Connection seemed to be the theme of SCBWI’s 2018 Summer Conference in Los Angeles, Aug. 3-6.
Libba Bray, Lois Lowry and Lynda Mullaly Hunt all talked about how writing connects us in their keynotes.
All equal parts hilarious and emotional, these three authors told how stories are connections that bring us together “soul to soul,” said Lois Lowry.
Libba Bray said connection is the purpose of stories, because humans need connection or we fall apart. Stories make sense of a senseless world, building empathy and providing hope, Libba Bray said, and right now we need these more than ever.
Lynda Mullaly Hunt said that putting her own vulnerabilities in her stories — her own truth — helps kids discover theirs. There’s a connection between the experiences of the writer and the experiences of the reader, and those connections keep readers coming back to books again and again and again.
Truth was another theme discussed by many at the conference, with Ekua Holmes and Daniel Jose Older showing the importance of truth in their work. And Linda Sue Park moderated a panel with authors Elana K. Arnold, Brandy Colbert, Erin Entrada Kelly, and Carolyn Mackler on the line between truth and innocence, indeed dark and light, in children’s books.
All these keynotes, as well as the ones given by Marc Brown, Mike Curato, Andrea and Brian Pinkney and Eliza Wheeler provided an inspirational cushion for the entire conference, punctured by educational breakouts and intensives during the four days.