Official Panels

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Thank you to everyone who has requested We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) panels at your conferences or festivals. We appreciate your interest and support in our mission.

Authors and other activists have championed diversity in children’s literature for years. What finally brought We Need Diverse Books into existence was the announcement of a panel at a major conference featuring luminaries of children’s literature. The panel was exclusively made up of white men. An outraged group of authors and other kidlit advocates joined together to spark a conversation, and #WeNeedDiverseBooks was born. (You can learn more about this story here.)

While we appreciate your requests for WNDB-sponsored or WNDB-themed panels or events, as well as your invitations and requests for speakers, we are a small, volunteer-run organization that cannot handle all of the requests that come in. While there are certainly occasions for which a diversity-themed event or panel is appropriate, WNDB’s mission is, at its core, to increase diversity in all facets of children’s literature and publishing, not to encourage pigeonholing or to classify “diverse books” as something separate from “books.” For true change and progress toward inclusion and equity, diverse authors and illustrators must be included as a matter of course on the main stage at events, not relegated to separate programs.

WNDB is not the only force in this conversation. It has never been our intention to dominate the diversity movement.We stand with allies, like-minded organizations, and other activists such as the people and organizations you’ll find here.

If you are organizing an event and specifically seek WNDB participation for a WNDB- or diversity-specific program, we are happy to consider your request. However, if your request is for diverse representation in general, WNDB is far from your only source.

We have created a list of diverse authors and illustrators which includes their contact information through their publishers and their geographic region. When WNDB receives requests for diverse author/illustrator presence at events, requesters will receive access to the spreadsheet. Please note that we will not facilitate relationships for you. However, we hope you see this is an opportunity to give a great many talented individuals the recognition and exposure they deserve.

If you are an author, illustrator, or a representative of one, you can access a Google form here to have your information included in this spreadsheet.

Want to support We Need Diverse Books? Come see us at the following panels:

Upcoming Official Panels

May 2017

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun

June 2, 2017
  • Following Up After Fouling Up: Real Talk About Real Apologies (BEA Panel 2017)

    Starts: June 2, 2017 - 10:30 am
    Ends: June 2, 2017 - 12:00 pm


    We Need Diverse Books presents a frank and honest discussion on genuine apologies that acknowledge the impact of our errors and decentralize our fragility. As publishing grows more engaged with telling PoC/Native, LGBTQIA+, Disabled, religious minority, and other stories from historically marginalized groups, the potential for errors rises, especially when writers/illustrators and publishers aren't working from personal experience. Rather than avoid these issues, we must prepare for when we fail. This panel presumes that errors in judgement will occur and asks what our responsibility is for what happens next.

    Panelists: Alex Gino, Justina Ireland, Daniel Jose Older, Kiera Parrott, Renee Watson
    Moderator: Dr. Laura Jimenez, Boston University

June 3, 2017
  • BookCon: We Need Diverse Books Meet Up

    Starts: June 3, 2017 - 1:45 pm
    Ends: June 3, 2017 - 2:45 pm


    We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) started 3 years ago in response to a lack of representation, from there WNDB has grown into a nonprofit that's awarded grants to emerging underrepresented writers and paid internships to those interested in pursuing publishing as a career, honored published marginalized writers, and made appearances around the United States to further promote and uplift these voices within the publishing industry. If you'd like to learn more about WNDB--what we do, how you can help--or if you have questions about the publishing industry as a budding illustrator/author/professional stop by and talk to team members, industry insiders, and published authors for books, buttons, and other swag we have available.

June 4, 2017
  • BOOKCON: WNDB Presents Super Heroes & Superheroes

    Starts: June 4, 2017 - 12:15 pm
    Ends: June 4, 2017 - 1:15 pm


    Heroes can be those we see in our every day lives or those we read about in the pages of our favorite books/comics. They portray strength and resolve we may not know, but which we're all capable of. On this star-packed panel WNDB engages authors of young adult and middle grade work that features comic book heroes with abilities beyond our wildest dreams to the most relatable of heroes seeking to maintain the world they know and protect the people they care for. Join best-selling and debut authors of novels and comic/comic adaptations Jason Reynolds, Renee Ahdieh, Gabby Rivera, Karuna Riazi for this discussion.

June 25, 2017
  • ALA Annual: WNDB Presents: Spooky Tales for Middle Grade Readers

    Starts: June 25, 2017 - 9:15 am
    Ends: June 25, 2017 - 10:00 am


    PopTop Stage


    Some of the best stories have a scary element, traces of the other-wordly, or even ghosts and mermaids! For this PopTop Stage event We Need Diverse Books brings together middle grade authors Ellen Oh, National Book Award winner Will Alexander, Dan Poblocki, Tracey Baptiste, and Ronald L. Smith. In their books young readers experience the vastness of spooky stories in the world where they can also see themselves as the hero(ine). From folk tales to contemporary horror stories the authors discuss their books, their fears, and how to bring dark stories to a young audience to uplift them--and make them check under their bed at night.