I’m back! And ready for #LA16SCBWI Part 2–Saturday.
You can’t start your day wrong with Jon Klassen: FINDING YOURSELF IN THE WORK
In case you live under a rock, Jon is the fantabulous author/illustrator of the hat books and more.
And according to Lin, he’s also one of the two hottest Canadians on the planet.
And we have one of them with us at #LA16SCBWI! LOL!
NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 16: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends the Catalyst Awards Dinner at Waldorf Astoria Hotel on March 16, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)
The laughs never ended after that comment, but Jon also brought his depth to the table in addition to his humor…
*”The worst thing you can think about when you’re working is yourself.” Agnes Martin
*Don’t think about your style.
*Your style is mysterious and should be opened up–but not by you.
*Take care of the machine that makes the style.
*Write the stories your brain is able to produce then evolve with your instrument.
*Stop trying to be creative. Don’t try to get a butterfly, you’ll get a car. Embrace the car. Force vs. Flow
Next up was Marie Lu: THE CREATIVE LIFE
Marie was fabulous–I can not begin to tell you how professional, charming, sweet, honest and adorable she was. I was blown away by her work ethic and her ability to speak so eloquently about her experiences. Here’s some of her take aways…
*Was born in China and moved to the US when she was 5.
*New Orleans was VERY different than China LOL! Her first time out exploring was during Mardi Gras. ROTFL!
*Starting writing as a teen.
*Went to work at Disney and was surrounded by creatives for the first time in her life.
*Being published is NOT relevant to being a writer.
*Every writer proceeds at their own pace, in their own way. The process itself should be reward enough.
*Marie has received well over 500 rejections in her writer’s life so far.
*You can’t perfect something that doesn’t exist.
*With time and practice you will get there, but you have to finish something in order to progress.
*Rejection comes for all of us–don’t fear it. The sooner you understand this, the sooner you will thicken your skin in preparation for the really tough criticism.
*Talent is over rated–most of what gets you there is passion, perseverance and hard work.
*Accepting criticism is the key to growth.
*If the critique isn’t “correct” it only means that something isn’t working.
*A high tide lifts all boats. It’s difficult to tame the envy monster but know that books lift books and writers lift writers. <3
*Be brave and listen–none of know everything or are always right.
*Never defend yourself–listen.
*It’s scary to be called out but remember no one goes out with bad intentions.
*As scary as it is to put yourself out there as a writer–think about how scary it often is to be the reader.
*Those readers are worth the work of being brave. <3
*We are all in this together.
Then this happened…
My Eastern NY SCBWI RA was chosen to give the keynote from last year’s crop of Crystal Kite winners!!!
Nancy Castaldo: THE TERRIFYING PATH TO PUBLICATION AND HOW IT ENDS
Hahahaha! I took no notes during Nancy’s speech. I was in the audience cheering, smiling, preening and proud. It was an excellent speech. It had dogs and writing inspiration. It was fabulous. You should book her for your next event.
Saturday’s first Break-Out session was with Justin Chanda: PRO-Track CAREER LONGEVITY
Justin is the Vice President and Publisher of the four flagship children’s imprints at Simon & Schuster: S&S Books for Young Readers, McElderry Books, Atheneum, and the new Salaam Reads. AKA—BAMS! Here’s a look at publishing through the Chanda Filter. As always, I could listen to him talk for hours.
*Always keep communication lines open. Establish the chain of command.
*Communication from an assistant is coming from your editor. Treat them with respect.
*Never think of your agent as a tool.
*A good editor is there to challenge you–not rewrite your book.
*No one wants an unsuccessful book.
*Creative differences happen, but we are all on the same page.
*Always be realistic about achievable deadlines. Advance notice of realistic expectations is better than missed deadlines.
*Make sure your working on your book, not just working on marketing it. At the end of the day readers want books, not marketing.
*Advertising doesn’t work–especially with children’s books. And $10,000 doesn’t even move the needle.
