Hey mi gente, I hope everyone is hanging in during this time of worry and self-isolation. Though we may not be able to gather at the moment, I wanted to continue to highlight some of the literary festivals and conferences we can look forward to that take place in Houston. Previously I wrote about Sin Muros: A Latinx Theater Festival, Comicpalooza, and Fade to Black. Today I’m writing about TeenBookCon, a wonderful festival that connects young readers with authors.
TeenBookCon is a volunteer committee of librarians, teachers, and fans of young adult literature who come together and plan a one-day book convention with keynote speakers, author panels, book signings, and activities for teens. This year’s event was scheduled for April 4 in Houston but has now had to cancel due to the public health concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Although this news is sad, the annual event really is special and the organizers are already planning for 2021.
Their mission is super simple: provide the time and space to get teen readers in touch with their favorite YA authors. There are author signing booths and TeenBookCon partners with local indie bookstore Blue Willow Bookshop, where attendees can purchase books to get signed. There are also local food trucks with plenty of food to keep everybody fully fueled. I think the best part of this convention is the energy behind it. The organizers have always zeroed in on the mission. They have amazing sponsors and don’t even charge for registration. I was sold on it the moment I read that.
And even now, they are still trying to find ways to get signed books into hands and possibly connect authors to readers virtually. They won’t let up. This is that important. This alone makes me want to support their efforts for this year and next year. Look out for updates on their Twitter feed, @TeenBookCon, for virtual event announcements.Lupe Mendez is the literary outreach coordinator for Poets & Writers in Houston. Contact him at Houston@pw.org or on Twitter, @houstonpworg.