Schedule, Handouts, and Presenters

The Conference consists of three strands of presentations and discussions, which you may interweave to suit your particular interests:
  • Interpreting Literature emphasizes different ways of reading and studying children’s literature.
  • Using Literature provides activities to use with children at school, at home, or at the library.
  • Creating Literature helps you produce and publish your own work.


Special Professional Sessions with Lehua Parker and Caren Loebel-Fried provide an opportunity to meet with our featured author and illustrator to ask questions and learn about their professions. The sessions are open to everyone for an additional fee of $25.00 per session ($20.00 for CLH members).

Check out our 2021 Conference schedule—now with session descriptions! You can download it as a PDF (in black and white) or just view it here (all times are in HST):

CLH Conference 2021 Schedule Final.pdf
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Best viewed horizontally on phones and tablets. If you're having trouble, please consider downloading the PDF.


Day/Time (HST)

Event | All online. Start in the main Zoom room whenever you arrive

Friday, June 4




Honolulu Theatre for Youth

Reading from featured author

Reading from featured artist

Q&A (live, via Zoom)


Saturday, June 5



Networking/Practice for Zoom in the main room


WELCOME and CLH Hall of Fame Ceremony for distinguished local author-illustrator James Rumford


KEYNOTE 1: Lehua Parker


You will be automatically put into breakout rooms for the "Try Think" Response Groups. Thereafter, from the main room you will be able to choose the next presentation you want to attend.



“Try Think” Response Groups

Teen Workshop 1: Teen Writers



Lunch (adults): Networking Room

Art & Writing Contest Awards



A1  YA 4 Life: How Stories for Young Adults are Meaningful for All Readers


YA literature draws from a variety of themes which offer relevance to readers. By looking at life’s often difficult situations through the fresh eyes of adolescent characters, an audience connects with a clean slate to derive meaning. This interactive presentation will take attendees on a journey through several YA titles exploring how character, the hero’s journey, and other elements writers use connect readers to broader ideas about life and offer us insights for living our best lives.


CL Walters, author and editor, Mixed Plate Press


A2   ROCK THE ZOOM (Storytelling Aerobics) - all ages


This movin’, groovin’, fast-paced participatory workshop pokes & prods, jokes & cheers, coaches & crafts a dynamic (inter)active storytelling. Jeff’s ‘call & response’ version of ‘Tongue-cut Sparrow’ (in gallery view) guides this kinesthetic method, and two short tales follow - time will FLY! Do something new. Learn physically! Here’s a JOYFUL session for all ages at any level. Join this old dog teaching new tricks! Rock the Zoom! (more)


Jeff Gere, storyteller


A3   Bilingual Storybook Making for the Pacific Region


This session addresses the need for low-cost bilingual storybooks celebrating language, culture, and inclusion throughout the Pacific region. This session will address these themes in a children's book by Jojo Peter and me. It will also provide a tangible model for producing such a book, including the art of self-publication, collaboration, and low-tech media support.


Free copies of the book, Shangi aa fiti ewe pwérúk (Shangi Dances with Birds), will be available for curbside pickup at Chaminade University on Sunday (see below).


James Skouge, College of Education, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa (retiree)


Lunch (teens and author, can attend a session while eating)



B1  Writing Children’s


Lehua Parker



Also offered Tuesday, June 8, 9:00-10:15 am, session G1


B2  Creating Performative Literature


Eric, the artistic director of Honolulu Theatre for Youth, leads a discussion about how HTY has been creating new work for both the theatrical and digital mediums. The workshop includes an overview of current HTY projects, ideas for creators and those looking to engage with performance, and plenty of time for questions.


Eric Johnson, Honolulu Theatre for Youth


B3  Kōlea and the Chief’s Cloak: The Joy of Creating and Collaborating


Long-time historian and advocate for ʻIolani Palace, and tireless champion of things Hawaiian, Alice Guild has used her many talents and interests to write her first two books. The first, children’s book Kōlea and the Chief’s Cloak, has immediately won awards, and the second, Kōlea and the King’s Crown, will be published soon. Joining Alice at this session is Maile Meyer, founder of Native Books and Nā Mea Hawaiʻi, to share their perspectives on what it takes to collaborate on a local children’s story with national appeal. (more)


Maile Meyer, Nā Mea Hawaiʻi

Alice Guild, author/historian


Networking: choose a breakout room by topic or stay in the main room


Sunday, June 6



Networking/Practice for Zoom in the main room





C1  Widening the Net: Black and Indigenous Speculative Literature in Conversation


