Monday, April 28, 2014

Teen Book Con 2014

Doing some research last week and found that Teen Book Con was scheduled for April 26, 2014 at Alief Taylor High School in Houston, Texas. I had attended a similar event in Austin, TX a few years ago to hear the keynote speaker, the amazing Ellen Hopkins. At the time my older daughter was only eleven and really too young for the books to be discussed. I vowed to take her when she was old enough. This past Saturday was our opportunity, and it was awesome!

When I offered to take her, she was a little reluctant since she hadn't read anything by the authors speaking that day. She invited several friends and they were all busy. It turned into a mommy/daughter outing.

We were both very impressed with the keynote, Laurie Halse Anderson. Of course I had read her book Speak and loved it. She shared some pictures and personal struggles that led her to be a reader and writer. Anderson talked about her challenging teen years and the chaos she endured due to her father's PTSD and alcoholism. Throughout that experience, the school library was her sanctuary. She was witty, relatable and a great opening speaker.

 Each panel was opened up to questions from the audience. It was interesting to hear how the authors got inspiration for their stories, fought writer's block and fulfilled their lifelong dreams of writing for a living. Pretty much all of the sessions gave the audience the same message and encouraged student writers to just keep writing.

I applaud events like this one for connecting students with authors. Even as an adult I always thought of authors as superhumans. It wasn't until I became a librarian and then wrote books myself that I realized that writers are just people following their dreams. For students who love reading, these guys are rockstars and inspirations. As educators, we should foster that connection as much as possible.
All of the authors! (Don't miss Shannon Hale doing the splits in the front!)
On a side note, I totally got busted by Len Vlahos! Lauren Myracle was talking about her latest book which is about first love and sex. Having written a graduate school paper in library school on censorship, I am very familiar with Lauren's work. This was back when ttyl had come out and was such a scandal. (I really loved her book Shine.) Needless to say the mama bear came out in me and I leaned over to my daughter and told her not to read the sex book. Len was the next to speak and totally called me out!

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