Thursday, October 3, 2013

The 2013 Crystal Kite Winner Profiles: New Jersey's Ame Dyckman (for "BOY + BOT")

The 2013 Crystal Kite Award for the USA Atlantic Region (Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland) goes to Ame Dyckman for her picture book, "BOY + BOT!"

Crystal Kite Winner Ame Dyckman!

"BOY + BOT" was published by Alfred A. Knopf (Random House Children's Books) and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino.

I contacted Ame to find out more...

Lee:  Tell us about your book!

Ame:  BOY + BOT (illustrated by the amazing Dan Yaccarino) is a funny and sweet friendship-despite-differences story between a boy and a robot. They meet in the woods and have a terrific time playing--until Bot bumps his power switch and is turned off! Worried that his new friend is sick, Boy brings Bot home in his wagon and tries all the remedies he knows (applesauce, a story, and tucking him in). But when Bot is reactivated after Boy has fallen asleep, it's Bot's turn to help his "malfunctioning" friend!

Lee:  How long have you been involved with SCBWI, and can you share what you feel you've gained by being a member?

Ame:  I wouldn't be published without SCBWI! When I joined my local SCBWI chapter (YAY, NJ SCBWI!) five years ago, I had the love of kidlit in my heart--but absolutely no idea how to write it! But thanks to all the fantastic regional and national SCBWI events in our area, I had lots of opportunities to listen, learn, and practice my writing. Four years ago I participated in the Agent Pitch Session at the NJ SCBWI Annual Conference, Super Agent Scott Treimel offered me representation, and BOY + BOT was on its way! Since then, Scott has sold three more of my books, and I knew I'd love working with my editors because I'd already met them through SCBWI!

Lee:  Do you have any advice to share with other children's book writers and illustrators?

Ame:  If you haven't yet, get involved with your local SCBWI chapter! You'll learn tons, have SO much fun, and SCBWI WORKS! 
Thanks, Ame!

I also reached out to Leeza Hernandez, the Regional Advisor for SCBWI New Jersey to find out more. Here's what she wrote:

I remember when I first met Ame at a mentoring workshop in the NJ chapter. We were in a peer group together. She was super friendly, enthusiastic, kind and honest with her critiques and everyone could tell she had a natural passion for children's books. Ame worked hard, stayed true to her self and her craft, and stuck at it, and now she has all these amazing books along with awards, including the Crystal Kite.

During the time I have known Ame, and even now with her busy schedule, she's always been involved with the chapter giving support and helping out in any way she can, and she does it wholeheartedly without complaint or for anything in return. Roles have included workshop facilitator, volunteer coordinator at past annual conferences, organizing first page sessions, presenter, mentor, and much more!

We're all thrilled for Ame and winning the Crystal Kite Award and wish her many more in the future. It's awesome and much deserved!

You can find out more about Ame and her books at her website here, and on Twitter @AmeDyckman where she posts "picture book reviews and a good deal of whatever pops into my head. ;)"

What's going on with SCBWI New Jersey? Leeza writes:
The chapter comprises of approximately 700 members, published and to-be published. We have an RA, ARA and IC as well as a wonderful and dedicated committee of 14 people plus an amazing host of volunteers who step up to help when we need them. The New Jersey chapter offers members a variety of events throughout the year. Its been a busy year for us! 2013 has been about trying some new ideas such: as a meditation workshop with writing/ illustration exercises to help you overcome blocks or obstacles; a portfolio development day with industry mentors; Ame Dyckman gave her Picture Book Word Count Smackdown workshop to rave reviews; we hosted a Free PIBoIdMo and NaNoWriMo kickoff night this week in three locations around the state. There's free kidlit socials, evenings with industry professionals, and we have our Fall Craft weekend coming up in November which is jam-packed with workshops, editor/agent one-on-ones, first-page sessions, illustrator track and more. Our annual summer conference was held in June which ran for two-and-a-half days and included genre-specific intensives, critiques, nearly 80 workshop sessions, industry panels, a bookfair, and two wonderful presentations from our keynotes: Peter Brown and Lauren Oliver. I'm excited about the year ahead and hope we can continue to bring more events like this to our members. We have some great ideas planned for PAL members too!
Learn more about SCBWI New Jersey at their website here.

Thanks to Ame and Leeza, and cheers to Ame for her Crystal Kite Award for "BOY + BOT!"

Illustrate and Write On,

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