Thursday, October 18, 2018

Wisdom from Multi-Award Winning Illustrator Paul O. Zelinsky

Paul wrote about receiving the Eric Carle Honor on his website here.


On September 27, 2018, Paul was honored by the Eric Carle Museum for playing "an instrumental role in making picture books a vibrant and influential art and literary form."

In announcing his winning the 2018 "Artist" Honor, the Eric Carle Museum said,

"Paul O. Zelinsky is master of many styles, bringing exceptional artistry and poignant storytelling to the field. He received the 1998 Caldecott Medal for his illustrated retelling of Rapunzel. Three additional books received Caldecott Honors: Hansel and Gretel (1985), Rumpelstiltskin (1987), and Swamp Angel (1995). Zelinsky is regarded as one of the most critically acclaimed artists in the field of children's literature." 

And now more good news: The Society of Illustrators will present Paul with their Lifetime Achievement Award at the opening of the annual Original Art exhibition in November, 2018!

Back in an interview Paul did in 2014 for KidLit411, he was asked,
Q: You have won so many honors, awards and accolades. Does it ever get old?
Here's Paul's very sage response:
A: Does being honored get old? No! It's been exciting and gratifying to be paid all this terrific attention... I'm also aware of the difference between receiving accolades and the real purpose of the whole enterprise, which is children (or anybody) seriously bonding with books-- getting out of my books what I've tried to put in. That is more important by far, and when it happens, this is what makes me happiest.
Congratulations, Paul, from our whole SCBWI community! And thanks for keeping it real.

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

5 Writing Tips from the Amazing Barbara Kingsolver


In this wonderful piece in Publishers Weekly, Barbara Kingsolver shares so much wisdom, including these gems:

"Writer’s block is another name for writer’s dread"
To write yourself into a book, you have to think of "pages negative-100 to zero—and you can’t skip them"
and
"Readers come to books for many reasons, but ultimately they’re looking for wisdom. That’s something writers can offer only after we’ve accrued it, like scar tissue, usually by surviving things we didn’t want to deal with—a process otherwise known as aging. This is fantastically good news! Twenty, thirty, or forty years after all the athletes, dancers, models and actors of our cohort have been put out to pasture, we can look forward to doing our greatest work."
It's well-worth reading in its entirety.

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Research on the Power of Reading, curated by Donalyn Miller



Donalyn Miller has done a lot of the heavy lifting for us, and for teachers looking to support reading as a good use of time for their students.

A few stand-out quotes:
“A child sitting in a quiet room with a good book isn’t a flashy or marketable teaching method. It just happens to be the only way anyone became a reader.” —Nancie Atwell
and
"Do we really need research proving that kids who read the most outperform kids who don’t read that much? Do we really need research proving that when readers are engaged with what they read they invest more effort in reading? Do we really need research proving that when kids have books in classrooms, libraries, and homes they read more?" —Donalyn Miller
Those last questions may be rhetorical, as Donalyn proceeds to list research and resources that do back up those statements with evidence.

 The part that's really inspiring, for those of us who create books for children and teens?

"when readers are engaged with what they read they invest more effort in reading"

So it's up to us, too. To create books that engage our young readers. Page-turners, fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, poetry, words and images and stories they'll want to read.

Let's do just that.

Here's a link to Donalyn's full post, I’ve Got Research. Yes, I Do. I’ve Got Research. How About You?

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Debbie Ridpath Ohi's Creativity Advice: Make Time To Play

This is very well said.


"No matter how busy I am, I always try to carve out a few minutes every day to do some art and writing purely for the fun of it. No pressure to show anyone or have anything be perfect....just to PLAY." —Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Make time to be creative every day. Even if it's just a few moments. Play with words. Or images. Or story.

It's excellent advice.

Thanks, Debbie!

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Children's Book Council Announces the 2019 CBC Diversity Outstanding Achievement Awards



In it's inaugural year, the CBC Diversity Outstanding Achievement Awards were given “to professionals or organizations in the children’s publishing industry who have made a significant impact on the publishing and marketing of diverse books, diversity in hiring and mentoring, and efforts that create greater awareness with the public about the importance of diverse voices.”

