YALLWEST, the largest YA and middle grade book festival in the country, was held this year at Santa Monica High School in California on May 5. The event brought together more than 25,000 fans and 100 authors and artists for a day of panels, signings, giveaways, and more. The festival was launched in 2015 by a group of bestselling YA authors and YALLFEST organizers, including co-directors Melissa de la Cruz and Margaret Stohl.
This year, YALLWEST also sent authors on visits to Title I schools throughout Los Angeles County on May 4. As part of the celebration, classroom sets of books were donated to each school, many of which had never before hosted an author visit. We’ve gathered a selection of highlights from the events. All photos by Gina Clyne Photography.
The crowd descended on Santa Monica High School for the fourth annual YALLWEST.
Newbery Medalist Erin Entrada Kelly signed copies of Hello, Universe during a visit at F.D. Roosevelt Elementary School in Lawndale, Calif.
(From l.): Author Sam Maggs (Wonder Women), artist Wendy Xu, and author Julie C. Dao (Forest of a Thousand Lanterns).
Young readers got in the Star Wars spirit on May the Fourth.
Debut author Tomi Adeyemi (Children of Blood and Bone) chatted with a reader.
Players mounted their broomsticks for Quidditch.
(From l.): Abdi Nazemian spoke with fellow YA authors David Levithan and Becky Albertalli about their page-to-screen adaptations.
YALLWEST attendees shared reactions to a quote by The Hate U Give author Angie Thomas.
Fantasy authors Veronica Roth (l.) (the Divergent and Carve the Mark series) and Sabaa Tahir (An Ember in the Ashes series) appeared in conversation.
Festivalgoers were ready to read.
Abdi Nazemian (The Authentics) (l.) performed a song with Libba Bray (The Diviners series) (r.).