Monday, March 14, 2011

Help Plant Seeds of Success

"It takes MORE than medicine to have a Healthy Child." --Reach Out and Read Program 

Looking ahead, I have a great opportunity coming up next month. The Central and Southern Ohio SCBWI will host its 3rd annual Scarlet and Gray Writers and Illustrators Conference April 16. The theme is Plant the Seeds of Success! I am registered, ready, and raring to go. (And I understand registration is still open if you're interested in going, too.)

The conference promises to be super helpful and fun. Keynote speaker is Mandy Hubbard, Literary Agent with D4EO Literary, and author of Prada and Prejudice and You Wish. Other faculty include Susan Hawk (The Bent Agency), Heather Alexander (Dial Books), and Krista Marino (Delacorte). The slate also offers additional authors and former editors.

But there's more than great workshops, critiques, and rubbing shoulders with fellow writers. The folks--Susan Bradley and others who are working hard to offer another fantastic conference (I got to go last year, too)--are offering a unique partnership in which attendees can participate, the Nationwide Children's Hospital's Reach Out and Read Program.

Nationwide's Mission says, "Reach Out and Read prepares central Ohio's youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together." The focus is given to families living in poverty. During "well-child visits," pediatricians give children ages six months through five years old a new, developmentally-appropriate children's book to take home and keep. Doctors and nurses speak with parents about the importance of reading to their young children aloud every day. And volunteers engage children and their families in literacy and music related activities while in the waiting area.

Sounds pretty cool, doesn't it? Especially to those of us who truly believe in the importance of reading to our children.

Here's the fun part. Conference attendees are encouraged to bring a new children's book to donate to this program. I'm on board, and here's where you can help.

If you were to donate a book, which book would you choose? I'm all ears, and, if you name a title in a comment, I will consider it for my selection. In fact, I'll do a random drawing of book titles, and choose three books whose titles you recommend. It will almost be like you get to attend, too. Well, sort of!

Small though it may be, we can team up together to put books in children's hands--a fantastic opportunity to help young children on the road to reading. I'll just be the delivery person.

Oh, and by the way, if you'd like to read a fantastic post on reading to your children, check out this post from HowlynnTimes: Never Fight Bedtime Again! Foolproof Plan. This is one of the best pieces I've read on the subject. Highlights: 1) Why it's important to read to your children. 2) Guidelines on how to implement the time. 3) Why any excuse not to does not hold water. You'll want to check this out.

And before we're done here, may I also suggest you check out another blog site: Vintage Books My Kid Loves. Blogger Burgin Streetman scours used book stores and other places for children's books for her son, and shares the joy and beauty of rediscovering old favorites with her readers. It's a great place to visit for ideas.

So, if you could go to this conference, what book would you want to donate?

"No adult loves a book the way a child loves a book. They live that book. They absolutely live it, and they will read it five or six times. How many adult books get read that often?" --Sally Derby, Children's Book Author


  1. What a wonderful idea! If I were to donate a book, it might be a Richard Scarry title, or Go Dog Go by Dr. Seuss. My grandson (3 yrs.) and I have been enjoying these titles lately.

    Hope you have a great time at the conference!

  2. Oh, wow, a conference. What fun! I’m hoping to attend a conference at the end of the year. I’ve been attending a conference every year for three years now and I’d hate to miss a year. I plan on registering soon for the Georgia Course Of True Love conference through RWA (I write romance).

    Have fun Kenda!!

    A great Kids book: the rhyming dust bunnies by jan thomas. My 3-yr old loves this book!

  3. My favourite picture book as a child that I still love is called Zeralda's Ogre by Tomi Ungerer. And of course there's Dr Seuss and Where The Wild Things Are.

    Have a great time at the conference!

  4. Have a great time at the conference, Kenda. My favourite would be George's Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl.

  5. Next Year I will go to the conference in Ohio too! Sounds fun! I am off to the Dreamin in Dallas conference on the first of April. Thanks for the linky to my bedtime post.

    For little kids I would donate any of the Thomas the Tank Engine collections.

    Mg - Children of the Lamp

    Ya - Hunger Games - Matched - or anything by Stephen Hawking(lots of teens love physics)

    I hope you have a fantastic time at your conference - This is my first ever, so I am planning on having the most fun of anyone, without morphing into a Charlie Sheen thing - grin!
    What is the most important thing you are taking with you to the conference? (not the books - for you I mean)

    Happy Ides of March! (Idus Martii)

  6. Wow! The conference sounds fantastic--I'm sure you'll get a lot out of it, and I hope you'll be posting about your experience. The reading program sounds like such a wonderful project. I'd recommend a Barbara Cooney picture book, but that might be advanced if this is for younger ages (i.e., 2-3). Thanks for the link to the "Going to Bed" article--I'll definitely check it out!

  7. I did live out books as a kid. My mind would take me on all kinds of adventures with those characters. :O)

  8. The favorites of my children and now my grandchildren are *The Giant Jam Sandwich* and "The Little House." And of course you can't go wrong with any of the books the others have suggested.

  9. What a great sounding conference! Have fun. I'll look forward to your comments when you return.

    If I were to donate a book? Hmmm.

    For Middle Grade readers: Steinbeck's Ghost, by Lewis Buzbee

    For PB readers: Mathilda and the Orange Balloon, by Randall de Seve

  10. I will bring A Monster Is Coming! by David Harrison. It's perfect for a child just learning to read.

  11. Thanks, everyone, for contributing titles for this worthy cause! I'll do the random drawing here soon, and let you know the results. I'll aim for books geared to children 6 mos to 5 yrs, since these are the guidelines :-) Glad you all took a part in this.

    HowLynnTimes: as for important things to take to a conference? I'd say business cards! Always needed to exchange with others. Oh, and of course a short pithy pitch--you never know who you'll be able to share your fabulous book idea with.

    And Peggy--Good to hear from you! I'll see you there...

  12. Wish I were joining you at the conference.Have a good time and tell us all about it. I'd have to donate Black Beauty. My favorite book. And as picture books go, any by Dori Chaconas. Have fun. :)

  13. What a great conference! I still have yet to go to one.
    That program to get more kids reading with their parents is a great idea. I just read a picture book with mine just a minute ago!