Spotlight on Children's Programming at BEA

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BTW asked ABC Executive Director Kristen McLean to share her thoughts on some of the highlights of programming for children's booksellers at BEA.

By Kristen McLean, Executive Director, Association of Booksellers for Children

I'm actually very excited about some of the changes and additions to our children's programming this year at BEA.

First, we've moved the ABC home base off the floor and into the ABA Lounge, which is going to make it much easier to meet new booksellers who are interested in focusing on their children's business, and to connect with members away from the hubbub of the show floor. We'll have all our materials and our website live so people can see what we've been working on. We'll even be offering a membership special for new stores that join at the show.

Second, we've added a brand new program that's particularly exciting. Co-sponsored by the American Booksellers Association and the Children's Book Council, it's called Tea With Children's Authors and will be held on Friday, May 29, from 1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m., in Room 1E10 of the Javits Center. It's free and open to all booksellers and librarians, although advanced registration is required.

Basically, we invited a bunch of really fantastic authors to come sit and chat with booklovers over some tea and cookies. The goal was to create an opportunity to have a relaxed and open-ended talk with established artists about their work, their experiences, and anything else that comes along.

Scheduled to appear are Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (Disney), Libba Bray (Random House), Kristin Cashore (Penguin), Suzanne Collins (Scholastic), Christopher and Walter Dean Myers (Egmont), Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick Press), Tomie DePaola (Penguin), Sarah Dessen (Penguin), Mary Downing Hahn (Clarion), Ann M. Martin (Macmillan), Herman Parrish (HarperCollins), Jon Scieszka (Simon & Schuster), Trenton Lee Stewart (Little, Brown), Rosemary Wells (Candlewick Press), Mo Willems (Disney), and Jane Yolen and Mark Teague (Scholastic). Yowza!

We tried this on a smaller scale last year in L.A. with Newbery Medalist Susan Patron, and it was such a wonderful experience for everyone that we decided to expand it.

Of course, we have all our regular programming as well, including the ABC New Voices Lunch on Thursday featuring our top 2009 projects from brand new authors; The Children's Books and Author Breakfast on Friday morning; and the perennial favorite Speed Dating with Children's Authors on Saturday afternoon.

The New Voices event offers a boxed lunch ($15.95 inclusive with three menu choices), and booksellers will get to hear from four fantastic YA authors: Kristen Cashore, brother and sister Daniel and Dina Nayeri, and David Whitley. There will also be a galley grab for 10 more great new works chosen by ABC booksellers. Food for the tummy and for the mind! (And a great alternative to having to forage for lunch.)

Last, but certainly not least, we invite everyone to join us for ABC's gala Not-a-Dinner and (Mostly) Silent Auction at Hotel ABA on Friday, May 29. Now in its 16th year, this is the premier children's event at BEA, where ABC and ABA booksellers get to rub elbows with some of the hottest names in the children's book literati. There is a special discount for ABC and ABA members buying tickets for themselves or their staff, so we invite everyone to come eat, drink, and be merry!

It's going to be a fantastic BEA, and we hope to see everyone there!

Learn more about ABC/ABA/CBC programming at BEA, including the Day of Education session "Give It Away to Get It Back: Using 'Thought Leadership' Marketing to Build Your Children's Business."

Register for all children's events, except the Children's Breakfast.

Register through BEA for the Friday Children's Breakfast, featuring Meg Cabot, Tomie de Paola, and Amy Krouse Rosenthal, and hosted by Julie Andrews Edwards.