Three Days of Peace, Love, and Rollicking Books

Before it’s too far away in time, I want to tell you about the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Los Angeles Conference, which took place about two weeks ago,. The participants came from around the world. I met one woman who traveled from Australia and another who is not a writer, illustrator, agent, or publisher but comes regularly just because she loves children’s books.

If you are a writer or illustrator for children’s books and are not familiar with SCBWI, you especially need to read on to see why you will want to know more about this organization.

If you are a parent, teacher, kid, or someone who just loves children’s books, this post’s purpose is to give you a feel for people who write and illustrate children’s books. The overwhelming message I heard at the conference is to write one’s Truth—it will be what some child somewhere needs to read. Our job, as writers, is to go as deeply into our Truths as possible.

Children are not “one size fits all,” and they need a diverse village. It is eye-opening to see the incredible array of artists that engage in the making of children’s books.

Several author/speakers were reluctant readers when they were kids. They write what they would have liked to read when they were younger. A panel was asked who they write for. They tend to write for themselves first–to that inner four-year-old, ten-year-old, or teen. Then they evaluate and revise for those who are currently four or ten or teen-aged.

SCBWI (remember, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) was founded over forty years ago for mutual help and support among authors. The prevailing tone is one of cooperation and respect—Woodstock for writers and illustrators (agents and publishers, too). The conference was an inspiring and (dare I say it?) spiritual experience for me. Gary Schmidt, the closing speaker, told us to write what will give our readers “more to be a human being with.”

I am so touched to be part of this organization. More next time about SCBWI, and I will be blogging about some of the wonderful books those speakers wrote.

Quick, what does SCBWI stand for? If you want to know more about them, go to their website  http://scbwi.org  Go now if you are a writer or illustrator.