Not yet nine o’clock, the corner of 50th and 8th in Manhattan buzzes with activity, from your morning jogger types and early risers in search of good coffee or the late night crowd staggering home like some apocalyptic zombies (probably in search of coffee). Tourists are aplenty, luggage in tow, emptying cabs in front of hotels while others wait on the sidewalk, waiting on an Uber or taxi while frantically checking their watches.
All of these normal observations can take place in any major city. But perhaps the most surprising (and impressive) observation that stood out was the long and winding cue of kids, teens and young adults inside the Javits Center for the final (and only) day of Book Expo/Book Con open to the public.
In what is supposed to be a dying medium due to the daily advances of technology and how people consume their information, this long line of kids not only provided me with an injection of hope – seriously, if you were to see this line you’d think you were at an Ariana Grande concert – it gave me the boost I needed to keep moving forward with a writing career that has taken me many places over the last 20-something years.
“Yeah but books are big in New York.”
Not so fast – these book fans came from all over the country and across borders to stand in that line and geek out to their favorite authors signing autographs, listen to panels and check out the latest releases hitting stores in the fall. They came in costume, dressed like their favorite book characters and it was refreshing to see that at no time did I see a Marvel costume.
“What’s your name?” I asked a young woman approaching my table. I saw how her eyes gazed across the vast showroom of impressive displays from publishers like Random House, Disney, Harper Collins and Candlewick.
Her name was Diana and she was from El Paso, Texas (my awesome hometown) and she was in New York specifically for this very occasion. I still get goose bumps thinking about encounter.
The bottom line
Looking back on the experience, I realize that there is no long line of book fans on a cloudy and moist Saturday in New York without the influence of teachers, librarians and parents. And for this, I say “Thank you so much.” I fell in love with writing because I had the same support from people providing me stories to read, whether it was the back of a cereal box, a major daily or a novel so thick it could double as a doorstop.
If you find yourself in New York for Book Expo 2018, stop by my booth and say hello. Pizza for Breakfast! is the follow up for Pancakes for Dinner! and I’ll be promoting this title. I’d love to know your name and where you came from.
There’s nothing better than meeting readers in person! Check out information on school visits here!