The 2016 NJ SCBWI Annual Conference—The Best Conference Ever!

 

Every year the NJ SCBWI Annual Conference gets better and better. This year did not disappoint.

Here are some photographic highlights: 

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Opening Keynote Speaker, David Wiesner

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My amazing agent, Liza Fleissig, and my fellow Liza Royce Agency peeps! 

Yvonne Ventresca, Cathy Breisacher, Laurie Wallmark, Darlene Beck-Jacobson, Erica George, Leslie Santamaria, me, and Liza Fleissig 

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Diana Murray and me

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Johanna Bilbo Staton, Yvonne Ventresca, and Cathy Breisacher 

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Katey Howes

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Lauri Meyers

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Darlene Beck-Jacobson and Carole Lindstrom

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Annie Silvestro and Kim Pfennigwerth

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Me and Cristina Ergunay (Mawrters in the house! Anassa kata!) 

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Beth Ferry 

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Julie Matysik and Yvonne Ventresca

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Jacki Morris

Liza Fleissig, Keisha Senter, Kathy Temean, Carole Lindstrom, Leslie Santamaria, me, Karl Jones, Colleen Rowan Kosinski, Marlaina Cockcroft, and Linda Patterson Kujawski

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Laura Sassi and Diana Murray 

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Leeza Hernandez

Me and Katya Szewczuk

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Tara Lazar 

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Lori Degman 

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Laurie Wallmark accepting the Crystal Kyte Award.

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Julie Gribble 

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Tish Rabe

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Jonathan Rockefeller 

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Guy Olivieri and Charlotte Bennardo 

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Closing Keynote Speaker, Suzy Ismail

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Me and Suzy Ismail 

A very big THANK YOU to everyone who made this year’s conference so special. I’m already packing my bags for next year’s conference. I can’t wait!

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NJ SCBWI

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Happy Birthday, KidLit TV!

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It was a wonderful year of firsts for KidLit TV. Founded by Julie Gribble, KidLit TV is the first multimedia website created to aid parents and educators explore the world of children’s literature. It received its first big award, the Parents’ Choice Gold Award, and it is currently in the process of launching KidLit RADIO.

“KidLit TV is an exciting and informative destination for authors, illustrators, teachers, publishers, and anyone with a passion for children’s literature.” — Children’s Book Council

“Visitors are almost guaranteed to find something interesting and useful, whether they are consumers, producers, or curators of children’s literature.” — Parents’ Choice on KidLit TV

Authors, illustrators and fans of all ages came out in droves to celebrate KidLit TV’s BIG ONE.

Here are some photographic highlights:

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Julie Gribble and Katya Szewczuk

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Adam Lehrhaupt and Ame Dyckman 

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Roxie Munro and spouse

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Kelly Light and Kat Yeh

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Nick Bruel and me 

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Beth Ferry, Annie Silvestro, me and Kelly Calabrese

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Annie Silvestro, me, Katya Szewczuk, Beth Ferry and Ame Dyckman 

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Katya Szewczuk, Dan Yaccarino and Julie Gribble 

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Katya Szewczuk, Julie Gribble and Nick Bruel 

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Katya Szewczuk, Julie Gribble, Rocco Staino and Tad Hills

Rocco Staino and Kelly Light

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Paul Zelinsky, Adam Lehrhaupt and Katya Szewczuk

And as part of this jubiliant celebration, KidLit TV teamed up with Tad Hills and ArtWorks for Youth (AWFY). AWFY provides free visual art instruction, academic support, and mentoring to students in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. To learn more about this wonderful program, please visit: http://artworksforyouth.co.za 

Happy Birthday, KidLit TV! I suspect that the BIG TWO is going to be even bigger and better.

For more information about KidLit TV, please visit: http://kidlit.tv

 

 

Thank You Princeton Children’s Book Festival!

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Dreams do come true. I have been a HUGE fan of the Princeton Children’s Book Festival for as long as I can remember, and have always dreamed of participating as an author. Yesterday that amazing, incredible, you-take-my-breath away, someone-is-going-to-have-to-pinch-me dream came true.

In a nutshell: It was AWESOME! Over 100 authors and illustrators participated in this year’s festivities, the 10th anniversary of the Princeton Children’s Book Festival. I felt like a kid in a candy store. I wanted to ask everyone about their books, craft, and tell them HOW MUCH I LOVE THEIR WORK in a not-so-stalkerish kind of way. But in a mildly stalkerish way, I managed to catch Katya Szewczuk from KidLit TV in the bathroom. Since she was sporting a pair of cat ears, I figured she might be game for a quick hello and then the barrage of “OMG! I am such a HUGE fan.”

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Detectives Wilcox and Griswold 

My dauntless detectives, Wilcox and Griswold, from The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake, were on the job. They had taped off the crime scene area under the purple tent at table #4 and had taken a GAZILLION mug shots of potential suspects identified as avid readers.

The day flew by faster than I can say “Publishing Contract” 500 times, and aside from mug shots, I had few opportunities to take photos.

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Matt Myklusch, Emily Christie Burack and Samantha Berger

But I was extremely fortunate to have been table “roomies” with the great Matt Myklusch and Samantha Berger. I only had a brief chance to catch up with the amazing Ame Dyckman, Audrey Vernick, Kate Samworth, Beth Ferry, Monica Wellington, Kristine Lombardi, Emily Christie Burack, and my old school friend, Nick Bruel.

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Matt Myklusch, me, and Samantha Berger

The festivities ended with a wonderful picnic at the home of Joanne and Deanne, the booksellers for this incredible event.

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Ame Dyckman

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Audrey Vernick and Kate Samworth

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Allyn Howard, Kristine Lombardi, and Monica Wellington 

On my way back to the garage, I paused one last time to take a look at the Princeton Public Library when I noticed a quote from Jorge Luis Borges. During my junior year abroad I spent an entire year (yes, you read correctly!) studying Borges. At the time I very much had a love-hate relationship with him for challenging me as a reader, writer, and student. He kept me up at 3:00 am with three different dictionaries (French-Spanish, Spanish-English, and French-English), and my notes reflected the madness of his textual labyrinths. Anyway, it seemed very fitting that the last words that I saw on my way out were his.

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Thank you Allison Santos and the amazing team at the Princeton Children’s Book Festival. I am certain that you all must have super powers for putting this incredible event together. I cannot wait until next year’s festival.

p.s. Mr. Borges, I think you’re right. Paradise has to be a library. What else could it be?