Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 16, 2019

SCBWI’s Steve Mooser Says Goodbye


For nearly 48 years Steve Mooser has served the SCBWI as its President. He says, “It has been a great privilege. Nevertheless, I feel the time has come for me to step aside and relinquish the office of President in order to concentrate on some long-delayed writing projects.”

He has been transitioning out his executive duties and is leaving with a strong succession plan firmly in place. He will remain active as a consultant, and will continue to edit the Bulletin.

Sarah Baker is being promoted to Associate Executive Director. Sarah comes from a publishing background, and over the years has established a rapport with our members, both illustrators and authors, has gained the trust of our associates in the publishing industry.

Lin Oliver will remain as Executive Director with responsibility for the programs and activities along with Sarah who now steps up to her new position. We are also forming an Executive Committee of Kim Turrisi and Tammy Brown to help administer the office and our many programs. Bonnie Bader continues as RA Liaison and PAL Coordinator.

For people who do not know Steve, here is a little background about his journey.

In the late sixties he was headed for a career in magazine journalism when he came upon a job posting at UCLA. They were looking for a children’s book writer to help write a K-4 reading program. He got the job and began working on what would become a 250-book controlled vocabulary reading series. One month in, he was introduced to a new hire, Lin Oliver. She was a novice, too, to writing for children and they looked for a children’s writers organization to join. When none existed they seized the idea and started one.

Steve says, “In those early days and years we met the most incredible people. Who knew children’s book writers and illustrators were so interesting, worldly, funny, and above all, generous? Jane Yolen and Sid Fleischman didn’t hesitate to say yes when asked if they would keynote our first conference. Sue Alexander brought a vision and did all she could, tirelessly, to keep the dream alive. Stephanie Gordon grew the RA group into a real community. The list of those in the past who helped us get off the ground, in addition to Jane and Sid, reads like a pantheon of children’s book greats: Tomie DePaola, Don Freeman, Judy Blume, Mildred Pitts Walter, Myra Cohn Livingston, Barbara Seuling, James Giblin, Richard Peck, Uri Shulevitz, Ezra Jack Keats, Walter Dean Myers, Eve Bunting, Paula Danziger, and the list could go on, and on.”

In 1973 Steve asked Sid Fleischman to take a look at a manuscript he’d been working on and Sid gave him a no-nonsense critique that included the most important lesson he would ever receive: “This is a good story, but I know you can work harder. Go back and sweat some.” Steve did just that and discovered the magic that happens when you take the time to put the words in all the right places. A year later, he sold that first book to Scholastic. It was called101 Black Cats and was illustrated by the legendary Quentin Blake.

Since then Steve has sold more than 60 books for children. Those books have ranged across the genres from early readers, picture books middle grade series, choose your own adventures, nonfiction, and middle grade novels.

Steve says, “I’m proud that Lin and I helped build the SCBWI. But we hardly did it alone. For some endeavors to succeed it takes a village, but for the SCBWI it took a metropolis. Hundreds of volunteers to this very day make our worldwide reach possible.”

Some years ago, Steve says he I traveled with Lin by train 30 hours across the Gobi Desert from Beijing to attend an SCBWI event in Mongolia. When they pulled into the old station in Ulan Bator their Regional Advisor was standing on the platform holding up a scrap of cardboard reading ‘SCBWI’ and he says, no other moment so powerfully demonstrated the immensity of what so many of us, working together, had wrought.

Steve says, “As much as I have delighted in writing books, winning some awards, and traveling the world, what I treasure most are the friends I have met along the way. They number in the hundreds and maybe even in the thousands. They are people I admire, who I learn from, and more often than not share a laugh with. I might not see them for years, but when I do, we pick up the conversation wherever it left off. I can trust them. I can count on them, and they know they can count on me. May all of you be so lucky. Thanks SCBWI, and thanks to everyone who mentored, encouraged, and guided me throughout this most wonderful of careers.”

“Thank you for sharing this journey with me.”

THANK YOU STEVE FOR ALL YOUR WORK ON HELPING TO IMPROVE THE CHILDREN’S BOOK INDUSTRY. We appreciate all you have done. Good Luck!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

 


Responses

  1. I got an incredible critique from Steve at the MD/DE conference several years ago. He is a generous member of the kidlit community!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful tribute to a person who made all the diference for so many of us. Thank you, Kathy, for this post. And Steve…to you we give gratitude for spearheading the formation of SCBWI and creating a home for writers and illustrators and all who delight in books and the children who will read them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This gentle and generous man has helped us all by leading this wonderful organization. Thank you, Steve!

    Like

  4. There’s no way to describe the appreciation for the SCBWI for SO many reasons, and it all started with Lin and Steve. Yes, it’s the volunteers that keep it running, but it wouldn’t “be” at all without them.Thank you, Steve!

    Like

  5. Thank you, indeed!

    Like


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