Thursday, April 15, 2021

Did You See The SCBWI Special Event: #KIDLITBLACKHISTORY Month Family Feud, with Host Kwame Alexander? If Not, Here's the Recording.

Kwame Alexander (bottom right) hosts, Don Tate (bottom left) represents The Brown Bookshelf, and April Powers (top left) represents SCBWI, the event's sponsors. Also show in this image is sign language interpreter,Vania Mollinedo (top right).

Check out this remarkable (and remarkably fun) event with children’s book creators Kwame Alexander, Jerry Craft, Van G. Garrett, Lamar Giles, Kwame Mbalia, Breanna J. McDaniel, Oge Mora, Karyn Parsons, and Alicia D. Williams -- a Family Feud-inspired trivia night celebrating Black history.

Sponsored by SCBWI (repped by April Powers) and The Brown Bookshelf (repped by Don Tate), you can find details and the link to download the #kidlitblackhistorymonth trivia questions and answers here.

As April says in the intro, it's an event "Centering Black Lives, Black Joy, and Black Stories."

Don Tate spoke about how "Black history month should be celebrated throughout the year" - and I agree! He spoke about how Black history is under attack, and called to children's book creators, saying "Keep writing those books. We need those books that celebrate Black girl magic, and Black boy joy, but yes, we also need those books that tell the truth about our history."

It's important, educational, and entertaining! Watch it now.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Crystal Kite Award Round One Voting Ends April 14 at 5pm Pacific #SCBWI21CK

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

Have you voted yet?

It's easy. All SCBWI members are eligible to vote: You must be logged in at - there will be a link to vote from your “My Home” page. 

Note that:
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!

Get all the details about SCBWI's Crystal Kite Awards here.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

Thursday, April 8, 2021

More Consolidation in the Book Biz: HarperCollins to Acquire Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books & Media

Widely reported, and quoted here from the Publishers Weekly article by Jim Milliot,
"No one in the industry was surprised last week when HarperCollins emerged as the buyer for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books & Media, the sixth-largest trade publisher in the U.S. Ever since HC and its parent company, News Corp, lost out to Bertelsmann’s Penguin Random House in its bid to buy Simon & Schuster last November, HC was seen as the favorite to acquire the HMH trade operation, which parent company HMH put up for sale last fall. The biggest question mark was what the purchase price would be. The answer is $349 million in cash."
The article explained that,

"The HMH purchase will keep HC firmly entrenched as the country’s second-largest trade publisher, with revenue of about $2 billion."

Back in November 2020, when Penguin Random House bought Simon & Schuster, there was a lot of noise made about how consolidation is not good news for creators. 

Like this article by Alex Shephard in New Republic, Pretty Soon There'll Be Just One Big Book Publisher Left

And at that time, the Authors Guild released a statement that read, in part:
"Less competition would make it even more difficult for agents and authors to negotiate for better deals, or for the Authors Guild to help secure changes to standard publishing contracts—because authors, even best-selling authors, wouldn’t have many options, making it harder to walk away. The history of publishing consolidation has also taught us that authors are further hurt by such mergers due to editorial layoffs, canceling of contracts, a reduction in diversity among authors and ideas, a more conservative approach to risk-taking, and fewer imprints under which an author may publish. The Authors Guild calls on the Justice Department to challenge PRH’s purchase of S&S and refuse to allow even further consolidation of the U.S. book publishing industry."

This ongoing consolidation is important to know about.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Dr. Seuss and Dav Pilkey Have Books Pulled From the Market Due to Racist Imagery/Themes

These two examples illustrate a new season of accountability for works for children - in particular in light of the #StopAsianHate campaign as our nation grapples with violence and prejudice against another vast, diverse, and maligned minority group, Asian Americans.

The New York Times reported on Scholastic Halts Distribution of Book by 'Captain Underpants" Author, where they wrote:

Scholastic said last week that it had halted distribution of the book, “The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future,” originally published in 2010. The decision was made with “the full support” of its author, Dav Pilkey, the company said, adding that it had removed the book from its website and had stopped fulfilling orders for it.

“Together, we recognize that this book perpetuates passive racism,” the publisher said in a statement. “We are deeply sorry for this serious mistake.”

And, widely reported in The Guardian and elsewhere, the six Dr. Seuss titles were pulled by Dr Seuss Enterprises, "the company that preserves and protects the author’s legacy... due to their racist and insensitive portrayal of people of color." Ironically, the controversy boosted sales of Dr. Seuss' other titles.

