As part of an ongoing series of panels intended to encourage young people from diverse backgrounds to consider a career in publishing, the Children’s Book Council's Diversity Initiative held a Teen Outreach Panel in Boston on November 5 at the Connolly Branch of the Boston Public Library.
More than 40 teens from Hyde Square Task Force attended the event, which included children’s authors and illustrators, as well as publishing and bookselling professionals. YA author Erin Moulton (Keepers of the Labyrinth, Philomel) spoke about her writing process, while illustrator Kelly Murphy (The Miniature World of Marvin & James, written by Elise Broach, Square Fish) discussed how creating art takes patience and practice but is ultimately about giving yourself permission to let it out on the page.
Agent Talia Levitt with Studio Goodwin Sturges detailed how agents find, nurture, and support authors and, in her case, illustrators. Charlesbridge editor Julie Bliven spoke to how editors look for quality books that might elicit a passionate reader response, fill holes in the market, and reflect different experiences for many different readers.
Designer Whitney Leader-Picone at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt described how designing books means having an aesthetic eye and thinking about how visual decisions influence storytelling. Candlewick marketer Jamie Tan literally hopped on stage to detail a marketing campaign for a New York Times bestselling series, from digital ads to author events. Anastasia Collins, a reviewer for the Horn Book and Kirkus Reviews, shared insight into the analytical ways reviewers work to convey the qualities of a book from a subjective point of view.
Writer Mackenzie Van Engelenhoven, events coordinator at Trident Booksellers, spoke about selling books, which involves imparting enthusiasm. Booksellers have to be well read, she said, in order to connect the dots between a reader’s preference and an appropriate title to recommend next.
The CBC is looking for professionals who might be interested in participating in upcoming panels in Boston or New York City. For more information contact Matt Poulter at the CBC.