The purpose-driven storytelling and intersectionality embraced by Indigenous Futurism (science fiction from authors who primarily identify as First Nations, Native, or Indigenous peoples) continue to pave the way for developing more diverse perspectives in SF for young people. In fact, work from black authors prove fertile grounds for larger conversations with other marginalized groups about the vital role of young people in worlds that are and might be while questioning received ideas of agency, community, the sacred and the scientific, and the making of history. (more)


Lynette James, independent scholar, author, educator


C2  Adapting Children’s Literature for Theatrical Use in the Classroom


This workshop will explore the fundamental steps of using literature to create in-class performances contributing to deeper understanding in the learning process while exploring the world of theatre. Attendees will participate in improvisation, dramatic play, and storytelling methods that engage young people and connect to the source material. With this exploration, each participant will have the opportunity to investigate the characters they are studying while reinforcing themes, motif patterns, and dramatic story structure. (more)


Taylor Bogan, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa MFA Candidate in Theatre for Young Audiences

Elizabeth Gannaway, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa MFA Candidate in Theatre for Young Audiences


C3  So You Want to Write a Children's Book? This Is Our Path to Publication and Beyond


We will present to you our path to publication and answer any questions you may have on how to get your manuscript in the hands of little children everywhere! We will also tell you about our local Hawaii’ chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, which has helped many on their publication journey.


Akiko White, author/illustrator

Tammy Yee, author/illustrator

Vera Arita, author and educator


Teen Workshop 2: Teen Artists



D1  Remembrances of Things Past: Childhood in Graphic Memoirs


This session will focus on Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s graphic memoir Hey, Kiddo: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction (Scholastic, 2018). Krosoczka's uses of illustrations to complement the text will be compared to other autobiographical graphic narratives that center on childhood memories. The audience is invited to participate in discussion and interpretation of these examples, and to bring along a drawing pad and pencil. (more)


Kirsten Møllegaard, English, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo


D2  Writing Books to Turn Kids into Readers and Writers


How can a writer communicate with an audience of young readers steeped in a visual, nanosecond-driven culture? This session will present specific writers’ techniques used to try and hook reluctant readers into reading and ideas for hands-on writing activities.


Handouts are on the website below the schedule. Please download before the presentation.


Margo Sorenson, author, National Milken Educator


Lunch (adults): Networking Room




Curbside pickup at Chaminade: pre-purchased T-shirts, Story Magic supplies, and free copy of book from session A3 as available

Lunch (teens and illustrator, can attend a session while eating)



E1  “I Can Do Anything I Want”: The Role of the Thief in the World of the Queen’s Thief series


Eugenides, known as Gen, holds the inherited position of Queen’s Thief to the ruler of Eddis. The Thief is a privileged character, immune to social conventions that govern other lives. But the role comes with inherent risks. Thief, trickster, liar, troublemaker, tool of the gods – how does Gen balance his responsibilities? Gen is bad-tempered, irritating, manipulative, underrated and full of surprises – one of my all-time favorite fictional characters.


Vicky Dworkin, storyteller and retired children’s librarian


E2  The Power of the Written Word and Its Healing Abilities for Those with Anxiety, Depression, and PTSD


I will discuss how utilizing children's literature benefits individuals with anxiety, depression, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This can help individuals overcome social and societal anxiety while improving both cognition and cognitive bonds with others. Material can include children's books, graphic novels, and anime books. The resulting positive forms of emotional release can help shape the individual's sense of well-being as well as shed light on any associated stigmas brought on by society's lack of understanding.


Steve T. Harper Jr, English Literature Graduate, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa


E3  Protecting Your Piko: Your Voice Matters


These two authors of comic series and children’s books will share their perspectives on creating and telling our own stories to preserve and protect the legacy of our culture and ancestors and inspire the youth who will be the future leaders of our communities. They will show how to create, fund, and self-publish your own stories. There will be ample time to ask specific questions.


Moana McAdams, author

Sam Campos, artist



F1  Illustrating Children’s


Caren Loebel-Fried



Also offered Tuesday, June 8, 10:30-11:45 am, session H1


F2  Let's Talk about Lehua Parker's One Boy, No Water (all ages)


Come find out why the protagonist of this first of three novels by our featured author in her "Niuhi Shark Saga," despite living on O'ahu and desperately wishing to emulate his talented-in-surfing brother, cannot abide even being splashed by water, let alone go into the ocean. Hint: the novel has been called a work of "young adult magic realism." (Please note that you do not need to have read the book beforehand to benefit from this session. Indeed, if you have not yet read this wonderful book, we hope to convince you to do so - and then to read the rest of the trilogy!)