 “The winners were announced at the CBC Annual Meeting in New York City on September 27, and an official ceremony and conversation with the winners will take place on October 24 at a CBC Forum event. The winners will each select an organization to receive one thousand dollars’ worth of children’s books in their name.”

This year's winners were:
Saraciea J. Fennell, Publicist, Tor
Jennifer Loja, President & Publisher, Penguin Books for Young Readers
Jason Low, Publisher, Lee and Low Books
Beth Phelan, Literary Agent, Gallt & Zacker Literary
Phoebe Yeh, VP & Co-Publisher of Crown Books for Young Readers/Random House Children’s Books
and
We Need Diverse Books

Read the full announcement here!

 Congratulations to all the winners!

 Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

On Men in Translation: A Guest Post by Avery Udagawa

#WorldKidLit Month image (c) Elina Braslina 


A #WorldKidLit Month and International Translation Day post. 

Earlier this year, I published a post called On Women in Translation, which showed that

• Prominent translations for US children feature women authors, from western cultures; and
• Translations for US children are vanishingly few.

To find out about prominent translations for US children, I had looked at winners of the ALSC Batchelder Award, which for fifty years has garlanded translations for children published in the US.

In today’s post, I would like to share findings about a group I could not introduce fully in that post: male authors of prominent translations for US children. Here is what I found.

Prominent Translations for US Children by Male Authors Also Tend to Come from Western Cultures

Using exactly fifty years’ worth of Batchelder data, I found (click to enlarge):

Authors of Batchelder Award Winners by Gender


Languages of Male Authors of Batchelder Award Winners, by Region



Over fifty years, 1968-2018, 46% of Batchelder Award titles were authored by men. Of these, 83% were written in European languages.

Note: Language can belie culture of origin. Ramic Schami, author in German of A Hand Full of Stars, 1991 Batchelder winner, grew up in Syria and set his story in Damascus.

Looking at Batchelder Honor Books:

Authors of Batchelder Honor Winners by Gender


Languages of Male Authors of Batchelder Honor Winners, by Region


Over twenty-eight years (1991-2018), 38% of Batchelder Honor titles were authored by men. Of these, 67% were written in European languages.

What I learned: as with women, men writing in languages of cultures that contrast highly with the US were under-represented.

As I noted in my last post, most of the world’s languages have been absent entirely from the Batchelder lists, including Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (China), Croatian, Hindi, Hungarian, Korean, Malay, Nepali, Persian, Polish, Punjabi, Swahili, Thai, Ukrainian, and Urdu. These are all languages of countries with national sections of IBBY, suggesting that children’s literary scenes exist.

Translations likely to be accessed by US children that have male authors, were also predominantly authored in European languages.

Will New Batchelder Award Criteria Change this Picture?

When I combined all genders of authors of Batchelder Award and Honor books over time, I found:

Languages of All Authors of Batchelder Award and Honor Winners, by Region


In the next fifty years, will the balance among the bars in this graph change?

One factor that may affect the answer is a change in Batchelder Award critera. Recently, an award evolution committee determined that books originally published in a language other than English, published in English translation overseas, and then subsequently published in English in the US, will be eligible for the award. (Previously, books published in English translation abroad and subsequently published in the US were ineligible.)

This could conceivably bring greater prominence in the US for books written by authors in non-western cultures. Books written in non-European languages are often a risk to publish Stateside due to the work needed to translate, edit and market them for US readers. If a book from, say, Asia, gets published with success in the UK, a US publisher could find it easier to risk publishing it, since it now has a sales record in an English-reading country and is translated. The fact that such a book could now win a Batchelder might mean that more such books attain prominence in the US—because Batchelder books are likely to be stocked in school libraries.

In the last Batchelder Award cycle, the novel Bronze and Sunflower by Chinese male author Cao Wenxuan, translated by SCBWI member translator Helen Wang, was ineligible due to having been published first in the UK. Now a work like this could win the award.

Read more about Bronze and Sunflower and the author here.


