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Karen Cushman Late Bloomer Award – An award for a work-in-progress from an unpublished author over age 50.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,