Caryn Lesuma, English, Brigham Young University-Hawaiʻi

Todd H. Sammons, English, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa


F3  Literacy and Mental Health: An Exploration of the Influence of Teacher Well-Being on Children’s Text Interpretation and Literacy Outcomes



This presentation focuses on indicators of and concepts about well-being for teachers and explores the impact on child outcomes with a concentration on literacy, including the psychological processes which impact child text interpretation. Grade levels - early childhood, elementary, and secondary - will be differentiated and addressed, including factors that impact the well-being of teachers and their selection and interpretation of texts, as well as the influence of teacher mental health on the same elements in children.


Amanda Moon, doctoral candidate, Educational Psychology and Research, University of South Carolina


Networking: choose a breakout room by topic or stay in the main room


Monday, June 7





Hilo Day:

separate registration required. Please check their website for the most updated information. (Find the link on our Welcome page.)



Zoom opens (Hilo)


WELCOME by Kirsten Møllegaard (Hilo)


KEYNOTE 2: Caren Loebel-Fried (shared between Honolulu and Hilo)


Kamalani Johnson: “Welo noho papa: The development of contemporary mo'olelo Hawai'i children’s literature from 1980-present” (Hilo)


Jon J. Murakami: "How I got into making cartoons and children's books" (Hilo)


Intermission with songs from Kakahiaka (Hawaiian Language Theatre for Children)


Children’s librarians’ roundtable with Jennifer Young, Stacy Bisgard, Gretchen Andrews: “How public libraries keep keiki engaged during the pandemic” (Hilo)


Justina Mattos: “Fostering Hawaiian language use through keiki theatre” (Hilo)


Kirsten’s Wrap-Up (Hilo)


Tuesday, June 8



Networking/Practice for Zoom in the main room





G1  Writing Children’s


Lehua Parker



Also offered Saturday, June 5, 2:45-4:00 pm, session B1


G2  Journeys and Knowledge in the Picture Books of James Rumford


James Rumford is an internationalist of the picture-book form. In this discussion of Rumford’s works I will consider books dominated by the two themes: journeys and knowledge. First I will discuss books that are obviously about journeys; next I will look at books that address the seeking of knowledge. Of course, most of the books involve both themes to varying degrees. The genius of his books is fueled by his interrelation of words and images.


Handouts are on the website below the schedule.


Joseph Stanton, Professor Emeritus of Art History and American Studies, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa


G3  The Digital Pivot


The TYA (Theatre for Young Audiences) program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in the Department of Theatre and Dance was poised to remount an adaptation of Marion Lyman-Mersereau’s book about a local hero, Eddie Wenʻ Go, in September 2020. Then COVID hit. With Mark and Marion, explore one example of the “digital pivot” that hundreds of theater organizations around the world had to make in reimagining adaptations of childrenʻs literature for the new COVID-era “digital theater” world. (more)


Mark Branner, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Department of Theatre & Dance

Marion Lyman-Mersereau, author of Eddie Wen’ Go, teacher, canoe expert, mindfulness coach



H1  Illustrating Children’s


Caren Loebel-Fried



Also offered Sunday, June 6, 2:30-3:45 pm, session F1


H2  Hawaiʻi History Day Student Showcase


In this session we will be showcasing three students' Hawaiʻi History Day project from this year’s state competition. We will also be able to learn from the students and teachers what they learned, what they found challenging, and how they think they will benefit from going through this rigorous research process. Immediately after this session, you can see in the Closing Celebration two examples of History Day projects.


Shannon Cristobal, Dorian Langi, Devin Makizuru - Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities


H3  Language and Literacy Today: Opportunities and Challenges


Panelists will share language and literacy issues that affect youth today, and ways to address and support youth to harness their potential. Panelists will address questions from the audience after discussing some of the strategies, resources, and considerations they believe are most helpful to engage children in reading.


