Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Inspiration from James Baldwin

Photo of James Baldwin by Carl Van Vechten from Wikimedia
"Whatever you describe to another person is also a revelation of who you are and who you think you are. You can not describe anything without betraying your point of view, your aspirations, your fears, your hopes. Everything." —James Baldwin

Thanks to Jon Winokur @AdviceToWriters for posting this gem on twitter, where I saw it.

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Inspiration on writing Intersectional Diversity from Kelly Loy Gilbert in this School Library Journal Interview



One of the great exchanges in this Shelley Diaz interview of YA author Kelly Loy Gilbert:
Shelley Diaz: Picture Us in the Light addresses multiple facets of identity: class, immigration status, nationality, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, languages spoken, mental health, religion. Why did you think it was so important to approach this story with an intersectional lens?

Kelly Loy Gilbert: When I was younger there was a long period when reading books about Asian American characters meant the whole story was about being Asian American, and what I really wanted, I think, was to read more stories where the characters’ race shaped and informed but didn’t define them. I wanted stories that explored the diversity within diversity, stories with characters who were as complicated and contradictory and interesting as the communities they were reflecting. And that’s always been important to me and always something I wanted to strive for whenever I got to write my book about the world I grew up in, but at the same time I don’t think I consciously set out to write this as an intersectional book as some kind of statement or issue. I think as I developed the characters their identities were intersectional as an honest reflection of who we are and the way we live. Because I don’t have “My Asian American Year,” where all I have to deal with is what race means, and then I solve that and move on to “My Mental Health Year,” and so on—we are so many things, all the time, and each of those things informs the others, and I think telling the truth in fiction reflects that reality.
Read the full interview here.

Illustrate and Write On, 
Lee

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Book Swag: One Bookstore's Perspective

Bookmarks. Buttons. Posters. Book-Branded Lip Balm. Storytime Kits. Kid-Friendly give-aways. Samplers.

Besides an ARC, what do bookstores actually use/want? What swag helps your book succeed—and what might not be worth the expense?



To help us figure it out, Meghan Dietsche Goel, the Children's Book Buyer and Programming Director for BookPeople in Austin, Texas, shared her take in this PW article, "Book Treats Brought by the Postal Service."

It's great to hear from the bookstore's perspective about what has value, and how issues like simplicity of packaging and display space considerations fit in the mix. The article is well-worth reading.

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Larry James's tips on making your next book signing "an event!"




This article by Larry James includes some great ideas, including:

DON'T - Don't just sit at the table they have for you. Most authors do that. Be different! I always tell the person booking the signing not to worry about putting a chair behind the table. This will always get their attention. Let them know you will be the store's official greeter while you are there. Walk around the store with several copies of your book and introduce yourself to everyone. If those you introduce yourself to show the least bit of interest, hand them a book. They will almost always take it. Tell them to look at it and bring it back to the table when they are finished. On average, I more than tripled my book sales at signings by implementing this tip!
DO - Have your book covers enlarged in color to an 11 x 17 poster, laminate them and have them put them on a poster type board with a stand up thing on the back. Always bring them with you to the signings! Anything else you can think of to call attention to your table is also GREAT!
DON'T - Don't complain if you don't sell lots of books. Signings make those who bought your book feel good, but they really don't sell lots of books while you are there, UNLESS you create a presence WHILE YOU ARE THERE! I've sold as few as none to as many as 56 in a two hour period. According to book store managers, on average, book sales for a non-celebrity author will range from about 4 to 7. If you sell more, you're doing great!
and
DO - Get there no less than 15 to 20 minutes early and if you can, stay late. At a signing in Tucson, I sold more books in the extra 30 minutes after the signing than in the previous two hours.

Check out the full article here.

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

"There's No Serendipity Online" - Inspiration and Wisdom about Discovering Books from Tom Cheesewright on Shelf Awareness



When thinking about the many roles bookstores can play (including community building, thought-leadership, and offering a safe space for diversity to be celebrated), this insight into serendipitous discovery felt profound and, worth sharing:
"Machines remain really bad at giving us a good discovery experience. The most sophisticated engines of personalization in the world are bad at finding us products that we don't know we want. They're good at helping us find things we absolutely know we want, and we know how to describe, but they're terrible at finding us those serendipitous discoveries, and human beings remain much better at that. It's why browsing a bookshop is so much a nicer experience if you don't know what you want, than browsing an online store. There's no serendipity online."

