Texas Teen Book Festival Announces 2017 Lineup

Young Adult Book Festival Will Feature Award-Winning Authors Francisco X. Stork, E. Lockhart, Adam Silvera, and More 

The Texas Teen Book Festival announced today their 2017 lineup, featuring New York Times bestselling authors E. Lockhart, Francisco X. Stork, Adam Silvera, Stephanie Perkins, Zac Brewer, and more. The 2017 Festival will take place on Saturday, October 7 at St. Edward’s University. TTBF is in its ninth year and remains free and open to the public.

“From high fantasy to high tech to high drama, TTBF’s Class of ’17 offers a little something for everyone,” says Meghan Goel, TTBF Programming Director. “With 38 featured authors, terrific programming partners like We Need Diverse Books, and a brand-new interactive space, this is shaping up to be our best Festival yet. See you there!”

This year’s lineup will feature a wide array of notable and award-winning authors. Among others, New York Times bestselling author Adam Silvera will present his book They Both Die at the End, and E. Lockhart will discuss her latest psychological suspense novel, Genuine Fraud, which tells the story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life.

Francisco X. Stork, author of Marcelo in the Real Word and winner of the Schneider Family Book Award for Teens, will join the lineup to discuss his new fiction work, Disappeared. TTBF will also showcase international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins and her novel There’s Someone Inside Your House, as well as bestselling author of The Slayer Chronicles Zac Brewer and his latest novel, Madness.

YA-genre enthusiasts will be able to enjoy sessions and panels throughout the one-day Festival, including a panel presented by Fierce Reads, the Young Adult initiative launched by Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. The Fierce Reads panel will feature authors Mitali Perkins, Caleb Roehrig, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Jennifer Mathieu.

TTBF authors will join previously announced keynote speakers Mayim Bialik, actress, neuroscientist, and author of Girling Up: How to Be Strong, Smart and Spectacular, and Marie Lu, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling series The Young Elites and the blockbuster bestselling Legend series. At TTBF, Marie will present her latest work, Warcross. Author Jason Reynolds will be the closing keynote speaker. Reynolds will launch his narrative verse novel, Long Way Down, at the 2017 Festival.

Mayim Bialik

Mayim Bialik

The full lineup of authors and their featured books for the 2017 Texas Teen Book Festival is as follows:

  • Marie Lu (Warcross)
  • Mayim Bialik (Girling Up)
  • Jason Reynolds (Long Way Down)
  • Adam Silvera (They Both Die at the End)
  • Adi Alsaid (North of Happy)
  • Aditi Khorana (Library of Fates)
  • Amy Tintera (Avenged)
  • Andrew Shvarts (Royal Bastards)
  • Anna-Marie McLemore (Wild Beauty)
  • Ashley Poston (Geekerella)
  • Caleb Roehrig (Last Seen Leaving)
  • Cindy Pon (Want)
  • Cory Putman Oakes (Witchtown)
  • Corrie Wang (The Takedown)
  • David Bowles (Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky— Barrio Writers Sponsorship)
  • Diana Noble (Evangelina Takes Flight)
  • E. Lockhart (Genuine Fraud)
  • Erin Bowman (Retribution Rails)
  • Francisco X. Stork (Disappeared)
  • Jenna Evans Welch (Love & Luck)
  • Jennifer Mathieu (Moxie)
  • Jessica Taylor (A Map for Wrecked Girls)
  • Julie Buxbaum (What to Say Next)
  • Julie Murphy  (Ramona Blue)
  • Kathryn Ormsbee (Tash Hearts Tolstoy)
  • Kerri Maniscalco (Hunting Prince Dracula)
  • Lisa Maxwell (The Last Magician)
  • Lizzie Velásquez (Dare to Be Kind)
  • Mackenzi Lee (Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue)
  • Mitali Perkins (You Bring the Distant Near)
  • Peter Bognanni (Things I’m Seeing Without You)
  • Renée Watson (Piecing Me Together)
  • Ryan Graudin (Invictus)
  • Sandhya Menon (When Dimple Met Rishi)
  • S.J. Kincaid (The Empress)
  • Stephanie Perkins (There’s Someone Inside Your House)
  • Tillie Walden (Spinning)
  • Zac Brewer (Madness)
A program of the Texas Book Festival, the TTBF is presented in collaboration with BookPeople, a dedicated team of librarians, and venue sponsor St. Edward’s University. The program is made possible in part by a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The 2016 TTBF boasted more than 4,000 attendees and an all-star lineup representing the best in literature for teens with more than 25 celebrated authors including New York Times Best Selling authors Sabaa Tahir, A.J. Hartley, Ally Carter, Leigh Bardugo, and celebrity author, actress, and comedian Mindy Kaling.

