by Elizabeth Bleacher
IRA’s author luncheons provide a unique chance to hear from popular authors while sharing a friendly meal with colleagues. The IRA 58th Annual Convention features ticketed luncheons with Jane O’Connor (Fancy Nancy series) on April 20; Newbery Honor winner Joan Bauer on April 21, and author/illustrator Chris Soentpiet on April 22.
Jane O’Connor, a native New Yorker, addresses the need for varied and creative literature at the primary reading level during the Primary Literacy Luncheon from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 20. O’Connor is the author of the Fancy Nancy (HarperCollins) series of well-loved books about a dramatic little girl with a love for outrageous fashion and fancy words. A number of the Fancy Nancy books have spent time in the No. 1 spot on the New York Times best-sellers list, but Nancy’s success hasn’t kept O’Connor writing strictly for early readers. The follow-up to her well-received adult novel, Dangerous Admissions (Harper/Avon), will be available in April 2013.
Adolescent literature takes center stage when Joan Bauer talks about the importance of hope and humor in teen novels at the Young Adult Literature Luncheon on Sunday, April 21, from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. Bauer’s writing career had an unconventional start when she penned her first YA novel in an attempt to help herself recover from a serious car accident. Aside from the Newbery Honor Medal, Bauer has also been the recipient of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for her book, Rules of the Road (G.P. Putnam's Sons). Her latest novel, Almost Home (Viking Juvenile), was released in September 2012.
Author/illustrator Chris Soentpiet speaks at the Book and Author Luncheon on Monday, April 22, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Recipient of the Society of Illustrator's top prize for his historical picture book Peacebound Trains (Sandpiper) and Parents Magazine's Best Book of the Year for Something Beautiful (Doubleday Books for Young Readers), Soentpiet has also been awarded IRA’s Children’s Book Award three times for his works More Than Anything Else (Orchard Books), Molly Bannaky (Sandpiper), and Coolies (Philomel). Soentpiet’s work transcends boarders with overarching themes about people, history, and culture.
The IRA 58th Annual Convention will be held in San Antonio, Texas, from April 19 to 22, 2013. Register and reserve your tickets for the luncheons on www.iraconvention.org or by calling 888-294-9167 (U.S. and Canada) or 415-979-2278. Since the tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis, those interested in attending should secure their tickets as soon as possible.
Elizabeth Bleacher is the strategic communications intern at the International Reading Association.