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February 17-19, 2023 — Westin Boston Seaport District
January 23, 2018

Highlighting YA and Children’s Programming at Boskone

Boskone regularly features lots of programming that is specially designed for children as well as young adults … and adults who enjoy young adult fiction (I know I do!). This year, with Tamora Pierce as our Young Adult Fiction Guest and Catherine Asaro as our Hal Clement Science Speaker, we have an especially wonderful selection of choices for children, teens, and adults. Here are are some highlights that we hope you will enjoy.

To view the entire Boskone 55 schedule and to find more items you will enjoy, view our full program (or the text only version).


2:00 PM (free to public)
Star Wars Mad Libs
Mihku Paul (M), Frank Wu, Laurie Mann, Kaitlin R. Branch, Inanna Arthen
Griffin · 60 min · Game Show
Who doesn’t love a good session of Mad Libs, Boskone style? Join us for a special edition of Star Wars Mad Libs — in which the audience provides the nouns, adverbs, and adjectives for a raucous reading performed by our panel of program participants.

3:00 PM (free to public)
Welcome to Boskone!
Brenda Noiseux, Janice Gelb
Independence · 60 min · Panel
New to the con? Or returning after a long absence? Join us for a short discussion about what Boskone has to offer. Hear the highlights, learn some lingo, and meet new people who love the same strange things you do — plus some weird new stuff of their own! Then join our docents for a stroll around the con.

3:00 PM (free to public)
The Real Hero of Hogwarts
Priscilla Olson (M), Julia Rios, Pete Hollmer, Gabriel Erkard, Flourish Klink
Marina 3 · 60 min · Panel
Everyone knows the Harry Potter series. Harry is at the center of the story with events swirling around him, but is he the real hero? In fact, is there any real hero at Hogwarts? Let’s discuss heroism. What does it take to be a hero — and what does that even mean in a place like Hogwarts?

4:00 PM (free to public)
Big YA
Michael Stearns, Tamora Pierce, Christine Taylor-Butler, Gregory Katsoulis (M), E. Ardell
Marina 3 · 60 min · Panel
What is Big YA? Well, it’s a term we just made up here at Boskone to talk about the intricacies of writing, editing, and publishing big, long young adult series. What are the challenges associated with writing a series where the characters often don’t age as quickly as their readers? How do you track all the details without dropping threads? And why are these long epic YA series so popular today?

5:00 PM (free to public)
YA Fiction Guest Interview: Tamora Pierce
Tamora Pierce, Julie Holderman
Harbor III · 60 min · Interview
With a brand-new book out and nearly 30 other novels, dozens of short stories, and several comics to her name, Tamora Pierce is a much-loved author of children’s and young adult fantasy fiction. Join us for this lively discussion with Tamora about her life, her writing, and her love of cats, conducted by her longtime friend Julie Holderman.

6:00 PM
Origami for Kids
Persis Thorndike
Galleria · 60 min · Children – DragonsLair

7:00 PM
Space Exploration for Kids
Les Johnson
Galleria · 60 min · Children – DragonsLair
Kids get an up-close look at materials used for space exploration in this discussion group — led by NASA scientist Les Johnson — about spaceships and interstellar travel.

8:00 PM
Creature Creations
Christopher Paniccia
Galleria · 60 min · Children – DragonsLair
Author and artist Christopher Paniccia works with kids to help them create their own amazing creatures.


10:00 AM
The Lego Batman Movie
Carlton · 100 min · Film/TV/Media
A really slick (in fact, plastic) Bruce Wayne must deal with the usual suspects as they plan to take over Gotham City, while discovering that he has accidentally adopted a teenage orphan who wishes to become his sidekick. (2017)

10:00 AM
Drawing Aliens
Gregory Katsoulis (M)
Galleria · 60 min · Children – DragonsLair
Join author and animator Gregory Katsoulis for some alien drawing fun!

