Lesa Cline-Ransome portrait


Lesa Cline-Ransome



Lesa Cline-Ransome is the acclaimed author of numerous award-winning picture books that celebrate in story, Satchel Paige, an ALA Notable Book and a Bank Street College "Best Children's Book of the Year", Major Taylor: Champion Cyclist, Young Pele: Soccer's First Star, Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass, Benny Goodman and Teddy Wilson, My Story, My Dance, Just a Lucky So and So: The Story of Louis Armstrong, Germs: Fact and Fiction, Friends and Foes, Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams and The Power of Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel Payne and Not Playing by The Rules: 21 Female Athletes Who Changed Sports. Her verse biography of Harriet Tubman, Before She Was Harriet received five starred reviews, was nominated for an NAACP image award, and received a Coretta Scott King Honor for Illustration. Her debut middle grade novel, Finding Langston, was the 2019 winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction and received the Coretta Scott King Award Author Honor. The companion, Leaving Lymon released this year.

Overground Railroad, Light in the Darkness: How Slaves Learned in Secret, Freedom's School and Whale Trails: Before and Now are her titles that uncover the hidden stories in American history.

Lesa's books have received numerous honors and awards including NAACP Awards, Kirkus Best Books, School Library Journal Best Book, New York Public Library Best Book, ALA Notable, an NCTE Notable, CBC Choice Awards, two Top 10 Sports Books for Youth, an Orbis Pictus Recommended Book, an ILA Teacher's Choice, a Jane Addams Award and a Christopher Award. She frequently collaborates with her husband, illustrator James Ransome. They are the proud parents of four children.

 James Ransome portrait


James Ransome



The Children's Book Council named James E. Ransome as one of seventy-five authors and illustrators everyone should know. Currently a member of the Society of Illustrators, Ransome has received both the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration and the IBBY Honor Award for his book, The Creation. He has also received a Coretta Scott King Honor Award for Illustration for Uncle Jed's Barbershop which was selected as an ALA Notable Book and is currently being shown as a feature on Reading Rainbow. How Many Stars in the Sky? and Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt were also Reading Rainbow selections. PBS's Storytime featured his book, The Old Dog. Ransome has exhibited works in group and solo shows throughout the country and received The Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance award for his book, The Wagon. In 1999 Let My People Go received the NAACP Image Award for Illustration and Satchel Paige was reviewed in Bank Street College of Education's "The Best Children's Books of the Year." In 2001, James received the Rip Van Winkle Award from the School Library Media Specialists of Southeast New York for the body of his work. How Animals Saved the People received the SEBA (Southeastern Book Association) Best Book of the Year Award in 2002 and the Vermont Center for the Book chose Visiting Day as one of the top ten diversity books of 2002. In 2004 James was recognized by the local art association when he received the Dutchess County Executive Arts Award for an Individual Artist. He has completed several commissioned murals for the Children's Museum in Indianapolis, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the Hemphill Branch Library in Greensboro, NC. He created a historical painting commissioned by a jury for the Paterson, NJ Library and a poster for the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Brown vs the Board of Education. His traveling Exhibit, Visual Stories has been touring the United States since 2003. His work is part of both private and public children's book art collections.

"What makes illustrating books so exciting is that because each book has a special voice, my approach toward each is different. Whether it be through my choice of palette, design or perspective, there is always a desire to experiment and explore what makes each book unique."

James lives in Rhinebeck New York with his wife Lesa Cline Ransome, a writer of children's books. They have collaborated on a number of books together including Satchel Paige, Young Pele, Quilt Alphabet, Before There Was Mozart and Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass. Their newest title, Light in the Darkness will be released in January 2013. They live in the Hudson Valley with their four children and one St. Bernard.

 Carmen Oliver portrait


Carmen Oliver



Carmen Oliver is the author of picture books A Voice for the Spirit Bears: How One Boy Inspired Millions to Save a Rare Animal, a Junior Library Guild spring 2019 pick, Bears Make the Best Reading Buddies and Bears Make the Best Math Buddies (July, 2019). She's also the author of the forthcoming picture books Bears Make the Best Writing Buddies (Spring 2020), Bears Make the Best Science Buddies (Fall 2020), The Twilight Library (NorthSouth Books, 2022) and The Favio Chavez Story (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers).


