Thursday, August 30, 2012

SCBWI Regional Advisors Win Marketing Grants and Work Of Outstanding Promise Awards!

As a member of SCBWI, you have access to an incredible network of local volunteers throughout the world who are dedicated to the advancement of children's literature, and to helping other writers and illustrators advance in their own career journeys as well!

Currently, there are 50 SCBWI regions in the USA and 30 international regions.  Each of these regions is directed by a Regional Advisor (RA) or two Co-Regional Advisors.  In addition, most of the larger regions have an Assistant Regional Advisor (ARA), Illustrator Coordinator (IC), and advisory board, to insure a full slate of regional events.

Around the world, these professionals volunteer their time (and I can share from experience that it is a part-to-full time job!) to create the vibrant community that is the SCBWI.  They organize book launch parties, critique groups, illustrator exhibits, workshops, retreats, critiquenics (a picnic/critiquing party combination), open studio days, schmoozes (informal get-togethers) and many other events to bring together like-minded authors and illustrators.

To honor the incredible dedication and contribution they make to SCBWI and our community, two Grants have been established to honor writers and illustrators within the ranks of these volunteer leaders:

The Regional Advisor Marketing (RAM) Grant


The Work Of Outstanding Promise (WOOP) by an R.A., A.R.A or I.C. Grant

The 2012 winners and honorees are...  please add your own drumroll...

The Regional Advisor Marketing Grant Winner and a $2,000 award goes to Kristi Valiant, Regional Advisor since 2012 for Indiana, for her picture book due out from Random House, PENGUIN CHA-CHA. 

Kristi Valiant, RA Indiana

I contacted Kristi with congratulations and to find out more, and here's what she shared:

I'll be using the grant to help create a book launch for PENGUIN CHA-CHA with silly props from the book and a cha-cha lesson, a blog tour, a teacher's guide, and school visits and dancing events for kids that encourage fun exercise.

SCBWI has had a huge hand in helping me every step of the way with this picture book, from developing my illustrations for trade books to critiquing my many versions of this story to connecting me with my agent, Linda Pratt. And now, SCBWI is even helping with marketing. What a truly generous group of friends! It's a joy to serve as Indiana's Regional Advisor and an extreme honor to receive this grant. I'm still dancing on clouds! Thank you, SCBWI, for the encouragement and support. 

PENGUIN CHA-CHA is scheduled for publication in fall 2013 from Random House. I've illustrated other books, but this will be my first picture book that I both wrote and illustrated.

In PENGUIN CHA-CHA, a group of penguins become fascinated by the dancers who perform at their zoo. Soon the typical penguin shuffle turns into a dance-floor extravaganza. And when Julia, a curious little girl, stumbles upon the penguins and their new hobby, she is determined to join their jazzy jitterbug. The only problem is that the penguins won’t dance with anyone else around. Julia finds a way to move and groove, whirl and twirl, and hip hop and boogie bop with those sneaky, dancing penguins.

A special RAM Grant Honor Book and a $1,000 award goes to Holly Thompson, Regional Advisor for SCBWI Tokyo since 2005, for her YA verse novel, THE LANGUAGE INSIDE, published by Delacorte.  Holly plans to use the money to promote worldwide awareness of the Cambodian culture.
Holly Thompson, RA Tokyo

I connected with Holly to cheer her on and find out more...

I was so pleased to receive the SCBWI RAM Honor Grant for marketing my novel THE LANGUAGE INSIDE (Delacorte/Random House, May 2013). THE LANGUAGE INSIDE features both Japanese and Cambodian culture and is set in Massachusetts in and around Lowell, home to the second largest Cambodian-American community in the U.S. One of my aims is to hold a launch reading in conjunction with a performance by the Angkor Dance Troupe of Lowell, members of which helped me research and hone my novel's story. I also aim to use the grant to help me prepare for international and U.S. school visits--conducting more research, taking more photographs in Lowell and in Cambodia, and studying the Khmer language--so that I can better raise awareness of Cambodian culture. I also hope to offer low-cost author visits at Massachusetts schools with significant Asian and/or ESL/EAL populations. Writing my RAM grant proposal was the perfect exercise, forcing me to think ahead a year and to plan what I hope are some dynamic service-oriented activities.

