For immediate release | September 6, 2011

AASL invites national conference attendees to dine with authors

CHICAGO – The American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), would like to invite attendees of its 15th National Conference and Exhibition to dine with award-winning authors. As part of Turning the Page’s programming, AASL will host an Author Banquet featuring Andrea Davis Pinkney, Pat Mora, and Joan Bauer and two author brunches, one with Gennifer Choldenko and the second with Maggie Stiefvater. More information on attending these events can be found at

At the Author Banquet on Friday, Oct. 28, AASL welcomes New York Times best-selling author Andrea Davis Pinkney. Pinkney is an award-winning author of books for children and young adults, including picture books, novels, works of historical fiction and non-fiction. Her latest novel, “Bird in a Box,” tells the story of three friends living in upstate New York during the Great Depression. Their fight to realize their dreams is told against the story of boxer Joe Louis's quest to become the heavyweight champion. Some of Pinkney's other books include the Coretta Scott King Award Honor book, “Let It Shine: Story of Black Women Freed Fighters,” and “Sit In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down,” a Jane Addams Honor Book.

Joining Pinkney will be Pat Mora, author, poet and founding partner of El día de los niños/El día de los libros. Mora's founding of “Día,” and her creative works allow her to celebrate the her ancestors and the community were she was born and raised. The descendent of four grandparents who settled in Texas during the Mexican Revolution of 1910, Mora's children's books, poetry, and non-fiction documents the lives of Mexican Americans and Latinos. Her bibliography includes over forty volumes and multiple awards, including a National Endowment of the Arts poetry fellowship.

Rounding out the guests at the authors banquet is Newberry Honor author, Joan Bauer. Bauer's books explore difficult issues with humor and hope. She wrote her first young adult novel, “Squashed,” as she recovered from neck and back injuries received as a result of an automobile accident. Mora likens the need to laugh to the need for oxygen: “My best times as a writer are when I'm working on a book and laughing while I'm writing. Then, I know I've got something.”

“You don't need a table of friends to sit with - go ahead and register for the Author Banquet even if you plan to attend solo - you're sure to make new friends that evening as you discuss which sessions interest you and which authors you hope to meet,” said Nancy Bauman, national conference author committee co-chair. “Think you can sleep late on Sunday morning? Don't waste a minute of your conference time catching up on rest-save that for your trip home! On Sunday, Oct. 30, you can begin your day at one of the author brunches with Maggie Stiefvater or Gennifer Choldenko.”

Gennifer Choldenko researched her Newberry Honor Medal Book, “Al Capone Does My Shirts,” while volunteering as a docent on Alcatraz Island. The novel, and its sequel, “Al Capone Shines My Shoes,” tells the story of Moose Flanagan, son of prison guard, as he adjusts to living on Alcatraz Island, starting at a new school and taking care of his sister who has autism.

Maggie Steifvater is the author of the popular series the Books of Faerie and the Wolves of Mercy Falls. She joking describes her Wolves Trilogy as books about “werewolves and kissing.” It includes the New York Times Bestseller “Shiver,” “Linger,” and the just published, “Forever.” In addition to writing, Maggie is an award winning artist and a musicianwhich she says allows her to use to use her “highly prized traits” of talking to herself, staring into space, and going to work in her pajamas.

The AASL 15th National Conference and Exhibition, "Turning the Page," is the only national conference dedicated solely to the needs of school librarians and their roles as educational leaders. Taking place in Oct. 27-30 in Minneapolis, the AASL National Conference will feature preconferences, numerous concurrent sessions, more than 200 exhibiting companies, educational and school tours, a storytelling festival and special appearances by award-winning authors. The deadline for discounted advanced registration is September 29. For more information or to register, visit

The American Association of School Librarians,, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library field.