The Youth and Young Adult Book Festival (Yallwest) is opening Friday in Santa Monica with thousands expected to attend the popular literary and arts event that has expanded to boasting a fabulous line-up of talent.
The largest teen and middle grade book festival in the country, last year the festival drew over 8,000 attendees and donated thousands of dollars in book sale proceeds to school libraries in the Santa Monica Malibu School District, as well as hundreds of books to students in the Los Angeles Unified School District, organizers said.
“We have one mission – to get books into the hands of kids, and to say the words that will get them to open them,” said festival co-director Margaret Stohl. “We don’t care if it’s a comic book or a graphic novel or Shakespeare. Open a book, open up your world, then go out there and change the story.”
Following a Friday April 29 Preview Night at the Santa Monica Main Library, Yallwest will span the weekend of April 30 – May 1. Saturday and Sunday events will be held at Santa Monica High School, and will include 60 panels and more than 100 authors, including 62 bestsellers.
The festival is partnering with area schools from across the region, as well as a youth ambassadors board of 50 local students, to plan the celebration of reading and the arts.
2014 L.A. Times Book Prize Finalist Rainbow Rowell (Carry On), will give Saturday’s opening keynote, while 2016 Newberry Award winner Matt de la Peña (Last Stop on Market Street) and 2016 Coretta Scott King Honoree Jason Reynolds (All American Boys) will give the closing keynote.
Among the attending authors are Yallwest’s board members Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children), Veronica Roth (Divergent), Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows), Pseudonymous Bosch (Bad Magic), Holly Goldberg Sloan (Counting by 7’s), Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures), Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy), Brendan Reichs (Virals) and Ally Condie (Matched)—as well as M.T. Anderson (Feed), Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen), Soman Chainani (The School for Good and Evil), Alexandra Bracken (Passenger), Nicola Yoon (Everything, Everything), Holly Black (Doll Bones), Libba Bray (Diviners), Michael Grant (Gone), Shannon Hale (Princess in Black), Jenny Han (P.S. I love you), David Levithan (Every Day), and Sabaa Tahir (Ember in the Ashes).
The new Story/Makers panel track, headlined by Marvel Comics Director of Content and Character Development Sana Amanat (co-creator of Ms. Marvel), offers a full day of panels with creatives from the world of videogames (Call of Duty), comic books (Squirrel Girl), adaptations (Star Wars), graphic novels (Nimona), animation (Wander Over Yonder, Adventure Time, Steven Universe, Avatar: The Last Airbender), YouTube (Strawburry17), television (How To Get Away With Murder, Homeland) and film (TFIOS, The Maze Runner) and celebrates the idea of story in all its forms.
Festival highlights include the wildly-collaborative Middle Grade Storyball, the YA Smackdown variety show, the all-author band Tiger Beat, the UCLA Quidditch team, and the beloved Harry Potter is Lyfe Cosplay Panel.
Visit www.yallwest.com for more information.