There was a heavy dose of children’s books – especially young adult – at the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance regional trade show, held September 7-9 in Naples, Fla. Unfortunately the children’s author panels all competed against each other for the same time slot: Friday at 4:10 p.m. The sessions featured 17 children’s authors divided into four panels, many of whom also appeared at Friday’s author “SignAround.”
The Twins, Takers & Middle Grade Stars panel featured Adam Troy-Castro, author of the new Gustav Gloom series whose first book in the line Gustav Gloom and the People Taker was released in August from Grosset & Dunlap; Ellis Weiner, author of The Templeton Twins Have an Idea (Chronicle); Irene Latham, author of Don’t Feed the Boy (Roaring Brook); and Shannon Messenger, author of Keeper of the Lost Cities (Simon & Schuster). Weiner delivered a particularly lively presentation. Having grown tired and frustrated after writing humor for adults for 35 years, Weiner said he read a couple of Lemony Snicket books and told himself, “I’m home.” Without giving away too much of his story, Weiner said that after the twins John and Abigail are kidnapped, “hijinks ensue.”
The other authors on the panel also said their books contained plenty of hijinks, although Messenger said she didn’t have too much fun writing Keeper since it took her 20 drafts before she was satisfied with it.
Asked by a bookseller who their books are most often compared to, Weiner pointed to Snicket, Messenger said her trilogy has been called “Lord of the Rings meets the X-Men,” while Troy-Castro said his most frequent comparison is Roald Dahl. And Latham said her Don’t Feed the Boy is most often compared to the work of Kate DiCamillo.
In the Sales Rep Picks session and on the convention floor, a range of titles drew immediate interest from booksellers. Anomaly, from Anomaly Publishing (distributed by Ingram Publisher Services), drew attention because of both its interactive elements that come to life when readers download an accompanying app, as well as its price – $75. In the more traditional vein, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, the start of a new series from the author of the Shiver trilogy, garnered interest at the Scholastic booth. Among the YA books touted during the rep panel were Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger, which launches the Finishing School series for Little, Brown next February; and Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool, author of the Newbery winner Moon over Manifest. Delacorte will publish Navigating Early in January.