One of the best things about conferences is that you have the opportunity to meet some of your favorite authors and get up close and personal. This year’s AASL National Conference will fulfill all your author groupie dreams with a fantastic line-up of authors. You already know about our General Session speaker Jason Reynolds. And you have heard about the Thursday Authors in the Afternoon speakers Christian Robinson, Jordan Sonnenblick, and Sarah Dessen. So let me tell you about the equally wonderful list of concurrent session authors. These sessions take place during the heart of the conference on Friday and Saturday. Concurrent sessions feature panels of three to six authors and are organized around themes. There is one session featuring authors during every time slot at the conference.
Innovation, Risk, Rebellion: YA Fiction starts off Friday morning’s sessions with time-traveling fantasy author Alexandra Bracken, the dark and gritty female characters of Mindy McGinnis, and urban fantasy in the Shadowshaper world from Daniel Jose Older.
The three other author sessions on Friday are a feast for elementary and middle grade librarians. Illustrations Make the Story is a delightful panel of author/illustrators Molly Idle, Debbie Ohi, Christian Robinson, Dan Santat, and David Shannon.
The picture book focus continues in The Power of Story session with Drew Daywalt, Adam Rex, and Judy Schachner.
And if that isn’t enough, plan to join in the fun as we look at Elementary Graphic Novels, featuring Victoria Jamieson, Jennifer L. Holm, Judd Winick, and Kevin McCloskey – a panel that is moderated by author/illustrator Dan Santat.
On Saturday, authors in Mirror, Mirror: Reaching All Readers will explain how they put some of themselves in books, hoping to reach more diverse groups of readers. This panel will be led by award-winning author and poet Carole Boston Weatherford and will spotlight authors Ellen Oh, Bill Konigsburg, Icy Smith, Irene Latham, and Charles Waters.
Feeding the beginning reading machine in the lower grades is a task all elementary librarians share. Reading on My Own! Beginning Reader Series will highlight new books from kids’ favorite authors Dori Butler, Fran Manushkin, Megan McDonald, and Richard Haynes and provide titles for your book orders.
Hot topic STEM authors will enlighten and enrich your nonfiction science know-how. Author Melissa Stewart will lead Katherine Roy, April Pulley Sayre, and Arizona author Brooke Bessesen in a roundtable discussion about using their books in schools.
Don’t think we have forgotten the middle grades! A special panel of John David Anderson, Jack Gantos, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, and Stuart Gibbs will reveal their writing secrets and ways they entice middle school students into reading.
Every time slot has something to offer from some of the best children’s authors and illustrators of the year! Mark author sessions as your priority for this AASL National Conference.
Author: Karen Perry
Former school library media specialist. Reviewer. Online instructor for Old Dominion University and University of North Carolina at Greensboro in the school library program.