2013 Workshop and Breakout Session Presenter Bios



Katie D. Anderson lives in the literary mecca of Oxford, Mississippi, where she believes she inhaled the desire to write from one of the trees lining William Faulkner’s front yard. When she’s not writing, Katie can be found hanging out with her husband, their two daughters, and one adorable dog. Kiss & Make Up is her first novel.


Carolyn Angus is the Director of the George G. Stone Center for Children’s Books, Claremont Graduate University, California. She also was the chair of USBBY Outstanding International Books committee in 2008 and 2009 and a member of the 2011 Randolph Caldecott committee.  Carolyn has twenty-five years of experience as a library director, reviewer, and lecturer in children’s and young adult literature.


Ann Mulloy Ashmore MPH, MLIS is an Associate Professor of Library Services at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi. Ms. Ashmore also worked as a collection specialist at the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi. “Becoming Margret Rey” is based on her second major paper about Hans and Margret Rey, co-creators of the Curious George children’s books, titled “Margret sans Rey:  The Life and Career of Margarete Elisabeth Waldstein, 1925-1935.


Kathy Barco is currently Literacy Coordinator with Albuquerque’s public library system. Prior to taking that position she was a children’s librarian for six years. Kathy was youth services coordinator at the New Mexico State Library from 2001 to 2006. She received the New Mexico Library Association’s Leadership Award in 2006. Kathy earned her MLIS from USM in 1997.


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 received her undergraduate degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and a graduate degree from Mississippi College.  She is currently the librarian at Pelahatchie Elementary where she daily shares her love of language, literacy and learning with children in grades K-6.  Classroom experience includes teaching in lower elementary and working with special needs children.


Robyn Hood Black writes and draws in the foothills of north Georgia.  Her books include Sir Mike and Wolves.  Her poetry is featured in Georgia Heard's The Arrow Finds Its Mark - A Book of Found Poems as well as in Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong's The Poetry Friday Anthology.  Her poems have also appeared in Ladybug and Hopscotch for Girls and in leading haiku journals.


F.T. Bradley is the author of Double Vision (Harper Children’s), the first in a series of adventure books for reluctant readers. She lives on the Mississippi Gulf Coast with her husband and two daughters. A strong advocate for encouraging reluctant reader outreach, F.T. gets to practice her persuasion skills daily on her tween reluctant reader.


Anna Brannin is currently in her first year as librarian and seventh grade reading teacher at St. Stanislaus College in Bay St. Louis. She writes a monthly book column for her neighborhood’s online newsletter, “The Fourth Ward Cleaver.” Anna is a children’s and YA book devotee and enjoys creating exciting and unique library programming for kids and teens.


Nancy L. Brashear, Ph.D. is the former chair of Teacher Education for Azusa Pacific University (California) and is currently a professor in the English Department where she specializes in teaching children’s and young adult literature.  Credentialed with K-12 teaching experience, she also presents regularly in international, national, and state venues on topics related to connecting literature, literacy, and readers of all ages. She enjoys mentoring novice writers.


Carolyn Brown is a writer, educator, and independent scholar, and has taught at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Elon University and Millsaps College. She is writing a second young adult biography on Mississippi writer Margaret Walker which will be published in 2014. A Daring Life is the first young adult biography of Eudora Welty, and was the Mississippi Library Commission’s selection at the 2012 National Book Festival’s Pavilion of the States.


Dianne Butler is the 2012 Kaigler-Lamont Winner, being recognized for her work in her library and community.  She has presented several workshops at the Children’s Book Festival, as well as at LAMP, and Petal School District.  Currently, she is the librarian at Magee Middle School, where she works successfully with 600 hard to reach fifth through eighth graders.


Dr. Charlene Carter is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the School of Education at the University of Houston Clear Lake.  She teaches courses in both reading and early childhood education.  She is the treasurer for Greater Houston Area Reading Council and Texas Association for the Improvement of Reading. She serves as the Faculty Advisor for the University of Houston Clear Lake Student Reading Council.


