The annual North Texas Teen Book Festival had the largest turnout in its history, with over 15,000 attendees.
It took place on March 4 and 5 at the Irving Convention Center. The festival offered a variety of new books for purchase, free books and panels with popular authors.
Hosting authors such as Angie Thomas, Julie Murphy, Jeff Kinney and Jerry Craft, a total of 93 authors were present at the event. They each had individual book panels. Teens got to ask questions, get their books signed and hear about upcoming works at the panels.
Greenhill Head Librarian Abby Harrison has been attending for multiple years.
“If you’re a reader, or even if you’re not a reader, or maybe it’s been a while, you know, this is a great way to be in an environment where everybody’s celebrating books and reading,” Harrison said.
Freshman Kate Peterson said her favorite part of the festival was “hearing authors speak and getting to ask questions.”
Covering difficult topics of conversation for teens has been an ongoing focus at the NTTBF. Over the past few years, they have discussed developing a healthy body image, being comfortable with your cultural identity and mental health.
“They’re dealing with a lot of topics that people seem to sometimes think that teens don’t talk about or aren’t concerned with, but… this is a place where you can hear about those things, read about [them in] books,” Harrison said.
The North Texas Teen Book Festival is also a place for students to gather and celebrate.
“I think that that’s it’s a place of community where [students] get to go and be who they are and celebrate what they love and choose the panels that they want to go see,” Harrison said.
As the festivals happen annually, next year Harrison encourages student participation.
“[It is] one of the best book festivals in the nation, so go check it out,” said Harrison.