Saturday, February 11, 2017

Emily Easton: Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young People

Emily Easton is the VP and Publisher of Crown Books For Young Readers. She was formerly Publishing Director of the Walker imprint of Bloomsbury USA Children’s Group.

Emily opens her session with a vision of what she hopes nonfiction will do: teach young people to think for themselves, encourage them to be curious about our world, and to have a reverence for the facts because people need to know what's true and what's not true.

Emily has her finger on the pulse of children's nonfiction, and she share its stats and vital signs. She runs down the nuances of Random House's seven children's imprints, and tells us what distinguishes Crown, including how being social active and looking for diversity is part of their mandate.

She tells us the story behind Lost And Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush's Incredible Journey,  about a refugee family who lost and then were reunited with their cat. It's a book they published as a way to make the refugee crisis accessible to children.

Emily breaks down the four different markets for nonfiction (Trade, School & Library, Mass Market, and Gift/Special Markets) and then shares about the different publishers in each category.

She runs down lots of great places to find ideas, including:

exploring common core state standards,
next generation science standards, and
national curriculum standards for social studies
What's scholastic book club offering?
what's junior library guild choosing?
What's B&N promoting?
What's face out in the nonfiction sections of Indie bookstores (talk to their staff!)

It's a session packed with much more -- tips, insights, and advice.

One takeaway that's still resonating:

"Your passion is what's going to set your book apart."

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