Thursday, December 27, 2018

The SCBWI Offers More Than 30 Grants and Awards -- Plan What You'll Submit to for 2019!

Check out all the SCBWI Awards and Grants here and below:


Manuscript Awards – Given in conjunction with the SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles, these awards are for promising manuscripts submitted for individual critique at the Summer Conference.
Emerging Voices Award – Established with funding from Martin and Sue Schmitt of the 455 Foundation to foster the emergence of diverse voices in children’s books.
Student Writer Scholarship – Conference tuition for full-time university students in an English or creative writing program.
Work-in-Progress Grants – To assist children’s book writers and illustrators in the completion of a specific project currently not under contract. Given in the categories of: Picture Book Text, Chapter Books/Early Readers, Middle Grade, Young Adult Fiction, Nonfiction, Multicultural Fiction or Nonfiction, and Translation.
Karen Cushman Late Bloomer Award – An award for a work-in-progress from an unpublished author over age 50.
SCBWI PJ Library Jewish Stories Award – An award sponsored by the PJ Library to encourage the creation of more high-quality Jewish children’s literature.
Ann Whitford Paul Writer’s Digest Manuscript Award – An annual award given to the manuscript of a Most Promising Picture Book manuscript.

Art Spot – Selected illustrations are chosen quarterly to be featured in the Bulletin.
Portfolio Awards – Given to the top portfolios submitted to the annual SCBWI Summer or Winter Conferences.
Student Illustrator Scholarship – Conference tuition for full-time university students studying illustration.
Narrative Art Award – Given annually to an illustrator of promise based on a given prompt.
Don Freeman Work-in-Progress Grant – To assist illustrators in the completion of a book dummy or portfolio.
Featured Illustrator – One SCBWI illustrator member is chosen each month. You must have your art uploaded to the SCBWI Illustrator Gallery to qualify.
Draw This! – A monthly art prompt, part of the SCBWI publication Insight. All submissions shown on the online gallery, and two winners featured in Insight, the website, and in social media.
Bologna Illustrator Gallery (BIG) – Given bi-annually to an illustrator of promise. The winner is announced at the New York Conference, and the winning art is displayed prominently at the SCBWI Bologna Book Fair Booth.


Book Launch Award – Provides authors or illustrators with $2,000 in funds to help promote their newly published work.
Crystal Kite Awards – Peer-given award to recognize great books from fifteen SCBWI regional divisions around the world.
Golden Kite Awards – Instituted in 1973, the Golden Kite Awards are the only children’s literary award judged by a jury of peers. The Golden Kite Awards recognize excellence in children’s literature in five categories: Young Reader and Middle Grade Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Book Text, and Picture Book Illustration.
Jane Yolen Mid-List Author Grant – Critically acclaimed children’s book author Jane Yolen created this grant to honor the contribution of mid-list authors.
Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award – The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award recognizes and encourages the publication of an excellent book of poetry or anthology for children and/or young adults. This award is given every three years.
Magazine Merit Award – For original magazine work for young people in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Illustration, and Poetry.
Martha Weston Grant – The Martha Weston Grant was established by the Hairston Family to remember author/illustrator Martha Weston. The grant helps authors and illustrators who want to switch children’s book genres.
Sid Fleischman Award – Given with the Golden Kite Awards, an award for exemplary writing for children in the genre of humor.
Spark Award – An annual award that recognizes excellence in a children’s book published through a non-traditional publishing route.


Work-in-Progress Grants – To assist children’s book writers and illustrators in the completion of a specific project currently not under contract. Given in the categories of: Picture Book Text, Chapter Books/Early Readers, Middle Grade, Young Adult Fiction, Nonfiction, Multicultural Fiction or Nonfiction, and Translation.


Amber Brown – The Amber Brown Grant commemorates author and beloved school speaker Paula Danziger. One school is awarded each year with an author or illustrator visit and new books to continue Paula’s love of connecting children with creative influences.
Tribute Fund – The SCBWI Tribute Fund commemorates members of the children’s book community, their lives, and their work by funding all-expense scholarships to the SCBWI International Summer and Winter Conferences for the general membership.



