Our April 1 column this year was a spoof of BEA programming — which caught a few of you by surprise when you sat down expecting to plan your trade show schedules. We cross our hearts that today’s post is the genuine article: a guide to children’s-book-related events and educational sessions at BookExpo America in New York City from Tuesday, May 25-Thursday, May 27.
First, a few handy links. After that, we’ll organize the events and programs in chronological order and expand on them a little. Finally, we’ll share a few tips for fellow booksellers and for authors about how to get the most out of a busy trade show.
The Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC) registration site — Click on the link to register for the ABC Not-a-Dinner and (Mostly) Silent Auction (a ticketed event open to all), Speed Dating with Children’s Authors (free; advance registration strongly suggested; open to children’s booksellers and librarians only), and Tea with Children’s Authors ($10; advance registration required; open only to booksellers and librarians). For more detailed information on these programs, and to see ABC’s entire BEA agenda, click here.
The official BEA site — For a complete BookExpo overview, click here. Click on the following for more info about the Children’s Book & Author Breakfast (a ticketed event). To use the BEA’s Show Planner to organize all your commitments, click here. Autographing Schedule — Hundreds of authors and artists will be signing books at BEA, both at the signing table area and at publisher booths. Here’s the page that will lead you to the full line-up.
American Booksellers Association members get at least one free badge for BEA. Register for the ABA Day of Education, including sessions on Serving the Tween Reader; Small-, Medium-, and Large-Store Roundtables, and Children’s Bookselling Cafés. (Note: these sessions are aimed at booksellers, though librarians should also find the Tween Reader session useful.)
Here’s the schedule of events directly pertaining to children’s and YA books and bookselling:
Tuesday, May 25 — ABA Day of Education 10:00 am–4:00 pm
Tues., 10:15 – 11:45 am (NOTE: this is a time change, so make sure you’ve corrected your calendars) — Serving the Tween Reader: a look at issues and best practices for this challenging children’s category, Room 1E10. Join a panel of experts from in and outside the publishing community as we discuss the definition of “tween” and examine a key issues including how to navigate content, how to interface with parents and teachers, how to shelve books for this market, what role outside services like Common Sense are playing in this category, how publishers are approaching books for this audience, and in-store strategies for helping families navigate this challenging developmental period. Moderated by Kristen McLean, Executive Director of the ABC.
Tues. 2:30-4:00 pm The Nuts & Bolts of Children’s Bookselling: Roundtable Discussions, Room 1E12. Join us for roundtable discussions about the day-to-day operational issues that we rarely get a chance to discuss in a conference environment, but which can make a big difference in our experience as booksellers. Topics will include the changing nature of events, prioritizing tasks, managing co-op, community networking and partnerships, digital books, and more. Seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Bring your questions, ideas, and problems. We’ll learn from each other and emerge with fresh ideas and best practices to take back to our stores. Presented in conjunction with the Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC). Moderated by Elizabeth Bluemle and Josie Leavitt of The Flying Pig Bookstore.
Tues. 5:30-8:00 pm The ABC Not a Dinner and (Mostly) Silent Auction, at The Edison Ballroom, 240 West 47th Street. (Ticketed event: general admission $79; ABC Bookseller discount $59)
This is one of the highlights of BEA: an evening filled with luminaries in the children’s literature world celebrating art and awards and independent bookselling, and vying for any number of fabulous original art pieces by the best in the field. Where else can you bid against Mo Willems for a David Small sketch? Or chat with Kate DiCamillo about the accuracy of dog cartoons? (These are examples from auctions past; this year’s bidding wars and author encounters will vary.) The coveted E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards are given out on this evening, and speakers are always smart, witty, and inspiring. For ABC bookstore members, the $59 ticket price is the lowest in years. It’s an event not to be missed! This year’s much-appreciated event sponsors are Random House, HarperCollins, and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
5:30 p.m. – Bar opens & (Mostly) Silent Auction Preview. 6:00 p.m. – Keynote program & live announcement of the 2010 E.B. White Read Aloud Awards. • Master of Ceremonies: Michael Buckley, bestselling author of The Sisters Grimm series (Abrams) • Keynote Speaker: David Weisner, Caldecott-winning author of Flotsam (Clarion). 6:30-8:00 p.m. – (Mostly) Silent Auction
Wednesday, May 26
Wed., 8:00 am – 9:30 am — Children’s Book and Author Breakfast, Special Events Hall. Presented in cooperation with the Children’s Booksellers and Publishers Committee [A cooperative committee of the American Booksellers Association (ABA), Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC), and the Children’s Book Council (CBC)], this opening-day breakfast will feature Cory Doctorow, author of For the Win (Tor Teen); Mitali Perkins, author of Bamboo People (Charlesbridge); and Richard Peck, author of Three Quarters Dead (Penguin/Dial Books for Young Readers). Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, and author of Helping Hand Books: Emily’s First Day at School (Sterling) will be the Master of Ceremonies.
