Jane Yolen was the force behind the New England Region’s annual children’s literature conference from 1973 to 1981. The event included a keynote speaker, panels of authors, and a presentation by an illustrator. At lunch, each table was presided over by a published author, illustrator, or editor, so that every attendee could have a personal conversation with an established member of the publishing industry. Today, SCBWI groups all around the globe have adopted this practice, which Jane first instituted.
In 1982, with input from Jane Yolen, Masha Rudman of UMASS, Amherst’s School of Education planned the first Perspectives in Children’s Literature Conference, which was geared toward educators. The UMASS Perspectives in Children’s Literature conference continued until Masha’s retirement in 2007.
In 1987, Margaret Ribaroff and other SCBW volunteers organized an all-day conference at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut. The SCBW(I) New England Conference has continued to be offered annually ever since.
By 2005, the conference had developed into a weekend-long event and organizing it was a huge task. To preserve procedural models and ensure continuity from one year to the next, the regional leaders devised a team system in which coordinators were asked to make a two-year commitment. During their first year, a co-coordinator would act as an apprentice, and during the second year, he or she would take the lead role in planning the event.
In 2011, Regional Coordinator Marilyn Salerno began serving as a third conference co-coordinator for every conference, taking on the role of advisor and comptroller. She continued in that role when she shifted into the role of Regional Co-Advisor in 2013. When Marilyn stepped down from her position in 2018, Kris Asselin, the new Regional Co-Advisor for Central New England, took over Marilyn’s conference-related responsibilities.
By 2014, the conference co-coordinators had established a range of key volunteer positions and decided that a Volunteer Coordinator was necessary. Currently, the Volunteer Coordinator is expected to move into the junior co-coordinator position the following year. As a result, by the time someone becomes the lead co-coordinator, he or she has an intimate understanding of how to plan the conference.
When the region was reorganized in 2018, the Regional Team made the difficult decision to scale back the annual conference, so that it’s more manageable to plan and organize. Despite these changes, the SCBWI-NE Regional Conference continues to serve approximately 650 attendees each year, making it the largest SCBWI conference run by volunteers.
|1987||Margaret Ribaroff||Getting Your Children’s Book Published||Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT|
|1988||Susan Aller||Children’s Books: The Creative Process||Hartford College for Women, Hartford, CT|
|1989||Ellen C. Kenney||Fact, Fantasy, Fiction||Springfield College, Springfield, MA|
|1990||Betsy Hanscom||The Working Life||Lewiston-Auburn College, Lewisaton, ME|
|1991||Eileen Pettingil||Listening to a Different Drummer||New Hampshire Technical Center, Concord, NH|
|1992||Mary Brigid Barrett||Drawing from the Child Within||Dean Junior College, Franklin, MA|
|1993||Don Gallo||Changing Voices: Influences & Inspirations||Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, CT|
|1994||Jessie Haas||Are We There Yet? The Creative Journey||Brattleboro Union High School, Brattleboro, VT|
|1995||Kathi Benner Duble||Put It in Writing||Masconomet Regional High School, Topsfield, MA|
|1996||Laurie Smith Murphy||Listen to the Children||Coventry High School, Coventry, RI|
|1997||Jennifer A. Ericsson||Balancing Our Many Roles||The Center of New Hampshire, Manchester, NH|
|1998||Marilyn Salerno||Celebrating Our Common Wealth||Sheraton Tara, Framingham, MA|
|1999||Pegi Dietz Shea||Nuts & Bolts; Books Everlasting||Quality Inn Conference Center, Vernon, CT|
|2000||Toni Buzzeo||The Artist’s Life||Portland Marriott at Sable Oaks, South Portland, ME|
|2001||J. L. Bell||Nuts & Bolts; To Market, To Market||Sturbridge Host Hotel, Sturbridge, MA|
|2002||Linda Crotta Brennan||Tilting at Windmills: The Quest for Excellence||Sturbridge Host Hotel, Sturbridge, MA|
|2003||Jenn Costas||Nuts & Bolts; Drawing for Childhood
||Crowne Plaza, Nashua, NH|
|2004||J. L. Bell||Vision and Revision; Novel Revision Retreat
|Crowne Plaza, Nashua, NH|
|2005||Sally Riley, Melissa Stewart||Nuts & Bolts; Home Is Where You Start From: Writing and Illustrating from your Core; A New Way of Seeing: A Picture Book Retreat||Crowne Plaza, Nashua, NH|
|2006||Melissa Stewart, Sally Riley, Janet Arden||A Work in Progress: Honing Your Craft; Finding True North: A Retreat
||Crowne Plaza, Nashua, NH|
|2007||Marilyn Salerno, Francine Puckly||Magic of Words and Pictures
|Crowne Plaza, Nashua, NH|
|2008||Francine Puckly, Anna Boll, Janet Arden||Stretch Your Wings||Crowne Plaza, Nashua, NH|
|2009||Anna Boll, Anindita Basu Sempere||Many Voices||Crowne Plaza, Nashua, NH|
|2010||Anindita Basu Sempere, Greg Fishbone||Moments of Change||Courtyard Marriott, Fitchburg, MA|
|2011||Greg Fishbone, Marilyn Salerno, Kathryn Hulick||Celebrating Milestones||Courtyard Marriott, Fitchburg, MA|
|2012||Kathryn Hulick, Joyce Shor Johnson, Marilyn Salerno||Keeping It Real||Sheraton Monarch Place, Springfield, MA|
|2013||Joyce Shor Johnson, Kris Asselin, Marilyn Salerno||Word by Word: The Art of Craft||Sheraton Monarch Place, Springfield, MA|
|2014||Kris Asselin, Natasha Sass, Marilyn Salerno||Create Bravely: Make Your Mark||Sheraton Monarch Place, Springfield, MA|
|2015||Natasha Sass, Heather Kelly, Marilyn Salerno||Think Outside the Crayon Box||Sheraton Monarch Place, Springfield, MA|
|2016||Heather Kelly, Josh Funk, Marilyn Salerno||The POWER of (RE)INVENTION||Sheraton Monarch Place, Springfield, MA|
|2017||Josh Funk, Sera Rivers, Marilyn Salerno||Expand & Diversify Your Portfolio||Sheraton Monarch Place, Springfield, MA|
|2018||Sera Rivers, Loretta Kapinos, Marilyn Salerno||Dream. Explore. Create.||Sheraton Monarch Place, Springfield, MA|
|2019||Loretta Kapinos, Casey Robinson, Kris Asselin||The Golden Brick Road||Sheraton Monarch Place, Springfield, MA|
|2020||Casey Robinson, Juliana Spink Mills, Kris Asselin||Finding the Joy in the Journey||Sheraton Monarch Place, Springfield, MA|