2014 Workshop Presenter Bios

Janice Ainsworth serves as library media specialist at Northside Elementary School in Clinton, MS.  She is a graduate of Copiah-Lincoln, USM and MUW.  Her nine years in elementary librarianship have allowed her to combine a life-long love of literature with the rewarding task of helping her students succeed.

Katie D. Anderson lives and writes in Oxford, Mississippi. When she’s not writing, Katie can be found hanging out with her husband, their two daughters, and one adorable dog. A regular contributor for Parade Magazine on the topic of raising teenagers, she has also had an article featured in The Huffington Post. KISS & MAKE UP published in the fall of 2012 is her first novel.

Carolyn Angus: Director, George G. Stone Center for Children’s Books, Claremont Graduate University, California (retired in 2013); coeditor of International Reading Association Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group’s journal, The Dragon Lode; 27 years as library director, lecturer in children’s and young adult literature, and reviewer. Special interests: picture books, nonfiction (especially science), international books, and audiobooks.

Kim Becnel is currently Assistant Professor of Library Science at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. She has previously worked as a youth services librarian for St. Tammany Parish Library in Mandeville, LA and as Juvenile Services Coordinator for Union County Public Library based in Monroe, NC.

Brenda Black holds a BS degree in Education from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Master's degree from Mississippi College.  She is currently enjoying retirement from her job as an elementary librarian with the Rankin County School District, and enjoys sharing picture books with children of all ages.

Dr. Joni Richards Bodart is well-known for her presentations on booktalking and young adult literature, and her most recent title is They Suck, They Bite, They Eat, They Kill:  The Psychological Meaning of Supernatural Monsters in Young Adult Literature.  Her next book on human monsters/toxic people and criminals and why they are important will be published in 2014.

Ricci Boyer is a Field Consultant in the Jackson/Madison area of Mississippi. She has earned a Master’s Degree in Curriculum Instruction with an endorsement in Reading. Ricci loves working with children to inspire a passion for reading in each and every child and school she touches.

Nancy L. Brashear: Professor of English, Azusa Pacific University, California; former K-12 teacher/reading specialist; former Chair of Teacher Education at APU. Special interest: children’s and young adult literature, creative writing, and teaching English Language Learners.

Mandy Broadhurst is the Assistant Director and Head of Youth Services at the Guntersville Public Library in Guntersville, AL.   She earned her MLIS from the University of Alabama in 2013.  Prior to venturing into the world of public library, Mandy was an elementary music teacher and a middle school/high school band director. Then she decided what she really wanted to be when she grew up.

Kathy Buntin is a Senior Library Consultant at the Mississippi Library Commission where she advises public library systems in the state on a variety of policy, management, and library service issues.  Coordination of the Summer Library Program, Continuing education programs, and service to various library associations predominate most of her recent professional activity.  Kathy is a member of ALA, YALSA, and the Mississippi Library Association (MLA).  She has served on numerous committees and as Treasurer for both the MLA and for the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP).  She received her MLS from the University of Alabama.  Roll Tide!

Dianne Butler is currently the Magee Middle School Librarian/Media Specialist, with 30 years of experience in the public school system.  She is a well-known story teller and has traveled the state entertaining children with her special brand of stories and magic. She is a member of the Central Mississippi Storyweavers Guild, Mississippi Library Association, Mississippi Association of Educators, and is a National Board Certified Librarian.

Sarah C. Campbell creates picture books with facts and photographs. Her latest book, Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature, is out this month from Boyds Mills Press. Her two previous books, Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature and Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator are ALSC Notable Children’s Books, and Wolfsnail is a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book.

Ramona Caponegro, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor and the Coordinator of the Children’s Literature Program at Eastern Michigan University. She has published articles and given numerous presentations about the portrayals of the criminal justice system in children’s and young adult literature. She teaches classes about multicultural children’s literature and social justice issues within books for the young, along with classes in illustrated texts and young adult fiction, and she has taught children’s literature in a women’s prison.    

Bethany Carlisle currently works as the Youth Services Coordinator for the Jackson-George Regional Library System.  Ms. Carlisle moved to her current position in 2010 after spending several years as the Story Lady for the Vancleave Public Library. She enjoys making fairly average music with children and sharing her passion for words. Occasionally, she does both of these things while playing the ukulele.