The one-day TTBF will take place on October 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at St. Edward’s University, 3001 South Congress Avenue. TTBF remains free and open to the public thanks to generous donors, sponsors, and dozens of committed volunteers. For more information, please visit www.texasteenbookfestival.org and keep up with announcements at Facebook.com/TexasTeenBookFestival, and on  Twitter and Instagram @TXTeenBookFest.

ABOUT THE TEXAS TEEN BOOK FESTIVAL

The Texas Teen Book Festival is a one-day event that celebrates the teen reading experience by inviting fans to visit with some of the most popular and critically acclaimed young adult authors in the country. The Texas Teen Book Festival was born as the Austin Teen Book Festival in 2009, when librarian Heather Schubert partnered with BookPeople to organize a gathering at Westlake High School. Five hundred guests and sixteen authors attended the first year and the event grew every year thereafter. From 2011-2013, the Festival was sponsored by the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation, and in 2014, the Festival became a program of Texas Book Festival and was renamed the Texas Teen Book Festival. One of the largest gatherings of its kind anywhere, the annual TTBF takes place in the fall on the campus of St. Edward’s University. For more information, visit www.texasteenbookfestival.org.

Writing a Winning College Essay

Tips for letting your story shine through

For the more than 2 million students applying to colleges and universities, the task of essay writing can be a dreadful experience.

Whether applying for admission or scholarships, many students find this part of the application process to be the most stressful and daunting part of their senior year. Often without understanding how to approach the essay, students struggle with staring at a blank page and finding a compelling topic.

However, according to Howard Reichman, president of EssayDog, an easy-to-use, cloud-based platform that helps students write winning college application essays, “a college application essay is really just a story – a story colleges want to hear about you.”

“Every good story, from a blockbuster movie to a novel from your high school English class to your favorite show, has four critical elements that make it fascinating and reveal inner depth about its characters,” Reichman said. “That’s exactly what you want your college application essays to do: show the real you beyond the test scores and GPA.”

According to Reichman, every good story has these four essential elements:

  1. The initial plan
  2. The anticipated outcome
  3. The setback
  4. The discovery

Whether students use an online tool like EssayDog, which gets students started quickly by asking them to write just one sentence about each of these four parts, or they tackle the task of essay writing on their own, the next step is to round out the narrative by filling in details that let the applicant’s true character shine through.

The essays that resonate most with college admissions departments typically convey a student’s intangibles or “the Four Ps,” specifically:

  • Passion: What drives you and what do you really care about?
  • Personality: What are you like to be around? Would your friends and family be able to identify you by reading your essay?
  • Perseverance: How do you respond to challenges? What gives you strength, both intellectually and emotionally?
  • Potential: What talents, interests and goals will you bring to a university’s campus next fall? How can a college help you further develop these as you continue to grow into adulthood?

More than anything, procrastination and stress are often students’ worst enemies when they sit down to begin the essay-writing process.

“If you feel you are wasting time, switching topics or disagreeing with your parents, teachers or college counselors about the direction your essays are taking, try going back to these simple storytelling techniques to ensure you are showcasing what sets you apart from other applicants with similar grades and scores,” Reichman said.

