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Adult Books 4 Teens
Inside Adult Books 4 Teens

ALA Preview

ALA can be overwhelming — the variety of programs and exhibit booths, author signings and the sheer number of people! I thought it would be fun, and maybe helpful, to come up with a short-list of author events in New Orleans that are relevant to this blog’s focus: adult books with appeal to teen readers. Keep in mind  that there are undoubtedly many relevant author signings and appearances that are not listed here — I’m looking forward to having the full conference program in hand!

Disclaimer: While I have tried to include accurate times and locations when I could find them, please double-check the program upon arrival.

Friday, June 24

4–5:15 p.m. Dan Savage, co-author of It Gets Better, is the speaker for the Opening General Session.
A signing will follow.

5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Exhibit floor grand opening
I am only going to mention one ARC that you might want to look for. Obviously, there are many more. (Take a look at my BookExpo Summary for more upcoming titles.)  I cannot recommend this book enough: Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell will be available at the Norton booth, #1326. There are a limited number available.  And hey, the book comes out on July 5th — if you do not find an arc, go ahead and reserve it at your library!

Saturday, June 25

1-2pm Carrie Vaughn signing at the Tor/Forge Booth #1122
(see our review of After the Golden Age — though I believe she will be signing Kitty’s Big Trouble)

1:30–3:30 p.m. Celebrating Southern Writers (ALTAFF)
Convention Center, Room 335-336
John Hart (Iron House)
Tayari Jones (Silver Sparrow)
Kathleen Kent (The Traitor’s Wife)
Jennifer Niven (Velva Jean Learns To Fly)
Pat MacEnulty (Wait Until Tomorrow)
Kevin Wilson (The Family Fang)
led by Library Journal’s Barbara Hoffert
Book signing to follow, some free/some at discount.
Tayari Jones’ The Silver Sparrow was reviewed here and Kevin Wilson’s The Family Fang promises to be fascinating. Wilson earned an Alex Award for his short story collection, Tunneling to the Center of the Earth (Harper, 2009). Kathleen Kent is the author of The Heretic’s Daughter and The Wolves of Andover. John Hart is a personal favorite — definitely worth a try if you are a mystery fan.

4-5pm Catherynne Valente signing at the Tor/Forge Booth #1122
(see our review of Deathless)

4-5:30 p.m. Tales from the Heart: Literary Memoirs (ALTAFF)
Convention Center, Room 283
Wendy McClure (The Wilder Life)
Theresa Weir  (The Orchard)
Brianna Karp (The Girl’s Guide to Homelessness)
Margaux Fragoso (Tiger, Tiger)
Rachel Hadas (Strange Relation)
The Wilder Life could appeal to your Laura Ingalls Wilder fans, and The Girl’s Guide to Homelessness is one that I wish we had received and reviewed last year. Its buzz continues. The Orchard got a big push at BookExpo and sounds wonderful.

4–5:30 p.m. Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Information Science (LITA)
Convention Center, Auditorium C
Orson Scott Card (The Lost Gate)
Jim Ottaviani (T-Minus: The Race to the Moon)
John Scalzi (Fuzzy Nation)
Carrie Vaughn (Kitty’s Big Trouble)
David Weber (Out of the Dark)
An illustrious group!

Sunday, June 26

10-11am  Orson Scott Card signing at the Tor/Forge Booth #1122
(See our review of The Lost Gate)

***10:30 – noon  Alex Awards program (YALSA)***
Convention Center, Room 383-385
And the highlight of any Adult Books for Young Adults fan — the Alex Awards. While the deliberations of the committee are held behind closed doors, the program is open to the public. Every year one, two or more of the winning authors speak. This year Steve Hamilton, author of The Lock Artist, and Alden Bell, author of The Reapers are the Angels, are expected.

10:30- noon  “From the Inside(rs) Out: Book Editors and the New Titles They Love” (also known as the AAP Editors’ Buzz Program)
Five or six editors will share their favorite upcoming titles. It is always a pleasure to hear from the editors themselves. One of the books being introduced is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, sure to be an Adult for YA hit in September (and another ARC to keep an eye out for — at the Random House booth).

