SCBWI LA Conference: August 5-8, 2011 September 2, 2011 00:32

A little late on this recap but I just had to share! Right after my first picture book Greetings from Kiwi and Pear came out in 2009 I joined the Society Of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators to absorb as much as I could about the craft of writing/illustrating children's books and about the publishing world.


Every year SCBWI hosts a summer conference in Los Angeles. The conference is described as "4 days of agents, editors, publishers, workshops and networking designed to take your writing and illustration to the next level." I attended for the first time last year and left feeling so energized and inspired, I was hooked! This year was special as it was their 40th Anniversary with a star-studded lineup of keynote speakers like Judy Blume, David Small, Bruce Coville, Jerry Pinkney, Laurie Halse Anderson, Libba Bray, Norton Juster, Gary Paulsen and more. I left this conference feeling not just a creative spark but a fire burning in my heart and mind. Some pictures from the conference:


The conference was held at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles, California


My lovely and talented roomies and authors Kat Yeh and Dianne de Las Casas arriving at the SCBWI Conference. (photo courtesy of Dianne de las Casas)


The main ballroom where we would listen to the keynote speakers in between breakout sessions. This year there was a record-breaking 1350 attendees from every state but one (South Dakotans where are you?) and from all over the world!


One of the highlights of the conference and maybe of my life. JUDY BLUME! She got a standing ovation just for taking the stage. Some Judy quotes: "It is determination as much as any kind of talent that’s going to get you there." and “I want a tombstone that says, ‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Judy.’ ” This lady is SO darn sassy - LOVE HER!


Some of the most memorable moments of the conference happened after hours in the hotel lobby where I chatted with new and old friends into the wee hours of the night. One aspect of the conference I cherish the most is all the love, friendship, and support that is exchanged amongst fellow authors and illustrators. author/illustrator Ben Hilts, Kat Yeh, author/illustrator Sean Hilts, Joyce Wan, and Dianne de las Casas


Diane de las Casas, artist/illustrator E. B Lewis, Joyce Wan, and author Cheri Williams A late night quote from E.B. Lewis "It's not about what you can do for yourself but can you do for the world." He is such a cool guy!


Joyce Wan and author/illustrator Marla Frazee. Let me tell ya, this is one funny lady.


Joyce Wan and author/illustrator Dan Santat This guy can draw sketches like NOBODY'S business!


Every year there's also a themed dance party. This year's theme: Pajama Party! Oh, what fun we all had. Joyce Wan and Kat Yeh who was rocking her middle-grade-boy-with-headgear-and-WWF-tshirt look. HILARIOUS!


Joyce Wan and author Jay Asher. LOVED his Ralphie pj's from A Christmas Story.


Overall, what an amazing, unforgettable time. I'm already looking forward to next year. Happy 40th SCBWI! The dessert from the Golden Kite Luncheon