The Southern Independent Bookstore Alliance Discovery Show, held September 16–18 in Savannah, Ga., featured several notable children’s and YA authors.
Among the highlights was a Friday afternoon panel discussion featuring a quartet of YA authors, called “What to Read Next.” The panel included Maggie Thrash, We Know It Was You (Simon Pulse); Leah Konen, The Romantics (Abrams); Ryan Graudin, Blood for Blood, Little, Brown); and Zoraida Cordova (Labyrinth Lost, Sourcebooks Fire). Stephanie Crowe of Page and Palette Bookstore in Fairhope, Ala., served as moderator.
“As a person who reads little YA, I was impressed with these young women,” said Crowe. “Maggie Thrash said that she felt like she was 17 when she wrote her YA novels. All of them agreed that they liked the teen thinking mode and understood what teens were going through. And my immediate thought was ‘these are the most mature 17-year-olds I’ve ever met.’ ”
A later panel for middle grade readers featured Julie Leung, author of Mice of the Round Table (HarperCollins); Ursula Vernon, author of Hamster Princess: Ratpunzel (Dial); Kate Beasley, author of Gertie’s Leap to Greatness (FSG), and Amy Ignatow, author of The Mighty Odds (Amulet).
Kathryn Little, associate director of marketing at Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, who was on hand to talk with booksellers and assist Beasley with her appearance, noted, “I’ve interacted with a lot of the southern booksellers over email and met many of them at BEA and the Children’s Institute, so I was looking forward to a warm reception and strong book lovers. And it was true: everyone is so passionate and kind. And, as a northerner, I am really appreciating the southern hospitality.”
Among other children’s authors making appearances were Ridley Pearson, for his new book Lock and Key: The Initiation (HarperCollins) and Aaron Becker, author-illustrator of Return (Candlewick), while Acree Graham Macam and Natalie Nelson, author and illustrator of The King of the Birds (Groundwood) — a picture book inspired by the life of Flannery O’Connor — hosted a Parapalooza! reading with a dozen authors who were invited to share what their book would be if it were a bird and to offer a short reading.