Padma Lakshmi, Juana Martinez-Neal, and Melissa de la Cruz announced as featured speakers at ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition (Virtual)

For Immediate Release
Thu, 04/15/2021


Donna Hunter

Marketing Specialist

Conference Services

American Library Association

CHICAGO – The American Library Association today announced that chef and TV host Padma Lakshmi, Caldecott-winner Juana Martinez-Neal, and best-selling author Melissa de la Cruz will be among the featured speakers at the virtual 2021 ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition, June 23-29. Additional speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.

Registration for the conference is now open, and discounted rates are available through April 30, 2021.

Padma Lakshmi and Juana Martinez-Neal will co-present and discuss “Tomatoes for Neela,” aimed at readers ages 4-8 years old and available August 2021. The debut picture book lovingly affirms how we can connect to other cultures, as well as to our own, through food.

Melissa de la Cruz is the bestselling author of “Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy,” a story for middle-grade readers where real life and fairy tales collide.  De la Cruz has written several highly-rated Hallmark Christmas movies, and her Young Adult novel, "29 Dates," about a Korean exchange student, will soon be a feature-length movies on Disney+.

The Annual Conference & Exhibition will include educational programming, the News You Can Use series, memorable featured authors and celebrity speakers, special author events, interactive discussion groups, live-chat presentations, and networking opportunities.

The Annual Conference & Exhibition will launch on Wednesday, June 23 with the Library Marketplace, showcasing more than 250 exhibitors, 11 presentation stages that will highlight notable and genre-specific keynotes, sessions on new book titles, knowledgeable library experts, innovative resources, networking opportunities, giveaways, and more. 

Stay in touch and get updates through the 2021 ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition (Virtual) website and follow the hashtag #alaac21 and social media: InstagramALA Twitter, and ALA Facebook.