Kara Kusunoki, Read To Me International

PuaʻEna Burgess, Hawaii Literacy

Dr. Mari Uehara, Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women & Children


H4  Hukilau Creations: Making Books with Friends


Enjoy the life and art of Hawaiʻi’s nature artist Patrick Ching, who unexpectedly became an award-winning author. Patrick – a former featured artist at our Conference -  and his artist friend Jeff Pagay will present an entertaining slideshow and discuss how they got their high school dreams to turn into their lifetime reality. Learn how to create books by pulling together ideas with friends, much in the same way that Hawaiʻi’s people pull together the community fish net—hukilau style.


Patrick Ching, artist/author, Naturally Hawaiian Gallery

Jeff Pagay, artist


CLOSING CELEBRATION with Lehua Parker, Caren Loebel-Fried, and History Day Participants


Lunch (Networking Rooms): choose a breakout room by topic or stay in the main room






Handouts for Margo Sorenson's Session (D2):

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Fiction Outline.doc
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Handouts for Joseph Stanton's Session (G2):

Joseph Stanton - CLH Humanities Guide 20
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Joseph Stanton - CLH Humanities Guide 20
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Presenters and Special Guests

Meet Our Featured Guests


Lehua Parker is an award-winning writer born and raised in Hawaiʻi. Known as “Aunty Lehua," Parker has worked as an author, editor, publisher, and public speaker. After graduating from Kamehameha Schools, Parker moved to Utah, though she always finds her way back to the islands.


Parker is known for weaving pidgin (Hawaiian Creole English) into her work, as seen in her Niuhi Shark Saga. This three-book series, which begins with 2017 Nene Award nominee One Boy, No Water, starts in the middle grade genre and shifts into young adult literature as it follows the story of young Zader Westin. Zader, a creative, hanai (adopted) boy living in the fictional town of Lauele, Oʻahu, faces several challenges that will feel familiar to many—and some that may not feel so familiar. As if scuffles with school bullies, mounting academic pressure, and questions about his familial history weren’t enough, Zader also has a strange quirk: He is allergic to water.

Though her trilogy is her most popular work, Parker has also published several pieces of poetry, screenplays, essays, short stories, and novellas, many of which are retellings of classic fairy tales with hints of Hawaiian culture and mythology. Some of her books and novellas have been published through Makena Press, her own self-publishing company. Parker advocates for both traditional and self-publishing and often guides other authors as they navigate similar paths to publication.


When it comes to writing for middle grade and young adult audiences, Parker believes that readers should be able to recognize and relate to the stories and characters in literature. It is this conviction that has led her to blend cultural elements into her works. Yet Parker also warns against leaning on stereotypes; in her Niuhi Shark Saga, every character has varying talents, interests, and passions, a challenge to those who tend to box Hawaiian and Pacific children into a single category or skill set.


Parker’s philosophy extends past her written work and into her everyday activism. She promotes local and Pacific-based writers on her blog and continuously advocates for diversity in literature. Whether she is speaking at conferences, teaching new writers how to get started, or writing stories for the next generation, Parker is unquestionably working for the children of Hawaiʻi.


To learn more about Lehua Parker and to keep up with her blog, please visit her website,

Caren Loebel-Fried is a Hawai‘i-based artist and author. She spends time on the mainland and travels for wildlife research, but the Big Island is her home. After learning block printing technique from her mother, Loebel-Fried was inspired to pursue her passion for art. She creates hand-colored prints, pulled from intricately carved recycled rubber blocks, as individual art pieces and within storybooks. As a “visual story-teller” she uses art and story to support endemic species conservation and education, in Hawai‘i and around the world.

A self-proclaimed ornithophile, Loebel-Fried is part of a small group of people who conduct yearly albatross nest counts on Midway Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Caren has created iconic art for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, Kilauea Point on Kaua’i, and many conservation organizations.

Birds are her first love, but Loebel-Fried also uses art and story to raise awareness about Hawaiian culture and living in balance with the environment. The focus of her work is to educate about preserving life on our planet, and empowering children and adults to help make a difference for wildlife. Loebel-Fried has created artwork featuring Hawai’i’s endemic species including the palila (Hawaiian honeycreeper), ‘alalā (Hawaiian crow), ‘akiapōlā‘au (another Hawaiian honeycreeper), nēnē (Hawaiian goose), pueo (Hawaiian short-eared owl), the ‘ō‘ō (an extinct Hawaiian forest bird), and the ‘Ilioholoikauaua (Hawaiian monk seal).

She has exhibited extensively, and has worked with the Conservation Council for Hawai‘i, creating educational posters. Her art has also been featured as the logo for several organizations, including Village Burger Kamuela, Volcano Art Center, and, of course, Children’s Literature Hawai‘i.

