I Wanna See Laney’s House
Booth #504 Xulon Press

One thing I regret about my attendance at the NYC Book Expo is that I did not attend the Children’s Book & Author Breakfast Sponsored by Candlewick Press on Day 3. I am a total novice and next year will read the entire agenda from cover-to-cover to catch all the Author Breakfast events.

The one I missed was co-hosted by sisters Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush, daughters of former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush. They previously co-authored a collection of personal stories, Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life. Later the year they will release an early readers’ picture book, Sisters First, celebrating the bond between sisters.

I also missed Lupita Nyong’o discussing her debut children’s book, Sulwe, about girl in Kenya who feels self-conscious about her dark skin until she embarks on an adventure leading to self-love and acceptance; Tomi Adeyemi, talking about the second title in her Legacy of Orïsha trilogy, Children of Virtue and Vengeance; Eoin Colfer, author of the beloved Artemis Fowl series, discussing his upcoming spin-off novel, The Fowl Twins: and Da Chen, previewing his upcoming work, Girl Under a Red Moon, the story of his older sister and their childhood growing up during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. (I got to hear Da Chen speak in a later panel discussion I did attend.)

“The Children’s Book & Author Breakfast draws a huge audience of book lovers looking to discover breakout talent in the world of children’s and young adult literature and we are excited to welcome this year’s outstanding panelists,” said Jennifer Martin, Event Director of BookExpo. “With an array of unique perspectives and works across multiple genres, this year’s speakers are sure to offer a morning of exciting and meaningful conversation, as all of their works examine a variety of traditionally underserved populations.”

Other Day 3 Events I Attended:
Panel Discussion – Year of the Woman in Books in 2018, 2019 and Beyond: The Success and Influence of Books of, for and by Women. The panel featured Erika Swyler, author of Light for Other Stars and The Book of Speculation; Hannah Oliver Depp, career bookseller and founding member of Indies Forward and the American Bookselling Association Committee on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity, as well a NAIBA regional board member; Glory Edim, author of the Well-Read Black Girl and founder of the Well-Read Black Girl Book Club; Hillary Kelly, book critic Vulture and New York Magazine; Michelle Fillgate, author of What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About; and Susannah Greenberg, President of Susannah Greenberg Public Relations, a book publicity firm.

Panel Discussion – Giving a Voice to the Voiceless. Panelists discussed their newest books that give voice to groups not traditionally heard. Panelists included Jerry Pinkney, author and illustrator whose accolades include the Caldott Medal and vice Coretta Scott King Awards, among many others; Miranda Spigener-Sapon, award-winning writer whose first scripted television series will appear on Amazon Prime later this year; Sharon Robinson, author of several works of fiction and nonfiction and educational consultant for Major League Baseball, and founder of a character education curriculum, Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life; and Stephana Colbert, writer and attorney whose publications include Ordinary Extraordinary African American Women: The Elders, the first in a four-book series.

Key Takeaway: This world of book authorship is still so new to me. I have to keep my eyes and ears open to learning as much as I can, not just from other authors but also publishers, booksellers and librarians. Turns out the booksellers and librarians are the gatekeepers to the literary world. Their primary job is to keep the gates open. Booksellers and librarians were well represented at the Book Expo. Happy to say that I met a few!