11:00–12:00 pm Guy Gavriel Kay (Under Heaven) will sign at Penguin booth #1422

11:30-12:30 pm  Eleanor Henderson (Ten Thousand Saints) will sign at HarperCollins booth #1316

11:30am Tayari Jones (The Silver Sparrow) will read on the LIVE! @ your library Reading Stage

12:30pm Eleanor Henderson (Ten Thousand Saints) will read on the LIVE! @ your library Reading Stage

1:30–3:30 p.m.  First Author, First Book (ALTAFF)
Convention Center, Room 269
Neil Abramson (Unsaid)
Ellen Bryson (The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno)
Sen. Bob Graham (Keys to the Kingdom)
Eleanor Henderson (Ten Thousands Saints)
Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower)
Jon Michaud (When Tito Loved Clara)
Library Journal’s Barbara Hoffert is moderating.
Book signing, some free/some discounted.

2:30-3:30 p.m.  Orson Scott Card (The Lost Gate) on the PopTop Stage

The Best of the Rest
Other recommended (YA) author events:

Friday, June 24, 8 – 10 p.m.
Booklist‘s annual Books for Youth forum.
“Keep ‘Em Coming: Series Fiction Creators Talk Shop.”
Convention Center, Rooms 393–394.
A panel discussion featuring Jonathan Stroud, Lauren Myracle, Dan Gutman, David Levithan, and Booklist‘s Children’s Books Editor, Ilene Cooper.
I am a long-time fan of the Friday night Booklist Forums. If you can make it, you will not be disappointed.

Sunday, June 26, 8–10 a.m.
Nonfiction Book Blast: Booktalks and Activities for Your Library (ALSC)
Convention Center, Room 243
Loree Griffin Burns (The Hive Detectives)
Shirley Duke (You Can’t Wear These Genes)
Kelly Milner Halls (In Search of Sasquatch)
Deborah Heiligman (Charles and Emma)
Carla Killough McClafferty (The Many Faces of George Washington)
Carla Mooney (Explorers of the New World)
Darcy Pattison (Prairie Storms)
April Pulley Sayre (Rah, Rah, Radishes)
Anastasia Suen (Read and Write Sports)
Christine Taylor-Butler (Magnets)
An incredible group of authors. I wouldn’t miss this for the world.

Monday, June 27,  5:30–7:30 p.m.
8th Annual Poetry Blast (ALSC)
Hosted by LJ’s Barbara Genco, this annual gathering of poets and authors showcases contemporary North American poetry for children.
Convention Center 243
Mike Artell (Petite Rouge)
Stephanie Calmenson (10 Items or Less)
Margarita Engle (Hurricane Dancers: The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck)
Kristine O’Connell George (Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems)
Mordicai Gerstein (Parrots & Pirates)
Nikki Grimes (A Girl Named Mister)
Alan Katz (Mosquitoes Are Ruining My Summer! And Other Silly Dilly Camp Songs)
Joyce Sidman (Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night)
Marilyn Singer (Twosomes: Love Poems from the Animal Kingdom)
Lee Wardlaw (Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku)
Janet Wong (Me and Rolly Maloo)
Tracie Vaughn Zimmer (Cousins of Clouds: Elephant Poems)
Another event of which I have become very fond over the years. Highly recommended.

Monday, June 27, 8–10 p.m.
Michael L. Printz Program and Reception. Sponsored by YALSA
Hilton, Napoleon BR  (Ticketed event)
Paolo Bacigalupi (Ship Breaker)
Lucy Chistopher (Stolen)
A.S. King (Please Ignore Vera Dietz)
Marcus Sedgwick (Revolver)
Janne Teller (Nothing)

Have a wonderful time at ALA!

If you cannot attend, try following the Twitter feed at #ala11. I will tweet on occasion (AngeReads), but most of my time will be spent in meetings. There are many folks much better at Twitter than I who will be sharing their ALA experiences.

Do you have any recommendations?  Please add them below!

Angela Carstensen About Angela Carstensen

Angela Carstensen is Head Librarian and an Upper School Librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. Angela served on the Alex Awards committee for four years, chairing the 2008 committee, and chaired the first YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult committee in 2009. Recently, she edited Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation (ALA Editions, 2011). Contact her via Twitter @AngeReads.


  1. How could you leave off RUSA’s Literary Tastes Breakfast ( This year Guy Gavriel Kay and Nathaniel Philbrick are among the authors who will be talking about their books.

    • Angela Carstensen says:

      Good point, Laura! I was trying to avoid ticketed events, but since I included the Printz awards, I should have included RUSA too. Thanks!