What a wonderful, whirlwind weekend!
I just returned from the 25th anniversary celebration of the New England SCBWI Conference. About 590 people attended.
Here are the backs of some of their heads . . .
Oh, nevermind. That's Lin Oliver giving her fabulous keynote. Full of heart and hope. And the words that echoed? DO THE WORK. (Hmm. What a concept.)
After that, several workshops were presented. I gave my "Quirky Character" talk to a wonderfully enthusiastic group.
Oh, look. Here are some of them now . . .
On the other side of the room, a lovely woman offered a sweet smile every time I looked at her. (This is an important detail for what comes later in this post.)
During the autograph session, I had the honor of sitting between two seriously funny writers.
The amazing Linda Urban . . .
I'm a huge fan of her perfect middle grade book . . .
Linda has a new book coming out in September, which has already received a starred review from Kirkus . . .
Don't even try to butt in line at the indie bookstore the day it comes out because I will be first!
On the other side of me was the lovely Erin Dionne . . .
Erin's book, The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet, is on the Texas Lone Star Reading List along with my book, How to Survive Middle School. Hamlet is seriously funny. Don't you just love the cover?
After the signing, at the faculty dinner, I noticed a woman sitting by herself at a big table. It was the woman from my workshop who offered encouraging smiles. I sat beside her and said, "Thank you so much for your wonderful smile. It really helped during my talk." We chatted while the rest of the table filled. Finally, I asked, "So, what books have you written?" Very demurely, she said, "Oh, Annie on my Mind."
ANNIE ON MY MIND?!
I was sitting next to Nancy Garden. The Nancy Garden.
Here's one of her books that started a firestorm of controversy, but probably saved a lot of lives and let a lot of people know they were fine just the way they were.
She just finished a new novella that will be part of a collection of four novellas that will benefit the Trevor Project. Keep your eyeballs out for it.
What a lovely, gracious woman! Turns out she was in the film we were watching later that evening -- LIBRARY OF THE EARLY MIND -- wit and wisdom from many luminaries in the field of children's literature.
Sunday began with breakfast with my roommate, Anita Nolan.
Then a great keynote by Steve Mooser. He shared his thoughts about all the things that could happen in the field of children's literature with new media and technology.
Then I had the pleasure of giving a two-hour workshop about writing humor. I couldn't have asked for a more engaged, creative, funny audience.
Here are some of them now . . .
If you look carefully, you'll see Steve Mooser and Lin Oliver (It's like Where's Waldo, only with Lin and Steve), the two astounding people who created SCBW (the "I" came later thanks to Tomie dePaola) forty years ago. I count myself among the thousands and thousands who are grateful to them for planting the seeds that blossomed into a generous, talented, nurturing community of children's book writers, illustrators, editors, etc. that have changed and enriched my life in so many ways.
After my workshop, I dashed out the hotel doors to begin my ten-hour trek home.
At the airport in Providence, RI, I saw this . . .
Not to be outdone, Florida offered these delicacies in its gift shop . . .
And . . .
Thank so much for an inspiring, wonderful weekend, New England SCBWI folks!