Bestselling adult author Jennifer Weiner made her children’s book debut last year with The Littlest Bigfoot, the first book in a middle grade trilogy of the same name. She’s back at BookExpo with book 2, Little Bigfoot, Big City (Aladdin, Oct.), about friendship, furry creatures, and discovering the place where you belong.

In Little Bigfoot, Big City, 12-year-old Alice is searching for who or what she is, since she’s not really human. Millie, the tiny Bigfoot with a big voice, is auditioning for a TV show she’s sure will make her a star, and Jeremy is hoping to restore his reputation and finally get some respect.

As a longtime writer and book-tour veteran, Weiner thought she’d seen it all. But her tour for The Littlest Bigfoot (two schools during the day and a bookstore at night) held some surprises. “Kids are tough,” says Weiner. Every time you go into an auditorium or gym, it’s like walking into the Thunderdome in Mad Max. At an adult reading, people at least try and look polite. With kids, not so much. I don’t think I’ve ever worked as hard on book tour.” But the feedback Weiner received was well worth it. “The kids I talked with were really into adventure—being detectives, solving puzzles and riddles, and finding things out under an adult’s radar. So this book is more like a caper.”

Weiner finds writing for a middle grade audience a “wonderful” experience. “Kids can read a story and follow different threads,” she says, “but they’re innocent enough that you don’t have to deal with things like crushes and eating disorders.” She already has an outline for the third book in the trilogy, and for fans a good bit older, she’s working on an adult novel that will be out next spring.

20th Century Fox Animation has bought the movie rights to the trilogy, and Weiner will executive produce. “I fought really hard for that because I want to make sure the project includes as many women and people of color and LGBT as possible,” she says. Also essential to Weiner is for “Alice to be a big girl with crazy hair and [that] Millie isn’t Selena Gomez with bed head. It matters so much to girls to see someone who looks like them.”

Today, 8–9:30 a.m. Jennifer Weiner will appear at the Children’s Book & Author Breakfast, Special Events Hall.

Today, 2–2:45 p.m., she will sign at the Simon & Schuster booth (1420, 1421).