SCBWI conference

I attended this years conference for writers and illustrators of children’s books. Of course, it never matched the experience of my  first one in 2012. By this time, there isn’t much I hadn’t heard before from agents and publishers. But there’s always a gem that stays with me from every conference. This year, it was the talk by Gary Schmidt.

He teaches a  creative writing course at a maximum security prison once a week. One prisoner in his late twenties, who was incarcerated for life, wrote a devastating piece. He was a youngster  on 9-11. When he learned that the two towers collapsed , he  wished that the plane would hit his building. His life was so terrible at that age! Gary’s point was that if there was someone for this child at that time, someone who looked over his shoulder, he would be where he was now.

On the publishing front, the panel of publishers said that ebook sales have peaked in adult books and it never took off in children’s books. Th good news is that independent bookstores are doing well. Unfortunately, I don’t have an independent bookstore in my neighborhood or eve a little farther  away.

Harper Lee and child’s point of view

In today’s N.Y .Times, this passage in an article about  Harper Lee  caught my eye: “Some reviewers complained that the perceptions attributed to Scout were far too complex for a girl just starting grade school.”  A great writer like she had the same dilemma as a newbie like me. How do you convince a reader that the child protagonist is capable of such thoughts. Scout is younger than the characters of my novels for children. Nevertheless, I have to find a way to do that. If the thought is appropriate or above average for her age, it has to be expressed within her vocabulary. Not easy.