2015 Youth Literature Seminar Featured Speakers

Jacqueline Woodson


Jacqueline Woodson is the winner of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults, the recipient of three Newbery Honors for After Tupac & D Foster, Feathers, and Show Way, and a two-time Finalist for the National Book Award for Locomotion and Hush. Other awards include the Coretta Scott King Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Miracle’s Boys. Her most recent books are her novel Beneath a Meth Moon and her picture books Each Kindness and This Is the Rope. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.

Brown Girl Dreaming: 2014 National Book Award Winner

Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming is the 2014 National Book Award Winner for Young People’s Literature, 2015 Coretta Scott King Author Book Award Winner2015 Newbery Honor Book2015 Sibert Honor Book, 2015 Boston Globe–Horn Book Nonfiction Honor Book, and 2015 E.B. White Read Aloud Award Winner for Middle Readers. Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

Jason Reynolds


After earning a BA in English from The University of Maryland, College Park, Jason Reynolds moved to Brooklyn, New York, where you can often find him walking the four blocks from the train to his apartment talking to himself. Well, not really talking to himself, but just repeating character names and plot lines he thought of on the train, over and over again, because he’s afraid he’ll forget it all before he gets home. 

Jason Reynolds is the author of critically acclaimed When I Was the Greatest, for which he was the recipient of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent, and Boy in the Black Suit. You can find his ramblings at JasonWritesBooks.com.

“I know there are a lot — A LOT — of young people who hate reading. I know that many of these book haters are boys. I know that many of these book-hating boys, don’t actually hate books, they hate boredom. If you are reading this, and you happen to be one of these boys, first of all, you’re reading this so my master plan is already working (muahahahahahaha) and second of all, know that I feel you. I REALLY do. Because even though I’m a writer, I hate reading boring books too.” —Jason Reynolds

Kathleen T. Horning


Kathleen T. Horning is the director of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC), a library of the School of Education, University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is the author of From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children’s Books and teaches a popular online course for the Association for Library Service to Children’s (ALSC) on the history of the Newbery and Caldecott medals.

Kathleen is the 2015 recipient of the ALSC Distinguished Service Award. This prestigious award honors an individual who has made significant contributions to library service to children and to ALSC. She has served ALSC on an organizational level as president, member of the Board of Directors, chair of the Caldecott 75th Anniversary Task Force and co-chair of the pre-conference celebrating 75 years of Caldecott books. As president, she forged strong ties with REFORMA (The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking), resulting in an annual Pura Belpré Award and strengthening the national Día celebrations. She has also served on many media evaluation and award committees, including chairing the 1995 Newbery Committee and the 1997 Batchelder Committee. She is currently serving on the 2015 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award Committee.


Cindy Dobrez & Lynn Rutan

Cindy Dobrez & Lynn Rutan have each chaired the American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adults committee and the Michael L. Printz Award committee. Cindy and Lynn co-author the Bookends Blog for Booklist Online from Holland, Michigan, reviewing and recommending books for preschoolers through teens.

They will reprise their popular talk about the latest and greatest books and what’s on the horizon for tweens and teens.