I'm so happy to be participating for the first time...I'll be moderating the Science Fiction panel "We’re Not in Kansas Anymore" with authors Brian Falkner, Greg Leitich Smith, and David McGinnis Gill!
Tabatha E. Perry, Festival president, was kind enough to answer my questions about the event!
Jim: So, Tabatha, tell us about yourself and what you like to read!
Tabatha: I am a Young Adult Librarian at the George and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Library in The Woodlands, TX. I'm a single-mom of two, daughter of 11 and a son of 18 months. My Grandma was probably my biggest influence in my love of reading. She was a great storyteller, and she took me to get my very first library card. I used to read because I wanted to know about things. I have always been starving for knowledge. But in the last ten years or so, I read more fiction, just for fun. I've become a paranormal romance junkie, and can frequently be found peddling it out to anyone who asks at the Reference Desk! I also write, but I rarely share it with anyone...maybe I'll overcome this one day.
Jim: When was the first festival and how has it grown?
Tabatha: The first festival took place in 2004. The Montgomery County Teen Book Festival started with a few high school and public librarians getting together and pulling resources to bring authors to our area for teens. It was a smashing success. Since then, the committee and the event have grown. In 2011, we decided we wanted to broaden our scope in order to serve more of the community of readers. We formed a 501(C)3 in early 2012, and began our quest to make the new festival a community-centered event. I was elected president, pretty much because no one else wanted to take it on here at the beginning. I saw it as an opportunity to make this something special. And think, with the help of all of my fellow committee members, we have accomplished just that.
Jim: What are some of the challenges and joys of putting the festival together?
Tabatha: Oh challenges! How about the IRS??!!! What a pain dealing with them on our status!
Jim: One of the awesome things about the festival is how you involve young people, especially high schoolers, as chaperones and moderators! Why is that so important?
Tabatha: Teens...let's face it, they have a lot going on in their lives to compete with reading. Participating in something of this nature, and meeting authors that they read, puts reading back in the spotlight. Our hope is to build life-long readers. An experience like volunteering at the festival goes a long way to keep them interested.
Jim: When will you start planning the 2014 festival? How do you hope to see it evolve and grow?
Tabatha: As soon as we clean up from this festival, we start planning for 2014! Eventually, we would like to see it grow to a weekend-long event, with some evening programs. Our long term vision is to be the largest book festival in SE Texas.
Jim: How can people become involved?
Tabatha: Lone Star Membership is the easiest way to be involved. Check out the website:
If you would like to participate on the MCBF Committee, forward your information to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you some information.
NOTE: We will have an interview on Houston's ABC Channel 13 on Friday, February 1st (around 4:40 pm), unless the zombie apocalypse has begun, as that might require a little more coverage!