—Tom Cheesewright, an applied futurist, replying to the Bookseller's question: "If we're all reading e-books, is there still a place for bookshops?"
From the Thursday April 19, 2018 edition of Shelf Awareness.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Listen to SCBWI's Newest Podcast, a Conversation with Mike Curato



Mike Curato is the award-winning author-illustrator of the Little Elliot series of picture books. There are now four books in the series, with the first, Little Elliot, Big City winning several awards and being translated into over ten languages. Mike has also illustrated picture books by other authors, including Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian, All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle, and most recently, What If... by Samantha Berger.

In this two-part conversation with Theo Baker, Mike speaks about his inspirations, his career journey, and the SCBWI breakthrough that changed everything. He also discusses the role of research, the evolution of his own style, and more!

Listen to the episode trailer here.

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

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Monday, April 30, 2018

It's the last day to vote in the Crystal Kite Member Choice Awards!



SCBWI Members, don't miss your chance to vote in the final round of the SCBWI Crystal Kite Member Choice Awards! Voting closes at 5pm April 30, 2018—and that's today!

To cast your vote, log on to www.scbwi.org. Once you are on your Member Home page, go to the left navigation bar, scroll to the bottom, and click on

Vote in the Crystal Kite Awards.

That takes you right to the voting page where all of the books in your division appear.

Then click the VOTE FOR THIS BOOK button below your chosen book and you are done!

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Exercise Part Two: Advice on Writing a Synopsis of Your Novel

If you played along earlier this week, you have a plot outline. Now, you can take that and create a synopsis!

Synopses can be tricky, but this article by Glen C. Strathy on "How to Write a Synopsis of Your Novel*," based in part on Dramatica theory created by Melanie Anne Phillips and Chris Huntley, has some smart insights.



A highlight:

What makes a hockey game or a novel mesmerizing is not a step-by-step description of what happens, but the emotions that accompany the actions, the anticipation, fear, hope, excitement, and disappointment at each turn of events. The elation of victory at the end, or the agony of defeat. It is the emotional twists and turns that make a novel or a hockey game appealing. Just as a good sports writer can describe a game in terms that capture the emotions, the secret of how to write a synopsis is to incorporate the emotional twists and turns of your characters – especially your main character – at the same time as you describe your sequence of plot events.
and then Glen walks us through a seven-step process (24 index cards) that sounds like not just a great way to write a synopsis, but also a pretty powerful way to diagnose what might be amiss with a work-in-progress.

It's well-worth reading, fun to try, and might help you write a synopsis of your novel.

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Exercise Part One: An Eight-Part Way To Outline Your Plot

This week, we have two exercises to challenge us and enjoy, posted by Glen C. Strathy on "How to Write a Book Now."

Today, we dive into "How To Create A Plot Outline In 8 Easy Steps*," based on the Dramatica theory of story created by Melanie Anne Phillips and Chris Huntley.




With the challenge (and assurance) that the whole plot outline can be completed in less than an hour, Glen lays out eight basic plot elements.

The first one is choosing a Story Goal, and then Glen takes it somewhere interesting:
After we have chosen a Story Goal, we will build a world around our protagonist that includes many perspectives on the problem and makes the goal important to everyone in that world.
The second plot element is Consequence.
Once you have decided on a Story Goal, your next step is to ask yourself, “What disaster will happen if the goal is not achieved? What is my protagonist afraid will happen if he/she doesn't achieve the goal or solve the problem?”

The answer to these questions is the Consequence of the story. The Consequence is the negative situation or event that will result if the Goal is not achieved. Avoiding the Consequence justifies the effort required in pursuing the Story Goal, both to the characters in your novel and the reader, and that makes it an important part of your plot outline.

The combination of goal and consequence creates the main dramatic tension in your plot. It's a carrot and stick approach that makes the plot meaningful.
Check out the next six plot elements and the full article/exercise here.

No matter where you are in your work-in-progress, this may be worth trying out.

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Check out this virtual YA panel on The Brown Bookshelf with Justina Ireland, Brandy Colbert, and Dhonielle Clayton, moderated by Paula Chase Hyman

This two-part panel at The Brown Bookshelf is well-worth reading!

screen shot of the panel discussion, as posted at The Brown Bookshelf

The authors talk about expanding the range of published books featuring characters of color (and, importantly, by authors of color), sensitivity reading, authors speaking up (or not) on social media, reader expectations, and much more. A few stand-out quotes:

Brandy: "I remember the first time I saw the African American section in a bookstore. It was a very strange feeling. Like, yay! But also—why do we have to be shelved in a different section entirely?"

