YA Wednesday: BookCon, Children’s Literature History & Trends

BookExpo America (BEA), the book industry’s long-running trade expo, took place in Chicago last week. Within BEA, teens and YA book lovers convened at BookCon, a convention for book lovers that combined storytelling and pop culture in a daylong event. Fans attended panel discussions with such MG and YA stars as Kate DiCamillo, Dav Pilkey and Ransom Riggs. In honor of BookCon and BEA – the largest publishing event in North America – YA Wednesday looks at the history of children’s books and explores some topics and upcoming trends in YA.

Publishers Weekly caught up with YA authors Veronica Roth, Melissa de la Cruz, Lauren Oliver, and Sabaa Tahir who gave a talk at BEA about what it means to write about good and evil, and why both heroes and villains abound in fiction, just as they do in real life.

• Did you know the first widely printed picture book for kids — the Orbis Pictus was published in 1658?

• For some historical context, check out this January 1888 article from The Atlantic archives, The History of Children’s Books.

• Children’s literature has gone through many stages. NPR Ed explores how children’s books have evolved from their inception in the mid-1600s up to the present.

• One of the ways YA literature has changed over the years is by embracing topics never before presented in YA books. For example, author Victoria Jamieson parlayed her experience on a roller derby team into her new book, Roller Girl.

• And YA stories don’t end with just books. With the Hunger Games and other money-making movie franchises behind us, producers are scrambling to discover the next big film franchise.

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