By Sarah Parker-Lee and Erlina Vasconcellos
No matter where you are on your career journey, it’s always time to hone your craft and connect with other writers, illustrators, and children’s book industry professionals. Book fests, conventions, and other kid lit events are a great place to start. So grab your calendars and consider this list your compass!
SCBWI’s Biggest Events for 2019:
Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles
This is a full-day to immerse yourself in expert keynote speakers, manuscript critiques, and agent pitch sessions. This year’s event is themed “Who’s Reading? Keeping It Fresh for Today’s Generation.” Knowing your target audience sounds simple but are you really in touch with today’s readers – and editors? Our faculty will share insights, knowledge and advice to keep pace with those savvy end-users. Join us for a morning of keynotes and a panel and an afternoon of informational breakouts. And don’t forget there are awesome contests that have led to great things for previous winners. Learn more about that here. Read author Charlotte Offsay’s recap of last year here. Continue reading
By Lorian Steider Brady
SCBWI held its 47th Annual Summer Conference at the JW Marriott at LA LIVE in Los Angeles, August 3-6. The event spanned three extensive floors and was appropriately centered in the Diamond Ballroom. It was a perfect setting for the dazzling event.
Every day of the conference began with keynote speeches from well-known authors and illustrators or panel discussions with agents, editors, and authors. On August 4, Lynda Mullaly Hunt, award winning author of the middle grade novels One for the Murphys and Fish in a Tree, made us laugh, made us cry, until, finally, the audience rose en masse for a standing ovation. And that was just one of many. Outstanding keynote speakers shone throughout the weekend, reminding us again and again to write the stories in our own hearts because there are children who want, and need, to hear our stories.
Andrea Custer, Book Festivals, Book Fests, Claire Moore, conferences, Conventions, Helena Ku Rhee, Jacob Gerhardt, Lynn Becker, PB Rippey, Sarah Parker-Lee, SCBWI Annual Summer Conference, SCBWI members, Summer Conference
Hone your craft and connect with other writers, illustrators, and children’s book industry professionals at this year’s book fests and events. Grab your calendars and mark these dates.
Here are the dates for SCBWI’s biggest events for 2018:
Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles
This is a full-day to immerse yourself in expert keynote speakers, manuscript critiques, and agent pitch sessions. This year’s event, themed “Time to Level Up!,” offers writers a choice of three different levels based on experience and goals.
Read PB Rippey’s writer’s perspective on 2017’s event. Last year’s event also included illustrators. Read Lynn Becker’s illustrator’s perspective.
By Ann Rousseau Smith, SCBWI CenCal News Liaison
SCBWI Summer Conference Report, by Tricia Candemeres
The 46th SCBWI Summer Conference was quite a special one. I won an SCBWI grant that covered the expenses, and I wanted to both live up to the honor and embrace the opportunity.
Vanessa Brantley Newton started us off and lifted us up – first with the hokey pokey, then with her stories of diversity, adversity, and dreaming bigger, and ended with the most stunning rendition of “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught.”
From that high bar, it became one amazing keynote or breakout after another. My friends and I split up and compared notes later.
- Sean Qualls reminding us to keep showing up.
- The “Transforming Life into Art” writers sharing tough, deeply personal stories.
- The sneak preview for the movie based on “Shades of Gray” by Ruta Sepetys.
- Marvin Terban’s funniest words for kids: underpants, poop, and fart!
- The awe-inspiring Portfolio Showcase.
- And of course, tea with Judy Blume.
So much to take in. I’ll just fill in some of the gaps with favorite conference quotes:
- “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.” – Vanessa Brantley Newton
- “Teach children humor as a vital life skill.” – Marvin Terban
- “The secrets that make you feel alone in the world are the very things you need to share in stories.” – Kat Yeh
- “Storytellers have been part of the human experience from the very beginning – and I truly believe that even the ones drawing the pictures on the wall of the caves had imposter syndrome.” – Zareen Jaffery
- “Your story matters. Great minds don’t think alike.” – Nancy Paulsen
- “Will I still love this manuscript AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN?” – Rubin Pfeffer
- “Kids are ready to take stuff on – go there.” – Alex Gino
- “Make the Mommy Promise. Mommy will not save the day in my story.” – Tammi Sauer
- “You can have all the talent in the world, and if you’re not determined, you’re going to let something stop you from doing it.” – Judy Blume
• Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is that quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher, as quoted by Laurie Halse Anderson in her closing keynote.
On Monday, the Illustrator’s Intensive was an information packed day of demonstrations and hands-on activities, featuring Ramon Hurtado, Vanessa Brantley Newton, Marla Frazee, John Rocco, Leuyen Pham, Raúl Colón, and Javaka Steptoe.
