This past weekend, I got the chance to participate in a super fun event dedicated to middle grade: the Tweens Read Book Festival in Houston, TX. Twenty-one authors, hundreds of middle grade readers, personalized cupcakes, hand-made knitted water bottle cozies, 85 degrees weather (it was a wet and coooold 45 degrees when I left Wisconsin)—well, let’s just say, as a newbie author, I think I’ve been spoiled as far as book festivals go!
|Getting prepped for the day's events in the author break room--they ran this event like clockwork! It was impressive. (Amy Ignatow, Greg Leitich-Smith, Stefan Bachman, Claire LeGrand, Tommy Greenwald, Cynthia Leitich-Smith, Raina Telgemeier, and Lynne Kelly.)|
|Our audience awaits--look at all those tweens! The event is held at Bobby Shaw Middle School, but promoted (by the Tweens Read committee and Blue Willow Bookshop) throughout the Houston area.|
|Heather Brewer was the keynote, and she had such a great message (for even us grown-ups!) about not letting other people limit you--there's only one person in the way of you achieving your dreams....you. (And she also said that libraries are made of bully kryptonite, which made my heart sing a little.)|
|After the keynote address, we authors were split into panels. The tweens got to choose which panels to attend...and what questions to ask us! Here's my panel: "Dare to Debut," with Augusta Scattergood, Deron Hicks, Lynne Kelly, and me. We spent the next three hours answering questions like "What's your favorite candy?" and "What do you do when you get stuck?" (It turns out the answer to both of those is chocolate.)|
|Here's the "Guys Write" panel: Trent Reedy, Tommy Greenwald, Greg Leitich-Smith, and Roland Smith. (Photo swiped from http://www.yogile.com/tweensread)|
|And the "Adventure for All" panel: E.J. Patten, Heather Brewer, Shannon Messenger, Stefan Bachman, Geoff Rodkey. (Photo also from http://www.yogile.com/tweensread) There were two other panels: "From a Girl's Point of View," with Lisa Schroeder, Diana Lopez, Shana Burg, and Claire LeGrand and "Going Graphic!," with Rachel Renee Russell, Dave Roman, Raina Telgemeier, and Amy Ignatow (but no pics; alas!).|
|After the panels, we all gathered in the gym for a huge book signing. Here's the line to get in....|
|And here's the other side of it...and that's not showing the people already inside!|
|The kids' enthusiasm, plus the attention to detail made the event extra fun. These were the posters in the gym at our signing tables. Yes, that's a rat made out of the most common words from my book!|
|As if red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting weren't enough, the cupcakes were decorated with our book covers! (Mine's looking a little worse for wear...cupcakes don't travel the best.)|
Thanks for a great time, Texas, Tweens Read, and Blue Willow Bookshop!
W.H. Beck is a school librarian by day and middle grade author by night. Her first novel, a funny mystery called MALCOLM AT MIDNIGHT, is available in stores...now!