Here is the book description:

Emma Karas was raised in Japan; it’s the country she calls home. But when her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, Emma’s family moves to a town outside Lowell, Massachusetts to stay with her grandmother while her mom undergoes treatment. Emma feels out of place in the United States, begins to have migraines, and longs to be back in Japan. At her grandmother’s urging she volunteers at a long-term care center to help Zena, a patient with locked-in syndrome, write down her poems. There, Emma meets Samnang, another volunteer who assists elderly Cambodian refugees. Weekly visits to the care center, Zena’s poems, dance, and noodle soup bring Emma and Samnang closer until Emma must make a painful choice: stay in Massachusetts or return early to Japan. THE LANGUAGE INSIDE is a YA verse novel rich in language both spoken and unspoken and poetry that crosses boundaries. 

WOOP – Work Of Outstanding Promise by an R.A., A.R.A or I.C.

The WOOP Grant Winner and $2,000 award goes to Genetta Adair, Regional Advisor for the Midsouth Region (Kentucky and Tennessee) for her novel THE VANISHINGS, a story about the poor who live and work in the massive toxic dump of Guatemala City. Genetta will use the money to travel to Guatemala to experience in person what she is writing about.

Genetta Adair, RA Midsouth (KY/TN)

I contacted Genetta with congratulations, and here's what she shared:

I am humbled, honored, and thrilled to receive this grant! I look forward to traveling to Guatemala to complete the research needed to give my manuscript authenticity. I'm grateful to SCBWI for this award and for always supporting the RAs, ARAs, and ICs. SCBWI is the best!

I've enjoyed serving the SCBWI members of the Midsouth (KY/TN) since 2009 as regional advisor and since 2006 when I began working on the Midsouth conference committee. I've loved getting to know the people of the Midsouth and also working with them to offer events that inspire, inform, and edify. I've been involved in other writing organizations in the past but never felt the love and encouragement that SCBWI fosters in its members for one another. This is the most wonderful writing organization ever! But more than that, SCBWI is an amazing family. 

A special WOOP Honor Book and a $1,000 award goes to Quinette Cook, Minnesota Regional Advisor, for her novel in verse, GILT, the story of a teen living out of her parents van and trying to keep her family together.  Quinette will use the money to pay down student loans and pursue additional writing workshops.

Quinette Cook, Regional Advisor Minnesota

Here's Quinette's experience of finding out she'd been honored...

I first found out that I received the award when Jessica Freeburg, MN ARA, called to congratulate me. (I was busy cleaning house before leaving for the LA conference and hadn’t been online all day to see Lin Oliver’s announcement.) I can’t share with you the exact words I repeated over and over as I hopped around the kitchen, but it sounded an awful lot like something any teen might shout when expressing disbelief. Then I cried. (And then I told my husband I made $1000 just for writing a few poems!)

GILT is the story of a teen living out of her parent’s van. Danny will do whatever it takes to keep her family together and her little sister safe – even steal from churches. I knew that I would write this story, based on a 2004 news article, long before I discovered novels in verse. This piece was my creative thesis at Hamline University and I want to thank Ron Koertge for his ongoing support and for daring me to “jump in” and swim.

In addition, I can’t begin to express how wonderful SCBWI is. From my very first regional conference (some 10 years ago) to my current role as MN Regional Advisor it has been a place of welcome and encouragement (a place for all us weird creative types who love children’s literature). The WOOP Award is just one of many ways Lin and Stephen support its members. It is such an honor to receive this recognition for my work.

Thank-Q SCBWI!

The 2011 Winners were:

RAM Grant: Q.L. Pearce, Assistant RA from Orange County, for her book Red Bird Sings: the Story of Zitkala Sa, Native American Author, Musician, and Activist,  from Carolrhoda Books.  She plans to use the money to coordinate school visits with Native American Heritage Month in November, to make media/teaching kits to be sent to national and local museums, and to donate books to 5th grade classes at reservation schools.  Since winning the RAM Grant, Q's book has several awards (including the Carter G. Woodson gold medal) and was named part of the 2013 California Collection!

WOOP Grant:  Alice McGinty, co-RA from Illinois, for her upper-elementary biography of Gandhi, called Gandhi: Hope of the Future. Alice has interest in the book from her editor at Houghton Miflin, but it is not yet contracted.  She plans to use the grant money to travel to India to gather primary source information, and even has plans to work with Gandhi’s grandson.

Congratulations to all!

Illustrate and Write On,


Elizabeth O Dulemba said...

CONGRATULATIONS to all! Well earned! :)

Jeanette W. Stickel said...

I look forward to reading these books. They sound like ones I'll enjoy introducing to my students. Congratulations to each of you!