Every other week, the AJC DBF will have a different literary blogger share their "Inside Scoop" on various tracks, authors, and opportunities that will be at #dbf2016. Stay tuned for these curated sneak peeks into all the magic at this year's festival!
As the largest independent book festival in the nation the AJC Decatur Book Festival has gotten pretty skilled at providing a program that electrifies readers of all ages. As a writer, reader, librarian and someone who is raising a new generation of lovers of books I’ve got a pretty long list of events and panels I’m excited about for 2016, especially on the kidlit stage. As a self-proclaimed YA aficionado I can’t help but be humming with excitement about the 2016 line-up, which includes more than a few can’t-miss events.
Topping my list is an awesome panel on urban fantasy. Zoraida Cordova, author of the new series, Brooklyn Brujas will debut her title, Labyrinth Lost, about a teenage bruja (pronounced broo-hah, otherwise known as a witch) whose power is so out of control she accidently makes her entire family disappear on her Deathday. I just finished the book and her world building is breathtaking. While traipsing through Brooklyn’s off-the-beaten path witch haunts would have been fun enough, we get to explore Los Lagos, a purgatory like middle ground, with her reluctant heroine, Alejandra. Joining Zoraida on the panel will be Victoria Schwab who just released Book 1 in her Monsters of Verity duology, This Savage Song. The title follows Kate and August as they discover the difference between hero and monster, the guilty and the innocent. Any fantasy author worth their salt has the ability to create a monster, but what makes them truly terrible is the fear they’re able to tease out of the characters. The fun of any author panel is being able to get the answers straight from the source, #spillthesecrets.
When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds, a story about a teenage boxer in Brooklyn who gets himself into some trouble with is best friends on the block, won the Coretta Scott King Award this year. It was also a 2014-2015 Georgia Peach Book Award nominee. Not bad for a debut novel. While Greatest was a Young Adult powerhouse, Reynolds has set his sights on Middle Grades with his next release, Ghost. Any librarian will tell you that kids always read up, never down, but that doesn’t mean that Reynolds won’t be discussing his earlier work, or his joint title, All American Boys with Brendan Kiely, a scarily timely novel about a boy whose run-in with the police ignites a firestorm of unwanted attention to the realities of racial profiling and police brutality. Recently, he wowed at the American Library Association’s annual convention, giving a speech at the Coretta Scott King breakfast that left people breathless. You’d be crazy to miss him in the flesh during the festival.
Sabaa Tahir, author of An Ember in the Ashes, will also be setting the author stage on fire that weekend, and that is in addition to two parades, more food than you can stuff in your mouth and book vendors of all kinds.
Who doesn’t need another book tote? I’m in preparation mode, reading all of the authors’ titles so I’ll be ready with the best questions. If you’re smart, and I know you are, I’ll see you in the audience warming the seat next to mine.
Shanna Miles is a blogger, high school librarian and aspiring writer living in Jonesboro, Georgia. She blogs at www.shannamiles.net and hosts a YouTube channel all about YA books called The Best Book Ever Written. You can also follow her on twitter @srmilesauthor.