*What does work? Word of Mouth.
*If you do book tours, it’s inevitable you’ll be at an event where no one shows up. Use it as an opportunity to be professional, make connections and be charming.
*School Visits–there is an entire other industry set up to support us.
*It takes time to get traction as a speaker at schools and conferences.
*Social Media–don’t get caught up in the echo chamber.
*Twitter is the best/worst thing to happen in Kidlit.
*Unforgivable Practices–Never air your grievances on social media.
*The most important thing you can do for self promotion is to get other people to talk about your work.
*Keeping the book alive after the first year–work on the next book. Your next book promotes your first book.
Even at #LA16SCBWI there’s time for Lunch!!!! But then we are back for Carole Boston Weatherford: THE POWER OF PREMISE
I’m so sorry–I don’t have a lot of notes from Carole–she had one of those keynotes you just sit and soak in. She had me at… A premise is a promise that your manuscript will deliver on…
Next up was a panel discussion: INGREDIENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL PICTURE BOOK
JB–Jessixa Bagley (author/illustrator)
JP–John Parra (illustrator)
SR–Susan Rich (Editor–Little, Brown)
BS–Barney Saltzberg (Author)
DT–Don Tate (author/illustrator)
WHAT MAKES A SUCCESSFUL PICTURE BOOK?
JB–the book has a completeness to it.
SR–it has to stand up to weary parents and antsy toddlers.
BS–Rhythm of the page turn, element of surprise.
DT–Connection through emotions
SR–If we knew what the secret ingredient was we’d replicate it.
BS–Put Jon Klassen’s name on it. ROTFL!
ADDITIONAL GOOD ADVICE…
SR–there are hooks (curricular and seasonal) that can make your books stand out–don’t start with that.
BS–You have to be careful who you share your work with and at what stage.
JP–it’s up to us to define ourselves–be unique.
BS–Take your ego and bury it in a box in the backyard. There is wisdom out there to be heard. Show up daily.
And I was waiting all day for this one…
Neal Schusterman on MAKING MEANING: THE WRITER’S STRUGGLES TO FIND ORDER IN CHAOS, AND STORIES WORTH TELLING
Neal started with an “adorable” representation of his 3rd Grade Teacher…
I’ll let you use your imagination on how she influenced Neal. The good news is that he had a strong and persistent personality.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Neal also talked about the fallacies he believes surround the writing process.
*This is how you do it.
-There isn’t one way. Do what works for you.
*Focus on your strengths.
-If you want to be a writer you have to be well rounded and work on your weaknesses.
*Writer’s Block is real.
-There’s no such thing. It’s writing when it’s hard and calling it that gives you permission to walk away. Being stuck it part of the process.
*If you build it, they will come.
-They’ll be walking by on their phones *snicker* Keep building over and over.
*Never ask for feedback from someone you feed.
-Family can be honest. My kids call me out.
*If traditional publishers won’t publish you, then e-pub.
-I know this probably isn’t a popular view, but if e-pub was available I never would have been traditionally published.
-Gate keepers are there with there rejections for a reason. When I look back, my work deserved to be rejected,
-traditional to e-pub is a little different.
*You must have your writing place
-In high school I had that–it was called detention. Now I write everywhere and get inspired. Check it out…
Why Do We Write?
-It’s all about the reader.
-Deep down we have a belief we have something to say.
And a reminder…If we are doing it right, we are always terrified we aren’t doing it right.
And that was the end of the instructional part of the day, but it don’t worry–the day was far from over…
I got to hang out and chat with Marie Lu and she signed my book!
I also got to check out all our fabulous illustrators at the Portfolio Showcase.
There were also Happy Hour Hangouts with the agents and editors.
Followed by the Red Carpet Ball
Our costume goal for the costume contest was to pull out all the stops and glam it up Hollywood style. Nothing says glamorous Hollywood then Fred Astaire!
I even had my tap shoes on.
