Monday, May 31, 2010

CANSCAIP’s Imagine a Story Conference, Montreal, May 29, 2010


Imagine a great first conference aimed at writing for children and young adults! The Yes Oui CANSCAIP Imagine a Story Conference, held at Dawson College in Montreal this past Saturday, was a wonderful first! The day was well organized and wasn’t over-programmed. There were two morning workshops with long breaks and a good lunch period that provided ample networking opportunities. In the afternoon workshop was followed by authors’ book signing through Babar Books.
I attended a wonderful morning session with author, Shelley Tanaka, titled “Through a Child’s Eyes; A Master Class in Writing for Children.” Shelley spent a packed 90 minutes sharing her journey, chock full of tips and how-to’s for writing children’s books. I came away from her session informed, inspired and with the message to “Just write!”
My second morning workshop was “My First Comic Strip: A Workshop” with Author-Illustrator-Cartoonist, Michel Grant, in which he shared the key steps in creating cartoon illustrations with writing. As a writer, this workshop helped me to see the important connection between illustration and text. An experiential workshop, we tried our hand at putting words with drawings on a reusable template that Michel provided. I just loved having the opportunity to immediately apply newly learned skills. I felt like a child again, creating a comic strip featuring an elephant character!
Lunch time arrived quickly and I was so thrilled to have lunch with my first university English teacher and dear friend, YA Author, Monique Polak (What World is Left, Orca Book Publishers, 2008) and her friend Mary, a school librarian and a champion of good writing! It was a real treat hearing about Monique’s writing success and her life over the years since we’d last been in touch!
I tore myself away from this reverie to attend my final workshop, “The Ultimate Blind Date: How Writers and Illustrators Meet to Create Picture Books,” with a panel of accomplished children’s authors and illustrators: Bonnie Farmer, Jennifer Lloyd, Suana Verelst, Brenda Watson and effectively moderated by author, Day’s Lee. This honest, enlightening panel discussion demystified the myriad of questions around publishing and illustrating children’s books, including their overriding message which was to not give up if you want to publish your children’s book.
My day was just wonderful. My only constructive comment (as I put on my adult educator hat here!) would be for CANSCAIP to provide an evaluation form to gather the great feedback it deserves for putting on such a marvelous first conference. Thank you, CANSCAIP—I look forward to your next Montreal conference!

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