August 7th, 2011

Blubbering Over Judy Blume and More SCBWI Conference Adventures

Before I became a published author in October 2003, I joined the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, hence to be referred to here as the SCBWIABCDEFG. Even though I had been a copywriter, journalist, scriptwriter, and a hand model for a Whitman's Chocolate's ad, I hadn't written a book. Well, a book that had been published, that is.

I credit the SCBWIBSGEU for jumpstarting my career. After my first Summer Conference over a decade ago, I left overwhelmed, energized and inspired. Now, even though I have ten novels published and I'm on the SCBWIVWVEBW Board of Advisors, I still feel that way after ever conference.

This year's is a special one -- the 40th anniversary of the group which has grown from a handful of members to over 22,000.

For me and the other faculty members, the conference began with a dinner on Thursday night . . .
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It's always so great to see old friends like Jay Asher and Katie Davis, and my conference ride, Dan Santat . . .

Then there are new friends, like Alan Silberberg who is the year's Sid Fleischman Humor Award winner for MILO: STICKY NOTES AND BRAIN FREEZE. I was so excited to meet him. Seven years ago, I was the first winner of the the award. This year, I was a judge!
(Fascinating Fact: Alan and I both lived in Orlando at the same time, both worked for Disney at the same time, both used the same production facilities at the same time, both knew many of the same people, and both have no recollection of meeting each other.)

Look! It's my editor Arthur Levine with agent Brenda Bowen over there. And over there I see Bruce Coville and SCBWI blogger Lee Wind . . .
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Who's that? Oh, just JUDY BLUME . . . YES, IT'S JUDY BLUME!!! And let me tell you, even though she's an icon and a game changer in the children's book world, she is as nice as can be!

Who else at the faculty gathering? Well, how about Cynthia Liu and David Diaz? Oh, and there's Richard Peck!
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Hey, hello Laurie Halse Anderson and Libba Bray!!! And who's with Jay Asher this time? Why, it's camera-shy Ann Angel . . .
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There was much mingling among east coasters, like editors Julie Strauss-Gabel and Krista Marino . . .

It was difficult, but the faculty was wrangled into sitting down. Our fearless leaders, SCBWI founders Lin Oliver and Stephen Mooser introduced the incredible staff and welcomed us . . .
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We feasted on garlic fries and sliders, which are small hamburgers. However, when my slider accidentally slid off my plate, Dan Santat invoked the five-second rule and ate it while Richard Jesse Watson was up to no good . . .
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And representing the short women and tall men were Moi and Alice Pope, and SCBWIBWVZZD communications and creative director, author Aaron Hartzler (tall, left) and his partner Nate (taller, right) . . .

The next morning, we lined up to march en mass into the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Grand Ballroom. There was a record number of attendees--over 1,300. (The event sold out, otherwise there would have been 17,212 attendees there.)

Here's an Oscar-quality documentary from a faculty POV of what it's like to walk onstage . . .

I'll cover more SCBWIRBWAJBHE conference on my next blog(s), including meeting David Small, Norton Juster, Henry Winkler, Gary Paulsen, Mary Pope Osbourne, and others, but in the meantime, I'll leave you with this . . .
Yes, Judy Blume got to meet Peepy!

Disclaimer: No proofreaders were harmed (or even used) in the creation of this blog.

Photobucket CLICK HERE to find out about Lisa's newest book, WARP SPEED!!!

Lisa Yee
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