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June 5, 2015

BookCon Breakdown


Where can you go see a bunch of your favorite authors in one place, hear inspiring discussions about YA and learn about the hottest books for fall? At BookCon --- a two day book conference at the Javits Center in New York City --- of course! intern Kat Szabo attended the second day of BookCon, and she writes about some highlights, below!

On Sunday, May 31 at what felt like the crack of dawn, my friend and I headed out to the Javits Center in New York City for the second day of BookCon. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend on Saturday which had panels featuring authors like John Green, Marie Lu, Aziz Ansari and Nick Offerman (two actors from my favorite show "Parks & Recreation" that have new books coming out), but there was still plenty to see and do on Sunday!

Around 8.30am we got in line (conventions are 75% waiting in line) to get our wristbands to see actor/writer Jason Segel later in the day. The queue hall was fairly busy already, mostly with people waiting in line to meet and hear their favorite YouTube stars discuss their new books. I had only ever been to the Javits Center before to attend New York Comic Con, which is MUCH more crowded and requires a very early arrival to be able to see and do what you want, so we probably lined up earlier than we needed to for this more lightly-attended con.

After we finally got our wristbands, we followed the crowd up to the show floor where publishers had booths and tables filled with books and other swag. Basically a book-lover's dream come true. I picked up a bunch of free books courtesy of Penguin Random House and of course had to take a picture with a cardboard cutout of GAME OF THRONES author George R.R. Martin. Then it was time to head over to line up for our first panel of the day --- the We Need Diverse Books panel (photo on left). WNDB was actually born at last year's BookCon after founder Ellen Oh noticed a major lack of diversity in the panels. Thanks to social media and readers like you and I, the organization is now officially a non-profit (learn more about WNDB here)! The panel featured authors Jacqueline Woodson, David Levithan, Libba Bray, Aisha Saeed, Soman Chainani, Meg Madina and I.W. Gregorio (phew, that's a lot). They each talked about diversity in their own works and in the future of literature for young people. It was an insightful and moving discussion --- definitely one of the highlights of the day!

I was only familiar with a few of these authors, but now I can't wait to read books by each one them. I was especially excited to receive an ARC of ANOTHER DAY, a companion novel to David Levithan's EVERY DAY.

Then it was time to see Jason Segel talk about what inspired his children's book series Nightmares! and his work as an actor and screenwriter. Of course, he was hilarious and delightful. I was only familiar with his work as an actor, but after hearing him discuss what inspired his book series, I definitely want to check it out. Next up was a panel (yes, I saw a lot of panels) featuring Oscar-winning actress Julianne Moore and author Brian Selznick discuss their books for children. Lastly, after heading back up to the show floor to try and (mostly unsuccessfully) grab some last-minute swag, I caught the end of a panel on the importance of villains (there'd be no Luke Skywalker without Darth Vader) featuring one of my favorite authors, Scott Westerfeld. 

It was great to be able to see so many authors and actors that I've admired in person, although I didn't have time to actually meet any of them. I'm already looking forward to next year.