Who Wants Cake?

If you didn’t already know – I LOVE CAKE! I have my own caking blog and I’m often attempting my own amateur ultimate cake-off fondant masterpieces. I’m always admiring the work of professionals, particularly when they decide to make cakes about children’s books! If you’re not familiar with the hilarious blog “Cake Wrecks” which usually features BAD cakes, it’s time to check it out. Only once a week they share the GOOD instead of the bad. This week they featured creative cake creations made in honor of National Library Week.

See all the amazing cakes here: Cake Wreck’s Feature Kidlit Cakes

Writing for Kids: A Three-Quarter Life’s Work

Author Gordon Korman has been in the children’s book industry since he was a teenager, and has over seventy novels and books under his belt! With such a long prolific career, he is an asset to all of us looking to break into this industry. The following notes were taken from his 2010 SCBWI LA Conference keynote speech.

“I’d like to dedicate this speech to Paula Danziger. She always cared about the new guy. She wanted every writer to enjoy the view she had.” – Korman

Korman’s Take on His Audience:

  • “Not bad, pretty good,” is the best compliment you can get from an 8th grader. Korman sees his audience like little New Yorkers. They’ve seen everything.
  • Kids are more subtle than you think they are. The stuff we adults think is important goes over their heads. But they notice other things.
  • Kids are not an exotic sub-species. You are just an older kid. You need to have a sense of what’s cool to a kid, and honestly it’s not that different. Rick Riordan has a great sense of what kids will think is cool.

It’s a Hard Life Writing Humor…

  • Humor doesn’t get a lot of respect in most careers/businesses (movies, TV, books).
  • Aristotle jinxed us 2000 years ago when he said “Comedy is Lower” (the lower form of storytelling).
  • But Korman doesn’t agree. What do you use more in your day to day life? Your sense of humor or your ability to use foreshadowing? What do we teach?

Funny Bits and Anecdotes:

  • No more dead dogs in stories! We’ve had enough! (Where the Red Fern Grows, Old Yeller, White Fang, etc.)
  • The title of my book Liar Liar Pants on Fire does not translate into French. In French it translates to “Teller of truths your trousers have combusted.”

How Korman Got His Start In Publishing:

  • Korman wrote his first book at age 12. He later sent it off to Scholastic using the info he found in the book fair brochure. Amazingly enough a fork lift operator found it and gave it to the “higher ups” and the rest is history.
  • Korman suggests we all find a fork lift operator with an eye for new talent and get our work out there!
  • We all have some story of luck that helped us to get published, but what’s more important than luck is the stubbornness and the persistence.

Writing Tips:

  • You will have to let go of some stories because they just don’t make sense.
  • Lighten up. Inject humor into tragic situations. Korman used his book Pop as an example.
  • Good relationships with editors will bring you to the right place at the right time.
  • Picture a bored, disaffected, 11-year-old saying “I don’t care about this,” to you when you are writing.  It will keep you on your toes. Remember, what will kids think is cool?

In The End…

  • It is not an easy ride for any of us. None of us have a seamless journey. We all try a lot of different things. Work like you are using spaghetti – throw it against the wall and see what will stick!

Gordan Korman is the author of seventy novels for kids and young adults, and most recently Pop,  Zoobreak, and The Emperor’s Code. His writing career began at the age of twelve when his seventh grade English assignment became his first published novel. Now, more than three decades later, he is a full-time writer and speaker, with over eighteen million copies of his novels in print in twenty three languages.

Kidlit Themed Jack-o-Lanterns = Awesomeness!

What happens when you put pumpkins and kidlit books into your witches brew? Kidlit-Jack-o-Lantern-Awesomeness of course! So while you’re dressing up in your super sexy Halloween costume and gorging yourself on candy enjoy these super fun Halloween pumpkins:

My Pumpkin this year was in honor of The Hunger Games:

The rest of these I found on the internet. There’s lots of Kidlit pumpkin love out there!

Where The Wild Things Are:

Dr. Seuss Themed Pumpkins:

The Cat in The Hat

The Lorax

Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book:

Harry Potter:

The Chronicles of Narnia:


The Very Hungry Caterpillar:

Skippyjon Jones:


The Vampire Diaries:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:


Quote of the Week: Mary Kole

“Teens aren’t stupider versions of adults. They’re their own complex, multi-faceted people, they just don’t have the benefit of as much life experience… Successful YA writers have honest, authentic voices and they still have many vivid memories of their own young adulthood’s.”

Mary Kole is an agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Originally a writer, she decided to learn what it was like on the other side of publishing and worked for Chronicle Books and Andrea Brown. She quickly found it was her passion, and joined Andrea Brown as a full agent. Mary represents young adult and middle grade fiction as well as some picture books. She wishes to nurture careers and cares about sharing her knowledge with all writers with her award-winning blog: Kitdlit.com.

2010 SCBWI Summer Conference Registration Opens

Yes! It’s finally here! It’s time to register for the SCBWI Summer Conference!

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators annual summer conference in Los Angeles will be open for registration starting Wednesday, April 21st (that’s tomorrow!!). This is a must-see event for anyone who is serious about a career in children’s literature. This years event will include editors and agents from leading publishers in kidlit, as well as the insights of great authors and illustrators like: M.T. Anderson, Carolyn Mackler, Rachel Vail, Gail Carson Levine, Ashley Bryan, and many more!

For full information on speakers, workshops, special events, portfolio and manuscript submissions, and registration please visit: 2010 SCBWI Summer Conference Webpage