Tuesday, November 29, 2016


“If you poured water on a great poem, you would get a novel.” 

-Gloria Steinem, from the New York Times Book Review, “By the Book” interview from Sunday November 1, 2015.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Poem About Gratitude (and a cool poetry resource)

Amid the tumult. Amid the noise.

Take a minute, and write a poem about what makes you grateful.

A haiku. A sonnet. Something that rhymes. Or something that doesn't. An acrostic. A fib. A pantoum...

Consider making it a Thanksgiving day activity for those you're sharing the holiday with. (And if you live in a country where Thanksgiving isn't a thing, maybe do it just because!)

Play with words. Have fun. And let your art, and the feeling of gratitude, inspire you...

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Butt-In-Chair Inspiration

Thanks to Bruce for including this gem of a quote in his new newsletter (which also contained a great piece by Martha Brockenbrough, "Object Lessons: How To Deepen Your Story With Metaphor")

More on David here and Bruce here and Martha here. (And I made the above meme on canva.com, a really fun and easy-to-use tool that lets even us writers create professional-looking visuals.)

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

#KidLitSafetyPins - our community stands against bullying and marginalization

The climate in the US, in the aftermath of Donald Trump's election as our 45th President, is loud and confusing. There are many people who feel unsafe. And there are many people who want to stand up as Allies to help keep others safe.

In response to this, a Safety Pin movement has sprung up. It started in Britain in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, and has come to be a way to communicate that the person who wears the safety pin is an ally to those who are in some way under-represented and marginalized.

Members of our Children's Literature community have joined in, creating images of their beloved characters wearing safety pins, and sharing messages of support. Here are a few, by Peter Reynolds, Dan Santat, Stephanie Olivieri, Salina Yoon, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, Tom Angleberger, and Raina Telgemeier...

An important note about #KidLitSafetyPins was shared by author Kate Messner in a recent Facebook post,

Teacher & librarian friends... If this is something you plan to share with students, please also take time to talk about what it means to have someone's back when it comes to fighting bullying and bigotry. Wearing a safety pin (or putting up a poster) doesn't really help unless it's accompanied by a promise of action. Speaking up and standing beside people who are being targeted requires courage, commitment, and planning. Here's a resource that I think is great for talking with middle grade kids and older. https://www.splcenter.org/20150126/speak-responding-everyday-bigotry
And, of course, children's literature is a great resource to have these conversations with younger people as well!

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Kathleen Burkinshaw wins the Honor Book Award for the SCBWI Marketing Grant

I caught up with Kathleen to find out more...

Lee: Congratulations on The Last Cherry Blossom being the Honor Book Award-Winner for the SCBWI Marketing Grant! Please tell us about your book.

Kathleen: The Last Cherry Blossom is about a 12-year-old girl's life with her family in Hiroshima during the last year of WWII. She discovers a shocking family secret right before her world becomes a shadow of what it had been. It is through her eyes the reader witnesses the horror and destruction from the atomic bomb. 

Lee: Tell us how you plan to use the grant to spread the word about your book.

Kathleen: My hope is to present my mother’s story to various Japanese societies, middle schools, and nuclear disarmament organizations. I also would like to add my book to school reading lists and being able to visit additional schools, so I have sent proposals to School Library, Social Studies, and Reading Associations for their conferences (in some instances I also have to pay a membership fee to submit a proposal). I'm also working on a teacher's guide that could be downloaded from my website. I recently had to hire someone to help me with website development. And of course, I will also be utilizing SCBWI's Book Blast page opportunity. I am very excited to say that I have also been involved with the Green Legacy Hiroshima program through the United Nations office in Hiroshima. I have partnered Green Legacy and UNC Charlotte, so that a sapling from the seed of a tree that survived the atomic blast in Hiroshima may be planted in front of their Education building. This ginkgo sapling will be dedicated to my mother's family and to all the atomic bomb victims of August 6th and 9th. My husband and I had to travel down to Atlanta to pick up the sapling and bring it to UNCC. 

Lee: Is there something the grant enables you to do that you couldn’t do otherwise?

Kathleen: Because of this grant I will be able to travel and present to Peace Action Staten Island, New York, and do a presentation at the Japanese Embassy in Washington DC in Spring 2017! The actual dates are still being worked out. The grant will help me with travel expenses, since I live in Charlotte, NC. 

Thank you, Kathleen. And congratulations again! 

You can learn more about Kathleen and her novel The Last Cherry Blossom here. 

Illustrate and Write On, 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Caleb Krisp's "Five Habits of Highly Ineffective Authors"

This is snarky and funny good wisdom – Caleb Krisp on MyBookCorner, the "Five Habits of Highly Ineffective Authors."

Here's the first habit:
1) Limit your writing time to those moments when you are seized by a great burst of inspiration that bathes you in a golden light of free flowing creativity. These moments, when the words seem to flow from your very finger tips, may only strike a few days out of every month. Or a few minutes in every day. Or perhaps once or twice in a lifetime. But if you are patient and wait for lightning to strike, you'll finish your novel in no time. Assuming you are immortal.
Check out the full article here. 

Illustrate and Write On, 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Book Blast 10 Plus Club! (And members' chance to win $100 gift card, which could buy some great books!)

This is cool!

In the words of SCBWI Executive Director Lin Oliver,

The SCBWI Book Blast has been running since October 10 and, to date, we have had over 25,000 visitors browsing and buying the great children's books created by our membership.

Book Blast will be open until Friday, November 18. We want to encourage every SCBWI member to go on to browse and shop for books.

To add a little incentive for you to do this, we're establishing the 10 Plus Club Giveaway.

To enter all you have to do is browse the pages, pick 10 books and leave a comment in the Guestbook. Once you've left 10 comments, email us at BBfan (at) scbwi (dot) org by Sunday 11/13 with your list of the 10 books (just the title will do) you've commented on.

You will then be eligible for the drawing. The drawing will be on Tuesday 11/15. Five lucky winners will receive a $100 VISA gift card.

Join with our community in supporting Book Blast, and have a chance to spread book love and win some money, too!

So go on over and browse SCBWI Member's books and leave some comments in the Book Blast guestbooks! Have fun, and good luck!

Illustrate and Write On,