A class of 2k12 fancy meet up for me and Lynne Kelly or maybe Ginger?
And I wasn’t the only one dressed up. The fashion police were on the scene. Some body was getting ticketed.
There was also a long line of red carpets LOL!
There were loads of people on the dance floor.
And even the balconies were full.
And later when things wound down, it was lovely to take off your top hat and sit outside.
And when you think there are no surprises left in the day…
You come back to your room and wonder if you’re having some unexpected company LOL!
Hoping all this good advice resonates with you. Which bit of inspiration speaks the loudest for you?
And don’t forget to stay tuned for #LA16SCBWI coming soon.
And I’m back!!!! And the answer to yesterday’s 2014 LA SCBWI 43rd Annual Summer Conference cliff hanger is that jet lag won again!!!! I WAS BACK UP AT 5 FREAKING 30 IN THE MORNING!!!!! *head thunk* On a positive note, I spent my extra two hours brainstorming my WIP’s while lying in my cozy bed. But that meant I didn’t get out of my room any earlier and this time the Starbucks line was too long to wait on. With a low caffeine and food gauge, I headed to the breakfast kiosk in the lobby where they were out of breakfast sandwiches for the next 5-10 minutes. (Not my lucky morning) With my face half melting off, I glanced back over at the ever lengthening Starbucks line and decided to wait. #teamkiosk I figured I’d purchase my fruit, coffee and my slower than slow sandwich NOW–and then while I drank my coffee and munched on my nectarine, I’d wait patiently for my breakfast sandwich to arrive. Grab and go. No. I was told there would be no coffee until my sandwich arrived. That’s how they did things. What? Obviously that had never met the likes of me before. *snort* I smiled and explained how my method would be so much more efficient and friendly and yummy and caffeinated. And they marveled at my brilliance and my witty banter and I drank my coffee and waited for my yummy sandwich while making friends with all the other people lusting for breakfast sandwiches. We really bonded. It was fabulous. <3
And despite the wait, I was blessedly on time for the first Keynote of the day.
Justin Chanda (Simon & Schuster) THE STATE OF THE STATE OF THE INDUSTRY
He is an incredible speaker–funny, practical, informative, optimistic, realistic and just plain enjoyable to listen to. Here’s what you need to know…
*We are all in this together.
*Printed things on paper have not been eradicated…and drones are not delivering our books…yet. LOL!
*It’s a cyclical business.
*There is something BIG and NEW in YA–CRF (Contemporary Realistic Fiction) HaHa! It was just “discovered” in the last five years. #trends
*trends are unpredictable–undeniable– and you can not write to them.
*YOUR INDIVIDUAL VOICE IS THE BIGGEST CAPITAL YOU HAVE IN THIS BUSINESS.
*JC predicts YA is going to scale back, but ultimately this is a good thing because the market is saturated and the glut is preventing books from being marketed correctly.
*There is lots of room for books that speak to the true experience of middle graders.
*Great rise in gender neutral books.
*The market for PB’s seems to be strong.
-not enough shelf space for a HUGE resurgence
-PB’s are 1% of book sales
-focus is on 5-6 year olds
-humor is doing well
-strong identifiable characters resonate
*APPS are not books.
*On Common Core: When the next wave of educational stuff comes along we’ll still be buying good books because good books hit the mark without trying.
*No one goes into publishing to get rich–we are here for bigger things.
*We are experts at bringing books and stories to kids. The book comes first.
*We are writers–we need to write–social media and marketing is important but it doesn’t trump story telling.
*There are always readers outside of trends.
See…I told you he was fabulous.
Next up was the Agent’s Panel: WHAT HOOKS ME
SD-Sarah Davies (Greenhouse)
SM-Steve Malk (Writer’s House)
EM-Erin Murphy (Erin Murphy Lit)
AP-Alexandra Penfold (upstart)
RP-Ruben Pfeffer (Ruben Pfeeffer Content)
LP-Linda Pratt (Warnick & Pratt)
LR-Laura Rennert (Andrea Brown)
MODERATOR: LO-Lin Oliver
LO–What hooks you?
