By Josh Funk
The 2016 New England Regional SCBWI Conference will be held on Friday, April 29 – Sunday, May 1 at the Sheraton Monarch Place Hotel in Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.A. And today, February 9th, registration opens at noon. Click here to register.
I’ve previously written about my experiences at the New England SCBWI Conference. But here’s a quick recap:
- 2012: I attended for a single day
- 2013: I volunteered (and read a version of what is now my debut picture book, Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast, at the open mic)
- 2014: I was the A/V Coordinator
- 2015: I led my first ever workshop about writing rhyming picture books
And this year, 2016, I am one of the co-coordinators. Beginning last spring, just weeks after last year’s NESCBWI conference, Heather Kelly and I began planning for 2016. First, we came up with a theme:
The Power of (Re)Invention
And we lined up the uber-talented Julia Anne Young to illustrate our Conference Logo:
Our next task was to line up Keynote Speakers. And we got some stellar ones:
- Wendy Mass: New York Times bestselling author of The Candymakers, along with eighteen other novels for young readers including A Mango-Shaped Space, 11 Birthdays, Every Soul a Star, Pi in the Sky and many more.
- Patrick Carman: New York Times bestselling children’s author with over four million books in print across 30 titles including 39 Clues, Skeleton Creek, Floors, The Land of Elyon, Voyagers, and more (several of which are currently in film development).
- Jarrett J. Krosoczka: New England native resident and graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, two-time winner of the Children’s Choice Book Awards and author and/or illustrator of more than twenty-five books for young readers including several picture books, the Lunch Lady graphic novels and Platypus Police Squad middle-grade novel series.
Going along with our theme of reinvention, we’ve got a brand new Sunday panel this year called Working with Educators and Booksellers: What You Need to Know featuring a blockbuster foursome:
- Elizabeth Bluemle: Graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts, award-winning author, contributor to Publisher Weekly’s popular ShelkfTalker blog and co-owner of The Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, Vermont.
- Donalyn Miller: Manager of Independent Reading and Outreach for Scholastic Book Fairs, finalist for 2010 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year, author of The Book Whisperer and Reading in the Wild, founder of the #bookaday Twitter community, and the co-founder of the popular The Nerdy Book Club blog.
- Susannah Richards: Associate Professor of Reading and Language Arts at Eastern Connecticut State University, member of the 2013 Newbery committee, and popular speaker who frequently presents her favorite recent titles for youth at conferences worldwide.
- John Schumacher (a.k.a. Mr. Schu): Scholastic’s Ambassador of School Libraries, former elementary teacher-librarian well known for promoting reading, authors, illustrators, and books on his blog MrSchuReads.com, teacher for Rutgers University’s MLIS program, and member of a plethora of committees including the 2014 Newbery committee, the ALSC’s Children and Technology committee, the AASL’s Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, two Readers’ Choice award committees, and the School Library Month planning committee.
Additionally, each of these four experts will individually be leading a workshop on Sunday from her or his informed and experienced perspective entitled 10 Things I Wish Authors and Illustrators Knew throughout the course of the day.
And for the third year in a row, The Book Doctors (Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry) will be back with their amazing Pitchapalooza on Friday evening.
I could go on and on about:
- the 25 agents, editors, and art directors offering professional critiques and workshops
- the other 50 authors and illustrators that make up our faculty
I could tell you about a few of the other changes (or reinventions) we’ve made this year, such as:
- you can pick your own critiquer (if you register before February 29th)
- all SCBWI members (PAL and self-published) can sell 1-2 books at the bookstore (again, if you register before Feb 29)
But don’t waste your time listening to me. Go register – and do it now. Because if you’ve attended before, you know that workshops fill up FAST (like ‘in the first few hours’ fast).
I look forward to seeing you in New England this spring!
Do you have any tips or suggestions for those interested in attending NESCBWI this year? Share them in the comments.