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What writers write when they 1) aren't writing, 2) are avoiding writing or 3) need a word count to convince their spouses they are writing.

Origami n' Stuff 4 Kids

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Interested in Writing and Illustrating Children's Books?

Registration is now open for the 
SCBWI-HAWAII (Society of Children's Book Writer's and Illustrators) 

MARCH 6-7 

This year's annual craft workshop and conference will feature three special guests: authors Susan Fletcher and Sarah Ellis, and Associate Editor Kat Brzozowski. The optional craft workshop, led by Susan and Sarah, will help you hone your skills in plotting. The full-day conference will feature breakout sessions by Susan, Sarah and Kat, first-page critiques, optional manuscript and portfolio critiques by professionals, and ample networking opportunities. Space is limited, so sign up now!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Holiday Book Signing!

Saturday, December 20, 2014
Native Books in Ward Warehouse
1050 Ala Moana Boulevard

Spinning a Tale as Old as Time: Writer’s Workshop with Tracy Barrett

Date(s) - 01/10/2015
9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Aina Haina Public Library
5246 Kalanianaole Hwy - Honolulu, Hawaii 96821

Non-Members $50; SCBWI Members $25
Advance registration required.
Limited Seating.

Interested in writing nonfiction or historical fiction for children and young adults? Tracy Barrett, an award-winning author of numerous books and magazine articles for young readers, will be holding a writer's workshop on January 10, 2015 at the Aina Haina Public Library. The workshop will be a combination of lecture/presentation and participant involvement.

Tracy holds a Bachelor's Degree with honors in Classics-Archaeology from Brown University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval Italian Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She taught at Vanderbilt University for twenty-eight years. Her scholarly interests in the ancient and medieval worlds overlap in her fiction and nonfiction works.

A grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to study medieval women writers led to the writing of her award-winning young-adult novel, Anna of Byzantium(Delacorte). Her most recent publications are Dark of the Moon (Harcourt) a YA retelling of the myth of the minotaur, King of Ithaka, a YA novel based on Homer's Odyssey; the popular middle-grade series The Sherlock Files (both Henry Holt) and The Stepsister’s Tale (Harlequin Teen, 2014) which received starred reviews from both Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus and was a PW Book of the Week.

Read more about Tracy Barrett at her website:

Registration and information:

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Aspiring Keiki Artists at Our Lady of Good Counsel

Mahalo to the keiki at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Pearl City! It was fun sharing my books and art with eager students. And special thanks to all the aspiring artists who drew pictures from my books!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Lee & Low's New Voices Award Contest

Lee & Low's New Voices Award writing contest is now open for submissions! The deadline is September 30, 2014, so get those manuscripts in ASAP. The New Voices Award is one way to help new authors of color break into publishing.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Family Book Night Interview

Interview on Family Book Night Blog:

An Interview with Tammy Yee

Tammy Yee is the author/illustrator of more than 24 children's books set in the Hawaiian Islands. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to interview Tammy about her projects and what she enjoys most about being an author and illustrator. You can read more about Tammy and her many projects at

You've written and illustrated a number of books. Do you have a preference for either writing or illustrating?

I love both writing and illustrating. I tend to be very visual as I create--a book develops like a movie or a storyboard in my mind, with different parts of my brain toggling on and off. As a writer, I begin with a blank canvas that I must fill with interesting characters and a fresh, compelling story. As an illustrator, I'm given a story and I must create a visual world that doesn't merely interpret, but adds to that story. Because writing is more intellectually and creatively challenging, it can be tempestuous. Because illustrating (32 pages of art) is more physically challenging, it can be arduous. Both are just as gratifying.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Is This Where Puget Sound Starts?

Video featuring my dear friend, fisheries biologist and author Ron Hirschi. We've worked on a number of projects together (Including "Swimming with Humuhumu" and work for the Trust for Public Land in Puget Sound), and I have never met a more genuine, dedicated, and tireless conservationist. We're always scheming together. The sketch in the beginning of the video is something he and I are working on. 

Visit Ron's website for more information about his books, school visits and stream conservation projects. You can also learn about Puget Sound ecosystems and download coloring pages!

Looking forward to creating more sketches for his next project. Mahalo, Ron!

Is This Where Puget Sound Starts? from John F. Williams on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Read To Me International’s The Write On! Writers’ Conference

Australia’s best-selling children’s book author and literacy advocate Mem Fox will open Read To Me International’s The Write On! Writers’ Conference with an interactive presentation covering today’s most interesting and important literacy and writing topics. Her engaging half-day session will cover reading to children using the highest standards, identifying what makes a good story for young children, how teachers can inspire writing in children at any age, and tips on what not to do when teaching writing.

