Thursday, March 15, 2018

Golden Kite Winner for Picture Book Illustration Kenard Pak tells us about "Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter"

I caught up with Golden Kite Award-winning author/illustrator Kenard Pak at the autograph party for #NY18SCBWI...

You can find out more about Kenard and their work here.

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

"Black Kids Don’t Want to Read About Harriet Tubman All the Time" - A Great Piece in the New York Times by Denene Millner

This opinion piece about diversity in kid lit is important reading. A highlight:
The typical children’s picture books featuring black characters focus on the degradation and endurance of our people. You can fill nearly half the bookshelves in the Schomburg with children’s books about the civil rights movement, slavery, basketball players and musicians, and various “firsts.” These stories consistently paint African-Americans as the aggrieved and the conquerors, the agitators and the superheroes who fought for their right to be recognized as full human beings.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate those kinds of books; our history deserves an airing with all children. But I’m not trying to have my kid float off into dreamland with visions of helping runaway slaves to freedom, or marching through a parade of barking dogs and fire hoses, or the subject matter of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” — yes, there is a children’s book devoted to this song protesting lynching.

Meanwhile, stories about the everyday beauty of being a little human being of color are scarce. Regardless of what the publishing industry seems to think, our babies don’t spend their days thinking about Harriet Tubman, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and black bodies swinging; they’re excited about what the tooth fairy will leave under their pillows, contemplating their first ride on the school bus, looking for dragons in their closets.
Read the full article here.

Illustrate and Write On,

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Inspiration from Mem Fox

“The fire of literacy is created by the emotional sparks between a child, a book, and the person reading. It isn’t achieved by the book alone, nor by the child alone, nor by the adult who’s reading aloud—it’s the relationship winding between all three, bringing them together in easy harmony.” –Mem Fox, Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever

Find out more about best-selling children's book author Mem Fox here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Golden Kite Winner for YA Novel Elana K. Arnold tells us about "What Girls Are Made Of"

I caught up with Elana at the #NY18SCBWI Autograph party, to find out more about "What Girls Are Made Of" and congratulate her on winning the SCBWI Golden Kite Award!

You can find out more about Elana K. Arnold and "What Girls are Made Of" at Elana's website here.

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Listen to SCBWI's newest podcast: A Conversation with Nancy Paulsen

Nancy Paulsen is the President and Publisher of Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers. The imprint publishes fifteen books a year and focuses on eye-opening, often funny picture books and middle grade fiction from diverse and distinct voices, especially stories that are inventive and emotionally satisfying. New York Times bestsellers she has edited include National Book Award and Newbery Honor Winner Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt, and Miss Maple’s Seeds by Eliza Wheeler. Other award-winning titles include Coretta Scott King Honor Winner Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson and E.B. Lewis; Looking at Lincoln by Maira Kalman and Leaves by David Ezra Stein.

In this two-part conversation with Theo Baker, Nancy discusses editing, her list, diversity, first chapters, the process of revising a middle grade novel, what goes into publishing a picture book, and so much more!

Listen to the episode trailer here.

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

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, February 22, 2018

KidLitforKidsLives - a movement of letters from children's book creators to the students of "Parkland & Beyond"

There are over 35 letters so far at the KidLitforKidsLives website, and it's a rising up of support and encouragement from our community for the students fighting for gun control in the United States. As a sampling, here are two of the letters:

Letter from Supriya Kelkar
Letter from Nancy Castaldo

Most importantly, you can share your own letter with the students as well - link at the bottom of the kidlitforkidslives site.

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Sid Fleischman Humor Award Winner Crystal Allen tells us about "The Magnificent Mya Tibbs: The Wall of Fame Game"

The Sid Fleischman Humor Award is an award for authors whose work exemplifies the excellence of writing in the genre of humor. The SCBWI established the award to honor humorous work, so often overlooked in children’s literature by other award committees.

I caught up with Crystal Allen at the #NY18SCBWI autograph party...

Find out more about Crystal and the rest of "The Magnificent Mya Tibbs" series at Crystal's website here.

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

PW profiles the first picture book to come from the We Need Diverse Books mentorship program: "The Field"

The point made in Claire Kirch's article, "It Takes a Village: NorthSouth Publishes WNDB Grant Recipient" should resonate loudly for us all:
"The picture book’s backstory to publication is one of serendipitous personal connections, demonstrating what most of those in the publishing industry have long known and what WNDB is successfully tapping into: this is an industry built upon relationships just as much as love for the written word."
The book is "The Field" by Baptiste Paul, illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara.

As the book's editor at NorthSouth Beth Terrill put it,
"I hope this story encourages other writers of color to join the WNDB program."
From the PW article: "The Field tells the story of a girl and her younger brother, who rouse their Caribbean community—family, friends, even the local fruit vendor—to play a friendly game of soccer after clearing a field of the cows grazing there. While the book is primarily written in English, Creole words and phrases are sprinkled throughout the text, giving it an international flavor. Besides the English/Creole and German/Creole editions, a Spanish/Creole edition will be published this spring."

