The Silver Lining | BEA Day 1

Read below in this post for notes from the Tween market panel I went to. Also, there is another post below this one about the Teen Author Carnival.

Today we arrived at BEA super early to do a test run to see how long it would take to commute from NJ. Joining me on the commute was  and Jennifer Hoffine. Despite living almost directly across the river from the Javits center for 6 years (and now living just slightly north but still directly across the Hudson river), I’ve never actually been to the Javits center. Pretty huge!

The first thing we did was went to check out Denise’s book in the New Author Spotlight section. Here she is with her baby. And the best part?


*faints* That’s a huge deal and I cried when she showed it to me. So that’s just another reason to pick it up on September 7th.

After that we split up to go to various panels so we could divide and conquer. I attended the tween marketing panel, mostly because that’s an area I’m interested in, but since I’ve never written in the genre, I knew I had a lot to learn. It was really interesting. They had a psychologist on the panel talking about development at that age. Also, a bookseller from Greenpoint and the publisher of Feiwel and Friends.

Here are some key notes:

  • Tweens 8-12 are "Too old for toys, but too young for boys."
  • Tweens are the most powerful consumer group since the baby boomers and they make up more than $335 billion dollars of direct and indirect spending.
  • The worst thing to happen to reading was book reports and testing because tweens started to read for answers instead of escapism or pleasure.
  • Tweens want to be productive and competent but fear failure.
  • Rebellion against parents is the definition of being cool.
  • Parents often worry about sexual content in books, but violence and consumerism are more worrisome
  • Parents also worry about the edgy content of tween books, but nothing in a book is worse than what’s shown in PG-13 movies or even on regular TV shows
Physical characteristics:
  • Rapid growth spurts (different parts of the body growing at different rates)
  • Growth spurts differe for boys and girls
  • Changes in metabolism often lead to restless of squirmy behavior or listless lethargic behavior
  • Alterations in blood sugar stability are the norm
  • Development of secondary sex characteristics
  • Body image becomes a large part of self-concept
  • Acne is common
  • Poor posture is common

Emotional characteristics:

  • Kids test adult value systems and become reliant on peer groups

  • They desire independence, but need adult security

  • They overreact to anything with sexual implications

  • Attention seeking; sometimes inappropriately, yet they generally do not want to stand out in the crowd

  • They often fantasize

  • Critical of self

  • Exhibit feelings about fairness and values in others

  • Think about death
  • Intellectual characteristics:
    • Over 75% of middle level students display concrete as opposed to abstract reasoning abilities
    • Extraordinary expansion of mental growth
    • A loss of interest in academic or creative studies is displayed by over 25% of students
    • Varying mutation rates cause widest range of intellectual abilities
    • Different learning styles are evident

So it was an excellent panel. After that we met up with Jen Hayley and Shelli Johannes for more panels and lunch. Here is a pic of me and Jen Hayley in front of the Penguin car!

After that, I went to the Editor Buzz panel and learned about the hottest up and coming books for adults. They sound AMAZING! I can’t wait to start reading these. The ARCs I picked up were:
 and WEST OF HERE by Johnathan Evison, which I can’t find a photo of. Also, we heard about BAD SCIENCE, but there weren’t any ARCs available tonight.

All in all, a great day. And now? Bed before tomorrow’s jam packed events. BEA exhibits, blueboarder dinner, kidlit drinks!


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8 Responses

  1. That panel sounds great. Although I have to say that the sorts of book reports I had to do when I was a kid didn’t suck the joy out of reading the way that modern ones do. Back then you had to basically summarize the story, and maybe make one or two other points about setting or character, but you didn’t have to answer specific questions. Definitely a better way to read. These days kids have to analyze everything to death (and at an age before they actually have the appropriate level of brain function/development to manage it well – not cool!)

  2. Those notes on the tween panel are very informative! It’s a genre that I’ve been very interested in exploring, but–like you–I still have a lot to learn about it.

  3. Shana,
    What a wonderful synopsis of the tween panel! I so needed to hear all that since I’m starting my MG novel! And Shelli is the best, isn’t she!!
    Enjoy your posts- looking for a spot to follow you.
    If you want, check out my blog, my contest giveaway- books, gift cards, and chocolate- goes until 6/4
    Look for the post with the picture of a little girl crossing her fingers!

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