Workshop Presenter Ellen Oh
Ellen Oh is co-founder, president, and CEO of We Need Diverse Books
(WNDB), a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing diversity in children's literature. A former adjunct college instructor and corporate / entertainment attorney, she is the editor of Flying Lessons and Other Stories
. She is the author of the YA fantasy trilogy, Prophecy, Warrior, and King
, and admits that she wrote the whole story of what would later become Prophecy
on random pieces of paper and sticky notes in her car while stuck in typical beltway traffic.
Oh is also the author of the middle-grades novel, Spirit Hunters, Book 1. Spirit Hunters, Book 2, will be published summer 2018.
She, her husband and their three amazing, super smart, extremely talented daughters live in the Washington, D.C., area.
Banquet Speaker Matt de la Peña
Matt de la Peña is the New York Times best-selling, Newbery Medal-winning author of six young adult novels:
- Ball Don’t Lie
- Mexican WhiteBoy
- We Were Here
- I Will Save You
- The Living
- The Hunted
He’s also the author of the critically acclaimed picture books A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis
(illustrated by Kadir Nelson) and Last Stop on Market Street
(illustrated by Christian Robinson).
De la Peña received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his B.A. from the University of the Pacific, where he attended school on a full basketball scholarship.
De la Peña currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. He teaches creative writing and visits high schools and colleges throughout the country.
Author Talks and Sessions
Ginjer L. Clarke
Ginjer L. Clarke writes fun, fact-filled nonfiction beginning readers about weird, wonderful science stuff. Her books, most of which are part of the Penguin Young Reader series, have sold a combined total of more than 3 million copies worldwide.
Freak Out! and Gross Out! were on Publisher’s Weekly’s 2006 and 2007 lists of top 100 best-selling children’s books. Her book Platypus! (Random House Step into Reading) was awarded the Maryland Library Association’s 2005 Blue Crab Young Reader Award for Nonfiction and was selected by the National Science Teachers Association as recommended classroom reading.
Clarke is an experienced and energetic presenter who has appeared at more than 200 elementary schools, regional reading and writing conferences, statewide book festivals, lots of bookstores and libraries, and even a zoo.
She is a graduate of James Madison University and lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband, son and several silly-looking pets.
(Photo of Ginjer L. Clark credit to Jess Lucia Photography)
Kelly Starling Lyons
Kelly Starling Lyons is a children's book author and founding member of The Brown Bookshelf, a team of authors and illustrators dedicated to raising awareness of black children's book creators. As a kid, she rarely saw stories for young readers that featured characters of color. Her mission is to make sure children today have a different reality.
Her books include:
- NEATE: Eddie's Ordeal
- CCBC Choices-honored picture book One Million Men and Me
- Ellen's Broom, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor book, Junior Library Guild and Bank Street Best selection
- Tea Cakes for Tosh and Hope's Gift, both Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People.
Her latest picture book, One More Dino on the Floor, was a Scholastic Reading Club pick. Her chapter books, Jada Jones: Rock Star and Jada Jones: Class Act, debuted in September 2017.
Sarah Glenn Marsh
Sarah Glenn Marsh is the author of the young adult novels Fear the Drowning Deep
and the Reign of the Fallen
duology as well as children’s picture books including Selfie Sebastian
and A Campfire Tale
and several forthcoming titles.
An avid fantasy reader from the day her dad handed her a copy of The Hobbit and promised it would change her life, she’s been making up words and worlds ever since. When she’s not writing, Marsh enjoys painting, ghost hunting and pursuits of the nerd variety, from video games to tabletop gaming.
She lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and their tiny zoo of four rescued greyhounds, three birds and many fish.
Steven K. Smith
Steven K. Smith is the author of the middle-grade series The Virginia Mysteries.
Currently at five books, it combines modern-day fictional adventures with historical locations such as St. John’s Church, Belle Isle and Maymont, and historical figures such as Patrick Henry, Robert E. Lee and Lewis Ginter.
His other works include the middle-grade comedy Brother Wars, the parenting memoir
Splashing in the Deep End
and the adult contemporary fiction novel Harborwood
(written as Steven Sawyer).
Over the past two years, Smith has visited more than 50 elementary schools in central Virginia.
His first book, Summer of the Woods, is in development for film.
Smith lives in Midlothian, Virginia, with his wife, three school-age sons and a golden retriever. When he’s not writing, he works in e-healthcare and enjoys coaching his boys in sports, exploring the outdoors, following the New York Yankees and taking naps.