Authors, Presenters and Panels

Youth Conference 2019 Playbill-2

Chris Crutcher

Keynote Speaker


Chris Crutcher has written nine critically acclaimed novels, an autobiography, and two collections of short stories. Drawing on his experience as a family therapist and child protection specialist, Crutcher writes honestly about real issues facing teenagers today: making it through school, competing in sports, handling rejection and failure, and dealing with parents. He has won three lifetime achievement awards for the body of his work: the Margaret A. Edwards Award, the ALAN Award, and the NCTE National Intellectual Freedom Award. Chris Crutcher lives in Spokane, Washington.

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Kelly Coon

YA Author

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YA author Kelly Coon is an editor for Blue Ocean Brain, a member of the Washington Post Talent Network, a former high school English teacher, ACT test prep book author, and a wicked karaoke singer in training. She adores giving female characters the chance to flex their muscles and use their brains, and wishes every story got the happy ending she’s living near Tampa with her three sons, brilliant husband, and a rescue pup who will steal your sandwich. Gravemaidens is her debut novel.

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Elise Kova

Fantasy Novelist

Elise Kova is the USA Today bestselling author of the Air Awakens series, Loom Saga, and Wish Quartet. In her past lives, she has graduated from an MBA program, lived in Japan for a bit, and worked for a Fortune 500 technology company. However, she finds herself much happier in her current reincarnation as full-time author. When not writing, she can usually be found playing video games, drawing, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media. She’s happy to call Saint Petersburg, Florida, her home, but is always looking forward to her next trip.
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Kristina Miranda

YA Author

Kristina-Miranda-Author-Photo-AKristina Miranda is a YA author, public speaker, and former Language Arts, ESOL, and at-risk student educator. She’s also the Co-Critique Coordinator for the Society of
Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Florida region. If she’s not writing,
she’s probably cheering wildly at a soccer game or taking in a new foster dog. Her
latest novel SCRIPTED UNSCRIPTED is about a 16-year-old girl who’s trying to shed her reputation as “the dog sitter to the stars” on a studio lot in Hollywood.

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Sorboni Banerjee

YA Author

Screenshot-2018-11-01-12.09.39-400x396Sorboni Banerjee is an Emmy Award winning television news reporter and anchor, and author of Hide With Me, a young adult novel hitting shelves this fall 2018. She spent a decade on the air in Boston before moving to Tampa as a consumer reporter and anchor where she writes on deadline every day, fueled by caffeine and creativity. Born and raised in Rhode Island, Sorboni spent her childhood reading, writing, drawing and daydreaming stories. She’s the daughter of an Indian physicist who made her a story teller and showed her the world, a mother from Maine who taught her to love books and save the world, and has a little brother who probably will. Sorboni lives in Florida with her husband, son and goofy goldendoodle.

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Kentrell Martin

Children’s Author

wgiDh9yK_400x400Kentrell is the author and creator of the award-winning children’s book series, Shelly’s Adventures.  All of his books incorporate American Sign Language into the story.  Kentrell travels around the world reading his books in schools.  He visits between 130-170 schools per yer.  Kentrell’s company and books aims to bridge the gap between the Deaf and Hearing world.

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Jarod Rosello

Graphic Novelist

s200_jarod.rosell_Jarod Roselló is a Cuban American writer, cartoonist, and teacher. He is the author of graphic novels for children and adults, including The Well-Dressed Bear Will (Never) be Found, Red Panda & Moon Bear, and the forthcoming Those Bears.  Jarod holds an MFA in creative writing and a PhD in language and literacy development, both from The Pennsylvania State University. Originally from Miami, he now lives in Tampa, Florida, and teaches in the creative writing program at University of South Florida.

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