Thank you for registering!

This is the page where you can access all conference sessions – please do not share it with anyone who has not registered for the conference.

To access each session, click on the link showing the time for that session (for instance, 11:15 – 12:00 Eastern). Following each live session, the link will change from Zoom (for the live session) to YouTube (for the recording of that session) once the recording is available

Please note: all times are Eastern; end times are approximateMost conference sessions are recorded.

All sessions can be viewed at the times indicated below, or at anytime through August 14, 2021.

All times and sessions are subject to change

Book discussions with each author are an opportunity for you to learn more about our speakers’ books and to ask them questions.

If you would like to sign up for 1-on-1 meetings with selected speakers and other publishing industry experts, you can do so by clicking on the following links. (separate registration required; limited availability)

  • To schedule a meeting with Traci Smith click here
  • To schedule a meeting with other speakers click here

If you would like to sign up for an Open mic reading (Thursday May 13 from 3:00 – 4:00 PM Eastern) you may do so here.

If you are interested in the Children’s Book Manuscript Critique Service, you can learn more here.

If you would like to submit a pitch to any of the agents or editors participating in the conference, please email it to brian@writingforyourlife.com no later than July 14, 2021 and let me know to whom I should forward your email.

Don’t forget to check out our Bookstore! There you can learn about many children’s books as well as recommended books on writing, marketing, and getting published.

Bonus presentation!

  • Jennifer Grant: “So…You Wanna Write a Picture Book!”
    • We loved them as children and—even though we might not admit it—picture books are still some of our favorite books to read. Many of us also secretly dream of writing for kids but we have no idea where to begin. How many words or pages long are picture books? What are the different kinds of picture books? Can I illustrate my own work? Must my story have a happy ending? What are editors looking for? How hard can it be to write one? In this session, Jennifer Grant (award-winning author of three picture books, with several more launching over the next few years) will introduce the genre, cover the basics, talk through examples of some of her favorite books for kids, and share resources to help you as you venture into children’s literature.

Monday May 10 

  • 9:00 – 9:30 Eastern: Worship service with Kathleen Long Bostrom– learn more about Kathy here
  • 9:30 – 10:15 Eastern: Glenys Nellist presentation “Knowing Your Why; Knowing Your Way” – learn more about Glenys here
    • We’ve all experienced the tiresome talk of a toddler who continually demands, why? But asking why, whether we are writers or readers, will help us find our way. Why do I write for children? Why am I still here, despite countless rejections? Why do I read children’s books? Join Glenys Nellist as she explores how knowing your why will help you know your way.
  • 10:15 – 11:00 EasternGlenys Nellist Q&A and book discussion
  • 11:15 – 12:00 EasternKaren Neumair (literary agent) presentation “Landing a Literary Agent” – learn more about Karen here
    • ​Get insider information on how to open the door to traditional publishing with the right representation. Senior Literary Agent Karen Neumair will provide a brief overview of the three primary publishing paths, then unpack the basic steps to landing a contract with a traditional publisher—including the role of a literary agent and how to find one.
  • 12:00 – 12:45 EasternKaren Neumair (literary agent) Q&A and book discussion
  • 1:00 – 1:45 Eastern: Networking Lunch Break – an unmoderated, informal time for you to chat with other conference attendees
  • 2:00 – 3:00 EasternPanel 1: Celebrating diversity in children’s books
  • 3:10 – 4:00 EasternLinda Howard (Tyndale House) presentation: “10 things every aspiring writer needs to know” – learn more about Linda here
  • 4:00 – 4:45 EasternLinda Howard (Tyndale House) Q&A and book discussion
  • 5:00 – 5:30 Eastern: Progressive Christian Children’s Ministry Resources Project
    • Learn more about this new Compassionate Christianity project, the goal of which is to assemble, vet, and make conveniently accessible recommended progressive books and resources for use by children’s and youth ministry leaders, pastors, volunteers, Sunday School teachers, and parents.
  • 5:45 – 6:15 Eastern: Emerging author series: Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young – learn more about Dorina here
  • 7:15 – 8:00 EasternCindy Wang Brandt presentation “Doing justice to children in our children’s books” – learn more about Cindy here
    • When I was writing my parenting book, Parenting Forward, my editor would tell me, “don’t be so preachy,” your reader don’t need to be told what to do, it doesn’t make for good writing. Indeed, it’s not good writing because it’s disrespectful to my adult readers, it condescends and assumes they aren’t capable of thinking for themselves. We learn to respect people’s autonomy, but sometimes we don’t afford the same to children. In this session, we’ll have a conversation about what it means to do justice to children in the ways we speak to children and write for them.
  • 8:00 – 8:45 EasternCindy Wang Brandt Q&A and book discussion