Renown Hawaii children’s book author and illustrator Tammy Yee is the featured conference luncheon speaker. Her more than 24 books, which reflects the beauty and aloha of Hawaii, include the Tsunami Quilt, A Is For Aloha, Lullaby Moon, and Baby Honu’s Incredible Journey

Thursday, June 5, 2014, at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i

Pre-registration is required to attend. Attendance is limited to 200 participants. Download the registration form online: 

Children's Literature Hawaii Biennial Conference

Children's Literature Hawaii will be holding their Seventeenth Biennial Conference "Beyond the Moon: Journeys Imaginary and Real" on June 5-7, 2014 at Chaminade University. Special guests include Kathi Appelt and Grace Lin. 

For more information, visit and

Thursday, March 6, 2014


This writing competition is open to all writers in the fields of Fiction, Nonfiction & Poetry.

Cash awards will be presented in the following categories:
            First Place                               $125
            Second Place                           $100
            Third Place                              $75
            Honorable Mention                  $25

You may submit one entry only in each category.

Entries should not have been previously published.
Authors retain all rights and may submit their entries elsewhere.

Maximum Length:

  • Fiction and Nonfiction: 8 pages, double-spaced, using standard 12-point font
  • Poetry: 40 lines, single-spaced, using standard 12-point font

Place the title and page number ONLY on each document page. Do NOT include your name, as judges will receive unmarked entries.

Submit a separate cover page for each entry with:

  • Full title of entry
  • Author’s full name (no pen names)
  • Mailing address, phone number, and email address.

EMAIL ENTRIES to the 2014 Lorin Tarr Gill Chair Susan Killeen:

Entry fee: $10 for each entry (Since only one entry is allowed per category, the maximum fee would be $30 for one entry in Fiction, Nonfiction and Poetry.)

MAIL CHECKS for entry fees, payable to "NLAPW-Honolulu" to:
Susan Killeen
1570 Bertram St.
Honolulu, HI 96816
DEADLINE: March 31, 2014

Winners will be notified in advance.

Awards will be presented at the May 5th, 2014 Honolulu Pen Women meeting at the Pacific Club, 1451 Queen Emma Street, Honolulu 96813.

Presented by

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

SCBWI-Hawaii Annual Conference: Do You Want to Write Children's Books?

With author Matt de la Peña
and literary agent Marietta Zacker

FEBRUARY 28, 2014
9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Paki Hale, across from Kapiolani Park
3840 Paki Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815
Registration limited to 30.
Everything I Know About Writing Novels for Kids and How You Can Use it to Write Your Book

Rather than concentrate on one aspect of craft, Matt de la Peña will share his techniques for creating plot, mood, character, humor, description, angst, and more. You will have a chance to try out his techniques and by the end of the day you will have the seeds from which to grow your next novel. Don't miss your chance to learn from an award-winning author!

MARCH 1, 2014
8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
William S. Richardson Law School, University of Hawaii at Manoa
2515 Dole St., Honolulu, HI 96822
Registration Limited to 120
Hear what's trending in the world of children's books, polish your writing and/or illustration skills, meet other writers and illustrators, and take advantage of the option of having your work critiqued by a professional. In addition, Matt de la Peña will lead an optional, limited-attendance workshop to be held the day before the conference. Both days will be chock full of insider information that is sure to inspire both beginners and experienced writers and illustrators—and just might put you on the road to your first or next publication. Attend one or both days! 


Matt de la Peña is the author of five critically-acclaimed young adult novels: Ball Don’t Lie, Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here, I Will Save You, and the Pura Belpre Honor Award-winning novel, The Living. He’s also the author of the award-winning picture book A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis (illustrated by Kadir Nelson), and a middle grade novel, Curse of the Ancients. He teaches creative writing at NYU and Vermont College and visits high schools and colleges throughout the country.

Marietta Zacker is an agent with the Nancy Gallt Literary Agency. Marietta has experienced children’s books from every angle–teaching, marketing, publishing & bookselling. She thrives on working with authors who make readers feel their character’s emotions & illustrators who add a different dimension to the story. She is also Book Curator at an independent toy store & bookstore.

For information, registration and conference materials, visit

SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) is the only professional organization dedicated to serving the people who write, illustrate, or share a vital interest in children's literature. With more than 22,000 members worldwide, SCBWI is the largest children's writing organization in the world.

SCBWI Hawaii sponsors an annual conference that brings together top professionals in the children's publishing world to share their knowledge and expertise. It's an excellent networking opportunity for those already established in the industry, and for those just starting to enter the world of children's book writing and illustrating.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

5th ANNUAL LIMU FESTIVAL, November 8-9, 2013

Opihi are shellfish that live clinging to rocky shores in Hawaii. But Iki, the littlest opihi, seeks adventure in the open ocean. Will he ever join the other opihi and learn to "stick to it"?

