Institute Speakers

M.T. Anderson

M.T. Anderson, 2019 Margaret A. Edwards Award winner for his significant contributions to young adult literature, experiments with narrative form in the futuristic satire Feed, in the clever and bold political lampooning of The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge (both Candlewick), and in the echoic rhythms of Strange Mr. Satie (Viking).

Elisha Cooper

A 2016 Maurice Sendak Fellow, Elisha Cooper's deceptively simple, gestural style in titles such as the 2018 Caldecott Honor book, Big Cat, Little Cat (Roaring Brook), and the 2001 New York Times Best Illustrated title, Dance! (Greenwillow), claims space for spare, expressive picturebooks in the digital age.

Emily Feinberg

Emily Feinberg earned MA degrees in English and Children's Literature simultaneously at Simmons University. Currently an Associate Editor at Roaring Brook Press, she paves the way for creators like Elisha Cooper, as well as other picturebook, middle grade, and nonfiction authors and illustrators.

Eric Gansworth

A passion for music infuses Eric Gansworth's two young adult novels set at the Tuscarora Nation. If I Ever Get Out of Here, a 2014 American Indian Youth Literature Award Honor, and Give Me Some Truth (both Arthur A. Levine/ Scholastic) center on Native young adult characters determined to resist the boundaries that try to define them.

Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Jarrett J. Krosoczka, perhaps best known to young readers for his indefatigable Lunch Lady, was a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award for Hey, Kiddo (Scholastic), a celebrated graphic memoir about growing up as a kiddo who found his way through art in a family stressed by absence and addiction.

Grace Lin

Grace Lin's star continues to rise with every new way of telling her stories. She received a 2019 Caldecott Honor for A Big Mooncake for Little Star, a 2010 Newbery Honor for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, and a 2011 Geisel Honor for Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! She was a 2016 National Book Finalist for When the Sea Turned to Silver (all Little, Brown).

Alvina Ling

Alvina Ling, a self-described lifelong bookworm, takes the lead in bringing diverse characters and stories to readers through her work as Vice-President and Editor-in-Chief at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Not only has she been Grace Lin's editor, but she also co-hosts their Book Friends Forever podcast.

Jessica Love

Jessica Love debuted with Julián Is a Mermaid (Candlewick), a picturebook about imagination, wonder, and acceptance of non-binary gender performance that was recognized by the 2019 Stonewall Award and the Bologna Ragazzi 2019 Debut Author Award.

Martha V. Parravano

As Book Review Editor of The Horn Book Magazine and co-author of A Family of Readers: The Book Lover's Guide to Children's and Young Adult Literature (Candlewick), Martha V. Parravano highlights the original and exemplary in children's books.

Elizabeth Partridge

National Book Award Finalist and Printz Honor recipient Elizabeth Partridge selects social change agents as subjects of her photobiographies and works of nonfiction, including the 2018 Boots on the Ground: America's War in Vietnam, and 2009's Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't You Grow Weary (both Viking).

Mitali Perkins

Mitali Perkins writes across genre to engage readers of all ages in compelling stories that center cultural identities and reach across cultural divides, including the recent You Bring the Distant Near (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), a 2017 Walter Award Honor, and the 2015 South Asia Book Award winner, Tiger Boy (Charlesbridge).

Jewell Parker Rhodes

In Ghost Boys (Little, Brown), the groundbreaking winner of the 2019 Walter Award, Jewell Parker Rhodes presents 12-year-old Jerome as a ghost who comes to understand how historical racism led to his death. She also holds the Virginia G. Piper Endowed Chair in Creative Writing at Arizona State University.

Vicky Smith

In addition to her work advocating for excellence in books for young people as Children's Editor at Kirkus, Vicky Smith once made history as a Guinness World Record holder for longest team read-aloud.

Duncan Tonatiuh

The call for social justice resounds through the work of 2018 Américas Award winner, Duncan Tonatiuh. He has received multiple recognitions by the Pura Belpré for his images and words and has twice won the Robert Sibert Award, in 2015 for Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family's Fight for Desegregation, and in 2016 for Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras (both Abrams).

Eric L. Tribunella

Eric L. Tribunella, Professor of English at the University of Southern Mississippi, has expanded the discourse about sexuality with essays such as "Pedophobia and the Orphan Girl in Pollyanna and A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning." In Melancholia and Maturation: The Use of Trauma in American Children's Literature (University of Tennessee), Tribunella rethinks the response to loss presented in children's stories.

Carole Boston Weatherford

Coretta Scott King Award honoree Carole Boston Weatherford realizes her mission "to mine the past for family stories, fading traditions and forgotten struggles" in acclaimed books, such as Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement (Candlewick) and Freedom in Congo Square (little bee books).

Padma Venkatraman

In The Bridge Home (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House), Padma Venkatraman follows four homeless children on their courageous journey through Chennai, India. Climbing the Stairs (Putnam), winner of a 2009 Julia Howe Book Award, positions the central character between traditional and personal values.