Tuesday May 11 

  • 8:45 – 9:15 Eastern: Emerging authors series: Chip Bristol – learn more about Chip here
  • 9:30 – 10:15 EasternMatthew Paul Turner presentation– learn more about Matthew here
  • 10:15 – 11:00 EasternMatthew Paul Turner Q&A and book discussion
  • 11:15 – 12:00 EasternJennifer Grant presentation “Take Your Picture Book Manuscript to the Next Level by Taking It Seriously”– learn more about Jennifer here
    • Jennifer’s slides are here
  • 12:00 – 12:45 EasternJennifer Grant Q&A and book discussion
  • 12:45 – 1:45 Eastern: Break
  • 2:00 – 3:00 Eastern“Great Summer Reads” with Jennifer Grant
    • Jennifer’s slides are here
  • 3:15 – 4:00 EasternJeannette Larson (Flyaway Books) presentation – learn more about Jeannette here
  • 4:00 – 4:45 EasternJeannette Larson (Flyaway Books) Q&A and book discussion
  • 5:00 – 5:45 EasternXochitl Dixon presentation: Writing in Rhyme – learn more about Xochitl here
    • Learn to write in rhyme, one beat at a time. Writing a rhyming picture book requires more than ensuring the last word of one sentence rhymes with the last word of another sentence. Every syllable of every sentence in every stanza works together, drawing readers into a storyline with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Discover how repetition, sound, sentence structure, and creative word choices can create lyrical stories that young readers will ask to read again and again and again.
  • 5:45 – 6:30 EasternXochitl Dixon Q&A and book discussion
  • 8:00 – 9:00 PM Eastern: Second Tuesdays Writer Discussion Group – learn more here

Wednesday May 12

  • 9:30 – 10:15 EasternBunmi Ishola (Penguin Random House) presentation “Kid Lit These Days”– learn more about Bunmi here
    • A general overview of writing for kids—the age ranges/categories publishers use, the genres/styles, what works and doesn’t work.
  • 10:15 – 11:00 EasternBunmi Ishola (Penguin Random House) Q&A and book discussion
  • 11:15 – 12:00 EasternSharon Elliott presentation “Move to the Excellent Level: The Ten P’s to Your Writing Success” – learn more about Sharon here
    • There’s more involved with being a children’s author than getting your book published. What does it really take to be a successful children’s author? Attend this workshop and get the lowdown. Not only will you gain a wealth of knowledge about what really goes on in the business from industry insider, but you’ll leave knowing what people to surround yourself with, how to brand yourself, and how to develop your personal mission statement and tagline. In addition, you’ll start thinking through your publishing plan for the future and much more.
    • Poe Poetry Exercise
  • 12:00 – 12:45 EasternSharon Elliott Q&A and book discussion
  • 1:00 – 1:45 EasternWhat Do You Need As A Writer? – this informal conversation is an opportunity for you to share and discuss the most important kinds of support you need as a writer
  • 2:00 – 2:45 Easterna conversation between Katherine Paterson and Kathleen Long Bostrom – learn more about Katherine here
  • 3:00 – 4:00 EasternPanel 2: Editors discuss children’s book trends
  • 4:00 – 5:00 EasternJoyce Dinkins (Our Daily Bread Ministries) presentation – learn more about Joyce here
    • Here are the slides from Joyce’s presentation
  • 5:00 – 5:45 EasternJoyce Dinkins (Our Daily Bread Ministries) Q&A and book discussion
  • 6:00 – 6:30 Eastern: Lorenzo Lebrija (trytank.org – an experimental lab of the Episcopal Church) Q&A
  • 8:00 – 8:45 Eastern: Tina Cho Q&A and book discussion – learn more about Tina here 

