Saturday, January 24, 2015

Become a Reading Partner

Reading Partners is a national literacy nonprofit that teams up with elementary schools in under-served communities to provide one-on-one literacy tutoring to struggling elementary student readers. They exist to help these students catch up and master the reading skills necessary to succeed in school. With the supplemental one-on-one instruction that volunteers provide, students typically end the year more than doubling their rate of learning! In order to do this, however, they rely on our community partnerships, as well as amazing community volunteers. 

Both SCBWI and Reading Partners have similar aims and they are looking for volunteers. Their program empowers community volunteers to provide one-on-one literacy tutoring for struggling 
K-4 readers, using our easy-to-follow curriculum. 

They are asking if any SCBWI-WWA members, published or not, would be able to commit as little as one hour/week, during the school day, Mondays–Thursdays. No previous experience is necessary! There will be 24/7 supervision and support.  Currently, they are serving Beverly Park Elementary (South Seattle) and Sanislo (West Seattle). 

Please visit, or call (206) 992-4484 with any questions.

Conference deets are up

Hey, y'all!

Our upcoming regional conference, which will be held in Redmond from April 17–19, is almost ready for registration. 

Well, not quite yet. To tame the wild beasts of anticipation that are lurking beneath our otherwise benign expressions, we're unveiling the details on our web page. Here's what you'll see, in all of its eye-catching glory:

But that's not all, folks! If you further click on the picture, or just go to this link, you'll get a full faculty roster WITH BIOS, along with many other important facts and teasers.

Registration opens officially on Friday, February 13. Check the web page, check the Chinook Update, and set your watches. It's almost here! And we're trying––not always succeeding, mind you––to be patient. It's going to be SO. GOOD.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Thumbs-up for Movie Night!

Our February meeting is going to be a little bit different. Which, in this case, is a very cool thing.
Please join us on Thursday, February 19, from 7–9pm at Seattle Pacific University's Demaray Hall, Room 150, as we watch the riveting and gutsy film, At-Risk Summer, a documentary giving voice to at-risk youth.

Inspired by a small-town Texas teen without access to creative mentors, young adult author e.E. Charlton-Trujillo traveled across America to workshop with at-risk youth at no cost to their programs. At-Risk Summer is a film about empowering the outsiders, being heard and never being counted out. The film provides an opportunity to redefine "at-risk" and witness, first-hand, the courage and hope of librarians, educators, program directors and youth on the fringe. When the filmmaker was often unable to afford a professional film crew, the kids became camera operators and sound recordists, all in an effort to capture how just showing up has currency.

From the road to the workshops to meeting acclaimed writers for young people, At-Risk Summer allows young people to be seen, heard and never be counted out! It also features the following award-winning authors: A.S. King, Meg Medina, Kathy Erskine, Ellen Hopkins, Matt de la Peña, Laurie Halse Anderson, Pat Zieltow Miller and Michelle Embree.

e.E. Charlton-Trujillo is the author of the hard-hitting YA novel, Fat Angie, winner of a 2014 Stonewall Book Award.

To watch the film's trailer, please click here! See you February 19!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Work and Play, pt 2.

And now, the second post recapping the January 15 professional series meeting! Now that we're ready to WORK, thanks to Laurie's fantastic tips for sticking to our goals, another piece of the puzzle can come into the picture. Which brings us to––


Kevan Atteberry does it better than anyone. He is a visual wizard––his illustrations are whimsical and kinetic, colorful and textured. Kevan showed us exactly what PLAY means. His personal tour of  PhotoShop took us into the colorful mind of an illustrator. Kevan showed us the delight and the never-ending combinations of tools at his disposal. For those of us who have never completed a picture-book illustration (and, ahem, would probably never do so), this presentation was as riveting as if we were budding or experienced artists ourselves.

Kevan A. at PLAY!
Kevan's decisions, from colors to the process of creating gradations of shading and incredibly cool iterations of brushes, dazzled us all.

We saw how, in his new book Bunnies! (out January 28), he created a single page of ALL the bunnies, in all the positions and actions, that occurred throughout the entire book. This enabled Kevan to have a single, pristine version of each character in its variety of plot twists, so that when it repeated there wasn't a slightly-off or non-identical version. 

So. Dang. Cool.

