Whoever said reading is a dying art form clearly didn’t step foot in the Javitz Center for BookCon. I’ve never seen so many young girls in one spot and I work at a middle school! I mean Holly Black was at BookCon. If doesn’t make this a quirky teenage girl’s mecca, I don’t know what is.
Check out our highlights from the convention! From panels to publishers to swag and more, we had a blast at BookCon!
Two out of the four Mainstage panels on Sunday were focused on childrens’ books. And not just any childrens’ books. The kings and queens of children programming were there: Bill Nye The Science Guy, Lemony Snicket, Mary Pope Osbourne, Jeff Kinney, and Kwame Alexander were all there. And there was an equal amount of excited kids and pre-teens in the audience as their were adults. The kids were so excited to see Bill Nye and learn about science.
Ryan Higa was another big draw for kids and young adults alike. I knew of Ryan Higa before this panel, but I had no idea there would be so many excited pre-teen to teenage girls there. If that guy wrote a book, you know they’ll read it. The man is a fandom unto himself.
Publishers and Swag
There were several large publishers sections dedicated to kids and young adults, including Scholastic. There was lots of #bookswag for them too. Enamel pins, t-shirts, and totes abound! My favorite book swag was letters from your favorite literary character at Bookified, or adorable book protectors Book Beau.
Also, teenage girls will wait in line for anything. Owlcrate, a subscription box dedicated to young adult fantasy novels, had a line that never ended. I love a good subscription box, but dang!
There was a healthy dose of independent book publishers and authors at BookCon (though there could always be more). My Name Is Stardust was a book that got passed out for free at the author’s panel. I read it to the children I nanny. They love it. Now they tell me their names are Stardust.
Lastly, there were panels, booths, and authors dedicated to teenagers’ interests: feminism, diversity, and LBGTQ+ pride. Chelsea Clinton might have been the biggest draw, having written a children’s book of inspirational women called She Persisted. Her autograph line was filled with young girls. Scholastic had a huge banner reading ‘Pride.’ There was an Diversity in Love panel, several comic book diversity panels, and several of female-led panels.
ReedPop is standing behind the messages of social justice by spreading a message that teenagers seem to love: equality and acceptance. The Harry Potter Alliance was my favorite find. They’re a group that uses fandom as an entry point for social justice work.