Will the new criteria bring about a change in where our children’s books are written? Time will tell. Meanwhile, it’s up to US consumers and publishers to notice how translations—all translations—remain a tiny sliver of our children’s publishing output.



Data source: Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) Translated Book Logs and overall book counts

What Three Percent Looks Like


To promote world literature, SCBWI welcomes not only international writers and illustrators, but also translators, who in 2014 became the third professional category of members. Translators are now part of 60 SCBWI regions, including 38 US regions. Reach out to translators to learn more about the world of world literature. Info: itc@scbwi.org


Avery Fischer Udagawa is the translator of Temple Alley Summer (Kimyoji yokocho no natsu) by Sachiko Kashiwaba, a middle grade novel forthcoming from Chin Music Press in Spring 2019. She serves as SCBWI International Translator Coordinator.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Listen to SCBWI's Newest Podcast: A Conversation with Daniel José Older



Daniel José Older is the award-winning and best-selling author of middle grade, young adult, and adult books, including Shadowshaper, Half-Resurrection Blues, and Dactyl Hill Squad.

Daniel speaks with Theo Baker about craft, process, diversity, "the secret heart of your story,"  and much more!

Listen to the episode trailer here.

Current SCBWI members can listen to the full episode here (log in first).

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Stirring Advice from Tayari Jones to Writers in Difficult Times

The National Book Award–nominated author Tayari Jones spoke to winners of the Rona Jaffe Foundation’s award for emerging writers, and her speech included these powerful words:
...we are a nation and a planet in crisis and we must each use our resources to create the world that we want to call our own. There was a time in my life when I sat at my writing desk to spend a few hours each day, looking inward, telling my story. This was art, of course. As the descendants of Africans held in slavery in this country and denied literacy, sometimes at the penalty of death — I believed that whatever I might write was an act of defiance. And it was. And it is.

However, this is not enough.

My message to you today is not just advice for writers and artists. This is a call to action for all of us, each according to her ability. This is a plea for truth telling in all of its complexity. I am asking you to be brave enough to forsake likes and shares in favor of revealing potentially unsettling realities.
and
I push you to responsibility, but I don’t want to deprive you of the delight of creation and the pleasure of your imagination. Rather, I urge you to find and claim your voice, mission, and joy all at once. Rejoice in resistance. Seek out the satisfaction of hard work. Learn to revel in forward motion.
Read the full speech at Electric Literature here.

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Finding Book Clubs for Your Book - Some Ideas, and a Community Sharing



It's a dream, isn't it? Having a book club choose your book to read, and then discuss?

Yet what are all the ways you can find book clubs that might be interested?

Some ideas, and then, in comments, please add your own suggestions:

1. Ask librarians, both public and school, if they have a student book club. Or an adult book club that reads children's or teen books.

2. Ask Bookstores if they host a book club that might read your category of book.

3. If you're already connected to a group that has regular meetings, can you convince them to become a book club for one meeting for your book?

4. Try searching meetup.com and/or reader's circle.

5. Explore Goodreads for book clubs.

6. Find a "mentor text" - a recent book in your category with the same target audience, and do some internet searches for that book title and the words "book club" -- the book clubs that chose that book might be interested in yours, too!

7. Imagine you are searching for a book club. Who would you ask? Where would you look? Try those people, online, and real-world locations, and see what you can discover.

And of course, ask your fellow illustrators and writers in the SCBWI community! Chime in here, in comments, with your own suggestions for how to find book clubs that might be interested in your book!

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee




Monday, September 17, 2018

Illustrators! Enter the SCBWI Narrative Art Award Contest for a Chance to Win an All-Expense Paid Trip To #NY19SCBWI



