Litfest: Creating Children's Books Beginning to End with Traci Sorell and Madelyn Goodnight

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Age Group:

Teens, Adults
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Program Description

Event Description

Join us for a LitFest presentation on creating a children's book: where we talk writing, publishing and everything in between. Questions are always welcome.

We'll be joined by authors: Traci Sorell and Madelyn Goodnight.

About the authors:
Traci lives with her family in the Cherokee Nation, out in the country like she did as a child. Back then, she had geese, chickens, horses, dogs and cats. Her mother’s Cherokee family has been in the area since the removal of most Cherokee people from their southeastern homelands in 1838. Traci grew up hearing stories about her ancestors and looking at their photographs with her elisi (eh-lee-see), grandma. Now her son does that with his elisi in addition to fishing in the nearby lake and learning their Cherokee culture. As a child, Traci spent a lot of time reading as well as singing and acting in musical theater productions. She also loved playing with her younger sister and brother. They spent hours driving little toy cars all over the towns they drew on large pieces of cardboard or making up games outside. When they moved into town, typical summer days involved riding bikes to the community pool for a swim and checking out books at the library. Away from home, they spent lots of time visiting family across the Cherokee Nation, elsewhere in Oklahoma, and places farther west. Traci still loves to read, play, learn, swim and travel. When Traci was a teenager, her family moved to Southern California. She did less acting and more writing, both in class and on the high school yearbook staff. She was the first in her family to graduate from college. Later, her mom, sister and brother got their degrees too. Before she began writing for children, Traci’s work focused on helping Native Nations and their citizens. She wrote legal codes, testimony for Congressional hearings, federal budget requests, grants and reports. She continues that work by writing stories for young people and encouraging other Native writers and illustrators to share theirs. When Traci was a child, she never read culturally accurate books about the Cherokee or any other Indigenous peoples. The stories and poems she writes now reflect her mission to add to the canon of literature showing that Native Nations and their citizens still exist and thrive today.
Madelyn Goodnight: My work greatly reflects my love of childhood, and all the wonder and imagination that I still associate with it. I've always loved children, and the unique and pure way they see the world, and somehow that inspiration always works its way into what I'm drawing or painting. I try to use a wide range of mediums and outlets for my art, so that I have a diverse way of expressing my ideas and aesthetics. I greatly believe that a broad study of all things will only make your own work more informed, and help it grow exponentially.


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