The Orange County Children’s Book festival was an absolute blast! As a writer of young adult fantasy and a past preschool teacher and current junior high teacher, how could I not go to this event? Of course, this is an annual event and has been a thing in the past, but I never knew about it or went. I’m sure glad I went this time.
There are over 125 authors and illustrators with booths promoting and signing their work, and many of them have extra things like bookmarks, pens, notepads, artwork, and all kinds of fun things. While there were too many to choose from, I narrowed my selections to three authors/illustrators works to bring home for my collection, since I don’t want to break my wallet.
First I would like to feature Michael A. Hernandez. He wrote Pandora: Shadow of the Box and does all of his own artwork. He has young adult and adult artwork featuring the characters from his story, T-shirts, and trading cards. His artwork is absolutely amazing, and he even did some fan art of Daenerys from Game of Thrones, Wonder Woman, and Rei from Star Wars. His novel sounds fun and full of magic, and his illustrations that go along with it are absolutely amazing (they should be, since the illustrations he has presented are what drew me in).
Next I would like to feature Gwen Katz, a historical fiction writer. Her novel, Among the Red Stars, features a female pilot squadron during World War II, and she is also a short story contributor to a graphic novel anthology of queer historical fiction, which we really should see more of in the world. I can see Katz being extremely successful in the near future, especially for young female readers.
Last, but not least, I would like to feature Alane Adams, author of the Legends of Orkney trilogy (and spin-offs to come).
The day I wish I wore make-up:
How Adams describes the Legends of Orkney trilogy is like Percy Jackson but with Norse Gods (I mentioned Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, and the two novels were actually published around the same time). She also says she is writing another series featuring some of the same characters, but with Celtic mythology, which is interesting and unique. With the purchase of her novels, I received a bunch of character artwork postcards, which was absolutely awesome. Having character cards really adds to the dynamic of a novel series, in my opinion. I also got a pen and notepad! How cool is that? I can’t wait to read these middle grade books. They sound absolutely amazing.
It was so refreshing to see so many families and young people at the book festival. It was a very enjoyable event, and the variation between genres, authors, and illustrators was fund and exciting. The variety made a big difference, and I was excited to find an abundance of middle-grade and young adult writers there, as well as children’s book writers.