Children's & Fantasy/Sci-Fi Books

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At the 2018 Charlotte Huck Children’s Literature Festival

I had a wonderful time at the 2018 Charlotte Huck Children’s Literature Festival. I presented “Using Fiction to Interest Young Readers in Nonfiction”, and got to meet some amazing authors.

With literary agency sister Erin Dealey, author of K IS FOR KINDERGARTEN.

With Marc Tyler Nobleman, author of BOYS OF STEEL.

With Janay Brown, author of IMANI’S MOON.

With Karen Jameson, author of the upcoming MOON BABIES, and Dianne White, author of BLUE ON BLUE.

With Newbery Honoree Kathi Appelt, author of MAYBE A FOX.

With Coretta Scott King Medalist illustrator James Ransome and his equally talented wife author Lesa Cline-Ransome.

Closing session speaker Georgia Heard presented “Seeing the World with a Poet’s Eye.” I loved the following slide that said poets…

  • Observe the small moments around us
  • Find poetry in the ordinary
  • See beauty in the ugly
  • Are curious and filled with wonder
  • Look at the world in a new way
  • Pay attention to and write from all our feelings
  • Love the meaning the sounds of words
  • Give voice to the unspeakable
  • Are empathetic


Photo diary from the 2016 Los Angeles National SCBWI Conference

I had a great time attending the annual Los Angeles convention of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (#LA16SCBWI). Met writing friends, made new friends, heard inspiring speakers, and learned a lot about writing (and that I need a better phone camera). Here’s a photo journal of some of the many KidLit folks in attendance.


Pura Belpre honor and Golden Kite winning author/illustrator John Parra. Check out the fancy lobby of the Biltmore Hotel.


Martha Brockenbrough, author of THE GAME OF LOVE AND DEATH. Anyone who can write Young Adult and Picture Books is hogging all the talent!


BLEED LIKE ME Young Adult author Christa Desir, one of the first authors I ever interviewed on my KidLit blog.


The kind and charming Simon & Schuster publisher, Justin Chanda.


Ezra Jack Keats Award-winning author/illustrator of HOPE’S GIFT, Don Tate. You will note that his hairline is the inverse of mine. You complete me, Don.


The multitalented author/illustrator/musician and creator of the TOUCH AND FEEEL KISSES series, with over a million copies in print! He’s not this blurry in real life.


The shy and retiring SUPER HERO GIRLS author, Lisa Yee. Flat Dan Santat wasn’t in attendance, but the real one showed up eventually.


The anything but abominable NO YETI YET picture book author/illustrator, Mary Ann Fraser.


New York Times bestselling novelist Neal Shusterman and SCBWI co-founder Lin Oliver.


Last in the alphabet, but not in our hearts, the dapper Caldecott Medalist illustrator of RAPUNZEL, Paul Zelinsky.


The animated Bruce Coville, master author of DIARY OF A MAD BROWNIE, gave an immensely useful presentation on writing.


The ebullient picture book author of BITTY BOT, Tim McCanna.


My literary agency sister, the kind and funny New York Times bestselling picture book author/illustrator, my frint, Antoinette Portis.


These look great. I’m thinking of adding some balconies to my living room.


The sweet but mischievous “ghost gossiper” author/illustrator Pat Cummings.


Editor panel with (l to r): Stacey Barney (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), Kat Brzozowski (Feiwel & Friends), Alvina Ling (Little, Brown), Melissa Manlove (Chronicle), Neal Porter, Matt Ringler (Scholastic), Sara Sargent (HarperCollins), Reka Simonsen (Atheneum) and Kate Sullivan (Delacorte).


The good-natured Caldecott-winning author/illustrator of THIS IS NOT MY HAT, Jon Klassen.


Founder of SCBWI Blueboard, Verla Kay, and effervescent literary agency sister, GOLDIE LOCKS HAS CHICKENPOX author, Erin Dealey.


