Michaela Goade is a Caldecott Medalist and #1 New York Times Bestselling illustrator of We Are Water Protectors, also a 2020 Kirkus Prize Finalist. Other books include the New York Times Bestselling I Sang You Down from the Stars, Encounter and Shanyaak’utlaax: Salmon Boy, winner of the 2018 American Indian Youth Literature Award for Best Picture Book.
Donna Barba Higuera is an American children’s book author. Her debut novel, Lupe Wong Won’t Dance, was a Pura Belpré Award honor book and PNBA winner in 2021. Her middle grade dystopian novel, The Last Cuentista, won the 2022 Newbery Medal. Donna’s Middle Grade and Picture Books are about kids who find themselves in odd or scary situations. From language to cultural differences in being biracial life can become…complicated. So like Donna, characters tackle more than just the bizarre things that happen to them in their lives.
Illustrator Sydney Smith won the 2015 Governor General’s Award For Illustrated Children’s Books for Sidewalk Flowers, a wordless picture book which he illustrated with author JonArno Lawson. Small in the City, written and illustrated by Smith, won the 2019 Ezra Jack Keats Award and was a New York Public Library Best Illustrated Book of the Year. In 2021, I Talk Like a River illustrated by Smith and written by Jordan Scott won the Schneider Family Book Award and was a Boston Globe – Horn Book Award Winner. Youth literature is one of Smith’s artistic passions, but you can find his work in magazines, on festival posters, and even on album covers.
The Center for Canadian American Studies at Western Washington University is proud to sponsor Canadian Sydney Smith with funding made possible through the Canadian Government Title VI Education Grant. With a shared commitment to explore and support transborder cultures, the Cascadia Watershed, and international youth literature the Children’s Literature Conference and K-12 Study Canada are thrilled to partner!
Renée Watson is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, educator, and community activist. Her young adult novel, Piecing Me Together received a Coretta Scott King Award and Newbery Honor. Her picture book, Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills received an NAACP Image Award nomination in children’s literature. Her poetry and fiction centers around the experiences of Black girls and women, and explores themes of home, identity, and the intersections of race, class, and gender. Her books include young adult novels, Love is a Revolution, This Side of Home, and Watch Us Rise, co-written with Ellen Hagan. Her middle-grade novels include the Ryan Hart series, Some Places More Than Others, Betty Before X, co-authored with Ilyasah Shabazz, and What Momma Left Me.