This past Saturday I was privileged to participate in TeenReaderCon 3.0, both as an attendee and as part of the organizing committee. TRC's mission is to bring (Capital District) area teens and their community together to inspire, share and celebrate a love of reading and writing, providing the opportunity for teens to meet and speak with professionals of the craft. This year TRC's amazing slate of YA authors included Jennifer Armstrong, Joseph Bruchac, Eric Devine, Jackie Morse Kessler, Patricia McCormick , Lauren Oliver, James Preller, and Ryan Smithson.
I'm not sure which group was more excited about this event, the authors or the teens attending. Both groups were in high spirits, from Joe Bruchac rocking the auditorium with his Native American flute and Eric Devine's awesome leap onto the stage, to the kids who bought books, attended workshops to ask questions and talk books and writing, and got their foreheads/arms/shoes/books signed.
For the authors, this is their audience. Teens who read books. And teens who don't read books but listen to their friends gushing about meeting their favorite author and think, "Hey, maybe there's something to this reading stuff..." Teens who are actually interested in reading, and many who are also interested in writing themselves.
For the teens, teachers and librarians who attended, TRC is a chance to listen to the creative process in action. To hear about how books came into being, or went down in flames, as does indeed happen. It was a chance to actually talk to the authors one-on-one, and get to know them not just as excellent writers, but also as people.
Most of all, TRC is an event which inspires. It inspires the authors to keep doing what they do, as they see kids who treat them almost like rock stars. It inspires teens to read, to write, to dream, and to listen to that little voice inside that says, "Yes, someday this could be you." It inspires teachers and librarians to get good books (that kids WANT to read) into their hands. To discuss what makes those books good, what makes those kids want to read, and why story is important.
I am proud to have been a part of the group that made this event happen. It wouldn't have been possible without the heroic efforts of a dedicated bunch of people who feel that yes, connecting kids with books is vitally important, along with a wonderful group of sponsors who believe in our efforts and dig into their collective pockets to support TRC.
If you missed the event this year, you can check out pics and recaps on the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/teenreadercon/). If you're in the Capital District next year at this time, be sure to attend. You won't regret it.