IASL 2021 Speakers

We were so excited to have so many amazing speakers joining us virtually this year!


Monday, July 12, 2021

Dr. Wayne A. Wiegand
Jean Lowrie sitting at a desk.

Name: Dr. Wayne A. Wiegand
Time: 10:00AM (Central Daylight Savings Time)

Dr. Wayne A. Wiegand is F. William Summers Professor of Library and Information Studies Emeritus at Florida State University.  He is often referred to as the "Dean of American Library Historians," having authored more than one hundred scholarly articles and authored and/or edited more than twenty books on the subject. Dr. Wiegand also organized the Florida Book Awards (now the nation's most comprehensive state book awards program) and served as its first Director from 2006 to 2012.  He received his MLS at Western Michigan University in 1974, where Jean E. Lowrie was his academic advisor and thereafter became a lifelong valued mentor.

Dr. Wiegand's forthcoming book: American Public School Librarianship:  A History, from John Hopkins University Press is available for pre-order and a 30% discount to conference attendees. The book will be published on September 28, 2021.

Jean Lowrie, librarian, at her desk. ca. 1964

As the 2021 IASL Opening Keynote Speaker, Wayne will introduce the "Jean E. Lowrie Global Outreach Lecture" series that has been established in recognition of IASL's founder, Dr. Lowrie, and which will be funded annually through the endowment he established at Florida State University in Memoriam of his former professor and her invaluable contributions to school librarianship.


Kevin Henkes

Name: Kevin Henkes
Time: 12:00PM (Central Daylight Savings Time)

Kevin Henkes is an award-winning author and illustrator of many books for children of all ages. He received the Caldecott Medal for Kitten’s First Full Moon; Caldecott Honors for Waiting and Owen; two Newbery Honors—one for Olive’s Ocean and one for The Year of Billy Miller—and Geisel Honors for Waiting and Penny and Her Marble. His other books include Egg, Old Bear, A Good Day, Chrysanthemum, and the beloved Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse. Kevin Henkes lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information, please visit www.kevinhenkes.com.


Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Cecilia Aragon

Name: Dr. Cecilia Aragon
Time: 9:00AM (Central Daylight Savings Time)

Dr. Cecilia Aragon is an award-winning author, airshow pilot, and the first Latina full professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle. She’s worked with Nobel Prize winners, taught astronauts to fly, and created musical simulations of the universe with rock stars. Her major awards for research, and a stint at NASA designing software for Mars missions, led President Obama to call her “one of the top scientists and engineers in the country.”

Her new memoir, Flying Free (2020), debuted on five bestseller lists and is a TODAY Show and Ms. Magazine Recommended Read. Flying Free lifts readers into the skies on a woman’s journey from fearful, bullied child to champion aerobatic pilot. For more information, please visit CeciliaAragonAuthor.com.



Varian Johnson

Name: Varian Johnson
Time: 5:00PM (Central Daylight Savings Time)

Varian Johnson is the author of nine novels, including The Parker Inheritance, which was named a 2019 Coretta Scott King Honor Book and a 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book among other accolades. His middle-grade caper novel, The Great Greene Heist, has been named to over twenty-five state reading and best-of lists. In addition, Varian has written for the Spirit Animals: Fall of the Beasts middle-grade fantasy series as well as novels and short stories for YA audiences.

Varian was born in Florence, South Carolina, and attended the University of Oklahoma, where he received a BS in Civil Engineering. He later received an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is honored to now be a member of the faculty. Varian lives outside of Austin, TX with his family. For more information, please visit http://varianjohnson.com.


Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Ibi Zoboi

Name: Ibi Zoboi
Time: 9:00AM (Central Daylight Savings Time)

Ibi Zoboi was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and holds an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her YA novel American Street was a National Book Award finalist and her debut middle grade novel, My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich, was a New York Times bestseller. She is the author of Pride, a contemporary YA remix of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and editor of the anthology, Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America. Her most recent bestseller, Punching the Air, is a YA novel-in-verse, co-authored by prison reform activist Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five. Raised in New York City, Ibi now lives in New Jersey with her husband and their three children. For more information, please visit http://ibizoboi.net/.


Child reading a book

Name: Middle-Grade Author Panel
Time: 12:00PM (Central Daylight Savings Time)

Featuring NYT bestselling authors:


Julie Murphy

Name: Julie Murphy
Time: 5:00PM (Central Daylight Savings Time)

Julie Murphy lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cats who tolerate her. After several wonderful years in the library world, Julie now writes full-time.  When she’s not writing or reliving her reference desk glory days, she can be found watching made-for-TV movies, hunting for the perfect slice of cheese pizza, and planning her next great travel adventure.  She is also the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the young adult novels Dumplin’ (now a film on Netflix), Puddin’, Ramona Blue, and Side Effects May Vary. Dear Sweet Pea is her debut middle-grade novel. For more information, please visit http://www.imjuliemurphy.com.


