Teachers have almost stopped reading aloud to their classes because of the pressure of testing and tight curricula, but it is the books we read and talk about together that bring us closer together.
Since my first novel was rescued from a slush pile, it makes me sad that most publishing houses can no longer read unsolicited manuscripts, nor are many willing to take chances on novels that are not deemed immediately "marketable."
Some thoughts to ponder from the new Children's Literature Ambassador. May her term help usher in new opportunities to read to children at school and at home. And may she serve as inspiration and encouragement to new writers, helping them not to give up on their work despite the difficulties of getting a traditional publisher in this day and age. Ultimately, nearly all of us start out in someone's slush pile, whether it's a publisher still taking unsolicited submissions or an agent...(much as I am seduced by the outlandish pipe dream of some fabulous agent e-mailing me to say how much s/he was so impressed by my latest blog post and that I am obviously a preternaturally talented scribe who MUST be published immediately, repeatedly, and often...)
The Oregon Coast Children's Book Writers Workshop ALWAYS looks fabulous to me, and this year the excellent instructors include Eric Kimmel, April Henry, our local NorCal agent extraordinaire Jennifer Laughran, and more. If only I had all the money in the world for workshops and conferences...I mean, there's this, and Book Blogger Con, and this fall's KidlitCon (which I've got my eye on), not to mention the North Central CA SCBWI in April that I'm already going to, and the LA SCBWI in August...SIGH.