Loebel-Fried has crafted many award-winning books about birds and Hawaiian legends, including Hawaiian Legends of the Guardian Spirits, Hawaiian Legends of Dreams, Lono and the Magical Land Beneath the Sea, Naupaka, and Legend of the Gourd, all of which received the Hawai’i Book Publishers Association Ka Palapala Po‘okela Award. Her more recent wildlife books include A Perfect Day for an Albatross, and Manu, the Boy Who Loved Birds, which was also published in a Hawaiian language edition. (Please click here to read more about Manu and see the NEW, free educational guides for the book.)


Caren is currently writing a seabird storybook about the ‘ua’u, the endangered Hawaiian petrel.

The addition of factual information about wildlife and conservation, woven into Caren’s beautiful block prints and stories, makes her work distinctive.

To learn more about Caren Loebel-Fried and to view her beautiful gallery, please visit her website,

Meet Our Presenters

Vera Arita - session C3

Vera Arita is a retired special education teacher and now a field instructor at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. She taught for over 32 years and has four published books: counting book All Around the Islands, animal song book Can you Catch a Coqui Frog?, phonics and song book Animals Sing Aloha, and undersea-animal alphabet book Alphabet Hukilau.


Taylor Bogan - session C2

Taylor Bogan is an MFA dual track candidate in Theatre for Young Audiences (Directing Focus) and Acting at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Taylor is an Acting Lecturer graduate assistant at the university teaching Intro to Acting and Acting for TV/Film. Prior to graduate studies, Taylor was the Vocal Director of Manasquan Music and Dance Academy at the New Jersey shore. Recent theater credits include: Waiting Game (Director), Flowers of Hawaii (Mary M/Francine *Irene Ryan Nominee) and The Girl's Bathroom Confessional (Director). In addition to her directing and acting credits, Taylor was a Jim Rye Fellow at the International Performing Arts for Youth Conference. Prior to the pandemic, Taylor was also accepted into the Artists Meet Early Years program in Bologna, Italy, to present techniques on teaching emotional intelligence skills through creative movement.


Mark Branner - session G3

Born in Los Angeles but raised primarily in Taiwan, Mark returned to the U.S. to attend college, whereupon he quickly dropped a scholarship from UCLA to work as a clown with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Mark eventually received an MFA from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. He teaches courses in theater for young audiences, puppetry, mask, and physical comedy. Previously, Mark served as the director and producer of Theatre Arts at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, California. He has toured nationally with various groups, including Diavolo, and performed extensively in Asia, most notably in chuanju (Sichuan Opera), a regional Chinese theater form. He and his family operate CiRCO Redempto, a community outreach program designed to benefit children from the Nosu Yi minority nationality of central China.


Pua'Ena Burgess - session H3

Pua'Ena Burgess serves as the Keiki Tutoring and Leadership Coordinator for Hawaii Literacy. Burgess was previously Hawaii Literacy's Bookmobile Program Manager and enjoys working with keiki. For more information about Hawaii Literacy's programs, visit


Sam Campos - session E3

Sam Campos was born and raised in Hawaiʻi and is of Hawaiian, Chinese, Filipino, and Caucasian descent. He is an artist, writer, producer, director, and the creator of Hawaiʻi's first comic book superhero, Pineapple Man. When Sam started self-publishing, he didn't own a computer or have access to things like a graphics tablet or Photoshop. But despite a slipper-strap budget and high printing costs, his series garnered attention and a loyal fanbase developed. Sam went on to teach graphic and sequential art for the University of Hawaiʻi. He has also worked in television and film, doing fight choreography, costume and weapons design, and storyboards. For more, see


Patrick Ching - session H4

Born in Hawaiʻi in 1962, Patrick Ching has spent a lifetime teaching people about nature through his art. Patrick is a former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ranger at the Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on Kauaʻi. He also lived for extended periods of time among sea turtles and monk seals on the remote North Western Hawaiian Islands now known as Papahānaumokuākea. In addition to being an artist, Patrick has authored many award-winning books including Sea Turtles of HawaiiThe Hawaiian Monk Seal, and Honu and Hina. He is also the host of “Painting In Paradise,” an art and nature TV show on Spectrum OC16 TV. You can see his art and videos on


Shannon Cristobal - session H2

Director of the Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities' Hawaiʻi History Day and K-12 Humanities Programs, Shannon Cristobal was born and raised in Kalihi and 'Ālewa Heights. She is a Ph.D. student in the College of Education's Department of Educational Foundations at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Her work is interdisciplinary and research interests include critical pedagogy, memory/history, oral history, decolonial pedagogy and praxis, ethnic studies, critical food studies, foodways pedagogy, Filipino American history and literature, and contemporary literature of Hawaiʻi. She is a passionate Pinay scholar, educator, and advocate in the decolonial process that aims to educate and strengthen families, communities, and educational institutions in Hawaiʻi. Shannon also enjoys coaching cross-country and track, singing in a choir, cooking and eating, and spending time with her family and cat, Yaoyao.