11:00 AM
Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter Hats
Mihku Paul
Galleria · 60 min · Children – DragonsLair
Join artist and author Mihku Paul for a wonder-filled hat making session.

11:00 AM
Kaffeeklatsch: Tamora Pierce
Tamora Pierce
Harbor I · 60 min · Kaffeeklatsch

12:00 NOON
Group Reading: Fiction for Kids and Young Adults
Kristy Acevedo, Daniel P. Dern, Erin M. Hartshorn (M), Sarah Jean Horwitz, Justin Key, Trisha Wooldridge
Griffin · 60 min · Reading
Boskone presents a special group reading for lovers of children’s and young adult fiction. Our authors provide a range of stories and topics that are sure to delight and entertain!

12:00 NOON
A Wizard of Earthsea
Catherine Asaro, Vandana Singh, Robert V.S. Redick, Fran Wilde, Max Gladstone (M)
Marina 2 · 60 min · Panel
Ursula K. Le Guin’s masterpiece was published 50 years ago. A classic coming-of-age story, A Wizard of Earthsea continues to cast its spell over teens and adults alike. Why is Ged such a compelling character? What makes the story as fresh and appealing today as in 1968? What does it have to say about words, magic, ambition, patience, truth, death? Our panelists share their insights — and favorite parts.

1:00 PM
Kids’ Art Show Tour
Galleria · 60 min · Children – DragonsLair

1:00 PM
Writing for Children
Tui Sutherland, Bruce Coville, Sarah Jean Horwitz, Gregory Katsoulis (M), Michael Stearns
Marina 3 · 60 min · Panel
The process you use in writing literature for children, and the elements you need to include, are different from those for YA, teen, or adult fiction. What are those elements? How do you adjust your style? And how do you avoid the ultimate mistake of talking down to a child?

2:00 PM
Model Magic: Making Monsters
Lisa Hertel
Galleria · 60 min · Children – DragonsLair
Artist Lisa Hertel leads kids in a hands-on demo that is kid-friendly and kid-safe, as they create fantastical creatures made of clay.

2:00 PM
Sex and Romance in Young Adult Fiction
Barry Goldblatt, Hillary Monahan, Tamora Pierce, Michael Stearns (M)
Harbor II · 60 min · Panel
Starting with that talk about when a bird and a bee love each other very much, the most embarrassing topics in teenagerdom have got to be sex and romance. Just as awkward in fiction, these issues demand special sensitivity when writing YA. Who’s ready to read stories with sexual themes? How far is too far? What details are involving but not icky? And will gender diversity that’s fine with 13-year-olds explode half the heads on the school board?

3:00 PM
Dragon Stories & Crafts With Tui Sutherland
Tui Sutherland
Galleria · 60 min · Children – DragonsLair
Kids join Tui Sutherland to color dragon images, while she talks about the winged beasts and answers questions about writing.

4:00 PM
Kids Concert with Mary Ellen Wessels and Gary Ehrlich
Mary Ellen Wessels, Gary Ehrlich
Galleria · 60 min · Children – DragonsLair

4:00 PM
Comics for Young Adults and Teens
Tui Sutherland, Elise Sacchetti, Barry Goldblatt, Robert Howard (M), Josh Dahl
Marina 2 · 60 min · Panel
From Runaways to Ms. Marvel, Paper Girls, and more, comics for young adults are booming. Let’s look at some famously must-read YA comics, as well as publications just hitting the shelves that are not to be missed. What is it about YA comics that capture the imagination — especially of teen readers?

