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SLJ Teen Live Virtual Summit


Join us on August 8 for our eighth annual SLJTeen Live!. This free, virtual daylong event will feature high-profile and up-and-coming YA authors talking about their latest titles for teens. You'll also have the chance to get advice from innovative librarians tackling timely issues relevant to your teens and services.


This year’s theme is Knocking Down Doors. YA books provide readers with mirrors and windows, and teens, librarians, and authors are also pushing past established structures to forge a new path. Just as publishers and creators must rethink how stories are told, on and off the page, youth service librarians must consider their role in their communities, in and outside the library walls.



9:00 – 10:00 AM ET | Explore the Exhibits
10:00 – 10:45 AM ET | Opening Keynote
Presented by: Samira Ahmed, Author, Internment (Little, Brown)
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM ET | Two YA Panels Running Concurrently
Family Matters
You can’t choose your family. For better or for worse, the ties that bind often have an unshakeable hold on us, even at a time when young people are pushing against their families' expectations. These authors will discuss the sometimes comforting, sometimes complicated relationships among family members depicted in their books.
Jennifer Mathieu, The Liars of Mariposa Island (Macmillan/Roaring Brook)
Maika and Maritza Moulite, Dear Haiti, Love Alaine (Harlequin/Inkyard)
Gabby Rivera, Juliet Takes a Breath (Penguin/Dial)
Laura Ruby, Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray)
Karol Ruth Silverstein, Cursed (Charlesbridge)
Moderated by: Hannah Gómez, PhD Student, University of Arizona
The Power of Love
Finding joy can be a challenge and choosing to love can be a radical act, especially in today’s political climate. These YA authors will discuss how they construct love stories and how their characters forge a connection, when romance can be both a risk and a salve.
Mary H.K. Choi, Permanent Record (Simon & Schuster)
Brandy Colbert, The Revolution of Birdie Randolph (Little, Brown)
Julia Drake, The Last True Poets of the Sea (Disney-Hyperion)
Brigid Kemmerer, A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Bloomsbury)
David Yoon, Frankly in Love (Penguin/Putnam)
Moderated by: Susannah Goldstein, The Brearley School (NY)
12:00 – 12:15 PM ET | Break, Explore the Exhibits
12:15 – 1:00 PM ET | Lunch Speakers
Presented by: Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed, Authors, Yes No Maybe So (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray)
1:00 – 2:00 PM ET | Two YA Panels Running Concurrently
True Life: I Write YA Nonfiction
In an era of fake news and attacks against journalists, the truth is both as vital and as mutable as ever. These authors will discuss how, in writing about themselves and others, they bring engaging and important nonfiction stories to teens.
Keith O'Brien, Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019)
Akilah Hughes, Obviously: Stories from My Timeline (Penguin/Razorbill)
Maia Kobabe, Gender Queer (Lion Forge)
Sarah Miller, The Miracle & Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets (Random House/Schwartz & Wade)
Victoria Ortiz, Dissenter on the Bench (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Clarion)
Moderated by: Vanessa Willoughby, SLJ Nonfiction Editor
Seeing is Believing: Graphic Books for Teens
Too often, graphic books are passed over by parents and gatekeepers, considered not important or literary enough for young readers, though graphic books are beloved and needed by bookworms and reluctant readers alike. Full of humor, adventure, and thrills, these books deal with love, grief, identity, and how sometimes teens must save themselves. These authors and illustrators will discuss their new titles and storytelling in a visual medium.
David Almond, Joe Quinn's Poltergeist (Candlewick)
Daniel Barnes and DJ Kirkland, The Black Mage (Oni Press)
Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker, Mooncakes (Lion Forge)
Malaka Gharib, I Was their American Dream (Random House/Clarkson Potter, 2019)
Moderated by: Mahnaz Dar, SLJ Graphic Novel Editor

2:00 – 3:00 PM ET | Two Teen Services/Programming Presentations Running Concurrently
Mental Health
The Pew Research Center recently released a report that anxiety and depression are a major concern for teens, and adolescents continue to deal with stressors including societal pressure, academic expectation, and, too often, trauma. These librarians will discuss their initiatives to support the mental health of young people and destigmatize mental health challenges.
Deborah Niblick, Senior Librarian, Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library (CA)
Jane Gov, Youth Services Librarian, Pasadena Public Library (CA)
Anita Cellucci, Teacher Librarian, Westborough High School (MA)
Moderated by: Regina Townsend, Young Adult Services Manager, Forest Park Public Library (IL)
Woke Collections and Services
Diversity is as much about what happens in the library as what’s on the shelf. Two librarians will discuss how they build inclusive collections, services, and programs, and use them to engage teens.
Cicely Lewis, Library Media Specialist, Meadowcreek High School (GA)
Karen Jensen, Fort Worth Public Library (TX)
Moderated by: Janet Rene Damon, Library Services Specialist, Denver Public Schools (CO)
3:00 – 3:15 PM ET | Break
3:15 – 4:15 PM ET | Two Teen Services/Programming Presentations Running Concurrently
Activating Empathy
The library is a place to connect with worlds and people, even—especially—if they are unfamiliar. These librarians will discuss the programs they’ve implemented to help young people build understanding and engage with others across differences. 
Cassy Lee, Learning Center Coordinator, Chinese American International School (CA)
Angel Tucker, Youth Services Manager, Johnson County Library (KS)
Moderated by: Syntychia Kendrick-Samuel, Librarian II - Head of Teen Services, Uniondale Public Library (NY)

Partnerships and Collaboration
We all work tirelessly to serve teens in our schools and communities, but we can’t do it alone. Forging partnerships with experts and educators allows us to share skills, tips, and best practices. These librarians will discuss collaborating with others in order to enrich curricula, strengthen projects, and build community.
Tatanisha Love, Library Media Specialist, Loch Raven Technical Academy (MD)
Stephanie C. Stargardt, Librarian, Carver Middle School (VA)
Misti Werle, Library Supervisor, Bismarck Public Schools (ND)
Moderated by: Jessica Anne Bratt, Youth Services Supervisor, Grand Rapids Public Library (MI)
4:15 – 5:00 PM ET | Closing Keynote
Presented by: Nikki Grimes, Author, Ordinary Hazards (Boyds Mills & Kane/Wordsong)


Nikki Grimes

Nikki Grimes
Ordinary Hazards
(Boyds Mills & Kane)

Samira Ahmed

Samira Ahmed
(Little, Brown Books
for Young Readers)

Samira Ahmed

Aisha Saeed
Yes No Maybe So
(HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray)

Samira Ahmed

Becky Albertalli
Yes No Maybe So
(HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray)




Penguin Young Readers


Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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