Vicky Dworkin - session E1

Vicky Dworkin is a storyteller and retired children's librarian. She worked at the Hawaiʻi State Library Edna Allyn Room for Children. She founded Moonlight Storytellers and was a long-term member of Children’s Literature Hawaiʻi's Conference Steering Committee prior to retirement, after which she relocated to Sandwich, NH, in 2016. She is active in storytelling, a Shakespeare theatre company, crafting, and outdoor activities. She looks forward to hosting storytelling potlucks in her home again, once the pandemic is under control. She also serves on the boards of the New Hampshire Storytelling Alliance and of Advice to the Players. Vicky has an MA in American Studies from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, with an emphasis on folklore, storytelling, and children’s literature; a Master's in Library Services from Rutgers University; and a bachelor’s degree in East Asian Studies from Wesleyan University.


Elizabeth Gannaway - session C2

Elizabeth Gannaway is an MFA in Theatre for Young Audiences candidate specializing in Curriculum Development and Directing at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. She is an academic advisor for the Interdisciplinary Studies Program at UHM, where she is delighted to champion and mentor undergraduate students. Previously, Elizabeth was an assistant teacher focused on implementing arts-integrated curriculum and after-school enrichment classes at public and charter schools in Washington, DC. At The Theatre Lab in DC, she served as a youth theater camp director for three years. Elizabeth has been a teaching artist and applied theater practitioner for the last ten years, bringing theater to underserved, disenfranchised populations who are rarely afforded the opportunity to engage in the arts. She holds certificates from the Centre for Playback Theatre in Playback Theatre for Conflict Transformation and Active Conducting in Playback Theatre, and from The Theatre Lab’s Life Stories Institute as a Teaching Artist in Marginalized Communities.


Jeff Gere - session A2

Jeff is a visual artist, shadow puppeteer, and kinesthetic aerobic raconteur. Born on Halloween, Jeff is the retired drama specialist for Honolulu’s Parks Department (30 years!). He toured lots (in Asia, in Hawaiʻi, & on the West Coast) before COVID, then produced virtual shows for the National Storytelling Network. Yes, he's old, but he may teach you new tricks. He loves the Child Lit Conference! Find LOTS of him on YouTube, & at 


Alice Guild - session B3

Alice Guild is a lifelong historian, supporter of ʻIolani Palace, and award-winning children’s book author.


Steve T. Harper Jr - session E2

Steve is a 2020 University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa graduate in English Literature, with focus on screenplay and film. He retired from the U.S. Army in June 2017 with 21 and a half years of honorable service.


Lynette James - session C1

Lynette James is an independent scholar, author, and educator based in North Carolina. A frequent presenter at the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, her recent projects focus on inclusive horror, particularly in stories aimed at young people. All her work explores the intersections of representation, critical theory, and genre writing pedagogy for diverse audiences. She is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine Stonecoast MFA Popular Fiction program. Her work has appeared in Dissections: The Horror e-zineExtrapolation, and the Los Angeles Review of Books.


Eric Johnson - session B2

Eric Johnson is the Artistic Director of Honolulu Theatre for Youth, where he is honored to work with a talented ensemble of educators and theatrical artists.


Kara Kusunoki - session H3

Kara Kusunoki serves as the Executive Director of Read To Me International, a Hawaii-based nonprofit with its mission to "share the love and joy of reading aloud." She began her career as a public school teacher. Kara has worked in the education and healthcare industries with a focus on nonprofit administration. She believes in Read To Me International’s mission because she has experienced how reading aloud stimulates children’s emotional and academic development and can provide readers different ways to see the world. For more information about Read To Me International's programs and events, visit


Dorian Langi - session H2

Dorian is a retired Master Teacher and National History Day Ambassador. (She was conferred the title by NHD when she completed the Master Teacher and NHD Ambassador program). Dorian has taught Hawai'i History Day for over 16 years and has helped hundreds of students and teachers to navigate the rigorous and rewarding History Day curriculum. She is the heart of the Hawaiʻi History Day program.