AP-I want books that make me feel. Books that are as smart as the kids who read them.
EM-AUTHENTICITY. I don’t want to feel the hand of the author pushing.
SM-Reinventing and layering a fresh point of view over a classic.
SD-AMBITION. Not for money. But someone who works hard and has big ideas. They want to be the master of their craft.
RP-POTENTIAL. I want to make contact with a character that can bring me into their world . Details can be fixed later.
LR-Characrter drive, page turning, emotionally powerful. The exploration of universals in unique ways.
PL-INTRIGUE. Make me feel like THIS character should exist.
-Also wants a professional cover letter.
LO-Tell us about cover letters?
LP-A line or two that verifies you’ve done your homework. Followed by a brief summary of what your work is about. Add credentials at the end but leave out the “my kids love it.”
-Avoid comparisons to books that are too big. Comp titles are good to have but use them wisely.
SM-They bring the professionalism. Take it seriously and don’t sell yourself short. Proves your investment
EM-It helps the agent get the bigger picture of you and your potential career.
LR-Reading for a sense of the person behind the story. But remember the process of querying is like dating so don’t over share your scary stuff on the first date. :o)
AP-Don’t over promise and under deliver. Did you say what you meant to say.
SD-Calm down–it’s okay–it points the way to the writing. And writing a pitch is an art–so practice.
LO-How do you see your role when you take on a new client?
RP-I wear many hats–particularly what the client will benefit from the most.
EM-I’ll ask you to revise because it’s a skill and if you don’t have the skill, I can’t talk you up to editors.
SD-Revision–if the bar can be raised–it’s better for the sale.
-I want to guarantee at the point of submission that we took that MS out as strong as we could make it.
RP-The potential of the brand
AP-Helping to hone their attention towards the second book.
SM-(Cutting in) Brand is a tricky word. Your brand is simply who YOU are.
LO-What makes you cringe?
EM-Submisions from prison. *cue whole ballroom cracking up*
LR-Something that feels formulaic.
LP-Dropped in the middle of ungrounded action. Wants to be vested in the character.
RP-Too much or not enough opening information.
AP-Lot’s of bad rhyme in PB’s–changing the trajectory of the story to meet the rhyme.
EM-Envisioning yourself as a celebrity instead of focusing on the writing.
SM-Making big mistakes that indicate you’re not that serious about what you are doing.
SD-Prologues with car accidents
-Same beginnings all the time.
-Prologue that’s different than the first chapter.
-Wakes up, gets our of bed and looks in the mirror.
*The beginning doesn’t have to be the beginning–fresh language that gets you into the story at a different place.
Even though the morning proved to be off to an amazing start–you can’t stop believing that there’s more. The next Keynote was from Aaron Becker–SOME ADJUSTMENTS WERE MADE ALONG THE WAY: ONE ARTIST’S JOURNEY.
Aaron started us off by getting the whole room to help him sing Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing. You appreciate that transition now, don’t you? LOL!
Anyway–if I’ve got you mystified and you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about–you might not realize that the Aaron is the gifted author/illustrator of the 2014 Caldecott Honor book JOURNEY.
Love, love love this wordless picture book. You can’t even begin to imagine how much story is hidden between it’s gorgeous, sweet, humorous, creative, magical illustrations. But it all made sense when Aaron talked about how stories are how we understands our lives. That is something that resonates with me down to my core. I also wanted to add that I have two young artist/illustrators at home and I took this shot of one of Aaron’s early masterpieces to show them how we grow as we practice our craft.
It left them with their jaws hanging open and it reminded me that we continually have to work at our practice to reach the vision we have of ourselves in our mind. Time to get out my “red crayon” and make some magic happen on my pages. <3
Mary Lee and Megan
I know my recaps can be a bit lengthy at times, but don’t get moody–get Judy Moody!!!! Next up was my first Workshop of the day with Megan McDonald and Mary Lee Donovan JUDY: FOREVER 8–CREATING AND SUSTAINING A SERIES.