Cheers to debut author Baptiste Paul,  his wife Miranda who met Beth at the SCBWI conference in Los Angeles a few years ago and introduced the editor to her husband's work, debut illustrator Jacqueline Alcántara, Alcántara's agent Adriana Dominguez, Alcántara's We Need Diverse Books mentor Author-illustrator Carolyn Dees Flores, NorthSouth, and the whole WNDB team! Wow - it really does take a village!

Read the full article here.

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Golden Kite Winner Jack Cheng Tell Us About His Middle Grade Novel, "See You In The Cosmos"

I caught up with Jack Cheng at the #NY18SCBWI Autography Party...

Thanks, Jack! And congratulations again!

Learn more about Jack and "See You In The Cosmos" here.

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

10 Sparkling moments from #NY18SCBWI (even if you couldn't attend)

Champagne after the Golden Kite Awards!

"The only thing you have control over is writing the best book you can." –Jane Yolen

"Download your own fight song and know there's a Jordan out there waiting for your story." –Carolyn Crimi, on her process and the young reader who wrote her to say thank you.

Crystal Allen thanking her character Mya Tibbs, "for teaching me to walk the walk, not just talk the talk."

The absence of a trend in the YA space means more opportunity for individual stories. –Brooks Sherman

...And how when there's room for everyone to speak, it means you sometimes have to ceed the floor. – Marietta Zacker

“If you can look at your earlier work and cringe a little, that means you’ve improved.” –Dan Santat

"Diversity is not a trend."  –Angie Thomas

"'No' is not a rejection of you." –Emma Dryden

"The illustrations are the unfiltered storytelling for the child." –Laurent Linn

 “Make a pair of wings. The best way to work creatively is to fly somewhere new.” –Jane Yolen

Now take that inspiration, and illustrate and write on!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The SCBWI Golden Kite Awards at #NY18SCBWI

It's our awards season moment, and there's one question on everyone's minds...

Not "who are you wearing?" but

"Who are you reading?"

Follow all the excitement Friday night February 2, 2018 with the hashtag #NY18SCBWI...

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Have you self-published a children's or YA book? Hannah Holt is collecting survey data!

Once again, Hannah Holt is putting some real-world numbers to this writing and illustrating for children and teen career thing we're all doing. Her previous results were fascinating, and now, she's collecting data on self-published authors of children's and teen books.

You can take the anonymous survey here.

Thanks for participating, and thanks to Hannah for doing this work to help us all calibrate our vision of our career with the reality of what's happening for our peers. Why is this important? I strongly believe that:

An informed creator is an empowered creator.
You can find Hannah at her website and also on twitter.

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The SCBWI Winter Conference in New York is only a week away!

The SCBWI 19th Annual Winter Conference is sold out, and whether you'll be attending or not, make sure to follow along on our SCBWI Conference Blog and on social media with the hashtag #NY18SCBWI!

SCBWI Team Blog will be covering the Golden Kite Awards, the keynotes (Dan Santat! Angie Thomas!), the panels (Agents - including Kirsten Hall, Erin Murphy, Molly O'Neill, Brooks Sherman, and Marietta Zacker, and Editors - including Caitlyn Dlouhy, Tiffany Liao, Daniel Nayeri, and Jill Santopolo), the Portolio Showcase, and so much more!

It's going to be amazing...

Illustrate and Write On!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The best response to rejection, courtesy of SCBWI board member, multi-award winner and best-selling author and poet Jane Yolen

Looking for some inspiration? Check out Jane's response to a recent rejection, as documented on her Facebook account:

Jane writes: "OUCH. Not a great start to the New Year: a rejection of five poems for an anthology. Hope it is an outlier and not a predictive model. So I sent out five more to a different journal."

Five poems rejected, five more sent out the SAME DAY.

There's a reason that Jane Yolen is the consummate pro that she is -- and that she's published over 350 books. She takes care of business, and also takes care of her creative self, keeping the fires of hope fed.

Work rejected? Send more work right out again, so there's always a sense of hope moving forward.

This is so wise, to not marinate in the NO, but put out for the MAYBE right away. And in this industry of writing and illustrating for children, that's probably the sanest (and best) way to get to the YESes that are waiting for each of us.

Thanks, Jane!

Illustrate and Write On... and keep submitting!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Listen to SCBWI's newest podcast: A Conversation with Raúl Colón

Raúl Colón is the award-winning illustrator of over 30 books for children. He has received the silver and gold medal in the original art show, a Pura Belpré Award, and the SCBWI Golden Kite Award!

In this two-part conversation with Theo Baker, Raúl discusses his inspirations and career journey, dives deep into his process and technique, explores the advantages of analog over digital methods of producing art, and offers his advice for illustrators who are still trying to find their own unique style. And much more!

Listen to the episode trailer here.

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

Illustrate and Write On, 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The 2017 Golden Kite Award And Sid Fleischman Humor Award Winning Books!

This year, the awards will be presented at the sold-out 2018 SCBWI Winter Conference in New York.
Congratulations to all the winners!

