The LA SCBWI conference was magical, exhausting, inspiring, and fun. I roomed with former student Romelle Broas Guittap which was truly wonderful. We had a great time together being thoughtful, sharing our experiences. I got to see 2 of Romelle's stories late at night, one of which I loved the other not so much. We had a lovely time together.
I also hung out with other friends and former students including Carol Green who lives around the corner from the conference and showed me the secret salad bar downstairs of the food court that was super delicious and super cheap. A hot tip for next year. I saw many other fave people (too many to include but you know who you are :).
I got to have Jon Klassen run up and hug me when I arrived which was both unexpected and magical, saw Alexis O'Neill who I love, saw some wonderful local folks who I also love including Patricia Newman, Connie Goldsmith, Catherine Mayer and Golden Kite winner Jeri Ferris who was positively glowing. Ran into some fab RAs and ICs that I already knew and met some fabulous new ones.
Another highlight was getting to help out at my mentor agent Karen Grencik and her partner Abigail Samoun's Red Fox Literary party where I brought my glitter pens and special markers and got to make name tags and draw red foxes on people's conference badges. Loved it!!! 2 of my favorite things - being with and meeting wonderful people and drawing. Miranda Paul who I also love was there and that was super sweet, as well as Marcia Berenger who Karen and I are kind of sharing. I'm working with her on her MG chapter book and feeling super optimistic about its reception. Super exiting and lots of fun!!! Chapter books and MG are my new sweet spot.
I also got to see some wonderful speakers including Andrea Pinkney from Scholastic who is beyond fabulous and who I hope to do some magic with in several forms :) And Ari Lewin who is one smart, funny lady and whose presentation on novels was fantastic. Gill Evans of British and Australian Walker and US Candlewick fame was so interesting that I saw her twice (once on foreign rights and the other on turning books into movies). Her sexy British accent didn't hurt. Another great presentation was Bonnie Bader's Core Curriculum, which basically reaffirmed my own approach to write what you like then find the standards to match. Interestingly, next week I'm going to Mt. Shasta to work with the teachers up there on creative ways of using the standards to teach across the curriculum using art and children's literature. Wahoo!! Only found out last week that it's for K-High School teachers, so that's a bit of a stretch (I thought it was K-6).
I got to hug brilliant editors Emma Dryden, Deborah Halverson and Melissa Manlove, and the beautiful Laurent Linn and Jim Averbeck, two super smart, and extremely wonderful men, and the ever lovely Mela Bolinao, artist agent who has also helped me in my journey, as well as Danielle Smith. It was a very social and powerful learning time for me.
There was so much fabulous stuff that I missed but some of my favorite keynote speakers were Laurie Halse Anderson, Mac Barnett, and David Weisner. I was crushed that I missed John Sczieska and Mac Barnett together, Matt La Peña who I hear was awesome, and Richard Peck :( sob) but I had other commitments and just couldn't do it all. The icing on the cake was meeting with one of my clients, illustrator Carl Angel who is becoming a writer as well. He brought 2 versions of a manuscript that was just an idea the last time we talked and the one that I've read so far is exquisite. You can see some of Carl's art here http://hummingbirdliterary.com/portfolio-carl-angel/ His writing is equally lyrical and imaginative. Who knew? I am very excited for both of us. Now I'm stuck at LAX. Evidently, too much cloud coverage in SF. Sigh. Still, I have lots of wonderful reading to do.
We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome new bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with Clear Fork/Spork editor/art director, former agent and former kidlit professor Mira Reisberg PhD who is also the Director of the Children's Book Academy.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays will feature the fabulous debut author/illustrator Maggie Brown.
And 5th Mondays will feature the wonderful Ave Maria Cross