Friday, August 26, 2011

Women's Equality Day....and Children's Books

National Women's History Project
Winning the Vote Poster
Today is Women’s Equality Day. On August 26, 1920, after 72 years of campaigning, American women finally achieved their aim of being able to vote.

One of the leaders in the struggle was Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  I remember reading an excellent review of Tanya Lee Stone’s Elizabeth Leads the Way, but being shocked by the statement that most young people would be unfamiliar with Stanton and what she accomplished.  Then I realized I probably never heard of her when I was in school either. 

I have always enjoyed reading history books, so I don’t know when I picked up my knowledge of women’s many contributions to world history, including the American suffragette movement and the women behind it. So I consider the excellent books available for children on this subject vitally important.

Elizabeth Leads the Way begins with these words:

'What would you do
if someone told you
you can’t be what you want to be
What would you do
if someone told you
your vote doesn’t count
your voice doesn’t matter
because you are a girl.
Would you ask why?
Would you talk back?
Would you fight for your rights?
Elizabeth did.'

Elizabeth Leads the Way –Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote is an excellent picture book to read to children—especially girls—today, in honor of Women’s Equality Day.  Another book about Elizabeth, for older kids, is You Want Women to Vote, Lizzie Stanton by Jean Fritz.

My next posts will be on the very inspiring and enlightening Illustrator Intensive I attended at the SCBWI Summer Conference.  It included demonstrations by Jerry Pinkney, Paul O. Zelinsky and Kadir Nelson.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

More Wise Quotes from the Recent SCBWI 2011 Summer Conference

At the recent SCBWI Summer Conference one of the keynote speakers was a surprise—the amazing Judy Blume, who stepped in at the last minute for an ailing John Green. 
Below are a few wise comments from Ms. Blume, who was interviewed by one of my favorite people:  Executive Director and co-founder of SCBWI, Lin Oliver.

I don't' like to give advice because there's' no one way (to write).  Try a lot of ways and find one that works for you!

The stuff that's going to matter is what's coming from deep inside.

The reason (to write) was always to find out what was going to happen.

I heard (someone say) don't even think of writing something not taking place in the present.  (I say) don't ever listen to anything like that!

I listen--everyone who writes has to get out there and listen and observe.

Writing slang isn't great if you want to write fiction that lasts.

Writing not only changed my life, it saved my life.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Tasty SCBWI 40th Anniversary Summer Conference

The 40th Anniversary SCBWI Summer Conference just ended on Monday.  I’ve attended this exceptional conference for many years and this year’s celebration was one of the very best.  Below are some favorite quotes from this year’s speakers.


Everything we do moves outward and has an effect, like ripples in the pond.  We never know how what we do will affect others.  Our work has the potential to change the world in ways not known.  Go home and drop some pebbles in the pond.


I love deadlines.  I love the whooshing sound they make as they rush by!


Unless you find yourself on a page very early in life, you will go looking for yourself in all the wrong places.

A few of her ‘rules for aspiring writers’ –
  • Read the great poetry written in your native language.
  • Put your ambition into writing, never into making money. 
  • If there’s no quiet place where you live, find that place within you for a few minutes each day.

There’s always room for something new and different. 
Write the story that only you can tell.

Art disturbs the Universe.  Thank the Gods.  The job of any artist is to disturb. 
Have the courage to explore the stories of your heart.