We are so excited to have so many amazing speakers joining us virtually this year! Bios will be updated regularly so please check back for a full list soon.


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.  His latest book is American Public School Librarianship: A History (Johns Hopkins University Press, Fall, 2021). 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.  


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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/.

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/.

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. 

Author program sponsored by HarperCollins - featured authors to be announced soon!