This week, a children’s book conference honors diversity; Laini Taylor launches a new duology; author Dashka Slater comes out of her shell; Australian author Jessica Townsend tours the U.S.; an Easter celebration goes bananas; and author Stuart Gibbs channels his inner panda.

Embracing Diverse Books

More than 100 writers and artists of color attended the Kweli Color of Children’s Literature Conference, held on April 8 in New York City. The conference featured panel discussions, workshops, and opportunities for writers to have their work critiqued by agents and editors. Here, Kate Sullivan (l.), senior editor at Delacorte Press, moderates a conversation between authors Hena Khan and Daniel José Older.

A Grand Tour

Last month, Laini Taylor (r.) embarked on an international tour for Strange the Dreamer, the first book in a new duology. Taylor made stops throughout the U.K. with Hodder & Stoughton, her British publisher. Taylor’s U.S. tour so far has included stops in Seattle, San Francisco, Houston, Nashville, Chicago, Portland, and San Antonio, with additional stops planned. On March 30, Taylor spoke on a panel at Kepler’s Bookstore in Menlo Park, Calif. Joining Taylor was author Jandy Nelson (l.), who moderated, and Angela Mann, youth events director for Kepler’s.

A ‘Snail’ of a Time

Author Dashka Slater came dressed as the titular mollusk in her book Escargot for a launch party held at Mrs. Dalloway’s Bookstore in Berkeley, Calif., on April 9. Wearing her homemade costume and with a snail puppet on-hand, Slater read to the audience and then (seen here) took a poll to determine the crowd’s favorite animal (The winner? The snail).

International Networking

Australian author Jessica Townsend traveled to the U.S. for the first time as part of a pre-pub tour for her debut novel Nevermoor. Townsend was the featured guest at Little, Brown’s Librarian Preview in New York City and also attended Children’s Institute in Portland, Ore., where she met Cathy Berner (r.), children’s/YA specialist and events coordinator at Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston.

Here Comes the Easter Monkey

Megan Pinckard, assistant book buyer for the Curious George Store in Cambridge, Mass., read to children at the store’s annual Great Banana Hunt Easter celebration on April 14. In addition to storytime readings, guests took part in arts and crafts activities, and an Easter banana hunt. Bananas could be exchanged for a picture with George and Easter egg candy.

In Character

Author Stuart Gibbs donned a panda costume while visiting Turlington Elementary School in Hockley, Tex., on April 17. Gibbs’s newest book in his FunJungle series is Panda-monium, which involves a mystery surrounding the disappearance of a giant panda named Li Ping.