2014 Keynote Speaker Lineup

The Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival is THE place to meet nationally known authors, illustrators, and storytellers.


Christopher Paul Curtis

Southern Miss Medallion recipient Christopher Paul Curtis

After graduating from high school in Flint, Michigan, Christopher Paul Curtis attended college at nights while working on an assembly line putting doors on Buicks. After working in the plant for 13 years followed by another five years of menial jobs, he took a year off work to write his first book, The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963. This book won several awards, and his second book, Bud, Not Buddy, became the first book to win both the Newbery Medal and The Coretta Scott King awards. His latest title is The Mighty Miss Malone.  Christopher enjoys playing basketball and collecting record albums as well as writing, and lives in Detroit, Michigan with his family.

M.T. Anderson 

M.T. Anderson has written stories for adults, picture books for children, adventure novels for young readers, and several books for older readers (both teens and adults).  His satirical book Feed was a Finalist for the National Book Award and was the winner of the L.A. Times Book Prize.  The first volume of the Octavian Nothing saga won the National Book Award and the Boston Globe/Horn Book Prize.  Both the first and second volumes of that two-part series were Printz Honor Books.  He writes: “I love writing for younger readers.  I love their passion.  I love their commitment to stories.  I love the way their heads are exploding will all the things they want to say and do.”

 Kathi Appelt

de Grummond Children's Literature Collection Lecturer

Born in North Carolina in the front seat of her father’s car, and brought up in Houston, Kathi Appelt is the author of a number of books for both children and young adults, including the Newbery Honor Book The Underneath, which was also a National Book Award Finalist. She has garnered numerous other awards for both children’s books and young adult books. Kathi currently lives in College Station, Texas.

 Mary Hamilton

Coleen Salley Storytelling Award Winner 

Mary Hamilton hails from Kentucky, and has been a professional storyteller since 1983. Several recordings of her stories have won awards, including a Parents’ Choice Gold Award for Sisters All…and One Troll. Mary received a Circle of Excellence Oracle Award from the National Storytelling Network in 2009. Her first book of stories, including essays on the art of storytelling, was published in 2012.

 Karen Nelson Hoyle

Ezra Jack Keats Lecturer

Karen Nelson Hoyle spent more than 40 years as curator of the Kerlan Collection at the University of Minnesota, where she helped to preserve numerous manuscripts and items related to the writing and illustrating of children’s books. She also served on the committee for the Newbery and Caldecott awards. She retired from the University of Minnesota in 2012 and that same year was honored as the Kerlan Award recipient.  Karen has also received the the Bridge Award from the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art and the Anne Devereaux Jordan Award of the Children’s Literature Association.

 Leda Schubert

Leda Schubert wrote her first children’s book at the age of five or six, but unfortunately that text has not survived. After working in the public school system for a number of years, Leda published her first books, Winnie Plays Balland Winnie All Day Long. In 2004 she obtained an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is currently serving on the faculty there. Her latest book, Monsieur Marcaeu, was featured on the cover of the Spring 2013 Horn Book Guide; it and several of her other books have received numerous starred reviews.  She lives in Vermont.

 David Small and Sarah Stewart

David Small and Sarah Stewart reside in a historic home, built in 1833, on a bend of the St. Joseph River in Southwest Michigan.  After some friendly advice persuaded him to pursue art, David obtained his MFA from the Yale Graduate School of Art and taught for many years on the college level.  He has illustrated over 40 picture books, and won numerous awards, including a Caldecott Honor in 1998 for The Gardener, written by Sarah, and a Caldecott Medal in 2001 for So, You Want to be President? by Judith St. George. Most recently, he received a 2013 Caldecott Honor for One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo.  Sarah grew up in Texas and studied Latin and Philosophy at many different colleges and universities. After working as a teacher, speechwriter, and a number of other jobs, she turned her hand to writing, and has written a number of children's books, as well as reviewing children's books for The New York Times. Sarah received the 2007 Michigan Author Award for her body of work.