What is a picture book summit, you may ask? It is a day-long writing conference for picture book authors and illustrators that is conducted webinar style. I get to enjoy the summit from the comfort of my own home. No long car rides or pricey hotel fees. Just me, a cup of tea and my laptop. Paradise!
October 7th arrived and I jumped out of bed. I didn’t want to miss a single moment. The summit began with a dance party. I loved watching the summit founders bust a move!
My excitement level was at an all-time high when acclaimed author/illustrator Tomi DePaola took to the web cam. He looked like a jolly elf that I just wanted to hug! His presentation was truly inspiring. I could not believe that he used to tap dance, like me! He also spoke of his artistic process and shared a glimpse at some new projects he is working on. I literally could have listened to him speak all day.
The second speaker was none other than summit founder Julie Hedlund. Her presentation was about the layers of children’s picture books. I loved her detailed description of each layer. I never knew that there was so much substance within the pages of picture books.
Renowned picture book author Carole Boston Weatherford shared insight on the importance of point of view in picture book writing. She also gave summiteers a glimpse into her writing process that she likened to a spiritual experience. Fellow founder, Laura Backes, followed up with a fabulous presentation about writing with a purpose without sounding “preachy.” The takeaways she provided were not only helpful but inspiring.
Ending the day with Adam Rex was truly like the proverbial cherry on top of a sundae. He was absolutely hilarious! I learned how valuable humor can be in a picture book and that the days of “why did the chicken cross the road” jokes are long gone.
I greatly appreciate the literary agents who also took part in the summit. They gave clear descriptions of the types of picture books they are currently in the market for. I loved getting to learn tips and tricks for how to make my writing stand out and avoid the slush pile! I will definitely be doing some serious re-writing this weekend.
I had an absolute blast at the Picture Book Summit! I will definitely be attending next year (and every year after!). The presentations were so inspiring that I also signed up for the Summit Founders’ Sessions. The sessions will be held once a month from November 2017 to February 2018. I know that I am going to learn even more about the fabulous world of picture book writing. I cannot wait!