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October 13, 2017

Book Festivals, Coding & Fun at the 2017 Decatur Book Festival --- Guest Post by Grace P.

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Every labor day weekend I have the wonderful opportunity to attend the largest independent book festival in the nation! Every year I get to meet and hear from a bunch of fabulous YA authors! The AJC Decatur Book Festival takes place in Decatur, Georgia, and showcases authors from almost any genre as well as art, music and so much more. This year was one of the most memorable festivals I have ever attended!


In the past five years that I have attended the festival, the Teen Stage has always been outside in the sweltering summer Georgia heat of over 90 degrees. This year was particularly unique because the Teen Stage was moved indoors and the AC was pretty cold! I arrived at the festival on Saturday and attended my first panel of the festival which included the wonderful Leigh Bardugo and Jason Reynolds talking about their new superhero books: WONDER WOMAN: Warbringer and MILES MORALES: Spider-Man. This panel ended up being one of my favorites, and both authors got down to the nitty-gritty details of writing about licensed characters. After standing in a monstrously long signing line, I got both of their novels signed and then continued to my next panel. Next, I got to hear a panel called “A Sense of Belonging” which included authors Marie Marquardt (I have reviewed both of her books on Teenreads!), Joanne O’Sullivan and Lilliam Rivera.

The second half of my Saturday included standing in lots of lines as typical of a book festival. I listened to a panel that included one of my favorite and local authors Becky Albertalli, Elizabeth Eulberg, and Annie Barrows. The final panel that I attended was one of my favorites because it included authors I know and love and one that I know I am going to read soon! Roshani Chokshi, Alwyn Hamilton, Elly Blake, and Aditi Khorana made one of the best and funniest panels I have ever witnessed. Chokshi’s THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN is a favorite of mine (Check out my review of Teenreads!). Alwyn Hamilton’s REBEL OF THE SANDS is excellent, and Elly Blake’s FROSTBLOOD and FIREBLOOD are books that I have reviewed on Teenreads. Aditi Khorana’s LIBRARY OF FATES sounds like a hit for me, and I cannot wait to read it soon!

I return on Sunday to an exciting day! I got to hear from Jodi Lynn Anderson and Adam Silvera. Anderson’s MIDNIGHT AT THE ELECTRIC sounds very promising, and I can’t wait to pick up Silvera’s THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END. I stood in one more signing line before heading to the children’s stage for the highlight of my festival experience.

I am a graduate of the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program, and Girls Who Code recently published two books, so the founder and CEO, Reshma Saujani, happened to stop in Decatur as part of her book tour. You can check out my review of THE FRIENDSHIP CODE on Kidsreads. She was by far the author I was most excited to see because she is truly an inspiration to me, and I have benefitted so much from being a part of Girls Who Code. I listened to her panel with Tamara Ireland Stone and loved it! I stood in a surprisingly fast signing line and got to talk with Reshma about my experiences reviewing one of the GWC books and about my coding projects. This was definitely one of the coolest experiences I have ever had with an author! I highly recommend attending your local book festivals because it will become a tradition, and you will never miss it again!