Student Writer Scholarship – Conference tuition for full-time university students in an English or creative writing program.
Student Illustrator Scholarship – Conference tuition for full-time university students studying illustration.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The Gift of Filling The Well - Advice from Julia Cameron of "The Artists Way"

Especially at holiday-time, these words of wisdom from Julia Cameron feel extra-helpful:
Art is an image-using system. In order to create, we draw from our inner well. This inner well, an artistic reservoir, is ideally like a well-stocked trout pond. We've got big fish, little fish, fat fish, skinny fish-- an abundance of artistic fish to fry. As artists, we must realize that we have to maintain this artistic ecosystem...

As artists we must learn to be self-nourishing. We must become alert enough to consciously replenish our creative resources as we draw on them-- to restock the trout pond, so to speak. I call this process filling the well.
Is it time to fill your well? 

Happy Holidays,

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Does Your Biography Have a Character Through-Line? Martha Brockenbrough Explains a Crucial Element of Writing Successful Biographies for Young People

In this in-depth interview with Matthew Winner on The Children's Book Podcast, Martha Brockenbrough speaks about her latest book, Unpresidented: A Biography of Donald Trump.

In particularly fascinating section of their discussion (about 10:40 in), Martha shares something she faced when writing both this biography of Trump and Alexander Hamilton, Revolutionary.
“If I were to sum him up, what does he want? And this is something that biographers do. Who is this person and what drives them?

Alexander Hamilton, when he wrote a letter, when he was a young man, to a girl who had dumped him, he said 'I'm going to be okay, because my motto is all for love.' And I thought about that letter, and as I looked as his life, I thought, okay, was love motivating this? And indeed it was. Here's love of country. And here's him motivated by wanting to be lovable. Very much all for love was his motto, and he lived by that.

Trump wants to win. There's that poem that he wrote when he was a little boy, I love to hear the crowd give cheer, so loud and noisy in my ears. He was writing about baseball, and how much he didn't like to lose. Trump wants to win. That's it. That's what motivates him. Whatever he needs to do to win, he will do. If that laws are in his way, he will dodge them, he will break them, he will call them stupid. If the norms of civility prevent something, he will crush those norms. Trump wants to win. If he hasn't won, he will call the other person a loser. If he's gone bankrupt, he'll call that winning by another definition—Trump wants to win.”
It's a great question to ask ourselves as writers when we face the challenge of telling the story of someone's life (or a portion of their life.) Who is this person and what drives them?

The entire The Children's Book Podcast interview with Martha is well-worth listening to!

You can learn more about Martha Brockenbrough. her nonfiction, and her fiction work here at her website.

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Listen to the Latest SCBWI Podcast: A Conversation with Namrata Tripathi

Namrata Tripathi is Vice President & Publisher of Kokila, a newly-formed imprint of Penguin Young Readers that is dedicated to centering stories from the margins. In this exclusive interview with Theo Baker, Namrata shares about her journey as an editor of picture books, middle grade, and young adult titles, what she's learned on the way, and the vision behind her new imprint!

Listen to the episode trailer here.

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

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, December 13, 2018

A Very White 'How I Landed in Children's Books' in Publishers Weekly

Grateful for the inclusion of Ginee Seo, the one person of color highlighted in the PW article

Yes, the twenty-one stories shared in "How I Landed In Children's Books" vary a bit - Children's Book "Industry Veterans" telling us about the friend-of-a-friend, or the college roommate, or their college dean's friend, or responding to the ad... all fun and interesting how-I-made-that-first-connection that took them to children's books.

And yes, there's the opportunity to make a game of it, i.e., can you guess whose path included a failed CIA test?

 Brenda Bowen, Literary agent, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates

Yolanda Scott, Associate publisher, Charlesbridge Publishing

David Levithan, V-p, publisher, and editorial director, Scholastic

Cathy Goldsmith, President and publisher of Beginner Books, Random House Children’s Books

Elise Howard, Editor and publisher, Algonquin Young Readers

Abigail McAden, Associate publisher, Scholastic

Susan Van Metre, Executive editorial director, Walker Books U.S.

