BEA Children’s Author Breakfast 2013
Posted by Caitie F on June 5, 2013
I went to the breakfast again this year. I knew it couldn’t live up to last year, but was hoping it would still be a good time! Luckily it was! I sat at the round table and got a “breakfast” of coffee and a muffin. I mean, it was a good muffin, but they should really have some more food there for the price. Onto the authors!
The event was hosted by Octavia Spencer, the wonderful actress from The Help. Her book Randi Rhodes Ninja Detective comes out in October. I have a galley and hope it is good! She talked about how she grew up reading every mystery series she could, starting with Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. That and her love of kung fu movies is what inspired her book. She thinks diversity is very important in books for children of all ages, which is why she has a very diverse cast of characters. She was entertaining, but I was happy when the other authors took over.
Mary Pope Osbourne, author of the Magic Treehouse series, was the first speaker. She talked about how great her readers are. She said that “Nothing is sweeter, funnier, or more authentic than a 7 or 8 year old.” She has met readers in all parts of the country, in all situations and they have one commonality – they love life, have an innate sense of justice and fairness, and they want to helps others. She talked about how we could change the world if everyone was on reading level when they are in third grade. I am not sure about the timing, but higher literary rates would improve things.
She also runs the Magic Treehouse Classroom Adventure Program. If you are an educator of 1st-3rd graders, I recommend you check it out. It has guides for lessons and lots of materials. She also gives grants to Title 1 schools so they can get her books. Last year, every third grader in the entire city of Newark got 28 of her books. I love this program and it made me love her even more. If your school district has Title 1 schools, I hope you contact a teacher you know to let them know about this program!
Rick Riordan was next. I adore his series and was really hoping that he was a nice guy. He isn’t just nice, he is also hilarious. He used to be a middle school teacher, so I am not surprised he is so successful. I don’t think anyone knows that age group better than the teachers. Percy Jackson started out as a bedtime story. As he was writing he would read it to his students His goal was for the kids to be interested even in fifth period after lunch. He talked about what he hears from students and his speech was so entertaining. He even made a joke about our lame breakfasts, which everyone in the room appreciated.
I love learning that authors are good people in addition to good writers, and it makes me like him so much more…and reminds me I need to get on to catching up on his series.
Veronica Roth, author of Divergent and Insurgent was last. She talked about how she gave up on reading in high school because she was ashamed of the books she liked. People made fun of the excitement for books, and she went away from it. In college, she found her love of reading again and learned to read like someone who is eager to learn. She also talked about learning to deal with critiques and found out that is how you become a better writer. She was very humble about mistakes she has made and her speech was all about humility. It was nice, but didn’t have as much to say as I was hoping.
Overall, the breakfast was a good time. I knew it wouldn’t be as great as last year (I don’t know if anything will top that), but it was still a very nic eevent and I hope I can attend again next year!