Friday, August 4, 2023

Opening Keynote: Lisa Yee

Lisa Yee is the author of award-winning books for kids, including her most recent MAIZY CHEN'S LAST CHANCE. Lisa has written 22 books in 22 years! 

Lisa is wearing her In the Library Perfume to kick off this conference. Can you smell the books? 

Lisa reads us the opening page from MAIZY CHEN’S LAST CHANCE.

“No story starts at the beginning.”

"Nor do speeches," she says. So Lisa takes us back. Lisa wanted to be a writer from a very young age. Lisa loved touching the edges of a book. She loved sniffing books. “Tell me there other book sniffers around,” she says. Probably not surprising, Lisa played library as a kid. 

Lisa was writing, but it took her joining SCBWI to get serious. It was career changing for her. What was a hobby turned into a goal. 

When Lisa first started attending SCBWI conferences, she wanted so badly to meet the great Sid Fleischman. And after Lisa’s first book MILLICENT MIN GIRL GENIUS came out, it won the Sid Fleischman Award! 

Lisa holds up the Sid Fleischman Award

At the conferences she met so many author and illustrators and she made connections.  Lisa shares, “It doesn’t matter if this is your first conference or your 21st, you’re going to get something out of it.”

Lisa shares three things that she believes if you have them, you will make it:


Here are some great tips from Lisa: 
  • Study the books that you love. 
  • Lisa recommends reading craft books like BIRD BY BIRD by Ann Lamont to get inspired. She loves it so much that she has 3 copies. 
  • If any ideas trickle into your head, write them down! 
  • If you're stuck, channel all the emotions you are feeling and use them! 
"Your story doesn't start at the beginning either," Lisa says. "You've been living it and now it's time to channel it into what you're working on." 

If you want to view this session to hear the full content, along with the rest of the conference, register at Replays of the conferences will be available until September 10, 2023. 

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