With the aid of technology, students from around the country were able to join kids from New York City area schools in a Teen News Conference with the five finalists for the National Book Award in Young People's Literature. Franny Billingsley, Chime (Dial); Debby Dahl Edwardson, My Name Is Not Easy (Marshall Cavendish); Thanhha Lai, Inside Out and Back Again (Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers); Albert Marrin, Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy (Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children's Books); Gary D. Schmidt, Okay for Now (Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) read from their nominated books before answering questions from the group.
One hundred students sitting in Scholastic auditorium and others from over 200 schools who were viewing the event live posed questions ranging from inspirations for characters to the development of a book's theme. Gary Schmidt confessed that the abusive dad in his book was based on his father and Thanhha Lai shared that her original title for the book was Buddhists in Alabama. Albert Marrin whose book on the Triangle fire is the only non-fiction book in the group told the group that he was moved to write the book on the tragedy because "human dignity is precious".
The Teen Press Conference, hosted by Scholastic Inc. and emceed by acclaimed young adult author and Scholastic editor David Levithan. You can access the broadcast at http://www.nationalbook.org/nba_ypl_prconference.html