Friday, August 2, 2013

Laurie Halse Anderson's Keynote - Born To Be Mild: What It Means To Be A Writer For Children

Laurie Halse Anderson is amazing - she's the New York Times best-selling and multi-award winning (including TWO National Book Award Finalist distinctions) author of -- among many others -- Speak and Chains, historical thrillers, fiction and nonfiction for young readers and teens.

Here be magic woven...

It's not just my camera:  the light and magic pouring out of Laurie Halse Anderson

Laurie weaves a magic spell over us, using her words and amazing energy to transform the large hotel ballroom (with over 1260 of us!) into "our cathedral, our sacred space..."  a fire circle where we can gather around, stay warm, keep the dark at bay and tell our stories.

She tells us her own story (from hating English class in school, to a rejection letter for Speak that she laminated, to having her 30th book coming out in January 2014!), encourages us to be there for each other, and cuts to the core of our insecurities - the ones we as creative people share.  She's funny, and eloquent, and honest.

She lifts us up, assures us that there's a reason we have the urge to be create, that we have this creativity in our hearts, that we have this gift of magic...because we write books for our reader's hearts.

Books that will capture the power of pretend, the glory of love, that protect, defend and celebrate childhood.

She gives us wonderful advice, challenges us to go outside our comfort zones, urges us to

"tell the story that's in your heart."

And she is magic.  And maybe, feeling the truth of what she shared, each of us can trust that we are magic, too.

What a beautiful start to the conference!


  1. Thanks Lee! Sorry to miss it this year, and especially Laurie. I heard her once many years ago just after Speak came out. An amazing writer.

  2. She was magical - as your photo proves, she even conjured up a butterfly!
    Love the blog Lee!