The Bookstagang Best of 2021

This year’s influencer Judges panel!

Each year a panel of picture book influencers get together to judge the Bookstagang best picturebooks of the year!

@readwithriver

Alessandra Requena (she/they) has a background in education and art history. She spends a lot of time coming up with ideas, and has time for maybe a quarter of them. She is a writer as well as a book reviewer. On social media She is passionate about creating communities for readers. She and her two children work together to decide which picturebooks are the ones they want to recommend to their audience.

@inclusivestorytime

Kelly (she/her) is a powerhouse of organization and chutzpah for doing right in the world. She began her account after being confronted with the lack of diversity on her own child’s bookshelf. Since then she scours every book nook and book cranny to bring you books that will provide every child out there with a mirror to their own life. She spends entirely too much time agonizing over the little details of everything she recommends, so that she can bring her audience the best, the most important, and feel good about it.

@thetinyactivists

Corrie/Coco (she/they; Pocumtuck/Nipmuc/Wabanaki Confederacy land) is a former classroom teacher and is dedicated to examining and working against the eurocentric heteropatriarchy of school systems and many of the most visible books for children. They have presented internationally and Corrie’s formal secondary education has been focused on ABAR education and its implementation strategies in the classroom and home. You can find her online at The Tiny Activist website or on Instagram (@thetinyactivists).

@thekidlitmama

Elizabeth (she/her) is mom to a 15-month-old named Louisa who was conceived via IVF. She is passionate about breaking the stigma associated with infertility and miscarriage. She has an extensive background in primary education. Elizabeth is absolutely obsessed with all things kidlit and especially values 1) inclusive children’s books     2) picture books that have practical applications when working with kids (but aren’t super preachy or obvious about it). Check out her website http://thekidlitmama.com.

@ihaveabook4that

You can usually find Megan (she/her) curled up in her home library reading a good book. When she is not reading, she enjoys posting about what she’s read on Instagram. She believes picture books are for everyone. Megan also enjoys reading middle grade, YA, and adult novels. Megan is a middle school reading teacher who enjoys her work. She also enjoys traveling with her family, listening to good music, and watching game shows on TV. 

@kidlitismagic

Eliana was born and raised in NYC, the daughter of immigrant parents from the Dominican Republic.  She currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband and 7 year old son.Eliana has enjoyed reading her entire life but fell in love with Kid Lit as an adult.  As a mother who works a (boring) corporate job primarily outside of the home, reading is how she unwinds and connects with her son after a long day apart from him.  Ultimately, she wants to help adults find books that help them connect with the children in their lives.  And also help them find books that will help those kiddos fall  in love with reading. 

@houstonlibraryfinds

Kallan is originally from Louisiana, but moved to Houston 13 years ago. She has a BS in Nutrition and is now I stay at home with for her 3 kids (4, 6, 7). Kallan has always been drawn to non-fiction books. The bigger, the prettier, the better. She loves books that give us a window into other people’s lives, especially for her kids.

@bonniemonnier

Bonnie (she/her) is a white latina (Salvadoran) mom of a two year old. She works full-time (from home during the school year) as a marketing and events manager for two amazing small businesses, one is a toy store and the other is a bookstore! her favorite part of her job is booking authors and illustrators for free events in her community. they emphasize reaching Title 1 schools (and providing every child with a free, signed book), partnering with libraries, and connecting authors and illustrators for one-on-one time with children in our local community housing district. It is quite literally her dream job. 

@kidlitbrain

Jenna (she/her) and lives in Los Angeles, California. She is a mom, literature PhD, artist, Jew, and type one diabetic. Jenna is a huge nerd for research, kidlit, and crafting. Her instagram reflects these interests, as she presents research based tips for dynamic read alouds and quality kidlit recommendations. She also cuts all the paper art by hand.

Jenna is also the artist responsible for this year’s award’s graphics!

@babylibrarians

Margaret Kingsbury (she/her) lives in Nashville, TN. she is a freelance editor and writer and her pieces have been published by BuzzFeed Books, Book Riot, Parents, The Lily, and more. Margaret is disabled, a mom to a 3-year-old named Marian, and an aspiring picture book writer. She has an MA in English and nerded out over fairy tales for her thesis. She worked at a used bookstore for 12 years and amassed a giant book collection there. She also taught college English for 4 years before deciding working from home was a better fit. Margaret has always loved children’s books and started collecting them long before having children. her website is: https://babylibrarians.com.  

@myliteracyspace

Hanna (she/they) is a Literacy Tutor & Consultant in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  she is passionate about supporting kids in their language and literacy development through books and multisensory activities.  her favourite genres are wordless picture books, picture book biographies and social emotional learning texts.  sge likes a good book that makes her laugh or is thought provoking.  Other than picture books, my dog, plants and bees make hanna smile!

@jojos_book_club

Johanna (she/her) is one half of the duo that runs Jojo’s Book Club, she is a PreK teacher in Washington, DC. Johanna is committed to using her work in Early Childhood to disrupt the dominant narrative, which has been harmful to all of us. Children’s books offer a unique tool for engaging children in critical literacy.

@bookoholicmom

sara lives outside Seattle, WA with her husband, 2 kids (age 5.5 and 9.5), 2 cats, 1 dog and 1 goldfish. She works part time as a business administration/ Human Resources consultant and besides obsessing over children’s books Sara is a huge fan of wordless picture books, books with stunning illustrations and books that makes her kids laugh.  she works hard to deliberately read and post books that highlight a diverse range of people and experiences.

@ashspeedteaches

Ashley Speed (she/her) is a Canadian Montessori teacher for preschool and kindergarten. She is queer, Jewish, non-monogamous, and neurodivergent (ADHD). She loves children’s books and would have been a librarian if she wasn’t a teacher.
Ash loves highlighting books that feature her own identities but also just really beautiful kids books that pass her 20+ students approval at story time.

@booksgrowminds

Neeti (she/her) lives in Dallas, Texas. She is a Texan and a child of immigrants. Neeti is a mama of two little humans + a corgi named Pickle. She has her Masters in Counseling and has been an elementary school counselor for 8 years and worked with children from all over the world, something she values. Neeti has been obsessed with KidLit since childhood (thanks Scholastic book orders and book fairs!), and is passionate about civil rights, activism, and human rights around the world. SEL is her jam and she believes children’s books can help make the planet a better place. In the classroom, she has battled a lot of tough topics with children’s books (which only fueled my obsession with them) and truly believes that books can mould the next generation to be incredible.