Friday, October 29, 2010

Rochester Children's Book Festival 2010

Anyone within driving distance of Rochester New York, should get themselves to the 2010 Rochester Children's Book Festival on Saturday, Nov. 6th.  It is one of the biggest book festivals to focus solely on children's books.  Nearly 40 authors will be there to sign books, give presentations, read, chat and kibitz, all day long!  From 10-4, you'll be able to meet Jane Yolen, Bruce Coville, Katie Davis, Mary Jane and Herm Auch, Vivian Vande Velde, Linda Sue Park and dozens of other authors. Picture books, mid-grade, YA, contemporary fiction, fantasy, it will all be there.  And nonfiction will be well represented, too. Mark Shulman will be giving a talk, "It's a Fact - Writing Nonfiction can be Fun." Jane Wattenburg will be discussing the "History of Photography in Children's Books." And, of course, I will be there. So, stop by my table and say, Hi!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Haiku Kickstart

I have never been into writing exercises, but recently I have been mentally writing a haiku on walks with  my dog Lily.  A haiku is short enough for me to remember as we make our way up the towpath along the Erie Canal and back home. I found it to be a nice kickstart to my writing day.  It flexes my vocabulary muscles and gets me thinking of words, rhythm and images. And hopefully, it helps stave off the Alzheimer's gremlin that lurks in my family genes. 

The next time you are taking a walk or waiting in a line or driving the car, try writing a mental haiku.  5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second, and 5 in the third.  Kick start your prose with poetry.

Golden, flitting joy
Nose to the ground, my Lily
Race, tumble, roll, splash!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Is Nonfiction Dead?

In the Sept/Oct issue of the SCBWI bulletin, Caroline Arnold (author of Polar Bear's World) asked the question, is nonfiction dead?  Thankfully, her answer was no.  However, I was surprised that she even asked.  Nonfiction has enjoyed a lovely resurgence with new awards such as the Sibert, and nonfiction writers have raised the bar in research, format and storytelling. 

But Arnold did have one insight that I found interesting.  Because of the Internet, young adults and even mid-grade students are not using nonfiction books as much as they once did.  So the market for nonfiction has grown younger, because most information on the Internet is not geared for children in primary grades.  It is one piece of advice that I intend to take to heart and use as a lens to view new projects in the future. Thanks Caroline!