Keynote Speakers

October 11 - 12, 2022

  • MinLe

    Minh Lê

    Keynote speaker on Tuesday, October 11, 2022
    Children's Literature Day

    Minh Lê is the author of the picture books Lift (a Washington Post Best Book of the Year) and Drawn Together (winner of the 2019 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature) illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat, Let Me Finish! (named an NPR Best Book of 2016) illustrated by Isabel Roxas, and The Perfect Seat illustrated by Gus Gordon (all published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers). I am also writing Green Lantern: Legacy, a middle grade graphic novel (illustrated by Andie Tong) for DC Comics and and has appeared in anthologies such as The Creativity Project and The Talk: Conversations about Race, Love & Truth. 

    During the day, he is a federal early childhood policy expert who has worked in education at the national, state, and local level -- both in and out of the classroom. He got his bachelor's in Psychology from Dartmouth College and received a master's in Ed Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

    Outside of spending time with his wonderful wife and children at their home in San Diego, his favorite place to be is in the middle of a good book.

    He writes about picture books at Bottom Shelf Books (my blog) and as a member of the children's literature consortium The Niblings and has been published in the New York Times, The Horn Book, HuffPost, NPR, Book Riot, the Atlantic Wire, the New York Daily News and Reading Rainbow. He served as a judge for the 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards and was named one of the 100 Coolest Dads in America by in 2018. He currently serves on the Board of We Need Diverse Books.

    He has the great fortune of being represented by the one and only Stephen Barbara of InkWell Management.


    • SamiraAhmed

      Samira Ahmed

      Keynote speaker on Wednesday, October 12, 2022
      Young Adult Literature Day 

      Born in Bombay India and raised outside of Chicago, Illinois, Samira spent countless hours at the library in her small hometown nestled in an oversized armchair next to an old Victorian fireplace with her nose in an Agatha Christie novel or re-reading Little Women, hoping that Jo would somehow end up with Laurie this time. Samira always loved to write—especially poetry–-but never actually dreamed of becoming a writer until she was an adult and an idea for a story captured her imagination and wouldn’t let go.

      She received her BA and MAT from the University of Chicago and went on to teach high school English in both the suburbs of Chicago and the New York City Public Schools. After she left the classroom, she worked in education non-profits, helping to create more than seventy small high schools in New York City and fought to secure billions of dollars in public school funding throughout New York State.

      Samira is the New York Times bestselling author of Love, Hate, & Other Filters and the forthcoming, Internment (March 2019) and Mad, Bad, & Dangerous to Know (April 2020).

      These days, Samira lives in Chicago, Illinois. When she’s not writing or reading, she can be found on her lifelong quest for the perfect pastry.

      Her writing is represented by Jo Volpe at New Leaf Literary.