Over the past few years I’ve connected to a tribe of incredibly supportive SCBWI illustrators and authors, (we all met through a Marla Frazee workshop, so we call ourselves Team Marla), and I thoroughly enjoyed sharing this conference with them. We really are all on this journey together!
Tricia Candemeres is a children’s book author and illustrator living in southern California with her husband and two children. She worked in broadcast and graphic design before making the leap to illustration. A NYC transplant, she studied at FIT and School of Visual Arts in NYC as well as Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. You can visit her work at triciacandemeres.com and follow her on Instagram @tcandyart.
CenCal Writer Retreat 2018:
Bravely Crafting Picture Books with Heart
January 12-14, 2018
La Casa de Maria Retreat and Conference Center, Santa Barbara
Join Tammi Sauer, award-winning author, for a productive and fun picture book retreat. She will unveil her favorite picture book writing secrets. You will delve into the most important picture book components (character, conflict, word choice, among others) through discussion, examples, and engaging exercises.
Learn to build heart and humor into your manuscript.
For more information, go to https://cencal.scbwi.org/events/cencal-writers-retreat-2018/
SAVE THE DATES!
For information, go to http://cencal.scbwi.org
December 2, 2017
Holiday Party, Bakersfield
December 10, 2017
Holiday Party, Santa Barbara
January 12-14, 2018
Writer Retreat: Bravely Crafting Picture Books with Heart, Santa Barbara
BOOK TALK ONLINE
Book Talk is a monthly book discussion group taking place on the SCBWI Central-Coastal California listserv. Discussions begin on the first of each month, facilitated by Lynn Becker. To become a member of the listserv, go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/groups/SCBWI-CCal/
NOVEMBER: Clayton Byrd Goes Underground, by Rita Williams-Garcia (MG)
Clayton wants to play harmonica in Cool Papa Byrd’s band but, when his grandfather dies, his mom forbids him to play the blues.
DECEMBER: My Sister Rosa, by Justine Larbalestier (YA)
Che loves his brilliant younger sister, even though he seems to be the only one who knows how dangerous she really is.
JANUARY: Leave Me Alone! by Vera Bristol (PB)
An old woman wants a quiet place to knit, but grandkids, goats, bears, and aliens won’t leave her in peace.
For more fantastic content, community, events, and other professional development opportunities, become a member today! Not sure if there is a chapter in your area? Check here.
Images provided by SCBWI Central-Coastal Region and Tricia Candemeres.
By Helena Ku Rhee, Kite Tales Contributor
As in years prior, SCBWI’s annual summer conference was spectacular. We laughed, we cried, and at the end, we were inspired to rush home to create good art. A highlight for me was attending the pro track for the first time. With my debut book coming out in 2018, I knew I could benefit from sessions such as Rubin Pfeffer’s “Be Empowered, Publishing is Your Business” and Linda Sue Park’s marketing overview.
I was amazed to be sitting in the pro sessions with industry veterans. Hello, Laurie Halse Anderson! My first thought was: After publishing 20+ books, don’t these veterans already know everything? And my second thought was: If such luminaries are here, maybe I don’t belong! But later on, I discovered that artists in all phases of their careers were in attendance – from the pre-published to the many-times-published. I have to admit, before I got my first book deal, I didn’t think I was allowed in the pro track so I never even thought to attend. But I admired the forward thinking of the aspirants in the audience. Continue reading
If you’re the type to make New Year’s resolutions, then your list probably includes goals like finishing that work in progress, launching a blog, or just plain writing or illustrating more often. While all of that will move you toward becoming published, consider adding “attend a book festival or convention” to your list, because nothing fuels inspiration like being surrounded by people who share your passion.
Here are the dates and information for SCBWI’s biggest annual events. Continue reading
2016 Summer Conference staff, Alvina Ling, Editor's Panel, Kat Brzozowski, Kate Sullivan, Kim Wildman, Lin Oliver, Matt Ringler, Melissa Manlove, Neal Porter, Nutschell Windsor, Reka Simonsen, Sally Jones Rogan, Sara Sargent, Stacey Barney
by Christine Van Zandt
Inspiration, education, and conversation The SCBWI’s 45th Annual Summer Conference was held at the beautiful, centrally located Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. With almost 1,000 attendees representing 48 states and 15 countries, from the first moment it was apparent that this was the place for a children’s writer or illustrator to be. Continue reading
New York Times best-selling author Shannon Hale (and SCBWI member) has published more than 20 children’s books. Her third Princess in Black book was released earlier this month; this middle-grade chapter book is part of Hale’s latest series.
CHRISTINE VAN ZANDT: Welcome! How long have you been writing books? Continue reading