BBF 2020: Youth Programming

The Boston Book Festival has always featured talented creators of books for all ages, and this year is no exception! We’re bringing together authors and artists for a variety of creative and enriching sessions for young people—you’ll be able to take advantage of the interaction of a live session, or watch lively content on your own time!

Picture Books

Picture book sessions will be divided into three primary themes:
To coincide with World Space Week (October 4–10), authors and illustrators whose work unlocks the mysteries of space and the universe:
Jason Chin, Your Place in the Universe
Julia Denos, Starcrossed
Oneeka Williams, Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo’s Saturn Surprise
Books that celebrate identity:
Derrick Barnes (with illustrator Gordon James), I Am Every Good Thing
Tami Charles (with illustrator Bryan Collier), All Because You Matter
Jessica Love, Julián at the Wedding
ML Marroquin (with illustrator Tonya Engel), My Hair Is Magic
Ashok Banker (with illustrator Sandhya Prabhat), I Am Brown
The sessions above–along with previously announced sessions on social justice and activism–will feature readings from each book, along with interactive content (such as writing exercises and drawing prompts) and, in many cases, an opportunity for live Q&A with the books’ creators. Readings and other sessions will be archived online for the duration of the festival (and in many cases beyond) so that parents and educators can utilize these engaging presentations, readings, and discussions to enrich virtual learning this fall.

Middle Grade

Continuing the outer space theme from our picture book sessions, long-time space enthusiast John Rocco will present his gorgeously illustrated book for middle-grade readers, How We Got to the Moon, which was recently long-listed for the National Book Award.

We’re pleased to feature a highly interactive Illustrator Draw-Off sponsored by Candlewick Press, where artists of middle-grade graphic novels face off in a lively and hilarious series of drawing challenges, hosted by Cagen Luse of Comics in Color. The best part? The audience gets to judge each round and crown the overall winner! Confirmed illustrators are Jeffrey Brown (Once Upon a Space-Time), Sophie Escabasse (Witches of Brooklyn), and Shannon Wright (Twins).
As previously announced, we are featuring author-illustrators Juana Medina and Jerry Craft during the BBF and as part of our Shelf Help partnerships with the Rafael Hernández K–8 School and Boston English High School. In addition to being BBF featured presenters, the authors will also virtually visit the two schools in specially organized events by our partners at Wondermore. Donations received in conjunction with their BBF events will be earmarked to expand the schools’ library collections. Jerry Craft’s session at the BBF is sponsored by Simmons University.

Young Adult

For teens, we have two panels featuring a great lineup of talented writers.
First, a session on authenticity and identity, featuring Arvin Ahmadi (How It All Blew Up), Daven McQueen (The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones), and former One City One Story author Jennifer De Leon (Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From).
Secondly, we have a thoughtful session about friendship and its end, with Justin A. Reynolds (Early Departures), Amy Spalding (We Used to Be Friends), and Ashley Woodfolk (When You Were Everything).

Story Walks

We know that no one (including kids!) wants to spend all day on screens, so we’re giving families two opportunities to explore Boston’s diverse neighborhoods–and to discover great books at the same time. During the month of October, kids and families will find Story Walks in Nubian Square and in Downtown Crossing, with pages from award-winning picture books posted in store windows–just follow the route to read the book in order!

The Nubian Square Story Walk features the book The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, with artwork by Kadir Nelson, and has been developed in partnership with the Boston Public Library. Thanks to a generous donation by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the first fifty families who complete the Story Walk and visit Frugal Bookstore will receive their own copy of The Undefeated to continue enjoying at home.

The Downtown Crossing Story Walk is generously sponsored by Downtown Boston Business Improvement District and will feature the book Saturday by BBF 2019 presenter Oge Mora.

Stay tuned, and check back often on our presenters page  for more announcements and updates!

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