Our Afternoon at the Teen Book Con

I love to read. And I love that my kids love to read. Even more? I love to talk with my kids about the books they’re reading, especially my teen daughters, who have voracious appetites for books and who each have such strong opinions about plots, characters, and writers.

That’s why when my 17yo daughter came home and said we HAD TO GO to Teen Book Con, I listened up.

Held for the 2nd year at Houston area’s Alief Taylor High School, the Teen Book Con mission is to:

  • Connect teen readers to local and national authors and illustrators,
  • Educate, enrich, inform, and entertain local teens and other participants,
  • Promote literacy skills,
  • Encourage interaction between aspiring writers and established authors,
  • Celebrate the educational and recreational benefits of teen reading.

Because of a very busy day, we actually had to go to Teen Book Con in shifts. My oldest daughter went with some friends at the start of the day and listened to the keynote presentation from author Deb Coletti. My daughter loved Coletti’s talk and found her very relatable, funny, and inspiring. My daughter then sat in on a panel called “A Walk on the Dark Side” with authors Gail Giles, Ellen Hopkins, Lauren Myracle, and Elizabeth Scott. My daughter was impressed by the comraderie between the authors – all of whom had just met – and felt that they truly cared about the teens in the audience and gave serious consideration to all the questions from the kids.

My 12yo daughter and I went later in the day and arrived just in time to listen to the panel called “Here There be Ghosts…and Werewolves and Everything Else.” We listened to authors Andrea Cremer, Rachel Hawkins, Stacey Kade, Saundra Mitchell, and Joy Preble talk about how they got their starts in paranormal romance, how they make their books stand out from others in the same genre, and how they each overcome the challenges of writer’s block.

My 12yo daughter (standing in purple shirt) asking the panel how they get past bouts of writer's block.

The panel signed a beach ball (in honor of author Rachel Hawkins' coined term "Amazeballs!") and threw it in to the audience.

The event was very well organized, volunteers were helpful, they had books for sale, and to top it off: the authors stayed to sign books!

My 12yo daughter was particularly excited about this, because she’s a big fan of Rachel Hawkins. I’ve reviewed her novel Hex Hall here on my blog, and I have the sequel Demonglass in my to-be-read pile right now (the 12yo already snatched it up and read it all!). My 12yo was giddy as we stood in line to have her books signed, and flat-out ecstatic to then be able to take a picture with Rachel Hawkins herself.

When asked what she thought of the day at Teen Book Con, my 12yo daughter got teary-eyed as she shared how much it meant to her that real authors, authors she reads and loves and looks up to, would take the time to come and meet their fans. To meet her. It gave her and my oldest daughter who attended even more passion about reading, writing, and Young Adult fiction. Mission accomplished, Teen Book Con!