Dr. Jane Claes is an Associate Professor at the School Library and Information Science at the University of Houston Clear Lake.  She has served on the American Library Association’s Robert F. Sibert Committee, the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee, and Notable Videos for Children Committee. Dr. Claes teaches Administration of Library Services, Collection Development, and Cataloging for School Libraries, and Children’s Literature.


Chuck Galey has illustrated over seventy educational books and ten children’s picture books, one that he authored. When he is not working on books in his studio in Jackson, Mississippi, he is presenting exciting school programs that inspire and astonish students.  His programs, listed on the Mississippi Arts Commission’s Teaching Artist Roster, encourage students to be creative in their reading, writing and art.


Emily Grossenbacher is the children's department manager and buyer at Lemuria Books in Jackson, MS.  She organizes everything from author events to the Oz First Editions Club and spends most days happily surrounded by books.


Sarah Frances Hardy 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, a story about two sisters who couldn’t be more different, was published by Viking Children’s Books in April of 2012.


Dr. Janet Hilbun is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Library and Information Sciences at the University of North Texas. A veteran of more than 15 years in education, Dr. Hilbun has been a middle school librarian, a reading teacher and an English teacher and currently teaches children and young adult literature. Drs. Hilbun and Claes have co-authored Coast to Coast: Exploring State Book Awards published in 2010 by Libraries Unlimited


Jo S. Kittinger is the author of over 25 books for children, including fiction and non-fiction, leveled readers, picture books, and middle grade non-fiction. ROSA'S BUS: The Ride to Civil Rights won a 2011 Crystal Kite Award. In addition, Jo serves as a Regional Advisor for the Southern Breeze region (AL, GA, MS) of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.


Irene Latham, former Alabama Poet of the Year, is the author of two award-winning volumes of poetry for adults. Her first collection for children Dear Wandering Wildebeest is forthcoming from Millbrook Press/Lerner in 2014. She is also the author of two middle grade novels, Leaving Gee’s Bend (Putnam/Penguin, 2010) and Don’t Feed the Boy (Roaring Brook/Macmillan, 2012).


Bobbie Malone earned her doctorate in American History at Tulane University after teaching elementary school for 10 years. Her dissertation became the biography, Rabbi Max Heller: Reformer, Zionist, Southerner, published by the University of Alabama Press. Bobbie recently retired from her 15+ year tenure as Director of the Office of School Services at the Wisconsin Historical Society where she wrote or co-authored many publications for state classrooms on Wisconsin History


Beck McDowell is a former NBPTS middle and high school teacher who has taught everything from AP Language classes to remedial grammar labs, literary magazine to school newspaper, and French to Earth Science. She and her students built the website www.NotRequiredReading.com to help other teens find good books. Now an author, her mission to help students find books they'll love includes writing them. She currently lives in Huntsville, Alabama, but grew up in New Orleans and Tylertown, Mississippi.


Heather Montgomery is an author of children's nonfiction and a master teacher who uses yuck appeal to engage young minds.  During a typical library visit, snail poop, petrified parts and tree guts inspire reluctant writers and encourage scientific thinking.  Heather has a B.S. in Biology and a M.S. in Environmental Education; her tenth book, Wild Discoveries: Wacky New Animals, has just been published by Scholastic.


Nettie Moore, Denise McOwen and Kay Hutcherson are Youth Specialists for First Regional Library.  They are experienced in planning and implementing Skype programs.  Nettie is at the Southaven Library; Denise is in Hernando, and Kay works in Sardis.  They have a combined experience of 50 years in childcare centers, schools and public libraries.


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 literature and outreach to diverse populations. He recently published Rainbow Family Collections: Selecting and Using Children's Books with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Content (Libraries Unlimited, 2012).


Reneé Nicolo has organized and chaired a successful Young Author's' Conference hosting over 74 nationally known award winning authors and illustrators for the past 20 years. She is a teacher, wife, mother, sister, friend and grandmother. She is a 1981 graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi.