PhotoShop, which is Kevan's toolbox of choice, might seem to be the antithesis of hands-on craft. Yet Kevan dispelled this notion, time and time again. His curiosity and willingness to experiment, and to create unique methods for brushstrokes and backgrounds, was something to behold. It was as if he had hundreds of real brushes and multitudes of paint pots around him, and he could grab various ones in combination to see just what the heck they did. PLAY-ing around, we saw, yielded some pretty amazing results.

Kevan's process epitomized PLAY as the key component of work––trying something new, which can end up a miserable disappointment or a completely fantastic discovery. The PLAY was the WORK, and as intense deadlines loom (as Kevan well knows!), experimentation and the ability to manipulate a palette left us all smiling and eager to try it for ourselves––whether or not we end up with something as great as this:

A still from Kevan's new book, Bunnies!

Work and Play, pt. 1

Our monthly meeting took place a week ago. What a meeting it was! SCBWI WWA's first gathering of 2015 met––and exceeded!––our wildest expectations, as our speakers addressed two competing states that wrestle each other constantly in our attempts to carve out creative lives as children's book writers and illustrators.


The WORK side was exemplified in the wonderful "Nail Your New Year's Resolutions" talk by author Laurie Thompson. "Work" is about staying on task. Work isn't drudgery, but obstacles distract and misdirect us at every turn, depending on our surroundings and our personalities. Laurie gave us all the equivalent of the Most. Encouraging. Inner Voice. Ever. Her tips for sticking to our Work, to staying focused, were stellar and memorable.

For those who missed it, Laurie has graciously sent her tips along for general broadcast:

First, I had to make some confessions… 

Confession #1:
I hate New Year’s resolutions! According to productivity guru Michael Hyatt, 25 percent of people abandon their New Year’s resolutions after one week—60 percent do so within six months. The average person makes the same New Year’s resolution ten separate times without success. Depressing, huh? I prefer to think about goals!

Confession #2:
I proposed the talk not because I’m a productivity expert, but because it’s something I struggle with every single day. In fact, one of my favorite ways to procrastinate is to study ways to be more productive! (I love 99u. You might want to check it out, too, when you’re not too busy!)
Next, I shared some of my biggest productivity challenges, and a few of my solutions for each, including…

1. Low energy: The run/rest cycle is important—honor it, and don’t forget to BREATHE, HYDRATE, EAT, MOVE, THINK, SLEEP.

2. Overhelm: Break things down into smaller, more manageable pieces, make lists, and prioritize ruthlessly.

3. Distraction: Unplug, go somewhere different, use focus blocks (Pomodoro technique).

4. Perfectionism: Set a time limit/deadline (Write or Die, NaNoWriMo, etc.), get support (beta readers, critique group, agent).

5. Fear: Envision success, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, and remember that the more scared you are, the more important it probably is.

Finally, a few of my favorite tips:
1. Dream big, plan small. Have great big goals so your eye is on the prize, but keep your tasks—the steps to achieve those goals—simple and easy.

2. Make time to review and reflect on the past, and plan and prepare for the future. I do twice daily to-do list checkups, a year-end review, and a 5-year plan. (But these are all guidelines. We need to stay flexible!)

3. Build in rewards, gamify things, and remember to schedule and prioritize self-care.

Some additional resources I didn’t mention at the talk, but am adding in here:

Check out former SCBWI-WWA faculty and member Deborah Reber’s new book, DOABLE: THE GIRLS' GUIDE TO ACCOMPLISHING JUST ABOUT ANYTHING! Yes, the target audience is teen girls, but it’s a fantastic resource and I know everyone can benefit from her excellent advice about how to get clear on what your goals really are and then see them through to completion. I can’t recommend it enough. Also, all of the 99u books are fantastic, as is pretty much their whole website. If you don’t know about them, you should.


Picture book/agent opportunity!

Opportunity comes knocking: One of our roundtable critique faculty, for the upcoming April conference, might be looking for you. Here's what she has in mind...

I'm Clelia Gore, literary agent specializing in children's books at the Mercer Island-based Martin Literary Management. I recently realized that the Kraken, the mythical sea beast that has been having a bit of a pop culture moment in the last few years, would make for a great picture book protagonist. As far as I know, there aren't really any Kraken picture books in the current marketplace, and I think the right book would be an easy sell to publishers. I have already received some editorial interest for this idea. I am looking for a modern, humorous, quirky, and beautifully illustrated picture book. Perhaps someone has a manuscript that already exists, in which case, I would love to see it. If not, I'd like some author/illustrators to take a "krack" at writing a Kraken picture book and send me manuscripts and some sample artwork (i.e. a mock up of a spread). I'd love to see samples by February 15th. They can send their submission to me at Please indicate "Kraken submission" in the subject line.

