Sunday, February 21, 2010

Anderson's 8th Annual Children's Literature Breakfast

Yesterday, at the crack of dawn, I attended 8th Annual Anderson's Children's Literature Breakfast - though it was only my 2nd annual.  I went there with my friend, Suzanne Slade, who was one of the 65 Illinois authors invited to attend the breakfast.  As part of the program, guest authors sat with the approximately 500 attendees for "table chats".   At different times during the program, between speakers, the authors moved to different tables to mix and mingle and talk about their books.  I really enjoyed meeting authors who I knew by name and book titles but had never met - Brenda Ferber, Katharine Kendzy Gingold, Robin Luebs, Janet Nolan, and Beverly Patt.

As usual (at least both times I've been there) the Andersons provided a lineup of fantastic speakers: Pam Allyn, Jordan Sonnenblick, Francoise Mouly, Patricia McKissack, Henry Cole and Richard Peck.  In addition, Jan Dundon and Kathleen March, Anderson's Bookshop Children's Coordinators, did a wonderful presentation of some of their favorite books released this year.  To me, the highlight was Jordan Sonnenblick - his talk was genuine, humorous, and touching!  I bet this middle grade English teacher is the most requested teacher by parents and students!

I came away with a bag full of goodies, ton of inspiration and a long list of story ideas sparked by the speakers' presentations.  I'm already looking forward to attending again next year!

Tara Lazar's Short but Sweet Writing Advice

A fellow writer, Tara Lazar, had a great post on her blog that I want to share.  In he post "Saying a Lot with a Little" Tara reminds us that, in picture books, less can be more.  The writer can write a short, succinct sentence and leave it to the illustrator to fill in the details.  She does a great job of explaining it so I'll let you read her post, rather than try to explain it myself!

It's funny how rules or advice or suggestions that you've heard before (and you think you're always conscious of) can sound brand new when presented a different way.  Thanks to Tara, I'm going to take a hard look at my two "finished" picture books to see where I can make more - less.

Here's the link to her post   While you're there, read her other posts - they're terrific!!