OKI Conference
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Building Bridges of Understanding:
How Diversity in Youth Literature Can Change Our World

Thomas More College
Crestview Hills, KY

Saturday, November 4th, 2017 | 8 am - 4 pm



Rita Williams-Garcia

Author, Clayton Byrd Goes Underground (May 2017)

Rita's Newbery Honor-winning novel, One Crazy Summer, was a winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, National Book Award finalist, recipient of the Scott O'Dell Award, & a New York Times bestseller. She is a three-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Award & the author of six distinguished novels for young adults. Rita lives in Jamaica, Queens, is on the faculty at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and has two adult daughters, Stephanie and Michelle, and a son-in-law, Adam.


John Parra

Illustrator, Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos(Sept. 2017)

John Parra is an award-winning illustrator, best known for his Latino themed, children’s books such as Waiting for the Biblioburro, Green is a Chile Pepper, and Gracias/Thanks. Now living in Queens NY, with his wife Maria, John continues working in his studio, passionately creating art through his imagination and creativity. He recently received his second Golden Kite Award from SCBWI for his children’s book, Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans.


Registration is open!

Online registration is provided by SWON Libraries Consortium and will include a "Bill Me" option that will allow you to mail in a check or pay by purchase order.

If you have never used SWON Libraries' website before, you will need to create an account before you will be able to register for the event.

If you would still prefer to mail in your registration, you may do so. Note that Early Bird registration must be postmarked by the date listed in the chart below. Make checks payable to "SWON Libraries" To register by mail, please print out the registration form here and mail to:

OKI Registrations
c/o SWON Libraries
10250 Alliance Rd #112
Blue Ash, OH 45242


A $25.00 processing fee will be assessed on any refund. Refunds will be issued after conference date. No refunds will be granted after October 27, 2017.


Speakers + Workshops

Born out of frustration with the lack of diversity in children’s literature, We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) has become a grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocate essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people, with the expressed mission of putting more books featuring diverse characters into the hands of all children to help create a world in which all children can see themselves in the pages of a book.

Join us this year as we support the WNDB movement with Building Bridges of Understanding: How Diversity in Youth Literature Can Change Our World featuring Rita Williams-Garcia and John Parra. In a world that seems more divided than ever, let’s explore how we can build bridges, not walls, in our schools, in our libraries, in our homes, and in our world.



The Conference takes place on the campus of Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, KY. On-site registration, booksales, continental breakfast, and the morning and afternoon keynote speaker sessions will be held in the Saints Center. All workshops will be held in the Library. Lunch will be served in Seiler Commons.

Thomas More College | 333 Thomas More Pkwy | Crestview Hills, KY 41017

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Thomas More College
333 Thomas More Pkwy
Crestview Hills, KY 41017

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Parking is available free of charge. There will be reserved parking available for conference attendees. Look for the OKI signs when you arrive on campus.


The conference hotel is Hyatt Place Cincinnati Airport/Florence, KY. If you prefer other accommodations, numerous hotels are available in the area. Please consult the "stay" tab of the Northern Kentucky Visitor Bureau website for a list of additional hotels.

Shuttle service will not be provided.

Awards + Memorials

OKI Charlotte Decker Award:

Established to honor the late Charlotte Decker, this award is designed to encourage others to enrich the lives of children as Charlotte did through a lifetime of work as librarian, Academic Challenge coach, and volunteer in professional organizations promoting the enjoyment of reading among young people. Nominees should be individuals whose extraordinary efforts have encouraged others to support youth literacy through time, service, and philanthropy.

Eligibility + Criteria

Librarians and classroom teachers serving the needs of youth are eligible for this award. To nominate a librarian or classroom teacher, use the online application.

Recipient Recognition

The recipient will be recognized at the OKI Children's Literature Conference and will receive free registration to the conference at which they are recognized.

Application Deadline: October 7th, 2017

Apply Online

Previous Recipients of the Charlotte Decker Award

Tina Moore Memorials

Tina Moore, founder and co-owner of Blue Marble Books (along with her husband, Peter), passed away in 2016.

Tina was one of the tri-state’s most prominent children's literature experts, and friend of a great many children’s book authors and illustrators. She served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Children's Booksellers (ABC) and was a founding member of the trade organization. She was recognized for her contributions to area literacy with the Silver Gertie Award (1989), and she was named one of the Women of the Year in Northern Kentucky (1995).

The Moore family would be pleased if you would make a donation to the OKI Conference in Tina's honor.

To donate, please visit the Tina Moore Memorial donation page on the SWON Libraries website. You will be able to pay via check or credit card.



You can contact the OKI Committee by email at oki@swonlibraries.org.

If you have any questions about or problems with the registration process, please contact SWON Libraries Consortium at info@swonlibraries.org or call 513-751-4422.

Special Accommodations: Our goal is to make our programs accessible to everyone. Please request ADA services at least two weeks in advance of the conference by contacting Dr. Barbara L. Zahler at 859-344-3358.

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OKI Conference
333 Thomas More Pkwy
Crestview Hills, KY 41017