April 26, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Reviewers and Bloggers: Prepare for KidLitCon 2015, October 9–10, in Baltimore

KidlitconLogo2015The annual festival of book love known as KidLitCon, for people who write about children’s and young adult literature, takes place in Baltimore this year on October 9–10 at the Hyatt Place Inner Harbor hotel. Registration is now open for the two-day conference, which will include author panels, inside information on evaluating and reviewing books, and bowling.

The 2015 keynote speakers are Tracey Baptiste, the Trinidad-born author of The Jumbies (Algonquin, 2015), and Carrie Mesrobian, author of  YA novels Sex and Violence, Perfectly Good White Boy (Carolrhoda, 2013,  2014), and the forthcoming Cut Both Ways (HarperTeen, 2015).

Here are some highlights from the conference program.

Those wanting to take their reviewing game to the next level can hear from three bloggers-turned-writers for national publications, along with SLJ associate editor Mahnaz Dar, who will demonstrate  best practices in writing for publication.

Offering insight on how artists’ choices influence the experience of reading a picture book will be blogger Minh Le, Caldecott committee member and children’s literature consultant Susan Kusel, and artists Matt Phelan, illustrator of Marilyn’s Monster (Candlewick, 2015), Shadra Strickland, illustrator of Bird (Lee & Low, 2008)  and Kevin O’Malley, co-creator of At the Ballpark.

Participants can learn how to defend and promote books that some people might find “too scary” from certified coward Karen Yingling and authors Mary Downing Hahn (Took; HMH, 2015), Baptiste, and Ronald L. Smith (Hoodoo; HMH, 2015).

Matthew C. Winner, librarian at Ducketts Lane Elementary School in Elkridge, MD, and host of the Let’s Get Busy podcast, will show what’s involved in putting together an entertaining, star-studded podcast month after month.

A panel of current and former Caldecott, Newbery, Eisner, Sidney Taylor, Printz, and Cybils (Childrens and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards) committee members and judges will indulge in some Awards Committee Real Talk. The Cybils turns 10 this year; conference registration includes a Friday night buffet dinner at bowling alley Mustang Alley’s.

Other panels will address STEM-related books, intersectionality in children’s and YA literature, and issues of authentic representation, especially concerning LGBTQA+ and differently abled people.