Paula: "Own voices shouldn’t be a fad. My concern is this type of thing becomes a campaign. We have far too much catching up to do for it to be that."

Justina: "There’s a section of the population that wants the media they consume to be from people who uphold their values. Authors are going to have to learn to cocoon themselves or accept being more involved in reader response."

Dhonielle: "Now, it’s times for marginalized and black content creators to get the same roll outs that white women have gotten for decades for their books. Tours, big marketing campaigns. Our books deserve a shot at big audiences."


Read the full panel discussion here:

Part One

Part Two



Find out more about Justina Ireland here.



Learn more about Brandy Colbert here.



Dhonielle Clayton's online site with more on her is here.



And Paula Chase Hyman's website is here.

Thanks to Justina, Brandy, Dhonielle, and Paula for sharing!

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Registration for the SCBWI 2018 Summer Conference (#LA18SCBWI) Opens Today!

Join us!

There's new programming this year, including the "A Closer Look" sessions on Monday August 6 that let you explore specific areas of your craft in a small group setting. Those craft areas include Openings, Endings, Dialog, Voice, and many more.

There are panels, and breakout sessions, socials and consultations, the portfolio showcase and the Artists and Writers Ball... 

It's going to be remarkable. Full of craft, business, inspiration, opportunity, and community... We hope you'll be there, too!

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Thinking Fonts: Creative Expression and Inspiration

Fonts are sometimes default (like here on this blog), but in the best book design, they are highly considered... sometimes, they're art in-and-of-themselves.

Check out the blog, I Love Typography, for lots of visual and design inspiration for your current project.

I thought this movable/adjustable version of the font WIND was really cool (and not just because that's my last name!)

From the "I Love Typography" blog

And if that gif isn't working, here's the letter W at various angles:


variations of W in the WIND font

And sometimes, the fonts you think are coolest turn out to be hand-lettered by the designer or illustrator! It's fascinating to really look at something that is so easy to overlook.

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Sneak Peak of Faculty at #LA18SCBWI

More information will be announced soon at the SCBWI Website, and registration opens on April 17, 2018...

For now, here are some of the amazing luminaries in our world of children's literature who will be featured at The SCBWI 2018 Summer Conference in Los Angeles, August 3-6, 2018:

Lois Lowry, Author and two-time winner of the Newbery Award
Lois Lowry, photo creative commons


Libba Bray, New York Times Bestselling Author and winner of The Michael L. Printz Award.
Libba Bray, photo by David Shankbone, creative commons


Marc Brown, Author/Illustrator of the 65 million book-selling Arthur series.

Self-Portrait from Marc's Twitter profile


Ekua Holmes, Caldecott Honor, Robert F. Sibert Honor, and John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award Winner.

Ekua Holmes with some of her art behind her as on Facebook.


Mike Curato, Author/Illustrator and winner of The Society of Illustrators Original Art Show Founder's Award.

Mike Curato, from his website

Brian Pinkney & Andrea Davis Pinkney: Brian is an Author/Illustrator who has won two Caldecott Honors, four Coretta Scott King Honors and a Coretta Scott King Award, and the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award, and Andrea is a children's book editor and author of numerous books illustrated by Brian, with multiple Coretta Scott King Book Awards, Jane Addams Children’s Literature Honor citations, four NAACP Image Award nominations, and the Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor medal to her credit.

screen shot of Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney from the African American Literature Book Club


Daniel José Older, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the International Latino Book Award.
Daniel José Older, from his website here.


Eliza Wheeler, New York Times bestselling author/illustrator and past winner of the SCBWI portfolio showcase grand prize award.

Eliza Wheeler's profile pic from Twitter


Lynda Mullaly Hunt, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the ALA's Schneider Family Book Award.

Lynda Mullaly Hunt, signing, in a photo from Facebook

Plus acquiring agents and editors actively seeking new work from writers and illustrators!


