Once again, I'm excited to participate in Tara Lazar's Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) extravaganza that kicks off November 1st. She's pulled together an amazing cast of inspiring people in the world of children's books and I can't wait to start my next 30 days with their insights. Plus, during PiBoIdMo I give myself permission to collect at least 30 off-the-wall-and-who-cares-if-they'll-sell ideas. It's all about the "ideas" -- not the execution -- and that is just plain fun. So thanks, Tara, for pulling this together.
BTW, watch for a Mentorship interview with Tara coming soon!
Don't miss this 90 minute live webinar with noted author, former teacher, and school visit expert, Suzanne Morgan Williams. Fees are: $25 for current SCBWI members, $30 for not-yet-members, and free to Michigan P.A.L. members. It will be great for illustrators, pre-published, and seasoned presenters.
The best school visits are age appropriate, energetic, engaging, and add value to the curriculum. How do you design amazing presentations? Gain confidence in your performance, teaching, and negotiations? How do you get schools (or more schools) to hire you? Handouts, exercises, and the online presentation will help you plan programs based on your strengths, your books, and students’ needs.
Suzanne Morgan Williams will share her best tips for connecting with schools and negotiating fair deals. If you’re serious about giving presentations that leave schools buzzing, tune in. The webinar will end with an optional online question and answer time. Homework and supplemental information will be forwarded to registered participants prior to the live event. Your link to the webinar will be active for three months after the event. Click below to register! Seats are limited and filling quickly...
My current events-junkie hubby brought this short article to my attention (Akira Okrent, The Week online 10/14/14).
We all know that word meanings morph over time, but I hadn't thought about how the role of punctuation is changing, too. Poor little comma...
I'm excited to share my news that the Mentor Monday series is open for business again! The feedback from this series was always positive and my enthusiasm for the topic has never waned. So...once a mid-month on a Monday, I'll share an interview with people in the children's literature community on the topic of mentorship. YAY! is all I can say about that.
For my inaugural re-invigoration, I virtually sat down with the amazing Anastasia Suen. Her interview follows after two short mentorship promo bits below:
Now, on to the important part of this post!!!
Anastasia Suen is the author of 190 books for children and adults, a LibrarySparks and Booklist's Quick Tips for Schools & Libraries columnist, a literacy blogger, a children's literature consultant for several publishers, a freelance editor, a former K,1,5, & 6 teacher who visits schools to teach the six traits of writing, and a former Staff Development for Educators, UNT and SMU instructor who teaches writing workshops online.
Have you been a part of a formal mentoring program through SCBWI or any other organization?
I have never been formally mentored, but that hasn’t stopped me. I actively seek out opportunities to keep growing as a writer by attending professional events, such as SCBWI conferences. I also read in the field every day. I read children’s books as well as books and blog posts about craft, the children’s book market, and freelancing.
Do you agree or disagree with distinguished author Margaret Atwood’s statement about writing: “Other people can help you a bit, but essentially you’re on your own?”
I agree and disagree. If you never ask for help, it can take a very long time to learn your craft. However, at some point, you need find your own voice, and that means not listening to what other people say.
In what ways have you been “helped a bit?”
The SCBWI conferences I have attended over the years have helped quite a bit. Everyone there is actively working on their craft, making it a wonderful day of immersion in the writing life.
If you were a mentor, what strengths would you bring to a struggling author?
I have been teaching the craft of writing to children’s book authors since 1999 and my strength is my focus on reading and structure. From the beginning I have insisted that all of my students read books like the ones they are writing. I teach this way because long ago I heard Judy Blume speak at an SCBWI conference about taking books apart to see how they worked. I followed her advice and it worked for me, too.
If you could be mentored by any writer throughout time, who would it be and why?
When I start writing a new book, I read, read, read, so I always have several mentors for each project. And because I write fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, my writing mentors change with each book. There are so many books and blogs to read, so much to learn and explore. One encounter leads to another in a continuous journey of discovery.
Thank you for your insights, Anastasia!
If you've forgotten for just a split second why we write children's books for younger children, watch this. Trust me.
This blog shares insights on the craft of writing children's books and the publishing industry, and supports creators on their journey.