Jennifer Greene, Senior editor, Clarion Books

Hilary Van Dusen, Executive editor, Candlewick Press

Donna Bray, V-p and copublisher, Balzer + Bray, HarperCollins Children’s Books

Dinah Stevenson, Editor-at-large and former publisher, Clarion Books

Laura Godwin, V-p and publisher of Godwin Books, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

Ginee Seo, Children’s publishing director, Chronicle Books

Beverly Horowitz, Senior v-p and publisher, Delacorte Press

Charles Kochman, Editorial director, Abrams

Debra Dorfman, V-p and publisher, global licensing, brands and media, Scholastic

Liz Bicknell, Executive editorial director and associate publisher, Candlewick Press

Victoria Stapleton, Executive director of school and library marketing, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Mary Lee Donovan, Editorial director and director of editorial operations, Candlewick Press

Caroline Wells, Coordinator, desktop projects, managing editorial, HarperCollins

Kristen Pettit, Executive editor, HarperCollins Children’s Books

Yes, it's fun. And yes, these are all successful people in our industry, totally deserving of being profiled.

Yet... it's telling that out of twenty-one featured children's book industry professionals, there is only one person of color included. And, perhaps not coincidently, Ginee Seo's story was the only one that spoke of being part of a program designed to bring in promising young people to the industry.

Clearly, structured efforts to diversify children's publishing can help.

And when reporting on the industry (even in 'fun' How I Landed in Children's Publishing pieces like this one), we should be mindful that presenting children's publishing as a table with nineteen white women, one gay man, and one Asian woman sends a message that is not particularly inclusive...

And if we want to bring more diversity to our industry, we should add more chairs to that table (and more profiles to these kinds of articles), enough for editors and agents and marketing and sales people of color, people who are disabled, and  people who are LGBTQ, too.

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

"The World’s on Fire. Can We Still Talk About Books?" - A reminder of the importance of what we do

This essay, The World’s on Fire. Can We Still Talk About Books?, by Rebecca Makkai at Electric Lit is so spot-on!

Rebecca asks something I know many of us are grappling with:
Is it really okay to talk about art right now? To leave the real and broken world behind and talk about fictional ones?
Highlights of her essay:
The idea that art is born of leisure, during times of peace, is a simplistic romance, a non-artist’s daydream.
Of course, it’s one thing to believe in Angels in America, to believe in Picasso’s Guernica, and another to believe in your own sloppy first draft, or in a picture book about a monkey. One thing to fight for the first amendment, and another to retweet an invite for your friend’s poetry reading. It’s hard to feel you’re helping the world by announcing your Pushcart nomination.

But the exercise of freedom is a de facto defense of that same freedom. Freely making art, and freely talking about the art you made, is valuable in and of itself when free expression is being eroded. If anyone’s still taking that freedom for granted, it’s time to wake up and smell the history.
The whole piece is well-worth reading!

Illustrate and Write On, 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to Deliver Remarks at SCBWI Golden Kite Awards Gala!

U.S. Supreme Court Justice — and children's book author — Sonia Sotomayor (photo credit: Elena Seibert)

This is exciting!

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will deliver remarks at the Golden Kite Awards Gala on Friday, February 8, 2019, with a talk entitled How I Became a Reader.

Justice Sotomayor is the author of two books for young readers: Turning Pages: My Life Story (Philomel)

and The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor (Delacorte).

Each attendee at the Golden Kite Gala will receive a signed copy of one of Justice Sotomayor’s books. The Golden Kite Gala kicks off the 2019 annual Winter Conference in New York City. The conference is sold out, but you can follow all the happenings with the hashtag:


So much to look forward to!

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

SCBWI Work-In-Progress Grant Opens To Translators in 2019

Good news for translators, as reported by Avery Fischer Udagawa, SCBWI International and Japan Translator Coordinator:
SCBWI has opened the Work-In-Progress grant program to translators. Starting in 2019, SCBWI member translators can follow the instructions here and here to submit to the WIP Translation category.

