I Read Next? Multicultural Literature; other publication credits include Booklist, Christian Science Monitor, Library Journal/School Library Journal, NYT, San Francisco Chronicle, School Library Journal, Shelf Awareness, and many others. She served for three years on USBBY’s Outstanding International Books Committee. @SIBookDragon
Amitha Jagannath Knight
Amitha Jagannath Knight is a graduate of MIT and Tufts University, where she earned her medical degree. In 2012, she received the PEN New England Children’s Book Discovery Award. While her parents were originally from South India, Dr. Knight was born and raised in the United States. She has lived in Texas and Arkansas and now lives in the Boston area with her one husband, two children, and two cats.
Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Author/illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka has published thirty books for young readers. Since he was a kid himself, Jarrett was writing and drawing his own comics and books, and he shares those early works in lectures given at schools nationwide. Jarrett has delivered two TED Talks and can be heard weekly on SiriusXM’s Kids Place Live, offering book recommendations to listeners
Alaina Leary is an editor, book publicist, and queer disability activist in Boston, MA. She has an MA in publishing from Emerson College and is dedicating her career to amplifying marginalized voices across all aspects of the industry. Her work has been published in New York Times, Boston Globe Magazine, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, The Rumpus, Narratively, Washington Post, Vice, and more. She lives with her partner and their two literary cats. She is almost always covered in glitter.
Stacey H. Lee , Legal Contact
Stacey H. Lee is a fourth generation Chinese-American whose people came to California during the heydays of the cowboys. She believes she still has a bit of cowboy dust in her soul. A native of southern California, she graduated from UCLA then got her law degree at UC Davis King Hall. After practicing law in the Silicon Valley for several years, she finally took up the pen because she wanted the perks of being able to nap during the day, and it was easier than moving to Spain. She plays classical piano, raises children, and writes YA fiction. Her novels include Under a Painted Sky, Outrun the Moon, and The Secret of a Heart Note.
Bryce Leung & Kristy Shen , Directors of Technology
Bryce and Kristy are a tag-team writing duo with way too many voices in their heads. As engineers living in Toronto, they can’t be safely contained by mere cubicle walls, and therefore must spend every other waking moment writing to keep the crazy from leaking out at the office. Their debut novel Little Miss Evil was released by Spencer Hill Middle Grade in 2015, and they are represented by Jamie Drowley at Inklings Literary.
Kristen Lippert-Martin is a mom of four, a practicing geek, a holder of many opinions (which she is more than happy to share with you). She earned her MFA from Columbia University. Kristen’s debut YA thriller, Tabula Rasa (EgmontUSA), is about a girl whose memory is forcibly stripped from her and so naturally she must kick everyone’s butt in retaliation. She lives with her husband and merry band of misfits in Arlington, VA.
J. Albert Mann
Mann is the author of five published novels for children. Her stories and poetry have appeared in Highlights for Children. She has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults, where she also earned a Picture Book Intensive certificate. Simon & Schuster’s Atheneum Books for Young Readers is set to publish her next work of historical fiction about the early life of Margaret Sanger.
Ki-Wing Merlin was born in Hong Kong, grew up in New York and New Jersey, and resides now in Florida with her husband and two sons. Harper Collins / Balzer + Bray is publishing her debut middle grade novel, Weaving A Net Is Better Than Praying For Fish.
Nicole Overton wears many hats! She is a marketing copywriter for several universities and colleges across the country including University of West Florida, Eastern Michigan University, University of Texas, University of North Carolina Pembroke, Mississippi College, and Arkansas State, just to name a few. She ghostwrites books, speeches and website content for several high-profile individuals. She is also an established sensitivity reader, having worked for various publishers including Katherine Tegen Books and Simon & Schuster. Nicole holds a BA degree in Media Communications from Webster University and is currently pursuing her MA in Creative Writing from the University of Denver. When she isn’t busy writing or reading, you can find her blogging at www.OneMoreThanSix.com, or rooting for her home team, the Dallas Cowboys with her husband and five children.
