2016 Children's Literature Conference

Workshops and Faculty

July 13-17

Peter H. ReynoldsPeter H. Reynolds

Picture Books: How to Extract a Great Story from Your Shoebox and Share It with the World

Peter’s workshop will be part inspiration and part therapy for those dealing with writer’s block, or struggling with perfectionism. Several creative exercises designed to spark ideas, and get the creative juices flowing will be issued throughout the week. Along the way, Peter will share his own story of how he got started in the business, how he found his agent, how he generates ideas, what his process is, what his struggles have been and continue to be, and other insight that might help you on your own creative journey. One-on-one time with Peter will be scheduled for review of your projects, issues and goals. 

Special Guest: Susan Verde who will share her experience of attending--and be being discovered—in one of Peter’s previous Children's Lit Conference workshops and how she went on to become an author of five books, including the bestselling I Am Yoga. 

Peter H. Reynolds is a NY Times best-selling author and illustrator of The Dot, Ish, The North Star, as well as a collaborator on many books including the Judy Moody series by Megan McDonald. He is also founder of FableVision Studios. www.fablevision.com 


Tor Seidler

Aim High! The Middle Grade NovelTor Seidler

A good middle-grade novel can be timeless—and ageless, too, in the sense that it can resonate with kids and parents alike.  How to achieve such a lofty goal?  Solid plotting, evocative settings, and strong characterization don’t hurt.  But what we’ll concentrate on in this workshop is voice.  I sometimes think each story has one perfect way of being told, one voice—and when you find it, you feel like young King Arthur pulling the sword out of the stone!

Tor Seidler published his first award-winning book, The Dulcimer Boy, at the age of twenty seven. Over the past thirty years, Mr. Seidler has become one of the most important voices in children's fiction with such classics as A Rat's Tale, The Wainscott Weasel, an ALA Notable Book, Terpin, and Mean Margaret, which was selected as a finalist for the National Book Award in 1997. His latest book, Firstborn, is a Junior Literary Guild Selection, and was selected as one of the NY Times' Notable Books of 2015.



Gayle FormanGayle Forman

YA: Writing Through The Side Door

Personal experience is the DNA for many a piece of fiction. But sometimes a direct recitation of true events is not the best way—narratively or even cathartically—to translate an important life event onto the page. Sometimes,you need a sideways approach. In this workshop, we will work on finding the best narrative avenue to tell our personally inspired stories, finding ways to tweak a “true" tale into a “fictional” one. Though by the end of the class, those lines may be blurred. After all, fiction is the lie that tells the truth.

Gayle Forman is an award-winning, New York Times bestselling author and journalist, who has written several young-adult novels, including I Was Here, the Just One Day series, If I Stay (which was made into a 2014 feature film) and its sequel Where She Went. Her first novel starring adults, Leave Me, will be published by Algonquin in 2016. Forman’s work has been translated into more than 40 languages. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her family.



Conference DirectorEmma Hamilton

EMMA WALTON HAMILTON is a best-selling children’s book author, editor and arts educator.  With her mother, actress/author Julie Andrews, Emma has co-authored over twenty children’s books, seven of which have been on the NY Times Bestseller list, including The Very Fairy Princess series (#1 Bestseller), Julie Andrews Collection of Poems, Songs and Lullabies, the Dumpy the Dump Truck series, Simeon’s Gift, The Great American Mousical, and Thanks to You – Wisdom from Mother and Child. Emma’s own book, RAISING BOOKWORMS: Getting Kids Reading for Pleasure and Empowerment, premiered as a #1 best-seller on Amazon.com in the literacy category and won a Parent’s Choice Gold Medal.

Emma is a faculty member of Stony Brook Southampton’s MFA in Creative Writing and Literature, where she also serves as Director of the Children’s Literature Fellows program, and Executive Director of the Young Artists and Writers Project (YAWP), an inter-disciplinary writing program for middle and high school students. Emma also works as a freelance children’s book editor, and hosts the "Just Write Children’s Books" home-study courses and resources for writing picture books, chapter books and middle grade and young adult novels.