While the Dr. Seuss decision seemed to arise after feedback from a "panel of experts" who "concluded that the six titles portrayed people in ways that were ‘hurtful and wrong’”, the pulling of Dav's titles seemed driven by the author's interaction with one father of young readers who created a petition to protest the book's "passive racism that has contributed to the continued hate and prejudice experienced by Asian Americans on a daily basis."

“I hope that you, my readers, will forgive me, and learn from my mistake that even unintentional and passive stereotypes and racism are harmful to everyone,” Dav wrote. “I apologize, and I pledge to do better.”

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

Thursday, April 1, 2021

The Power of #BookTok

As reported last week in Shelf Awareness, #BookTok Videos 'Starting to Influence Publishers and Bestseller Lists'

Noting that TikTok "is not an obvious destination for book buzz," the New York Times reported that "videos made mostly by women in their teens and 20s have come to dominate a growing niche under the hashtag #BookTok, where users recommend books, record time lapses of themselves reading, or sob openly into the camera after an emotionally crushing ending."

one example from the article:

Miriam Parker, a v-p and associate publisher at Ecco, said the company saw a sales spike for The Song of Achilles on August 9 last year, but couldn't figure out why. Ecco eventually traced it to a TikTok video called "books that will make you sob," published on August 8 by @moongirlreads. The video has now been viewed nearly six million times.

Have you checked out #BookTok?

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Translation Controversy: Who Gets To Translate Who... and What?

A recent article by Allison Braden in Asymptote, Translators Weigh In on the Amanda Gorman Controversy, catches you up:

On March 1, The Guardian reported that Amanda Gorman’s Dutch translator, Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, had quit. Amanda Gorman, the poet who catapulted onto the world stage after an astounding performance at U.S. President Joe Biden’s January inauguration, had approved Rijneveld, an acclaimed Dutch writer, themselves, but the announcement that Rijneveld would translate Gorman’s book The Hill We Climb provoked backlash.

Chief complaint amid the backlash was voiced by activist Janice Deul,

who called the choice “incomprehensible.” She wondered why Meulenhoff, the publisher, hadn’t chosen a translator who was more like Gorman: a “spoken-word artist, young, female and unapologetically Black.”


Haidee Kotze, a professor of translation studies at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, argues in a Medium post that Amanda Gorman’s identity was part of her message and that her translators should be part of the message, too: “It’s about the opportunity, the space for visibility created by the act of translation, and who gets to occupy that space.”

It's a parallel debate to not only who gets to write what story, but who gets published, and who gets the opportunities in our industry. It's about diversity, and equity and inclusion.

Corine Tachtiris on Twitter @tachtco put it this way:

Mar 12 White translators: let's take any energy that was going to go to any further discussion of AG's translators & use it for concrete actions toward equity and inclusion for translators of color, esp. Black translators.

Read the full article here.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

Thursday, March 25, 2021

One Point, Two Point, Three Point Perspective

While clearly a fundamental art skill (so certainly not news to all of you illustrators) this short article, Learn the Basics of Perspective to Create Drawings That Pop Off the Page, has helpful examples for the rest of us, sharing one point

two point

and three point perspective

It also suggests an exercise - for illustrators, to think about how adding another perspective might shift a drawing you're currently working on. And maybe try it.

And for those of us who don't illustrate, the same question is a pretty enticing metaphor: What if we added another point of perspective to what we're writing? How fascinating might that be?

Check out the full article here - and the Leonardo DaVinci sketch that shows one of those three perspectives...

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Have You Explored SCBWI's Equity and Inclusion Resources?

 The SCBWI Equity and Inclusion Library aims to serve writers, translators and illustrators of works for children and teens. Designed as "a living document" and open to feedback for comments and suggestions, the library of resources serves a global audience.

With resources these eight categories so far (Economic Justice is in the works):

Resources for Asian and Pacific Islander Creators

Black Lives Matter Resources

Disability Awareness: Increase Access and Opportunity Resources

Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Resources

LGBTQIA+ Children's Book Creator Resources

Native, First Nations, Indigenous Creators Resources

Resources for Women Creators

And a list of General Inclusion Resources, there's a wealth of information to explore.

So, go explore!

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

P.S. - Cheers to April Powers, SCBWI's Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer, for making this a reality!

Friday, March 19, 2021

BookBub Shares 30 Ways You Can Use Video to Engage With Readers

Certainly inspiration here for all of us writers, translators, and illustrators who create work for children and teens: 30 Ways Authors Use Videos to Engage with Readers

A few highlights:

2. Show a sneak peek of an upcoming release

7. Introduce new characters

9. Create a relevant tutorial

11. Join forces with other authors

Go check out the post by Leila Hirschfeld and see all the other ideas and examples.

Then, think about how you might leverage video to reach and engage with readers!

