Texas Book Festival: Middle Grade and YA Author Recommendations


We’re just under a week away from the best book focused event of the year, the Texas Book Festival. This event occurs from 10 AM to 4:30 PM on Saturday, the 27th, and from 11 AM to 4:30 PM on Sunday, the 28th. There’s also the Lit Crawl event Saturday evening for adults, taking place on the East Side of town.

The Festival brings the country’s best authors to speak at the Texas State Capitol. Each panel is carefully curated to suit readers’ interests and bring together authors of similar themes and subjects. Unlike a general in-store book signing, the Festival offers you the chance to see your favorite authors discuss a variety of topics they’re passionate about with one another. Audience questions are fielded after each panel has concluded, and book signings take place ten minutes afterward in the tents outside the grounds.

The Festival is special to me in part because I worked there for two years while training to be a librarian, but also because it is an incredibly engaging event for readers of all ages with wide ranging interests.

So, to further encourage every ACE Library patron to attend, I’ve compiled some YA and Middle Grade author highlights appearing this year. Be sure to check these authors out!

  • Jon Scieszka – Were you ever a fan of the beloved The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales? Well, Scieszka co-authored that book, and wrote many other wildly popular, hilarious books as well (many of which we have in the library). His new series, Guys Read, focuses on compiling different writers’ work on subjects that appeal to boys specifically. This year, he’s promoting Guys Read: The Sports Pages.
  • Katherine Applegate  – The author of the popular Animorphs series is promoting the beginning of a new series called Eve and Adam, co-written with her husband, Michael Grant. In it, a girl whose just survived a nearly lethal car accident is given the task to build the “perfect boy” from the ground up, using intricate simulations.
  • Michael Grant – Applegate’s husband, who’s also promoting Adam and Eve, is the author of the wildly popular YA series, Gone.
  • Paulo Bacigalupi – Acclaimed author of the dystopian YA novel Shipbreaker (Printz winner and available in ACE Library), Bacigalupi will be discussing the new sequel, Drowned Cities – a book sure to be equally as dark and riveting as its precursor.
  • Hope Larson – Larson breathes new life into the classic story A Wrinkle in Time (Madeline L’Engle – many copies available in the ACE Library) by revamping it into a stunning graphic novel.
  • Jacqueline Kelly – Author of the wonderful book, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, Kelly returns with Return to the Willows, a sequel to the classic adventures of Mr. Toad in The Wind in the Willows.
  • Rebecca Stead – Stead won the Newbery Award for her book, When You Reach Me, and returns to discuss her new title, Liar and Spy. The description of Liar and Spy caught my interest immediately – a seventh grade boy newly transplanted to Brooklyn befriends another boy who enslists him as a fellow spy. But how far is too far when it comes to spy work for the boys?
  • Garth Nix – Nix wrote the critically acclaimed series featuring Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen (all available in our Library). His new offering is called The Monsters, and is the second book in the Troubletwisters series.
  • Dav Pilkey – The popular author of the Captain Underpants graphic novel series returns with Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers. 
  • Maggie Stiefvater – Author of the popular werewolf series, Shiver, as well as the lauded The Scorpio Races, Stiefvater’s latest venture is the beginning of a trilogy titled The Raven Boys. Prep school boys, psychics, and ancient sleeping kings of unspeakable power fill this exciting read for young adults.
  • David Levithan – Co-author of Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Levithan returns with the curious and intriguing Every Day, in which the main character, “A,” wakes up every day in a new body. I’m sure you can imagine how interesting it gets from there.
  • E. Kristin Anderson – As part of the YA Lit Crawl event, Anderson and a plethora of YA authors will be discussing Anderson’s anthology, Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves. Anderson compiled the experiences of various authors and their ups and downs during their teenage lives to create a relatable, emotional, and therapeutic nonfiction read for teens.

These are just a handful of great authors to go and see speak this weekend at the Texas Book Festival.

I’ll try to post more recommendations as I come across authors I think you’ll all enjoy – whether they be nonfiction or picture books for younger children.

See you at the Festival!

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About ACE Academy Library

The ACE Academy Library serves the population of ACE Academy: K-12 aged gifted and talented students living in Austin, TX.
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