I just got back from the 10th annual Teen Book Festival in Rochester, NY. What. A. Blast! Teens crammed the halls, classrooms, and auditoriums of Nazareth College, clamoring for their favorite writers like they were rock stars. (Because they ARE.) Bestseller list YA authors (Ellen Hopkins, Sarah Dessen, Gayle Forman, Cinda Williams Chima, Matt De La Pena) and up and coming writers (Jason Reynolds, Jennifer Niven, Heather Brewer, and many more) ran hour long Q&A sessions, autographed books, and alternated between joking with teens, and inspiring or encouraging them.
I couldn’t stop smiling: at the excited teens calling out questions, authors hugging their fans, the long lines of young adults waiting to buy books, waiting for autographs and pictures. I overheard animated conversations about which actors should play what book characters, what series they had finished and what they were reading next. “I stayed up until 4am to finish it.” “Me, too!” “I saw Ellen, Mom. ELLEN! (Ellen Hopkins). Star struck excitement got me, too. I saw author Jennifer Niven go into the bathroom and I caught myself thinking “She goes to the bathroom just like the rest of us!” and then I laughed at myself.
If you like to read, write, or know a teen who does, this event is Not To Be Missed!
Rochester Teen Book Fest is free, held every May on the Nazareth College campus, and founded and directed by awesome teen librarian Stephanie Squicciarini.
For even more authors that were at the Book Fest:
Doris Jean Metzger, MLIS
CCLD Teen Services