Jay'Aina (Jay Jay) Patton & Antoine Patton

Featured Speakers

Saturday, June 29: 11:00AM―12:00PM PT

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Featured Speakers: Jay Jay and Antoine Patton, ALA Annual San Diego, June 27 – July 2, 2024

Jay’Aina “Jay Jay” Patton is an 18-year-old coder, app developer, youth leader, entrepreneur, and author. She’s a big fan of anything tech-related and especially loves getting hands-on. Jay Jay is an advocate for diversity in the tech field and beyond and aspires to make a real impact on the world.

Antoine Patton was born on an army base in Fort Ord, California. He grew up in rough neighborhoods across Buffalo, NY, and ended up incarcerated at age 20 for eight years. Since coming home from prison, Antoine has become a prolific entrepreneur, software engineer, and published author.

Their new book, "Dear Dad: Growing Up with a Parent in Prison—and How We Stayed Connected," available September 2024, is a powerful coming-of-age graphic novel that shows Jay Jay Patton's life growing up with a dad in and out of prison. As far back as nine years old, Jay Jay remembers her dad being in prison. Growing up in Buffalo, New York, with her mom and younger brother, she'd only been to visit him twice. Instead, the two sent each other numerous letters. But Jay Jay's letters would take weeks or months to reach her dad, and some were never delivered. 

When Antonine was in prison, he learned to code and taught his daughter after his release. Together, they created Photo Patch, a life-changing app that connects children to incarcerated parents. As Jay Jay says: “it's not a privilege for a kid to be able to talk to their parent. It's a right.”

Moderator: Jason Reynolds


Dear Dad Book Cover Image


Scholastic Image