Boston Book Festival 2022

Last Saturday the Boston Book Festival was back in-person (yay) for the first time since 2019, and people turned out in droves to enjoy the beautiful weather and a day full of wonderful discussion about books for the young and the young at heart. The Horn Book once again had a booth at the Copley Square Street Fair (courtesy of the Boston Globe), where we participated in the festival's Passport to Imagination scavenger hunt program for kids; displayed the 2022 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winners and honorees; encouraged people to subscribe and sign up for our newsletters; and gave away copies of the Magazine, along with bookmarks, posters, pens, and stickers. Our thanks to staff members Elissa Gershowitz, Martha V. Parravano, Shoshana Flax, and Cynthia Ritter, and fall interns Lisa Roberts and Roshni Patel for taking turns running the booth all day. Below are some staff highlights from the event. Welcome back, BBF!

Editor in Chief Elissa Gershowitz:

I loved the panel that I was asked to moderate (and thank you Cindy and the rest of the Youth Programming Advisory Committee for thinking of me!). "The Many Worlds of Young Readers: Early Chapter Books" featured authors Janet Costa Bates (Rica Baptista: Llamas, Iguanas, and My Very Best Friend), Debbi Michiko Florence (Jasmine Toguchi, Brave Explorer), Dawn Quigley (Jo Jo Makoons: Fancy Pants), and Raúl the Third (Team Up: El Toro and Friends). We had a fresh and lively discussion, with thoughtfulness, depth, and a lot of laughs (see photo on Debbi’s Twitter feed of us all cracking up). The Horn Book’s booth was again sponsored by the Boston Globe (celebrating its sesquicentennial — “Serving our community for 150 years”), who has our forever gratitude; see photos of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards display (and relive our month-long celebration) and find information about the annual Globe Santa program. All day long, the energy was high. Our booth was busy; the plaza was packed; and encounters with book-friends old and new were serendipitous and heart-swelling. The best that a book festival has to offer!

Associate Editor Shoshana Flax:

It was cheering to spend a sunny day greeting old friends; putting faces to names I’ve only seen over email (thanks for the coffee and munchkins, Irene Vázquez from Levine Querido!); and of course meeting lots of new fellow book people! As we stamped young festival-goers’ passports, we asked them to name a favorite book; many had a hard time narrowing it down, but BBF author Tui Sutherland’s dragon adventures came up a lot, and a certain wimpy kid remains mighty.

I also got to attend a few YA panels. Justina Ireland and Tiffany Jackson proved that authors of horror can be fascinating and funny. Kristin Cashore and Elizabeth Lim gave insight into what it’s like to return to a fantasy world you’ve created in previous books and develop it further. And Sacha Lamb, Tucker Shaw, and Ashley Woodfolk’s characters are so real to each of them that much of the discussion was about the dynamics of those characters’ relationships. Here's to more events like this one!

Intern Roshni Patel:

I went to the "Comics: Duty, Determination, and Daring" adult fiction panel at Cascieri Hall in the Boston Architectural College hosted by reviewer Brigid Alverson with Sara Alfageeh of Squire and Robyn Smith of Wash Day Diaries. It was so cool to listen to them discuss what goes into illustrating a chonky (their word) graphic novel — they develop pain from illustrating for hours on hours, but they also see the people they love in their comics. I remember Robyn said that when she was drawing Nubia: Real One, she used her brother as a model and now she sees her brother having Nubia shoulders; Sara also mentioned that everyone in Squire is someone in her life but all the facial expressions are hers because she needed that reference.

Managing Editor Cynthia Ritter:

I've had this festival "on the brain" since April of this year as I was a member of the 2022 Youth Programming Advisory Committee, so it was a complete joy to see the final product on Saturday and also the large number of people who turned out all day to attend the kids panels (and the festival!). I'm very proud of the work our committee did — we pulled together a diverse group of panels, story times, and workshops — but I was most excited to see the morning panel I suggested Elissa as the moderator for ("The Many Worlds of Young Readers") and those four authors she mentioned above did not disappoint.

For the rest of the day, when I wasn't helping run our Horn Book booth, I bopped into many of the kids (and YA) sessions to grab pictures for our slideshow below and therefore got to briefly hear most of the panelists speak. I haven't been to an event like this since before the pandemic, so while I wish I could have listened fully to all the kids and YA panels, just the parts I witnessed and even being at the festival — talking to kids at our booth, hearing from people who already knew about and love the Horn Book, explaining what we do to newbies, seeing other book-loving friends — was so gratifying and inspiring that I already can't wait for next year's festival and once again attending more in-person book events throughout the year.

Horn Book
Horn Book

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