Miranda Paul , Mentorship Program Co-Chair
Miranda Paul is an award-winning children’s author of eight picture books, including the nonfiction titles One Plastic Bag and Water Is Water, both named Junior Library Guild selections. Her books have received starred reviews from School Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly, and select awards include a 2017 ILA Teacher’s Choice for Whose Hands Are These?, 2016 Green Earth Book Award Honor, 2016 Children’s Africana Book Award Notable for One Plastic Bag, Maryland Blue Crab Award winner and Charlotte Zolotow Notable title for Water Is Water. Miranda makes lively appearances at schools, libraries, and bookstores, and has been a guest presenter at the Library of Congress Young Readers Center along with environmental activist Isatou Ceesay. Her 2018-2019 works include Adventures to School and I Am Farmer, both co-authored with her husband Baptiste Paul. She believes in working hard, having fun, and being kind. Though her work as Mentorship chair of We Need Diverse Books is mostly serious and professional, she also has a silly side—which, she claims, only comes out on days that end in y. Learn more at www.mirandapaul.com.
Maria Salvadore has worked with young people and books for most of her professional life. Before working as a book buyer for an independent bookstore and a consultant in children’s literature for various organizations, Maria was a librarian in Washington, D.C., and in Cambridge, MA. She has served on or chaired book award committees including the Newbery, Caldecott, Boston Globe/ Horn Book, USBBY Outstanding International Books, and Children’s Book Guild Nonfiction Award. She has taught children’s literature in graduate and undergraduate programs and contributed to several books about children’s literature.
Karen Sandler earned her MS in computer science from UCLA and worked as a software engineer for more than a dozen years, including work on communications satellites and the Space Shuttle program. In the late 1990s, she wrote numerous romance novels for adults, then switched to science fiction with the diverse young adult trilogy Tankborn, Awakening, and Rebellion from multi-cultural publisher Lee & Low. She’s thrilled to be part of the We Need Diverse Books team promoting diversity in children’s literature. She lives in California’s Gold Country with her husband of 30+ years and is represented by Matt Bialer and Lindsay Ribar of SJGA.
S.E. Sinkhorn is a blogger, content director, and social media manager. She writes MG and YA books. Her first YA, published under a pseudonym, was one of five YA finalists in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. She’s also the winner of the 2010 Katherine Patterson Prize in the YA category for her short story “Chasing Shadows.” As sole moderator of the YA!Flash tumblr, she’s been a vocal advocate of diverse works by diverse creators for years and is one of the founding members of WNDB.
Jessica Shub graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in May 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Writing. Jessica was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where as a young girl, she fell in love with reading. Growing up in Puerto Rico, she saw firsthand the need for diversity in children’s books. Jessica interned with Kweli Literary Journal and felt empowered by working with the diverse authors and works showcased there. Jessica will continue to channel her passion for literature into her work, so that she might instill in a new generation of multicultural readers the same love of literature that she felt at an early age.
Anya Steiner is a lifelong book lover, and has been dreaming up stories since before she could hold a pencil. A recent transplant to NYC, she can often be found strolling the park people-watching, or making some kind of delicious mess in her tiny kitchen. As an aspiring author, WNDB has inspired Anya to explore diversity even more in her writing.
Suma Subramaniam works with children globally to promote education. After a successful corporate career for many years, now, instead of chasing technical talent in the hi-tech industry, she chases characters in her fictional work for the most part of her time. She contributes to From the Mixed Up Files and is a volunteer at We Need Diverse Books. She is Mentorship Coordinator for SCBWI Western Washington. She was a PNWA literary contest finalist (2015), a recipient of the SCBWI WIP scholarship award (2015) and the VCFA Marion Dane Bauer scholarship award for middle-grade fiction (2016). Suma has an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, a Certificate in Popular Fiction from the University of Washington, and advanced degrees in computer science and management.
Don Tate is an award-winning author, and the illustrator of numerous critically acclaimed books for children. Some of the books he’s illustrated include The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch (Eerdmans); The Cart That Carried Martin (Charlesbridge); Hope’s Gift (Penguin); Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite (Charlesbridge); She Loved Baseball (HarperCollins). He is also the author of It Jes’ Happened (Lee & Low Books), an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor winner, and Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton of Chapel Hill (Peachtree). Don is one of the founding hosts of the blog The Brown Bookshelf, a blog dedicated to raising the awareness of African American youth literature creators. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his family.
