Wow. Where do I even start? With my gushing or back story?
OK, first one, then the other.
OMG TEEN BOOK FEST IS THE MOST AMAZING TEEN AUTHOR FESTIVAL EVER AND I AM SO LUCKY TO BE PART OF A LIBRARY SYSTEM THAT PUTS SO MUCH LOVE AND EFFORT INTO TEENS AND TEEN LIT AND TO BE A COLLEAGUE OF STEPHANIE S'S (THE TBF FOUNDER)!!!
Phew, OK, got that out of my system. :)
Now to backup.
Eight years ago I was starting to write teen fiction, and had just completed my MLS where I learned that I needed to be a teen services librarian. I began reading tons of YA lit, including SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson. Needless to say I fell in love with that book. Soon after I went to her webpage and nearly fell over when I saw that she was going to speak at a Teen Book Festival in my very own Rochester, NY.
I went that to TBF that first year as an attendee and was blown away by the amazing authors presenting there (Lauren Myracle! Nancy Werlin! about 12 in total?), and was thrilled that another Fest was planned for the following year. In 2007 TBF was a bit bigger, and I went again as an attendee. Then in 2008, I got my YA Librarian job and worked TBF as a volunteer -- and have ever since.
What has also been amazing to watch over these past eight years?
--the growing number of presenting authors
--the increasing size of the attendee crowd
--the number of teens devoting an entire Saturday to volunteer with authors and talk about books
--the number of authors who come back to TBF again because they had such an amazing time before
--the care the TBF Committee takes in making each author feel like a rock star
--the number of publishers that now sponsor their authors' visits to TBF
--the number of authors (and illustrators!) who hear other authors talk about TBF, making them want to come too
--the time Nazareth College takes in making the authors and teens feel at home on their campus
--the dedication of Stephanie and her TBF Committee who devote so much time to this amazing event so it becomes more organized and successful every year
I know I'm forgetting some of the thoughts that struck me today as I looked into the crowd of teens, authors, illustrators, teachers, parents, and librarians, but suffice it to say I am lucky to live in a city that really knows how to rock out to teen books.
And a special shout out to my author panel, who have now increased the size of my TBR pile by talking about their current and forthcoming titles! (Forgive me, I was too busy to take pics of the actual event, but check out tweets and retweets from @TBFLive for some great ones.)
And a high-five to the other authors who I chatted with, hugged, and who also made my TBF pile taller:
Thank you, again, to everyone who made this awesome day possible.
Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing