Children's Institute Program

Tuesday, June 21, 2016  

12:00 pm to 5:00 pm

IndieCommerce users one-on-one appointments will take place on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The appointments will be held in Hibiscus. To request or cancel an appointment please email


12:00 pm to 6:30 pm

5:30 pm to 6:15 pm

Booksellers attending the Children's Institute on scholarship will have an opportunity to meet their publisher sponsors at this informal reception just prior to the official welcome.

6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

(Party will take place in Paradise Key if the weather cooperates!) Join us for cocktails, snacks, and the company of your colleagues as we welcome booksellers from across the country.  All Ci4 attendees are invited to participate in the fun Backlist Book Swap. Come with a copy of your favorite backlist young adult, middle grade, or picture book; leave with someone else's favorite. Books should be at least 5 years old and still in print. Please let us know what book you will be swapping by completing this form, and be sure to bring a store bookmark so the taker can contact you. There will be book swap IOU's and bookmarks on hand if you've left yours at home.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016  

7:15 am to 5:15 pm

7:45 am to 9:00 am

With a message to independent booksellers to more fully embrace their role as centers of community literacy, Kate DiCamillo will offer ideas about how to build business through stories and connection.  As the 2016 National Summer Reading Champion and an ambassador emeritus for children’s literature, Kate knows the important role booksellers serve as cultural institutions in their communities, as beacons of education and literacy, and as places of connection for readers of all ages.  With a love for children’s books that began as an indie bookseller herself, and having toiled for several years as a writer before receiving her first acceptance, Kate can relate to the incredible challenges booksellers face in their day to day operations, but choose to persevere with the same grit and determination she has shown throughout her career.

9:00 am to 11:45 am

9:00 am to 4:00 pm

IndieCommerce users one-on-one appointments will take place on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The appointments will be held in Hibiscus. To request or cancel an appointment please email

9:00 am to 7:30 pm

The Galley Room will be filled with more than 100 upcoming title ARC's from Children's Institute Sponsors.  A limited supply of book bags will be on hand. The room will be closed during keynotes and both lunches. The PartnerShip shipping desk will be open during Galley Room hours.

9:15 am to 10:15 am

With graphic novels rapidly expanding as a category and continuing to mature as an art form, stores may struggle to determine which books to carry and how to display them, and also how to handle resistance from skeptical parents and educators.  Panelists will discuss the issues surrounding this growing segment, from essential titles and effective organizing ideas to successful handselling and the value of graphic novels in fostering reading.

  • Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop (Houston, TX)
  • Andrew Camner, Books & Books (Coral Gables, FL)
  • Marika McCoola, Porter Square Books (Cambridge, MA)
  • Heather Hebert, Children's Book World (Haverford, PA) (Moderator)

Which books are appropriate for children at different stages of development?  This session offers a basic understanding of the most important aspects of phonological awareness and language development, so that booksellers will know the age at which to introduce different types of books, and be better able to share with customers and staff the fundamentals of how children learn to read.

  • Kathleen Carey, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza (Albany, NY)
  • Anne Turlington, Pomegranate Books (Wilmington, NC)
  • Deirdre Englehart, Ed.D., School of Teaching, Learning, and Leadership at the University of Central Florida
  • Dane Ferguson, Ferguson Books & More (Grand Forks, ND) (Moderator)

Summer is a great time to reach out to kids on school vacation and parents looking for activities to keep them busy.  With teachers encouraging, or even requiring, students to continue reading between school years, booksellers have an ideal opportunity to build excitement about books, help grow a community of stronger readers, and bring in more traffic during what may be traditionally slower months.

  • Amy Brabenec, Brookline Booksmith (Brookline, MA)
  • Diane Capriola, Little Shop of Stories (Decatur, GA)
  • Melissa Fox, Watermark Books & Cafe (Wichita, KS)
  • Kelly Estep, Carmichael's Bookstore (Louisville, KY) (Moderator)

10:30 am to 11:30 am

Kristen McLean, Director of New Business Development and resident Children's Specialist at Nielsen Book, will present a review of the latest data on the U.S. children’s book market, with a deep-dive into the latest trends in pricing, volume, genres, gifting, and more.  Attendees will emerge with plenty of new insights to help them better understand their kids' business in the coming year.

11:45 am to 1:45 pm

Enjoy lunch and learn about great upcoming titles from Children's Institute publisher sponsors at the Rep Picks Speed Dating Luncheon.  Seats are assigned, and booksellers will receive an email with their table number prior to arriving in Orlando.

1:45 pm to 5:15 pm

2:00 pm to 2:45 pm

Dana Suskind, M.D., Professor of Surgery at the University of Chicago and Director of the Thirty Million Words Initiative, will discuss her new book, Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain (Dutton), which highlights the philosophical and scientific foundation of Thirty Million Words, as well as insight into how parents, practitioners, policy makers, and booksellers can put this knowledge into action.

3:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Suzanna Hermans of Oblong Books & Music (Millerton, NY, and Rhinebeck, NY) will lead a discussion of the key steps involved in planning and running an in-store event with a visiting author.

Tegan Tigani of Queen Anne Book Company (Seattle, WA) will lead a brainstorm of how children's buyers can connect with fellow buyers about upcoming titles of interest and see what colleagues are recommending.

Meghan Goel of BookPeople (Austin, TX) and Chris Barton, author of Whoosh! (Charlesbridge), will lead a discussion about promoting new favorite picture books that reflect the diverse, global society of the 21st century alongside the perennial classics to help build a more thoughtful library for children.

Sara Hines of Eight Cousins (Falmouth, MA) and Summer Dawn Laurie of Books, Inc (San Francisco, CA) will lead a brainstorm of ways for booksellers to work together on hand-selling initiatives to raise awareness about diverse books for young readers and demonstrate the power of independent booksellers to influence the sales and success of these titles.

4:15 pm to 5:15 pm

For over 60 years, The Walt Disney Company has been perfecting the art of making people happy. Jeff James, Vice President and General Manager of Disney Institute, will share key real-life stories, illustrations, and practical business insights from the diverse operations of the Disney organization that offer unique opportunities to help transform the way booksellers think about customer experience.

5:30 pm to 7:00 pm

Relax with your colleagues and meet authors from Children's Institute's publisher sponsors.  Hors d'oeuvres and drinks will be served.  Please click here for a list authors currently scheduled to appear, as well as upcoming editions of Bookselling This Week for additional authors as they are confirmed.

9:30 pm to 11:00 pm

Join Scholastic authors David Shannon (Duck on a Tractor), Christine Kendall (Riding Chance), and Jordan Sonnenblick (Falling Over Sideways) for drinks and dessert, sponsored by Scholastic.

Thursday, June 23, 2016  

7:15 am to 3:00 pm

7:45 am to 8:45 am

Critically acclaimed, award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author Dave Barry shares how he got started writing juvenile humor for grownups, then—thanks to his involvement in a rock band of really good authors playing really bad music—found himself writing books about Peter Pan.  Dave will also discuss why he loves writing for younger readers, who are the best readers there are, and share some of his experiences talking to them in schools and bookstores, which have been mostly wonderful, although there was one alarming experience involving a really big snake….

8:45 am to 4:00 pm

The Galley Room will be filled with more than 100 upcoming title ARC's from Children's Institute Sponsors.  A limited supply of book bags will be on hand.  The room will be closed during keynotes and both lunches. The PartnerShip shipping desk will be open during Galley Room hours.

9:00 am to 2:00 pm

IndieCommerce users one-on-one appointments will take place on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The appointments will be held in Hibiscus. To request or cancel an appointment please email

9:00 am to 10:00 am

With schools at every level increasingly widening their curricula to better include nonfiction, and with more great nonfiction titles being published than ever before, stores are finding it helpful to reconsider their approach to buying and categorizing.  Learn from booksellers who have successfully broadened their nonfiction offerings by rethinking their inventory and their customers’ shopping experience.

  • Sara Grochowski, Brilliant Books (Traverse City, MI)
  • Hilary Lawlor, The Elliott Bay Book Company (Seattle, WA)
  • Hannah Lee, Main Point Books (Bryn Mawr, PA)
  • Sarah Hutton, Village Books (Bellingham, WA) (Moderator)

Leveled reading designations can be a great tool for helping young readers select the right book, but lack of standardization can result in confusion.  With each publisher labeling books according to one particular system while schools across the country utilize a number of different methods, it’s important for booksellers to know what the various letters and numbers indicate and how to guide parents and children to appropriate choices.

