BIPOC KidLit Fest featuring the 28th Annual Effie Lee Morris Meet-the-Author Program

Join the San Francisco Public Library Main Children’s Center and the SFPL Racial Equity Committee for the Library's inaugural BIPOC KidLit Fest, featuring the 28th Annual Effie Lee Morris Meet-the-Author Program. 

Featured Speaker: Christina Soontornvat

  • Date: Saturday, April 6, 2024
  • Time: 2 p.m.
  • Topic: "Follow Your Dreams"
  • Location: Koret Auditorium, Main Library
  • Book Signing: Meet the author after the program

About Effie Lee Morris – A Woman Ahead of Her Time

The ELM Meet-the-Author Program series at SFPL pays tribute to Effie Lee Morris (1921 – 2009), a trailblazer as SFPL's first coordinator of children’s services and the first Black president of the Public Library Association.

Ms. Morris was a tireless advocate for diversity, inclusivity, and the rights of all young people. She initiated the first annual celebration of Black history for youth at the Cleveland Public Library and was the first librarian at the New York Public Library whose work focused on children who were blind or visually impaired. At SFPL, her commitment to serving historically and intentionally excluded communities made a lasting impact. Notably, Ms. Morris also founded the local chapter of the Women’s National Book Association.

Headshots with author names

First-Ever SFPL BIPOC KidLit Fest

Join authors Natasha Tripplett, Aida Salazar, Lisa Moore Ramee and more at the inaugural SFPL BIPOC Kid LitFest with featured author Christina Soontornvat. This daylong celebration of diverse authors is designed for budding readers, emphasizing the joy of diverse narratives and promising an afternoon of inspiration, representation and the transformative magic of literature.  

This year’s keynote author is the award-winning Christina Soontornvat, author of over 20 children’s books, and will explore ideas of “Following Your Dreams” as explored in her works, The Tryout, Ramble Shamble Children and A Wish in the Dark. Don't miss this celebration crafted for young minds, including a book signing and free copies of Soontornvat's works for attending youth, while supplies last.   

For more information, call (415) 557-4554, or email

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An Expanding Commitment to Equity

Since 1997, the annual ELM program has brought distinguished authors and illustrators to speak about their works. Since 2021, in partnership with the SFPL Racial Equity Committee, the program focuses on authors and illustrators of color, aligning with Effie Lee Morris's priorities. The Effie Lee Morris OWL Book Club strengthens the library's bond with San Francisco's youth.

Our Wise OWLs Soar

In 2023, the ELM Program expanded to include the OWL Book Club, honoring Ms. Morris with her personal symbol, the wise owl, in a woodcut by artist Ashley Bryan (1923 - 2022).

The OWL Book Club engages SFPL children’s librarians in partnering schools, providing enrichment activities alongside shared readings. Each student receives a special bookplated copy of the featured author’s book.

To join the OWL Book Club, call (415) 557-4554 or email

Previous guest speakers and programs

2023 Jewell Parker Rhodes

Words as Witness, Words as Healing

2022 Nicola Yoon (virtual event)

2021 Jason Reynolds (virtual event)

2019   Isabel Campoy
Mi Voz Latina for a Choir of Diversity in Children's Literature

2019   Renée Watson
The Miracle of Joy: How Stories Heal

2018   Shane Evans
The Art of Dream

2017   Gary Soto
Too Much of a Good Thing: The Many Genres of Gary Soto

2016   Christian Robinson
You Are Here: Finding Yourself in Picture Books

2015   Chris Raschka
Remembering Books

2014   Yuyi Morales
Creating Children's Books: An Immigrant's Story

2013    Eve Bunting
Picture Books That Can’t Be Written: Social Issues in Children’s Literature

2012    Jerry Pinkney
A Sense of Place Real and Imagined

2011    Gerald McDermott
Tricksters: Gerald McDermott and the Art of the Folktale

2010    Ashley Wolff
Sunrise/Sunset: Exploring the Many Cycles of Life in Picture Books

2009    Pat Mora
The Zing of Writing

2008    Patricia McKissack
Storytelling, the Heart of Literacy

2007    Javaka Steptoe
On the creation of Swan Lake, the classic story retold by Walter Dean Myers and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe

2006    Tomie dePaola
What Haven’t I Done Yet

2005    Pamela Munoz Ryan
Dreams, Discoveries and Daring Women

2004    Nikki Grimes
Does the World Really Need Another Book

2003    Daniel and Robert D. San Souci
Creative Collaboration with the Picture Book : An Inside View

2002    Milly Lee
Hay Choy: A Feast for Readers

2001    Thacher Hurd
Art Dogs and Alligators: Bringing Books to Life

2000    Alma Flor Ada
One Life, Many Voices: An Author’s Journey

1999    Ashley Bryan
Deep Like the Rivers : African Tales, Black American Poetry and Spirituals

1998    Laurence Yep
Yes, Virginia, There Is a Godzilla: Talking About Children’s Literature

1997    A Celebration of Children’s Literature- Featuring treasures from the Effie Lee Morris Historical and Research Collection of Children’s Literature