Saturday, August 02, 2008

SCBWI Conference Friday--Kicks Off with Bruce Coville...

SCBWI Executive Director Lin Oliver kicked off the 37th annual conference with her usual wit, first introducing the faculty for the annual Faculty Word Parade where we all lined up waiting our turn to cross the stage, introduce ourselves, and utter our One Word. Vote. Hope. Revision. Tickle. Mine was Click. (Kinda lame, but it came to me a 4 a.m. when I woke up feeling all 7 a.m.-ish.) Note that 900 people in a ballroom on the other side of your microphone--wow--exciting and intimidating.

Lin said there are 900-ish attendees, 746 women, 135 men (more than usual--I've only seen one men's room converted to ladies. One year they put plants in the urinals), and 402 published authors. Then she introduced the first speaker who she promised would kick off the conference with a bang, and Bruce Coville delivered.

Bruce was at once funny and profound, a delight to listen two. I found myself so caught up in his talk that I stopped taking notes a third of the way through and didn't realize it.

He said that kids need heroes. Kids need to contribute. And children's books are the one last place children can find role models. He talked about kids entering kindergarten, tumbling in like a pack of puppies willing to sing and dance and play and pretend--but ask them to do those things as eighth graders... Every day, he said, door close in children's hearts. (I choked up a little thinking of my four-year-old turning in to a disinterested 14-year-old glued to a video game. I'll definitely be bringing him home some new books.) But it's a writer's job to kick those doors open.

And we were off...


Kristi Valiant said...

Thanks so much for posting your notes! I'll be hearing Bruce Coville at a SCBWI conference in Nashville in Sept and can't wait now!

I bought the new CWIM last night and will have an enjoyable day reading through it and updating my mailing list for art submissions. Thank for your hard work on it!

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