Thursday May 13

  • 8:45 – 9:15 Eastern“How to Heal Our Divides” – book introduction with Brian Allain
    • If we didn’t recognize it already, 2020 put a spotlight on several serious, deep divides that have had strong negative impacts on our society. Many good books have been written describing these divides and how they came about, or encouraging us to look deeply inside ourselves to discover our own flaws. But there is a lack of illumination on role model organizations demonstrating what to do about it. “How to Heal Our Divides” is a book that lifts up and builds awareness of organizations that are taking real action to heal serious divides – particularly racial and political divides. The book is not an attempt at glossing them over or “making happy” but instead highlights tangible efforts that are actually decreasing divides in practical ways.
  • 9:30 – 10:15 Eastern: ​Naomi Krueger (Beaming Books) presentation “The Making of A Picture Book: A Behind the Scenes Look from Acquisitions to Publication”– learn more about Naomi here
    • Join Naomi Krueger, Acquisitions Editor at Beaming Books, for a tour through the process of making a picture book. How are books acquired? How does a publisher decide to make an offer? How is an illustrator chosen? What happens during manuscript revisions and production? How does a publisher market and publicize a book? All this and more on the details of how a publisher bring a picture book into being.
  • 10:15 – 11:00 EasternNaomi Krueger (Beaming Books) Q&A and book discussion
  • 11:00 – 12:00 Eastern: Kathleen Long Bostrom presentation “Nuggets from the Newbery Medalists”– learn more about Kathy here
    • When I first began writing books for children, I decided to educate myself on the Newbery medal and the medalists themselves.  Why not learn from the best? I corresponded with, met, and became friends with many of the Newbery winners, from Irene Hunt to Linda Sue Park to Jerry Spinelli, Katherine Paterson, Lois Lowry, and many others. I ended up writing my own book, Winning Authors: Profiles of the Newbery Medalists. In my presentation, I’ll share a few of my favorite nuggets from my interviews with and photographs of these amazing authors.
  • 12:00 – 12:45 EasternKathleen Long Bostrom Q&A and book discussion
  • 12:45 – 1:45 Eastern: Break
  • 1:45 – 2:45 EasternPanel 3: Manuscript critique, consulting, and freelance editing for children’s books
  • 3:00 – 4:00 EasternOpen mic
  • 4:15 – 5:00 EasternBrittany Sky presentation “Retelling Bible Stories for Kids with Integrity” – learn more about Brittany here
    • For thousands of years, the stories contained in the Old and New Testaments have inspired millions of people. This amazing library is complex, full of a variety of genres, beautiful, and gory. How do we share these stories in an age-appropriate way with children without simplifying and sanitizing and scaring kids? Join Brittany Sky as she unpacks the method she created while writing the Deep Blue Kids Bible Storybook.  
  • 5:00 – 5:45 EasternBrittany Sky Q&A and book discussion
  • 6:00 – 6:30 EasternSharon Elliott and Brenda Seefeldt Amodea discuss the book they are helping Latif Torres-Robinson create – learn more about Brenda and Latif here and Sharon here

Friday May 14

  • 9:30 – 10:15 EasternTraci Smith presentation “Writing for Families: Tips, Ideas, and Where to Start” – learn more about Traci here
    • There’s a huge market for well written and useful resources for families, but it can be tricky to navigate as many publishers seem to be publishing either for children or for grownups. In this workshop we’ll explore when and why you might want to write for families and how to navigate some of the challenges involved in doing this.  We will help you identify exactly who your readers are and how to reach them most effectively and explore how to straddle that line between writing only for children or only for adults.
  • 10:15 – 11:00 EasternTraci Smith Q&A and book discussion
  • 11:15 – 12:00 EasternKeely Boeving (literary agent) presentation “What Is An Agent and Why Do I Need One?” – learn more about Keely here
  • 12:00 – 12:45 EasternKeely Boeving (literary agent) Q&A
  • 1:00 – 1:45 EasternNetworking Lunch Break – an unmoderated, informal time for you to chat with other conference attendees
  • 2:00 – 2:45 Eastern: Caryn Rivadeneira presentation “Writing Like an Animal” – learn more about Caryn here
    • Stories about animals are all sorts of fun — to read and to write. Certainly, they continue to be popular. However, creating animal characters and “voices” can be fraught with peril. In this session, we’ll explore the reasons to use animals as characters and the reason to choose not to. We’ll look at the history of animal characters and ways they have been used for good — and for ill. Then we’ll look at the best ways to effectively capture a voice and character in a way that allows readers to suspend disbelief without suspending a sense of integrity.
  • 3:45 – 5:00 EasternElevator pitch practice session
  • 5:00 – 5:45 EasternCaryn Rivadeneira Q&A and book discussion

All times and sessions are subject to change