Presenters for 2020 Conference

LeUyen Pham

LeUyen Pham is the award-winning and critically acclaimed illustrator of more than sixty books for children. LeUyen (pronounced Lay-Win) is the New York Times bestselling illustrator of the Julianne Moore’s picture book series, Freckleface Strawberry, Kelly DiPucchio’s picture book Grace for President, and Shannon and Dean Hale’s middle grade series Princess in Black. LeUyen is also the illustrator of God’s Dream by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Twenty-One Elephants by Phil Bildner, the Vampirina Ballerina picture book series by Anne Marie Pace, and The Boy Who Loved Math by Deborah Heiligman.

LeUyen is the author and illustrator of Big Sister Little SisterThere’s No Such Thing as Little, A Piece of Cake, All the Things I Love About You, and The Bear Who Wasn’t There. She is also the co-creator, along with Shannon Hale, of the groundbreaking graphic memoir Real Friends.

These days, LeUyen lives in Los Angeles with her husband Alex (who is also an artist), and their two adorable sons, Adrian and Leo. When she’s not writing and illustrating, she’s either dreaming about her favorite food, her mother’s cơm gà (chicken rice), dancing in her bathrobe (when no one is watching) or building Star Wars-themed birthday cakes.

Bio source: The Author Village

Jason Chin

Jason Chin combines imaginative storytelling with intriguing science to create books that both enchant and educate. He is is the author and illustrator of Grand Canyon which received a 2018 Caldecott Honor, Sibert Honor and won the 2018 Orbis Pictus award. His other books, include RedwoodsIsland: A Story of the GalápagosGravity, and most recently Pie is for Sharing by Stephanie Parsley Ledyard. While researching his books, he’s gone swimming with sharks, explored lava fields and camped with scorpions at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Jason was raised in New Hampshire, studied illustration at Syracuse University, and now lives with his family in Vermont.


Credit: Magda Starowieyska
Ruta Sepetys

Ruta Sepetys (Rūta Šepetys) is an internationally acclaimed author of historical fiction published in over fifty countries and thirty-six languages. Sepetys is considered a “crossover” novelist as her books are read by both students and adults worldwide. Her novels, Between Shades of Gray and Out of the Easy are both New York Times bestsellers and international bestsellers. Her latest novel, Salt to the Sea, is a #1 New York Times bestseller and winner of the Carnegie Medal. Her books have won or been shortlisted for over forty book prizes, are included on over twenty state reading lists, and are currently in development for film and television.

Ruta is the daughter of a Lithuanian refugee. Born in Michigan, she was raised in a family of artists, readers, and music lovers. Ruta attended college to study opera but instead graduated with a degree in International Finance. Prior to publishing her first novel, she spent twenty years in the music industry helping artists and songwriters distill story through song.

Sepetys is the first American crossover novelist to address both European Parliament and Library of Congress. She was awarded The Rockefeller Foundation’s prestigious Bellagio Resident Fellowship for Salt to the Sea.

Ruta was recently bestowed the Cross of the Knight of the Order by the President of Lithuania for her contributions to education and memory preservation. She is intensely proud to be Lithuanian, even if that means she has a name no one can pronounce.

Ruta lives in a treehouse in the hills of Tennessee.

Mac Barnett

Mac Barnett is a New York Times-bestselling author of stories for children. His books have sold more than one million copies in the United States and have been translated into more than 30 languages. His picture books include two Caldecott-Honor-winning collaborations with Jon Klassen: Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, which also won the E.B White Read-Aloud Award, and Extra Yarn, which won both the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award and the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award. Leo: A Ghost Story, illustrated by Christian Robinson, and The Skunk, illustrated by Patrick McDonnell, were named two of the Ten Best Illustrated Books of 2015 by The New York Times. Mac’s novels include the Brixton Brothers mysteries and The Terrible Two series. He lives in Oakland, California.