Happy Children’s Book Week! With two dedicated weeks of celebration on May 1-7 and November 6-12, we are thrilled to commemorate America’s longest-running literary initiative and this year’s slogan, “Read Books. Spark Change.” These amazing storytellers cater to audiences of all ages and share vibrant tales and enlightening lessons. Celebrate the joy of reading and the power of curiosity among young readers with these fantastic speakers.
Sabaa Tahir speaks about her multiple setbacks throughout her career, and how those failures helped shape her outlook and prepare her for writing New York Times-bestseller, An Ember in the Ashes and the 2022 National Book Award winner, All My Rage. She explains her decision to portray a diverse world and cast, as well as talks about the inspiration she took from world events.
Ruta Sepetys discusses her path to becoming an author. She encourages aspiring writers to look inward and excavate their own memories in order to discover the authentic voices and compelling details that are waiting to be put on the page.
Matt de la Peña
Matt de la Peña brings the books to life: detailing the “stories behind the stories” and explaining the inspiration behind his beloved books. Drawing on his own working-class background, he encourages students to find the beauty in their everyday lives and explore timeless themes of wonder, gratitude, and love.
Jennifer L. Holm
Jennifer L. Holm discusses how she and her brother, Matthew Holm, create their critically-acclaimed series Babymouse and Squish, and how various unusual items have inspired her award-winning novels. Holm explains how comic books encourage kids to read.
R.J. Palacio touches on the real-life experience that inspired her to write Wonder. Using the themes in Wonder as a launching point, she explores the impact of kindness on the world. She looks at moments in history and in literature where kindness—or the lack thereof—is a central theme.
Bestselling author Nicola Yoon shares her thoughts on the sense of belonging, the internal struggle of pursuing one’s dream, and the importance of seeing representation. She speaks about how she wants to tell a variety of stories with diversity so that children can see themselves in literature.
E. Lockhart encourages kids to self-identify as writers, empowering them to create. She shares tools she uses to create compelling narratives — specifically, how everyday emotion can be translated into powerful poetry, fiction, song lyrics, comic strips, or film. She touches on her recent novels, but the focus is on empowering students to create.
Oliver Jeffers discusses the power of storytelling through art, exploration in conceptual art, inspiration through observation and social activism. He shares his thoughts on storytelling, picture book making and navigating the world around us.