Brein Lopez

Brein Lopez (Chair) is the general manager of Children’s Book World in Los Angeles, a Pannell Award–winning bookstore whose mission is that every child sees themselves and each other reflected on bookshelves.

Brein Lopez (Chair) is the general manager of Children’s Book World in Los Angeles, a Pannell Award–winning bookstore whose mission is that every child sees themselves and each other reflected on bookshelves. He has been a bookseller for three decades, having previously served at legendary Los Angeles bookstores Book Soup and Every Picture Tells a Story. Lopez is an advocate for BIPOC, LGBTQIA2+, and Disability representation and inclusion in all aspects of the children’s book industry.

Mike Jung

Mike Jung is the author of Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities, Unidentified Suburban Object, and The Boys in the Back Row, and has contributed to the anthologies (Don’t) Call Me Crazy, The Hero Next Door, and You Are Here: Connecting Flights.

Mike Jung is the author of Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities, Unidentified Suburban Object, and The Boys in the Back Row, and has contributed to the anthologies (Don’t) Call Me Crazy, The Hero Next Door, and You Are Here: Connecting Flights. His books have been honored by the Georgia Children’s Book Award, Iowa Children’s Choice Awards, Kansas NEA Reading Circle, Oregon Battle of the Books, Washington Library Association Book Awards, Texas Bluebonnet Awards, and more. Jung is proud to be a founding member of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks team, and lives in Oakland, California.

Leah Johnson

Leah Johnson is an eternal midwesterner and author of books for children and young adults. Her debut young adult novel, You Should See Me in a Crown, was a Stonewall Honor Book, the inaugural Reese’s Book Club YA Pick, and named one of the 100 Best YA Books of All Time by TIME.

Leah Johnson is an eternal midwesterner and author of books for children and young adults. Her debut young adult novel, You Should See Me in a Crown, was a Stonewall Honor Book, the inaugural Reese’s Book Club YA Pick, and named one of the 100 Best YA Books of All Time by TIME. Johnson is the founder of Loudmouth Books, an independent bookstore that specializes in highlighting marginalized authors and uplifting banned or challenged books.

(Photo credit: Azia Ellis-Singleton)

Rose Brock

Rose Brock is co-founder of the North Texas Teen Book Festival; associate professor at Sam Houston State University, where she teaches courses in youth literature; and recipient of the Texas Library Association’s Siddie Joe Johnson Award, honoring outstanding achievement in children’s library service.

Rose Brock is co-founder of the North Texas Teen Book Festival; associate professor at Sam Houston State University, where she teaches courses in youth literature; and recipient of the Texas Library Association’s Siddie Joe Johnson Award, honoring outstanding achievement in children’s library service. Dr. Brock is the editor of Hope Wins: A Collection of Inspiring Stories for Young Readers and Hope Nation: Young Adult Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration, and the author of Young Adult Literature in Action: A Librarian’s Guide.

(Photo credit: Sonya Sones)

Julia Sanches

Julia Sanches translates literature from Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan into English, including works by Munir Hachemi, Geovani Martins, and Dahlia de la Cerda. Sanches’ translation of Undiscovered by Gabriela Wiener was recently longlisted for the 2024 International Booker Prize.

Julia Sanches translates literature from Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan into English, including works by Munir Hachemi, Geovani Martins, and Dahlia de la Cerda. Sanches’ translation of Undiscovered by Gabriela Wiener was recently longlisted for the 2024 International Booker Prize. The rights director of UK-based Tilted Axis Press, she also sits on the Council of the Authors Guild, where she advocates for more equitable terms and contracts for literary translators. Born in São Paulo, Brazil, Sanches currently resides in Providence, Rhode Island.

 

Gary Lovely

Gary Lovely is the store manager of Prologue Bookshop and publisher of Harpoon Books, an independent publishing company based in Columbus, Ohio. Gary has been working in the book industry for nearly 15 years and was recently named a Publishers Weekly Star Watch Honoree.

Gary Lovely is the store manager of Prologue Bookshop and publisher of Harpoon Books, an independent publishing company based in Columbus, Ohio. Gary has been working in the book industry for nearly 15 years and was recently named a Publishers Weekly Star Watch Honoree. Gary is a board member of the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association and has written about books for the New York Times, Literary Hub, Buzzfeed Books, Columbus Monthly, and more.

(Photo credit: Kristen Pietras)

Aron Aji

Aron Aji directs the Translation programs at the University of Iowa, and was the President of the American Literary Translators Association. He has translated poetry and prose by Turkish writers, including Bilge Karasu, Ferit Edgu, Murathan Mungan, and Ebru Ojen.

Aron Aji directs the Translation programs at the University of Iowa, and was the President of the American Literary Translators Association. He has translated poetry and prose by Turkish writers, including Bilge Karasu, Ferit Edgu, Murathan Mungan, and Ebru Ojen.

(Photo credit: Aji Aron)

Tyehimba Jess

Tyehimba Jess is the author of two books of poetry, Leadbelly and Olio. Olio won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Society of Midland Author’s Award in Poetry, and received an Outstanding Contribution to Publishing Citation from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

Tyehimba Jess is the author of two books of poetry, Leadbelly and Olio. Olio won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Society of Midland Author’s Award in Poetry, and received an Outstanding Contribution to Publishing Citation from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. It was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. His first collection, Leadbelly, was a winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series. Jess is a Cave Canem fellow and an alumnus of the Green Mill Poetry Slam.

(Photo credit: John Midgley)

Richard Blanco

Richard Blanco (Chair) was the fifth presidential inaugural poet in US history—the youngest, and the first Latinx, immigrant, and gay person to serve in that role. In 2023, Blanco was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Biden. Born in Madrid to Cuban exile parents and raised in Miami, Blanco’s cultural identity characterizes his many collections of award–winning poetry, including his most recent, Homeland of My Body.

Richard Blanco (Chair) was the fifth presidential inaugural poet in US history—the youngest, and the first Latinx, immigrant, and gay person to serve in that role. In 2023, Blanco was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Biden. Born in Madrid to Cuban exile parents and raised in Miami, Blanco’s cultural identity characterizes his many collections of award–winning poetry, including his most recent, Homeland of My Body. Blanco serves as Education Ambassador of the Academy of American Poets, and is an Associate Professor at Florida International University.

(Photo credit: Matt Stagliano)