Carmen's work has been shortlisted for the Rainforest of Reading Award, The Writers' League of Texas Awards and the CLEL Bell Picture Book Awards for Early Literacy. In 2014, she founded the Booking Biz, a boutique style agency that brings award-winning children's authors and illustrators to schools, libraries, and special events. She also teaches writing at the Writing Barn and The Highlights Foundation and loves speaking at schools, conferences and festivals.

 Margaret Peterson Haddix portrait


Margaret Peterson Haddix



Margaret Peterson Haddix grew up on a farm near Washington Court House, Ohio. She graduated from Miami University (of Ohio) with degrees in English/journalism, English/creative writing and history. Before her first book was published, she worked as a newspaper copy editor in Fort Wayne, Indiana; a newspaper reporter in Indianapolis; and a community college instructor and freelance writer in Danville, Illinois.

She has since written more than 40 books for kids and teens, including Running Out of Time; Double Identity; Uprising; The Always War; the Greystone Secrets series; the Shadow Children series; the Missing series; the Children of Exile series; the Under TheirSkin duology; and The Palace Chronicles. She also wrote Into the Gauntlet, the tenth book in the 39 Clues series. Her books have been honored with New York Times bestseller status, the International Reading Association's Children's Book Award; American Library Association Best Book and Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers notations; and numerous state reader's choice awards. They have also been translated into more than twenty different languages.

Haddix and her husband, Doug, now live in Columbus, Ohio. They are the parents of two grown kids.

 Kristen Chandler portrait


Kristen Chandler


Utah's own Kristen Chandler has been a storyteller since she was a little girl, whose parents sent her outside often so they could get things done. Going outside didn't stop her from telling stories, but it did change the kinds of stories she told. Kristen became a writer in her teens, through keeping a journal. Journal entries musing about boys and the meaning of life became stories, poems, articles and even lyrics. Kristen attended college and came out it with a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing, teaching college writing classes, and chasing her own children (who had arrived on the scene during those college years). Hitting “a few a few bumps in the road” of life put her back into thinking about the meaning of life.

“What I learned in the years after that, was how to go after what I want,” says Kristen. And since teenagers ask all the important, hard, scary questions, “and wear their answers like scars of pride,” what Kristen wanted was to write for them. She does that now, from her home she shares with her “blended family of eight children, two dogs, a mutant cat, and a husband [she’s] wildly in love with.” Her published offerings include Wolves, Boys, & Other Things That Might Kill Me (2011), Girls Don't Fly (2011) and Thief of Happy Endings (2018).

RaDawn Anderson

4th Grade Teacher, Brockbank Elementary, Nebo School District

For 34 years RaDawn Anderson has lifted, inspired, and loved students at Brockbank Elementary School in Spanish Fork, Utah. Her dedication and commitment to the children in the community is evident in the happy students that are lucky enough to call her their teacher.

Sally Baird

Media Specialist, Midway Elementary

Ms. Sally Baird is the Library Media Specialists for Midway Elementary. She believes that every child can be a reader. She loves to instill the love of reading and helping children to explore the wonderful world of books. She began her library career 15 years ago volunteering as the "storytime teacher." Shortly after, she became the Storytime Director, Outreach Programmer, and the Children's Librarian for the Wasatch County Library. Sally loves to dress up as book characters and currently has over 4 closest stuffed full of costumes.

Lorilynn Brandt

Associate Professor, Elementary Education, Utah Valley University

Dr. Lorilynn Brandt is an associate professor in the School of Education at Utah Valley University teaching literacy classes in both graduate and undergraduate literacy courses. She spends time regularly in local classrooms and with districts mentoring teachers and early/struggling students. Research focuses include teacher preparation, literacy skills and reading instruction, and reading motivation.

Terry Brown

Teacher, Timpview High School

Terry Brown completed a BA at Brigham Young University-Hawaii in English Literature and a year in the University of Southern California graduate program for Print Journalism before a sports writing career in which he covered the NBA for ESPN. He returned to school at Utah Valley University for his Secondary Language Arts certification and is now teaching at Timpview High School.

