Saturday, April 19, 2014

SCBWI WWA Illustrator Exhibit Coming!

The Washington State Historical Society has invited us (you know, SCBWI WWA) to put on a show! From November 2014 through January 2015, select illustrators will be part of an exhibit hanging in the WSHS gallery in Tacoma. Details like the submission process and dates, framing, etc. are being worked out, but for now, WATCH THIS SPACE and your email inbox for more info. Start thinking NOW about what event or icon from Washington state's history would make a killer illustration. A visit to the WA State History Museum wouldn't be a bad idea to get those creative juices flowing. Plus, starting May 17, you can see a new interactive installation featuring some of our favorite local kid lit illustrators.

Caption and Cartoon Contest Conquerors!

Thanks to all the writers and illustrators who entered the Creative Contest at last weekend's conference, especially the ones who made us laugh! Our winners all turned down trips to Disneyland, a vintage Mustang convertible and even the chance for a pair of "Wild Thing" pajamas in favor of books either written by, edited by, published by or just thumbed through by our illustrious faculty. Herewith the winners. Congratulations all!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

YA book launch: Between Two Worlds

Member Katherine Kirkpatrick will launch her YA novel BETWEEN TWO WORLDS (Wendy Lamb Books) at Third Place Books in Bothell on Saturday, April 26. Publisher's Weekly gave the book a starred review, calling it an "engrossing work of historical fiction." Show up that evening at 6:30 p.m. for snacks, book trivia, and prizes. She'll also be making a blog tour as part of the launch; see the full schedule here.

In a recent blog post, Katherine wrote, "There is nothing more depressing for an author than to sit at a table with a forced smile in front of a pyramid of books, facing a room full of vacant chairs. I’m happy to say I’ve found a middle path, a joyous way of celebrating new books that comes in second to my mother’s former parties." She goes on to explain SCBWI WWA's twice-yearly event called Inside Story, adding, "I am so grateful to Laura McGee Kvasnosky and George Shannon for creating this wonderful community forum where we can give ourselves a boost."

(The next Inside Story will be held on May 6, from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m., at Mockingbird Books, too.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lin Oliver and Tomie de Paola THURSDAY

We're a wee bit out of breath from last weekend's fabulous conference, but it's red-alert time!

Time to rhyme! Oliver and de Paola's book.

Tomorrow, at University Book Store in the University District, SCBWI co-founder and executive director Lin Oliver, along with rock-star illustrator Tomie de Paola, will present their collaboration, Little Poems for Tiny Ears. Authored by Oliver and illustrated by de Paola, these two should be a humdinger of a partnership.

Dynamic duo: de Paola and Oliver.

The party gets started at 7pm, and again, we're just being cautious, but getting there early is probably your best bet. Just saying....

Joint-chapter Illustrator Retreat

Attention: SCBWI Western Washington and Portland Illustrators!

Mark your calendars for our first-ever joint-chapter Illustrator Retreat!

WHEN:  October 3-5, 2014

WHERE: Dumas Retreat Centre in Federal Way, WA
Kelly Murphy

Sergio Ruzzier

FACULTY: Join acclaimed illustrators  Kelly Murphy and Sergio Ruzzier for a chance to hone your craft, enjoy excellent company, and relax in the beauty of Puget Sound!

REGISTRATION: Registration will begin in the early summer, so watch your inboxes for more information. 

QUESTIONS: Contact Jennifer Mann (

#SCBWIWWA14: How Justin Chanda edits picture books

Justin Chanda, publisher at Simon & Schuster, loves picture books. He talked about how he takes a good manuscript and makes it great. Picture books have an economy of language––less is more! If you are writing in rhyme, be careful because rhyming must be done so precisely. All picture books, however, must have rhythm. (Read your books as they are meant to be read: out loud!) To make sure you have the right page turns, be sure to paginate your manuscript, at least for your own knowledge of where effective page turns might be. And his biggest editorial note: “Let the art carry this!” Remember that it’s a PICTURE book, and it’s the blending of art and text that make picture books great.

SATURDAY: Questions asked, pictures answer

Josh Tuininga, an artist featured at our recent SCBWI Artists Showcase at the Convention Center, is celebrating the release of his first picture book, Why Blue?

The book launch takes place at Mockingbird Books in Greenlake this Saturday, April 19 from 2-4pm.

To learn more about Josh and his book about how children ask the big questions, ie, "Why is the sky blue?", click here.

#SCBWIWWA14: State of the State of Publishing with Justin Chanda

In a lively hour, S&S publisher Justin Chanda offered up these insights:
  • Ebook sales are leveling off and have not sucked the life out of publishing. 
  • Apps are not books!
  • Picture books are chugging back to life with strong, identifiable characters and shorter text. Funny books are working well.
About diversity: Authors are given a great responsibility to reflect the world kids live in. We have far to go, but publishing is progressive. So while working to move forward, let’s celebrate what’s out there, too.

Write your book. Don’t write to trends or worry about the Common Core. Publishers are experts at bringing books to kids, and story always comes first.

#SCBWIWWA14: Holly McGhee on 10 Picture Books that Stand the Test of Time

Holly McGhee, agent and president of Pippin Properties, presented a list of 10 (of the possible hundreds of picture books) that stand the test of time. Check out the books we discussed. Why do you think they are evergreen?
  • THE CARROT SEED by Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson
  • BREAD AND JAM FOR FRANCIS by Russel Hoban and Lillian Hoban
  • GORKY RISES by William Steig
  • OWL BABIES by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson
  • THE VELVETEEN RABBIT by Margery Williams
  • SPINKY SULKS by William Steig
  • BLUE HAT, GREEN HAT by Sandra Boynton
  • THE FIVE CHINESE BROTHERS by Claire Huchet Bishop and Kurt Wiese
  • CAPS FOR SALE by Esphyr Slobodkina

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Slip on south for more conference goodness in May

Missed out on our conference last weekend, or just want even more inspiration and knowledge? Our neighbors to the south, SCBWI Oregon, are putting on a conference on Saturday and Sunday, May 17-18. A looong list of agents, editors, and other faculty includes four agents, three editors, art director Lucy Ruth Cummins and our own Martha Brockenbrough. Special opportunities, including portfolio reviews, are still available. (First pages opportunities still may be, too, if you act very quickly.)

The conference is being held in Wilsonville this year. (Not far south of the I-5 and I-205 junction.) Get more details now.

Two Speckled Eggs launch event

Local member and SCBWI Western Washington Illustration Coordinator Jennifer Mann will celebrate her authorial debut on Tuesday, April 22, at Seattle's Secret Garden Bookshop. She'll be launching Two Speckled Eggs, which she both wrote and illustrated, and which celebrates geek pride and unexpected friendships, among other things. The fun starts at 7:00 p.m. See you there!

#SCBWIWWA14: The Art of Picture Book Pacing with Alexandra Penfold

In a Saturday master class, agent Alexandra Penfold of Upstart Crow Literary shared her gold on picture book pacing. As a former editor at Simon & Schuster's Paula Wiseman Books, she had plenty to share.

She began her talk by saying, “Effective pacing is the heart of a picture book.” She discussed in depth the importance of each building block of a picture book: word count, word choice, specificity, joyful language, page turns, and rules of threes. (Did you know sets of threes are more satisfying to our brains – easier to remember and somehow funnier?)

Then, Alexandra dove deep into the behind-the-scene evolution of picture book text. She walked us through four books: the text at submission, at acquisition, and in the final book. We studied each building block, the progression of changes, and discovered how essential these blocks are for creating perfect pacing.