For the second year in a row, children’s authors will grab the spotlight for an entire day at BEA. Back-to-back kids programming is scheduled today for the Uptown Stage, where an array of authors will take part in panel discussions ranging from creating fantasy worlds to writing true-to-life fiction authentically. Booksellers and other industry professionals will have the opportunity to hear fresh voices—those of promising new authors whose books were selected for this year’s Young Adult and Middle-Grade Buzz sessions—as well as the voices of well-established writers.
For months, education director Sally Dedecker, a digital and print publishing consultant and owner of Sally Dedecker Enterprises, worked with many publishers to assemble the stage programming. The decision to repeat 2013’s first-ever daylong kids’ stage appearances stemmed from last year’s success. “The kids-only programming was very popular with booksellers and librarians, and publishers and authors loved the attention and dedicated space,” reports Dedecker.
Dedecker was very impressed with the dedication of children’s publishers and authors, noting “the passion for building strong children’s programming to share with attendees was the focus of every discussion we had. Honestly, the one problem we had this year is that there were more authors’ and publishers’ ideas than time on the stage schedule.”
For those planning their stage itineraries, here’s the lineup of events on the Uptown Stage today:
10–10:30 a.m.: Meet BEA Young Adult Buzz Authors 2014. Susannah Greenberg, president of Susannah Greenberg Public Relations, moderates a panel discussion among authors spotlighted in this year’s Young Adult Editors’ Buzz Panel. Participants are Cynthia Weil (I’m Glad I Did), Robin Talley (Lies We Tell Ourselves), Amy Ewing (The Jewel), and Ryan Graudin (The Walled City).
11–11:30 a.m.: It’s Not Easy Being Teen. How do writers believably and authentically get into the mindset of a teen? It’s simple to skew a voice too young or too old, or to underestimate the breadth of a high schooler’s experience. In a panel discussion moderated by Aubry Parks-Fried, a digital marketing manager at HarperTeen, these authors will address this challenge: Amy Zhang (Falling into Place), Kresley Cole (Dead of Winter), Becca Fitzpatrick (Black Ice), and Amanda Maciel (Tease).
1–1:30 p.m.: Meet BEA Middle-Grade Buzz Authors 2014. Jennifer Brown, children’s editor of Shelf Awareness and director of the Center for Children’s Literature at the Bank Street College of Education, moderates a panel of novelists whose work was featured on this morning’s Middle-Grade Editors’ Buzz Panel. They are Eric Kahn Gale (Zoo at the Edge of the World), M.A. Larson (Pennyroyal Academy), Kelly Barnhill (The Witch’s Boy), Kat Yeh (The Truth About Twinkie Pie), and Rob Harrell (Life of Zarf
2–2:30 p.m.: The Craft of Writing and World Building. The world an author creates is more than just a background or a piece of descriptive writing. It becomes the arena in which characters’ stories play out, dictating decisions, emotional histories, and beyond—yet fictional worlds are rarely born as a fully formed idea. Five masters of the craft will discuss the promise and pitfalls of constructing a world from scratch. Participating are Brandon Mull (the Five Kingdoms Series), Scott Westerfeld (Afterworlds), Kiera Cass (The One), Heather Demetrios (Exquisite Captive), and Michael Grant (Messenger of Fear). Margot Wood of Epic Reads moderates.
3–3:30 p.m.: Real YA. These bestselling, award-winning authors put their teens through out-of-this world struggles that are firmly planted in reality, whether it’s grappling with family drama, coping with the loss of a family member, or healing from a past trauma. The following YA novelists talk about delivering high-stakes stories that readers can relate to: E. Lockhart (We Were Liars), Meg Wolitzer (Belzhar), Gayle Forman (If I Stay), and Jandy Nelson (I’ll Give You the Sun). Moderator is Cristin Stickles, bookseller at Manhattan’s McNally Jackson.