Wednesday, August 3, 2016


My Workshop at the 45th Annual SCBWI Summer Conference, Los Angeles, CA
The SCBWI summer conference, held this year in the elegant Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, was fantastic as usual with amazing keynote talks, workshops and more. It was three days of inspiration that will last the whole year. Talks from authors, illustrators, editors and agents were terrific. And I loved the chance to spend time with writer friends both old and new.
Book Sale and Stairway to the Biltmore Bowl
On Sunday morning I conducted a workshop “Creating Eye-Catching Nonfiction for the Very Young” in which I talked about the relationship between text and illustration and how they work together to tell the whole story. My theme was “let the illustrations do the work.” I then showed–briefly–the process I go through when illustrating one of my books using my cut-paper technique. I thank Liz Mertz, SCBWI Regional Advisor from Texas, for introducing me at my workshop and making sure everything ran smoothly.
Some of the many SCBWI nonfiction writers at the Nonfiction Social
An incredible team of SCBWI bloggers kept a running account of conference events.  For a close-up look at all the many events of the three-day conference, I recommend going to the conference blog. Because all the workshops ran concurrently, it was impossible to see everything in person. But by reading the blog you can get highlights of the various presentations. I thank SCBWI blogger (and amazing and prolific author/illustrator) Don Tate for the photos of me at my workshop and at the nonfiction social.
Lin Oliver, our extraordinary leader and co-founder of SCBWI
In addition to listening to the keynote speeches, panels and Golden Kite speeches in the large Biltmore Bowl I attended three excellent workshops: The Picture Book Process with Saho Fuji, art director at Little Brown; Crafting the Narrative Nonfiction Biography with Bonnie Bader, author/editor at Penguin Books; and Facts Meets Feeling: Narrative nonfiction that informs, entertains, moves, and convinces audiences by Melissa Manlove of Chronicle Books. The final event of the conference was the autograph party in the Crystal Ballroom where I signed my books Living Fossils, A Zebra's World and A Day and Night in the Rain Forest.
Book Signing in Crystal Ballroom
I have been going to the SCBWI summer conference since 1977 (then it was just SCBW, no I) and have seen it grow and become better and better. This year more than 900 people attended!  In 1977 I was an unpublished writer. A year later I sold my first book. I credit the SCBWI for helping me to become a successful writer and I am pleased and honored to have had the chance to be a speaker this year at the conference. Who knew 45 years ago, when Lin Oliver and Steve Mooser started the Socity of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, that it would become the largest and most influential organization for children’s book writers and illustrators in the world.
Thank you Lin and Steve!
Chocolate pyramid dessert at Golden Kite Awards Dinner

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