BookExpo America (BEA) is a publishing trade expo. It is intended as a way for publishers and authors to introduce upcoming titles to booksellers, librarians, and members of the press. This year BEA was at McCormick Place in Chicago from May 11-13, the first time the event has been held outside of New York City in over ten years.
Multiple staff members from TheYoungFolks.com attended at some point over the four days of BEA and BookCon: co-founder Gabrielle Bondi, Michael D’Angelo, and myself.
The first day of BEA was the most relaxed. The exhibition floor didn’t open until 1 pm, so there was plenty of time to walk around, pick up my press badge, and look at all of the amazing banners hanging around McCormick Place. Once the floor opened, I checked out the layout to get the lay of the land and picked up galley drop schedules from a bunch of the publishers. I stopped by the PenguinTeen event for bloggers, where they had a ‘Pick A Penguin’ game, Bookstagram stations, tons of highly-anticipated ARCs, and author Jennifer Niven was signing advanced copies of her upcoming book Holding Up The Universe.
I also stopped by the Penguin Random House Canada booth to see George, the surfing dog, star of the book Free Days with George. George is adorable (and huge) and his story sounds like a lot of fun, so I’m excited to check it out.
Day two was much busier since the floor opened at 9 am. After doing a few laps around the floor, I headed to the BEA Young Adult Editors’ Buzz Panel, which featured the editors of upcoming YA buzz books: Caraval by Stephanie Garber, Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco, Rani Patel in Full Effect by Sonia Patel, Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer, and Thieving Weasels by Billy Taylor. It was obvious that the editors were very passionate about these books and they’ve all jumped to the top of my priority list.
While walking around later, I heard music playing and found Kenny Loggins performing ‘Footloose’ and a song for his upcoming picture book. That was definitely unexpected and a fun surprise! I also sat in on a panel with David Levithan, Jennifer Niven, David Arnold, and Chelsea Sedoti. At the end of the day I stopped by the Flatiron Books booth for an in-booth party, where I chatted with Stephanie Garber (author of Caraval) and got to take home a cute tote bag with some of their upcoming releases.
Friday was another full day at the convention center. Besides waiting in lines and speaking with publishing people, I sat in on the ‘What’s New in Young Adult?’ panel with Veronica Roth, Lauren Oliver, Alyson Noel, Kendare Blake, and Melissa de la Cruz, and the Tor Teen Panel with Susan Dennard, Sarah Porter, and Kristen Simmons. Both panels featured great authors and introduced me to many more books to look forward to.
Overall, BookExpo America in Chicago was a success. All of the writers from The Young Folks left with books to add to our “to read lists,” so be on the lookout for reviews in the upcoming months.
If you want a better idea of some of the books offered at BEA, check out Michael’s book haul video:
Check back tomorrow for a recap of BookCon 2016!