2020 Session List

Main Stage – Cohen Room

Time TBD

Making Noise in a Multi-media World:

There are so many platforms for storytelling these days. Books are made into films. Graphic novels become TV series. Even a string of clever tweets can be optioned. In many ways, it’s an exciting time for writers, but getting your voice heard among all the noise is harder than ever. Savvy authors have learned how to navigate across media without sacrificing any of the classic tools of their craft. In this keynote session, moderated by Gregg Hurwitz, authors Megan Angelo, Donald L. Miller, Kate Racculia, Stephanie P. Watts and Chuck Wendig, discuss how they’ve learned to stand out in a crowded and increasingly fragmented media landscape.

Time TBD

Award-Winning Kid Lit with Universal Appeal: 

The best children’s books – the ones with staying power – inform and entertain readers of all ages. Moderator Jeanne Birdsall, winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, talks with award-winning authors Deborah Heiligman, Victoria Jamieson and Matt Phelan about what it takes to walk that line and how to create narratives that make a lasting impact.

Time TBD

Beyond the Beach Read:

Professional writer and amateur book club addict Theresa Hegel talks with authors Suzanne Baltsar, Joyce Hinnefeld, Kate Moretti, Maya Rodale, and David Rosenfelt about the importance of reading for pleasure and why genre fiction shouldn’t be discounted.  

Time TBD

Our Community, Through a Bookshop’s Door

Let’s Play Books Bookstore owner Kirsten Hess introduces key members of our COMMUNITY. Congresswoman Susan Wild, Director of the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center Adrian Shanker, Library Director Josh Berk and Rob Dougherty, of Allentown Needs a Book Shop. 

Time TBD

Picture Book Palooza Part I:

Picture book authors and illustrators Valerie Deneen, Katey Howes, Kevin McCloskey, Frank Murphy, Robert Papp,  discuss their creative process and showcase their new books.  

Time TBD

Picture Book Palooza Part II:

Picture book authors and illustrators Beth Ferry, Marie Lamba, Tara Lazar, Lisa Papp, and Jennifer Hansen Rolli discuss their creative process and showcase their new books.  

Time TBD

Local Author Palooza – Poetry to Politics

The Lehigh Valley has a number of local authors whose books are available through Let’s Play Books Bookstore and beyond. Artists will spend a few minutes each showcasing their work!  




Lecture Room – Laros Room (2nd Floor) 



Distinguishing between Rude, Mean & Bullying Behavior, with Signe Whitson, author and Chief Operating Officer of the Life Space Crisis Intervention Institute.Learn the key difference between rude, mean & bullying behaviors and gain specific strategies for responding effectively to each one.  This presentation is highly interactive and uses realistic scenarios and small group work to help understand and relate to the key concepts.


Mindfulness - for Educators, Parents - for Everyone! - 11am

We live in stressful, hectic times. It’s easy to lose your center amid jam-packed schedules and the weighty privilege of caring for others. Author and psychotherapist Shonda Moralis, MSW, LCSW, and mindfulness instructor and poet Matthew Wolf share simple strategies to pause, breather and inject calm into our busy lives. 30-minute session.

Creative Ways to Raise a Reader - 11:30am

Valerie Deneen, the founder of Inner Child Fun, will share unique and memorable experiences to bring books to life in your home or classroom. From a dream potion lab from The BFGto a book tasting party introducing kids to new authors and genres, Valerie will share strategies to foster creative ways to raise a reader. 30-minute session.


Books as Bridges: Community Book Discussions and Real Conversations - 12pm

It can be difficult and emotional to discuss topics such as race, gender identity, poverty, and world issues with young people, but when we don't speak about these things, our silence speaks for us. Join middle school librarian Molly Magro to explore how a Community Book Club has helped to build bridges between the community and the school, and the changes that have taken place as a result of these discussions. Examine how fiction can build empathy, and leave with book recommendations, as well as strategies for reading and having "real" conversations with your own students or children.


The Art of Bob McLeod –1pm

Bob McLeod is the co-creator of The New Mutants, an American comic book published by Marvel Comics beginning in 1982. On April 3, The New Mutants film is coming to a theater near you. Bob is a nationally-recognized illustrator of pen & ink, and received the 2018 Inkwell Award - Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award.  



 Middle-Grade Must-Reads-2:30pm 

What distinguishes middle-grade titles from other books? What are tween & teen readers looking for in their literature? Author and panel moderator Paul Acampora chats with Josh Berk, Jenna Gavigan, Gina Loveless, David Lubar, and Kaela Noel about their experiences writing for this age group.


Teens Talk (and Listen) - 3:30pm

Teens – or Young Adults – or even Not-So-Young Adults love “YA”Author Josh Berk talks with Jennifer Gilmore, David Lubar, Lisa Miller, Devon Taylor and Blair Thornburgh and connecting YA books with all audiences. 


Kids’ Room (2nd Floor) 

Time TBD Little Golden Books Kids' Fest: Books Brought to Life  
  A Storybook Party:  Mulan, The Princess and the Frog, Captain Marvel  
  Cont: The Amazing Spiderman and Black Panther WW    

Kids’ Fest Continue – 3pm

  Elmo Loves the Lorax – Celebrating 50 Years of Earth Day




Kids’ lobby

Time TBD

Creating & Coloring Cats & Dogs



Cohen lobby

Time TBD

Ask the Writer!


Cohen lobby

Time TBD

Poetry - on the spot!