Both Megan (the author of Judy Moody) and Mary Lee (Judy Moody editor-Candlewick) were amazing, funny and informative. The thrust of the presentation was about the unique choices that were made all along the course of Judy Moody’s development. The creativity in writing and marketing led to the launch of a beloved early chapter book series that has become a huge hit. Here are some of the takeaways…
*Megan made “me collage’s” to help her brainstorm and get to know her characters and her world.
*They avoided formulaic packaging. It’s uniqueness helped it to stand out.
*Judy Moody is a 3rd grader but her first book was 150 pages long. This was a little unique for 7-10 year olds. But they liked having a thick book to carry around.
*The book had short, episodic chapters targeting 7-10 year olds.
*The print was large with a lot of white space and frequent illustrations.
*At the time, bright colors were competing on the shelf so the craft paper design and unique shape caught people’s attention.
*Judy Moody was positioned as a new cast of characters that everyone needed to meet.
*Marketing was directed to a kid audience and a teacher audience. Word of mouth then helped Judy Moody reinvent the 3rd grade novel. <3
Next up I grabbed lunch on the go and headed over to my regional get together. I didn’t have time to take pics but there were french fries in my Big Fat Gyro and there was some debate about the authenticity of that. My RA was served in the same way in Greece. So anyone have any thoughts on this? It was a first for me. Very yummy, too.
Next up was a Keynote by Maggie Stiefvater A THEIF AND AN ARTIST STEALING STORIES FROM LIFE.
Maggie is an amazing storyteller–as you might imagine from that series of pics. She’s just too animated to pin down LOL! But after listening to Maggie, I also began to think of her as a modern day renaissance woman. Very intelligent and loaded with all kinds of artistic ability in so many areas–writing, sketching and music. I was relieved that she wasn’t very good in the kitchen because I was starting to get a little intimidated and jealous. But considering how much amazing advice she shared and how it impacted my own thoughts on writing, I’m a fan-girl for sure. Some of Maggie’s best take aways…
*I am rarely creating things form scratch. I steal the soul of someone else and then as an artist I stitch it back together.
*The only way to get better at something is to practice.
*Shallow Thievery vs. Deep Artistry
-Learn to solve for X–things are not what is on the surface.
-It’s not about the punch, it’s about why he threw it and more importantly why he’d never thrown it before.
*It’s not write what you know (we don’t personally know that much to be interesting) It’s about WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW THE ESSENCE OF.
And I get to hear the hilarious Megan McDonald talk again at her Keynote WRITER, WRESTLER, STUTTERER, SPY: FINDING YOUR VOICE AS A WRITER.
The really cool thing about Megan’s keynote was that it was completely different than the info I’d heard in the morning. *fist pump* Most of her stuff was side split tingly hilarious stories that I couldn’t even begin to recount here, but I did pull this out and write it in my notes…
*If you want to write–find your splinter–the thing that is embedded, still sharp and hurting you. Write about that.
Day two of the conference seemed to be about repeat speakers, which was completely okay with me because I really enjoyed them just as much the second time around. My afternoon Workshop was with Justin Chanda–YOU HAVE YOUR 1ST (2ND, 3RD) CONTRACT(S) HERE’S HOW YOU CAN HELP AND HURT YOURSELF.
A seriously helpful workshop and one of the best PRO sessions I’ve taken. Right up there with those done by Ruta Sepetys. My only complaint was that it was too short. Would love to see the same workshop offered as an AM/PM two part workshop. Justin talked about some of the best and worst practices that could help or hurt an author after they’ve gotten a contract.
*The starting point for everything is your editor.
*Most important people on staff are the assistants–treat them that way.
