What I am doing these days? Getting ready for an exciting, if not thrilling Bay Area Book Festival, for which I put together the children’s and young adult program. A stellar lineup of authors and illustrators, from the quirkiest picture books to the most gripping young adult novels: Cindy Derby, Andrea Tsurumi, Tania De Regil, Mylo Freeman, Rana DiOrio, Andrew Smith, Benny Lindelauf, Gennifer Choldenko, Innosanto Nagara, Laura Atkins, Steve Bramucci, Justina Ireland, Lee Wind, Cindy Pon, Zoraida Córdova and many many more. Two days of amazing panels and interviews and hilarious contests.

New this year? Most of our middle grade and young adult panels moderators and interviewers are all local students! They come from Malcolm X Elementary School to Albany Middle School to Berkeley and Oakland International High Schools, and the powerful young women of Cinnamongirl, Inc and the brave students of the International Congress of Youth Voices.

More excitement? The Literary Death Match will have its first ever middle grade edition and young adult edition at the Bay Area Book Festival. 4 Authors. 3 Judges. 2 Rounds. 1 Champion. And all sorts of hilarity in between. Middle grade and young adult authors compete with each other with their most electric writing, ruthlessly judged by students from Oakland International High School and from Cinnamongirl, Inc. It’s going to be a blast!

And three students of Albany Middle School will interview J.C. Cervantes for a live taping of the Book Club for Kids podcast of award-winning journalist and author Kitty Felde

In short: be there! May 4 and 5 in Downtown Berkeley! All youth younger than 18 free! And all children and middle grade sessions free for everyone! Below are the festival guides for children and middle grade and for young adult:


Middle Grade Guide


YA Guide