About the SCBWI Narrative Art Award
Each year, a rotating panel of judges will provide an assignment and will judge the submissions. The theme and specific assignment will change year-to-year, but the general goal will be to show sequence and narrative. The prize is an all-expense paid trip to the SCBWI New York Winter Conference. The winning illustrations will be displayed during the New York Portfolio Showcase (in conjunction with the conference). We will also have an online gallery displaying the submissions to the award for any member who submitted to the award and wants to participate.
2018 SCBWI Narrative Art Award
Assignment
Create three illustrations from the same story that display Dilemma/Conflict/Resolution.
– There must be three different characters in the story 
– Your art style must be appropriate for one of these two specific audiences/book genres (Choose one):
                Full color, intended for a picture book for 4 to 7-year-olds
                – OR –
                Black and white, intended for a MiddleGrade book for 8 to 11-year-olds
– Do not include text in your images
Theme
In honor of the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, depict a narrative of a misunderstood monster from literature, fairytales, or folktales appropriate for your audience. 
Criteria
The judges will look for images that tell a visual story with clarity and nuance. The images should reflect a range and escalation of mood and emotion.
Prize
The prize is an all-expense paid trip to the SCBWI New York Winter Conference. The winning illustrations will be displayed during the New York Portfolio Showcase (in conjunction with the conference). 
How to submit 
– You must be a current SCBWI member to submit to this award.
– Deadline: Submissions are due by midnight, PST, September 20, 2018. (The winner will be announced November 17)

Get all the details here, and good luck!

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

(Posted Monday September 17, 2018 to give everyone entering the extra day.)

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Advice on Writing Series from Stephanie Greene (via Cynsations)



In this excellent interview at Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations, Survivors: Stephanie Greene on Thriving as a Long-Time, Actively Publishing Children's Author, Cynthia asks Stephanie (the author of four series) to share some insights into writing series.

Stephanie breaks series down into character-driven, concept-driven, and hook-driven, explaining that,
There are different kinds of series, of course. If you have a character in mind who you believe will appeal to enough kids that they can successfully carry a series, develop that character to the best of your ability in the first book. Three of my series have been character-driven. I first created a character who I liked. In every case, it was my editor who asked for more. (There are countless character-driven series; read as many of them as you can, especially in the genre in which you want to write. Study them. Figure out what makes the character appealing to children.)
She cites The Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osborne as a "prime example" of concept-driven series, suggesting,
If you have a concept, develop it in one book and see what happens.
The third approach, as Stephanie tells us,
...is to develop a “hook.” That’s a feature about the character that can be repeated in subsequent books. Many series employ this device. The trick is to make it an intricate part of the story and not a superficial tag-on. I inadvertently created my Princess Posey (G. Putnam's Sons, 2010-2018) series of early chapter books because I gave the character in the first story - what was meant to be a stand-alone book – a hook: Posey’s pink tutu makes her feel brave. It was my editor’s decision the tutu [hook] could carry a series.
In all instances, the focus is to create the best possible book one, knowing it might be a stand-alone, and aiming to make it as good as it can be.

It's a wide-ranging interview, well-worth reading in its entirety.

Thanks to Stephanie and Cynthia!

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

How Many Copies of Your Book Have To Sell For It To Be Considered A Success?



The easy answer is "enough to earn out your advance" if you're traditionally published, and maybe "enough to earn back your investment" if you're financing publication yourself through either hybrid or author-publishing.

The more complex answer, according to author and publisher Brooke Warner of She Writes Press, in this article Reframing Publishing Success in Publishers Weekly's BookLife, is an honest look at numbers.

While many authors state that selling 10,000 copies is their goal, Brooke cautions that “it’s an unrealistic benchmark for 95% of authors, and it’s especially unrealistic for debut authors.” She goes on to explain:
“In 2015, Lynn Neary reported a story on NPR called “When It Comes to Book Sales, What Counts as Success Might Surprise You” that noted that one of the books shortlisted for that year’s Man Booker Prize had sold fewer than 3,600 copies and another fewer than 3,000.”
Her advice includes this gem:
“Debut authors would do well to think of their first books as an investment in themselves and their futures. It’s common book publishing wisdom that the needle doesn’t truly begin to move on book sales until authors publish their third book. As such, this industry requires patience, and selling 1,000 or 2,000 copies of a freshman effort is something worth celebrating.”
And Brooke adds a reminder to:
“Celebrate the small victories, such as moments of connection with readers, a glowing review from a stranger, and the potential that these kinds of victories have to propel the next book.”
It's an article well-worth reading.

Illustrate and Write On,\Lee