Dr. Mary Cissell has been an Assistant Professor in the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Southern Mississippi and in the College of Education at the University of Texas at Arlington.  She has many years of experience in the classroom and in school libraries, and she has taught children's literature, young adult literature, storytelling, and school library media courses.  She has chaired the American Library Association's BTSB Scholarship Committee and has served on the ALA Schneider Family Book Award Committee.

Elizabeth O. Dulemba is an award-winning children's book author/illustrator with two dozen titles to her credit. She is Illustrator Coordinator for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Southern region, a board member for the Georgia Center for the Book, and Visiting Associate Professor at Hollins University in the MFA in Children's Book Writing and Illustrating program. A Bird on Water Street is her first novel. Learn more at www.dulemba.com.

Angela Frederick has been serving youth in public and school libraries since 2005. She is currently resides in Nashville, TN and is serving on YALSA's 2015 Printz committee.  This is her first time attending the Children's Book Festival.

Joy Garretson is the Continuing Education Training Coordinator and State Data Coordinator at the Mississippi Library Commission. She will finish her MLIS at USM in May, and she has a special interest in technology in libraries, both for work and play purposes. As a former English teacher and a parent, she has a special interest in promoting traditional and digital literacy to young people. 

Sarah Frances Hardy, a resident of Oxford, Mississippi, graduated from Davidson College with a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art, and she studied for two summers at Parsons School of Design in New York and Paris. She has worked as a fine artist and a lawyer before switching gears to write and illustrate children’s books. Her debut book Puzzled By Pink was published by Viking Children’s Books in April of 2012, and her next book Paint Me! will be released from Sky Pony Press in May of 2014.

Melanie Hays is the librarian at Hazlehurst Middle School in Hazlehurst, Mississippi. She works with students in grades Kindergarten-8th grade. Melanie graduated from William Carey University in 2013 with a Bachelor's in Secondary English education.

Sandra Hays also attended William Carey where she received her Bachelor's in elementary education in 2009. She teaches at the Milcreek Center in Magee, MS where she teaches a large age range of students. She and her husband Wade have three children who are all teachers!

Yolanda Hood, Ph.D., is the Head of the Curriculum Materials Center at the University of Central Florida.  Before that she was the Youth Librarian at the University of Northern Iowa where she provided professional development opportunities for teachers and school librarians.  She continues as an adjunct instructor in the School Library Studies Program at UNI and has published articles in the ALAN Review and Children and Libraries.

Nancy J. Keane is a well-known name in the world of booktalking.  Her award winning website, Booktalks Quick and Simple, is a standard tool used by thousands every day.  Dr. Keane has written numerous books on creating and using booktalks. She has also presented at many conferences and workshops throughout the United States and Canada.  Her goal is to get students reading and to get adults talking.

Les Kevehazi is a Field Manager for Scholastic Book Fairs and has worked with schools to help get their students excited about voluntary reading for 11 years. He is a member of the Scholastic Book Selection committee and is an avid reader across most genres himself.

Award-winning author Jo S. Kittinger has published over 25 books for children, including fiction and nonfiction picture books and easy readers, as well as middle grade nonfiction. Her picture book The House on Dirty-Third Street has been honored with a Christopher Award and the first ever Social Justice Literature Award from the International Reading Association. Rosa's Bus: The Ride to Civil Rights received a Crystal Kite award from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Angie Manfredi is a 2007 graduate of USM's MLIS program. A youth services librarian in New Mexico, she's a frequent presenter at the Children's Book Festival.  She is active in Association for Library Service to Children and Young Adult Library Service Association and has presented nationwide on a variety of teen library issues.

Denise McOwen and Nettie Moore are Youth Specialists for First Regional Library. They are experienced at building relationships with DeSoto County School faculty.   They have 17 years combined experience strengthening relationships between public libraries and schools.  Since both have worked in the education system, they understand the many needs of teachers and school librarians.

Tamela Camp Miller, a lifelong bookworm, she enthusiastically embraced the position of school librarian after five years of teaching eighth grade. With an eye towards improving literacy through pleasure reading, Ms. Miller has jumped into programming with both feet at the Oak Grove (West Hattiesburg in Lamar County) Middle School Library, adding a V.I.P. Club, two book clubs and a crafting club in an attempt to attract more patrons.

Nonfiction author Heather L. Montgomery uses yuck appeal to engage young minds, inspire reluctant readers, and empower individual inquiry. Heather has published ten books for kids on topics ranging from snakes (What’s Inside a Rattlesnake’s Rattle) to scientific discoveries (Wild Discoveries: Wacky New Animals). Learn more at www.HeatherLMontgomery.com.

