SCBWI Midwinter De-brief: The Reading List Additions

I’m almost recovered from my weekend at SCBWI. I’ll start with all the new things to read:

Henry H. Neff, The Hound of Rowan
I was fortunate enough to be in Henry’s critque group at the World Building Intesive; he’s an insightful and endlessly kind … critquer (critiqueist?). I’m only sorry I didn’t arrange my reading time in January with more of a view to the run-up to the convention.

James Dashner, The Maze Runner
Yes, I should have read this several years ago already, but I was writing. Catching up here. If you were not at Midwinter, James is naturally unbuttoned and extremely hilarious. All I can say is that I hope Anthony Horowitz was in the room during his keynote. Which leads me to:

Anthony Horowitz, Russian Roulette
I won this by correctly identifying the quote, “I am a camera.” (Christopher Isherwood. It almost makes up for the joke contest. More on this later.) My son loved the Alec Rider books when he was in elementary school, which somehow didn’t penetrate to me as, “You should read this, too.” Anthony is so urbane and ironic; his keynote was also terrific, although I bet he regrets now going on before James Dashner.

Kwame Alexander, The Crossover
As if winning the Newberry Award wasn’t enough. I accidentally (really!) ended up at Kwame’s session on diversity (the handouts alone were worth it). His keynote was so enthusiastically received that #KwameRule was trending on Twitter. I got home and made everyone in the family watch videos of him (really!). Go visit his site—between the poetry reading and good works (the “Book in a Day” project, the Literacy Empowerment in Action Project—LEAP) and great writing, you will be blown away.

Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Beautiful Creatures
The theme here is, “Read things you don’t think that you’re interested in.” Kami’s talk intrigued me. So here we are.

Philip Pullman, His Dark Materials
I’ve read the beginning and it is brilliant, and it is ALWAYS discussed at convention sessions. Time to read the entire thing. Did you know that in the UK it’s known as Northern Lights? Interested to see what I make of the name change.

Tricia Springstubb, What Happened on Fox Street
I have this title written down, but I can’t remember who reccomended it, or why. It’s realistic midle-grade fiction, that’s probably reason enough.

And from Metro-NYC SCBWI

From this week’s wonderful panel on diversity:

Matt De La Pena, Mexican Whiteboy and ???
I sped-read this one Sunday-Monday in advance of NY’s panel discussion on diversity. Terrific voice, great story; the writing feels honest and true. At the panel he mentioned his favorite among his books, but I missed the title; when I find out, I’ll add it here. If you are a picture-book person, look for his new one, Last Stop on Market Street, which is getting a lot of good press.

Robin Talley, Lies We Tell Ourselves
From T.S. Ferguson and Harlequin, a book about school segregation and two girls who never expected to like each other, much less fall in love. Do I have to mention that I have no interest in romance?

And while I’m updating my list, one more, courtesy of my son:

Robert Jordon, The Wheel of Time
I can’t see reading all 16 books (and don’t start on with me about A Song of Ice and Fire, his other favorite exceedingly long fantasy series). But I’ll do one.

I know I’ve got other notes scribbled around, I’ll add them as I get around to transcribing my notes. It’s been an intense week, and now I have an article to write.

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