Laurie Ann Thompson , Mentorship Program Co-Chair
Laurie Ann Thompson is a former software engineer who now writes for children and young adults. She hopes to help her readers make better sense of the world we live in so they can contribute to making it a better place for all, and she strives to do that by writing nonfiction that gives wings to active imaginations and fiction that taps into our universal human truths. Her award-winning books include Be A Changemaker: How to Start Something that Matters, an inspiring how-to guide for teens; Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, a picture book biography of a young man from Ghana who changed perceptions about disabilities; My Dog Is The Best, a fiction picture book about the special bond between a child and the family pet; and Two Truths And A Lie (co-authored with Ammi-Joan Paquette), a nonfiction/fiction hybrid series for middle-grade readers, in which the reader must discern the facts from the fake. Learn more at lauriethompson.com and on Twitter at @lauriethompson.
Kathie Weinberg , Walter Award Co-Director
Kathie Weinberg is a library consultant with the Library of Congress Young Readers Center, and a Program Coordinator with An Open Book Foundation. Formerly she was head of Teen Service at the Bethesda Library in Montgomery County Maryland. She has a Masters in Science from Simmons College, and a BA Degree from the University of Wisconsin. An active member of the American Library Association, YALSA Division, she has presented at annual meetings on programming and space planning for teens in public libraries. She is on the board of Capitol Choices Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens.
Anne Ursu is the author of several books for young readers and is the 2013 recipient of the McKnight Fellowship in Children’s Literature. Anne’s latest book, The Real Boy, was an Indie Next pick and was on the 2013 longlist for the National Book Award. Her book Breadcrumbs was acclaimed as one of the best books of 2011 by the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Amazon.com, and the Chicago Public Library. Anne teaches at Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Childrien and Young Adults, and lives in Minneapolis with her son and four cats.
Nicola Yoon grew up in Jamaica (the island) and Brooklyn (part of Long Island). She currently resides in Los Angeles, CA with her husband and daughter, both of whom she loves beyond all reason. Her award-winning novels include Everything, Everything and The Sun Is Also a Star, both #1 NY Times Bestsellers.
Marietta Zacker , Walter Grant Co-Chair
Marietta Zacker has experience children’s books from every angle – teaching, marketing, publishing, and bookselling. She thrives on working with authors who make their readers feel their characters’ emotions and illustrators who add a different dimension to the story. She is also Book Curator at an independent toy store and bookstore.
Lamar "L.R." Giles , Advisory Board Chair
Lamar writes stories for teens and adults. He’s never met a genre he didn’t like, having penned science fiction, fantasy, horror, and noir thrillers, among others. He is a Virginia native, a Hopewell High Blue Devil, and an Old Dominion University Monarch. He resides in Chesapeake, Virginia, with his wife. Twitter: @LRGiles
Grace Lin is the author and illustrator of picture books, early readers and middle grade novels. Grace’s 2010 Newbery Honor book Where The Mountain Meets The Moon was chosen for Al Roker’s Today Show Kid’s Book Club and was a NY Times Bestseller. Ling & Ting, Grace’s first early reader, was honored with the Theodor Geisel Honor in 2011. An Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award nominee for the US, most of Grace’s books are about the Asian-American experience because she believes, “Books erase bias, they make the uncommon everyday, and the mundane exotic. A book makes all cultures universal.”
Meg Medina is an award-winning Cuban American author who writes picture books, middle grade, and YA fiction. She is the 2014 recipient of the Pura Belpre medal and the 2013 CYBILS Fiction winner for her young adult novel, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass. She is also the 2012 Ezra Jack Keats New Writers medal winner for her picture book Tia Isa Wants a Car, among others. Meg’s work examines how cultures intersect through the eyes of young people, and she brings to audiences stories that speak to both what is unique in Latino culture and to the qualities that are universal. Her favorite protagonists are strong girls. In March 2014, she was recognized as one of the CNN 10 Visionary Women in America. When she is not writing, Meg works on community projects that support girls, Latino youth and/or literacy. She lives with her family in Richmond, Virginia.
