2016 Judges

2016 Walter Award Judging Committee

Dhonielle Clayton

Dhonielle ClaytonDhonielle Clayton (WALTER co-chair) hails from the Washington, DC area on the Maryland side. She earned her MA in Children’s Literature at Hollins University and her MFA in Writing for Children at The New School. She is a middle school librarian at Harlem Village Academies and one of the We Need Diverse Books librarians. She is the co-founder of the lit packager CAKE Literary, a creative kitchen whipping up decadent — and decidedly diverse — literary confections for middle grade, young adult, and women’s fiction readers. She is the author of the forthcoming two series Tiny Pretty Things (with Sona Charaipotra) and The Belles. @brownbookworm

Kathie Weinberg

Kathie WeinbergKathie Weinberg (WALTER co-chair) currently 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.

Todd Krueger

Todd KruegerTodd Krueger is a teen book selector at Baltimore County Public Library in Towson, Maryland for over ten years. Todd Krueger has served on the 2012 YALSA Michael L. Printz Award committee and on the 2015 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award committee. He has also chaired the Maryland Author Award committee for the Maryland Library Association. Todd currently facilitates the Fourteen and Up discussion group for Capitol Choices, along with serving as a board member for that organization. A native of the Midwest, he resides in Baltimore. @toddbcpl

Mindy Rhiger

Mindy RhigerMindy Rhiger completed her MLS in 2001. She worked as a Young Adult Librarian in a Chicago-area public library for a few years before moving to Minnesota, where she found herself on the business side of the library field. Mindy currently works as a staff librarian at a book company. She has contributed to the Disability in Kidlit blog and regularly tweets about books, disability issues, and other topics. Mindy mostly reads teen fiction, but she also spends a lot of time reading picture books and early chapter books with her seven-year-old daughter. Twitter: @mindyreads

Angie Manfredi

Angie ManfrediAngie Manfredi is the Head of Youth Services at Los Alamos County Library System in Los Alamos, New Mexico. She graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with her MLIS in 2007. She loves working with children and teens of all ages, from creating programs for them to promoting reading for pure joy. She is active in the American Library Association through the Association for Library Services to Children and The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Roundtable. She is a passionate advocate for diversity in literature and library services. Angie’s favorite hobbies include film, board games, and in-depth discussions about social systems in Harry Potter. @misskubelik

Sarah Park Dahlen

Sarah Park DahlenSarah Park Dahlen is an Assistant Professor of Library and Information Science at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota. She teaches courses on children’s and young adult materials, children’s and young adult library services, storytelling, social justice, and library and information science. Currently, she is examining representations of transracially adopted Koreans in children’s literature and the information behaviors of transnationally adopted Koreans. She co-edited a children’s and young adult multicultural literature textbook with Dr. Jamie Naidoo titled Diversity in Youth Literature: Opening Doors Through Reading (ALA Editions, 2012). Her next project examines race in the Harry Potter series. Sarah is a 2.5 generation Korean American and has one daughter with her husband, an adopted Korean. sarahpark.com @readingspark

Rafe Posey

Rafe PoseyRafe Posey’s short stories, poetry, and essays have appeared in Poydras Review, Light Ekphrastic, Hasting’s Women’s Law Journal, BuzzFeedLGBT, and The Rumpus, among others. His short story collection, The Book of Broken Hymns, was a 2012 Lambda Literary Award Finalist in Transgender Fiction. When he’s not teaching writing at the University of Baltimore or attending to his own writing, Rafe is probably on Twitter at @ponyonabalcony.

Edi Campbell

Edi CampbellEdi Campbell is a mother, librarian, educator and quilter. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Cincinnati and MLS from Indiana University. Her passion is promoting literacy in all its many forms to teens and she does this through her blog, CrazyQuiltEdi at http://campbele.wordpress.com and in her work as an Education Librarian at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana. Edith currently serves as the IN State Ambassador for the United States Board on Books for Young People and is a past member of YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults selection committee. @crazyquilts

Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada

Lessa Kanani'opua Pelayo-LozadaLessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada is a Librarian at the Rancho Cucamonga Public Library in California. She is an advocate for diversity in libraries and books, serving on the American Library Association’s Committee on Diversity and co-chairing the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association/American Indian Library Association’s Talk Story: Sharing Stories, Sharing Culture family literacy program. As a continent-born part-Native Hawaiian, Lessa co-authored Hawaiians in Los Angeles from Arcadia Publishing with other community members. She lives and runs in San Pedro, California with her husband, Christian, and their quartet of rescue animals. @lessalibrarian

Maria E. Gentle

Maria E. GentleMaria E. Gentle graduated from the University of Missouri, Columbia with a BA degree in Library Science and Romance languages. She got her MLS from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been a librarian her whole life in Austin and in Houston, Texas and currently in Arlington, Virginia at the Arlington Public Library. She has been very active in YALSA including membership on the Board of Directors, and ALSC where she is a member of the Laura Ingalls Wilder award. She has served in various book award committees for ALA, including the first Michael L. Printz Book Award committee which awarded its very first prize to Walter Dean Myers, and also has served in the Pura Belpre Book Award Committee, and The John Newbery Award committee. She is an active member of Capitol Choices as well.

Rita E. Painter

Rita E. PainterRita E. Painter, is a 32-year veteran educator of the Austin Independent School District (AISD), now serving as the librarian at Menchaca Elementary for the past 14 years. Rita is a past and present mentor for incoming librarians new to the school district, and is currently supervising a graduate student librarian from the University Of Texas School Of Information. She was nominated as Elementary Librarian of the Year for 2014. Most recently she participated in the panel “How to Host a Successful Teacher Night” with several national independent booksellers at the 2014 American Bookseller’s Association Children’s Institute. Currently serving as co-chair of this year’s Texas Library Association (TLA) Children’s Round Table Author Session with Chris Van Allsburg, Rita also enjoys participating in fun and creative ventures like the TLA Book Cart Drill Team Competition with other local librarians.

Christine Taylor Butler

Christine Taylor ButlerChristine Taylor Butler is the author of more than seventy five books for children and a founding member of the Association for Children’s Authors and Illustrators of Color (www.acaic.org). Her short stories and essays have appeared in magazines and journals including the Horn Book Review and Scholastic’s Read and Rise series. She holds degrees in both Civil Engineering and Art & Design from MIT. In addition to her writing activities, she is Past President of the Missouri Writers Guild, a judge for the Society of Midland Authors book awards, past Chair of MIT’s Regional Educational Council and serves on the Missouri Judicial Performance Committee. Visit her website at http://www.christinetaylorbutler.com/ Twitter: @ChristineTB

Adeeba Afshan Rana

Adeeba Afshan RanaAdeeba Afshan Rana is a poet and a librarian. She has been a featured performer with Body Politics at the University of Massachusetts, We Got Issues! at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, Boston Progress, and the louderARTS project in NYC. She is firmly rooted in engagement; inspiring audiences and students towards the art of reading, the craft of writing, and the wonder of inquiry. Adeeba has her MFA in poetry from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine, and her Master’s in Library Science at Pratt Institute. She is a facilitator at El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice in Brooklyn.

Thank you to all our fabulous judges for all their literary service throughout the inaugural Walter Award process!