Programming for Children's Booksellers Abounds at BEA

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Featured speakers at the Children's Book & Author Breakfast will be authors Jamie Lee Curtis (right), Jack Gantos (below left) and Ursula K. Le Guin (below right).
Photo credit:
Merry Scully
Photo credit:
Marion Wood Kolisch

Appearances by renowned authors and illustrators and an addition to the trade show floor at this year's BookExpo America (BEA) will be of interest to all those who deal in books for children. The American Booksellers Association (ABA), Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC), Children's Book Council (CBC) Children's Booksellers and Publishers Committee is sponsoring an afternoon of programming for children's booksellers on Thursday, June 3, as well as the Children's Book and Author Breakfast on Friday, June 4. And, this year, the Children's Booksellers and Publishers Committee will have a booth, number 256, on the trade show floor in the children's specialty section.

Anne Irish, ABC executive director, spoke to BTW about the BEA schedule with enthusiasm. "We are very pleased to have a booth on the show floor and hope that we will have a chance to talk to as many people as possible…. For ABC, it's our chance to show booksellers what we do -- for example, our annual catalog, "Choices for Children," is designed for use the whole year; members use it at conferences and send it out to their mailing lists. We will also display posters from our 20 Minutes a Day/Read With a Child campaign. And people can enter a raffle to win a piece of artwork by Debra Frasier -- that's a generous donation from the Riverbank Review. We are excited about our new venue for ABC's Annual Secret Garden Silent Auction and Dinner -- the Winter Garden on the top floor of the new Harold Washington Library Center. It is dramatic, with a glass ceiling and trees growing in the room." To relax and meet away from the show floor, the ABC Hospitality Suite will be in Room SA2A, accessible from the floor and open during show hours.

On Friday afternoon from 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. at the ABA/ABC/CBC joint committee booth on the show floor, Walter (Mayes) the Giant storyteller and Hicklebee's Children's Books owner Valerie Lewis, authors of the new compendium from HarperResource Valerie & Walter's Best Books for Children: A Lively and Opinionated Guide, will be signing books.

ABC Annual Meeting and Lunch

From noon - 12:15 p.m., on Thursday, immediately following ABA's morning marketing programming, registration for ABC's annual meeting and box lunch pick-ups will take place in Room S105A. Lunches are provided free to ABC voting members, courtesy of Hyperion Books for Children. Publishers and associates who wish to purchase box lunches should contact Irish at (608) 836-6050 or

The ABC annual meeting will be held from 12:15 p.m. - 12:45 p.m., and the lunch will begin at 1:00 p.m. Hyperion author Mo Willems, author/illustrator of the 2004 Caldecott Honor Book Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus; The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog; and the new fall 2004 title Knuffle Bunny, will speak. Booksellers from this year's Pannell award-winning children's specialty store, Hicklebee's Children's Books in San Jose, California, and last year's winner, Halfway Down the Stairs Children's Books in Rochester, Michigan, will give short presentations, and the remainder of the session will be dedicated to association member brainstorming and networking.

ABA/ABC/CBC Afternoon Program

Newbery Medal-winning author Linda Sue Park

From 2:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m., "An Afternoon of Educational Programming for Children's Booksellers" will take place in Room S105. The program is free and open to anyone; no registration is required. Featured will be an address by Newbery Medal-winning author Linda Sue Park (A Single Shard, When My Name Was Keoko, and The Firekeeper's Son, Clarion Books). Following the address, the popular Children's Book Buzz Workshop will return. The editors and marketing staff from a variety of publishing houses will present their top new titles in small roundtable sessions. For more information, contact

ABC Annual Secret Garden Silent Auction and Evening With Children's Booksellers

ABC's silent auction and gala evening event will be held in the Winter Garden at the Harold Washington Library Center at 400 South State. The Reception and Secret Garden Silent Auction will take place in an adjoining room from 5:00 p.m. - 6:45 p.m. Many pieces of original artwork by children's authors and illustrators will be on display for bidding and, as it was last year, one special piece will be raffled off. Dinner will be served from 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m., followed by speakers Chris Van Allsburg (The Polar Express, Houghton Mifflin) and Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith (The Stinky Cheese Man, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, Viking). Reservations and tickets are required for this event. For information contact ABC at (608) 836-6050 or

Children's Book & Author Breakfast

On Friday, June 4, the Children's Book & Author Breakfast will be held from 8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. in the Grand Ballroom at McCormick Place. Featured speakers are Jamie Lee Curtis, author of When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old's Memoir of Her Youth (HarperCollins Children's Books) and the upcoming It's Hard to Be Five: Learning How to Work My Control Panel (Joanna Cotler); Ursula K. Le Guin, author of Gifts (Harcourt Children's Books); and Jack Gantos, author of Hole In My Life (Farrar, Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers). The breakfast is open to all BEA attendees; admission is $25. Registration is through BEA. For information, go to