With the current Covid-19 crisis interrupting business as usual across the globe, this year’s BookExpo is practicing social and professional distancing by bringing the widespread children’s publishing community together with a roster of online events to be held Thursday and Friday. There will be five young adult and five middle-grade editors buzzing about upcoming books they are eager to introduce to readers; a panel of seven picture-book authors and illustrators spotlighting their latest creations; and six celebrated authors breaking bread together virtually while sharing the stories behind their upcoming publications, among them Judy Blume, who is celebrating the June release of Atheneum’s 50th-anniversary edition of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Here is a guide to these events, all of which will be streamed live online.
Children’s Book & Author Dinner, Thursday, May 28, 5:30–7 p.m.: Speakers are Judy Blume (Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Atheneum); Kwame Mbalia (Tristan Strong Destroys the World, Disney/Rick Riordan Presents); Raj Haldar (No Reading Allowed: The WORST Read-Aloud Book Ever, cowritten by Chris Carpenter, Sourcebooks Kids); Natalie Portman (Natalie Portman’s Fables, Feiwel and Friends); Misty Copeland (Bunheads, Putnam); and Marie Lu (Skyhunter, Roaring Brook).
YA Editors’ Buzz Panel, Friday, May 29, 12-1:15 p.m.: Participants and the books they will present are Calista Brill, editorial director of First Second, on Displacement by Kiku Hughes; Nick Thomas, senior editor at Levine Querido, on Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger; Susan Chang, Tor Teen senior editor, on Eventide by Sarah Goodman; Whitney Leopard, Random House Graphic senior editor, on The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen; and Julie Rosenberg, Razorbill senior editor, on Hayley Krischer’s Something Happened to Ali Greenleaf.
Middle Grade Editors’ Buzz Panel, Friday, May 29, 2-3:15 p.m.: Panelists and the titles they will highlight are Wesley Adams, executive editor of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux Books for Young Readers, on Chance: Escape from the Holocaust by Uri Shulevitz; Phoebe Yeh, v-p and publisher of Crown Books for Young Readers, on Kelly J. Baptist’s Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero; Andrea Davis Pinkney, Scholastic v-p and executive editor, on Aida Salazar’s Land of Cranes; Maggie Rosenthal, associate editor of Viking Books for Young Readers, on Thirteens by Kate Alice Marshall; and Reka Simonsen, editorial director of Atheneum Books for Young Readers, on Tune It Out by Jamie Sumner.
New Picture Book Showcase, Friday, May 29, 4-4:45 p.m.: Participating authors and illustrators and their upcoming works are T.L. McBeth (Randy, the Badly Drawn Horse, Holt); Nina Mata (I Promise, written with LeBron James, HarperCollins); author Jorma Taccone and illustrator Dan Santat (Little Fox and the Wild Imagination, Roaring Brook); Matt Phelan (Turtle Walk, Greenwillow); Arthur Levine (The Hanukkah Magic of Nate Gadol, Candlewick); and Jessica Love (Julián at the Wedding, Candlewick).