Children's Book & Author Dinner Sponsored by Candlewick Press

Children's Book & Author Dinner Sponsored by Candlewick Press

05/28/2020, 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

Live Online:

The Children’s Book & Author Breakfast (now, virtual Dinner) is BookExpo's annual event that showcases several of literature’s most esteemed children’s and young adult authors and continues to be one of the most sought-after annual events of the show, drawing over 1,000 attendees each year for lively conversation with literary giants and celebrity authors. This year’s event - now a virtual dinner instead of a breakfast - will feature Judy Blume Natalie Portman, Misty Copeland, Raj Haldar, Marie Lu, and Kwame Mbalia, and is is sponsored by Candlewick Press. Watch live here:

Note: In case of a tech issue and we're unable to stream to the BookExpo Facebook page above, we will instead stream this session to:

To begin the event, renowned author Judy Blume celebrates the 50th anniversary of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret., her seminal novel which famously confronts issues about religious affiliations and early adolescence. Blume will discuss the importance of the novel in her own life and how it influenced thousands of young readers.

Academy Award ® winning actress, director, producer and activist Natalie Portman will discuss Natalie Portman's Fables, her upcoming book which retells three classic fairytales and imbues them with empathy and humor.

Misty Copeland, who made history by becoming the first African American female principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, will introduce the audience to Bunheads, the first in a series of picture books inspired by her own early experiences in ballet. In her first picture book since the bestselling and award-winning Firebird, Copeland tells the story of a young Misty discovering her love for dance through the ballet of Coppélia. The book, illustrated by Setor Fiadzigbey, boasts themes of teamwork, friendship, dedication, and hard work, as Copeland hopes children everywhere will be inspired to reach for their dreams.

Raj Haldar, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of P is for Pterodactyl who’s also known by his stage name, Lushlife, joins the breakfast to showcase another hilarious fresh look at the English language. No Reading Allowed pokes fun at the English language, as it joyfully teaches young readers about homophones, homonyms, and tricky punctuation. This picture book’s illustrations provide clues to understanding the meanings behind wily words and confusing phrases, so readers will no longer be tricked by phrases like “C Major, it's a beautiful key! / See Major, it's a beautiful quay!”

Marie Lu, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Legend series, will introduce the BookExpo audience to Skyhunter, her new novel in which she imagines an immersive world broken by war, where danger waits around every corner and loyalty is life. Lu focuses on the evolution of the dystopian genre, how our relationships with these stories have shifted in light of real-world trauma, and how she hopes these stories can affect positive change.

Finally, Kwame Mbalia follows-up his best-selling Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky with Tristan Strong Destroys the World featuring characters from African-American folklore. Bestselling author Rick Riordan presents this second book in the Tristan Strong trilogy which features the title character, just back from a victorious but exhausting adventure in Alke, the land of African American folk heroes and African gods, suffering from PTSD but unable rest as he faces a new challenge of survival.

"This event showcases the diversity of genres, book types, authors, and publishers within the world of children’s and young adult literature,” said Jennifer Martin, Event Director of BookExpo. “We’re extraordinarily thrilled to have such a varied group of authors who will bring such unique and different perspectives to our show. We know all our attendees will walk away with valuable insights about how these books, and ones like them, can help their own bookstores, libraries, and retail shops.”



  • Judy Blume


    Judy Blume spent her childhood in Elizabeth, New Jersey making up stories inside her head. She has spent her adult years in many places doing the...

  • Natalie Portman


    Natalie Portman is best known as an actor whose credits include Black Swan, for which she won an Oscar and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress; Star...

  • Misty Copeland


    Misty Copeland made history in 2015 when she was the first black woman to be promoted to principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre, one of the most...

  • Raj Haldar


    Better known by his stage name Lushlife, Raj Haldar is an American rapper, composer, and producer from Philadelphia, PA. He is the author of the #1...

  • Marie Lu


    Marie Lu wrote her first novel, LEGEND, 10 years ago and at that time, she felt like she was writing some semblance of dystopian fiction. (The world...

  • Kwame Mbalia


    Kwame Mbalia is the New York Times best-selling author of Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky and a full-time dad. He is also the most recent...


  1. Track
    Virtual BookExpo 2020
    • Virtual BookExpo 2020