Claudia Nisbett is Professor of Education at Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi.  She has been Chair of the Education Department at Faulkner University, a past elementary principal and elementary teacher in the classroom. She is involved in teaching reading and literacy courses at the college. 


Valerie Nye is currently the Library Director at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and has worked in academic libraries for the last seven years. Nye has coauthored books on a range of subjects including Flannery O’Connor, breakfast, and intellectual freedom.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Claudia Pearson holds an M.A. in Children's Literature from Hollins University, and is co-Regional Advisor for the Southern Breeze Region (Mississippi-Alabama-Georgia) of the International Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. As the editor of Look Again Press, she has published several texts analyzing literature for young readers.


Jon C. Pope is a faculty member 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 volunteers regularly at his local public library.


Brenda Pritchett is a storyteller listed on the Mississippi Arts Commission Performing and Teaching Artist Rosters. She holds a Master’s in Education in Reading Literacy from Mississippi University for Women.  She has 15 years’ experience in school and public library services and a 35+ year career as a storyteller. She frequently leads conferences/workshops on the local, regional, and state levels.


Kim F. Ridley is the Acquisitions Editor of Little Roni Publishers. She is also the author of The C Walker Adventure Series. Little Roni Publishers is celebrating their upcoming release The Castle of Family Secrets.


Diane Z. Shore: After 9 1/2 years, 385 rejections, and a forest of sloppy copies, teacher-turned-author Diane Z. Shore published her first picture book, Bus-A-Saurus Bop, a rollicking, rhyming, read-aloud, and winner of the 2004 Children’s Choice Award. Diane says her short attention span, limited vocabulary, and immaturity prepared her well to be a children’s writer. As a child she loved Amelia Bedelia and wanted to move into in the Berenstain Bears’ tree house.


Kristen Sipper-Denlinger is an associate professor in the English Department of Azusa Pacific University. She teaches courses in children’s and young adult literature and is particularly interested in the historical contexts of literature and trends in young adult fiction.


Sammie Thorell is a teacher turned elementary librarian. “During the twenty years I have been a librarian, I have used the ideas taken from storytellers, authors, and classes in literature to create a love for reading in young children. Over the past ten years, Dr. Kerry Holmes (Ole Miss) has used my presentation for her senior education classes.”


Nancy Varian is the Director of the Center for Professional Development and a Professor at Malone University in Canton, Ohio.   She has traveled all over the world and loves to teach children about other places and people.  She teaches workshops and classes on cultural diversity and cultural responsiveness.


Ally Watkins is the Youth Services Supervisor at the Pearl Public Library in Pearl, MS.  She coordinates collection development and programming for patrons from birth to age 18. When she isn't in her library (though her young patrons often assume she lives there) she can usually be found in a quiet corner with her nose in a book.


April Halprin Wayland's picture book, New Year at the Pier—a Rosh Hashanah Story, won the Sydney Taylor Gold Medal for the best Jewish Children’s Picture Book of the Year, awarded by the Association of Jewish Libraries. Her critically acclaimed novel in poems, Girl Coming in for a Landing and her picture books have garnered numerous awards including the Lee Bennett Hopkins Honor Award for Children’s Poetry, the Myra Cohn Livingston Award for Poetry, and MommyCare's Book of the Year.


Lawrence Webster is a librarian and nonprofit consultant, focusing on advocacy, public policy, strategic planning, and board development. In her recent book about the Petershams Under the North Light, she combined her love of illustrated books and her interest in American culture with the riches of the deGrummond collection. She has an M.A. in Religion from Florida State University, an M.L.S. from SUNY Albany. She is a Fellow of the National Center for Education Statistics, and certified by the American Public Relations Society.


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


Cynthia Williams is a certified school media specialist at Coast Episcopal School in Long Beach, Mississippi, with over fifteen years of experience in school libraries. She also serves 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 1996.


Nancy Wright is a senior lecturer and faculty liaison in the School of Education at University of Houston-Clear Lake.  For many years, she taught in Texas elementary schools and served as a Language Arts curriculum writer and training specialist.  She currently teaches children's literature and serves in a mentoring program for first-generation college education students.