Caryn Lesuma - session F2

Caryn Lesuma is an Assistant Professor of English at Brigham Young University-Hawaii, where she serves as the Composition Coordinator. Her research interests include young adult literature, literatures of the Pacific, and place-based pedagogy and rhetoric. She has been a member of Children’s Literature Hawaiʻi's Conference Steering Committee since 2017, and in 2018 she was the Conference Director.


Marion Lyman-Mersereau - session G3

Marion is the author of the 2014 picture book Eddie Wen’ Go: The Story of the Upside-Down Canoe, which tells the story of the voyaging canoe Hokuleʻa's disastrous journey—over 30 years ago—from the canoe's launch to the crewmembers' rescue. Marion helped to build the Hokuleʻa and was a crewmember on its fateful journey in March 1978, as well as on a subsequent voyage in 1980. In 1995, she wrote an article published in Honolulu Magazine titled “Eddie Would Go,” which inspired the book by the same title, authored by Stuart Coleman. Marion was born and raised in Honolulu and is a graduate of Punahou, the University of Northern Colorado, and the University of Hawai'i where she received a Master's in Education and did extensive graduate work in the religion department. She served in the Peace Corps in Palau, Micronesia, for two years. She has recently retired after 34 years as a middle-school social studies teacher, yoga teacher, and high school outrigger canoe paddling coach, and she is excited about her new career as a mindfulness coach to teachers and students at all levels.


Devin Makizuru - session H2

Assistant Coordinator of the Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities' Hawaiʻi History Day, Devin Makizuru was born in Honolulu and was raised in Kapolei. He received a BA in Geography and an MA in Education from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Devin hopes that, through the History Day program, young scholars will become engaged in the process of discovering, learning, and understanding history, and that they will take an active role in shaping a brighter future. In his free time, Devin enjoys traveling, reading, and volunteering.


Moana McAdams - session E3

Moana McAdams is a multi-passionate creator (Burning Spear Boutique), published photographer (Overstreet Guide to Cosplay), editor ("Wildcard Chronicles" comic series), and small business owner who advocates for diversity and positive authentic representation of indigenous peoples and cultures in comics and mainstream media. She is the founder of the Moana Nui Podcast, the storytelling podcast that honors and celebrates the history, culture, perspectives, and contributions of indigenous, AANHPI, and African Diasporan peoples. Moana holds a Bachelor's of Business Administration, a Master's of Science in IT, and a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. Moana is a bookworm who enjoys capturing life’s precious memories through her creative endeavors, traveling the world, and spending time with family.


Maile Meyer - session B3

Maile Meyer is a long-time book retailer, publisher, and founder of Native Books/Nā Mea Hawaiʻi.


Kirsten Møllegaard - session D1

Kirsten Møllegaard is Professor of English at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. She received her Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and has been teaching at UH Hilo since 2005. She teaches courses in oral tradition and folklore, children's literature, rhetoric, graphic novels and comics, British literature, and film studies. Her research reflects a broad range of interests in literature and film, specifically the intersectionality of places, people, and stories past and present.


Amanda Moon - session F3

[Bio coming]


Jeff Pagay - session H4

Fueled by a wild imagination and a passion to paint, Jeff’s artwork is colorful, whimsical, and full of energy and life! Primarily self-taught, Jeff has been a professional visual artist since 1983. He has worked in a variety of mediums including airbrushing, oils, acrylics, watercolors. His works include children’s book illustrations, comics, fine art canvases, and wall murals. As a teaching artist, Jeff has taught a variety of art classes and is a member of the Artists in the Schools program of the Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, in which he does various artist residences in schools around Hawai'i. He feels a true joy in creating and sharing his passion for painting with the world! When he is not creating art, Jeff enjoys playing guitar, mountain biking and watching Star Wars!

Website: in transition, but art can be found here:


Instagram: @jeffreypagay


Todd H. Sammons - session F2

Todd has been involved with the Biennial Conferences on Literature and Hawaiʻi's Children since he did a presentation at the second one in 1984. He was the facilities coordinator for the 1992 conference; and, somewhere along the line, he became President (and unofficial Executive Director) of Children's Literature Hawaiʻi, now apparently a lifetime (or at least a very longstanding) commitment. His day job is as an Associate Professor in the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Department of English, where he has taught more than 50 different courses since arriving in Hawaiʻi in 1980. His academic specialties are Renaissance English literature, Milton, rhetoric, and science fiction. He is also currently the Vice Chair of the Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities and a long-time officer in the Mānoa Chapter (the Alpha of Hawaiʻi) of Phi Beta Kappa.


