Saturday, October 8, 2011

OC Children's Book Festival Recap!

Last Sunday I was at the Orange County Children's Book Festival, and I had a blast!  There was a ton of great authors there, and the day was filled with signings, giveaways, panels, and readings.  This was my first time attending the festival, and I was a part of the YA/Teen Stage Press Corp.  I was mostly at the stage all day, as it was packed with panels and authors throughout the day!  Here's a recap of what went on at the Teen Stage:

"In-Be-Tween" Panel

Gitty Daneshvari (Moderator)- School of Fear series
Greg Taylor- Killer Pizza series
Helen Stringer- SpellBinder and Midnight Gate
Greg van Eekhout- Kid vs Squid and The Boy At The End Of The World
Mark Jeffrey- Max Quick

This was the first panel of the day, and it was made up of Middle Grade/Tween authors.  Each of them talked a bit about their books and read a chapter or two as well.  Gitty was a hilarious moderator, and she and the authors talked about their favorite memory as an author, and what their greatest fears as an author are as well (the most common answer was that no one would read their books and that they would have to go back to their day job).

PJ Haarsma and Frank Beddor
PJ Haarsma- The Softwire
Frank Beddor- The Looking Glass Wars series 

After the first panel, authors PJ Haarsma and Frank Beddor came up to talk about their books.  Both of their books have amazing artwork, and they shared some of it with us!  PJ Haarsma talked about what his book is about, and Frank Beddor gave an animated retelling of how he was inspired to write The Looking Glass Wars series.  There are also online interactive games to go with both of their series as well.  You can find The Looking Glass Wars game here and The Softwire game here.

Lisi Harrison and Garret Sander
Lisi Harrison- Monster High series, The Clique series, and The Alphas series
Garret Sander- Monster High Dolls Lead Designer, Mattel

Next up author Lisi Harrison and lead designer Garret Sander came up to talk to fans about their Monster High series.  Lisi talked about how she had been approached to write the books for the series, and how it has turned into a huge interactive platform with dolls, books, and a website.  Garret added that they were trying to look at what girls these days are into and enjoy when coming up with the Monster High dolls.  There was even an extremely dedicated fan who showed up dressed in Monster High attire!

Holly Goldberg Sloan
Holly Goldberg Sloan
I’ll Be There

Then Holly Goldberg Sloan came up to talk about her debut novel, I'll Be There.  She talked about how she started writing her novel at a resort in Mexico while there for a friend's birthday!  She was originally a screenwriter and worked on films such as Steve Irwin's The Crocodile Hunter Movie.  She was very funny, and it was a lot of fun listening to her!  Holly also has a new novel that is going to be published called, Counting By Sevens and she is writing a companion novel to I'll Be There.

"Keeping It Real" Panel
Lindsey Leavitt (Moderator)- Sean Griswold’s Head and Princess For Hire Series
Jessi Kirby- Moonglass
Kirsten Hubbard- Like Mandarin
Andrew Smith- The Marbury Lens and Stick

The second panel of the day was the "Keeping It Real" panel, which featured authors who write realistic fiction for teens.  Some great authors were on this one, including my favorite, Andrew Smith!  The authors each talked about their books and read from them a little.  Then they went on to talk about what it was like getting published, what it means to write "real"-istic fiction, and what they've noticed about their writing over the years.  Author Lindsey Leavitt was a last-minute moderator, as sadly author Heidi Kling who was originally going to moderate couldn't make it.

After the panel a few more authors such as Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, authors of Spoiled, DJ MacHale author of the Pendragon series and his new Morpheus Road series, and Kailin Gow author of her new series The Fire Wars came up.  They read from their books, and took questions from the audience as well.  Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan were especially funny as they talked about their popular website.  Sorry I didn't get any pictures of Heather Cocks, Jessica Morgan, or DJ MacHale to share with you!

Kami Garcia
Kami Garcia- Beautiful Creatures series

Next up was Kami Garcia, co-author of the popular Beautiful Creatures series.  She read from the latest book in the series, Beautiful Chaos, which isn't even out in stores yet!  After the reading Kami answered questions about the series, and talked about what it is like writing with her best friend, Margaret Stohl.

"Paranormal Tendencies" Panel
Emma Michaels (Moderator)- The Thirteenth Crime and Anasazi
Inara Scott- Delacroix Academy
Cindy Pon- Kingdom of Xia series
Jeff Mariotte- Dark Vengeance
Gretchen McNeil- Possess

The last panel of the day was the "Paranormal Tendencies" panel, which featured authors who write in the paranormal and supernatural genre.  Each of the authors read from their book, and then talked about whether they would actually live in the worlds of their books if they got the chance.  Cindy Pon said, "I would love to visit, but not live there!"  Gretchen McNeil said,"Too scary!!"  There was also a very eerie and sinister scene from Possess that Gretchen read from that takes place in a doll shop.  Creepy!

