Thursday, February 23, 2012

Austin SCBWI 2012 Conference Wrap-Up

Another Austin SCBWI conference has come and gone and the inspiration and motivation are burning through my veins! As the ARA for the Austin SCBWI chapter, I saw the results of many months of hard work pay off and that in itself is one of the greatest rewards. Seeing the sheer joy on attendees' faces and the positive comments about how this year's conference "Something for Everyone," delivered what it promised.

None of this would've been possible if it hadn't been for the extraordinary vision of RA Debbie Gonzales and wanting to develop a conference that provided programming for every level of author and illustrator no matter where they were in their career: newbie, pre-published or published. And she exceeded all expectations with the help of many volunteers including the wonderful folks at St. Edward's University. Heartfelt thanks to Sister Donna Jurick, Dr. Ramsey Fowler, PhD and Rebecca Rodriguez who make it possible to hold our conference on their breathtaking campus.

Hats off to our Austin SCBWI Conference committee Mark G. Mitchell (Illustrator Chair), Erik Kuntz (Illustrator and Web Developer)Meredith Davis, Shelli Cornelison (Critique Coordinator), Samantha Clark, Sheryl Witschorke and the amazing ladies from the Girllustrators; Shelley Ann Jackson, Marsha Riti, Patrice Barton, Amy Farrier, Lalena Fisher and Emma Virjan who were on hand to host the illustrators and make their conference experience a success!

A HUGE thanks to all the Austin SCBWI conference drivers, technology support team and faculty who shadowed, introduced and made sure our out-of-town guests had everything they needed to ensure there were no bumpy seas during their visit in Austin. It truly takes a village when you have 12 out of town editors, agents and authors flying in from around the country.

A special thank you to the many Austin SCBWI members who contributed to our silent auction. It's because of you and your generosity that our community continues to grow and blossom. We're lucky to have you!

Before I get to the wonderful recap of blog posts being shared around the kid-lit community, I want to acknowledge our wonderful award winners. Shelli Cornellison is the recipient of the Meredith Davis Volunteer of the Year award, Jeff Crosby is the winner of the portfolio contest and Cynthia Leitich Smith and Greg Leitich Smith are our Ambassadors for the Austin Kid-Lit Community. There are no two people more generous and giving of their time and talent as this dynamic duo. They are the reason we have a village of talent in Austin.

One final thank you to the wonderful esteemed out-of-town faculty that endured travel delays and missed flights and traffic gridlock to be at our conference. Your presentations on craft, experience and marketing led people to cheers and tears with your inspiring messages.

And more personally thank you to editors Bonnie Bader Penguin Young Readers Group (Grosset and Dunlap and Price Stern Sloan) and Diane Muldrow Random House/Golden Books and publicist Kirsten Cappy, Curious City for my wonderful critiques!

Thank you Austin SCBWI community you rock!!

                                        video slideshow of Austin SCBWI 2012 Conference


New York Times & Publishers Weekly bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith's "Event Report: Austin SCBWI Regional Conference" can be found by clicking here. Note: Cyn's latest novel Diabolical (book 4 in the TANTALIZE series) is now available in stores now!

And Greg Leitich Smith's report "Austin SCBWI Regional Conference" by clicking here. Note: Greg's next novel Chronal Engine is available on March 20th, 2012 by Clarion Books (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Award winning author and faculty member Lisa Yee blogged about her adventure with us  here. She also read an excerpt on Friday evening at the conference from her novel Warp Speed (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2011).

Author Nikki Loftin shares pictures and insight here. Her debut novel The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy is available on Aug 21, 2012 by Razorbill Penguin Group (USA).

Author Bethany Hegedus blogs over at the Writing Barn "Something for Everyone at Austin SCBWI Conference" here.

Author/Illustrator Salima Alikhan highlights Donna Jo Napoli's presentation on her post "Austin Regional Conference 2012 (Why Donna Jo Napoli is Amazing)" here.

Author Samantha Clark highlights the advice that spoke to her here. There truly is much to be gained by attending SCBWI conferences and Sam says that so eloquently in her post.

Illustrator Christopher S. Jennings recaps some of the illustrator advice given out at the conference here.


And here's one success story by author Lori Ann Stephens and how she found her agent Jill Corcoran from Herman Literary Agency at our Austin SCBWI Conference! Click here. Congratulations, Lori Ann and Jill!!

See y'all at our next Austin SCBWI event with author Varsha Bajaj on March 10, 2012 at BookPeople!

Keep writing and drawing!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

ReaderKidz Review - Sharon M. Draper's Out of my Mind

If you haven't read Sharon M. Draper's middle grade novel Out of my Mind, pop on over to ReaderKidz and read my review here. 

Sneak peek: "...Sometimes being "normal" isn't better, especially when it looks and sounds ugly..."

Don't miss this book! For everyone who has ever been misunderstood.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Picture Book Review - Little Dog Lost: The True Story of a Brave Dog Named Baltic

When I picked up the only copy of Little Dog Lost: The True Story of a Brave Dog Named Baltic by Monica Carnesi (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2012) from BookPeople, I knew I was in for a real treat.

For one, the cover is inviting, inquisitive and yet peaceful. I particularly like the pale blue sky teamed with the deep rich blue of the sea and then there's Baltic afloat on an ice floe almost asking you if you want to hear his story. Yes! Yes, I do, I almost shouted in the store as I stood by the shelf and read the book from cover to cover.

"What an adventure!" is listed on the jacketflap inside the book and I couldn't agree more. And Carnesi does a magnificent job of weaving just the right amount of details on each and every page to tell this heart warming story of a little dog stuck on an ice floe on the Vistula River drifting out to sea and the heroic efforts taken to try and save him. It truly is a journey worth taking!

To hear more about how Monica Carnesi was inspired to write and illustrate this picture book click here to visit her blog. There you'll also see real life photographs of Baltic along with a YOUTUBE video capturing the daring rescue.

Also here's an excerpt from a review that appeared in the January edition of Horn Book.

"...Simple yet dramatic watercolor illustrations effectively convey the wintry setting; the ice-choked, freezing water; and Dog’s emotions, bewildered and forlorn on the ice, cheerful and contented after his rescue and adoption..." 

A book your children will continue to enjoy again and again. And a wonderful story to study for pacing and page turns.

Time to reorder Little Lost Dog, BookPeople! Maybe, I'll give them a gentle reminder when I visit to pick up the books I ordered.