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

New Dates for the Summer 2021 SCBWI Conference: July 30, 31, and August 1

It's a conference with many aliases...



The Summer 2021 SCBWI Conference

and, maybe even we should consider:

SCBWI's 50th birthday party!

All sessions will be virtual, and you can see them in real-time or watch the recording for one month following the event.

We hope you'll join your community for this conference-sized celebration of SCBWI’s 50th year of bringing illustrators, translators, and writers of works for children, tweens, and teens inspiration, education, opportunity, business, and so much more!

Save the dates!

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

Thursday, March 11, 2021

The Trouble with #OwnVoices

 This Twitter thread/conversation is getting a lot of attention...

YA Author Rin Chupeco wrote,

"I am no longer using #ownvoices for my books and I encourage others to do the same. Originally conceived to celebrate us, it’s now instead used by publishers as a cudgel to deny bipoc authors book deals, forcing them to come out to defend the truths in their books.

I suggest you read the full thread. It's upsetting (especially if you didn't know this was happening) and important to listen to.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

SCBWI's Chief Equity & Inclusion Officer April Powers is Interviewed on the Podcast of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)

Available as both an audio podcast and on video, April Power's interview with IBPA's member liaison Christopher Locke, How Independent Publishers Can Support DEI & Be Antiracist, covers so much of interest to publishers and those of us who write, translate, and illustrate work for children and teens.

Have you considered if DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) is really all we want to aim for? April suggests we add Belonging, Civility, and Antiracism as well.

How about the distinction between #OwnVoices and Lived Experience?

Or ESL (English as a Second Language) vs. LOTE (Languages Other Than English)?

The interview runs 44:40, and is thought-provoking and well-worth listening to.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Nanette McGuinness Interviews Award-winner Helen Wang on the Translation of "Dragonfly Eyes" by Cao Wenxuan (Winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Award for Children's Writing)

Helen Wang translates from Chinese to English. In 2017, she won a Chen Bochui Special Award for Children’s Literature in China and the Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation in the U.K. for Bronze and Sunflower by 2016 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Writing winner Cao Wenxuan. Her new translation of another Cao Wenxuan novel, Dragonfly Eyes, was just released in the U.K. by Walker Books, with Candlewick due to release it in the U.S. in 2022. A curator at the British Museum, Helen Wang earned a Ph.D. in archaeology and B.A. in Chinese.

Nanette McGuinness: Congratulations on yet another fabulous translation of a wonderful book! What was it like working with Cao Wenxuan a second time and returning to his vision and world view? Were you able to communicate directly with him at all or did you work through your editor?

Helen Wang:I didn’t communicate directly with Cao Wenxuan during the translation and editing of Bronze and Sunflower or Dragonfly Eyes (we don’t have each other’s contact details). As I was commissioned by Walker Books, I raised with my editor Emma Lidbury anything I couldn’t resolve myself. Otherwise, I did the translation independently, and at the end, checked a few things I wasn’t sure about with a friend.

Cao Wenxuan and I have met several times at public events (e.g., at the Bologna Children’s Bookfair, the Shanghai Children’s Bookfair) and a few other occasions. We always exchange a few words, but he has a big fan club and lots of people wanting to talk to him. He is a VIP in China and has a breath-taking schedule, and while he never seems rushed, he doesn’t hang about for long.

Nanette: Dragonfly Eyes was published in China in 2016. How long did you get to work on the translation? Is that typical for your book translations or different—and if so, in what way and why?

Helen: The translation and editing process took a long time! The Chinese publisher sent me a copy of Dragonfly Eyes in the summer of 2016, and asked if I’d write a reader’s report. Emma Lidbury at Walker Books then commissioned me to translate it, we set up a contract, and I submitted the translation at the end of 2017. The original schedule was to publish it in 2019, but the date was rescheduled first on the UK side, and then the Chinese publisher asked us to wait while the author made a few changes. It was eventually published in January 2021, over three years after I submitted the translation. That’s a long time, and it was difficult to hold the story in my head. At one point I got cold feet and asked a bilingual friend if she would read the Chinese and English versions at normal reading speed (not close editing) and highlight any areas that didn’t ring true. I paid her to do this from my fee. The delays meant going through the translation several more times than we might have, but however time-consuming that was, it was always enjoyable working with Emma towards the best we could achieve.

My experience is that the editorial process in China will almost always include a close checking of the translation against the original, whereas the English language side does not usually include this. There are more English readers at Chinese publishing houses than there are Chinese readers at English-language publishing houses, and the same is probably true for all non-European languages.

