Friday, July 31, 2015

Allyn Johnston: Editors Panel—What Hooks Me

Following Mem Fox's charming and entertaining keynote, #LA15SCBWI offered a dazzling editors panel, which included Allyn Johnston of Beach Lane Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. 

Johnston's passion for compelling picture books shines through clearly as she speaks. For her, a compelling picture book is one that she will want to read again and over again when finished—"a fresh voice with an irrestible readaloud quality."

If you want to capture her attention, send a manuscript with a fresh take on a universal theme—something that will give her goosebumps, cause an emotional reaction. And be sure to leave room for a lot of illustrations. "Most manuscipts that I receive don't do that," Johnston says.

Almost choked up, Johnston recalled receiving an amazing manuscript from Liz Garton ScanlonALL THE WORLD. The book stopped Johnston in her tracks, and she immediately called upon illustrator Marla Frazee

Manuscripts that turn her off, "books that are so-what, ho-hum." 

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