Virtual bookstore events

Has anyone else attended virtual events at a local bookstore this past year during COVID-19? I’ve got to say, I’m a fan. I’ve been to a few recently for friends’ new books (here’s looking at you, Jimmy Matejek-Morris and Amy Cherrix!) and then last Thursday evening I gathered my family together to watch one that our local bookshop, An Unlikely Story Bookstore & Café, was hosting. Owner and Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney was in conversation with Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter (a fellow Bostonian!) about their new graphic novel Allergic (Graphix/Scholastic), which I’d just shared an advanced copy of with the 10-year-old in our house (an avid graphic novel reader and dog lover), who read it in one sitting and called it “a bit sad but really good. People who have an allergy would be inspired by this book.” His glowing review, the discussion from this event, not to mention the topic and Nutter's illustration style have me calling dibs on reading this book next in our house.

The reason I’m such a fan of virtual bookstore events is that we can watch them, not only from the comfort of our living room no matter where we are in the world (there was someone from the Philippines at our event!), but also ANYTIME WE WANT since bookstores have been sharing these author events online afterward for anyone who may have missed part or all of one. (For example, halfway through this Allergic event that same kid of ours wanted to know what inspired the author and illustrator to write the book…a question the author had already answered early on when the kids were still getting settled in and quiet on the couch. *facepalm* Re-watch party, anyone?) Do I miss the comraderie and excitement of going to in-person events? Sure, but with these virtual events there are still opportunities for audience participation and Q&As, plus you don't have to worry about an event selling out or not having a good view. What do you think of them if you've attended any? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

I encourage everyone to check out their local (or favorite!) indie bookstore’s website for upcoming events to attend, subscribe to their newsletter if the store has one, follow the bookshop on social media, and in general, support indie bookstores by buying (or donating) lots of books from them!

Cynthia K. Ritter
Cynthia K. Ritter

Cynthia K. Ritter is managing editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She earned a master's degree in children's literature from Simmons University. She served on the 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award committee.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.