The Uptown and Downtown Author Stages will be humming with children’s publishing–oriented programs over the next three days. The kids’ events are more plentiful and varied than ever, with a range of children’s authors, editors, and other industry folk stepping into the spotlight. The events run the gamut from a single author appearance to multiple author panels, editor-author discussions, and programs involving presenter-audience activities.

As BEA education director, Sally Dedecker (a digital and print publishing consultant and owner of Sally Dedecker Enterprises) has been busy for many months organizing the stage events. She points out several reasons for ramping up this forum’s children’s programming this year. “One motivating factor is how strong children’s publishing is today, particularly in the area of YA, with its growing crossover audience,” she explains. “And of course the ABA is hosting its first ABC Children’s Institute at this year’s BEA, and the children’s publishers make up the largest pavilion on the floor. These are factors that we considered while putting together the schedule for the stages.”

Dedecker, who works closely with publishers to plan the author stages’ programming, emphasizes that the wide-ranging events are a bonus for everyone involved. “It’s a great opportunity for publishers to showcase their authors and books, and for authors to meet booksellers and other fans,” she says. “A number of the panels are educational, providing solid information for retailers. And the stage events give librarians a chance to see what’s coming down the road. This is definitely a very strong year for children’s book–related stage events.”

For booksellers who want to plan visits to the author stages, here’s the lineup of events focusing on the children’s arena:


Noon–1 p.m., Downtown Stage: Always Dream: A Conversation with Kristi Yamaguchi. The Olympic skating champion and author of Dream Big, Little Pig! and It’s a Big World, Little Pig! talks with Jennifer M. Brown, children’s editor, Shelf Awareness.

1–2 p.m., Uptown Stage: The Ongoing Evolution of YA Fiction. Sabrina Rojas Weiss, senior editor of VH1 Celebrity, moderates a panel of authors discussing past, present, and future trends in YA. Participants are Bethany Griffin, Jenny Han, Tonya Hurley, Melissa Marr, Elizabeth Norris, and Siobhan Vivian.


10–10:30 a.m., Uptown Stage: Take an Origami Journey to a Galaxy Far, Far Away with Tom Angleberger and Chris Alexander. Angleberger (The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee: An Origami Yoda Book) and Alexander (Star Wars Origami) will be interviewed by a costumed Jedi knight, demonstrate an origami project, and invite the audience to join in.

Noon–12:30 p.m., Uptown Stage: Beyond the Book: Multi-Platform Books to Ignite Reading and Thinking. David Levithan, Scholastic v-p, publisher, and editorial director, and author James Dashner will discuss multiplatform series publishing, which Scholastic pioneered with the 39 Clues and further expands with Infinity Ring, a seven-book alternate-history time-travel series that debuts in September with Dashner’s A Mutiny in Time.

12:30–1 p.m., Downtown Stage: Meet BEA Middle Grade and Young Adult Buzz Authors 2012. A panel featuring some of the authors whose novels are showcased in this year’s YA Editor’s Buzz Panel and the Middle Grade Editor’s Buzz Panel, including Gennifer Albin, Ashley Edward Miller, Marissa Moss, Zack Stentz, and Kat Zhang. Lisa Von Drasek, director of the Bank Street College of Education’s Center for Children’s literature and the librarian for pre-k to eighth grade, will moderate.

2–2:30 p.m., Uptown Stage: Chapter Book Champions. Chapter book authors Nancy Krulik, C. Alexander London, and R.L. Stine discuss their approaches to capturing the interest of young readers.


11–11:30 a.m., Uptown Stage: Writing Strong Female Characters in Middle Grade Books. Moderator Jennifer M. Brown, children’s editor of Shelf Awareness, talks with authors Sharon Creech, Shannon Messenger, Lauren Oliver, and Judith Viorst about creating compelling female protagonists.

12:30–1:30 p.m., Downtown Stage: Brain Quest Challenge. Kicking off Workman Publishing’s celebration of Brain Quest’s 20th anniversary, which includes sending three vans to 150 cities to stage similar challenges, this event features 20 students competing to answer Brain Quest questions, after which booksellers will be invited onstage to test their skills.