Keynote Speakers

Elle Cosimano; panel moderator
Elle Cosimano, author of Nearly Gone, Nearly Found, and Holding Smoke, moderated a panel of diverse writers about how they persevere in the face of obstacles. She was joined on stage by journalist Peter Moskowitz, author George Hagen, designer María de Mater O'Neill, and illustrator JM Superville Sovak where they discussed their severest critics, coping mechanisms, and most embarrassing moments.

Jonathan has been writing songs since he was 12 years old including two rock operas.  Approximately six years ago he started on a creative journey to make something every day. For over 2,000 days, Jonathan Mann has made music about anything and everything- pop culture, philosophy, what's going on in his life, or what's happening in the world today. He has over 30,000 subscribers on YouTube and three of his songs have over a million views. This is song he wrote with our students and then posted that evening.

Meg Medina
Meg Medina is an award-winning Cuban American author who writes picture books, middle grade, and YA fiction.  Meg’s work examines how cultures intersect through the eyes of young people, and she brings to audiences stories that speak to both what is unique in Latino culture and to the qualities that are universal. Her favorite protagonists are strong girls. She spoke with our students about her personal experience being bullied and how it influenced her novel, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass.

Raina Telgemeier is the author and illustrator of the graphic novels Smile, Drama, and Sisters, all #1 New York Times bestsellers that we can't keep on our library shelves!  She also adapted and illustrated graphic novel versions of The Baby-sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin, and has contributed short stories to many anthologies.  She spoke with CHCS about her love of comics and her creative process from idea to book or web comic.

Raina's webcomics are available on her website and you can find her on Twitter as @goraina

Nearly Gone Book Trailer

Cypress Hills Community School by Jonathan Mann

You can follow Jonathan on Twitter @songadayman and watch his videos at is not your school's summer reading list.  Meg Medina and Gigi Amateau write an annual list of books they think speak to girls uniquely. These are books that celebrate a girl’s connection to the world around her. In these pages you’ll find middle class girls, girls with disabilities, girls of color, girls who might know God, good girls/bad girls. But always girls who stare into the eyes of what’s ahead and refuse to flinch.