Registration for the Summer Conference opens online on April 17.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

New and Exciting Opportunities At #LA18SCBWI

#LA18SCBWI
The SCBWI 2018 Summer Conference in Los Angeles
SAVE THE DATES: August 3-6, 2018




In addition to keynote presentations, panels of industry experts, and craft and business-related breakout sessions, this year’s SCBWI Summer Conference gives participants more opportunities than ever to meet with editors and agents about their work. There will be paid manuscript, portfolio, and social media consultations with agents, editors and art directors, plus several all-new events on Monday, August 6:

For Writers: A full-day session titled A Closer Look, where writers can get feedback on the first 500 words of their manuscripts from acquiring agents, editors, and their peers.

For Illustrators: A full-day Illustrator’s Intensive with art directors, editors, and renowned illustrators of children’s books.

For Published Writers and Illustrators: A full-day Pro-Intensive designed to help you take your career to the next level.

Registration for the Summer Conference opens online on April 17. Please check the SCBWI website around April 13 for more information.

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Listen to SCBWI's newest podcast: A Conversation with Cheryl Klein



Cheryl Klein is the editorial director at Lee & Low Books, which publishes a wide array of children’s and YA books by and about marginalized people, particularly people of color. She is also the author of The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults (W. W. Norton); its previous self-published incarnation, Second Sight; and two forthcoming picture books. Prior to her work at Lee & Low, she spent sixteen years at Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, where she edited a number of best-selling and award-winning titles. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and can be found online at cherylklein.com and as @chavelaque.

In this two-part conversation with Theo Baker, Cheryl speaks of the insights she’s gained as an editor, the importance of diverse voices, the publishing and writing sides to the question “who can write what?”, telling the story of your heart, and her own books, the writing craft “The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults” and the picture books “Things with Wings” and “Thunder Trucks.”

Listen to the episode trailer here.

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

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, March 29, 2018

On Women in Translation: A Guest Post By Avery Udagawa

A #kidlitwomen, Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day post.

While following conversations this month about equality and representation in US children’s literature, I wondered about international women.

Women of other nations. Do US children connect with them?

Do they read them?

Can children access books by women who write in languages other than English, whose cultures contrast highly with the US?

To find out, I looked at past winners of the Batchelder Award, conferred annually alongside the Newbery and Caldecott to recognize translated children’s books published in the US. I also examined translated book logs from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center. I found data worthy of celebration, and worthy of contemplation.

Prominent Translations for US Children Feature Women Authors, from Western Cultures

To see if US children can access women’s writing in translation, particularly from contrasting cultures, I assumed that winners of the Batchelder Award—conferred by the Association of Library Services to Children—would be among the most available books in translation for US kids. I looked at whether Batchelder Award winners have been written by women, and if so in what languages. I found:




Over fifty years, 1968-2018, 54% of Batchelder Award titles were authored by women. Of these, 81% were written in European languages.

Looking at Batchelder Honor books:





Over twenty-eight years (1991-2018), 62% of Batchelder Honor titles were authored by women. Of these, 90% were written in European languages.

The translators of the combined Batchelder Award and Honor winners have been 60% women, 31% men, 6% male-female duos, and 1% (one) female duo.

I was surprised by the high percentage of Batchelder titles written and translated by women. This is remarkable, and worth examining for the dynamics that have made it possible.

Unfortunately, women writing in languages of contrasting cultures are under-represented. Only about 14% of combined Batchelder books by women were written in languages of Asia or the Middle East, and none were written in African or South American languages. Most of the world’s languages were 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 feature women authors, who are predominantly writing in European languages.

Translations for Children Are Vanishingly Few

To put these findings in context, I also checked the overall percentage of children’s books published in the US that are translations. Batchelder Award and Honor books may be the most available books in translation, but how plentiful are translations generally?

I counted the titles listed in the CCBC Translated Book Logs from 1994 (the year logs were first kept) through 2017, and compared this count with either (a) the total number of books received by the CCBC that year, or (b) the total number of children’s books published in the US that year, according to which figure the CCBC published. I found:



For nearly a quarter-century (1994-2017), books in translation have represented less than 2% of total US children’s books published (1994-2001), or an average of 2.74% of children’s books received by the CCBC (2002-2017).

Rising percentages in recent years are noteworthy. Also, the CCBC data may be incomplete: I noted while counting that several translated books published in the US were not logged, due to not being submitted to the CCBC. These were books from small presses, which the CCBC notes generate a “significant body of authentic multicultural literature for children in the United States and Canada.”

The percentages I calculated are, however, supported by percentages for adult books in translation, which are estimated at 3% of books published in the US. In fact, a prominent world literature blog is named Three Percent.