Selene Carlson

Literacy Specialist, Nebo School District

Selene Carlson is the Elementary Literacy Specialist for Nebo School District. She has taught kindergarten and 5th grade as a classroom teacher and also was an instructional coach.  She has a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership. She also has reading endorsements in both reading and leading adult learning.

Debora Escalante

Associate Professor, School of Education, Utah Valley University

Debora completed a B.A. and M.A. in Theatre at BYU and has spent more than forty years teaching and directing children and adults of all ages. She has enjoyed storytelling since she was 10 years old and started a summer business as the neighborhood “Story Princess.” She currently volunteers with the Timpanogos Storytelling Conference and Festival and loves opportunities to tell at schools and other venues. In 2007, she earned a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology from USU where her research focused on the development of models for K-12 curriculum correlation and integration, and educator supply and demand in Utah. She is the Director of Graduate Studies and an associate professor of education in the UVU School of Education where she teaches graduate courses and elementary arts integration methods.

Doug Gardner

Associate Professor, Student Success, Utah Valley University

Douglas S. Gardner is an associate professor in Student Leadership and Success Studies at Utah Valley University. He teaches Major and Career Exploration Courses and Research Methods for UVU School of Education. Research interests include student retention in higher education, career development, and reading motivation for young readers.

Katie Irion

Adjunct Professor, Brigham Young University

Katie Irion is a former high school English teacher who went back to get her MA in literature and somehow lucked into an adjunct professor position at Brigham Young University. She teaches writing and a Young Adult literature course. She enjoys nothing more than a good bowl of spaghetti, downtime to read a book, a minuscule break from her 5 lovely children, and introducing new books, especially YA books, to people.

June Lopez

Instructional Coach, Nebo School District

June Lopez is a literacy coach in the Nebo School District who enjoys working with educators and students in all things literacy. She has a passion for helping those she works with to understand the correlation between reading and writing as well as improve their reading fluency and comprehension. June has taught kindergarten through 4th grades, and has worked with all grades K-6 as an Instructional Coach with an emphasis in literacy . Mrs. Lopez has contributed to many resources for teachers and students moving forward in literacy today. June has a Bachelor's and Master's of Arts in Teaching Degree from Southern Oregon University, and endorsements in Reading and English as a Second Language.

Lynne Lowe

Instructional Coach, Nebo School District

Lynne Lowe, a Literacy Coach in Nebo School District, works with educators and students in Kindergarten through fifth grade, in all literacy areas. She has a passion for teaching reading and has taught all grades K-5th as a classroom teacher. Lynne's greatest joy centers around helping educators diagnose readers’ difficulties and plan curriculum and instruction to meet their diverse needs. Ms. Lowe has created a variety of blended learning and in-person literacy tools for educators to use to aid them in the instruction of readers and writers. Lynne has a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University, a Master's Degree from Southern Utah University, and endorsements in Literacy, Math, and English as a Second Language.

Mandy Luszeck

Assistant Professor, English Education, Utah Valley University

Mandy Luszeck completed a BA at Brigham Young University in English Teaching and then spent five years in the secondary classroom. Mandy completed a Master's in Education from Northern Arizona University in 2015, then completed a PhD at Arizona State University in English Education in 2019. Mandy's research focuses primarily on secondary teacher retention and Young Adult Literature. Mandy Luszeck is a current Assistant Professor at Utah Valley University in the English and Literature Department with a content specialty in English Education.

Judy Luther

Instructional Coach, Nebo School District

Judy Luther began her professional career in education as a music technician creating and presenting the music instruction program for grades 1 - 6. She then spent ten years teaching both 1st and 3rd grades. Judy is currently working as an Instructional Coach for Nebo School District where her primary focus is literacy. She loves integrating the arts into instruction and values the powerful influence and creative opportunities that they bring to the learning environment.

Ashley Martin

4th Grade Teacher, Springside Elementary

Ashley Martin is a teacher, mentor, and bibliophile with a passion for literature. She is currently in her 11th year of teaching and serves on Language Arts/Math Assessment and Science Leadership teams with Alpine School District. Her experience comes from teaching in 3rd and 4th grade with experience in 6th. With a Master's Degree in Education, she advocates for students and teachers to love what they do and take reading to the next level.

