This weekend in Atlanta, I attended my first Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference.  Dubbed “Spring Mingle”, it is the Southeast members yearly big whoop-dee-do. Since I’ve only recently decided to write children’s books, it was the perfect introduction into the world of the craft. There were so many amazing attendees present, writers, illustrators, presenters, and published authors.

My favorite part of the conference was a critique of my picture book (manuscript only, I’m not an illustrator) by an editor and writer that has published over 50 children’s books of her own.

The critique was optional. For $40, anyone could send in their work for a one on one, 15-minute critique.  I had done this in the past for a non-fiction book that I had been working on, and it did not go very well. This one was so markedly better. For one thing, I wasn’t nearly as nervous. My critiquer put me at ease, and we actually had a lot in common. She also gave me both written and verbal suggestions to strengthen my work, but overall had many positive things to say about it. YAY!

During the conference, there was a lot of buzz among participants about the growing popularity of kindle and e-readers.  This has been of growing concern to writers of all genres over the last couple of years. Will books, much like record albums, become a novelty item from the past?  Will all of our reading, from news to magazines to books be electronic in the near future?

I know of several friends already that get their news delivered online. I also have a few friends that utilize kindle. Like in most things hi-tech, I am a hold-out. I like my newspaper in the morning, along with my coffee and cereal. I don’t mind that black newsprint rubs off on my forearms and finger tips. There is something about the whoosht of getting the folds out of the opened paper that puts me at ease.

Books? I love the feel of the pages in my hands, the smell of an old favorite on my nightstand. And in the children’s book world, specifically picture books, I can’t imagine them being confined to a small electronic screen. I want to point to the pictures, so colorful and vivid, hearing the feedback from the children hearing them and looking at the pictures. I can’t imagine a mother sitting with her child in her lap learning to read on a tablet. It’s just not right.

Kindle and E-readers have their advantages, though. One that is important to me is the fact that they take no paper to add to pollution or the hacking of our trees. They take up less room in your purse, and you can load hundreds of books on them for a mere $10.00 a pop. All huge bonuses.

But what do you do when a newer, shinier version comes out? Electronic waste is a huge problem, and I don’t want to contribute to it. ( I resell or pass my books along to other readers).

Here is an older post I came across this week about the subject.  It’s an ongoing hot topic.

What are your thoughts about pulp-y books vs. e-books? Have you made the switch? Are you a resister? Add a comment and share your thoughts.

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