Linda Sue Park
Linda Sue Park writes both novels and picture books for young readers, including A Single Shard, the 2002 Newbery Medal winner, and the New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water (Clarion). Her most recent titles are the Wing & Claw series (HarperCollins), and Yaks Yak (Clarion). She serves on the Board of Advisors for SCBWI, WNDB, and the Rabbit hOle. Linda Sue knows very well that she will never be able to read every great book ever written, but she keeps trying anyway. Visit her website at www.lindasuepark.com and follow her on Twitter @LindaSuePark.
Cindy Pon is the author of Fury of the Phoenix and Silver Phoenix, named one of the top ten fantasy novels for youth by Booklist. Serpentine, the first book of her second Xia duology, is now available, too. Alongside Malinda Lo, Cindy founded Diversity in YA, a website that celebrates young adult books about all kinds of diversity, from race to sexual orientation to gender identity and disability.
Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich is the author of 8th Grade Superzero, which was named a Notable Book for A Global Society and a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People.She is the co-author of the middle-grade novel Two Naomis, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and is a Junior Library Guild Selection, and its sequel, the forthcoming Naomis Too. She has contributed to numerous anthologies for children, teens, and educators, holds an MA in education, and writes frequently on literacy-related topics for Brightly. Visit her online at olugbemisolabooks.com.
Honorary Advisory Board
Matt de la Peña
Matt de la Peña is the New York Times Bestselling, Newbery Medal-winning author of six young adult novels (including Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here, and The Living) and four picture books (including Love and Last Stop on Market Street). In 2016 he was awarded the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Award. Matt received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his BA from the University of the Pacific where he attended school on a full basketball scholarship. de la Peña currently lives in Brooklyn NY. He teaches creative writing and visits high schools and colleges throughout the country.
Tim Federle is “a prolific scribe whose breezy wit isn’t bound to a single genre” (Huffington Post). Tim’s award-winning novels include the New York Times Notable Books The Great American Whatever and Better Nate Than Ever — which Lin-Manuel Miranda called “a wonderful evocation of what it’s like to be a theater kid” (New York Times). Tim’s cocktail recipe books, including the worldwide bestseller Tequila Mockingbird, have sold over half a million copies. Recently, Tim co-wrote the Tony-nominated Broadway musical Tuck Everlasting, and the Golden Globe nominated Best Animated Feature Ferdinand, starring John Cena and Kate McKinnon. A native of San Francisco who grew up in Pittsburgh, Tim now divides his time between New York and the internet. Find Tim at TimFederle.com.
Cynthia Leitich Smith
Cynthia Leitich Smith is the New York Times best-selling author of the award-winning Feral series and Tantalize series. These adventure-fantasies were published by Candlewick Press in the U.S., Walker Books in the U.K. and Australia/New Zealand, and additional publishers around the globe. Cynthia also is the author of several award-winning children’s books, including: Jingle Dancer, Rain Is Not My Indian Name; and Indian Shoes, all published by HarperCollins. She serves on the faculty of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adult.
The son of acclaimed author Walter Dean Myers, award-winning illustrator Christopher Myers began his children’s book career doing research to help his father, and went on to illustrate the elder Myers’ Shadow of the Red Moon. In 1998, the two collaborated on Harlem, which was named a Caldecott Honor Book as well as a Coretta Scott King Honor Book. Myers’ solo effort Black Cat was also a Coretta Scott King Honor Book. In addition to his fine art and illustrative work, Christopher Myers is a clothing designer. He makes his home in Brooklyn, New York.
Jacqueline Woodson is the 2014 National Book Award winner for her New York Times bestselling memoir Brown Girl Dreaming, which was also a recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award and the NAACP Image Award, and was named a Newbery Honor Book and a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book. Woodson was recently named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. She is the author of more than two dozen award-winning books for young adults, middle graders, and children. Among her many accolades, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a three-time National Book Award finalist, and a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.
Gene Luen Yang
Gene Luen Yang currently serving as the Library of Congress’ fifth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. His 2006 book American Born Chinese was the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award and the first to win the American Library Association’s Michael L. Printz Award. It also won an Eisner Award. His 2013 two-volume graphic novel Boxers & Saints was nominated for the National Book Award and won the LA Times Book Prize. Gene currently writes Dark Horse Comics’ Avatar: The Last Airbender series and DC Comics’ Superman. Secret Coders, his middle-grade graphic novel series with cartoonist Mike Holmes, teaches kids the basics of computer programming.