Carole Boston Weatherford’s books (three dozen and counting) have received many literary honors. Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom (2006), illustrated by Kadir Nelson, won a Caldecott Honor, the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration and an NAACP Image Award. Becoming Billie Holiday and Before John Was a Jazz Giant won Coretta Scott King Honors. Birmingham, 1963 won the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, the Jane Addams Children’s Literature Honor and the Jefferson Cup from Virginia Library Association. The Sound that Jazz Makes won the Carter G. Woodson Award from National Council for the Social Studies and an NAACP Image Award nomination. Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins (2005) and Remember the Bridge: Poems of a People (2002) both won the North Carolina Juvenile Literature Award. Dear Mr. Rosenwald and Before John Was a Jazz Giant received Golden Kite Honors from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. And, in 2007, Carole received the Ragan-Rubin Award from the North Carolina English Teachers Association. In 2010, she received the North Carolina Award for Literature, the state’s highest civilian honor.
|Carole Boston Weatherford (lower box), with sign language interpreter Jennye Kamin (upper box)|
Carole is introduced by SCBWI's Tammy Brown, Director, Community Marketing and Engagement, and starts off by sharing her teaching (and writing) philosophy, that
"It's more important to ask the right questions, than to know the right answers."
Explaining her points with vivid examples from her own work, Carole shares the questions she asks herself about projects, that we might ask ourselves, too.
Why do I want to write about a subject?
How would a subject want to be remembered?
"I consider myself erecting monuments with words."
What does the premise of the manuscript promise to readers?
We hear the premise behind "Becoming Billie Holiday" - what Billie at 25 would have said to a negative review about her song "Strange Fruit."
|A screen shot of a spread from R-E-S-P-E-C-T, with Carole in the lower right of the screen|
What concept, form, device, or technique will elevate the manuscript to art?
One example shared is the soundscape of John Coltraine's childhood Carole fashioned in "Before John Was a Jazz Giant."
Carole covers much more, touching on question poems, solving manuscript challenges, research, and even sharing some sneak peeks of her works in progress.
One final quote from Carole to share:
"Research is neither a race nor a linear process."
It's an inspiring start to the second day of the conference!