NYC Teen Author Festival--My First Day...
I arrived in New York on rainy Thursday to catch the last few days of the Teen Author Festival. That afternoon I met my friend Aaron Hartzler (who is the Director, Communications & Design for SCBWI) for a 4 o'clock reading at the 67th branch library featuring Rachel Vail, Courtney Sheinmel, Martin Wilson, Lisa Ann Sandell, and Cecily Von Ziegesar (pictured below in my rather dark photo, L to R, holding up their books).
Oh...I really adore listening to authors reading their own work. There's something sort of magical about it. I'd love to have a continuous bedtime rotation of YA authors reading me a few chapters every night before I fall asleep. Courtney Sheinmel told us she got the idea for her book My So-Called Family, featuring a girl whose father was a sperm donor, from a "The Today Show" story. Cecily Von Ziegesar read a scene from an early Gossip Girl title showing us the book version of why Blair Waldorf didn't get into Harvard (no cocktail parties or text messages involved). Rachel Vail's reading from her upcoming book Lucky offered humor and a great character. Lisa Ann Sandell's writing was lyrical and beautiful and I wasn't surprised to hear that her book A Map of the Known World is her first first prose work, her previous books written in verse. As for Llambda Literary Awards finalist Martin Wilson--after the reading teens were fighting over who got to read his book What They Always Tell Us first as he gave his copy to the library.
And that was another wonderful thing about this reading: teens. There were a bunch of them. And they (pretty much all) paid attention and they asked thoughtful questions and they seemed to have a relationship with the YA librarian which was wonderful to see.
After the reading we were off to Books of Wonder for the debut of Tiger Beat, the first-ever all-YA-author band including Libba Bray, Daniel Ehrenhaft, Barney Miller, and Natalie Standiford. Tiger Beat's opening act was David Levithan and Rachel Cohn (rockin a flannel shirt and eye liner) offering readings from their book Naomi and Eli's No Kiss List (in both English and German!) and a reenacted scene from the movie version of Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist.
Then Tiger Beat seriously rocked (they were, like, good) and everyone cheered.
And waved foam Tiger Beat rock'n'roll hands.
Oh--and attached to Books of Wonder: a cupcake place! Aren't they pretty. (The chocolate icing was fantastic.)
Last, here's a reenactment of part of Aaron's conversation with the girl who sold us cupcakes. (I forget her name. I will call her Kara.)
Aaron: Hi Kara. Are you excited about the authors here in the store?
Kara: Oh. I'm not really into young adult books.
Aaron: What do you read?
Kara: Neil Gaiman.