News Column

Keiki book conference offers fun for all

June 5, 2014

By Stefanie Nakasone, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

June 05--You might think writing workshops are only for writers. But keiki, parents, teachers and writers alike may enjoy this week's 17th biennial Conference on Literature and Hawaii's Children -- "Beyond the Moon: Journeys Imaginary and Real."

The event kicks off Thursday with a family-friendly celebration at Tenney Theatre, at St. Andrew's Catheral. The night includes a performance by the Honolulu Theatre for Youth as well as presentations by special guest author-illustrators and keynote speakers Kathi Appelt and Grace Lin.

Appelt has written more than 30 books for children and young adults. Her latest novel, "The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp," about a pair of raccoon brothers, was a 2013 National Book Award finalist.

Lin, author of more than a dozen books, was awarded the 2010 Newbery Honor for "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon," which was a New York Times best-seller.

More than 20 seminars for writers, illustrators, teachers and parents will be held at Chaminade University on Friday and Saturday, starting with registration at 8 a.m. each day. All the seminars are free, with the exception of one-on-one sessions with Lin or Appelt, which are $25. No prior registration is required.

"This is a unique event that everyone who loves kids' books can benefit from, not just writers," said Todd Sammons, president of Children's Literature Hawai'i, which organizes the conference. "And it's a huge bargain for the public. Many academic conferences cost hundreds of dollars, but this one is free."

Seminar topics include helping aspiring authors and illustrators perfect their craft, how children's literature can be interpreted, nonfiction writing and how to create, produce and market a quality children's book. There will also be a workshop in which teens can get advice from Appelt and Lin.

Among the local authors and illustrators will be Maya Soetoro-Ng, sister of President Barack Obama and author of the 2011 children's picture book "Ladder to the Moon." She will conduct a workshop on how to teach peace to children through literature and another session that teaches educators how to incorporate literature into their lesson plans.

There will be plenty for children to do Saturday, starting with crafts and storytelling outside Chaminade'sClarence T.C. Ching Conference Center from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. At 2:45 p.m. the University of Hawaii at Manoa Department of Theatre and Dance will perform a condensed version of "The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip"inside the center.

The conference will conclude with an activity by Lin and Appelt, followed by an autograph session.

For a full schedule of activities and seminars, visit


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Source: Honolulu Star-Advertiser (HI)

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