* * * Countdown to BookExpo * * * Programs for Children's Booksellers Abound at BEA

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Children's booksellers have much to look forward to at this year's BookExpo America (BEA), as the American Booksellers Association (ABA), Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC), and Children's Book Council (CBC) team up once again to offer exciting author discussions, workshops, roundtables, and other events focused on children's literature.

The events begin Thursday, May 29, with the annual meeting of the Association of Booksellers for Children. Registration and box lunch pick up begin at 11:45 a.m.; all those pre-registered for the meeting can pick up a free box lunch.

The ABC annual meeting will run from 12:15 p.m. - 12:45 p.m., followed by lunch and a presentation by Hyperion, the lunch sponsor, until 1:00 p.m. From then until 1:45 p.m., participants can network and socialize. For information and pre-registration, contact ABC Executive Director Anne Irish at (800) 421-1665, fax (608) 836-1438, or e-mail airish3900@aol.com.

After lunch, the children's bookselling program, sponsored by the Children's Booksellers and Publishers Committee -- a cooperative committee of ABA, ABC, and CBC, will be held from 2:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m., and will feature "Books Too Good to Miss."

For the first half hour, Chris Crutcher (King of the Mild Frontier, Whale Talk, Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes) will discuss the creative process with his editor, Virginia Duncan of Greenwillow Books. This will be followed by the Children's Book Buzz from 2:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. Editors and marketing staff from a number of publishing houses will present exciting new titles in small roundtable sessions. Participating publishers include Candlewick Press, Harcourt Trade Publishers, HarperCollins Children's Books/Katherine Tegen Books, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, Hyperion Books for Children, Little, Brown & Co., Peachtree Publishers, Scholastic/Blue Sky Press, Simon & Schuster, and Walker & Co.

At 3:45 p.m., the programming will conclude with a special presentation by children's literature specialist and educator Esme Raji Codell. Codell is the author of Sahara Special (Hyperion) and Educating Esme: A Diary of a Teacher's First Year (Algonquin).

Booksellers can top the night off at the ABC Secret Garden Silent Auction and Evening with Children's Booksellers to be held at The Empress Pavilion in Chinatown. The auction begins at 5:00 p.m., and the traditional Chinese banquet starts at 6:45. There are 125 exciting donations made by authors and illustrators. New this year will be dinner speakers, including Cornelia Funke, author of The Thief Lord and an upcoming fall release from Chicken House/Scholastic.

Admission to the auction and dinner is $60 for ABC members and $75 for nonmembers. Reservations are necessary, and the deadline for reservations was May 9. Reservations are past due, but there still may be tickets available. Contact ABC for information and reservations.

On Friday morning, the Children's Book and Author Breakfast will be held from 8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The breakfast is presented in cooperation with the ABA/ABC/CBC Children's Booksellers and Publishers Committee. Speakers include Barbara Park, author of Junie B. Jones, First Grader: Toothless Wonder (Random House Children's Books); Walter Dean Myers and Christopher Myers, creators of Blues Journey (Holiday House); and Robert Sabuda, creator of Alice in Wonderland: A Classic Collectible Pop-Up (Little Simon/Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing). Admission is $25, and the event is open to all BEA attendees. Tickets are available through BEA registration at http://www.bookexpoamerica.com/. -- Karen Schechner