I recently returned from Book Expo America (BEA), one of the nation’s largest book conventions held at the end of May. Booksellers, librarians, book bloggers, and booklovers gather at the Javits Center in New York City to visit booths where publishers showcase forthcoming books. The publishers give out free books or ARCs (advance reader copies), and they talk up their books, hoping that many people will buy these titles when they come out. Attendees stand in long lines to get free, autographed copies from the authors and illustrators.
Authors and editors give talks and promote their books. I enjoyed attending the Middle-Grade Book Buzz, where editors shared the top middle-grade books coming out in September. It’s so exciting getting to read copies of these books before they get to bookstores and libraries. I’m going to give you a sneak peek so you’ll know what books to watch for at the end of the summer. If you want to know what these books are about, watch Mixed-Up Files for September 2015 New Releases.
Whenever I attend BEA, I always promise myself I’ll limit the books I take home, but before I know it, I have bags full of books. For three days in a row, it’s books, books, and more books. Then I have to drag those heavy bags up and down the subway stairs. Sore legs and arms are worth it, though, for all the book treasures I bring back.
It probably wouldn’t be so bad if I lived in New York, but then I have to travel home. After three days of collecting books, I usually have so many that I can barely cram them all into my suitcase. Last year I had so many books, I had no room for anything else, so I had to mail my clothes home.
I have one other reason I love being in New York for BEA week. The night before the conference starts, there’s a huge auction of art from picture book and middle-grade illustrators. It’s a chance to see one-of-a-kind illustrations as well as to meet the artists. This year was special because Judy Blume was there to receive an award. I’ve always been a big fan of her books, so it was thrilling to actually see her in person. My favorites of her books are the humorous ones:
What’s your favorite Judy Blume book? And if you had a chance to go to BEA, what kind of books would you fill your bags or suitcase with?
About the Author
For the past two years, copies of Laurie J. Edwards’s new books were given out at BEA. She dressed up like a cowgirl to sign ARCs of Grace and the Guiltless in 2014. The second book in that Wild West series, Her Cold Revenge, is coming out in August 2015. She is writing two more books in this series under the pen name of Erin Johnson. Even though she thinks signing her books is lots of fun, she believes the best part of BEA is filling her suitcase with copies of exciting new books. Read more about Laurie and her books on her blog, her website, Facebook, and Twitter (@LaurieJEdwards).