Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Picture Book Wisdom from the 2014 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

My Picture Book Panelists! From Left, myself, Gianna Marino, Jon J. Muth, Salina Yoon and Joe Cepeda

I had the honor of moderating a great picture book panel, "Children's Books: Drawing the Imagination," at the L.A. Times Festival of Books this past weekend with Joe Cepeda, Gianna Marino, Jon J. Muth and Salina Yoon. Afterwards, I got to listen to part of the panel moderated by Kelly Sonnack, "Children's Books: Inspiring Young Minds," with Mac Barnett, Doreen Cronin, Jennifer Fosberry and John Rocco.

There was so much great wisdom shared (including some very nice shout-outs to SCBWI), but here are a few of the moments that really resonated for me and that, amidst the excitement and moderating, I managed to record in my journal:

"The strength of a story is the truth you find in it."
- Jon J. Muth

The secret to expressing emotion visually?
"The eyes."
- both Salina Yoon and Gianna Marino

I don't want to be anchored to accuracy so much that it neuters the magic of a story.
- Joe Cepeda

"As I draw more I can throw words out."
- John Rocco

You don't talk down to kids.
- Jennifer Fosberry

If you start thinking how you're going to tell it for kids you're dead and you need to start over. You have to tell it for yourself.
- Doreen Cronin

"I'd much rather have a book that a few people love intensely than a book that a lot of people like okay."
-Mac Barnett

What a great reminder that any time you can go hear (or speak with) professional writers and illustrators at the top of their game, DO IT!

It's one of the great things SCBWI offers at local and international events and conferences: opportunities to listen to, learn from and be inspired by the experts.

Illustrate and Write On,


jan godown annino said...

Frame-worthy art for us picture book word nerds.

Thank you with songs on top, for splendid notes from the panel.

Brings us from all over the world together, Lee.

Angela Verges said...

I always love the rhythm of words and learning from established writers.

Thanks Lee for sharing your experience.

danielle said...

I was sad to miss your panel, but did make it to the second one. It was hilarious and inspiring! Love the quotes you included here.