Wed., 10:30 am – 12:00 noon — Speed Dating with Children’s Authors (for booksellers only), Room 1A10-1A12. (Free; advance registration strongly suggested) Get to know children’s book creators up close and personal! Each bookseller will get quick get-to-know-you chats with up-and-coming children’s authors and illustrators, moving from table to table to meet them all. After the Speed Dating, enjoy longer discussions with those who piqued your interest. Advance registration is recommended, as space will be limited! Participating “dates” include: Heather Brewer (Penguin), Bryan Collier (Little, Brown), Eireann Corrigan (Scholastic), Beth Fantaskey (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Adam Gidwitz (Penguin), Charlie Higson (Disney), Lauren Kate (Random House), Sean Kenney (Macmillan), Jonathan Maberry (Simon & Schuster), Carolyn MacCullough (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Matt McElligott (Bloomsbury), Kate Millford (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Daniel Nayeri (Candlewick), Mitali Perkins (Charlesbridge), Diana Peterfreund (HarperCollins), Matthew Reinhart (Candlewick), Karen Gray Ruelle (Holiday House), Bob Shea (Disney), Nadja Spiegelman & Trade Loeffler (Toon Books), Jonathan Stroud (Disney), Iza Trapani (Charlesbridge), Maryrose Wood (HarperCollins). Presented in cooperation with the Children’s Booksellers and Publishers Committee (ABA/ABC/CBC).
Wed., 11:00 am – 12:00 noon — A New Look at Nonfiction for Kids, Room 1E14. With two kids’ nonfiction books on the National Book Award for Youth list this year, is younger nonfiction becoming the new hot category? Nonfiction has always been an essential part of school and library collections – now that popularity is reaching the bookstore. With perspectives from publishing, bookselling, writing, and the library world, this panel discusses why kids love nonfiction, why it’s becoming a larger part of the market today, and what you can expect in the coming years. The panel will close with a discussion (open to the audience) about how to better sell kids nonfiction in the bookstore, followed by questions. Panelists include Steve Sheinkin, author (Which Way to the Wild West?; Rabbi Harvey Vs. the Wisdom Kid; King George: What Was His Problem?); Angela Carstensen, chair of the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults; Elizabeth Bluemle, Flying Pig Bookstore owner and PW ShelfTalker blogger; and Laura Godwin, Editorial Director, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers.
Wed., 11:00 am – 11:50 am — Author Stage — Paranormal Fiction for Teens: From Vampires to Werewolves to Zombies and Shape Shifters, Location: Downtown Stage. Host: Charlie Jane Anders, contributing editor, io9.com Authors: Richelle Mead, VAMPIRE ACADEMY #6 LAST SACRIFICE; Andrea Cremer, NIGHTSHADE; Holly Black, WHITE CAT and ZOMBIES vs UNICORNS.
Wed., 11:00 am – 11:50 am — Author Stage — YA Authors Crossing Over, Location: Midtown Stage. Host: Elissa Petruzzi, Romantic Times magazine. Authors: Melissa Marr, Wicked Lovely series and GRAVEMINDER; Jennifer Donnelly, REVOLUTION and THE WINTER ROSE; Stephanie Kuhnert, BALLADS OF SUBURBIA and I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE; Michele Jaffe, ROSEBUSH, BAD KITTY (young adult), STARGAZER, BAD GIRL (adult).
Wed., 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm — BEA (Young Adult) Editors’ Buzz, Room 1E15. Insightful and passionate, this intimate editorial exchange will provide you with an editor’s perspective on some of the fall’s new YA discoveries and potential breakouts. Program Chair: Jack Martin, Asst. Dir., Public Programs and Lifelong Learning, New York Public Library. Editors: Julie Strauss-Gabel, Associate Publisher at Dutton Children’s Books, with Ally Condie’s Matched; Jennifer Weis, Executive Editor at St. Martin’s Press, with Rebecca Maizel’s Infinite Days; Cindy Eagan, Editorial Dir. at Poppy, with Kody Keplinger’s The DUFF; Farrin Jacobs, Executive Editor at HarperTeen, with Sophie Jordan’s Firelight; Arthur Levine, Editorial Dir. of Arthur A. Levine Books, with Erin Bow’s Plain Kate.
