Vicki Cobb used "Google Hangout"in her workshop to introduce us to her iNK Think Tank© program which brings authors into classrooms via distance technology. It was a delight to meet authors and teachers/librarians who have participated in the program. Dorothy Patent joined us from her summer home in Missoula, Montana to share her experiences incorporating writing and research in a classroom half way across the country. I loved how she described the kids waving to her on screen and greeting her with "Hi, Dorothy," as they entered their classroom. Sarah Svarda, who was in Tennessee, described her cooperative program with an author. She called the interaction between the author and her students "...a true mentoring experience," and asserted that when students use authors to design and carry out a project of their own, it is much more powerful than a simple school visit. As a former 5th grade science teacher, I can clearly see how this mentoring project could be a formidable enrichment tool for any curriculum area (writing, history, science, and more). Thanks to all four of the participants who joined us long distance.
|Alyssa Mito Pusey|
Alyssa Pusey's presentation lived up to its title by providing us with a well-stocked toolbox for making a nonfiction trade book. Her pointers were clear and incredibly useful, from the point of view of a prepublished author and illustrator. Tools included: Point of View (your voice or the voice of your character), Research (the importance of thorough and accurate source excavation), Structure (how the book is laid out, reading level selected, back matter considered and whether or not it includes layered text), Clear writing (concrete, precise, well scaffolded), Visual aids (clear, accurate, engaging photos charts or drawings). Certainly any author who follows Alyssa's guidelines and uses the tools she provided us will have a product worthy of careful consideration by a publisher, so long as you have targeted your query or proposal effectively.
Our second day also included a panel discussion on "The Future of Children's Nonfiction." Lionel and the panel assured us that paper and ink books will be around for some time to come, but they also enlightened us regarding several publishing houses ventures into digital publishing both for books and for enhancement to reading materials.
I had my first critique with author/illustrator Roxie Munro. More about that later, but I will say that it was delightful, informative and incredibly useful in helping me to rethink several aspects of my current project. I'm very glad I had done my homework, since a critique session requires both parties to be prepared. I strongly recommend that hopeful authors take advantage of such critiques at any of the numerous forums where they are available. It is SO worth the price!
|Thoughtful Roxie Munro|