One of my joys is talking about opportunities to learn that are just so much fun, so you will often see me writing about literacy and its importance. If learning were dull, no one would do it.
I grew up on a girl supersleuth who had her own car at 16, solving mysteries she stumbled on. A king who was the son of a sorcerer, and who held and lost a kingdom. A horse that fled a burning stable and after a long, sad story ends up in gentle hands.
Such is the fare of the Nancy Drew series, Sir Thomas Malory's "Book of King Arthur" and "Black Beauty," and I would read deep into the night.
My dad would find me reading, but he never said more than "cut out the light, now" because he, too, always had a book in his hands. He passed down to me "The Swiss Family Robinson," "Alice in Wonderland" and the Hardy Boys series. And he could be found reading into the night.
So that's why I'm thrilled with the latest craze in young adult fiction, sparked by the "Harry Potter" series and continued by the "Twilight" series. These books, written for young readers (generally ages 12-18), give families something to talk about since parents often grab the books to see what their teens are reading.
No wonder young adult literature is the fastest growing area of the book business. Authors from the latest wave in these books will be in Charleston on Saturday for YallFest, a young adult literature book festival that will feature some of the most talented writers today.
Jonathan Sanchez, owner of Blue Bicycle Books, and the Charleston County Library are bringing in Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, authors who have set their trilogy, "Beautiful Creatures," "Beautiful Darkness" and "Beautiful Chaos," in a small Gothic town near Charleston. Ethan Wade meets green-eyed, black-haired Lena Duchannes, and of course, there is a curse.
"Beautiful Creatures" has been published in 39 countries and translated into 28 languages, and it is in development as a major motion picture by Warner Bros.
Ellen Hopkins will be here with her books, "Crank," "Glass," "Burned," "Identical," "Impulse," "Tricks" and "Perfect," that tackle drug addiction, dysfunctional families and the universal quest for love. This is not your grandmother's poetry.
Sarah Rees Brennan has her demon series: "The Demon's Lexicon," "The Demon's Covenant" and "The Demon's Surrender." Or check out Caitlin Kittredge and her books about a werewolf who fights crime in "The Iron Thorn," "Bone Gods" and "Street Magic."
Of course, the best part about this book fest is that it is free, and it brings books to the street since Blue Bicycle Books at 420 King St. can't contain it all.
Various author panels will be at the American Theater. The cost is $5 for the end-of-the-day panel that will feature a storytelling contest among teams of all of the authors.
Sanchez says that parents are always asking for advice on books for teens, and he shows them what he loves. Now he's sharing that love with Charleston in what may become an annual affair.
For more, go to http://bluebicyclebooks.com/yallfest for a full schedule of events.
Reach Stephanie Harvin at 937-5557.