Avery explains the importance of this news, saying

"I am thrilled about this because translators, too, work as independently contracted creatives (often under-credited and -compensated) and need such support to build careers. No other grant of this kind is currently available for translation of children's literature."

Cheers to Avery, International Regional Advisor Chairperson Kathleen Ahrens, SCBWI Board of Advisors Co-Chair Christopher Cheng, as well as SCBWI founders Stephen Mooser and Lin Oliver for making this change happen, and good luck to our translator members of SCBWI!

Find out more about the SCBWI Work in Progress Grants here.

Illustrate, and Write, and Translate On,

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Listen to the Newest SCBWI Podcast: A Conversation With Bruce Coville

Bruce Coville is the celebrated author of over 100 books for children and young readers. In this exclusive interview with Theo Baker, Bruce speaks of audiobooks, covers and titles, first lines, shares how he's “always attempting to write a book I would have wanted to read at age ten, or twelve,” offers some sage advice, and considers how literature can offer young people role models in a way that reality no longer does.

It's a wide-ranging, wonderful interview with one of our industry's most fabulous (and funniest) authors!

Listen to the episode trailer here.

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

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

One Way SCBWI Members Give Back (And Next Year, You Can, Too!): SCBWI’s 2nd Annual Books For Readers Literacy Initiative

Members of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators joined forces again as part of our 2nd Annual SCBWI Books For Readers book drive to collect, curate, and donate new books created by our members to two 2018 recipients: the Indian Education Program of the Fargo and West Fargo Public Schools in North Dakota, and the Literacy Alliance in Oviedo, Florida.

“We are thrilled to receive this generous donation of books. Many of our families do not have the luxury of having books in their homes,” said Melody Staebner, the Fargo and West Fargo Public Schools’ Indian Education Coordinator and an enrolled member in the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. “With this donation during our Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we can reinforce the importance of reading at school and at home! We know that if kids are excited about reading, and are competent readers by the third grade, they will have a better chance of graduating high school—one of our program’s goals, as well as following their dreams!"

SCBWI's Lin Oliver added, “Getting books into children’s hands is why we create books—to help build dreams. And, getting our books into hands of readers in need... is a dream come true!”

Photos from the Indigenous People's Day celebration in North Dakota:

And more from the Literacy Alliance celebration in Florida:

You can learn more about the SCBWI Books for Readers program here.

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, November 22, 2018

How Solving a Problem with the History of Her Historical Novel Opened Up The Novel's Characters and Story: Samantha Harvey in Publishers Weekly

In "Bartering with the Facts: How a Novelist Solves a Historical Problem," Samantha Harvey shares what happened when research revealed that the confession box she had scoffolded her 1491-set novel around wasn't in line with the history of confession boxes in Catholic Churches in England- she was off by about fifty years.
“I decided that I could keep the confession box in my novel if I could acknowledge and explain how it was that a small, inconsequential village called Oakham—itself made up—could be the first in England to have such a thing. What conditions could make it possible, and what social, cultural, psychological, religious detail could make it plausible? In terms of novel writing, plausibility seems to me the more interesting cousin of truth. It’s where facts are arranged in such a way that they align to form a feeling of truth—a truthiness—that infuses the novel and becomes part of its internal logic.”
She also writes,
“Writing is a form of spellbinding. Anything amiss will break the spell—anything that seems wrong or off-key or untrue or disingenuous or, ironically if fiction, made up. (Of course, fiction is making-up by and large, but the trick is to make it seem not so at least while the reader is reading.) The spell is cast when there is a feeling of truth about what’s happening—whether that’s come about by adhering closely to facts, or by subverting, manipulating and coloring the facts. To me this isn’t a moral question about fiction’s responsibility to the truth, as some would have it, but only an aesthetic question. You do whatever you need to do to sustain the spell.”
Samantha shares two other examples of things that were "off" about the history of her book, and how in one case, she corrected it, and in the other case, she didn't—and explains why.

It's a fascinating look into the “ the strange dance between fact and fiction that we call research” and writing historical fiction.

 Well-worth reading.