  • Sarah Cuadra, The Storybook Garden (Weslaco, TX)
  • Susan Kusel, [words] Bookstore (Maplewood, NJ)
  • Kathy Faber, Vice President of Children's Sales at HarperCollins Children's Books
  • Annette Hughes, Director of National Accounts at Scholastic
  • Elizabeth Bluemle, The Flying Pig Bookstore (Shelburne, VT) (Moderator)

The special needs community is surprisingly vast and often underserved.  The challenges for booksellers in serving this market include ensuring equal access, adapting events and activities, training staff, and curating a thoughtful inventory.  This panel will present solutions to help all customers feel at home in your store.

  • Tami Furlong, Fundamentals Parent Teacher Bookstore (Delaware, OH)
  • Joan Price, The Fine Print (Lakeside, OH)
  • Aubrey Restifo, Northshire Bookstore (Manchester Center, VT)
  • Stefani Beddingfield, Inkwood Books (Tampa, FL) (Moderator)

9:00 am to 11:30 am

10:15 am to 11:15 am

Booksellers and librarians serve a common need and share many goals, but partnering on events and other initiatives can be challenging.  Presented in cooperation with the American Library Association, this panel, featuring pairs of booksellers and librarians who are successfully working together, will discuss potential hurdles as well as solutions for productive partnerships between bookstores and libraries.

  • Laura DeLaney, Rediscovered Books (Boise, ID)
  • Heidi Lewis, Information Services Assistant Supervisor at the Boise Public Library (Boise, ID)
  • Holly Weinkauf, Red Balloon Bookshop (St. Paul, MN)
  • Lisa Von Drasek, Curator of the Children's Literature Research Collections at the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN)
  • Lauren Zimmerman, Writer's Block Bookstore (Winter Park, FL)
  • Sabrina Smith, Assistant Director at the Winter Park Public Library (Winter Park, FL)
  • Natasha Gilmore, Associate Children’s Editor at Publishers Weekly (Moderator)

11:30 am to 12:30 pm

Indies Introduce authors read selections from their debut books, and in a series of brief presentations, the Ci4 small press sponsors discuss their publishing programs and key upcoming titles. Seating is open for this lunch.

12:30 pm to 3:00 pm

12:45 pm to 1:45 pm

Every year, gift giving season presents an opportunity for greater sales, but early planning is essential.  Bookseller panelists will discuss everything from integrating your book and sideline buying to creating eye-catching displays to complement your store.

  • Holly Alexander, Barbara's Bookstore (Chicago, IL)
  • Kristen Gilligan, Tattered Cover Book Store (Denver, CO)
  • Lauren Savage, The Reading Bug (San Carlos, CA)
  • Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop (Southern Pines, NC) (Moderator)

There are few triumphs greater than placing the right book in the hands of any reader, but that is especially true for children who rarely, if ever, read for their own pleasure.  The key is learning how to connect with these non-readers and mastering subtle techniques for matching kids with books that will inspire them to want to read.

  • Debbie Buck, Vintage Books (Vancouver, WA)
  • Molly Olivo, Barstons Child's Play (McLean, VA)
  • Claire Gatrell-Stephens, library media specialist for Orange County Public School District (Orlando, FL)
  • Margaret Brennan Neville, The King's English Bookshop (Salt Lake City, UT) (Moderator)

Fun and exciting events don’t always require the presence of an author.  Events built around themes and board games can offer great no-cost opportunities to fill out your calendar, attract additional sales, and bring new customers into your store.

  • Stephanie Crowe, Page & Palette (Fairhope, AL)
  • Lisa Nehs, Books & Company (Oconomowoc, WI)
  • Brenda Weaver, Hearthside Books & Toys (Juneau, AK)
  • Johanna Albrecht, Flyleaf Books (Chapel Hill, NC) (Moderator)

2:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Born in the U.S., Julia Alvarez spent her early years in the Dominican Republic and has described herself as “the little girl who flunked every grade through 5th and hated reading and writing.”  In her closing keynote, Julia will talk about gaining a sense of wonder about language and the power of stories to transform, to encourage empathy and to spur our imaginations when we wrestle with some of life’s more difficult questions.

About ABA

The American Booksellers Association, a national not-for-profit trade organization, works with booksellers and industry partners to ensure the success and profitability of independently owned book retailers, and to assist in expanding the community of the book.

Independent bookstores act as community anchors; they serve a unique role in promoting the open exchange of ideas, enriching the cultural life of communities, and creating economically vibrant neighborhoods.




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