Jon Klassen recommended the place, so a friend and I had a nutritious lunch at Bottega Louis.


Packing way too much writing talent and charisma in a small package was New York Times bestselling LEGEND series author, Marie Lu.


After a few years of Facebook interaction, it was a thrill to finally meet the author/illustrator of FREDDIE & GINGERSNAP, Vincent Kirsch, even though his dog Ogbert was not present.


Author panel with (l to r): Jessixa Bagley, John Parra, Susan Rich (editor), Barney Saltzberg & Don Tate, moderated by Laurent Linn (not shown).


Why, yes, that is CREEPY CARROTS Caldecott Honoree author/illustrator Peter Brown. Smooth pate? Check. Beard? Check. Write and draw like a boss? Still working on it.


Agent panel with (l to r): Victoria Wells Arms, Ginger Clark (Curtis Brown), Kirsten Hall (Catbird), Brooks Sherman (The Bent Agency), Erica Rand Silverman (Stimola Literary) and Tina Wexler (ICM Partners).


Caldecott Medalist, New York Times bestseller, funny, and unjustifiably humble picture book author/illustrator, Sophie Blackall.


Beach Lane Books publisher Allyn Johnston dishes about what she likes and dislikes in the picture book market. She’s NOT a big fan of art notes from authors.


My favorite photo of the conference because #TeamYeti. From l to r: Mary Ann Fraser, author/illustrator of NO YETI YET, me (hopefully future author of NEVER FEED A YETI SPAGHETTI), and adorably alliterative Ashlyn Anstee, author/illustrator of ARE WE THERE. YETI?


Chronicle editor Melissa Manlove talks about effective narrative non-fiction.


Freelance editor Deborah Halverson briefs us on the state of the KidLit marketplace.


A photo of what Newbery-winning author Richard Peck looks like from outer space. This is a terrible photo of the least terrible author I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. He is a maestro!


And yes, that is MR. TIGER GOES WILD author/illustrator Peter Brown photobombing fellow Caldecott honoree and THE BOSS BABY author/illustrator Marla Frazee.


How star-studded was the attendee list? New York Times author/illustrator of MISS MAPLE SEEDS, Eliza Wheeler, was there.


San Diego SCBWI chapter attended in force. These glamorous gals won the costume contest wearing red carpet dresses. The chapter also won the Chronicle scavenger hunt, and our Susie Ghahremani was selected as one of the illustrator mentees. Not manatees. Not Mentos.


As Ferris Bueller said, “You’re still here? It’s over. Go home. Go.” It was also great seeing San Diego Chapter members and my other talented friends who I failed to photograph: Drew Daywalt, David Diaz, Bruce Hale, Jenni Holm, Dan Santat, Kelly Sonnack, and Harold Underdown.


Networking in Los Angeles with Fellow Authors

With my long-time friend and Pura Belpre Award-winning author/illustrator Joe Cepeda and new friend author/illustrator Jordan Novak

With the hilarious and talented picture book author of CRANKENSTEIN and SNOOZEFEST, Samantha Berger

Samantha Berger drinking coffee with both hands! ‪#‎caffeine‬

With Angie Karcher, non-fiction picture book author, and founder of RhyPiBoMo.

Normally, seeing Molly Schaar Idle would be the highlight of my day. But then, her son John said he loved MONSTER GOOSE NURSERY RHYMES. *smiling*

With Caldecott Honor winning author/illustrator Molly Schaar Idle AND the author/illustrator of LOUISE LOVES ART, Kelly J. Light. I’m in the middle of a talent sandwich. Notice the Louise doll I’m holding.

With the YA author of TWINKIE PIE, Kat Yeh and YA author Lee Wind. Notice how nicely color-coordinated they are!

With rising star picture book author Marcie Colleen. I am jealous of both her talent and her hair! 🙂

With debut picture book FARAWAY FRIENDS author/illustrator Russ Cox

With the fully-bearded and award-winning BOY+BOT author/illustrator Dan Yaccarino