The annual Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators summer conference has been over for several days, and I've finally recovered enough to post about it. This year's conference ties with my first conference in 2000 for memorable moments. So let's begin!
Over 1,300 people attended this conference, and here's a portion of them as seen from the stage.
When I introduced myself into the microphone, I told the attendees who pre-ordered one of these delicious donuts from me where they could get them. The first one was scooped up by Dan Santat, seen here nervously inspecting his bacon donut. Within seconds of this photo, that baby was gone!
I critiqued ten manuscripts at the conference, sitting down with each author for twenty minutes. While I love speaking at conferences, doing critiques is almost as enjoyable...which, apparently, makes me very weird (something I've never denied!).
Because I critiqued manuscripts, I was officially a faculty member. So I got to do something else I love...signing books! For some reason, there are a lot of great authors with last names beginning with A. Every time we sign books according to last names, I get to sit beside some of my favorite people. This time, I shared a table with Jim Averbeck.
Like most years, I had several books with me that I wanted other people to sign. Unlike previous years, most of them were signed for Isaiah. The one I meant to get signed a few months ago while visiting the illustrator's hometown is The Lord's Prayer. It's a beautiful picture book illustrated by Richard Jesse Watson, and written by...well...God. (Authors don't usually get to handpick their illustrators, and while I never asked Richard about it, it's obvious that was the case this time.)
Celebrating their 40th anniversary, SCBWI definitely brought out the biggies for this conference. Here's Mary Pope Osborne (Isaiah now owns a couple books signed by her)...
...and Gary Paulsen. This guy can probably get away with calling himself The Most Interesting and Funny Dude On the Planet.
Being in Los Angeles, there were movie people everywhere. But there was only one movie person I was excited to meet, Alison Greenspan from Di Novi Pictures (the producer of one of the two movies I'm most excited about seeing on the big screen...The Future of Us).
We went to an amazing restaurant called Rock Sugar and I heard all about what's going on with "the next great Facebook movie." And yes, it does sound like it's going to be great! That night I emailed Carolyn Mackler all the details. I was still so excited over what I heard, I don't think I used paragraph breaks in that email, I just typed as fast as my brain let me.
Being the 40th anniversary, the theme for this year's afterhours party was 40 Winks, so people dressed in all sorts of pajamas and sleep-related attire. My sister-in-agent, Shannon Messenger, had a t-shirt made up for the occasion. On the front it read "My agent can beat up your agent..." And on the back...
For my costume, I dressed in Ralphie's least favorite pjs from A Christmas Story. Not everyone knew why I was dressed like this, but the cool people did! One of those very cool people was Stephanie Roth Sisson, a local illustrator and good friend.
Someone who's felt like a friend for years, though this was the first time we've met in person, was Alan Silberberg. Alan was the well-deserved recipient of this year's Sid Fleishman Humor Award.
At the faculty afterparty, I finally had the chance to speak one-on-one with one of my (and probably your) literary heroes. My friend Jolie Stekly saw this conversation occurring and decided to take a paparazzi-style photo.
So who was I eating peach cobbler with? Oh, just someone named Judy Blume.