Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2022 Golden Gate Conference Presentation Descriptions

Friday Presentations

Nurturing Your Creative Self, Stephen Fraser
Stephen will focus on seven points: solitude, stillness, fluidity, intuition, unfoldment, joy, and permission, drawing from his 40 years’ experience working with writers and illustrators.


Friday Fireside Chats

Writing Across Different Genres, Lisa Moore Ramee and Nikki Shannon Smith
From picture books to middle grade or middle grade to fantasy, come and chat about expanding into other genres.

Insights on School and Library Visits, Liz Garton Scanlon
A chance to chat informally about the ins and outs of planning presentations, best practices, and the joys of visiting with readers. Bring questions!

The Illustrator’s Journey of Catia Chien
Whether you are new or seasoned, come and chat with Catia Chien about her journey as an illustrator.


Friday Keynote Address 

Working with Purpose and Joy – Finding Meaning In Your Work By Creating From The Inside Out, Cátia Chien
Cátia will present about finding meaning in your work by creating from the inside out.


Saturday Presentations

Current Trends of Picture Books and How to Share Your Own Voice Among Those, Martha Rago
Even as the world struggled against a pandemic in the past two years, the Children’s Book Industry has flourished. Let’s explore the trends capturing readers’ attention right now and see how they may resonate for you as a creator of books that shape the reader’s imagination, expression and understanding of the world. 

Craft Sessions 1:

(Middle Grade) Weaving the Real and Fantastical Into Your Stories, Lisa Moore Ramee
When we hear “world-building” we think of fantasy. But the truth is that every story we write, whether fantasy or contemporary has a world we need to create. That world is comprised of landscapes and people/creatures that have a reason and need for being there. Let’s talk about how we create the “backdrop” for your story.

(Chapter Book) Bringing Your Chapter Book To Life, Nikki Shannon Smith
In this session, participants will learn and practice strategies for developing well-rounded characters and choosing settings that pull young readers in. Using existing titles as well as participants’ own work, we’ll explore how the combination of character and setting can lead to inevitable yet satisfying chapter book plots.

(Picture Book) How to Get the Giggle, Claire Tattersfield 
This presentation centers on how to get a laugh out of the littlest of readers. Whether it’s dry humor, potty humor, or any silliness in between, we will focus on crafting the kind of picture book that will have kids rolling on the floor with uncontrollable giggles.

Writer and Illustrator Workshops:

Saying Something Both New and True: A Workshop in Using Metaphor Well, Liz Garton Scanlon
We know metaphor as a figure of speech in which we associate one idea or object to another — a comparison — but its true value is easily underestimated. In this workshop, we’ll look at the psychology and application of metaphor — how it can deepen understanding, cross communication chasms, and enrich the aesthetics, meaning, and emotional impact of our prose.

(I) Abstraction vs. Representation – What is Art That is Not Too Tight and Not Too Loose?, Catia Chien 
In this workshop we will explore and play with shape, design and color to understand the idea of how far to push an image/a design/an idea and ride the space between abstraction and representation. We will work with creating moments where emotionality is at the center of an image, while still keeping the narrative story alive. Bring whatever art tools that you want to work with and some ideas for characters and the inner world that you want to explore.

Craft Sessions 2:

(Novel) Good First Chapters, Cheryl Klein 
What makes a great first line, first page, first chapter? The same common principles underlie every grabby beginning, and we’ll discuss how to use them to hook readers into your work.

(Picture Book) Unforgettable, Fall-in-Loveable, How to Catch An Agent With Your Irresistible Picture Book Character Development,  Wendi Gu
They say brevity is the soul of wit, but how do you catch an agent with just 300-1000 words? How do you distinguish yourself from the pack? Wendi shares some insight from an agent’s perspective on how to land the right publishing industry shepherd for your picture book.

(Illustration) Illustration Variation: Illustrating Board Books vs. Early Reader Chapter Books,  Shirley Ng-Benitez 
Get rid of the mystery and amp up the fun in this presentation that discusses the challenges an illustrator may encounter when illustrating different book formats. Shirley will discuss differing publishing house processes, different and changing project teams, as well as creating a new approval process to streamline revisions from her traditional media perspective. She’ll present the board book vs. early reader process from sketch to final art, and offer a simple, actionable activity (tips) in-session on character consistency.

Keynote Address – Responding to the Unknown: Creativity as Answer and Inspiration, Liz Garton Scanlon
When humans are asked to reckon with challenges beyond our control or understanding, we respond with creativity. This is the source of much solace and also serves as the engine and inspiration we need to keep on going. This talk explores ways to serve young readers (and ourselves!) through stories that validate, empathize and, ultimately, offer hope.


Sunday Presentations

To Love the World, Amy Novesky
Author E.B. White once said, “All that I ever hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world.” This presentation will explore the question, “Is the job of the writer to tell the truth or to preserve innocence?” posed by author Matt de la Peña to Kate DiCamillo—a question for all makers of books for young readers to ponder.

Decoding Contract Language and Negotiation,  Jen Rofe
Contracts can seem daunting and mind-numbing, but they don’t have to be. Jen Rofé will break down for you the basics of publishing contracts so that you can have a basic working knowledge of terms and language.

Creatives Panel: What Next After You Are Published? Lisa Moore Ramee, Nikki Shannon Smith, Shirley Ng-Benitez
Practical advice for what has worked for things like- social media, marketing, finding critique groups or how to keep finding joy and keep creating new projects.


View the Conference Schedule here.