This Saturday was the 3rd annual TeenBookCon in Houston, Texas. I heard about this event on Twitter last May, about 1 month after the 2011 TeenBookCon, and I’ve been waiting (semi-patiently) alllll year for the 2012 event. Due to outside events, I couldn’t take a group of students, so I called up my mom who went with me.
Orson Scott Card was the keynote speaker this year. I haven’t read any of his books, but I’ve had Ender’s Game on my list of to-reads foreverrrr. He did a mic-check, then stayed at the podium and answered questions while the organizers got everything else set up on stage, which the audience loved. He was an interesting character (to say the least), but he had some great things to say concerning reading:
We have an immense store of vicarious memories…because we are readers. How many lives have you lead because you read?
When you read a book, you join the community of other readers with shared memories.
Don’t you DARE ever make a child ashamed of what they like to read.
Reading is the most participatory art.
I attended the Dystopia Rising panel with Megan Crewe (The Way We Fall), Michael Grant (BZRK), and Marissa Meyer Cinder). A student asked Michael Grant how he develops his characters, and he said that he “casts” his character by looking through photos on Flikr/Google/etc., then fleshes the character out from there. Pretty interesting concept that might be interesting to try in class.
At lunch I got to meet Jennifer Haight (@hipmamajenn), and she introduced me to two Houston book bloggers, Katie (blookgirl) and Kristina (LadybugGirl724). I love meeting Twitter people in person!
After lunch we hit up the Reality Bites panel with Jesse Andrews (Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl), Elizabeth Eulberg (Take A Bow), Lisa McMann (Dead To You), Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray), and Siobhan Vivian (The List). This panel was so funny, and they seemed to have a lot of fun together! Ruta shared that part of her research for BSoG involved her staying in a Soviet prison where she was beaten and truly treated as if she were imprisoned. I cannot imagine being in such an environment.
The Adults Are Overrated panel with Orson Scott Card (Pathfinder), Inara Scott (Talents), Jessica Spotswood (Born Wicked), and Maggie Stiefvater (The Scorpio Races) was…interesting. OSC gave unsolicited sex advice, which is always…awesome. Especially in a room with pre-teens/teens who are with their parents/teachers! Jessica Spotswood has a TIIIINY voice! And Maggie Stiefvater won me over to read her Shiver series. The synopsis just never got my interest up (werewolves just aren’t my thing), but she was so funny and real, I’m checking out Shiver tomorrow at school!
The last panel I attended was Holly Black (Black Heart), Gina Damico (Croak), D.J. MacHale ( Morpheus Road: The Black), and Marlene Perez (Dead Is a Battlefield). This group was a lot of fun as well. I definitely want to get my hands on Croak; the premise behind the book sounds really cool!
TeenBookCon posted a tweet earlier today saying there were 1100+ people on Saturday, which is TWICE as many as last year! To see photos of the event, visit LibraryInk’s Flikr page. Next year’s event will be on April 20th…maybe I’ll see you there!