Sunday Select, USBBY Special


Quotes (Paraphrased) of the USBBY Conference

(On Verse Memoirs) Even when writing one’s own memoir, there are gaps that one has to fill with invented details. — Margarita Engle

(On Verse Novel) We are always writing outside of our own experiences.  The important thing is to be conscientious in one’s research and understanding of “the others.” — Padma Venkatraman

Translators are writers, editors, storytellers, researchers, and cultural mediators, all rolled into one. — Panelists’ Consensus on Translation

Where does a translator’s loyalty lie: with the author or the readers?  In a way, we can say that by being loyal to the readers, one is loyal to the authors as well.  And there is the loyalty to the text.  Also the loyalty to the idea as IF the author actually knows the target language and makes the meaning or the language very clear to the kids who will be reading the translated book. — Ajia

Certain kind of information is best conveyed via what we consider as the “comics format.”  Look at the airline safety guides, manuals to put together furniture, etc.  Certain stories can be best expressed via the duality of text and images. — Gene Luen Yang.

We need to encourage the chaotic and messy creative process that is writing and creating stories: especially in children and the importance of play.  — David Almond

from the 11th Annual USBBY
Regional Conference, New York, NY


Title of David Almond’s talk

11th Annual USBBY Highlights

USBBY is the United States Chapter of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY.)  I joined USBBY only this year and am so glad to have attended the whole conference.  What a weekend!  Presenters come from China, Korea, Bulgaria, Russia, Brazil, Great Britain, France, The Netherland, Iran, Austria, Denmark, etc. and the topics include picture book art, translation, graphic novels, verse novels, Alice in Wonderland (as part of the theme of the year,) international YA literature, disabilities in children’s books, among many others.


LuAnn Toth and Kate DiCamillo


Lois Lowry


Chris Raschka

Attendees were treated to thoughtful and moving speeches by Leonard Marcus, Lois Lowry, Kate DiCamillo, David Amond, Chris Raschka, Susan Cooper and also lively and enlightening panel discussions.  Panelists included well known American children’s book creators such as Gene Luen Yang and Paul O Zelinsky, and international guests such as Roger Mello (Brazilian illustrator,) Ajia (Chinese translator,) and Lisbeth Zwerger (Austrian illustrator.)


Graphic Novels panel

Two breakout sessions offered conference goers 24 different workshops to further examine aspects of children’s literature with the mindset of broadening one’s knowledge and bridging cultures.

My first break-out session choice was on Verse Novels and Memoirs.  Authors Holly Thompson, Padma Venkatraman, and Margarita Engle gave great talks and insights into the power of telling stories with verse and their incredible dedication on detailed researches into the characters that they were to portray.

Nami Concours 2015The second break-out session for me was an introduction to the incredible international picture book illustration concours held on the Nami Island of South Korea.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen picture book illustrations being taken so seriously, treated with such reverence, and brought to life and made so relevant to the children and adults who encounter these objects of literature and art.

Because the Nami Concours is such a unique and amazing event, I will devote an entire post on it in the coming week.  Look out for my post — or you can check out the website:



Filed under Field Reports, Views

4 responses to “Sunday Select, USBBY Special

  1. svardell

    What a great report! You really capture what a rich experience this unique conference provides. It was great to see you there– along with so many wonderful friends and colleagues– and I’m glad you plan to continue coming. There is really no other venue for getting a global perspective on children’s literature– except the biennial IBBY Congress (and BOOKBIRD)– think about joining us in New Zealand next August, too! :-)


    • fairrosa

      Another aspect of the whole weekend that I didn’t quite gush about is the opportunities it afforded the attendees to network — with the international conference guests and with each other. I collected quite a few email addresses and can think of many ways to collaborate with or to further learn from all the new friends I made.


  2. Thanks, Roxanne, for this wonderful report that will reach beyond USBBY members and perhaps bring in a few new ones. Attending USBBY and IBBY conferences, I always feel that I am with “my people” — and yes, I have the Langston Hughes poem in my head, with Ashley Bryan’s voice reciting it. :-)


  3. Thanks for this, Roxanne. What an amazing weekend and how great to finally meet you!


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