8:00 PM
Saturday Night Special Event: Boskone Awards and Rapid-Fire Theater
Bruce Coville, Gay Ellen Dennett, David G. Grubbs (M), Bob Kuhn, Laurie Mann, Mihku Paul, Michael Sharrow, Jane Yolen, Ginjer Buchanan, Fred Lerner, Tui Sutherland, Jen Gunnels, Erin Roberts, Christine Taylor-Butler, William Hayashi, Nat Segaloff, Daniel M. Kimmel
Harbor II+III · 120 min · Event
Saturday night’s presentation is a fast-paced theatrical extravaganza, featuring a set of mini-shows that resemble live-action podcasts (akin to a science fiction variety show with a short awards ceremony, an interview, a game show, and an original radio show with aliens). This special Saturday night program has something for every fan. Hosted by Boskone’s very own David G. Grubbs.

  • 8:00 p.m. — NESFA Awards Presentation: The New England Science Fiction Association (NESFA) presents its annual Skylark and Gaughan Awards. The Skylark Award honors the work and personal qualities of an exceptional contributor to science fiction. The Gaughan Award is presented to a talented emerging artist. We will also be announcing the winner of the NESFA Short Story Contest.
  • 8:30 p.m. — Special Interview: The Rapid-Fire Theater continues with a short interview, featuring bestselling children’s author Tui Sutherland.
  • 8:50 p.m. — What’s My Name: Panelists race against the clock in a science fictional guessing game that somewhat resembles “What’s My Line?” as a panel of experts try to identify the characters being portrayed.
  • 9:30 p.m. — Boskone Radio Play: Boskone’s Rapid-Fire Theater comes to an out-of-this-world conclusion with a short adapted radio play by Nat Segaloff about humanity’s first contact with aliens.


10:00 AM
The Forgotten Topics in YA Fiction
Melanie Meadors (M), Gregory Katsoulis, Kenneth Rogers Jr., Fran Wilde, Carlos Hernandez
Marina 1 · 60 min · Panel
Young adult fiction panels often focus on what makes a believable teenage character, young love, or great teen hero. But there’s so much more to explore! What about stereotypical teen behavior? Villains? Reality versus fiction? Let’s spread the net wide. This is our chance to dish on the topics that get the least airtime.

10:00 AM
Creating a Franken-Story
Kenesha Williams
Galleria · 60 min · Children – DragonsLair
Kids work with author Kenesha Williams as they create and stitch together a scary original story.

11:00 AM
Deconstruct an Accordion!
Galleria · 60 min · Children – DragonsLair
Help take apart an old accordion to see how it’s constructed!

12:00 NOON
Magic Show for Kids
Daniel P. Dern
Galleria · 60 min · Children – DragonsLair
Daniel Dern brings back his DragonsLair magic show for Boskone’s children!

12:00 NOON
Dark Fantasy for Children/YA
Adam Stemple (M), Sarah Jean Horwitz, Tui Sutherland, Jane Yolen, Gabriel Erkard
Marina 1 · 60 min · Panel
How dark is too dark when it comes to dark fantasy and horror for younger readers? Is there an invisible line in the sand? Should we provide kids with more happy endings? And what draws them to these stories in the first place … even when none of the characters are children?

12:30 PM
Reading by Tamora Pierce
Tamora Pierce
Griffin · 30 min · Reading

1:00 PM
Igniting the STEM Literary Movement
Kathleen Cheney, Catherine Asaro, Kaitlin R. Branch, Brenda Noiseux (M), Cady Coleman
Marina 3 · 60 min · Panel
There’s a growing focus in education on bringing more science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) into the classroom. Stories with strong STEM components are being written for children and young adults. But how do we attract younger readers’ attention, and build greater interest in this literature? Participants share their ideas and invite suggestions from the audience.

2:00 PM
Great Villains in Kids’ SF/F
Tui Sutherland, Bruce Coville, Carlos Hernandez, Melanie Meadors (M), Tamora Pierce
Marina 4 · 60 min · Panel
From Sauron to Voldemort, the Grinch to the White Witch to the Dane Twins, Mrs. Coulter to President Snow to Mayor Prentiss — what kind of characters do children and young adults truly love to hate? Are there limits to showing real evil, or can kids take more than we think? How obvious do we get: if there’s a mustache, must it be twirled?