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Students Connect With Authors 

When Taylor High School librarian Lynn Butler invited Emily Zana and Kate Laurence to attend the Texas Library Association (TLA) conference with her in Austin, the two avid readers who serve as student library aides expected a quiet event with a lot of books and booths to visit. What they found were numerous opportunities to meet their favorite authors, collect autographs and bring back a large number of newly released books as well as advanced reader copies of books not yet on library shelves.


“We were fangirling over the Redwood and Ponytail author (K. A. Holt),” said Zana. “We’ve read her books. It’s so exciting to meet her.”


Another author these students met was Kelly Bennett, author of numerous books for young children including Not Norman, The House that Ruth Built, and Dad and Pop. During their visit, Bennett asked the girls about their all-time favorite author that they most wanted to meet at the conference.


“April Henry,” replied Laurence. “We’re waiting for her next book, but she won’t be here until tomorrow, and we are only here for today.”


Impressed with the teen readers' excitement over the conference and the whole literary experience, Bennett offered to pick up Henry’s latest books and get them signed for the girls. She would then find Butler to send the autographed treasures back to them at Taylor High.


“I thought this was going to be quiet with a lot of booths,” said Laurence. “But it’s nothing like that. It’s really lively and professional. They like to meet you. It’s a lot more than I thought it was going to be.”


For Butler, bringing two of her library aides that she describes as voracious readers to enjoy the author and book experience was the best part of the conference.


“The best experience is to see it through their eyes,” said Butler. “I am filled with joy today to see their excitement. This is an experience like no other, but coming to TLA with students is the best ever.”



Photo: Emily Zana (left) and Kate Laurence display autographed books by one of their all-time favorite authors, April Henry. They received the signed books through the efforts of author Kelly Bennett, a featured author they met at the Texas Library Association Conference, and Taylor High School librarian Lynn Butler.