Monday, February 24, 2014


I’ve been out and about the past few days in The Big Apple, taking in both sights AND sounds while attending the 2014 Annual SCBWI Winter Conference at the Grand Hyatt New York. 
Imagine: 1085 children’s book creators from 47 states and 20 countries gathered together in one beautiful ballroom to celebrate our community, our books, our creative efforts, each other while learning and taking heart from the words of the esteemed faculty. 

YOU can attend too, sort of and vicariously, thanks to Team Blog.  Just click here. 
I heartily recommend you do so, with a cup o'coffee or two by your side. It's an Instant Education courtesy of our Children's Book World's Best and Brightest.
You will be two-hat-sizes smarter by the time you reach Nikki Grimes' closing keynote.

Speaking of "smarter,"
why not test everything you’ve learned about voice from our past weeks’ TeachingAuthors posts by matching these unique 2014 SCBWI Winter Conference speakers (and one or two non-Conference folks I happened to meet) -

 A.   Sylvia, The Grand Central Hyatt

B.     Lin Oliver, Executive Director of SCBWI 

C.     Author Jack Gantos

D.    Author Kate Messner

E.     Author and Poet Nikki Grimes

F.     Gabriella Pizzolo, of MATILDA                             

G.    TeachingAuthor Jill Esbaum

with their identifiably-distinctive spoken words :

(1)   If you’re drawing characters, really swing your cat!”
Keynote Address: How everything I learned about fiction and nonfiction in picture books, poetry, short stories, novellas, or, angst, dialog, a hundred drafts, and good luck all end up in the crown jewel of literature: THE NOVEL

(2)  “Rule #1: You can’t have brave without scared.
Rule #2:  Never underestimate the power of failure.
Failure is a pretty good trail marker to let us know we’re going in the right direction.”
Keynote address: The Spectacular Power of Failure

(3)  “We love everyone and you’re all welcome here!  Your success is our success. The
only thing we’re missing is the Jamaican bobsledders.”
Welcome and Introduction

(4)  “May I help you, please?”

(5)  “I HATCHED was named a Sunday Book Review Editors’ Choice in today’s New York Times!!!”

(6)  It’s so important that we ask ourselves the hard questions.
Just keep writing.  You’ll figure it out eventually.
The key is to learn to trust the process.
Take 2 poems and call me in the morning.”
Keynote address: Creating the Dream through Fiction for Young Readers

(6)  Just because you find that life's not fair, it
Doesn't mean that you just have to grin and bear it.
If you always take it on the chin and wear it,
You might as well be saying you think that it's OK.
And that's not right.
And if it's not right, you have to put it right.
But nobody else is gonna put it right for me.
Nobody but me is gonna change my story.
Sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty

From: MATILDA, “Naughty,” lyrics and music by Tim Minchin

Here’s hoping you earned a perfect score and took heart from the above Truths that left me hopeful, grateful, and determined to use my voice to tell my stories.
Esther Hershenhorn

Here are the correct answers: 1-C, 2-D, 3-B, 4-A, 5-G, 6-E, 7-F
Alas, I still dream of winning an SCBWI Conference Joke Contest. This year's theme? Placing a children's book character in a Winter Olympics headline.  My favorite winner was "Humpty Dumpty Disqualified for Possession of Crack."


Linda B said...

From all the posts I've read, it does sound like a wonderful weekend. Thanks for all the quotes and that final chuckle at the end.

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks for this peek into your weekend experience, Esther. Wish I could have been there.
And I got 100% on the quiz. Yay, me!
And Yay! for I HATCHED being a NYT Choice, Jill!

Jill said...

This was a fun post, Esther. I have a new writer crush on Jack Gantos. Wow, he was inspirational! Great to see you in NY!

Angela said...

Thanks for the fun post. I'm sure it was a great conference. I wish I could have met Jack Gantos, Nikki Grimes, seen Linn again. Oh heck...wish I was there (-:

April Halprin Wayland said...

Love the game approach to voice--similar to Jill's post about guessing fellow classmate's voices. Fabulous!

Did you, by any chance, come across ebullient new illustrator Katie Kath, who's illustrating my next book?

jan godown annino said...

Clever voice match-up - I confused Jack & Kate's nifty thoughts but got the other inspirations right.

And thank you for the blog reminder. I have shared that widely in the past but am sidetracked lately & forgot all about how wonderful it is to attend the mid-winter but without iced temperatures or tendering my cash.

A fun, helpful post Esther,

jan godown annino said...

The HATCHED news is worthy of a separate comment.
That coincidence is sweet serendipity.
Brava!, Jill


Jill said...

Thanks, Jan. That was nice of you. :)

Anne Bromley said...

Thank you, Esther, for bringing us along to the conference by sharing those thought-provoking quotes. I love that Humpty-Dumpty joke!

Esther Hershenhorn said...

I'm so glad so many of you enjoyed my post and allowed you to experience the fun and wisdom of the NY SCBWI Conference.
I - did - TRY - to line up photos with names and create a Test-Format for the post but alas, my techno skills are non-existent.
Yay, Jill!
And, sorry, April, but I didn't meet up with your illustrator Katie Kath.
The TeamBlog Conference post is so worth clicking on -
It's an instant and amazing education.