Rose Brock

Name: Dr. Rose Brock
Time: 5:00PM (Central Daylight Savings Time)

Rose Brock, Ph.D. is a veteran educator and specialist in literature for young people who spent twenty years as a public school educator working as a language arts teacher and a school librarian. She now works as an associate professor in the Department of Library Science and Technology at Sam Houston State University. As a classroom teacher, Rose was selected by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as a Mandel fellow, and as a school librarian, she was awarded the Siddie Joe Johnson Award for Outstanding Service to Youth by the Texas Library Association. She is the author of the textbook, Young Adult Literature in Action: A Librarian's Guide, and editor of the young adult anthology, Hope Nation: Young Adult Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration

Rose is also the co-founder of the ALA award-winning North Texas Teen Book Festival. In addition to her work on NTTBF, Rose has been a tireless advocate for using audiobooks as tools for literacy and is co-founder of the national literacy initiative Guys Listen, a part of the Guys Read literacy national program. Rose’s next professional publication, Sound Advice: An Audiobook Selection Handbook for Library Collections will be available in 2022. For more information, please visit https://www.drrosebrock.com/.


Thursday, July 15, 2021

Chris Barton

Name: Chris Barton
Time: 9:00AM (Central Daylight Savings Time)

Chris Barton is the author of picture books including bestseller Shark vs. Train, Sibert Honor-winning The Day-Glo Brothers, Orbis Pictus honoree Dazzle Ships, and Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions, included on 20 state reading lists. His newest books include Fire Truck vs. Dragon, What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?: The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, and All of a Sudden and Forever: Help and Healing After the Oklahoma City Bombing.

Chris and his wife, YA/middle-grade novelist Jennifer Ziegler, live in Austin, Texas, where Chris has advocated for greater diversity in children’s literature by co-founding the Modern First Library program with BookPeople. For more information about him, please visit www.chrisbarton.info.


Scholastic Logo

Name: Scholastic Author Program: International Perspectives
Time: 12:00PM (Central Daylight Savings Time)



Izzy B

Name: Izzy B
Time: 5:00PM (Central Daylight Savings Time)

Izzy B is an elementary school art teacher by day and an author-illustrator by... well, any other time. He writes humorous books about anything under the sun from underpants in the wind to vampires cooking feetloaf. Izzy B lives with his beautiful wife, Autumn, and two kids, Gideon and Maxx in southwest Missouri. He has two cats named Poe and Callie, a loving dog named Benji.  He also has a super cuddly spider named Sparkles. When he's not writing books, Izzy B loves to draw, fish, and ride bikes with his family. To learn more about Izzy B, you can find him at http://izzybbook.com/.


Friday, July 16, 2021

Kelley Donner

Name: Kelley Donner
Time: 9:00AM (Central Daylight Savings Time)

Kelley Donner is an author/illustrator who has self-published various children’s books including A Very Corona Christmas and The Day the Lines Changed, which was featured in the Washington Post as one of the top ten children’s books about the pandemic. She has worked as an educator for over 20 years in the US, UK, and Germany. Although she currently lives with her family in Cambridge, UK, she will be moving to Munich, Germany this August. When she’s not at her desk, you’ll probably find her with her three young boys playing soccer, cooking, and getting creative. For more information, please visit https://www.kelleydonner.com/.


Gene Ambaum

Name: Gene Ambaum
Time: 12:00PM (Central Daylight Savings Time)

Gene Ambaum is a library guy who lives in the Pacific Northwest. He reads, talks with his cats, and takes long walks in the rain. You can find his most recent comics about libraries and graphic novel reviews at LibraryComic.com. He used to write Unshelved. When the big earthquake hits Seattle, he will be crushed by falling books. For more information, please visit http://www.unshelved.com/.


Ross J. Todd

Name: Dr. Ross J. Todd
Time: 1:30PM (Central Daylight Savings Time)

Ross J. Todd, Ph.D., is an associate professor and Director of the Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries (CiSSL) at Rutgers University. His current research focuses on how students learn in digital information environments, and how school librarians can engage with evidence-based practices to ensure the ongoing development of school libraries to meet the needs of students in 21st century schools. For more information, please visit https://comminfo.rutgers.edu/todd-ross-j.