A celebration of middle grade books, authors, and readers!

Inaugural event: 5/31/2014 | 6pm - 8:30pm | doors open at 5:30pm | Jefferson Market Library

follow on twitter | email: kidsauthorcarnival@gmail.com

Kids Author Carnival 2014!

After two months (two! that is not very long!) of preparation, the inaugural Kids Author Carnival has come and gone, and organizers Claire Legrand, Lauren Magaziner, and Heidi Schulz are thrilled to report that it was a smashing success!


Organizer Claire Legrand talks with a portion of the huge crowd of readers who showed up for the event! (Photo credit: Marietta Zacker)

What a wonderful night this was. The Jefferson Market Library in Manhattan was absolutely packed with readers—and, much to the KAC organizers’ delight, there were tons of kids in attendance! Since that was our goal when planning the KAC, we could not have been more pleased. 


Kids and parents gather around authors for the Writing Round Robin station, at which participants wrote collaborative stories! Authors at this station: Michelle Schusterman, Laura Marx Fitzgerald, Paul Durham, Tommy Greenwald, Elizabeth Levy, Dana Alison Levy, and Lauren Tarshis. (Photo credit: Jeremy West)

We don’t know exact attendance numbers, but we estimate around 200 people attended the KAC. (Wahoo!) Readers piled into the main children’s room for opening remarks, after which readers followed their team leaders to various stations situated around the library. 


Authors (l-r) Aaron Starmer, Marie Rutkoski, Sage Blackwood, Kody Keplinger, Shelby Bach, and Kwame Alexander talk about finding inspiration to Team Lyra Silvertongue! (Photo credit: Jeremy West)

Kids absolutely loved getting their team badges and dividing into Team Harry Potter, Team Lyra Silvertongue, Team Percy Jackson, Team Coraline, Team Artemis Fowl, and Team Matilda. Team Harry Potter seemed to be the most popular—no surprise there!


Authors (l-r) Tim Federle, Jen Swann Downey, Christopher Healy, Matthew Cody, and Caroline Carlson get the crowd pumped up for a game of book-themed Charades! (Photo credit: Jeremy West)

Attendees traveled through the library to six stations—a writing round robin, book-themed Charades, a Q&A on finding inspiration, a “create a character” writing exercise, a Q&A on the writing process, and book-themed Pictionary.


The Writing Round Robin station, hard at work! (Photo credit: Marietta Zacker)

Walking through the library at any given point, you could hear cheers from the game stations, see young readers writing stories next to their favorite authors, and watch as readers asked questions of our Q&A panelists.


Authors (l-r) Elizabeth Levy and Dana Alison Levy lead readers through the Writing Round Robin activity. (Photo credit: Marietta Zacker)

An intrepid team of volunteers (most of them book bloggers) helped run the event, and the KAC organizers must give them special, warm thanks for their energy and excitement. We could not have done this without them!

Erica @ The Book Cellar
Brittany @ The Book Addict’s Guide
Amy @ Tripping Over Books
Alyssa @ Books Take You Places
Heidi @ Bunbury in the Stacks
Elena @ Novel Sounds
Kat @ Cuddlebuggery
Steph @ Cuddlebuggery
Pixie @ The Bookaholic
Jessie @ Ageless Pages Reviews
Kara @ Great Imaginations
Bekka @ Great Imaginations
Lyn @ Great Imaginations
Mackenzie Reide, editor of the SCBWI Metro NY Chapter Newsletter


At the “Create a Character” station, authors Jen Malone, Kelly Barnhill, Jeff Baron, Rebecca Behrens, Michael Northrop, and Mary G. Thompson helped readers create their own characters using fun fill-in-the-blank worksheets. (Photo credit: Jeremy West)

We also want to thank Frank Collerius, branch manager of the Jefferson Market Library, and Rebecca Schosha, the Jefferson Market children’s librarian, for being such enthusiastic champions of the KAC from the beginning. Their support and promotional efforts made this event possible.


Authors (l-r) Heidi Schulz, Bruce Coville, Danette Vigilante, Josh Berk, Kate Milford, and Dan Poblocki talk to readers about the writing process! (Photo credit: Jeremy West)

We also want to thank Books of Wonder for being the official KAC bookseller! Working with them was an absolute delight. Special thanks to Shay, Joel, Justin, and Ramon!


Authors (l-r) Aaron Starmer, Marie Rutkoski, Sage Blackwood, Kody Keplinger, Shelby Bach, Kwame Alexander. (Photo credit: Jeremy West)

The best part of the evening was seeing the joy on kids’ faces as they marched, skipped, and danced from station to station. (Yes! We saw all of those things happen!) They laughed, they created and shared, they asked wonderful questions. Their excitement about books and reading was inspiring to watch, and made quite a few adult attendees (including volunteers, authors, and the KAC organizers) a little misty-eyed. (Okay, a lot misty-eyed.)


Authors (l-r) Isaiah Campbell, Laurel Snyder, Edith Cohn, Soman Chainani, and Lauren Magaziner lead their readers through a few rounds of book-themed Pictionary! (Photo credit: Jeremy West)

Last, but certainly not least, the KAC organizers want to extend the deepest thanks to the 37 authors who came to this event and made it so special. This was a labor of love, a grassroots celebration of middle grade books specifically and reading in general. Thank you, authors, for doing what you do, and for being a part of this memorable night.


Author Paul Durham leads his group through the Writing Round Robin exercise. (Photo credit: Jeremy West)

Our hope is that kids, parents, and authors alike came away from the KAC feeling energized and inspired. We also hope that the KAC will continue onward and become an annual event, so that more readers and more authors can take part and spread the joy of reading. Based on the feedback we’ve received so far, it’s obvious the interest and excitement are there, so … 

Bring on KAC 2015!


Authors (l-r) Tim Federle, Jen Swann Downey, Christopher Healy, Matthew Cody, and Caroline Carlson in the midst of Charades antics! (Photo credit: Jeremy West)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Call for Swag!

Attention middle grade authors!

If you want your swag on the Kids Author Carnival swag table, email kidsauthorcarnival@gmail.com for details! We will accept the first 20 respondents.

Spread the word!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Announcement: Alexander London

Just a quick announcement from your KAC organizers that, sadly, Alexander London will no longer be appearing at the KAC. We are sorry to miss him, but we hope he will be able to join us next year. And in the meantime, we still have 37 fantastic authors lined up to meet you on Saturday, 5/31! 

We hope to see you there! 

Thursday, May 15, 2014
Super excited for this new middle grade series coming from Holly Black and Cassandra Clare September 9, 2014!
The Iron Trial (Magisterium #1)

Super excited for this new middle grade series coming from Holly Black and Cassandra Clare September 9, 2014!

The Iron Trial (Magisterium #1)

Anne Ursu’s OVER/UNDER of 2013: The Overlooked, Underappreciated Middle Grade Reader


Ranting, again, about the way we talk about middle grade readers, and highlighting a few upcoming books that somebody or another will say is inappropriate for kids.

Love this post by one of our favorite authors, Anne Ursu, talking about how complex the best middle grade books are—and how important that is for middle grade readers!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


I just remembered how good the Bunnicula books were and I wanted to post about it. That’s all.


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