Many cities and schools have hosted my author visits over the years. In 2009 I was a National Book Award finalist and was amazed at the NYC black tie event. I have always appreciated the hard work that goes into a successful events of all kinds—school, library, town or city. It is a challenge to attract community support and attendees beyond the usual circle of readers, to reach students and young adults who are at the tipping point—they have read one super-popular series, perhaps, but are poised to slide back into screens, games, and online entertainment in their spare hours. The Rochester Teen Book Festival raised a level of excitement and community I have never seen anywhere else. I was stunned. Really? A vintage, restored bus, classic cars, a marching band, the lawns packed with people applauding, shouting, fist pumping as we were driven past. Then we filed off the bus, following the drum core which appeared from nowhere, walked past the roaring crowds and into the hallways. Screens on the walls showed our entry, gold stars on the floor had our names on them. We were given a quick breakfast while the crowd was brought inside. And then THE DAY BEGAN with a deafening reception in an enormous room, packed with students and educators and people from the community. Thousands of them! Attendance grows every year. I know this because the kids told me. Over the course of the day, in my sessions while we waited for the room to fill, they explained how they got friends to come, how they wouldn’t miss it, what they had done to help raise funds, what they had given up to BE there. Stephanie Squicciarini and her team of energetic, kind, committed support-staffers executed an event that ran like clockwork. Everything went right and nothing went wrong. The TBF involved people of all ages, created an atmosphere of inclusion, of community, and a fabulous celebration of literacy— that amazing human legacy that allows us to learn from people we can never meet if we don’t read, people who see the world differently, who write both facts and fancies, who bare their hearts and strengthen ours, who investigate, experiment, and make us laugh, cry, think, wonder. Kathleen Duey
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Author of "Burn Down, Rise Up".
The Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival is an exciting and free public celebration of reading. During the festival, photographs may be taken for personal or promotional purposes. In some cases, event staff may use photos or videos to promote this non profit event. Please contact TBF committee members with questions or concerns that you might have.