Carrel Muller, Academy of the Sacred Heart Lower School Librarian, is a published author of fiction and nonfiction in adult and children’s magazines and educational materials.  She served as Louisiana’s Regional Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators for over twenty years and is now Regional Advisor Emerita for the Louisiana/Mississippi Region. She received the SCBWI national Magazine Merit Honor Award for a story in February, 2000, CRICKET. The story called “Thornbush” was told in the style of an African folktale.

Jamie Campbell Naidoo, Ph.D. is an associate professor at the University of Alabama School of Library and Information Studies. He teaches and researches in the areas of youth program and materials, and outreach to diverse populations. Dr. Naidoo has published multiple professional books related to cultural diversity in children's literature and library programming.

Jane Nickerson lives in a little old house in a small town in Mississippi, where she was the children's librarian for many years and is now a full time author. She is the mother of five funny kids, and has always loved the South, "the olden days," Gothic tales and fantasy, houses, kids, writing, and interesting villains. Her first novel, Strands of Bronze and Gold, is a captivating retelling of the Bluebeard fairy tale. Her second novel, The Mirk and Midnight Hour, comes out in spring of 2014.

Venetia Oglesby has served as librarian at New Hope Elementary School in Columbus, MS for twelve years.  She achieved National Board Certification in Library Media in 2010.  She served as the MLA School Section Chair from 2011 - 2013.  Venetia was a member of the K-2 Magnolia Children’s Choice Book Award for 2012 and 2013 and is currently the vice-president of the Magnolia Children’s Choice Book Award Executive Board.  She is passionate about advocating for the vital role of school librarians in today’s educational communities. 

Julie Owen has worked as an elementary school librarian and arts integration advocate.  She collaborates with Sarah C. Campbell to create and test classroom connections to Campbell’s nonfiction picture books.  Currently, Owen lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and volunteers her time at the library of St. Luke’s Episcopal Day School.

Claudia Pearson is a retired civil rights attorney, holds a Masters degree (Children's Literature) from Hollins University, is editor of Look Again Press, co-Regional Advisor of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Southern Breeze region, past President of the Guild of Professional Writers for Children (Tuscaloosa, Alabama), and has presented papers at ACA/PCA conferences and Children's Book Festivals in California, New Mexico, Virginia, Mississippi and Georgia.

Jon C. Pope teaches in the Department of English at Appalachian State University.  An alumnus of the University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Library and Information Science, he researches and writes in the areas of information literacy, multiculturalism, and young adult literature.

Lynne Smith is a professor at Northern Kentucky University where she has taught literacy classes for the past 25 years. She is the director of the NKU Kentucky Reading Project and a past director of the NKU Writing Project.

Tammie Sherry is an assistant professor at NKU where she teaches literacy classes and directs the NKU Leveraged Adolescent Literacy and Learning Initiative.

Laurel Snyder is the author of five middle grade novels and six picture books, including Penny Dreadful, which won an EB White Readaloud Honor, and Baxter, The Pig Who Wanted to be Kosher, which was a Sydney Taylor Award Notable Book. Her forthcoming title, Seven Stories Up, is a time travel story about two young girls, set loose in 1937. Laurel lives in Atlanta, and online at http://laurelsnyder.com.

Kim Walker, a former classroom teacher for 25 years, is now a teacher educator in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at The University of Southern Mississippi and a teacher consultant with the South Mississippi Writing Project. 

Ally Watkins is a 2011 graduate of USM's MLIS program and is currently the Youth Services Supervisor at the Pearl Public Library in Pearl, MS.  She is the cochair of the Young Person Services Round Table of the Mississippi Library Association and serves on the Executive Board of the Magnolia Awards.

Teresa S. Welsh earned her MLIS and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Tennessee and has taught at Southern Miss School of Library and Information Science since summer 2003. Teaching and research interests include information literacy, history of the book, bibliometric research, information retrieval, and archival studies.

Cindy Williams is a certified school media specialist at Coast Episcopal School in Long Beach, Mississippi with over fifteen years of experience in elementary school libraries. She recently served on the 2013 Theodor Seuss Geisel Book Award Committee sponsored by ALSC. She received her MLIS from the University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Library and Information Science in 1995.