Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Listen to SCBWI's Newest Podcast: A Conversation with Stephanie Garber



Stephanie's debut YA fantasy Caraval was a New York Times Bestselling breakout success. In this interview with Theo Baker, Stephanie opens up about her writing process, her publishing journey, and all things Caraval!



Listen to the episode trailer here.

And SCBWI members can listen to the full podcast here (log in first!)

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Elisha Cooper's meditation on the Life Cycle of a Book



Author/Illustrator Elisha Cooper's essay in Publisher's Weekly, "The Life Cycle of a Book" is thoughtful and poignant, and inspires all of us who create content for children to consider what's the life cycle of our creative projects...

Here are a few quotes from the piece:

"And though no writer, especially one describing the writing process in a Publishers Weekly essay, should be trusted entirely, the idea for my book Big Cat, Little Cat was conceived in minutes, and those minutes remain a mystery to me, and I was there."

"If a book’s conception is a mystery, I find its making to be the opposite. At least, the painting of a book. There’s a straightforward physicality to it. Paint, brush, paper. Using one’s hands. Taking an idea and nurturing it, teaching it to walk and talk. The happiness of raising a child, without the confusion."



"My idea, my meditation on my daughters’ grief, the paintings that had covered the walls around my desk, now belonged to someone else. My book was no longer my book, not quite, and knowing this was both sad and right. Humbling. It had become another person’s story, or room, a space in which they could dream or draw comfort. Their mystery." 

Elisha's essay is well-worth reading.

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Working on a series idea? Janice Hardy has 6 Questions for You to Consider




Will your protagonist grow and change or stay the same?

 and

 Can the series be read out of order?

 are two of the points to consider.

The whole piece is well-worth reading.


Thanks to Cynthia Leitich Smith for spotting Janice's blog post, and to Janice for pulling the questions together! Good stuff.

Illustrate and Write On, 
Lee

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The New York Times Book Review and the New York Public LIbrary's Top 10 "Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2017"

For the first time, the New York Times Book Review has teamed up with the New York Public Library to present this list.

The Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2017 announcement in Publishers Weekly


The winning titles are:

Feather by Rémi Courgeon (Enchanted Lion)

Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos by Monica Brown, illus. by John Parra (NorthSouth)

King of the Sky by Nicola Davies, illus. by Laura Carlin (Candlewick)

Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters by Michael Mahin, illus. by Evan Turk (S&S/Atheneum)

On a Magical, Do-Nothing Day by Beatrice Alemagna (Harper)

Plume by Isabelle Simler (Eerdmans)

A River by Marc Martin (Chronicle)

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Case of R.B.G. vs. Inequality by Jonah Winter, illus. by Stacy Innerst (Abrams)

Town Is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz, illus. by Sydney Smith (Groundwood)

The Way Home in the Night by Akiko Miyakoshi (Kids Can)

Congrats to the winners - It's a wonderful reading list for us all! You can click here to see large images from each of the ten titles.

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Tips for NaNoWriMo - Are you planning to write an entire novel this November?

NaNoWriMo =

National Novel Writing Month

Check out author Kim Ventrella's post over at Middle Grade Minded, "Three Tips for NaNoWriMo"

The tips are solid, including "Turn off your inner critic." And though Kim brings it up, one more reminder from me: Have fun with it!

click here to read the full piece

Having the privilege to write and/or illustrate, the luxury of the time and space to create (even if it's just a few minutes a day), is awesome. And should be something we do with appreciation and yeah, even a sense of wondrous fun.

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, November 2, 2017

#NY18SCBWI has a new "Master Class" format, and is selling out fast!

This is exciting!



The 2018 SCBWI Winter Conference in New York City offers an array of masterclasses with agents, editors, and luminaries in the children's book field, featuring keynotes by Caldecott-winner Dan Santat and best-selling author Angie Thomas, an agent panel, and an editor panel.

There's a Golden Kite Gala, a portfolio showcase, socials, peer roundtable critiques, a networking dinner, an autography party...

And with all that, the real star is you – and how much you can advance your career, both in craft and in the business of our industry know-how.

The masterclass format promises attendees a chance to delve deeply into their work with hands-on, smaller group sessions. As a result, space is extremely limited, but there are still a few spots left in these exclusive masterclasses.

Check out what's still available and register here.

Hope to see you there!

Illustrate and Write On, 
Lee

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Listen to SCBWI's Newest Podcast: A Conversation with Javaka Steptoe



He's won the Caldecott. The Coretta Scott King Award. And he's a New York Times Bestselling Author/Illustrator.

Our latest podcast is an in-depth interview with Javaka Steptoe, covering art, creativity, curiosity, building a career, and so much more!

Listen to the episode trailer here

And SCBWI members can hear the full pocast here (log in first!)

Illustrate and Write On, 
Lee

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Money, Diversity, and Creativity - part two

We're back with more wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert and her book, Big Magic:



These wise words are from the section "Your Day Job" on pages 152 - 154.

"...over the years, I have watched so many other people murder their creativity by demanding that their art pay the bills. I've seen artists drive themselves broke and crazy because of this insistence that they are not legitimate creators unless they can exclusively live off their creativity...