Illustrate and Write On, 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

What Writers Need To Know About Envy - an excellent article by Brooke Warner in Publishers Weekly's BookLife

Brooke makes some strong points in this piece, including:
According to Psychology Today columnist Mary C. Lambia, envy is an emotion “directed at another or others, wanting their qualities, success, or possession[s],” and it stems from shame. Knowing this can allow for some helpful self-inquiry. If we can allow ourselves to go there, we can address the manifestations of shame—addiction to approval; hypersensitivity to rejection; feelings of not being good enough; taking things personally; all-or-nothing thinking—for what they really are.
and she offers motivation and advice on ways to let go of envy, including these words from Dani Shapiro, author of the new memoir Hourglass,
“Envy is a waste of energy for writers. No one can tell your story. Do the work.”
It's well-worth reading, and some introspection...

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Check Your Respect - an excellent article about nurturing artists (ourselves and young people) by Paula Chase Hyman on The Brown Bookshelf

“Art is breathing for the artist.”

There is so much wisdom in this piece by Paula Chase Hyman, Check Your Respect.

Paula shares the not-so-helpful comments of others regarding her daughter's pursuit of a future as a dancer, and reflects on how her own journey as an author shares many of the same challenges...

And in the face of those challenges, Paula “knows what it’s like to have Art in you that you’re compelled to put out in the world.” And with that knowledge, she advocates for her daughter, for herself, and for those of us fortunate enough to read her words.

“Please stop smothering us with your fears and concerns. Negative energy is the artist’s natural enemy. We have enough self doubt to fill a stadium. Don’t push yours on us.

Root for us.

Support our work.

Tell others about the artists you know.

We put beauty into the world. That’s never a bad thing.”

Read the full piece here.

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Instagram for Illustrators - 10 handy "Basic Tips" from Illustrator Ohn Mar Win

Ohn Mar Win wrote this piece, Instagram for Illustrators - 10 Basic Tips for Gaining Great Followers back in August of 2015. At the time, she had 4,669 instagram followers. Today, she has 128,000 followers.

So check out Ohn Mar Win's advice, including this bonus piece of wisdom, “There are a surprising number of art directors and editors on Instagram who may not state they are art directors and use personal accounts to follow your work!!”

Two of the ten tips to highlight:

7) Hashtag your work appropriately - the most popular ones are...#art #artist #painting #illustration #drawing #draw #sketch #sketchbook#artoftheday #instaart #instaartist #wip #artistsoninstagram #sketchbook #watercolours (or whatever medium you've used) #yourname #illustration
9) Watermark your work (install iWatermark app) use the adjust/ vignette/ tilt shift function if you are worried about unscrupulous use of your art.

It's all excellent advice - check out the full article here, and follow Ohn_Mar_Win and other illustrators on Instagram for inspiration.

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Do You Use Instagram as an Author? Some Advice

Check out the inspiration and examples using the #bookgiveaway hashtag on Instagram

From Jane Friedman's blog, this excerpt, 5 Ways to Use Instagram as an Author, is from Social Media for Writers: Marketing Strategies for Building Your Audience and Selling Books (Writer’s Digest Books) by Tee Morris (@TeeMonster) and Pip Ballantine (@PhillipaJane).

Highlights include:

Competitions are a proven way to increase your number of followers on Instagram, but don’t go this route until you have at least a small following. It’s hard to make a splash if only a few people are following you... So what do you ask people to do? Keep it simple, and make sure it involves nothing dangerous or too outrageous. A picture of a participant with your book (“book selfies”), dressed up like a character, or posing with something significant related to the book (an artifact or some related item) are all good choices. Or you could go with something related to your genre that is more open to interpretation.

and Joanna Penn's at The Creative Penn's article, How to Use Instagram As An Author Plus 10 Ways to Grow Your Account Organically, offers some choice examples of how authors are successfully using instagram. From Poems, inspirations, book covers, author signing events, and quotes, there's so much inspiration!

How do you use Instagram?

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Can Diverse Books Save Us? In a divided world, librarians are on a mission - An excellent piece from School Library Journal

The call for diverse books is out, and librarians are answering... are we as children's book creators?

