Thursday, April 30, 2020

BookBub Compiles 15 Ways Authors are Using Instagram to Connect with Readers Amidst Physical Distancing

There's a lot to appreciate about this piece by Evelyn Maguire, 15 Ways Authors are Using Instagram to Overcome Physical Distancing Challenges.

I'll start with how much I prefer the expression "Physical Distancing" to "Social Distancing." This is precisely when we need to feel closer to each other socially - and technology can help with that. It's just we need physical distance between us to keep everyone safe. It's an important distinction.

The article's content is inspiring as well. While the examples are all from Instagram, they're applicable to other platforms and forms of social media. Here are some highlights of how authors are overcoming physical distancing challenges:

1. They’re hosting Q&As via Instagram Live
Authors have been making themselves more accessible to readers by inviting them to scheduled or impromptu Q&As via Instagram Live.

3. They’re recommending quarantine reads
Many authors are sharing book recommendations with their readers.

4. They’re bringing book launches to readers virtually
For many authors, coronavirus has disrupted their much-anticipated book releases and launch events. So many are using Instagram to celebrate their launches virtually instead.

10. They’re offering ways to help fellow writers
Some authors are providing writing guidance as a way to help fellow writers during this stressful time!

15. They’re trying to lighten the mood
With humorous videos, pictures, and memes, many authors have been sharing lighthearted moments with their followers.

Check out the full piece and all the examples here.

Illustrate and Write on - and feel connected socially (even while we're physically distant),

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Listen to the Latest SCBWI Podcast: A Conversation with Senior Executive Editor Sara Sargent

Sara Sargent is a senior executive editor at Random House Books for Young Readers, where she publishes fiction and nonfiction in the picture book, middle grade, and young adult categories.

In this conversation with Theo Baker, Sara discusses trends and readers, her career path, the evolution of her lists as an acquiring editor, 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, April 23, 2020

Remembering Tomie dePaola - The Author/Illustrator Who Put the "I" in SCBWI

Tomie dePaola passed away at the end of March, 2020.

There have been some beautiful online tributes to him, including this remembrance from SCBWI's Executive Director and Co-Founder Lin Oliver, who writes of their friendship, and of Tomie's contribution to SCBWI:
Tomie’s role in SCBWI was huge. He was an early Board member, and gave one of our first keynote banquet speeches during which he read The Clown of God to a tearful audience. He was a tireless advocate for illustrators, and was the one who insisted we include illustrators in our name (before him, it was the SCBW). He conducted the first master class intensive at the conference. He sponsored the Tomie dePaola award, now called the Narrative Art Award. He spoke at so many conferences, loved our organization and our community. His art was featured on the very first full color Bulletin cover.

and this piece in Publishers Weekly,

which includes some great memories, including from Author/Illustrator and Art Director Laurent Linn, who wrote,

Tomie was dance and music and color and wit and theater. He crafted all of these elements into his art, layering them in just the right amounts depending on the story, and created books that were beautiful but also spoke to the soul of a child. He understood the minds of children, their desire to discover, their need for respect. While I’ve never known anyone whose laugh resonated as deeply as Tomie’s, he wasn’t all light and sparkle (though he certainly was those!) He was also profound and thoughtful about the peaks and valleys of his life. He had his woes.

But I learned from him and was profoundly inspired by how he got through—no, how he grew—during difficult times. He spoke of being young and gay in the 1940s and 1950s and the blatant discrimination he faced, the horrible losses of family he loved and friends who were his chosen family, and painful low points in his long career. But he always had hope. The last time I spoke with him was on Sunday, March 21. I asked him about the unsettling and unknown times we’re facing today. No offense, I said, but you’ve lived a long time and seen so much. (He laughed and said no offense taken—he’d earned his 85 years!) How did this horrific virus compare to anything he had experienced before? He said it’s nothing like what he has known, but he was hopeful. He spoke of wanting to use this time to look at things differently, to have more compassion for others, to rethink how we live our lives and come out better than we were before. I am devastated that he is gone and still can’t believe it. But as we face the future without him, I shall carry his hope, and his sparkle, with me every day.
Our world is so much better for having had Tomie part of it. And we have his books, still.

Read more about Tomie, and his books. As Lin wrote, "His legacy endures in all ways, big and small."

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Time to Vote for the SCBWI Crystal Kite Awards - Round 1 Voting is Open April 14, 2020 - April 27, 2020 (at 5pm US pacific time)

The annual Crystal Kite Award is a peer-given award to recognize great books from 15 SCBWI regional divisions around the world.

Note that you must be an SCBWI member to vote, and you may only vote for a book that is in your own division. Those 15 divisions are:

 US Divisions
· Atlantic (Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Washington DC, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland)
· California, Hawaii
· Midsouth (Kansas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana)
· Midwest (Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio)
· New England (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire. Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island)
· New York
· Southeast (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama)
· Southwest (Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Southern Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico)
· Texas, Oklahoma
· West (Washington, Northern Idaho, Oregon, Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota) 

International Divisions
· Australia, New Zealand
· Canada
· Europe, Latin America, Africa
· Middle East, India, Asia
· United Kingdom, Ireland

 Here are the voting instructions, from the Crystal Kite Awards Q&A page:
When voting begins there will be a link to vote from your “My Home” page.

Please note that you must be logged in to vote.

You can only vote for the titles in YOUR Division.
You can only vote ONCE in each round.
To cast your vote:
log on to 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!
Round Two Voting will take place May 1 – May 13, 2020.

