I got to spend the weekend with lots of people connected to children's literature at the New England Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators conference. This was my third year attending the conference, and as always, it provided some new information, some review, and lots of enjoyment. Cynthia Leitich Smith told us how a conversation with her local ducks transformed her from a lawyer to a writer of the multicultural and the vampiric. Pat Lowery Collins offered useful suggestions on how to fit poetry into the current kidlit scene, and Kim Ablon Whitney gave insight into grants, awards, and residencies. Marla Frazee and Allyn Johnston gave us a peek into what must be one of the sweetest editor-author/illustrator relationships out there. Mitali Perkins moderated a really informative panel consisting of agents Ammi-Joan Paquette of Erin Murphy Literary Agency, Edward Necarsulmer of McIntosh & Otis, and Sarah Davies of The Greenhouse.
Liza Ketchum got us thinking about dialogue and its uses (which include but are not limited to creating visual breaks for readers, which is exactly why this is a new paragraph). Melissa Stewart advised us on how and why to make one nonfiction work different from another. Erin Dionne went in-depth into "hysterical epiphanies," a great way to use humor to advance a story.
And in between, I spent time with lots of people who think it's really important to create good books for children. Not bad at all.
On top of all that, I got to celebrate the graduation of Simmons College's newest advanced degree holders, including many of my distinguished Children's Literature and Writing for Children colleagues. Congratulations to you all!