Wed., 6:30 pm ’til the cows come home — Kidlit Drink Night hosted by Editor Cheryl Klein and NYPL Librarian/SLJ Fuse #8 Blogger Betsy Bird, at the Houndstooth Pub. In Cheryl’s words: “Booksellers, authors, agents, publishing people, teachers, librarians, and anyone else who loves children’s literature are all invited to a Kidlit Drink Night on Wednesday, May 26, at the Houndstooth Pub at 520 8th Ave. (at 37th St.). Betsy Bird (Fuse #8) and I have been hosting these for several years now, and they’re always a good time! We’ll have a private room in the basement starting at 6:30, so you can drop your bags at your hotel and then come by for a revivifying libation.”
Thursday, May 27
Thurs, 12:00-1:00 pm — ABC ANNUAL MEETING, Location 1E10. Join us for ABC’s annual meeting where we will review 2009, approve new Board members, and continue discussion of ABC’s ongoing conversation with ABA regarding the possible merger. We encourage participation. Open to all members of the ABC.
Thurs., 2:00PM – 3:00PM — BEA YA Authors’ Buzz, Location: Downtown Stage. Host: Jack Martin, Asst. Dir., Public Programs and Lifelong Learning, New York Public Library. Authors: Ally Condie, MATCHED; Rebecca Maizel, INFINITE DAYS; Kody Keplinger, THE DUFF; Sophie Jordan, FIRELIGHT; Erin Bow, PLAIN KATE.
Thurs., 3:00-4:00 pm — Tea with Children’s Authors, Javits 1E11 ($10.00- Advance registration required; open to children’s booksellers and librarians only). Come join us for the second edition of this great new program which gives librarians and booksellers a chance to chat with some of the industry’s brightest stars in a more relaxed and casual environment. Each author will join a table of book enthusiasts for refreshments and an open-ended conversation about the author’s life and work. Each table will be moderated by an ABC bookseller. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, and we will try our best to accommodate registrants’ preferences as space allows. Authors scheduled to appear: Laurie Halse Anderson (Simon & Schuster), Jan Brett (Putnam), Peter Brown (Little, Brown), Eoin Colfer (Disney), Doreen Cronin (HarperCollins), Jennifer Donnelly (Random House), Russell Freedman (Holiday House), Cornelia Funke (Little, Brown), Gordon Korman (Scholastic), Megan McDonald (Candlewick), Brandon Mull (Shadow Mountain), Richard Peck (Dial), Sara Pennypacker and Marla Frazee (Disney), Rick Riordan (Disney), Peter Sís (Macmillan), and Carmen Agra Deedy (Peachtree).
Newer booksellers, here’s a BEA tip: this is a good time to make appointments with publicists, to introduce them to your store and the kinds of events you do well. It’s also a great time to place backlist orders, since most publishers offer show specials (which are also available to booksellers unable to attend BEA; ask your reps for details), and to score free freight from many of the sideline vendors, who usually charge for shipping. So come to BEA with your business cards, store brochure, and prepared backlist orders! And don’t forget a few store checks in case you establish any new accounts with vendors at the show and need to pre-pay your first orders.
New and aspiring authors often ask us if it’s worth their while to attend BEA. The best place to solicit answers to that question is from other authors. The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) has wonderful, active discussion boards full of people who will share their collective wisdom with you. This organization is well worth the membership fee. One thing I will caution is that BEA is NOT the place to meet editors and publishers with the intent of showing them your work. These folks have a million meetings at BEA; their priorities for the show revolve around rights and promoting their fall books and authors. Attempts to hand them manuscripts or pitch ideas will not be well received, and you don’t want to alienate the very editors you’d like to work with. Save that ambition for writers’ conferences where there are times specifically set aside for submissions and pitches. At BEA, take the opportunity to become familiar with which houses are publishing what kinds of books, so you’ll know where yours might fit. Meet other writers. Drink in the intoxicating experience of being in a place with thousands of books and the people who most love them.
Finally, Kristen McLean of the ABC invites feedback on this year’s BEA. What is your reaction to the show moving its schedule to midweek? Have you attended BEA in the past, but aren’t this year? And if so, why? Has the change in format and timing affected your decision to come? How about bringing your staff? If you wanted to offer any feedback to the administration of BEA, what would it be?
P.S. And now that you’re all in a BEA mood, do go back and check out the spoof BEA schedule. Josie and I thought it was hilarious, if we do say so ourselves.