Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Highlights from the 2016 LA Times Festival of Books

It's always a great festival, and I was thrilled to be part of it again this year! Some of my highlights:

arriving Saturday monring!

How teens can "feel everything too much," like the character Rachel said in the TV show Glee. - Aaron Hartzler

The Young Adult Fiction: Putting the Story in HISTORY panel, with (left to right) Aaron Hartzler, Monica Hesse, Laura Amy Schlitz and Ruta Sepetys

What determines why certain stories of history get preserved?" - Ruta Sepetys

My Saturday Picture Book panel, Children's Books: Pictures On The Page with, (left to right) Jose Lozano, Eliza Wheeler, Me (Standing), Dan Santat and Nikki McClure.

For his picture books, Dan Santat illustrates the entire book without words, and only then, once the story is working, does he add text, making sure the text isn't duplicating what the images have already said.

On the pressure of creating after winning the Caldecott, "You have to get the good ones out, and you have to get the bad ones out." - Dan Santat

José Lozano talking about his art in galleries and decorating a new subway station and now in two picture books.

Her strategy after landing on the New York Times Best-seller list: "Get Better. Grow." - Eliza Wheeler

"Don't wait for the call. Make it. Shape it." - Nikki McClure, on self-pubbing her first picture book at the copy machine at Kinkos.

Joel Arquillos (left) interviewing Kwame Alexander

A 14-year-old boy telling Kwame Alexander, "Man, I don't even like books, but I couldn't put yours down." was like winning another Newbery Award. As Kwame said, "The real award for this book is how it's connecting with young people."

"I don't write for kids... I write for me... I write for all of us." - Kwame Alexander

On how the book "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" influenced him, the idea that as educators, we're "Not filling empty heads, but helping kids find their voices." - Joel Arquillos

"Sometimes saying no to someone else is saying yes to yourself." - Kwame Alexander

"Students will take risks when they see us take risks as educators." - Kwame Alexander

My Sunday debut picture book panel, Picture This: Silly Stories and the Art of Children's Books with (left to right) Dev Petty, Greg Danylyshyn, Joey Chou and Ruth Chan

Debut picture book author Dev Petty on her passion for writing "books with animals with existential crises."

Debut picture book illustrator Joey Chou on how he got his big break (and his agent) - Well, I was at ComicCon...

Debut picture book author Greg Danylyshyn speaking of the many drafts of his rhyming picture book before he got it right.

Check out SCBWI - Debut author/illustrator Ruth Chan's advice to an aspiring picture book creator.

The SCBWI booth with local authors and illustrators signing

and hey, even the USC marching band!

Hurray for Book Festivals!

And thanks to the organizers --and over 1,100 volunteers -- of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books!

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