Conference Meeting

I’m a map person. I hold on to interesting maps that arrive with the National Geographic, cool maps from the state park, road maps from Italy.  I like mapquest. I use it often. I feel really comfortable with directions. I’m the kind of person who often just “knows” which way to turn.

Not yesterday. The towns inside 495 around Boston are so confusing to me. The are stacked one on top of another with old roads that snake around town squares and become new roads that are divided and disappear under underpasses and around rotaries. ACK! Even though I packed my kids for school the night before, woke  up at 4:45, took my shower, got my boys to a friends house by 5:45 and left on time… I ended up at my meeting a half an hour late. I was almost in tears after calling Marilyn Salerno twice on my cell phone to be talked into her subdivision bit by bit.

Never the less, the meeting was great. We made decisions and worked well together. It is great to meet the people who give their time and expertise to help create the conference that means so much to me. I’m still learning names but…. a huge thanks to Gia, Julie, Gail Joanie, Janet, Jeanne, Pam, Dawn, Marion and of course Francine and Marilyn. (Hope I spelled them all correctly.)

I need to get through the Fall Folio Feast on November 3rd and I’ll be able to focus more on my work and SCBWI. Just an update on the Feast. We still have a few spots left for illustrators to exhibit their portfolios. Art Buyers include: Islandport Press, Tilbury House, Candlewick, Charlesbridge, Family Fun Magazine, Portland Phoenix, WGBH Boston, and many other wonderful designers and art directors who are looking for illustrators as part of their daily work. Follow this link for more info: Fall Folio Feast.

Workshop Proposals

Okay, I know how an editor feels. I’m slogging through 65 workshop proposals and here is what I can tell you.
1. The process of creating a book, is pretty much the same from person to person. Even though your wonderful, exciting, memorable experience was unique to you, it does not necessarily make for a great workshop.
2. Craft, we need more workshops where people get to DO something instead of being talked at.
3. Illustrators. Where the heck are ya’? I know you have knowledge to share. Get out from behind your drawing tables and type out a proposal for 2009 when I’m running the show. Geez.
4. There are a few great ones. Either they are really unique or the person has amazing experience to share.
My head feels like a soaked sponge. Heavy. Fuzzy.
Must keep slogging.

5. Targeting the workshop to a specific audience and market makes it more interesting than people who say their workshop is perfect for everyone.

Down Day

So let me just clarify that I am not down,  or blue, or sad. No, it is a “Down Day” because I have no deadlines or places to rush to. Today my parents are coming to visit. That means that I should be cleaning house.  But since they are my parents, they will understand when they arrive and have to wade through the dog hair puppies. Therefore I am coming to post on my blog, check in with the numerous wonderful friends I have on LJ, catch up on Brotherhood 2.0, and order new illustration promotional postcards for the Fall Folio Feast and my fall mailing. I am in the waiting room on so many things but I’ll try to list them here:
Illustrated Activity to Highlights High Five
Written story to Highlights High Five
Non-fiction query and board book to agent
Numerous picture book manuscripts to various publishers.
Illustration samples to Boyd’s Mills and an Educational publisher with local author.
Conference work:
8 spaces left for the Fall Folio Feast– sign up now!
Reviewing over 65 (WOW 65!) workshop proposals for NESCBWI meeting next Friday. (Hmmm… maybe that’s what I should be doing instead of cleaning my house. Isn’t that conveeeenient.)
Here is the postcard. You get it first!

Banned Book Week

2007 Banned Books Week: Ahoy! Treasure Your Freedom to Read and Get Hooked on a Banned Book

Banned book week struck close to home this month. A kindly older woman named JoAn Karkos (who I happen to know) walked into the Auburn and Lewiston Libraries and took out all the copies of “It’s Perfectly Normal.”  If you’d like more on the story here is a link to Here is an open letter to JoAn:

Dear JoAn:

You are not the first person to disagree with the contents of a book. Hundreds of books have been challenged, stolen and burned in order to keep them out of the hands of readers. Generally, it doesn’t work. It didn’t work in this case either, where Candlewick publishing donated more books to the library and public support skyrocketed.

My friend Heather who is studying for her Masters of Library Science says, people who steal books from the library tend to fall into one of two categories. Either they are folks who are well meaning, those who want to protect us all and limit what we read. (These people often do not even read the books in question.) Or they are kids whose parents will not give them the information they need and crave. She hopes the second group keeps the books. You should give yours back.

Here’s the thing. You cannot make the choices for the rest of us. If you don’t want your grandchildren to get a hold of this book- fine. I should warn you, that your grand children will get the information anyway, and probably the book, without your guidance. Some say that I would be on the other side of this issue if the book in question were let’s say, creationist, racist, homophobic, or anti-semitic. I don’t think so. I think that we have a right to read and have access to all points of view. Even if we disagree with it. This includes children.

My son just finished the Newberry Award Winning, Maniac McGee by Jerry Spinelli. The main character is homeless in town split on racial lines. Where does he belong? Where is the place he can call home? He experiences both black and white racism that is sometimes violent. Now, I’ll admit. There were sections of the book that I didn’t want to share with my eight year old. Sections that made my stomach tighten because I was afraid that exposing him to those ideas would rob him of some innocence that he has. But here is what happened. We read it together. We talked. He told me how wrong it was to judge someone by how they look on the outside. He said it was more important to know who they are on the inside. My six year old chimed in to say that we are all look the same on the inside anyway. Same heart and lungs and tummy. And then I took a deep breath and realized that my children are becoming the people I always hoped to raise. People who are smart, tolerant, open-minded, sensitive and interested in art and literature.

My personal policy with my children is that if they are able to read it, and they want to read it, they should. My kids are young enough that I’d like them to show me what they are reading so I can assist them with the concepts in the book. I know they won’t always do this and I can tell you that I remember sneaking down the stacks to view “The Joy of Sex” in my teen years.

Well, I know this won’t change your mind, but maybe it will make it easier for me to talk to you when we pass. Happy Banned Books Week.