Illustrate, and Write, and Vote On,

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Words Without Borders Celebrates International Children's Literature in their April 2020 Issue

SCBWI International Translator Coordinator Avery Fischer Udagawa reached out to share that the April 2020 issue of "Words Without Borders" is "Child's Play: International Children's Literature."

As the editors explain,
"This month, with so many families home together and everyone craving comfort, we present an issue of international children’s literature. From ageless witches to teenage cliques, in settings ranging from Fascist Italy to the contemporary Middle East, the writers here offer characters and themes both fantastic and familiar. Pietro Albì’s village child is bedeviled by a surprising apparition. Sachiko Kashiwaba delivers a twist on a fairy tale trope. Hooda El Shuwa’s teenager finds a magical solution to a very real conflict, and Sandrine Kao sits in on lessons in combatting racism. Justyna Bednarek’s young boy marvels at his neighbor’s wonderful invention, while Angelika Glitz catches up with a granny who trades her walker for a forklift. And in a story reflecting what we’re all longing for now, Maria Parr’s preschooler reminds us of the restorative power of hugs. Children’s literature expert Daniel Hahn guest edits and introduces these stories for readers of all ages."
It's a great way to get a taste of some children's literature in translation. Special shout out to Avery for translating the Sachiko Kashiwaba story!

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

#AuthorsTakeAction - Padma Venkatraman launches a social media campaign to amplify authors’ books – and save lives.

We Need Diverse Books amplifies Padma's call for #AuthorsTakeAction

It was trending on Twitter, reported in Publishers Weekly, and it's the brainchild of MG author Padma Venkatraman, who explains in an open letter on her website,

We’re launching a hashtag campaign #AuthorsTakeAction on Thursday, April 9th to show our readers that we stand together by being apart.

Why? Because if we don’t act together, soon, the toll taken by COVID19 will only increase. Our readers are frustrated and looking for guidance from people they trust: celebrities, athletes, teachers, authors. Let’s use our platform to reach them with an important message: Take social distancing seriously. Save lives. Our emergency personnel need our support.

What do you need to do? Take a copy of one of your books and put a sticky note on it with hashtag #AuthorsTakeAction. Snap a selfie with the book and post-it. Provide a short message that might read/say: “Stay in Place. Read Books. Stay Safe.” Or “Hold books in your hands. Hold people in your heart.” Or “Show Your Love, Keep Your Distance.” Or “Get close to book characters. Stay 6 ft away from strangers.” Or something from your own heart to encourage our readers to take social distancing seriously and stay healthy.
Join in, amplify, follow along... and help spread the word that social distancing can help save lives.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

What Writers Do: A Reflection on Making Art During Quarantine - by Elana K. Arnold

This piece by Elana K. Arnold, part of the SCBWI Insight for April, 2020, said it so well! Elana writes of there being:

"two conflicting schools of thought: the first said that Shakespeare wrote King Lear while quarantined from the plague, Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein because of the ‘Volcanic Winter’ caused by the eruption of Mount Tambora, and Van Gough painted Starry Night while living in an asylum; if they could create such work in these situations, then so, too, should we be gestating and birthing the next generation of Great Art during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The other school of thought seemed to be: Did you put on pants today? If so, you are a hero."
Read the full article here for Elana's wisdom, with heart.

Illustrate and Write On, and most of all—stay safe,

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

#SCBWIdigital week 2 - Don't Miss Editor Sara Sargent on "Outstanding Openers"

Registration is now open for this Free-To-Members SCBWI digital workshop!

Sara Sargent is a Senior Executive Editor at Random House Children's Books, and she'll be sharing her favorite first pages and describing what she thinks makes them so great.

We'll learn about the seven key elements to a good beginning to a middle grade or young adult novel, and how to put them to work.

The workshop will take place online, on Thursday April 9, 2020, from 1pm-2pm Pacific.

Hope you'll be joining us!

Illustrate and Write On—and most of all, Stay Safe.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

SCBWI Digital Workshops Start Tomorrow with Kate Messner sharing "Big Picture Revision for Middle Grade and Young Adult Novels"

SCBWI is offering members a series of no-charge digital workshops to support our members during this time.

Starting April 2, SCBWI will provide weekly on-hour webinars with renowned children's book creators, editors, agents, and art directors. The events will take place live via Zoom and are free of charge for any SCBWI member anywhere in the world. If you can't attend live (or if it fills up), a video recording of each workshop will be available on the SCBWI web site for one month afterward.

Workshop #1 is tomorrow, Thursday, April 2, 2020 from 1pm-2pm Pacific
Kate Messner, Author

Workshop #2 will be Thursday, April 9, 2020 from 1pm-2pm Pacific
Sara Sargent, Senior Executive Editor, Random House Children's Books

Workshop #3 will be Thursday April 16, 2020 from 1pm-2pm Pacific
Henry Winkler, Author and Actor
Lin Oliver, Author

Workshop #4 will be Thursday, April 23, 2020 from 1pm-2pm Pacific
Jennifer Vassel, Author

Workshop ##5 will be Thursday, April 30, 2020 from 1pm-2pm
Kait Feldmann, Editor, Scholastic

Workshop #6 will be Thursday, May 7, 2020 from 1pm-2pm Pacific
Laurent Linn, Art Director, Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Cecilia Yung, Art Director and Vice President, Penguin Books for Young Readers

Workshop #7 will be Thursday, May 14, 2020 from 1pm-2pm Pacific
Linda Sue Park, Author

Workshop #8 will be Thursday, May 21, 2020 from 1pm-2pm Pacific
Marietta Zacker, Co-Owner and Agents, Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency

Registration opens for each workshop the Monday before, and is limited to the first 1,000 members to sign up.

We hope to see you there, and stay safe!

Illustrate and Write On,