Visit essaydog.com or find EssayDog on Facebook and Twitter to find more tips for confidently writing standout college essays. (Family Features)

3 Reasons to Study Abroad During High School

Think about how your teenager will spend their next summer vacation.

What if their months off from school could include something much bigger than the usual lineup of part-time jobs, sports practices and hanging out with friends?

Picture this: Your teenager wakes up in a different bedroom in a different country, far from home. After eating a breakfast that may consist of new and different foods and flavors, served by a caring host family, your student heads out to have amazing experiences in a new land. Whatever the day brings, your teenager will remember it for a lifetime.

What surprises many is a summer of studying abroad is not just for college students. What’s also surprising: going abroad is not just for families of means. For all high school students, there is ample opportunity to spend their summer in a new country, having an experience of a lifetime that just isn’t available at home.

Every year, more than 300,000 U.S. students study abroad, according to the NAFSA: Association of International Educators. If your high school student were among them, how would the adventure transform their lives and futures?

1. They stretch and grow.

A summer abroad is the ultimate “stretch” experience a student could have. That is, learning to communicate in a foreign language and adapting to daily life in a different culture makes students who study abroad in high school more resourceful, and helps them develop their interpersonal skills and discover new solutions to obstacles.

“Many parents see a change in their students when they return from the experience of studying abroad,” says Matt Redman, vice president of Global Navigator High School Study Abroad programs at CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange, a nonprofit that operates more than 300 study abroad programs. “They just carry themselves differently because of that boost in maturity and confidence they gain from living in a new place during their summer break.”

2. They get exposure to bigger ideas and experiences.

If going abroad is an opportunity your student wants to pursue, it’s important to understand the options and to identify goals for the program so your teenager has the experience he or she is looking for. Some programs offer daily itineraries where students visit multiple cities and see the major sites. Others are more focused and offer interaction with local people, local language lessons and a chance to live and engage with the community. While both approaches offer valuable life experiences, learning can be balanced with fun.

For example, CIEE’s Global Navigators high school programs give students an opportunity to learn and work in a field of study, such as marine science, filmmaking or global entrepreneurship in places like China, Spain or Peru. At the same time, there’s room in the schedule for exploration and fun, where students sightsee, try new activities and participate in community events.

3. It prepares them for their next steps.

After their time in a different country, the feedback from the students is nothing short of inspiring.

“Our students often talk about the new things they’ve discovered about themselves just from having these new experiences far from home,” Redman says. “Along with becoming more independent, many talk about their plans for the future. With very few exceptions, they see college as an essential part of their futures. These teens are not only excited about going to college, they know what they want from life. In having these experiences, they find their focus, and they set goals.”

It’s easy to see how focus and passion can fuel a student’s drive to excel academically. Beyond college, research suggests studying abroad also has positive effects on career prospects.

Villanova University found that graduates who spent time in a different country as part of their studies had better opportunities and a higher job placement after graduation than those who did not.

In addition to that, businesses are increasingly seeking employees who can contribute a global perspective. According to the Association of American Colleges and Universities, 78 percent of 400 employers surveyed in 2015 said students should gain the “intercultural skills and understanding of societies and countries outside the U.S.” Yet only 15 percent of employers find these qualities in recent college graduates.

Thinking about it? The opportunity is closer than you think.

Studying abroad is long associated with families of means. Look for scholarship opportunities and doors can start opening for your teenager. For example, CIEE’s Global Navigator Scholarships are based on financial need and cover anywhere from 20 percent to 100 percent of their tuition costs, making the opportunity to study abroad and experience a new culture within reach for even more families. Since 2013, these scholarships have made international study a reality for more than 3,000 students. To learn more about CIEE’s Global Navigator High School Study Abroad program and the scholarships, visit ciee.org/globalnavigators. (BPT)