Saturday, September 26, 2009

THE Place For Tweens Today: the National Book Fair

The place for families to be this weekend is the National Book Fair on the Mall. Leading tween and teen authors will be out in force. Here is an edited list of the must-sees:

Judy Blume’s work has stood the test of time. She has sold more than 80 million copies of such young-adult best-sellers as Blubber: Super Fudge, and Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret . Ms. Blume has won numerous awards for her writing, including the Living Legends award from the Library of Congress. Her newest book is Friend or Fiend? With the Pain & the Great One (2009). She will be signing books from 11:30a-12:30p and speaking from 5:00-5:30p.

James Patterson is well known for his fiction, but he recently started writing young adult titles. His first young adult book, Maximum Ride, was on the New York Times Chapter Book best-seller list for 12 weeks, and he has made a commitment to “making kids readers for life” through his ReadKiddoRead site. Mr. Patterson’s latest book is Daniel X: Watch the Skies. He will be speaking from 10:00-10:30a and signing books from 11:00a-12:00p.

Liz Kessler is known for her Emily Windsnap series for middle-school readers. This series stars Emily, a half-girl/half-mermaid character who has adventures underwater and on land. Ms. Kessler’s newest title is Philippa Fisher and the Dreammaker's Daughter. She will be speaking from 10:35a-11:05a and signing books from noon to 1:00p.

Jacqueline Woodson’s books have been honored with Newberies, Caldecotts, and Coretta Scott King awards. Her latest book is Peace, Locomotion (2009), about two foster children who are forced to live in separate families after the death of their parents. Ms. Woodson will be speaking from 1:30-2:00p and signing books from 4:00-5:00p.

The Tale of Despereaux (2003) reigned in our house for many months as a tween favorite. Author Kate DiCamillo is also well known for Because of Winn Dixie (2000), which was made into a movie in 2005. Her newest book is The Magician’s Elephant, and Ms. DiCamillo will be signing books from 11:30a-12:30p and speaking from 2:40-3:10p.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid author, Jeff Kinney, will also be at the Book Fair tomorrow. He is a University of Maryland alum and used to write a comic for the campus paper. The latest in the Diary series is The Last Straw due out this year. Mr. Kinney will be signing books from 1:00-2:00p and speaking from 4:25-4:55p.

Megan McDonald is the mastermind behind the Judy Moody series. Ms. McDonald is another author who started young – she wrote for her school newspaper when she was ten years old. Her newest books are The Rule of Three (2009), which is a Sisters Club story, and Judy Moody & Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt. Ms. McDonald will be speaking from 10:00-10:55a and from 1:55-2:25p and signing books from 4:00-5:00p.

The Stinky Cheese Man is coming! Well, the author, Jon Scieszka, is. The Library of Congress recently tapped Mr. Scieszka to be the first National Ambassador for its Young People’s Literature program, and he is the founder of a non-profit literacy organization, Guys Read. His books have broad appeal to young kids and adults alike, and he is due to release a new book, is Robot Zot!(2009) later this year. He will be speaking from 10:00-10:55a and signing books from 11:30a-12:30p.

The adorable tale of friendship between a hippo and turtle, Owen & Mzee was told by Craig Hatkoff in 2006. His picture books have told amazing tales, and his newest book, Winter's Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again (2009), is about a rescued baby dolphin that learned to swim using a prosthetic tail. Mr. Hattkoff will be speaking from 12:10-12:40p and signing books from 1:00-2:00p.

See you on the Mall!

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