BookExpo 2017: Celebration of Bookselling

At last week's Celebration of Bookselling luncheon, many E.B. White Read-Aloud and Indies Choice Book Awards honor and winning authors appeared and spoke:

Susan Hood, author of Ada's Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay (S&S Books for Young Readers), an E.B. White Read-Aloud Picture Book honor book: "Thank you to all booksellers for all you do to help spread the word about these amazing kids and for all you do to change a life one book at a time."

Julie Fogliano, author of When Green Becomes Tomatoes (Roaring Brook Press), an E.B. White Read-Aloud Picture Book honor book: "As a former bookseller, I'm particularly grateful for this honor because I really understand the joy of finding those really special books that you just can't wait to sell like crazy. For me, those books were always kind of quiet books, quirky books, books that might not jump off the shelf into someone's hands."

Yaa Gyasi, winner of the Indies Choice Adult Debut Book of the Year (photo: Bookweb)

Carson Ellis, author of Du Iz Tak? (Candlewick), the E.B. White Read-Aloud Picture Book winner: "Independent booksellers mean the world to me. As an author and illustrator, also as a reader, certainly as a mother, you guys make my world go 'round."

Leslie Connor, author of All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook (Katherine Tegen Books), an E.B. White Read-Aloud Middle Reader honor book: "Thank you for letting 11-year-old Perry T. Cook into your ear and thanks so much for handing it out to your patrons and for supporting all the books that authors write, for finding little gems."

Richard Peck, author of The Best Man (Dial Books), an E.B. White Read-Aloud Middle Reader honor book: "I hope The Best Man finds its way into classrooms and conversations there, but in schools where it doesn't, I hope it finds its way onto the shelves of the bookstore. Thank you for the support. Thank you for what you do for young readers every day."

Adam Gidwitz, author of The Inquisitor's Tale (Dutton Books for Young Readers), an E.B. White Read-Aloud Middle Reader honor book: "What you do in your bookstores is so crucial in bringing the lifestyles, the ideas, the ideals, of different kinds of people to young people who wouldn't get the chance to see them. I challenge you to think if there's a school or neighborhood in your area that doesn't have access to these ideas, to these books, to these authors, either because they don't have the resources or because the adults in that community are trying to keep you out, and see if you could push your way into that community through handshaking and smiling as they say inane, stupid things to you, and do whatever you have to do to get those books into those kids' hands."

Kelly Barnhill, author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon (Algonquin Young Readers), the E.B. White Read-Aloud Middle Reader winner: "I really appreciate the work that you do on behalf of books, on behalf of writers, on behalf of the literary community, and in fostering deep conversations and important relationships between readers and text."

Kevin Henkes, author of Kitten's First Full Moon (Greenwillow Books), a Picture Book Hall of Fame inductee: via video he drew a picture of a dozing Kitten thinking, "Thank you, booksellers!"

Ruta Sepetys, winner of the Indies Choice Young Adult Book of the Year
(photo: Bookweb)

Ruta Sepetys, author of Salt to the Sea (Philomel Books), Indies Choice Young Adult Book of the Year: "I cannot do this without you: I sincerely doubt that teen readers come running into your store saying, 'Give me a book about refugees from East Prussia on a ship that's torpedoed by the Soviets!'... We walk beside [refugees] for 300 pages, feeling their fear, and suddenly a statistic becomes a human being. It's in that moment of connection that our heart hopefully opens and we feel called to do something. In that way, you are not just booksellers. You are lamplighters of hope and empathy and change."

Dava Sobel, author of The Glass Universe (Viking), Indies Choice Adult Nonfiction Book of the Year honor book: "I am a product of the independent booksellers. I want to thank you all, however belatedly, for aggressively handselling Longitude, which is what brought me to this party."

Peter Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of Trees (Greystone Books), Indies Choice Adult Nonfiction Book of the Year: "I was very surprised about the success of this book [in the North American market], and I think the key was the independent booksellers."

Amor Towles, author of A Gentleman in Moscow (Viking), Indies Choice Adult Fiction Book of the Year honor book: "I know without a doubt that A Gentleman in Moscow reaching its audience began with and depended upon the people in this room. Thank you very much for your confidence in the book."

Colson Whitehead, author of The Underground Railroad (Doubleday), Indies Choice Adult Fiction Book of the Year: "You guys have been so supportive over the last 18 years. We love you booksellers and the sales force at Penguin Random House. Thank you for being with me from the very beginning with The Intuitionist."

Yaa Gyasi, author of Homegoing (Knopf), Indies Choice Adult Debut Book of the Year: "I grew up in a town of about 200,000 in Alabama that didn't have an independent bookstore. I truly felt the loss of that, especially when I went to Iowa City and basically lived in the café at Prairie Lights Books. It was there in my second home/office that I came to realize that independent bookstores can act as a kind of sanctuary for the soul."

Marla Frazee, Indie Champion Award nominee: "I love independent bookstores because of everything that they do to make life worth living: the randomness, quirkiness, friendliness, occasional charming grouchiness, diversity, loyalty, political discourse, delayed gratification, fascinating localities, kids reading on the floor, comfy chairs to sit in, stockroom chaos, tiny bathrooms, messy bulletin boards, bookstore pets, and certainly great coffee."

Gene Luen Yang (photo: Bookweb)

Gene Luen Yang, Indie Champion Award nominee: "All of you are out there building community around stories. You're running author visits. You're running book clubs and reading groups. You all are providing the glue that a community can use to create some sort of cohesion."

Louise Erdrich, Indie Champion Award winner: "In Europe, independent bookstores flourish because books are treated as cultural treasures. Books enjoy price protection. If they can do it in Germany and France, we should be able to do it here.... While it may seem far-fetched to talk about price protecting books right now, actually the thing to do is what we're already doing, just being ourselves: eccentric, idea-crazy, customer-loving, flower box-planting, community serving, and shelf-talker-writing people... Thank you for your commitment to providing many different sources of information, your joy and delight in children, and providing places where there is an exuberant free flow of words and thoughts and stories."

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