Monday, June 17, 2013

21st Century Children's Nonfiction Conference


The conference in New Paltz was TERRIFIC!!!  I can't tell you how exciting it was to be with dozens of other nonfiction writers, illustrators, editors and publishers, teachers, and librarians all discussing the art, craft and business of nonfiction for kids. It was such an unusual event - to focus only on nonfiction - that it was like letting prisoners out of solitary.  I was positively giddy.

Attendee Nancy Arny Pi-Sunyer wrote about it in her blog --

For me the highlights were:

--  working with Mary Kay Carson on a three hour presentation about all the basics of the publishing process.  I thought we made a great self-deprecating team. And I learned a thing or two about contracts, which I tend to be ignorant about.

-- Hearing from Melissa Stewart about a new initiative by the "Uncommon Corps" that categorizes nonfiction seven ways.

-- Learning a few ideas on how to reinvent myself for new markets from author-illustrator Roxie Munro.

-- Meeting Laura Purdie Salas and hearing about her experiences with an agent.

-- Seeing pictures of Vicki Cobb as a kid and realizing that she is just as energetic and enthusiastic (perhaps more so) now.

-- Laughing a lot discussing the ups and downs of this business with everyone. I loved meeting the four writers I critiqued, and those I sat with at meal time. 3 whole days of NF talk!!

-- Meeting author Carolyn DeCristofano and  editor Alyssa Mito Pusey and hearing how they created two books together. I soooo appreciated Carolyn's willingness to share moments of angst and frustration, because we have all been there. I don't know if I could be so brave. And Alyssa was wonderful explaining her process and giving us a glimpse of what her job entails. Loved the photo of all the revisions, emails, galleys, etc. that is kept in the archives.

Many thanks go to Lionel Bender, and Sally and Mike Isaacs for inviting me to this awesome, one-of-a-kind conference. I can't wait till next year.

SAVE THE DATE --  June 20-22, 2014


  1. If only we all could have attended everything! What a rich smorgasbord to choose from. I'm so stuffed with new ideas, techniques and energy I feel like a Macy's Balloon. And truly, thanks to Lionel and Sally for giving attendees such a wide overview of the broad avenues of nonfiction writing and illustrating. Peggy, you and Mary Kay did a superb job. Thanks to you as well!

    1. I feel the same way. Thanks for the feedback and for blogging about it.

  2. This is great! I hope that you are Continue the good work. 21st Century Children