Changing Face of Book Expo

I recently attended BEA (Book Expo America) and it was somewhat disconcerting.  While it was crowded with lots of people bustling about, the air of excitement was missing.  At least was for me, and I talked to a number of other publishing colleagues who agreed.

I also attended some parties that were a bit lackluster.  Parties? Lackluster? Those words shouldn’t be in the same sentence.  But, here we were, at a blah BEA. Some people attribute it to the missing BIG book of the year.  There is nothing that is grabbing everyone’s attention. Others attribute it to the rise of BookCon and the focus on fans, and notably those who have them.  

I haven’t attended BookCon yet, maybe it’s time that I try that out.  That may be where the action is. What do you think? Send me a comment on twitter at @jenniferunter!

The Joy of Reading with Children

One of my greatest parenting joys has been, and still is, reading to my children. I read picture books over and over (our copy of CHICKA CHIKA BOOM BOOM fell apart), most of the entire LITTLE HOUSE IN THE PRARIE series to my daughter, and many of the 39 CLUES books to my son. The last book I read with my son, PAX by Sara Pennypacker, was so beautiful we both cried at the end, and I felt a shared closeness over our love of this exquisite book.

Now we’re reading one of the Hardy Boys mysteries. I didn’t think he would like it, considering some of the language is decidedly hokey, but he’s loving the mystery of it and the fact that these boys are doing things on their own to solve the never-ending puzzles.

Before I was a parent, I worked in adult books and didn’t think children’s books were my thing. Now fully half (and maybe more) of the books I work on are children’s and I love the freedom and exploratory nature of the children’s book world.

What books do you love to read to your kids? Send me a comment on Twitter @jenniferunter!


Photo by Ugur Akdemir on Unsplash

Words are (Still) King

So, now that I’m finally getting around to writing a blog, I hear that words are out and audio/video is in. I am decidedly out of fashion. But, if text puts me out of the moment, I’m happy to stay there. I, like many people who work in book publishing, would be nowhere without words. And, how could words actually be out of fashion? Words make fashion, and news, and culture and the laws and rules we live by, whatever they may be.

On the flip side, I do see how that is changing. I have two kids (ages 13 and 10) and photos and videos are king for them. They have so much media from which to choose whether it’s an iPhone, Xbox, computer, or whatever is coming next down the pike. However, often times they do still choose a book. When they want to be quiet, chill out, sit in their beds and cuddle with one of our cats, they will still choose a book. 

It’s not old fashioned, it’s eye-opening. It’s not optional, it’s essential. So many worlds to enter! And, so necessary in the 24/7 news media world we all live in. That gives me hope that text is not dead, books are still relevant and our future will not just be televised.  

Feel free to send me a comment on twitter at @jenniferunter and let me know what you think.