Join me in Hana, Maui for an author/artist reading of “Iki, the Littlest ʻOpihi” and keiki coloring and origami activities! 

There will be food, music and entertainment, a silent auction, and fun activities for the whole family to enjoy.

Organized by Hāna residents, the event is designed to promote a deeper understanding of native limu and to make people mindful of their role in ensuring ocean resources are here for generations to come. This year the festival will focus on the important role communities play in the management of marine resources in Maui Nui.

Sponsored by non-profit organization Na Mamo O Mu‘olea and its partners, the County of Maui, NOAA and the Nature Conservancy.

Print and fold Iki, The Littlest ʻOpihi Origami:

Print a Hawaiian Intertidal Zone coloring and identification sheet:
Hawaii's intertidal zone is home to a variety of plants and animals that are well suited to the push and pull of tides. When the tide is low, rocks are exposed to the hot sun. Shellfish hug the rocks to keep moisture in. Some snails even have an operculum, a "door" that closes shut to prevent them from drying out. When the tide is high, rocks are submerged and fish, mollusks and other creatures emerge from crevices and hiding spots under rocks, free to roam. Some animals even prefer the spray zone, where waves constantly pound the shore. 
Plants and animals living in the intertidal zone must also adapt to drastic changes in temperature and the level of salt in the tide pools. 
Tide pools can be fun, but you must use caution when exploring. Always wear protective foot covering. Rocks can be slippery, so watch your step. Beware of animals, like urchins, that can be venomous. Avoid stepping on and destroying plants and coral. If you overturn a rock, replace it the way you found it so that the plants and animals beneath the rocks aren't exposed to sunlight and drying out. And NEVER turn your back to the waves! Always be mindful of the sea and all its creatures.

©2013 Tammy Yee

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ocean Literacy Day at the Waikiki Aquarium

Join me at the Waikiki Aquarium for Ocean Literacy Day this Saturday, Sept. 14 from 9am to noon. The focus will be on sharks, so I'll be displaying my hammerhead shark painting and a few other ocean-related original watercolors from my children's books...and I'll bring along some fish origami for the keiki. Fellow children's book illustrators Elizabeth Oh and Ruth Moen Cabanting will also be showing some of their paintings.

There will be keiki arts and crafts, storytelling and more as books about the ocean come to life with costumed characters. Shark experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System will also be on hand to teach families about shark biology and how scientists track them during research.

Sponsored in part by Aqua Hotels and Resorts and NOAA.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

TED Talk: Allan Savory, on how to green the desert and reverse climate change

If you care about climate change, open your mind and RETHINK what you believe you know about overgrazing and livestock methane production being the cause of desertification.

Presented by Allan Savory of the Africa Centre for Holistic Management in Zimbabwe. In 2010, the Centre won the Buckminster Fuller Challenge for its work in reversing desertification. In that same year he and his wife, with others, founded the Savory Institute in Boulder, Colorado, to promote large-scale restoration of the world's grasslands.

Monday, December 3, 2012


Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators - Hawaii Annual Conference

Saturday, February 23, 2013 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Ala Moana Hotel, Garden Lanai Room

Hear what's trending in the world of children's books, polish your writing and/or illustration skills, hang out with "your" people, and take advantage of the option of having your work critiqued by a professional.
The day will be chock full of insider information that is sure to inspire both beginners and experienced writers and illustrators—and just might put you on the road to publication.
Our extraordinary featured speakers:
  • Lin Oliver: award-winning author of more than two dozen books, and co-founder/executive
  • Cheryl Klein: executive editor, Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic

8:30-9:00 a.m. Registration/Welcome/Announcements
9:00-10:00 a.m. Cheryl Klein: Hook Your Readers into Your Characters from the Beginning of Your Story
10:00-10:45 a.m. Lin Oliver: 15 Things I've Learned About Creating Books for Kids
10:45-11:00 a.m. Break
11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m. First Page/First Look: Cheryl, Lin
12:15-1:30 p.m. Lunch
1:45-3:30 p.m. Craft Breakout (choose one):
A– Cheryl Klein: Some Best Practices for Illustrators
B – Lin Oliver: Writing Great Dialogue
3:30-4:00 p.m. Q&A/Closing

Registration deadlines:
*January18, 2012: conference and manuscript critique
*February19, 2013: conference alone or with workshop or portfolio critique
(Late fee applied to registration after February 19; meal availability will be at the discretion of the hotel.)