James Skouge  - session A3

James Skouge is a retired professor from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa's College of Education. He has traveled widely throughout the Pacific region promoting "inclusion" through digital storytelling.


Margo Sorenson - session D2

National Milken Educator Award recipient, Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth Fellow, and author of over thirty traditionally-published books, Margo Sorenson spent the first seven years of her life in Spain and Italy, devouring books and Italian food and still speaks (or tries!) four languages. A former middle and high school teacher, Margo has won national recognition and awards for her books, including ALA Quick Pick Nominations and recommendations from Multicultural Review, and was named a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award in YA Fiction. After having lived in Hawaiʻi and Minnesota, Margo and her husband live in Southern California.

Margo's website:

Twitter:  @ipapaverison


Instagram: margosorensonwriter




Joseph Stanton - session G2

Joseph Stanton’s books include Looking for Edward Gorey, The Important Books: Children’s Picture Books as Art and Literature, Stan Musial: A Biography, A Hawaii Anthology, Moving Pictures, Things Seen, Imaginary Museum: Poems on Art, A Field Guide to the Wildlife of Suburban Oahu, and Cardinal Points: Poems on St. Cardinals Baseball. His essays and poems have appeared in such journals as PoetryHarvard ReviewNew LettersMichigan Quartrly ReviewAntioch ReviewChildren's LteratureThe Lion and the UnicornAmerican ArtJournal of American CultureArt Criticism, and Nine: The Journal of Baseball History and Cukture. He is a Professor Emeritus of Art History and American Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. He occasionally teaches poetry-writing workshops, such as the “Starting with Art” workshops he has recently taught at the Honolulu Museum of Art and at Poets House in New York City. Here is a link to information on Moving Pictures, his most recent book:


Mari Uehara - session H3

Born and raised in Japan, Dr. Uehara is a board-certified pediatrician in both Japan and the USA. She is a developmental-behavior pediatrician at Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women & Children. Dr. Uehara has been a part of National Institutes of Health-funded studies on children’s development, specifically studying children who were prenatally exposed to methamphetamine and were born preterm. She believes in the unique strength of each child to push himself/herself through challenges.


CL Walters - session A1

CL Walters writes in Hawaiʻi, where she lives with her husband and two children and acts as a pet butler to two pampered fur-babies. She's the author of the YA Contemporary series "The Cantos Chronicles" (Swimming SidewaysThe Ugly Truth and The Bones of Who We Are), the YA/NA Contemporary romance The Stories Stars Tell, and the adult romance The Letters She Left Behind.  In the Echo of this Ghost Town and When the Echo Answers are her sixth and seventh YA Contemporary novels. For up-to-date news, sign up for her monthly newsletter on her website at as well as follow her writer’s journey on Instagram @cl.walters.


Akiko White - session C3

Akiko White writes and illustrates books for children. She also happens to bake delicious and colorful cakes - this is her medium of choice for her illustrations! Akiko received a Bachelor's of Fine Arts from the McNay Art Institute, has worked as a professional illustrator and graphic designer, and has taught digital and traditional illustration as an adjunct professor. In 2014 she won The Tomie dePaola award through the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and in 2016 she participated in Food Network's Cake Wars with the Best Designed Cake in Cake Wars History!


Tammy Yee - session C3

Tammy Yee has been writing and illustrating books for children for many years here in Hawai'i. She grew up in Honolulu, where her mother, an elementary school custodian, splurged on a set of World Book Encyclopedias and subscribed Tammy to Parent Magazine's Book-of-the-Month Club, which hooked her on picture books and inspired me to write and illustrate spooky stories. After graduating from college, Tammy cared for children as a pediatric medical-surgical and oncology nurse. Having her own children rekindled her love for picture books, so in 1994 she exchanged her stethoscope for a paintbrush and has been writing and illustrating ever since. She has worked on more than 36 books, while children's health and advocacy also remain important to her. She also loves creating educational activities, posters, and origami to support our libraries and environmental agencies, and has served as a Regional Advisor and an Illustrator Coordinator for the Hawaii Chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).