Yay for positive publicity! And an especially big YAY for Stephanie! You go girl. :)
Check out this article in Rochester's Democrat and Chronicle
Book writers, says author Terry Trueman, “spend a lot of time in little rooms quietly mumbling to ourselves and typing.”
get teen readers together with the writers of books they like to read
and it’s anything but quiet. At least the way the Greater Rochester Teen
Book Festival does it each year at Nazareth College.
brass band, pep rally and karaoke party rolled into one and you have a
close approximation. And that’s just the first hour or so of the event,
which kicks off Saturday at 8:45 a.m. with a parade. Authors arrive by
way of stretch limo or classic cars accompanied this year by Bush Mango Drum and Dance.
make their way into the college’s Shults Center along a red carpet, and
eventually into the gymnasium, where pumped up teens gather to cheer,
laugh, listen and dote on an introductory program where all the authors
and illustrators contribute in a giant panel discussion. Turnout is
usually between 1,500 and 2,500; this year 33 authors and illustrators
a Seattle resident who has been to all seven previous Rochester
festivals and has become its official “mascot,” encouraged organizer
Stephanie Squicciarini to create the festival after they met at a
Houston-area teen book festival years ago.
The teens and authors alike share in the enthusiasm, Trueman says.
a not particularly subtle effort on the part of Stephanie and her team
to treat (us) authors as though we’re rock stars,” he says. “The red
carpet, the marching bands, the cheerleaders — we don’t bump into that
teens don’t bump into authors that often, particularly those who write
for them (though Trueman says most young adult authors are simply
authors whom publishers decide to market to teens.)
“don’t always feel safe saying they love reading,” says Squicciarini, a
teen specialist librarian at the Fairport Public Library. At TBF Live!
(as the festival is also known), book worms can emerge from their
cocoons. “They’re all together, celebrating reading,” she says.
“The best part about Teen Book Festival is that it’s totally OK to be
nerdy,” says Carly Maldonado, a Syracuse University graduate student
who has blogged about TBF throughout her teens and early 20s.
fellow organizer Laura C.S. Jones, a professor of literacy education at Nazareth: “They also get to talk with authors who at one time felt the
after all the hoopla of the opening ceremonies, authors break for
workshops. Though the event draws adults, teens get seating preference
over their elders. During these workshops and in between, they have
plenty of opportunities to ask authors questions.
“Over the course of the day, teens develop a good sense of what it takes to tell a good story,” Jones says.
get to see Squicciarini’s sense of self-deprecation. To encourage
school groups to raise money to help the festival remain a free event,
Squicciarini sets a goal each year and offers a reward if they surpass
it. Two years ago. the reward was dyeing her normally red hair a wholly unnatural shade of pink.
year the kids met the fund-raising goal of $8,888, so Squicciarini will
appear in a prom gown and sing. Though there’s some question as to
whether the latter will be rewarding.
haven’t sung in public since sixth grade chorus,” says Squicciarini,
adding that maybe it would be a good idea to practice before Saturday.
But then, spontaneous singing seems to be a thing at this festival.
recalls one of her favorite moments was when authors were asked in an
opening ceremony to name the Broadway musical they felt best described
“James Kennedy, when it got to be his turn, lept out his chair and sang the entire chorus of Oklahoma
while running around the gym with the portable microphone,” Maldonado
said. Kennedy, a Newberry-winning author, won’t be there this year, but
you can bet the singing and enthusiasm will.