*Do not say one thing to your editor and another to your agent and leave your agent to solve it. (ex. Editor: Can you have it to me in 4 weeks. Author: Sure, No problem. Author talking to Agent: There is no way I can do that in four weeks—please fix it. *weeps*)
-Run around becomes tedious for everyone
-We are all in this together.
-Always better to be honest.
*You have to stand up for yourself–it is your book.
*A good editor will never rewrite your book, they will help you make your vision clearer. “I will never win that argument if it’s not meant to be won.”
*Everyone is always working towards the same goal.
*Try not to send multiple emails in one week with different subjects.
*Don’t be afraid to ask questions, we love to talk about what we do.
*Remember to work on your book–consumers want books not marketing. You’re first job is to WRITE!!!!
*100’s of people touch your book along the process of publication.
*Everyone wants your book to work–no one is sitting in the back room trying to figure out how to screw you over.
*80% of tanked covers have been at the author’s insistence. Speak your mind but trust your team.
*80% of the books Justin publishes lose money. The top 20% is carrying the 80%
*Good marketing departments need to be nimble.
*There is a finite amount of marketing resources. And it’s usually unpredictable.
*Do not compare your publication plans with anyone else’s.
*Don’t spend your own money in a vacuum. Coordinate with your team to get the best for your money.
*Publication grows with you throughout your career.
*Highly recommends school visits as the best way to self promote. WORD OF MOUTH!
*Social media is the greatest and worst thing to happen to publishing.
-DO NOT VENT ONLINE
-DO NOT PLEAD YOUR GRIEVANCES IN THE COURT OF SOCIAL MEDIA.
*And like Debbi Oh always says…Another writer’s success doesn’t diminish your chance of success–cheer on other writers. <3
Phew!!!! I’m getting really tired. This may be one of the longest conference recaps I’ve ever had. It’s all because there was so much great information and inspiration. Like this next panel…
A Marketing and Sales Panel–PUTTING YOUR BOOK IN THE HANDS OF READERS: HOW SALES, MARKETING AND PUBLICITY BRING YOUR BOOK TO MARKET with Felicia Frazier, Shanta Newlin and Emily Romero
These ladies were fire crackers. This was hands down the best sales/marketing/publicity class I’ve been exposed to at a conference. Entertaining and informative–I wanted to hang out with this smart and charismatic ladies. Here’s my best takeaway from each of them…
*We are so lucky–we have a replenishing source of kids EVERY YEAR! ROTFL!!!
*Our business is a recommendation based business.
*You have to see, hear or read about a book at least 5 times before you make a purchase.
As pumped as I was, my perky personality was getting hungry and starting to wilt. The final Keynote of the evening was Cynthia Kadohata MY LIFE: REAL AND IMAGINED.And yes, I forgot to take another picture. But here is my favorite takeaway…
*No matter what writing problem you have the answer is always somewhere in your life.
There–I did it. I made it through day 2. *nods off* BUT WAIT—It’s time for the 2014 Poolside Gala!!!!!!! It was Tomie Depaola’s 80th Birthday Bash: A Night in Old Italy. Since Tomie couldn’t be there, we did serenade him with a flash mob to That’s Amore. <3 A copy of that is floating around Youtube somewhere. Here’s a snap shot of the rest of the evening…
The party was getting started. The view from my room.
I was having trouble coming up with a costume and a friend suggested being an “old” tourist in Italy.
I immediately started channeling my Dad LOL!
Nancy my RA stomping some grapes with me.
Hanging out with my Shop Talk buddy Imogene–New York to LA!!!
My Dad would have absolutely hung out with the Pope ROTFL!
Lots of laughs all night.
