SCBWI LA 40th Anniversary Conference-Part 4

Filed under: Conferences, SCBWI

Imagine it’s Saturday, the second day of the SCBWI LA Conference.  You are up at 7am and you’ve freaked out your roommate by Face-Timing your family on the computer while she’s in the shower.  (She thought you invited a gaggle of really loud people into the room and figured she might have to dash out and say hi in her underwear.)  All is forgiven when your kids see her (fully clothed) and run to grab her debut picture book, WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN. Impressively, they can put their hands on the book in less than 30 seconds, making your roommate very, very happy.  *grin*  You don’t even have to buy her a make-up cake-pop.   You cyber kiss your kids and pray for your hubby who is road tripping to New York City with the rug rats to “do stuff”.  You and your roommie head out the door when you realize that you’ve got a phone message on the room phone.  Popular roommate is being sought by the goddess of the Blue Boards, Verla Kay.  Off we go…

Jodi Moore, her Dragon and Verla Kay for a mini book signing.
And guess who Verla’s roommie is?  Linda Jo Singleton!!!
Verla and Kim <3
But the clock is ticking and its time to find your coffee (which out of desperation has changed from decaf to half reg/half decaf) and something yummy to snack on.
This is the point in the morning that you realize you just left your camera in Verla’s room. *head thunk* So you run, passing Richard Peck (blowing kisses) as you leap into an elevator and hope you’re not too late.  Verla is walking down the hall and you wave your arms and she pulls your camera out of her bag.  Like a lightning bolt, it all becomes very clear.  There is no way in hell that you will ever be able to host a discussion board.  Not gonna happen.  You’ve discovered your social media limits and it feels good.  You hug Verla (because she’s cool that way) and slide into the Starbucks line just in time to meet another cyber friend…
Kim and Debbie Ohi!!!!!
And FINALLY, coffee and bagel.  

If, and only if, you can visualize this, will you be ready to have the full Saturday morning conference experience.  Let’s roll!


For the record, next time the Wall Street Journal wants to write about YA books being too dark, I’m going to gift wrap the brilliant Donna Jo Napoli and send her to them.  Donna Jo laid out a brilliant response to those people who do not understand why we must write about terrible things.

First she talked about the Unprotected Children in the world.  They are…
     -The children who are loved by their parents, but are abused by society.
     -The children who are abused by their parents.

She said that children who are unprotected are isolated with the abuse.  They do not go out and share the horrors of their life with others.  They are alone.  But they are able to find a like person that they can relate to in a book.

Most kids don’t have the power to change their world.  They do not have control over their situation.  To read about someone who survived the same things that they are going through, with dignity, can help a child to survive too.

Secondly, she spoke of the Protected Children. These children, must learn empathy for the rest of the people in the world and the safest way for them to do that is in the pages of a book.

I’m going to stop here because I think this is important.  The next two speakers coming up are equally as powerful and I want you to have the time to really think about this.  I’m still mulling it over a week+ later.  I don’t know about you, but for me this is bigger than just writing books.  It is about saving lives and changing the world we live in.  As Bruce Coville said earlier, “We love our children individually, but we have a hard time showing it collectively.”  So often my hands are tied and my ability to impact change is ineffective, but there are two ways that I know I can make a difference.

First, I can write books that respect and support Unprotected Children.  I will not censor my heart and soul.  Those kids deserve better than that.  Secondly, I can choose to raise my Protected Children with empathy.  At the very least, they will meet these Unprotected Children in the pages of a book.  They will learn how lucky they are and how big their hearts must grow.   I want them to learn that we can not live in isolation and blindness.  I want them to begin to see that we are better off dealing with the struggles of growth than the hurdles of ignorance.

I urge each and every one of you to share Bruce Coville’s and Donna Jo Napoli’s message with as many people as you can.  It is time to make a change.

First up on Friday–David Small.

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4 Responses | TrackBack URL | Comments Feed

  1. You are amazing. You know that, right? You got so much out of the conference, and you managed to have a great time doing it. I can tell by reading your blog that you're going to be an important contributor to the YA writing community. 🙂

  2. I am still high on this conference…thanks for living – and reliving – this with me!!! <3 you!!!

  3. I love your recaps! And, I totally agree with Linda! You're going to be an important contributor to the YA writing community!!

  4. Awww I love you guys!!!! You're the best. *heart squish*

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