Can’t be at BEA

It’s confession time.  I can’t write a damed thing.  I’m just too absorbed with BEA (the annual Book Expo America for those of you who are book people). I’m such a groupie.  I love hearing about the various goings on…the panels, the characters, the free books, and even the entertainment.  For example, did you know of Libba Bray’s other talent outside of writing incredibly funny yet poignant books for young adults?  Who knew she could also sing!  I’m so sorry to have missed her bluesy five-song set at the Little, Brown Speakeasy.  Beauty Queens is her most recent title, but she has another coming out in the fall, so definitely watch for it.

If I were at BEA,  I might have heard best selling novelist and recent bookstore owner, Ann Patchett roast Amazon and their bullying tactics in her award speech.  Now that would have been something!
I would even have been willing to drag myself out of bed for the infamous Children’s Book Breakfast despite it’s obscenely early time slot. I have heard John Green, Lois Lowry, and Kadir Nelson speak on more than one occasion, but I’d hear them all again in a heartbeat, even over a bleary-eyed breakfast. John’s humor and passion are as renowned as his fabulous books, and as famous as he and his brother Hank’s nerd-fighting  videolog.

And to have heard Kadir talk about doing the research for Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech would have been awesome.  It’s one of one of the ‘greatest of all time speeches’ that continues to resonate even after all these years.  The only surprise is that it took so long for someone to come along and illustrate it and making it so much more assessable.  Although I have not had the chance to browse through Kadir Nelson’s tribute to King,  I have heard that it’s stunning.

And then there is Lois Lowry.  She has has written so many books that have touched me.  She has written so many books that help young people grapple with the big questions.  I have heard her speak bravely and eloquently about how fragile memory is.  I have heard her talk of how she used a family photo album to try to help her father remember who she and her sister were when he was in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease.  She talked about how that experience impacted The Giver, the book which she was working on at the time.

Lowry has always known that young people believe they can fix the world and her characters reflect that.  They don’t give up and neither does she.  She has a way of translating personal pain into stories that speak to young people. Although her son returned from war in a flag-draped coffin, the main character in her new book, Son fights and vanquishes evil.  It’s no surprise to me that Lowry was given a standing ovation.  I just wish I could have been there to cheer her on too.

So, even though I can’t be at BEA, I’m living it vicariously. So, here’s hoping that you enjoy this little bit of BEA that I’ve brought to you today.

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