Keri Measom-Francis

Instructor, Elementary Education, Utah Valley University and Author

Keri Measom-Francis has been teaching for over 25 years in the Utah Public Education system. She absolutely LOVES being a teacher! As a longtime resident of Utah, she also enjoys spending time with her husband Scott and children McKenna (Tyler), Saige, and Tess. Reading, writing, skiing, painting, shopping, and planning trips to Walt Disney World (where McKenna and Tyler work) are a few of her favorite hobbies. She's visited WDW over 25 times! Keri also enjoys cooking, baking, and hosting parties! Last year her first children's book, Christmas Underwear, was published. Exciting!

Gary Moser

4th Grade Teacher, Springside Elementary

Gary Moser is a 4th grade teacher at Springside Elementary School in the Alpine School District. He is beginning his 32nd year of teaching. Gary has a great love for reading and writing and shows this through his example. A major focus in his classroom is instilling interest in reading and purposeful writing that will serve his students now and in the future.

Gene Nelson

Director, Provo City Library

Gene Nelson is the director of the Provo City Library and is celebrating his 42nd year in libraries. He has worked in elementary school, middle school, college, and public libraries. Gene served on the Randolph Caldecott committee in 2000 and 2010, and served on the John Newbery Committee in 2017. He teaches Children Literature Classes at UVU. Gene received the “Literacy Champion Award” from UVU Forum on Engaged Reading in 2018, and now serves on For the Love of Reading Conference Planning Committee.

Kristel Peterson

5th Grade Teacher, Brockbank Elementary, Nebo School District

Kristel loves all things reading and writing! She has been an elementary (1,2,5,6) educator, a teacher educator (ELL endorsement) and a passionate advocate for diversity / inclusion education for as long as she can remember! She loves to sing and dance with her students and embarrass her teenagers at home!

Nancy Peterson

Professor, Elementary Education, Utah Valley University

Nancy Peterson is in her 23rd year of teaching in the Elementary Education Department at UVU. Through the years she has loved books, loved seeing her children come to love books, and watching UVU students discover the joys of reading and teaching children to love it, too. Nancy is a co-founder and a co-chair of the For the Love of Reading Conference.

Virginia Pine

Librarian, Salt Lake County Library Services

Virginia has been a librarian, specializing in children's services, with the Salt Lake County Library System for 11 years. She has been involved in CLAU, both on the board and as a committee member for 9 years. She loves all types of books but has a soft spot for children's non-fiction. Both she and her husband are avid readers, a hobby they love to share with their two young daughters.

Teresa Pugmire

Early Learning Literacy Coach, Northeastern Utah Educational Services (NUES)

Teresa Pugmire is an Early Learning Coach for Northeastern Utah Educational Services (NUES). She teaches Children's Literature for BYU Idaho. Teresa has a Bachelor of Science degree from BYU, a Master of Education with an emphasis in reading from the U of U and a master's degree in Educational Leadership from BYU. Teresa is passionate about children's books and is a self-professed "book-aholic." There's always room for another great book on her shelf! Teresa has a Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University, a Master's of Education with an emphasis in reading from the University of Utah and recently finished her second Master's degree in Educational Leadership from Brigham Young University. Teresa is passionate about education and the difference it can make in the lives of her students. She is also passionate about children's books and is a self-professed "book-aholic." There is always room for another great book on her shelf!

Deborah Rowley

Elementary Educator in Distance Learning , Liahona Preparatory Academy

Deborah Rowley graduated from BYU in Secondary English education in 1991. Since that time, she has taught for a total of 15 years at four different schools: an at-risk high school, a Title 1 middle school, a K-12 charter school and a K-12 private school. Not only has she taught at a wide variety of schools but she has taught every grade but kindergarten: 1st through 12th. The last few years she has been focused on the power and potential of distance education and has taught students remotely through pre-recorded videos, Zoom and live streams. Deborah is also a writer and has published 12 books. These books include parenting books, children's picture books and educational workbooks and planners. She is currently writing elementary textbooks for students in 1-6 grades.

Jill Rucker

Instructional Coach, Nebo School District

Jill Rucker is an Instructional Coach for Nebo School District. She taught K-5 special education and Reading Recovery. She has a bachelor's degree in Special Education and a master's degree in education with an endorsement in reading and leading adult learning.

