Featured Speakers for 2017
Sophie Blackall grew up in Australia and now lives in Brooklyn. She has illustrated over thirty books for children some of which she has also authored. She has had three books selected as a New York Times Top Ten Picture Book: Big Red Lollipop (2010), A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, one Delicious Treat (2015), and A Voyage in the Clouds: The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785 (2016). Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear (2015) won the Caldecott Award. The Ivy and Bean series has over a million copies in print.
David Elliott, who lives in New Hampshire, is a poet and author who has written works for both younger and older children. He has authored three ORQ books that have been illustrated by Lori Nichols. On The Wing, illustrated by Becca Stadtlander, includes poems about birds. In the Sea, In the Wild, and On the Farm, all illustrated by Holly Meade, contain short poems for younger children that can also be enjoyed by an older audience. David’s most recently published book BULL is a YA novel composed of verse that is a modern adaptation of the Greek myth of the Minotaur. It received six starred reviews, including ones from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Review, and The Horn Book. Coming out this fall is a picture book Baabwaa and Wooliam that is illustrated by Melissa Sweet.
Brian Floca, who lives, in Brooklyn is the author/illustrator of numerous award-winning books. Born and raised in Texas, he attended the Rhode Island School of Design where he took a class with David Macaulay who introduced him to Avi. This resulted in his illustrating the six books in Avi’s Poppy series. Brian received the 2014 Caldecott Medal for Locomotive. He has also received four Robert F. Sibert Honor Awards, a silver medal from the Society of Illustrators, and two of his books were selected for the New York Times’ annual 10 Best Illustrated Book list: Locomotive and Moonshot: The Flight of the Apollo 11. Other titles include The Racecar Alphabet, Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring, and the recently published Princess Cora and the Crocodile by Laura Amy Schlitz.
Grace Linn, Grace Lin was born in New York to Taiwanese immigrants and raised in upstate New York. She is an author and illustrator of picture story books, early readers, and middle grade novels that reflect her experience of growing up Asian-American. Her first book The Ugly Vegetables was published in 1999. Her first novel The Year of the Dog, published in 2006, was followed by The Year of the Rat. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon was awarded a Newbery Honor in 2010. Starry River of the Sky, published in 2011, followed and their companion is When the Sea Turned to Silver, a 2016 National Book Award finalist. Popular picture books by Grace are Dim Sum for Everyone!, Kite Flying, Thanking the Moon, and Bringing in the New Year. Her early reader books feature the twins Ling and Ting.
Daniel Salmieri, who lives in Brooklyn, is known for his humorous and sometimes unusual illustrations. He has collaborated with Adam Rubin on several Darn Squirrels titles: Those Darn Squirrels! (2008), Those Darn Squirrels and the Cat Next Door (2011), and Those Darn Squirrels Fly South (2012). They also created a New York Times best seller Dragons Love Tacos (2012) that was followed by Dragons Love Tacos 2: The Sequel (2017). This pair also created the popular Secret Pizza Party and Big Bad Bubble. In 2015 they published the zany Robo-Sauce in which a sauce transforms little humans into robots. Daniel made very unusual illustrations for Sara Penny Packer’s Meet the Dullards (2015). Bear and Wolf, his debut as an author/illustrator, will be published in January 2018.