Counting down the days: Students and librarian eagerly await the Texas Teen Book Festival


Friends Frida Capitan, Anabelle Glass, and Arden Price (7) look at books in the library before school starts. Anabelle will also be attending the festival on Saturday, after being convinced by Frida to attend.

Willa Smith, Beyond Our Walls Editor

Students are preparing for the Texas Teen Book Festival (TTBF), a one-day event celebrating the teen reading experience, to take place on Saturday, September 26th.

“I’m really excited to see all the books and know what the authors look like,” Frida Capitan (7) said. Capitan will be attending the festival this Saturday at St. Edward’s University, where it will be held for the second year in a row.

Although Capitan hasn’t attended the festival previously, that isn’t holding her back from going this year. When

Frida Capitan (7) reads Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, a book she’s reading in preparation for the festival on Saturday.
Frida Capitan (7) reads Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, a book she’s reading in preparation for the festival on Saturday.

asked what made her want to go this year, she simply said, “the books.”

Last year, she joined other Ann Richards students at the Texas Teens For Libraries (TT4LL) event, and she said this has also made her excited to go to TTBF this year.

“I read Trouble is a Friend of Mine [by Stephanie Tromly], and it was really good, so I really want to meet her. I just think it’s cool to see what the authors look like, and maybe imagine them [writing] some [of their] other books.”

Capitan’s good friend, Anabelle Glass (7), said Capitan convinced her to go to the festival this year.

“Last year, I wasn’t going to Ann Richards, but my friend Frida was, and she went [to TT4L] and she really liked it, so I’m going to try it,” Glass said.

She is excited to see David Levithan, New York Times Bestselling author of sixteen books – and counting. She’s currently reading Another Day, which is Levithan’s newest book, which will be featured at the festival.

Ann Richards School librarian Shawn Mauser has been named co-director of the festival this year. “I started out as saying I would be volunteer coordinator, which is a job in and of itself,” she explained. “And then I agreed to help out with other stuff, and Cynthia Bartek, she’s the one they pegged to be the director, suddenly said, ‘You’re co-director’, and I said, ‘Okay..?’”

Mauser claims she was just “in the right place at the right time”, and that’s how she got the job. In recent days though, as she works to wrap up loose ends, she said she’s feeling like she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. “But that will pass,” she said. “Everything will work out.”

Mauser has gone to the festival every year for the last seven years, but a moment that sticks out in her mind as the best was in 2012 when Libba Bray, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Michael L. Printz Award for her book Going Bovine, gave a rousing keynote address at the start of the festival.

“[It] cemented her in my mind as someone I just adore and worship,” Mauser added.

This year, Mauser will be moderating the “Future Possible?” panel, featuring dystopian and science fiction novels by Pierce Brown, Claudia Gray, Sophie Jordan, Jenny Martin, and Rick Yancy. Despite moderating “three or four times”, she is still nervous – nervous but excited she said. She’s also excited for the Star Wars Throwdown, and Libba Bray and David Levithan’s closing keynote. “They’ve asked for a guitar player, and we’re all trying to scramble to find a guitar player. But apparently they’re going to do something musical – there will be a musical number involved. I have no idea what it will be or if it’ll even be remotely appropriate.”

Either way, Libba Bray and David Levithan will entertain. Catch them and the entire cast of authors at the Texas Teen Book Festival on September 26th. For more information, check out the Texas Teen Book Festival website here.