Jodi and Howard–dancing buddies <3
And then I fell asleep. Lies. Then I hung out in the lobby and talked with friends. And then I fell asleep. More Lies. Then I got in my PJ’s and talked with Jodi some more. ROTFL! But then I finally did fall asleep–and it was great until I …
Well, that’s a story for my finally recap post next Tuesday. We don’t want to overwhelm you–I don’t think this lengthy post can take one more word. Hope it was helpful and didn’t make your eyes bleed. In fact–as encouragement to write the last post recap, why don’t you let me know in the comments which bit of posted wisdom or inspiration resonates with you the most. And don’t forget my fries and gyro conundrum. See you next week.
Part 2 of my SCBWI conference recap–let’s pick up where I left off. I’ve had a yummy lunch at the food court in Grand Central and I’ve dug into the chocolate stash in my bag. If you didn’t want to hang out with me before, you might once you know I bring enough for friends.
I also forgot to mention I did some live tweeting from the conference #NY14SCBWI. And my clown “shout out” even got tweeted. It DOES count for something. And here is my writer friend..Bee Bee the Clown <3
I made lots of new friends through tweeting and if you go back and search the #NY14SCBWI hashtag–you will find a wealth of information on sessions I didn’t attend and links to other bloggers recapping the conference.
Grrrr I took a picture at my next Breakout session. I know I did, because Sara Shandler (Senior Vice President, Editorial, Alloy Entertainment) wore the cutest outfit EVER! Guess you’re going to have to take my word for it LOL!
Breakout session #2 was Developing and Selling a Series
I picked this talk because it was an area in publishing that I don’t know a whole heck of a lot about. After hearing Sara talk I have a few excellent tidbits to share with you…
*Have a clear, one sentence pitch/concept. You have a very limited time to capture someone’s attention.
*Each book must have it’s own story arc.
*Know your ending.
-where is the story going?
-is it a closed arc or can it be extended?
*Avoid following trends, know what’s out there and be unique.
The next Keynote Speaker was Elizabeth Wein: Bearing Witness: Authorial Responsibility
AGAIN I’m missing an action shot, so here she is signing my copy of ROSE UNDER FIRE!!! I waffled for such a long time about whether to get Rose or CODE NAME VERITY. I finally decided to pick my favorite of the two, but it was soooooo close.
Things you should know…
*She’s a 20 year overnight success story.
*Everyone is at wildly different stages of the journey.
*We are responsible for putting ideas in people’s heads at the earliest of ages.
Next up was the Keynote Panel: Banning Books–Where Do We Stand?
JB – Joan Bertin (Executive Director, National Coalition against Censorship)
EH – Ellen Hopkins
SR – Susanna Reich (Chair, Children’s and Young Adult Book Committee, Pen American Center)
I’m going to have a ton for you from Ellen Hopkins. She is brave and amazing and I hung on her every word…
*You make children stronger by giving them the truth.
*Pull the books out from under the covers and read them WITH your kids.
*Do you think that Harper Lee didn’t write To Kill A Mockingbird for a reason?
*If a thirteen year old girl is sexually abused, shouldn’t she have the right to read a book about it?
*Write bravely–speak the truth.
*I have a responsibility to my readers–not the censors. Speak the truth.
Appropriately wearing my I READ BANNED BOOKS bracelet and reading To Kill A Mockingbird with the boys.
And Susanna Reich noted…
*72 of the top 100 most challenged books in the past years have been children’s books.
*Librarians are on the front line of censorship.
*Multicultural books can speak to all kids, not just children of color.
*To create something you have to face your own fears.
THAT is an amazing note to end the day on…if the day were ending. Up next was the Gala Dinner where you will ALWAYS find me hanging out by the MASHED POTATO BAR!!!!!
The picture is a little blurry, but can you blame me if my hands were trembling in excitement? A MASHED POTATO BAR people!!!! Unfortunately, just looking at that picture puts me back into carb overload. I think I need to lay down on my couch and take a nap…
That’s right–I forgot to tell you. I FINALLY GOT MY COUCH!!!
Oh, happy day.
I’ll be back on Tuesday with the last conference recap. But while you’re waiting for some closure (hopefully on your cozy couch) tell me what your favorite banned book is.