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. Twitter: @Meg_Medina
Tim Federle grew up in San Francisco and Pittsburgh before moving to New York to dance on Broadway. Tim’s debut novel for kids, BETTER NATE THAN EVER–described as “Judy Blume as seen through a Stephen Sondheim lens” by Huffington Post–was named a New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of 2013 and a best book of the year by Slate.com, Amazon, the American Booksellers Association, and Publishers Weekly. The sequel, FIVE, SIX, SEVEN, NATE!, follows Nate Foster’s further adventures onstage and off, and was named an Amazon Best Book of 2014 (So Far). Find Tim at TimFederle.com and on Twitter and Instagram @TimFederle.
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.”
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.
Linda Sue Park is the author of several novels and picture books, including A SINGLE SHARD (Clarion Books), the 2002 Newbery Medal winner, and the New York Times bestseller A LONG WALK TO WATER (Clarion). Her most recent titles is XANDER’S PANDA PARTY (Clarion), a picture book illustrated by Matt Phelan. She has also written two books in Scholastic’s multiplatform series THE 39 CLUES. 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 http://www.lindasuepark.com and follow her on Twitter @LindaSuePark.
Matt de la Pena is the author of five critically-acclaimed young adult novels: Ball Don’t Lie, Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here, I Will Save You and The Living. He’s also the author of the award-winning picture book A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis (illustrated by Kadir Nelson). 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 Pena currently lives in Brooklyn NY. He teaches creative writing and visits high schools and colleges throughout the country.
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 will be released September 2015, published by Month9Books. 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.
Cynthia Leitich Smith is the New York Times and Publishers Weekly best-selling author of the Tantalize series and Feral series. Her award-winning books for younger children include Jingle Dancer, Indian Shoes, Rain Is Not My Indian Name (all HarperCollins) and Holler Loudly (Dutton). A member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, she writes fiction for children centered on the lives of modern-day American Indians. Smith is a former faculty member at Vermont College of Fine Arts, teaching in the Writing for Children and Young Adults MFA program.
Jacqueline Woodson is the author of numerous books for young adults, including Last Summer With Maizon, I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This, From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun, and Miracle’s Boys. She has recently received the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults. Her other awards include a Newbery Honor, two Coretta Scott King awards, two National Book Award finalists, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Although she spends most of her time writing, Woodson also enjoys reading the works of emerging writers and encouraging young people to write, spending time with her friends and her family, and sewing. Jacqueline Woodson currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Gene Luen Yang’s 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. His 2013 two-volume graphic novel Boxers & Saints was also nominated for a National Book Award and won the L.A. Times Book Prize. Gene currently writes Dark Horse Comics’ Avatar: The Last Airbender and DC Comics’ Superman.