The 2021 Conference on Children's Literature: Embracing the Power of Story will be an all day online event full of excellent and engaging creators. This annual Conference is free to attend and open to educators of all kinds - librarians, teachers, and parents are all welcome. Participants will leave inspired and motivated to bring the power of story to the families and children they work with. Please register and attend, and you may win signed copies of some the featured titles!
The featured presenters (pictured from left to right) will include:
Salina Yoon was born as Yoon, Ah in Busan, Korea in 1972 and was raised in a small rural town. She came to the United States in 1976 at the age of 4, which was when she was given her current name "Salina". Today, she is an award-winning author, illustrator and format designer of innovative novelty books for young children, specializing in formats that are unique and interactive. Stories such as Duck, Duck, Porcupine!, Bear's Big Day, Stormy Night, Penguin and Pinecone, and FOUND have been highlighted in "best of lists" by Bank Street College of Education, New York Public Library, and Amazon. In 2018, she won a Geisel Honor Book for My Kite is Stuck! and Other Stories. In 2016, Duck, Duck, Porcupine!, She works out of her home studio and lives in San Diego, California with her husband, artist Chris Polentz, and their two sons.
Kat Zhang spent most of her childhood tramping through a world woven from her favorite stories and games. When she and her best friend weren't riding magic horses or talking to trees, they were writing adaptations of plays for their stuffed animals. By the age of twelve, Kat had started her first novel and begun plans for her life as a Real Live Author. Said plans didn't come into fruition until seven years later, when her agent sold her young adult trilogy, The Hybrid Chronicles, to HarperCollins. The series, about a parallel universe where everyone is born with two souls, concluded in 2014. She has also published two middle grade novels with Simon & Schuster: The Emperor's Riddle, is about hidden treasure, lost aunts, and China and The Memory of Forgotten Things, is about grief, solar eclipses, and misfit children. She also has two picture books and is working on a series of books with Baobab Studios and Penguin Random House about the Magic Paintbrush legends. Her book Amy Wu & the Patchwork Dragon is the selection for the 2021 Jumpstart Read for the Record
A native of Japan, Kuniko Yamamoto received her Bachelor of Psychology from Otani University of Kyoto, Japan in 1983. Started performing professionally in her hometown of Osaka where she grew up studying traditional dance, music and theater. She has received national exposure performing Japanese Storytelling at the Silk Road International Exposition and on Kansai National TV in 1985. The following year Kuniko traveled to the United States to study with Tony Montanaro, highly respected mime and actor. Then three years after began touring with Leland Faulkner Light Theater where she helped present lavish stage illusions and brought ancient tales to life with shadows and magic. For the next five years she has performed constantly in theaters, schools, colleges, and festivals across the country. In 1992, Kuniko left the Faulkner Light Theater troupe to move to Florida. Married to Jon LeClair, a world-renowned magician whose books appear in magic shops worldwide has been helping her add subtle magic and mystery to her very special act.
Ruth Behar was born in Havana, Cuba and grew up in New York. A cultural anthropologist and an author, she explores the depth of the human experience in many genres. She has lived in Spain and Mexico and returns often to Cuba to build bridges around culture and art. She has written eight books, including the travel memoirs, An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba and Traveling Heavy: A Memoir in Between Journeys. The 25th anniversary edition of her classic work, The Vulnerable Observer: Anthropology that Breaks Your Heart, will be published next year. Her bilingual collection of poems can be found in Everything I Kept/Todo lo que guardé. Also an author of fiction for young readers, Behar won the Pura Belpré Author Medal for her debut middle grade novel, Lucky Broken Girl. Her recent novel, Letters from Cuba, is a Sydney Taylor Notable Book and won an International Latino Book Award. Her picture book, Tía Fortuna’s New Home, a Cuban Sephardic story, will be released in 2022. Behar is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship, and was named a “Great Immigrant” by the Carnegie Corporation. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and is a Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. (In partnership with Miami Book Fair).
Donna Barba Higuera grew up in a tiny desert town in central California surrounded by agricultural and oil fields. As a child, rather than dealing with the regular dust devils, she preferred spending recess squirreled away in the janitor’s closet with a good book. Her favorite hobbies were calling dial-a-story over and over again, and sneaking into a restricted cemetery to weave her own spooky tales using the crumbling headstones as inspiration. Donna's middle grade and picture books are about kids who find themselves in odd or scary situations. From language to cultural differences in being biracial life can become…complicated. So like Donna, characters tackle more than just the bizarre things that happen to them in their lives. Donna lives in Washington State with her family, three dogs and two frogs. (In partnership with Miami Book Fair).
Ruth Behar and Donna Barba Higuera are just a few of the many other authors from around the world participating in Miami Book Fair 2021. They are so looking forward to sharing their work, thoughts and new ideas with everyone in person and online. Please visit miamibookfair.com for more information.
The 2021 Conference on Children's Literature is generously funded by the Broward Public Library Foundation, PNC Foundation, and Children's Services Council of Broward.
This program is presented through collaborations and partnerships with Broward County Library, Broward Reads: The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, and Miami Book Fair.