As always, please do your homework about any offers you receive, as SCBWI is not responsible for the content of any opportunities we post in the Chinook.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Kid Lit Drinks TONITE!!

Picture book webinar SATURDAY

The unsympathetic Grinch, the hushed tones of Goodnight, Moon, and the craziness of people and animals communicating in Click Clack Moo all have one amazing thing in common: The authors of these books broke rules for writing children's picture books and, in doing so, created magic!

Are you ready to learn the Rules To Break To Make Your Picture Book and lots more with author Miranda Paul, Chronicle Books’ editor Ariel Richardson, and Mira Reisberg? Then join us this Saturday, January 24 from 10am – 1pm PST for this exciting, low-cost workshop/webinar!

To register, click here.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Good news for MLK DAY TOMORROW!

Do you want the first piece of good news, or the second piece of good news?

1. The fabulous show at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma, featuring many of our SCBWI illustrators, will now be extended through Friday, January 23, 2015!

2. There will be a special event this MONDAY, January 19 at 2pm in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Sundee Frazier, Richard Jesse Watson, Jesse Watson, Lois Brandt, and Laurie Thompson, along with Dr. Belinda Louie and librarian Katie Monks from University of Washington Tacoma. The topic is "Diversity and Changemaking in Children's Literature."

There will also be a Community Pledge Wall, where people can post pictures of what they believe community to be, and post pledges to be "drum majors for change," re: the MLK quote we used along with a portrait of MLK by Jesse Watson. Richard Jesse Watson also supplied an illustration "Children of the World" to help promote the event.

The panel discussion starts at 2pm, with a special book table of topic-related children's books from the extensive collection held at UWA-Tacoma available for viewing before and after. The museum is open until 5pm with the SCBWI illustrators' exhibit on view through Friday, January 23 in our Community Gallery. 

For all the details, click here!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

WWU companion conference March 1

A new companion event to the Western WA University Children's Literature Conference on February 28 will happen the following day, Sunday, March 1. It will be the very first nErDcamp Bellingham. This event is like a marriage between two incredible movements: Edcamp and #nerdybookclub. You may know of one or both of these, but here's a quick synopsis:

Edcamps are “unconferences,” where the day’s sessions are determined on the day of the event, and taught or led by the attendees. They are always free, and draw a wide range of enthusiastic and focused learners.

#nerdybookclub is an online movement of passionate educators and book lovers. It is a celebration of books, reading, writing, readers, and writers.

nErDcamp Bham aims to be a literacy-focused Edcamp, combining the grassroots enthusiasm of Edcamps and the passionate advocacy of #nerdybookclub.
We would love, love, love to have SCBWI-ers join us at nErDcamp. It will be an amazing day of sharing, learning, and growing. Everyone will be there because they love literacy and learning, and want to grow. If you come, you could join in a session or choose to lead one, just like all attendees. You would not be expected to give any type of talk or presentation––unless you wanted to!

There is just one catch. Since nErDcamp is entirely free, we would not be able to provide any honorarium or stipend for attending. nErDcamp is a zero-budget endeavor.

If you think you would like to attend, please go to our blog and register for the event. Thank you for considering being a part of our first nErDcamp! Hope to see you in February!


Adam Shaffer
nErDcamp Bellingham founder


Women in Horror Month (?#?WIHM?) is coming up in February, and SCBWI-WWA member G.G. Silverman (Vegan Teenage Zombie Huntress) is looking to make some noise for female YA horror authors. If you are a female author writing YA horror featuring a strong female protagonist, she'd like to interview you for her blog. 

Message her through the contact page on her site at, and she'll email you some interview questions––and will also ask you for a few things like book link, cover image, and head shot. She'd like the first interview to go live on February 2 or 3, and is capping this at 12 interviews, so get in touch soon!  


A bunny thing happened....

...on the way to the book launch! Whose book launch, you ask?

Here's a clue:

That would be...

Kevan Atteberry!

WHEN: Wednesday, January 28 from 6–8pm
WHERE: University Book Store, Bellevue (990 102nd Ave NE)

Please join Kevan as he unveils his picture book, Bunnies! It's a delightful romp through the woods with many a colorful, cotton-tailed creature, who confound a lonely monster.

Hop on over! Help Kevan celebrate!