|View of 42nd and Park|
Fortunately, not long later, some VIP's came to us; including, to my delight, my editor at Harper Children's, Nancy Inteli. Nancy recently acquired my new picture book, Monster Trucks!
(Summer, 2016). It was lovely to be able to meet Nancy person and give her a thank you hug!
|Nancy Inteli, Editorial Director, Harper Collins Children's Books |
After a fun night and another great meal at The Smith Midtown.
|Two words: creamed kale. Heaven.|
|You can't tell in this pic,|
but we're doing the happy food dance.
...and a brief stop here.
.. we called it a night.
Saturday morning, we were up and at 'em early (miraculously).
|Badges, notebooks, coffee: check! (Ok, we look a little sleepy. )|
All the presentations for the weekend followed the theme of Seven Essentials. Jack Gantos
(Newbery award-winner for Dead End In Norvelt
) was up first with a keynote titled, "How everything I learned about fiction and nonfiction in picture books, poetry, short stories, novellas, or, angst, dialog, a hundred drafts, and good luck all end up in the crown jewel of literature: THE NOVEL."
That title speaks to Jack's electric personality. He's all spitfire and energy and humor and talent. He spoke about finding habits that work for you, content and structure, focused rewrites, connecting the dots with theme, and adding emotional depth to your stories.
Beyond his very helpful pointers, I think what came through was his passion and commitment to telling stories in all forms, as well as a joy an irreverence one can't help but love.
It was a fabulous kick-off to the keynotes.
After a morning of enlightening discussions, including a fascinating panel on The Future of Authorship,
and breakout sessions in the afternoon, Mary Jane and I decided to seek a little inspiration outside the conference halls and head over to the NYPL to see Leonard Marcus'
s exhibit at the New York Public Library: The ABC of it: Why Children's Books Matter
The weather had turned springlike in Manhattan and as much as we were enjoying the talks, we needed some air—and some art.
Library Way, which cuts directly to the front entrance of the NYPL, is paved with quotes from literature. I snapped a few shots of my favorites.
The exhibit itself was similarly paved in riches. Expertly curated and gloriously designed, it was the perfect end-note on a roundly inspiring day.
We arrived back to the hotel feeling glad we hadn't missed the opportunity to see the exhibit, but barely able to catch our breath before the cocktail party—which was a blur of fun connections, old friends and new faces.
It was great to meet Ame Dyckman
(Ezra Jack Keats Award-winning author of Tea Party Rules
) and Drew Daywalt (
New York Times bestselling author of The Day The Crayons Quit)
in person, after becoming friends in the Twitterverse, and featuring them both on The Little Crooked Cottage.
|Ame Dyckman, Drew Daywalt and moi. |
Another unexpected treat was bumping into talented YA author, KM Walton.
I met Kate years ago, before her first novel published, at the home of good friends. Since then, Kate has published two novels: Cracked (2012)
and Empty (2013),
with another title, The Lies We Tell,
in 2015. It was lovely to be able to reconnect after cheering Kate's successes from afar. Keep an eye on KM Walton. She's one to watch.
|Striking a pose with KM Walton|
But my favorite moment of all came on Sunday. Kate Messner
delivered the best, I mean it, the best
speech I have ever heard at an SCBWI event. Her keynote on The Spectacular Power of Failure
was inspiring, moving and full of hope.
Who among us hasn't faced the fear of failure in our work? Kate encouraged us to take a moment to celebrate each of our successes, large and small, instead of automatically moving the bar before we've had the chance to appreciate our accomplishments.
She turned the entire notion of failure on its ear by putting it in perspective. "You can't have brave without scared," she said quoting Linda Urban'
s novel Hound Dog True
. We learn from failing, and reevaluating and trying again."
She encouraged us all to "live our creative lives bravely," and to do the same by our characters. "Let them be flawed, let them fail, and let them survive."
Kate ended the speech by reading a poem.What Happened to Your Book Todayby Kate Messner (Copyright 2011) Somewhere, a child laughedon that page where you made a joke.Somewhere, she wiped away a tear,Just when you thought she might. Somewhere, your book was passedfrom one hand to another in a hallwaybusy with clanging lockers,with whispered words,“You have got to read this.”And a scribbled note:O.M.G. SO good.Give it back when ur done. It’s looking a little more love-worn lately,rougher around the edges than it did on release day.There are dog eared pages and Gatorade stains.Someone smeared maple syrup on the coverbecause she read all through breakfast.Pages 125 and 126 are stuck fast with peanut butterBecause Chapter 10 was even more deliciousthan lunch. Somewhere, tiny hands held up your bookAnd a little voice begged, “Again!”Somewhere, the answer came,A grown-up sigh…and a smile…And the fourteenth read-aloud of the morning.That same book. Again.Your book. Somewhere, a kid who has never read a whole book on his own(Really. Not even one.)picked up yours and turned a page.And then another.And then one more.And it was pretty cool, turns out.He brought it back – huge smile on his face –(and I mean huge)And asked for another one.And he read that, too. Somewhere, a teenager who thought she was aloneOpened your pages and discovered she’s not.And somewhere, somebody who thought about giving upwill keep on trying,
keep on hoping.Because of that book you wrote. Somewhere tonight – listen closely and you’ll hear–A child will turn the last page of that book,That book you wrote,and sigh.Can you hear it?It’s the sound of a story being held closeRight before a young voice says,“It feels like this was written just for me.” And it was.
I don't have a photo to share of this moment because a.) I was blubbering and wiping my nose, and b.) I was on my feet, clapping and joining in the standing ovation that Kate received for her uplifting, heartfelt and encouraging words.
I looked to my left, at my friend Jane who was teary-eyed and clapping, too, and I knew we were both thinking the same thing.This is why we do what we do.
Kate summed it up beautifully.
Even without all the rest—which was magical—that one reminder was worth the trip.