Thursday, November 6, 2014

The 2014 Crystal Kite Winners: TEA REX by Molly Idle (SCBWI Arizona)

This week's Crystal Kite Winner Spotlight illuminates TEA REX, written and illustrated by Molly Idle.

Hailing from SCBWI Arizona, Molly's book took home the crystal for the Nevada, Arizona, Utah, southern Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico division.

Award-winning author/illustrator Molly Idle

I contacted Molly to find out more...

Lee: Please tell us about your book!

Molly: TEA REX is written as a proper, how-to-guide, providing instructions for hosting a tea party...for a special guest. The pictures in the book however, read more like a how-NOT-to-guide... And how could they not, when the special guest is a giant dinosaur?!

Lee: Fun! How long have you been involved with SCBWI, and can you share what you feel you've gained by being a member?

Molly: I've been a member of SCBWI since 2000- almost 15 years! What do I feel I've gained? Ohmygoodness... Where to start? Should I start with the friends I've met, or the fresh perspectives presented? The business contacts I've made, or the career opportunities seized? The constructive criticism received, or the camaraderie of community? Seriously, the SCBWI has so much to offer.

Lee: Do you have any advice to share with other children's book writers and illustrators?

Molly: Well, the fist piece of advice I usually offer aspiring children's book writers and illustrators is: Join the SCBWI. But if you're reading this, the chances are, you're already a card carrying member. So, my second piece of advice is that you acquire just one other card... a library card. Read as many books as you can get your hands on! After the first few hundred, you'll really start to get a feel for what books work and, why they work... Then you can get down to business making your own books that work too.

Great advice. Thanks, Molly!

I connected with SCBWI Arizona Regional Advisor Michele Parker-Rock to learn more about Molly's win and their region. Here's what she wrote:

SCBWI Arizona was founded in 1988 and has been proudly serving the region for more than 25 years. As Regional Advisor I am honored to represent the growing number of individuals who make up our culturally diverse membership. We offer a wide range of opportunities for professionally published, seasoned, and pre-published writers and illustrators who actively seek to develop their craft and stay informed about the ever-changing business of the children’s and young adult marketplace.

SCBWI Arizona is a large geographic region. Our members come from all over the state, from Yuma to Lake Havasu City, Tombstone to the Grand Canyon, Phoenix to Tucson, Sedona to Flagstaff, and all the places in between. Members connect through our subscriber LISTSERV and keep abreast of activities and events by tuning into our Home Chapter, our regional website,, our Facebook page, and our Twitter network

SCBWI Arizona is committed to providing a wide variety of high quality free and tuition based events and services throughout the year, including conferences, intensives, retreats, hands-on workshops, critique-niks, networking get-togethers, Webinars, mentorships, and more. We also continue to provide SCBWI PAL members with opportunities to showcase their books at conferences and conventions held by various organizations, including the Arizona Library Association, the Tucson Festival of Books, the Arizona Reading Association, the International Reading Association, the Arizona Humanities Council, the Arizona Book Festival, and others.

Each year we bring top industry professionals to our region for our annual “Welcome to Our House” Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. This year we are pleased to welcome Emily Feinberg, Assistant Editor, Roaring Brook Press; Karl Jones, Assistant Editor at Penguin Young Readers; Ariel Richardson, Assistant Editor Chronicle Books; Alison Weiss, Associate Editor, Egmont USA; John Cusick, Literary Agent, The Greenhouse Literary Agency; Danielle Barthel, Literary Agent, New Leaf Literary and Media; and Jaida Temperly, Literary Agent, New Leaf Literary and Media. For details go to

In addition, SCBWI AZ is excited to feature our own Molly Idle who will be presented with the well-deserved 2014 Crystal Kite Member Choice Award for her book TEA REX (Viking Children’s Press, 2013). Since its publication, TEA REX has garnered much praise. Publishers Weekly said, “…Idle has a gift for comic composition...” Kirkus Reviews said, “Sure to be enjoyed by tea-party enthusiasts, and even dino fans with no use for a teapot will find themselves drawn to this clever tale of a not-entirely-civilized beast of the past.”

SCBWI Arizona is grouped with Nevada, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico in the Southwest Region for the Crystal Kite Member Choice Awards. This year voters were faced with many excellent choices. It was particularly gratifying to see Molly Idle win in our division. Molly has been an active member of our region since 2000, and she is a consummate author/illustrator. Her book FLORA AND THE FLAMINGO (Chronicle Books, 2013) was a 2014 Caldecott Honor Book. Her latest book FLORA AND THE PENGUIN (Chronicle Books, 2014) received starred reviews from The Horn Book, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly that noted, “Once again, Idle’s elegantly drafted scenes couldn’t be more polished, and the foldout sequence that brings this dance to a close feels like a real triumph.”

After graduating from Arizona State University with a BFA in drawing, Molly went to work for DreamWorks Feature Animation Studios. Five years and a number of film credits later, she left the studio and submerged herself in the world of children's book illustration. In 2010 Molly was the Grand Prize Winner of the SCBWI Juried Portfolio Showcase. That same year, she wowed our members with an outstanding workshop, “Anatomy 101,” in which she demonstrated her technical prowess and artistic sensibilities. The rest is Idle history.

Molly currently lives with her family in Tempe, AZ. Lori Nowicki at Painted Words represents her: You can also learn more about Molly at

SCBWI Arizona is pleased to have Molly Idle as one of its distinguished members. We wish her continued success.

By Michelle Parker-Rock
Regional Advisor SCBWI Arizona
2011 SCBWI Member of the Year
Author of Books for Young Readers

Thanks Molly and Michelle, and Cheers to Molly on TEA REX winning the 2014 Crystal Kite Award!

To find out more about Molly and her books, check out her website here.

And to learn more about SCBWI Arizona, visit their online home here.

Illustrate and Write On,

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