Utah Educational Library Media Association  

Annual State Conference

UELMA Conference 2023

Friday, March 10, 2023

Weber State University

Shepherd Union

3848 Harrison Blvd, Ogden, UT 84408

“You never forget the books you loved as a kid. You never forget the poems you memorized, the first book you read until the cover fell off, the book you read hidden from your mother. What an honor to hold hands with a child's imagination in this way.”

Meg Medina 

Keynote Speakers & Authors

Maulik Pancholy

Maulik Pancholy is an award-winning actor, author and activist. He is best known for his comedic turns on television playing Jonathan on NBC’s critically acclaimed 30 Rock, Sanjay on Showtime’s Weeds, and Neal on NBC’s Whitney. He is the voice of Baljeet on Disney’s Phineas and Ferb and the title voice of Sanjay on Nickelodeon’s Sanjay and Craig. On Broadway, Pancholy starred in Terrence McNally’s It’s Only A Play and in the Tony-nominated production of Bess Wohl’s Grand Horizons. Pancholy’s debut novel, The Best at It (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins), is about a gay, Indian American boy coming into his own. It was named a 2020 Stonewall Honor Book, a 2019 Junior Library Guild Selection, a Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books, a New York Times “Best Audiobooks for Road Trips with Kids,” and received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and the American Library Association’s Booklist. His second novel, Nikhil Out Loud (also with Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins), came out October 2022 and was named a Kirkus Best Book of 2022 and a Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books. A longtime advocate for the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) and LGBTQIA+ communities, Pancholy was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs. As a Commissioner, he helped launch the anti-bullying campaign ActToChange.org—an organization which he continues to Chair today. Act To Change is now a national nonprofit dedicated to ending bullying for AAPI youth and fostering a world where all young people can celebrate their identities.

General Session Keynote

Meg Medina

Meg Medina is the current National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature. She is an award-winning and New York Times best-selling author who writes picture books, as well as middle grade and young adult fiction.

Her works have been called “heartbreaking,” “lyrical” and “must haves for every collection.” Her titles include:  the Suárez family trilogy including Merci Suárez Changes Gears, 2019 John Newbery Medal winner, and 2019 Charlotte Huck Honor Book; Merci Suárez Can’t Dance, one of the 50 most anticipated novels of 2021, according to Kirkus; and Merci Suárez Plays It Cool, which was named a Best Book of 2022 by PARENTS, Kirkus, and The Horn Book magazines; She Persisted: Sonia Sotomayor, with Chelsea Clinton;Evelyn del Rey is Moving Away / Evelyn del Rey se muda, 2020 Jumpstart’s Read for the Record Selection, winner of the Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature, and 2021 Crystal Kite Award; Burn Baby Burn, long-listed for the 2016 National Book Award, short-listed for the Kirkus Prize, and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize;Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, winner of the 2014 Pura Belpré Author Award; The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind, a 2012 Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year;Mango, Abuela, and Me, a 2016 Pura Belpré Author Honor Book; andTía Isa Wants a Car, winner of the 2012 Ezra Jack Keats New Writers Award.

When she’s not writing, Meg works on community projects that support girls, Latino youth, and/or literacy. She is a faculty member of Hamline University’s Masters of Fine Arts in Children’s Literature and lives with her family in Richmond, Virginia.

Lunch Keynote

Bethany Wiggins

Bethany Wiggins is the author of The Dragon's Price, book one of the Transference trilogy, as well as the novels Stung, Cured, and Shifting. She lives in the desert with her husband, five quirky kids, and four black cats. 

Jennifer Jenkins

Jennifer Jenkins is the author of the Nameless trilogy (2015-2018), To Kill a Curse (2019), Of Blood and Fire (2020), The Order of Chaos (2021), and Teen Writer's Guide: Your Road Map to Writing (2020). She is also the co-founder of Teen Author Boot Camp.  

Shelly Brown

Shelly Brown has always loved children and books so it made sense when she started writing books for children. In her spare time she helps her husband, author Chad Morris, write MORE children's books. In her extra-extra spare time she loves the theater, history, kdramas, and traveling.

Chad Morris

Chad Morris is the coauthor of Virtually Me, Willa and the Whale, Mustaches for Maddie, and Squint. He is also the author of the futuristic Cragbridge Hall trilogy. He has won the Nebraska Book Award, The Utah Book Award, The Buckeye Children's Book Award, and Foreword review's Book of the Year Gold Winner.