A trip for the books

Library Clubs attends Irving book festival

Photo by PEYTON SIMS
Teens browse through signed copies of books at the North Texas Teen Book Festival in Irving, Texas.

Story by Peyton Sims and Andrea Loredo

On Saturday, Feb. 7, The Texas High Library Club had the opportunity to attend the North Texas Teen Book Festival in Irving, Texas.The students that attended had the opportunity to buy books, meet authors and meet new people who share their love for books. 

“You don’t have to wait for someone to tell you that you’re a published author [to write],” author Lilliam Rivera said. “You write in your Instagram captions, in poems you post to wherever, magazines, you don’t have to wait. You’re an [author] when you write.”

For young, aspiring authors, it can be difficult for them to have confidence in their work. With the encouragement of successful authors, however, teens’ mindsets were changed for the better. 

“I wanted to be a writer in second grade and I wrote all through high school, but then I just got 

into my head that I couldn’t be a professional writer. I barely tried, but I immediately took myself out of the equation. It wasn’t until six years ago, after I read the Hunger Games, that I got inspired for the first time in a long time to try it again,” New York Times bestselling author Karen M. McManus said. “I was treating it as a hobby, and I wasn’t really thinking it was going to go anywhere. I think the thing that writers do a lot is that you have to have some talent, but also hard work and persistence are more important than talent, and you control those.”

During the festival, students had the opportunity to attend different panels where authors would speak to them about their books and their life as authors. During the panels, students had the opportunity to ask the authors different questions regarding their books, the process of writing and even asking for advice.  

“It’s fun because you get to go into this huge building with [a lot of] people, and you get to do so many different things like go to panels,” junior Lizzie Compton said. “You can look at books and have them signed [by the] authors. And, of course, they have really good food. It’s a lot of fun.”

For some students, the highlight of the trip was traveling to a big city which is much different than Texarkana. 

“You see like a lot of different people that you never thought you would ever see in your life. I saw some cosplayers there. I didn’t think that there would be a lot of people there so it was really interesting to be in a different place,” Compton said. “It’s not like here in Texarkana. We do have diversity, but it’s [nothing like Irving].

As the Library Club tradition of traveling to the North Texas Teens Books Festival continues, more students are inspired year after year to speak up within their stories thanks to the author’s motivation.

“I wish I wasn’t so hard on myself when it came to being so shy. I was so quiet and I didn’t dare speak, and now I don’t care,” Rivera said. “But I wish I would have allowed myself to [speak]. To [say] what I want and that I had a voice.”

The convention allowed for Library Club members to expand their horizons as writers as well as grow their love for books everyday. 

“Reading is a lost art. So much reading now is media, texting and audiobooks. I think there’s nothing better than just sitting down with an actual book with pages,” English teacher Katie Williams said. “I think that a convention like this allows students to go and literally flip through books, see the joy of a book and see the joy of other people reading actual books. I think that it keeps art alive.”