2017 Keynote Lineup

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




2017 Southern Miss Medallion Winner Kate DiCamillo


Kate DiCamillo is the author of many books for young readers. Her books have been awarded the Newbery Medal (The Tale of Despereaux, 2004 and Flora & Ulysses, 2014); the Newbery Honor (Because of Winn-Dixie,2001), the Boston Globe Horn Book Award (The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, 2006), and the Theodor Geisel Medal and honor (Bink and Gollie, co-author Alison McGhee, 2011; Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride, 2007). In 2016 DiCamillo published a seventh novel, Raymie Nightingale, as well as the third in her Tales from Deckawoo Drive early chapter series, Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln?  She was the 2014-15 National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, appointed by the Library of Congress.


A native of Florida, Kate now lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

 Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander is a poet and bestselling author.  His book The Crossover received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American literature for Children.  Kwame also cofounded and helps lead LEAP for GHANA, an international literacy program that builds libraries and provides professional development for teachers. 


 Louise Borden

Louise Borden is the author of nineteen picture books, including The Journey That Saved Curious George. She has also written several picture book-­biographies, including Fly High! The Story of Bessie Coleman, which she wrote with Mary Kay Kroeger, and Sea Clocks: The Story of Longitude. Her book Good Luck, Mrs. K, a school story about a third-­grade class and their teacher, won a Christopher Award in 2000.

 Bryan Collier

Bryan Collier is an award winning author and illustrator.  His works include Uptown, a Coretta Scott King Award–winning book.  Bryan also is a two-time Caldecott Honor winner for Dave the Potter and Trombone Shorty.  In addition to writing and illustrating, he works closely with children, teachers, and librarians giving classroom talks about art and books. 

 Pete Hautman

Born in 1952 in Berkeley, California, Pete Hautman spent most of his younger years in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. After several years of college coursework and ill-fitting jobs, he turned to writing and in 1993 his first book Drawing Dead which was published by Simon and Schuster. In 2004, Hautman’s novel Godless won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature. Today, Hautman lives with novelist and poet Mary Logue in Golden Valley, Minnesota and Stockholm, Wisconsin.

Wendell and Florence MinorWendell Minor is nationally known for the artwork he has created for over fifty award-winning children’s books. His many collaborators include Jean Craighead George, Robert Burleigh, Buzz Aldrin, Tony Johnston, Mary Higgins Clark, and last but not least, his wife Florence. In 2009 Wendell and Florence’s If You Were a Penguin, was chosen by Pennsylvania for their “One Book, Every Young Child” 2009 early literacy program, and they enjoyed the month they spent speaking to children in Pennsylvania’s libraries, schools, Head Start facilities, and Museums.


Pat Mora 

Coleen Salley Storyteller Pat Mora

Pat Mora has written several books for children as well as adults.  She holds several honorary doctorates and has been awarded fellowships by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kellogg National Leadership.  Pat also founded Children's Day, Book Day, El día de los niños, El día de los libros often known as Día. The year-long commitment promotes creatively linking all children and families to books and establishing annual April Children’s Day, Book Day celebrations across the country.


 Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

de Grummond Lecturer Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor is an award winning children's and young adult fiction author. She has written numerous books including the Alice series and Roxie and the Hooligans. Her book Shiloh was the winner of several awards such as the 1992 Newbery Medal and was selected as an American Library Association Notable Children's Book. 

 Andrea Pinkney

Ezra Jack Keats Lecturer Andrea Davis Pinkney

Andrea Davis Pinkney is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of more than thirty books for children and young adults, including picture books, novels, works of historical fiction and nonfiction.  Her books have been awarded multiple Coretta Scott King Book Award citations, Jane Addams Children’s Literature Honor Awards, NAACP Image Award nominations, the Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor medal, and several Parenting Publication Gold Medals. She was selected to deliver the May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture and her recent novel, The Red Pencil, received five starred reviews. Andrea’s forthcoming book, A Poem for Peter: Ezra Jack Keats and the Snowy Day, is a lyrical celebration of Ezra Jack Keats.