Authors and panels focused on the children’s and YA categories were perhaps the biggest draw at the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance trade show, held Sept. 17-19 in Charleston, S.C. As noted by American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher at Saturday morning’s introduction of the ABC Children’s Group at the ABA, children’s book sales remain “one of the really bright spots in our world.”

At that same panel, Dan Cullen, director of the Information Department at the ABA, used the results from the 2010 ABC study of the juvenile market to illustrate the who and why of book-buying for kids. Predictable results include the fact that women buy more juvenile books than men, and that adults aged 18-44 buy 61 percent of kids’ books. The study also revealed that a whopping 33 percent of those kids’-book-buying adults don’t have kids in their home. Perhaps the most pleasant surprise is the finding that, with all the entertainment options available to them, 57 percent of teenagers still consider books equal to or more important than other media.

Saturday’s kickoff lunch also drew a near-capacity crowd, which featured five children’s and YA authors: Avi, Kadir Nelson, Gordon Korman, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. A panel featuring authors Eric Litwin, Sarah Woods and Andrea Pinkney got the audience clapping their hands and throwing their arms in the air whenever Litwin called, “Panic!” While Litwin read, illustrator James Dean painted a Pete the Cat-visits-SIBA illustration, complete with an open book and a cup of coffee. Dean also took the microphone to repeat the word “meow” a dozen times.

Like the rest of the YA book-reading public, bookseller Lelia Nebeker of One More Page Books in Arlington, Va., is eagerly anticipating “all the sequels.” Those available on the floor included the first book in the next 39 Clues series, Cahills vs. Vespers by Gordon Korman; Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl’s Beautiful Chaos; and the next in Brandon Mull’s Beyonders series, Seeds of Rebellion. Other volumes getting snapped up: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin, Margaret Peterson Haddix’s The Always War, and Avi’s City of Orphans.