One day, I was griping to myself about not being able to attend any of the big book events around the country such as BEA, or the ALA annual meetings. I decided to stop whining and pay more attention to the book events that were in my own backyard. That is how I stumbled upon Barnes & Noble's Teen Book Festival, called B'Fest.
This past weekend, every Barnes & Noble store had multiple special events for teens. There were contests, giveaways, and lots of book signings by authors. From what I have seen on Twitter, this was mostly a great experience, but there were some glitches too.
I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. There are about 10 Barnes & Noble stores in my area, which was good and bad. Some stores had amazing events, while others seemed to be left out.
I usually go to the El Cerrito store and there were great events there (lucky me)! On Friday evening, there were two amazing authors talking and signing books: Stacey Lee (Outrun The Moon), and Jandy Nelson (I'll Give You The Sun).
Both took turns reading their books and answering questions. They were both fun and had some different writing techniques (I'll Give You The Sun was written in a completely dark room).
|Stacey Lee looking Cool as she gets into one of Jandy's characters from I'll Give You The Sun.|
Since I was the first to arrive (two hours early), I got a prize!!! I got into the "First In Line" club for Penguin Random House. This means I got to choose an ARC (I chose Gemina - Whoo Hoo!!!!!), and I will get ARC's from Penguin Random House for a year!!! There were also prizes for everyone who showed up. They were mostly tote bags, but it was nice to get a little something.
On Saturday, there was a quiz and ARCs were given away (or so I hear). We arrived late so we didn't participate in that event. Later there was another author talk and signing. This time, Wendy Spinale (Everland) spoke. I felt bad that there were so few people there. Here is why that happened: In another Barnes & Noble store (about 25 miles away) Jennifer Nevin made an appearance! I think most people looked at who was at each store and had to make some choices. Jennifer Nevin is the author of one of my favorite books, All The Bright Places. I was one of those people who were torn. But I opted to stay closer to home.
Wendy Spinale couldn't have been more gracious and kind, answering questions and having a real conversation with my daughter and her friend.
Later that evening, there was another author, Tim Floreen (Willful Machines) making an appearance. He was at the store with Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Illuminae) a few weeks ago, so I didn't stay for that event either.
On Sunday, the store hosted a writing workshop, but by then I was event weary and skipped it.
Overall, I appreciated how Barnes & Noble worked very hard to create lots of special events centered around teens. In order to be fair to the authors who took the time to make appearances, I hope the organizers will try to coordinate better between stores. Customers shouldn't have to choose between authors. Maybe stagger the times so that people could go from store to store. I would do it.
Thank you Barnes & Noble (and El Cerrito coordinator, Sandy) for a fun weekend of books. Keep the events coming, please!
How was your experience at your local B & N? Did you go to any of the events? Let me know in the comments.