Featured Speakers

Thursday, March 22, 2018

9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
Opening Keynote with Eric Hoffman 

A Writer’s Journey: Computer Geek to Storyteller

When Eric Hoffman graduated from high school in the late 60’s, he planned to become a computer scientist like his father. How did he end up working as a preschool teacher, playground and toy designer, and writer of stories for young children? Eric will talk about the personal and cultural currents that led his life down a path he never expected when he left home for college.


Eric is the author of the 2017 Mitten Award Winner: A Dark, Dark Cave. He has been working with young children since 1970 as a preschool teacher, parent, and foster parent.  He worked for twenty-five years at the Cabrillo College Children’s Center in Santa Cruz, California, as a master teacher and administrator. He is currently an instructor in the Cabrillo Early Childhood Education Department. His work with children was highlighted in the book and video Starting Small, from the Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance Project.

Eric has presented numerous workshops and classes for parents and teachers on conflict resolution, diversity, discipline, social-emotional intelligence, and using dolls and puppets throughout the curriculum. His most popular presentation focuses on the “big questions” children start to ask about fairness, right and wrong, and power as they reach preschool age, and the ways they explore these questions through their play.  

Eric has degrees in design and developmental psychology. He has used his design background to help create over forty playgrounds for schools. He currently makes toys and other wood items, which can be seen at www.erichoffmanbooksandtoys.com.

12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
Lunch with Kevin & Stephanie Kammeraad

Stories and Songs from Around the World

Increase your young patrons’ cultural literacy and global awareness by joining Stephanie and Kevin in this fun and informative session as they lead you on an interactive musical and children’s literary journey around the world, filled with stories, songs, and facts from each of the seven continents! Learn why multicultural books are important for ALL children, how to infuse your storytimes with them, and some resources available to help you! 


Who is Kevin? 

Kevin loves to perform, write, draw, sing, make things, and wonder about possibilities. He is an award-winning artist, performer, and children's author of many books and CDs who loves to collaborate with other artists. Each year, he visits schools, libraries, festivals, and conferences to inspire active imaginations through poetry, puppetry, music, and movement. He and his family live in Grand Rapids, MI. Visit kevinkammeraad.com for more.

Who is Stephanie?

Stephanie is a book-reading, journal-writing, soup-making, smoothie-inventing, vegetable-loving, home-schooling mama of two! 

Stephanie has numerous roles at Cooperfly Creative Arts. She helps coordinate the tours for Kevin and the Cooperfly Puppet Troupe, organizes and advises on the educational components of Kevin's conference presentations, presents at conferences on great multicultural and musical children's books to incorporate in both the home and classroom, and is the general idea consultant for the company! She's passionate about great children's books and loves sharing them with children, parents, and educators! Because of that, as a division of Cooperfly Creative Arts, she started Mama-Lady Books, where her mission is to get great multicultural children's books into the hands of children and the grown-ups who love them! 

Stephanie currently lives in Grand Rapids with her family, two cats, and a dog, in a house where it seems there's always room for one more!      

3:45 – 4:45p.m.
Afternoon Keynote and Book Signing with Jeff Zentner

Writing a New American Story:
The Importance of Stories and Empathy

Jeff_ZentnerJeff Zentner will speak about the importance of stories—and those who serve youth with stories—to build empathy and counteract narratives of fear and hatred in our society.
He is the author of New York Times Notable Book The Serpent King as well as Goodbye Days. The Serpent King is also the winner of the 2017 Thumbs Up! Award. His third book, Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee is forthcoming in Spring 2019. He is the winner of the William C. Morris Award, the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award, the International Literacy Association Award, and the Westchester Fiction Award. His books have been nominated and longlisted for the Carnegie Medal, and he has been a finalist for the Indies Choice Award and the Southern Book Prize, and been named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start. Before becoming a writer, he was a musician who recorded with Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, and Debbie Harry. He lives in Nashville.

Friday, March 23, 2018

9:00 – 10:00 a.m.
General Session with Kim Monaghan

Position Yourself for Career Advancement


Even though you excel at your job there’s always room for improvement. And whether you want to advance your career now or later, if you start implementing success strategies today it will greatly increase your chance for professional success tomorrow. A new role, a new team, new leadership or even a new organization comes with an entirely new set of expectations. Be ready. This program highlights the six steps you can start today to position yourself for career advancement and long-term professional success.

Kim has over 16 years’ experience coaching, training and consulting in the human resources industry. She works with clients throughout the U.S. helping them realize their full potential, reach their dreams and become career happy.

Kim found her career purpose when she transitioned from counseling into building a career services division for a college in Texas. From there, she spent 13 years working with individuals and organizations on career management projects including consulting for a human resources division, a global outplacement firm and developing a dynamic career services department in higher education.

In 2006, Kim launched KBM Coaching & Consulting LLC focusing on empowering others towards professional fulfillment through coaching, career management consulting and employee development.

Kim is an active member of the American Psychological Association, Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychologists, International Coaching Federation, Professional Coaching Association of Los Angeles, Society for Human Resources Management and the Author’s Guild.

3:10 – 4:10 p.m.
Closing Keynote with Jeffrey Brown

How Do We Get There From Here?

JeffreyBrownBestselling author Jeffrey Brown talks about (and shows!) the unlikely journey that led him from a childhood of doodling Darth Vader on scrap paper, all the way to achieving his dream of a career drawing comics and making books. In addition to sharing his own story and insights into his creative process, he’ll talk about the rewards and importance of inspiring kids to read and tell their own stories.

Jeffrey Brown is the best selling author and illustrator of the middle grade Jedi Academy series as well as the Darth Vader and Son series. Jeffrey has also written a number of autobiographical books for adults, humorous graphic novels about cats, and parodies like Incredible Change-Bots

Currently, Jeffrey is working on the middle grade series Lucy & Andy Neanderthal, chronicling the adventures of two prehistoric cave kids living 40,000 years ago. The latest book in the series, Lucy & Andy 2: The Stone Cold Age, is a Junior Library Guild Selection.