Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Great article yesterday in Rochester's local newspaper "Democrat and Chronicle"

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.”
But 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.
Think 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.
They 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 are participating.
Trueman, 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.
“There’s 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 very often.”
And 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.)
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.
Adds 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 same way.”
Indeed, 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.
And 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.
This 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.
“I 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.
Maldonado recalls one of her favorite moments was when authors were asked in an opening ceremony to name the Broadway musical they felt best described their life.
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.

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