Lisa Desrochers
Lisa Desrochers- Personal Demons and Original Sin

After the last panel, Hope Larson author of her graphic novel, Mercury, came up and showed some of her earlier sketches and drawings.  Sorry I didn't get any pictures of her either!  But right after Hope was Lisa Desrochers!  Lisa read from Last Rite, which is the newest novel in her YA series.  Last Rite hasn't been released yet, and Lisa gave us a peek at the cover for Last Rite!  I have to say, I'm digging the red.

Katie Alender
Katie Alender- Bad Girls Don’t Die series

The next author to take the stage was Katie Alender!  Katie's second book in her Bad Girls Don't Die trilogy, From Bad to Cursed, recently came out as well.  Katie read from her first book, and gave away packs of cards to those who asked questions.  I can't wait to start reading my copy of Bad Girls Don't Die!

Heather Brewer
Heather BrewerThe Chronicles of Vladimir Tod and The Slayer Chronicles

Next Heather Brewer came up to talk about her popular The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series and her brand new series The Slayer Chronicles.  She took questions from her fans (or as she calls them "her minions"), and talked about what it was like when she was in high school.  She used many of her own experiences, such as being bullied, and put that emotion into her writing.  Now she's a rock star author!

Nancy Holder
Nancy Holder- Wicked series, Crusade series and NEW Wolf Springs Chronicles

Nancy Holder was next, and she read from her book.  Nancy also answered questions about what it is like co-writing with  fellow author Debbie Viguié, and about her work on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series.  Nancy also has a new YA book coming out soon, that is co-written with Debbie Viguié.  The book is called Unleased, and it definitely sounds mysterious and spooky!

Amber Benson
Amber Benson- Calliope Reaper Jones series and Among The Ghosts

Last but not least was Amber Benson!  Amber read from her latest revision of Book 4 of her Calliope Reaper Jones series.  The writing was full of humor, and it sounds like a very fun read!  Amber answered questions about her work as an actress and also her work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  She was the last author of the day, but I was extremely content that I got to see so many!


There was also a huge Box of Books that was being given away.  Almost all of the books in the box were signed too!  I'm so jealous of whoever won!  Here's what it looked like at the start and finish of the festival:




Here's a look at all the great swag and books I picked up from the festival as well!  I was so excited that I got to get so many of my books signed!


I had an absolutely amazing day at the OC Children's Book Festival, and I definitely can't wait to go again next year!  It was so much fun getting to listen to all of the authors speak, and I met a lot of great bloggers as well!

Bloggers I got to see:

-Lauren, 365 Days of Reading (Check out her Recap Part 1 and Recap Part 2 of the festival!)
-Alethea, Read Now Sleep Later (Check out her blog to read reviews of the books that were at the festival!)
-Alyson, Kid Lit Frenzy (Check out Alyson and Alethea's organization Bridge To Books!)
-Ashlyn, Teenage Reader (Check out her Recap and make sure to enter her giveaway as well!)
-Mary, Bookhounds YA (Make sure to stop by her blog, because she's got a TON of fantastic giveaways from the festival!)
-Jessica, Read Schmead (Check out her Recap!)
-Ishita, The Reading Fish (Check out her Recap!)
-Darla, DforDarla's Definite Reads (Check out her Recap!)
-Zareen, Reach For The Stars And The Books (Check out her Recap!)

And a HUGE thank you to Robyn Hawk, the Teen/YA Stage Coordinator!  Robyn made Press Passes for all of the bloggers, set everything up, and made the stage absolutely awesome!!!  Thank you Robyn for making the day so special!


Check out my photo album for the festival here.

Check out the OC Children's Book Festival website at

Check out the Teen/YA Stage blog at
Check out the Festival's Facebook page at
Twitter Hashtag: #OCCBF


I hope you enjoyed my recap, and if you'll be in the SoCal area next year, definitely make sure to come to the festival!  I can't wait for next year, and I'll see you there!

-This is T.B. with Another Book Back on the Shelf...
Until Next Time, Keep Reading!


  1. Nice recap and good haul. I totally want to go next year.

  2. Love the way this recap post is laid out with the pictures! Sounds like you had a great time. I'm totally jealous that you got to see all these authors (especially Kami Garcia!)

  3. Tessa, it sounds like you had a BLAST! I didn't even know about this festival *lowers head in shame*.... I totally would have gone! But I'm glad you had such a great time :) thanks for the recap!


  4. That looks like it was so much fun! I'm very jealous! There's never anything like that here in Oklahoma.

  5. It was a great event!! Love the post!


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