The context the CCBC data provides for the Batchelder data, is that even award-winning translations for children represent a tiny part of a tiny field.

Returning to my question: can US children access books written by women in languages other than English, particularly from highly contrasting cultures?

No, because women writing in non-Western languages on the Batchelder list represent a sliver (of Batchelder books), of a sliver (of all translated books), of a sliver (of US children’s literature).

Women writing in languages other than English, from highly contrasting cultures, are invisible on US children’s bookshelves.

Avery writes on Facebook about how Eiko Kadono of Japan just won the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award, and that while Eiko has written nearly 250 original works for children, almost none of them are available in translation in the US. Even the Annick Press edition of her novel KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE, translated by Lynne E. Riggs, [adapted into an animated movie by Hayao Miyazaki] is out of print (though going for hundreds of dollars on Amazon, Avery notes). 

In Closing

Speaking personally, I translate children’s books from Japan, a relatively familiar East Asian culture with a developed economy and publishing industry. (Incidentally, 15% of Japanese children’s titles published in 2017 were translations.) Yet I find that few fellow Americans can name a female Japanese children’s author.

And while I live in Thailand, I know of just one children’s novel by a Thai woman available in English (now out of print in the US), and none from neighboring southeast Asian countries.

I treasure books written in American English and European languages, and hope their numbers and diversity will grow. And I hope they can be joined by books from many more languages.

If we think of it, don’t we believe that women around the world have something to say to our children? Let’s help them connect.



Starting Points

Here are 3 posts to read about translation of children’s literature:

School Library Journal
Book Riot
The Horn Book


Here are 3 hashtags to shout out kidlit and women in translation:

#worldkidlit
#translationthurs
#womenintranslation


Here are 3 lists of published kidlit in translation to buy or borrow:

Batchelder
GLLI US
Kidlitwomen


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.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Inspiration from Beatrix Potter

Love this one...
“There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they'll take you.” -Beatrix Potter
Benjamin Bunny illustration by Beatrix Potter, [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons


Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Golden Kite Winner for Nonfiction for Older Readers: "Vincent and Theo" author Deborah Heiligman: A Brief Interview



In the Nonfiction for Older Reader category, Deborah Heiligman's "Vincent and Theo" won the 2018 Golden Kite Award!

I connected with Deborah via email to learn more... 

Lee: Congratulations on “Vincent and Theo” winning the SCBWI Golden Kite Award for Nonfiction for Older Readers! Please tell us what your book is about.​ ​ ​

Deborah: Thank you, Lee. I'm thrilled that it won! Vincent and Theo is about the relationship between the Van Gogh brothers. It is a long-form narrative nonfiction, which I worked on for five years. They style is meant to reflect Vincent's different styles of painting, and the whole book is structured as a walk through a museum show. ​ 

Lee: Why write a book about Vincent Van Gogh now?​

Deborah: Well, I got the idea in Amsterdam in 2011, and I started working on it that fall. It took me a long time to do all the research, and then to write it. I revised it many times. So, while I wish it had come out sooner, it seemed like 2017 was a fine time for it to come out. I think that people are always eager for the inside story on famous people, and I think art matters even in the worst of times. Maybe especially in the worst of times! ​ 

Lee: The Golden Kite is just one of the many awards this book has received. Besides it being awesome, do you have a sense of why this book is resonating with award judges and getting such critical acclaim? (I mean this in the kindest way, I just think it’s fascinating that some author’s books hit different targets, yet many of their books are passion-driven and amazing.)

Deborah: Oh my goodness, I have no idea! I know there are a lot of worthy books published every year. I am just truly grateful that Vincent and Theo resonated with reviewers and judges, and now I hope it has a long life and resonates with many readers. But that's what we all want, isn't it? Our books to reach readers. I hope everyone who is reading this gets that wish fulfilled. 

Thanks, Deborah! 

To find out more about Vincent and Theo and Deborah Heligman, check out Deborah's website here.

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Inspiration from Madeline L'Engle

From the official Madeline L'Engle website


With the new movie version of "A Wrinkle In Time" out in theaters, it seems like a good time to remember this bit of inspiration from the author Madeline L'Engle:
"You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children." –Madeleine L'Engle
Learn more about Madeline L'Engle and her books here.

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,
Lee

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,
Lee

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,
Lee

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,
Lee

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,
Lee

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,
Lee

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,
Lee