Children’s books are a booming business right now and are getting a lot of attention. The national Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is a program supporting and promoting authors and illustrators of children’s books through open critiques, classroom presentations, and writing conferences.
Recently, the local members of the group attended the CCIRA conference in Denver to further promote their cause and integrate themselves into more schools. The organization is made up of both aspiring and accomplished authors, and will be celebrating their 40th anniversary in the next few months.
Mary Peace Finley, one of the original 6 members of the group, was at the conference and spoke in an interview about how the group has changed, as well as her findings as an author. To all the young readers and writers out there, she says, “Find what draws you as a reader to become a better writer. It’s all communication and interaction.”
In the same interview, Rondi Frieder and Denise Vega also spoke of their experiences, Frieder saying, “Read! Reading is cool, not just for yourself, but for school and your life,” while Vega says, “The number one thing I would tell kids is that reading in the most important thing.”
All three authors/teachers spoke passionately about encouraging young writers to challenge themselves, and emphasizing the sense of community that comes through writing. They said it not only extends kids’ learning, but has lately been helping adults with reading too.
Their goal is to get kids excited, and integrate literature into all parts of kids lives. It was really interesting hearing from some of the foremost people involved in promoting young writers, and learning more about what publishing companies actually do, and I think they conveyed some really important messages for young people.