Middle Grade Fiction: Jack Cheng - SEE YOU IN THE COSMOS (Dial Books/Penguin Random House)

 Non-Fiction for Older Readers: Deborah Heiligman - VINCENT AND THEO (Godwin Books/Henry Holt and Company)

Picture Book Nonfiction: Carole Boston Weatherford - SCHOMBURG: THE MAN WHO BUILT A LIBRARY (Candlewick Press)

 Picture Book Illustration: Kenard Pak - GOODBYE AUTUMN, HELLO WINTER (Henry Holt and Company) 

Picture Book Text: Carolyn Crimi - THERE MIGHT BE LOBSTERS (Candlewick Press)

Young Adult Fiction: Elana K. Arnold – WHAT GIRLS ARE MADE OF (Carolrhoda Lab)

Sid Fleischman Award Winner: Crystal Allen - THE MAGNIFICENT MYA TIBBS: THE WALL OF FAME GAME (Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins)

Congratulations as well to the creators of the Golden Kite honor books...

Middle Grade Fiction:
Kimberly Brubaker Bradley – The War I Finally Won (Dial Books/Penguin Random House)
Ruth Freeman – One Good Thing About America (Holiday House)

Picture Book Text:
Carmen Agra Deedy- The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet (Scholastic Press/Scholastic, Inc.)

Picture Book Illustration:
LeUyen Pham – Fallingwater (Roaring Brook)

Young Adult Fiction:
Courtney Stevens – Dress Codes for Small Towns (Harper Teen/HarperCollins)  Liara Tamani – Calling My Name (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins)

Click here to find out more about the Golden Kite Awards and Sid Fleischman Humor Award.

Illustrate and Write On!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Literary Agent and V.P. Elizabeth Harding of Curtis Brown discusses the $3 Billion children's book business

From this interview with Valerie Peterson on the Balance, Elizabeth shares:

'Where the retail booksellers have been the primary market for adult books, for children's books, the school, and library markets have always been really important to sales — and there's been a recent resurgence there.
To give some historical perspective — 20 years ago the school and library market was very robust and, at the time, it was great if your children's book sold in bookstores, obviously, but it wasn't the focus.
Then Barnes and Noble and other superstores and Amazon came into the picture, and it became really important to be able to sell your books through those venues; a lot of weight was put on those sales. The focus shifted [from schools and libraries] to getting books onto the picture book wall at B&N. The children's market began to rely heavily on those retail sales — which hadn't traditionally been the case, and which was more in tune with how adult books were sold.
There still is a lot of weight put on those sales, but we're back to having the school library market being really critical.
It's well-worth reading the full interview (and I love the advice about befriending your local children's librarian!)

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Start the new year with creative inspiration from Marla Frazee

This video short by Adam Goodwin about award-winning author illustrator Marla Frazee is lovely, full of wisdom and anecdotes and inspiration for starting this new year of creativity for us all...


Marla Frazee from Adam Goodwin on Vimeo.

Thanks, Marla, and thanks Adam!

Illustrate and Write On! 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Newbery-Winning Author Kwame Alexander on how giving back changed his world view

This moment, as told by Tamra Bolton at the Parade website, is full of lessons for us all. New York Times Bestselling and Award-Winning author Kwame Alexander helped create a library for children in a remote village in Ghana.

Kwame "had just released his newest book, Solo, about a young man, Blade Morrison, and his struggle to deal with his past and uncertain future. Morrison’s quest eventually takes him to Ghana where he finds his roots and begins to understand who he is and where he is going."

When Kwame visited the village to celebrate the library's opening, he found the building wasn't completed. There wasn't even a roof.

"Like in my book Solo, I came over here to help, but what I discovered is, I’d never asked the question, ‘Is this library important to you? Is this something you want?’ Their answer was, ‘We need a health clinic’. I thought, ‘Why not include a health clinic?’”

The lesson for all of us who want to help make our world a better place?

"I realized you cannot expect to teach a child to read if they are not well. You can’t go into a community and dictate what they need; you have to find out what they need." –Kwame Alexander

Read the full article here.

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Aim High in 2018 - You and SCBWI's 25 Different Award and Grant Programs

SCBWI has awards and grants for Published Authors and Illustrators, for Writers, For Illustrators, for Students, and even a Community grant to help schools pay for an author/illustrator visit – there's so much opportunity!

For published authors and illustrators,

from the Book Launch Award ($2,000 to help the promotion of an author or illustrator's new published work) to the Jane Yolen Mid-List Author Grant (honoring the contribution of mid-list authors) to SCBWI's flagship Golden Kite Awards, and more...

For Writers,

from the Emerging Voices Award (to foster the emergence of diverse voices in children's books), to the Work-In-Progress Grants, to the Karen Cushman Late Bloomer Award (for a work-in-progress from an unpublished author over 50), and more...

For Illustrators,

from the Narrative Art Award (given annually to an illustrator of promise based on a given prompt),  to the Don Freeman Work-in-Progress Grant (to assist illustrators in the completion of a book dummy or portfolio), to the Portfolio Awards (given top the top portfolios submitted to the annual SCBWI Summer or Winter Conference), and more...

Check out all the grants and award opportunities here, pay attention to the submission deadlines, and put your work out there in 2018!

Good luck, and write and illustrate on!