Every summer, I look forward to three things: 1) longer days to do more fun stuff, 2) less traffic on the roads, and most importantly, 3) the SCBWI Summer Conference.

Founded in 1971, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, or SCBWI, is one of the largest organizations for children’s book writers and illustrators, with 22,000 members in over 70 regional chapters worldwide. The SCBWI Board of Advisers include several of the most prestigious children’s literature professionals, such as Arthur Levine (publisher of the Harry Potter books in the US), Jane Yolen (author of over 350 books and often known as the Hans Christian Anderson of America), and the one and only Judy Blume, who needs no introduction.

Every year, with the help of regional team members from all over the world, this wonderful organization puts on two spectacular conferences –the Winter Conference in New York, and the Summer Conference in Los Angeles. These conferences provide writers of all levels an opportunity to learn from and network with top agents, editors, art directors and publishers from the children’s book industry.

As a member of the Los Angeles Regional Team, I get to volunteer at the annual summer conference. This year, the conference was held from July 31st to August 3rd at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Century City. It was amazing as always, with inspiring keynotes and breakout sessions from prominent children’s literature professionals such as Caldecott Winner Dan Santat, Newbery Award winner Shannon Hale, top editor Julie Strauss Gabel whose clients include John Grisham and Lauren Myracle, and top agents like Jodi Reamer who represents big-name authors like Stephanie Meyer (Twilight) and John Green (Fault in Our Stars).

The SCBWI is one of the Writers’ Program’s longtime partners, and as such the Program lends its support in various ways. This year, we donated two gift baskets to the Summer Conference. Two lucky attendees got to take home Writers’ Program gift baskets filled with fun swag including WP mugs, keychains, What’s Your Story t-shirts, and children’s books written by WP Writing for the Youth Market instructors.

This year’s Summer Conference was such a blast, more so because I got to attend not only as an SCBWI Regional Team volunteer, but also as a Writers’ Program representative. I am truly blessed to be part of these two amazing organizations, and to be a witness to their partnership. I’m already looking forward to next year’s Summer Conference. I ’m sure it’s going to be twice as much fun!

Nutschell Windsor is the Program Representative for Creative Writing (online) and Events. Contact her at (310) 794-1846 or nwindsor@uclaextension.edu.

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