Utah Educational Library Media Association
Annual State Conference NOW VIRTUAL
Keynote Speakers & Authors
Keynote Speakers & Authors
Alan Gratz is the New York Times bestselling author of seventeen novels for young readers, including Ground Zero, Refugee, Allies,Grenade, Prisoner B-3087, Projekt 1065, and Ban This Book. A Knoxville, Tennessee native, Alan is now a full-time writer living in Asheville, North Carolina with his wife and daughter.
Candace Fleming is the acclaimed author of numerous books for children, including Ben Franklin’s Almanac, an ALA Notable Book and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults; as well as Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!; Gabriella’s Song; and When Agnes Caws; all ALA Notable Books. She lives in a suburb of Chicago.
Don Tate is an award-winning author, and the illustrator of numerous critically acclaimed books for children. He is also one of the founding hosts of the blog The Brown Bookshelf – a blog designed to push awareness of the myriad of African American voices writing for young readers, with book reviews, author and illustrator interviews. Don frequently speaks at schools, public libraries and writing conferences, and participates in book festivals.
New York Times Bestselling author, Jennifer Nielsen, was born and raised in northern Utah, where she still lives today with her family, a dog that won’t play fetch, and a cat that hallucinates. She is the author of The Ascendance series, beginning with THE FALSE PRINCE; the TRAITOR’S GAME series, the historical novels, RESISTANCE, A NIGHT DIVIDED and WORDS ON FIRE, and several other titles. She loves chocolate, old books, and lazy days in the mountains.
Dan Gutman attended Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, graduating in 1977 with a degree in psychology. After spending a few unhappy years in graduate school, he decided that psychology was not for him. What he really wanted to do, he decided, was to write. Finally... he figured out what his career should be – writing fiction for kids. For the first time, he felt that he was doing something he was good at, something that was fun, creatively rewarding, and appreciated by an audience.
Dusti Bowling grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, where, as her family will tell you, she always had her nose in a book. She released her first middle grade novel in 2017 and hasn't stopped writing since.Dusti's books have won the many honors and over twenty-five state awards. Her books are Junior Library Guild Selections and have been named best books of the year by the Chicago Public Library, Kirkus, Bank Street College of Education, A Mighty Girl, Shelf Awareness, and many more. Dusti currently lives in New River, Arizona with her husband, three daughters, a dozen tarantulas, a gopher snake named Burrito, a king snake name Death Noodle, and a cockatiel named Gandalf the Grey.
Roland Smith was born in Portland, Oregon, graduated from Portland State University and, following a part-time job at the Oregon Zoo in Portland, began a 20-year career as a zookeeper, both at the Oregon Zoo and the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, Washington. After working to save wildlife following the Exxon Valdez oil spill, in 1990, he published his first book, Sea Otter Rescue, a non-fiction account of the process of animal rescue. Smith continued to draw upon his zoo experiences for other non-fiction titles, including Journey of the Red Wolf, which won an Oregon Book Award in 1996.
Jarrett J. Krosoczka is the New York Times-bestselling author/illustrator behind more than forty books for young readers, including his wildly popular Lunch Lady graphic novels, select volumes of the Star Wars™: Jedi Academy series, and Hey, Kiddo, which was a National Book Award Finalist. Krosoczka creates books with humor, heart, and deep respect for his young readers—qualities that have made his titles perennial favorites on the bookshelves of homes, libraries, and bookstores.
American Association of School Libraries President, Kathy Carroll, is the lead school librarian for the Westwood High School Library Information Center in Columbia, South Carolina. Kathy will serve as President of AASL during 2020-2021. She is a member of the ALA Black Caucus and the International Relations, Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange, and the Sustainability Round Tables. She also volunteers as a site visit team member for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.Carroll is a past member of the AASL Board of Directors, serving as the Regional Director-Elect and Director for Region 4. She also served on the AASL Presidential Initiative Task Force for AASL President Steven Yates. At the state level, Carroll was an executive board member for the South Carolina Association of School Librarians (SCASL) and served as the chairperson of the association’s standards and guidelines committee.
Liz Deskins has worked 30+ years as a school librarian. She has taught in elementary, high school and college. Liz’s master’s degree focused on literature for children and young adults. She has co-authored two books with Dr. Christina Dorr: Linking Picture Book Biographies to National Content Standards: 200+ Lives to Explore (ABC-Clio, 2015) and LGBTQAI+ Books for Children and Teens: Providing a Window for All (ALA Editions, 2018). Her latest book, Content Area Collaborations for Secondary Grades, published by ALA Editions was published in November 2019.