Krista Ruggles

Assistant Professor (Elementary Education-STEM), Utah Valley University

Dr. Ruggles is an Assistant Professor in the Elementary Education program at Utah Valley University with a focus on STEM and educational technology. Prior to UVU, she is a National Board Certified K-6 teacher and taught for 13 years in Florida, North Carolina, and Georgia. Currently, she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the School of Education. Specific areas of interest include preservice teacher preparation, technology integration, and culturally responsive teaching. Her current research is focused on K-6 students' and teachers' understandings and attitudes toward engineering and technology.

Makenzie Selland

Associate Professor, Elementary Education, UVU

Makenzie Selland is an associate professor of education, specializing in the areas of literacy and teacher education. Her teaching and research interests focus on equity-minded literacy practices across the disciplines.

Ann Sharp

Associate Professor, Elementary Education, Utah Valley University

Dr. Ann C. Sharp is an associate professor in the Elementary Education Department in the School of Education at Utah Valley University. She is a literacy educator teaching courses in reading and writing methods. She also mentors teacher candidates through the educative Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA). She has been at UVU for ten years working with students to provide them with cutting edge reading instruction research. Dr. Sharp is a member of Read-A-Difference (RAD), a team of literacy educators and researchers dedicated to helping teachers breathe life back into their reading curriculum through the use of reading motivational principles. Read-A-Difference is an outreach program that supports elementary classroom teachers’ desire to not only teach children how to read effectively, but also inspire their students to want to read. Read-A-Difference is a branch of the Engaged Reading Forum that sponsors the School of Education's yearly For the Love of Reading Conference. Dr. Sharp has also been a director of her own tutoring center and was the cofounder of RISE Institute for Reading, a not for prophet organization dedicated to helping struggling readers overcome their challenges and helping parents find hope in their child’s unconventional road to success. She is a strong advocate for the science of reading with emphasis on foundational skills. Dr. Sharp has received a number of awards including: 2015 UVU Outstanding Educator Award; 2014 UVU Faculty in Excellence Award; 2012 UVU McKay Education Graduate Mentor Award; and 2006 UNLV Educational Psychology Department's Dissertation of the Year Award.

Andrea Sluga

Media Specialist, J.R. Smith Elementary

Andrea started working in the elementary setting 13 years ago as a reading aide and a P.E. teacher. I became as the librarian at J.R. Smith elementary 7 years ago, it is the best place in the whole school. I have enjoyed working in several different positions which has given me a unique understanding of the needs of the students. In that time, I have partnered with the teachers and the parent volunteers to generate excitement for reading. I have implemented several programs which utilizes the community and gets kids reading, I love living in the same community as the students that I see at school, and it gives me a good perspective to help them improve.

Lindsey Smith

Instructional Coach, Nebo School District

Lindsey Smith is an Instructional Coach for Nebo School District, where she supports teachers in literacy instruction. Lindsey has taught first,second, fifth, and sixth grades and since then has worked coaching at two elementary schools for the past several years. She has a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and a master's degree in education with endorsements in math, English as a Second Language, and Integrating the Arts in education. She loves finding opportunities to make learning more exciting through integration with the arts.

Tom Smith

Associate Professor, English Education, Utah Valley University

Tom Smith is an associate professor of English Education at UVU. He taught 6-12 ELA for 15 years before moving to the university and continues to be thrilled and intrigued by what happens in classrooms across the grade levels.  His research interests include Young Adult Literature, Literacy in the digital age, Increasing Empathy in students and teachers, and adolescent literacy learning.

Teri Webb

4th Grade Teacher, Springside Elementary School

Teri Webb is a 4th Grade teacher at Springside Elementary in Alpine School District. She is currently in her 16th year teaching and is passionate about helping kids fall in love with reading. Teri also runs her school's Jr. Hope Squad and is an advocate for the emotional wellness of her students as well as the teachers in her school.

Anna Zanarini

Librarian, St. Vincent de Paul School

Anna has been a librarian in public and school libraries for 25 years and loves motivating kids of all ages to read however she can, creating engaging and inclusive reading communities. Anna has been a member of the Children's Literature Association of Utah (CLAU) for 20 years and will serve as President in 2021-22. She truly believes picture books are for everyone and that there is a book for every reader. You can find her on social media at Mrs. Z Loves Books.