Teen Press Conference

Where young readers meet and interview their literary heroes

One of the best school events I’ve ever attended.

—Robin Benway, National Book Award Winner

For the first time ever—the National Book Awards Teen Press Conference was entirely virtual! Co-presented with the Miami Book Fair and in partnership with the 92nd Street Y, this year’s event continued a decades-long tradition, bringing the excitement of the most prestigious literary award in the country to New York City’s middle and high school students.

School groups were invited to participate in the free, virtual literary event that was curated just for them, with access to exclusive videos, digital materials, a live Q&A with authors, and more.

The live online event was held on Monday November 16th at
10:30am-11:30am ET.

Jason Reynolds. (Photo credit: James J. Reddington)

Hosted by: Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds is an award-winning and #1 New York Times bestselling author. Jason’s many books include Miles Morales: Spider Man, the Track series (Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu), Long Way Down, which received a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, and a Correta Scott King Honor, and Look Both Ways, which was a National Book Award Finalist. His latest book, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, is a collaboration with Ibram X. Kendi. Recently named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Jason has appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and CBS This Morning. He is on faculty at Lesley University, for the Writing for Young People MFA Program and lives in Washington, DC. You can find his ramblings at JasonWritesBooks.com.

What books were be featured?


How does a class participate?  There is no cost to participate. (You can watch the livestream of the event on the Miami Book Fair website. You will need to create an account in order to access the event.)

Teachers should plan to incorporate Teen Press Conference preparation and participation into their classroom activities; this year’s event is structured to be flexible, so that a class can participate as part of in-person learning, or as a remote learning assignment. Teachers who register will receive digital materials to help students prepare for the live event, as well as access to optional, supplemental activities (details below).

While the live event is a unique opportunity for students to interact directly with authors, we understand that synchronous learning activities are not the best fit for many classrooms. Registered classes will have the option to submit questions in advance, and a recording of the live event will be available after the broadcast.

What do I receive? In late October (following the announcement of the 2020 National Book Awards Finalists in Young People’s Literature) all registered teachers will receive a set of digital materials, designed to help students prepare for the live event on November 16.

Everyone who registers will receive the following:

  • Short videos of the five Finalists introducing their book, and doing a short reading.
  • A digital “Reporter’s Notebook,” which will include long-form book excerpts of each of the featured books.
  • Instructions on how to submit questions in advance, if your students cannot join the live event.
  • A link to join the live event on November 16.

As part of registration, you will also be invited to opt into the following supplemental activities:

  • Raffle for Classroom Set of Books: classes who participate in the live event will be eligible to receive a classroom set (30) of one of the year’s Finalists for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature. Because of complications in distributing physical books during the Covid-19 pandemic, selected classes will likely receive this donation in the spring semester, as a follow-up to event participation.
  • Online Book Clubs: The Miami Book Fair will be hosting a series of online book clubs for young people, creating an opportunity for dialogue between NYC and Miami students around the year’s National Book Award honorees. Upon registration, teachers can indicate if they would like their class to participate.
  • Student Writing Showcase: The Miami Book Fair will be sharing student writing (related to this year’s National Book Award honorees) on their website, and students from NYC are invited to submit their work. Upon registration, teachers can indicate if they would like their class to participate.

Note: both Online Book Clubs and the Student Writing Showcase are recommended for teachers whose classes are integrating a title or titles from this year’s National Book Award honorees into their curriculum, beyond participation in the live event.

What will the live event entail? The live event portion of this year’s Teen Press Conference will center around the opportunity for students to interact with authors through an hour-long Q&A, moderated by host Jason Reynolds. Note: the short readings typically included in an in-person Teen Press Conference event will be pre-recorded videos, shared with registered teachers in advance.

Who can attend? The event is open to New York City middle and high schools. Students from Miami-Dade County schools will also be participating, through National Book Foundation’s partnership with the Miami Book Fair.

Questions? Email [email protected]

2016 National Book Awards Young People’s Literature Finalists Jason Reynolds, Nicola Yoon, Grace Lin, and Winner Nate Powell sign books for students attending the Teen Press Conference. Photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan

The Teen Press Conference brings the excitement and prestige of the National Book Awards to an audience of young people. Held at the 92nd Street Y in New York the day before the National Book Awards ceremony, every year 600 middle and high school students from NYC schools attend free-of-charge, receive free copies of the nominated titles, and have the unique opportunity to connect and interact with high-profile authors in what is often their first exposure to a literary arts event.

The Teen Press Conference is also presented annually at the Miami Book Fair.

For questions about the Teen Press Conference, please email Deputy Director, Jordan Smith.

Watch the 2020 Teen Press Conference, hosted by Jason Reynolds:

Watch the 2019 Teen Press Conference, hosted by Angie Thomas:

Watch the 2018 Teen Press Conference, hosted by Jenny Han:

Watch the 2017 Teen Press Conference, hosted by Alvin Irby:

Watch the 2016 Teen Press Conference, hosted by Brendan Kiely:

Watch the 2015 Teen Press Conference,
hosted by Jacqueline Woodson with special guest LeVar Burton:

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