I've always felt this is so cruel to your work—to demand a regular paycheck from it, as if creativity were a government job, or a trust fund. Look, if you can manage to live comfortable off your inspiration forever, that's fantastic. That's everyone's dream, right? But don't let that dream turn into a nightmare. Financial demands can put so much pressure on the delicacies and vagaries of inspiration. You must be smart about providing for yourself.

...You can look after yourself in this world while looking after your creativity at the same time—just as people have done for ages.

...So many times I have longed to say to stressed-out, financially strapped artists, "Just take the pressure off yourself, dude, and get a job!"

There's no dishonor in having a job. What is dishonorable is scaring away your creativity by demanding that it pay for your entire existence."

- Elizabeth Gilbert

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

A New Children's Book Award for Comedy - From Author, Librarian, and School Library Journal Blogger Betsy Bird

Named in honor of Paula Danzinger, Betsy Bird recently announced "The Danzinger Awards For Hilarious Kids Books"



completely crowdsourced, the awards will be given in five categories:

– The Funniest Picture Book of 2017
– The Funniest Fiction for Older Children of 2017
– The Funniest Debut Author for Kids of 2017
– The Funniest Debut Illustrator for Kids of 2017
– The Memorial Dead Funny Person Award (2017)

You can vote here.

Shouting out to SCBWI's own Sid Fleischman Humor Awards, Betsy writes, "What this country wants, nay, needs is not one but MANY humor awards for children’s books."

 Sounds great!

 Illustrate and Write On - and go vote! 
 Lee

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Money, Diversity, and Creativity - part one

The intersection of these three things, money (and having the financial resources to pursue writing and illustrating for kids and teens), diversity of creators and the projects created, and creativity - how we best empower ourselves to live healthy creative lives, and nurture our creativity - is much on my mind, and seems to be popping up in many different places.

Today, let's look at K-Fai Steele's post at KidLitArtists.com, "Why we can’t talk about diversity in kidlit without talking about money"

K-Fai contacted over 100 creators and asked them about how they make money work, to explore the idea that

"Perhaps kidlit being a cost-prohibitive industry to begin with is one of the contributing factors to the lack of diverse books and diverse creators."


You can read the full piece here.

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee


Thursday, October 19, 2017

An excellent article by Mikki Kendall on writing "the Other"



From Mikki Kendall's blog, this article "Diversity, Political Correctness and the Power of Language"

"...a huge part of the problem is the assumption that the Other does not read. Does not consume art. Does not have a right to a voice in how they are represented. Because your bigoted depiction of them is a key component of the kind of gatekeeping that locks marginalized communities out."
and
"There’s this weird myth that bigotry only looks like physical violence, and yes that’s awful, but deep down the physical violence is only a symptom. Bigotry, real harmful sustained across generations bigotry is much more covert. It lends itself to creating fictional characters that paint Black people as violent thugs, it lends itself to Black motherhood being depicted as loveless, it lends itself to trans characters that are villains, to killing lesbians off for loving, to disability as a burden on families, to a million and one seemingly individual stories that paint a comprehensive picture of anyone who is not cis, white, straight, and able bodied as unworthy of existence, much less of equality."

and

Writers have the power to create brand new worlds, so we should always stop and ask ourselves why we are so hung on replicating everything wrong in the old one?

Read the whole piece. It's well worth it.

And while you're at it, read the brilliant "Fiction, Research, Reality, More Research" by Mikki, as well. It has this gem:

"Literally do some research, ask yourself why you think the past or future was white, cis, straight, able bodied, and slim. The past wasn’t that way, the present isn’t that way and despite the best work of bigots, the future is browner, rounder, and more complicated than anything you’ve been trained to expect."


Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Diversity Awards and Grants for authors and illustrators



Do you know all 13 of these?

SCBWI Diversity Awards and Grants – Emerging Voices Award and Multi Cultural Work in Progress Award.
ALA Awards: Coretta Scott King Book Awards recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults.
Schneider Family Book Awards for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience.
Pura Belpré Awards honoring a Latino illustrator whose children's books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience.
Stonewall Book Award – Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award given annually to English-language works of exceptional merit for children or teens relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience.
 Asian Pacific Library Association: Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature honors and recognizes individual work about Asian/Pacific Americans and their heritage, based on literary and artistic merit.
American Indian Library Award: The American Indian Youth Literature Awards: presented every two years. The awards were established as a way to identify and honor the very best writing and illustrations by and about American Indians. Books selected to receive the award will present American Indians in the fullness of their humanity in the present and past contexts. 
Texas State University College of Education: Tomás Rivera Book Award:  to honor authors and illustrators who create literature that depicts the Mexican American experience. 
Association of Jewish Libraries: Sydney Taylor Book Awards given to outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience. 
University of Wisconsin Madison: South Asia Book Awards: recognizes the year’s best among children’s and young adult literature that portray South Asia or South Asians living abroad.
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee; Américas Book Awards: honoring books that authentically and engagingly portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States. 
The Jane Addams Peace Association: The Jane Addams Children's Book Awards are given annually to the children's books that effectively promote the cause of peace, social justice, world community, and the equality of the sexes and all races as well as meeting conventional standards for excellence. 
Scholastic Asia and National Book Council of Singapore:  The Scholastic Asian Book Award (SABA) SABA recognizes children’s writers of Asian origin who are taking the experiences of life, spirit, and thinking in different parts of Asia to the world at large.


Find out more at the SCBWI website Diversity Resources page here.