Conference Details

Keynote Speakers

  • Pam Munoz Ryan

    Pam Munoz Ryan


    Pam Muñoz Ryan is an American author and the 2018 U.S. nominee for the international Hans Christian Andersen Award. She is the author of ECHO, a Newbery Honor book and the recipient of the Kirkus Prize. She has written over forty books, including the novels ESPERANZA RISING, BECOMING NAOMI LEÓN, RIDING FREEDOM, PAINT THE WIND,  THE DREAMER, and ECHO. She is the author recipient of the National Education Association’s Civil and Human Rights Award, the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award for Multicultural Literature, and is twice the recipient of the Pura Belpré Medal and the Willa Cather Award..

  • Lita Judge

    Lita Judge


    Lita Judge is the author and illustrator of 24 fiction and nonfiction books including, Mary’s Monster, One Thousand Tracings, Born in the Wild, Red Sled, and Hoot and Peep. Her book, Flight School, has recently been adapted into an off-Broadway musical which is currently showing in New York City and China. Awards for her books include the International Reading Association Children’s Book Award, an ALA Notable, NCTE Notable Book, a Kirkus Best Book, and the Jane Addams Honor. Before she created art and books, Lita was a geologist and worked on dinosaur digs. But a trip to Venice Italy inspired her to quit her job and pursue a lifelong passion for creating art. Now, when not in her studio, she can be found backpacking through Europe with her sketchbook and easel in hand. Painting in the streets of Italy, France, Sweden, Russia and many other places have inspired her many of her books. The novel, Mary’s Monster, was inspired through reading Mary Shelley’s journals while exploring places she had traveled. This book created a rich opportunity to explore working in a completely new form, that of combining free verse with full page illustrations in novel form. Lita was drawn to capturing the interior world of Mary Shelley’s mind, as well as the realistic images of her life. Creating this book was a journey in itself and took five years to complete. Lita lives in New Hampshire.

  • Jerry Pallotta

    Jerry Pallotta


    I'm a children's author from Scituate, Massachusetts. I love my family and I have four kids, and five grandkids! I grew up going to Peggotty Beach with my family doing all sorts of crazy stuff on the water with my 72 Cousins! You can read about it in my book, Ocean Cousins! I've been writing children's books for over 30 years! My first book ever was called The Ocean Alphabet Book and I have now written over 90 books. Woah! My newest series is called, The Who Would Win Series, and it shows what would happen if some of my favorite animals faced off in the wild.

  • Jessica Day George

    Jessica Day George


    Jessica Day George earned a BA in Humanities/Comparative Literature from Brigham Young University, where she enjoyed classes in Pottery and Old Norse, and dutifully forced herself to take Algebra and Biology. Originally from Idaho, she now resides in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and three young children. It's all about the books. Friends, family, school, "real jobs", they were just obstacles to be tackled so that I could return to my true love: books. All I have ever wanted in this world is to read and write books. 


  • Michael Shoulders

    Michael Shoulders


    I attended Austin Peay State University and received an education degree in 1976. I married my wife Debbie in 1974. We have three children: Jason, Ryan and Meghann. We have four grands: Hannah, Jonas a.k.a. “J.J.,” Madeline, and Seven. I have immersed myself in the field of education since the age of twenty-one. As a Federal Programs Supervisor for Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools in Tennessee, I provided assistance to all 30 schools before retiring in 2005. Today, I visit schools across the U.S. and Europe, provide inservice training to teachers on literacy issues and discipline, and I write! I attended the Governor's Academy for Teachers of Writing in 1995. I was bitten by the writing bug and have written for publication ever since.


  • Utah Valley University School of Education
  • Utah Valley University Bookstore
  • Utah Valley University Library
  • Utah Valley University University College
  • Marilyn and Lew Kofford
  • Dennis and Joan Norton Family Foundation