Hook Readers into Your Characters from the Beginning of Your Story—Cheryl Klein
Whether you are writing a picture book or novel or doing illustrations, your readers (including editors, agents and art directors) need to connect with your characters immediately to want to keep turning the pages—you have to hook them "right" from the start. Learn how it's done from an experienced editor.
The 15 Most Important Things I've Learned about Creating Books for Kids—Lin Oliver
Since founding SCBWI more than 40 years ago, Lin Oliver has listened to the wisdom offered by virtually every great children’s book creator of our age. Much of this body of information has been distilled into 15 concise yet profound pieces of advice, an essential list of do’s and don’ts for people who create children’s books. Share in her ringside seat to learn what the "best of the best" have to say.
First Pages/First Look Critiques—Cheryl Klein and Lin Oliver
When you have only a page or two, or an illustration or two, to gain the attention of an editor or agent, making a good first impression is a must. Our guests will share their reactions to first pages and postcards/illustrations submitted anonymously by participants. No advance sign-up is needed, and no extra cost.
First page format: double-spaced, 12-pt. type, one-inch margins, no name, title okay, note whether a picture book, middle grade or young adult fiction, or nonfiction.
No additional fee. Bring one first page and/or one postcard or illustration to the conference; they’ll be collected at registration.Pages and postcards/illustrations are selected at random and no particular page or postcard/illustration can be guaranteed to be critiqued during the session.
A: Cheryl Klein: Some Best Practices for Illustrators
Cheryl will share some of the good things she sees successful illustrators doing in this session that will combine craft and marketing. As an added bonus, there will be a showing of SCBWI's "Master Class" DVD with renowned illustrator, and Newbury and Caldecott winner, Tomie dePaola, the creator of more than 200 books.
B: Lin Oliver: Writing Effective Dialogue
Great dialogue is so much more than just making your characters speak. It conveys the drama of your story, reveals character, adds pace and rhythm, and pulls readers into the essence of your book. In this session, you’ll learn eight basic rules for creating effective, real, believable and interesting dialogue that propels your story forward and creates an unforgettable voice for each of your characters.

For critique, your registration form and manuscript must be postmarked by January 18, 2013. Manuscript critiques will be done by Cheryl Klein, Lin Oliver, and Hawaii children’s writing professionals at assigned times on conference day (including after the conclusion of the day). Guidelines for submitting a manuscript for critique:
  • Format:double-spaced,12-pt. type, one-inch margins, title/page number on all pages.
  • Picture books: six-page maximum. Novels: ten pages plus one-page summary.
  • No folders, binders, cardboard, plastic sheets. No artwork except for author/illustrators submitting story with dummy.
Additional fee—sign up on registration form.

Portfolio critiques will be done by Cheryl Klein or a Hawaii children’s illustration professional at assigned times on conference day; bring portfolio to conference.
Additional fee—sign up on registration form.

Cheryl Klein is the executive editor at Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic. Among the titles she has edited are MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD by Francisco X. Stork, winner of the ALA's Schneider Family Book Award for Teens; A CURSE DARK AS GOLD by Elizabeth Bunce, winner of the Morris Award for a YA Debut Novel; WORDS IN THE DUST, winner of the Christopher Medal; THE SNOW DAY by Komako Sakai, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book; THE SAVAGE FORTRESS by Sarwat Chadda, and ZOE GETS READY, by Bethanie Deeney Murguia. She also served as the continuity editor in the U.S. for the last two books of the Harry Potter series. Her book SECOND SIGHT: AN EDITOR'S TALKS ON WRITING, REVISING, AND PUBLISHING BOOKS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS was published in 2011.
Lin Oliver is a leading children’s book author and writer-producer of family films, television series and movies for children. With co-author Henry Winkler, she writes the New York Times best-selling series HANK ZIPZER: WORLD’S BEST UNDERACHIEVER, which has sold almost four million copies, as well as GHOST BUDDY, a new comedy series; the first two GHOST BUDDIES books, ZERO TO HERO and MIND IF I READ YOUR MIND?, are available now. She is also the author of four comedy novels that comprise the WHO SHRUNK DANIEL FUNK? quartet. Lin’s current projects are SOUND BENDER and its sequel THE SHADOW MASK, middle-grade adventure novels that she co-authors with her son, Theo Baker, and she is also working ALMOST IDENTICAL, a series about tween twin girls, the first two books of which have been published. In addition, she produced the animated feature TRUMPET OF THE SWAN and has written and produced over 300 half-hours of television, including HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS, CORDUROY and WAYSIDE SCHOOLAs if all that weren't enough,Lin is also the co-founder of SCBWI, an international organization of 22,000 writers, illustrators and publishers of children’s books, and she serves as its Executive Director.

Copyright ©2009 Tammy Yee
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