Check out this article in School Library, Can Diverse Books Save Us? In a divided world, librarians are on a mission.

A few highlights:
“She gasped when she saw a girl wearing hijab on the cover,” says Deborah Vose, recalling a seventh grader who wandered into her library one afternoon and stood, captivated, before a display of books. Staring at the cover of Brave, the 2017 graphic novel by Svetlana Chmakova, the student grasped the book and exclaimed, “Someone who looks like me!”

It was a brief moment of discovery and connection that would delight any educator, but to Vose, the librarian at South and East Middle Schools in Braintree, MA, it was especially significant. She—like the vast majority of respondents to a recent School Library Journal (SLJ) survey—has made it a priority to bring books reflecting diverse cultures and perspectives to the children and community she serves.
...a significant driver here is individual conviction—of the 1,156 survey respondents (school and public librarians serving children and teens in the United States and Canada), 72 percent told SLJ they consider it a personal goal to create a diverse collection.

“As a teen librarian in the whitest state in the union, I feel it is my duty to not have the collection reflect my community, but rather to reflect the wider world,” says Melissa Orth, a teen librarian at Curtis Memorial Library, in Brunswick, ME. “Books featuring characters with different cultural experiences from their own can educate teen readers and build empathy.” For Sandra Parks, broadening the collection of her library at Skyline Middle School in Harrisonburg, VA—an effort in which she has focused on acquiring more titles with LGBTQIA+, Muslim, and African American characters and themes—“may be the most important thing I have done in my career,” she says.
Go read the whole article here.

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Are You In for This Year's NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)?

Need motivation to churn out that first draft?

Understand the wisdom that you can't edit a blank page?

Want to know that you're on the journey with thousands - hundreds of thousands - of other writers?*

Then maybe you should participate in National Novel Writing Month!

Keep in mind that this is about creating a messy first draft, and you shouldn't be submitting your just-completed-by-sprinting-to-the-final-scene manuscript to anyone. In fact, consider that the other eleven months of the year might just be called National Novel Revision Months...

Having said that, NaNoWriMo can be powerful motivation.

Good luck, and have fun with writing your novel! If you're in, leave a comment, and let your SCBWI community cheer you on!


*In 2017, there were 402,142 participants in NaNoWriMo!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Listen to SCBWI's Newest Podcast: A Conversation with Andrea Davis Pinkney

Andrea Davis Pinkney is vice president, executive editor at Scholastic Books, and is also a New York Times bestselling and multi-award winning author. Andrea speaks with Theo about her path to being a reader and an editor, the insights she's gained from her background in journalism, the evolution of diversity in publishing, 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,

Thursday, October 25, 2018

It's Thursday Crawl at the SCBWI Book Stop!

Today, Thursday 10/25 only, 25 visitors to BookStop will have for a chance to win a $25 VISA gift card.

All you have to do is visit 25 pages, sign into the guestbook, and email a list of the pages you visited. Send your list to with the subject line “Thursday Page Crawl”. Emails must be sent on Thursday 10/25 only before 11:59pm, your local time. Entries sent after that time will not be eligible.

You could be one of 25 winners of the day! Winners will be picked at random on Friday 10/26. Winners' names will be posted on the BookStop incentives page. The more browsing, the more winning!

Good luck, and have a great time checking out the great books by SCBWI members!

You can visit BookStop here.

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Registration for the 20th Annual SCBWI Winter Conference in New York (#NY19SCBWI) Opens Today, Tuesday October 23, 2018 at 10AM Pacific

February 8-10, 2019, #NY19SCBWI will feature deep dives into art and craft, dynamic keynotes and presentations, networking, and so much more!

Find out all the details and register at the SCBWI website here.

We hope to see you in New York!

Illustrate and Write On,

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,

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"
"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,

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
"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,

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,

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
We Need Diverse Books

Read the full announcement here!

 Congratulations to all the winners!

 Illustrate and Write On,

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. Rafik 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:

Avery Fischer Udagawa serves as SCBWI International Translator Coordinator.