This week, Jewell Parker Rhodes has an inspiring homecoming; Books of Wonder holds a fantastical New York Comic Con panel; SCBWI and Madison Reads Project co-host an event for charity; four YA authors finish a Fierce fall tour; Kwame Mbalia has a strong launch; and no pouts in evidence for Macmillan staffers at The Pout-Pout Fish premiere.

I’m Coming Home Again

Presented by Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures, Jewell Parker Rhodes (Ghost Boys, Little, Brown) returned to her hometown to speak at the Carnegie Library Lecture Hall on October 6. Rhodes addressed a crowd of more than 260 people, discussing how she became an author as well as the journey to publication for her latest bestselling middle grade novel. City of Asylum Bookstore sold copies of Rhodes’s books before and after the event; the author subsequently held a signing in Carnegie Library’s children’s section.

Who Are You?

On October 6, New York City’s Books of Wonder hosted the NYCC @ Books of Wonder panel at the Flatiron location. Author Dhonielle Clayton (Everlasting Rose, Freeform) (far l.) moderated a discussion among five writers and one artist on incorporating their marginalized identities into their storytelling and worldbuilding. Pictured (from l.): Mackenzi Lee (Loki: Where Mischief Lies, Marvel), Heidi Heilig (A Kingdom for a Stage, Greenwillow), Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker (Mooncakes, Lion Forge), Zoraida Córdova (Star Wars: A Crash of Fate, Disney Lucasfilm), and Garth Nix (Angel Mage, HarperCollins/Tegen).

Come Join the Party (It's a Celebration)

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ Books for Readers literacy initiative recently paired with Madison Reading Project to hold a donation and book distribution celebration in Madison, Wis. The event featured a slate of local SCBWI children’s book creators, storytime, bookplate making, art stations, refreshments, free books, and more. SCBWI donated more than 1,000 books this year, which assisted the Madison Reading Project in providing its 100,000th book to underserved children in south central Wisconsin.

Falling for You

Authors (from l.) Sara Faring (The Tenth Girl, Imprint), Katy Rose Pool (There Will Come a Darkness, Holt), L.L. McKinney (A Dream So Dark, Imprint), and Margaret Owen (The Merciful Crow, Holt) recently visited several bookstores for the Fall 2019 Fierce Reads Tour. Here, the authors dropped by Brazos Bookstore in Houston on October 1, where they talked about their latest works-in-progress, their familial inspirations, and their strangest research findings. The tour kicked off at Watermark Books & Cafe in Wichita, Kan., on September 30. After Brazos, the authors appeared at Anderson’s Bookshop in Downer’s Grove, Ill., and Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor, Mich., before the tour concluded at Parnassus Books in Nashville on October 4.

I Will Be Strong

Debut author Kwame Mbalia celebrated the release of his fantasy middle grade novel, Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Disney/Rick Riordan Presents), on October 15. The event was held at Books of Wonder in Manhattan. In his novel, the eponymous seventh grader is grieving the loss of his best friend when he accidentally opens an inter-dimensional rift into a world of allies and foes inspired by African-American folklore and West African mythology. Here, Mbalia (r.) appears with his cover artist, Eric Wilkerson.

A Fin-tastic Show

On Saturday, October 12, several Macmillan Children’s employees and their children (from l.: Kristin Dulaney and her son, Janine O’Malley and Wes Adams with their two sons, and Angus Killick and his son) attended the premiere of The Pout-Pout Fish at the New Victory Theater in Manhattan. The hour-long musical adaptation of Deborah Diesen and Dan Hanna's bestselling Pout-Pout Fish series (FSG) featured both puppets and live performers and ran through October 20.