Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"Terrific Kids' Novels Adults Will Love, Too" A Virginia Festival of the Book Discussion

"Terrific Kids' Novels Adults Will Love, Too"
 Moderated by Barbara Kanninen
 Panelists: Kathy Erskine, Sue Corbett, Sara Lewis Holmes, Irene Latham, Fran Cannon Slayton

Our moderator was children's author and environmental economist, Barbara Kanninen, who asked perfect questions, the kind that make you think, and inspire you to have a great answer, and that five MG writers will each respond to in different ways.

Me with Barbara

Here's one of Barbara's insightful questions:

Continuing on our theme of adults, I was struck, in reading your books, at the strong roles that parents and/or teachers play in the stories.  Traditionally, we often think of children’s stories as happening without parents around.  A lot of children’s book characters are orphans, for example, or runaways, or they discover that they’re wizards, or the sons of Gods, and they have to go away to a special school or camp.  
But you all chose to include adults and family as prominent and important characters in your stories.  Would you talk about this decision?  Did you know from the beginning that these adults would be important people in your main characters’ lives?  How did you know you were striking the right balance between including adults and keeping your story kid-driven?

Excellent, right?

However, I have to say that the highlight of the panel for me was seeing this non-adult in the audience:


Signing after the panel with Kathy Erskine and Sue Corbett

You can find more pictures at Anne Marie Pace's journal.

Still to come: moderating the Land Ho! panel about setting in YA and children's fiction. Wow oh wow, did I learn a lot.


  1. Barbara's questions were awesome. But your answers were awesome, too.

  2. It was such FUN! Isn't it amazing how time flies when you're talking about children's books?


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