Nanette: Dragonfly Eyes rings very true, with a clear sense of character and history, a strong voice for all the characters, and a vividness to the settings and descriptions of physical details, such as food and clothing. Sometimes that kind of writing can be easier to translate, as there's a good “roadmap” in the original, but sometimes it can be very tricky. Did you need to do research on any of the book's 20th century locales, lingo, or the historical times you were translating about, in order to make sure you kept the vocabulary and voices true to their time and place? Or was it fairly clear from the original?

Helen: Cao Wenxuan is a wonderful storyteller, both in his books and in real life, so there was a clear “roadmap,” as you call it. When I’m translating, I spend a lot of time online, looking up all kinds of things—text, images, videos etc. When I knew I would be in Shanghai in November 2017, I planned to walk around the city centre and check out some of the locations in the novel. I asked Cao Wenxuan (indirectly) if there were any specific places I should check out. My intermediary responded in the most amazing way, and arranged for Yin Jianling, another much-loved children’s author, to meet me at my hotel two hours after I got off the plane from London. Yin Jianling is a lovely person, and Shanghai is her city. We spent the late afternoon walking around Shanghai, and took the bus to another part of the city for dinner in a place I would never have found on my own. I can’t thank her enough, because I’m sure some of the warmth of that afternoon and evening made it into the translation. I also talked to Paul Crook, who grew up in China during the Cultural Revolution, and whose own parents were accused of being spies.

Nanette: One of the excellent choices you made in the translation—and there are many, as it reads beautifully—was to maintain the relationship names in Chinese (Nainai for grandmother, for example). For those of our readers who aren't translators, can you share anything about how you made that choice? For example, did you consult with the editor or Cao Wenxuan, or were you given free rein?

Helen: Thank you. English speakers have no problem reading and pronouncing Chinese relationship names, so I think it feels quite natural to use them, at least for the immediate family. It doesn’t always work, though, because Chinese relationship names are very specific: it’s not simply a case of brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins, but their exact position in the family in relation to the particular characters. It’s notoriously complicated, and I hear some people with extended families use apps to help work it all out! Sometimes in a story the same character can be referred to in many different ways, and it can be hard to keep track, especially if there’s a change of narrator or a switch in the point of view. In Dragonfly Eyes, we don’t know the names of all the members of the family, but we know the relationships. The original narrative explaining the family names is quite fun in Chinese but felt cumbersome and wrong in English. My initial suggestion was to draw up a family tree at the front of the book, but this didn’t work either, so in the end I created a very simple table, which I hope works for readers. Emma doesn’t read Chinese, so we did as we had done with Bronze and Sunflower: I translated the first chapter or so very directly, then the next one a little more freely, and so on until we found a balance we liked, and then I continued solo.

Nanette: Has winning the Marsh Award for translation or working with books written by an Andersen Award winner (an award also known as the "little Nobel")—that is, Cao Wenxuan—changed your life as a translator or the kinds of projects and books you're being offered? If so, how?

Helen: I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity to translate Bronze and Sunflower (thank you, Anna Holmwood, translator of Jin Yong’s martial arts novels, for recommending me). Winning the Marsh Award was a public validation with a cash prize, which somehow made it much easier for my friends and colleagues to understand why I spend quite a lot of my spare time translating children’s books. Previously, they had asked if I translated to keep up my Chinese, or for money, or looked askance at me, or complained that I was always too busy. That changed after the Marsh Award. I spent some of that money treating neglected friends to lunch, which was lovely. I put the rest of it towards learning more about the international children’s book world: for example, I went to the IBBY Congress in Athens in 2018 and to the International Research Society for Children’s Literature (IRSCL) Conference in Stockholm in 2019. I do get approached and asked to translate books, but I tend to be selective—if a book is going to be part of my life for weeks, or months, or years, I’d prefer it to be something I’m going to enjoy reading over and over again.

Nanette: What's next for you? Any interesting books that you're working on now? Are there books that you wish would be translated from Chinese into English that haven't been yet?

Helen: At the moment I’m working on a wonderful new middle grade book by Qin Wenjun. It’s set in contemporary Shanghai, and each chapter left me wanting to know what would happen next. I have been commissioned by the Chinese publisher to translate this one, and the rights are available. I’ve recently translated some picture books and samples of middle grade books for Books from Taiwan, which you can browse on their website. I usually have a few books on the go that I would be very happy to recommend to publishers. There are many more Chinese children’s books that I would love to see translated! Since 2000, there has been a strong focus in China on developing children’s books - there are some stunning picture books coming out, and some very interesting middle grade and young adult books too. In 2016, I started the blog/website Chinese Books for Young Readers with Minjie Chen of the Cotsen Children’s Library, at Princeton, and Anna Gustafsson Chen, prolific translator of Chinese literature into Swedish. Between us, we write about things we find interesting, and hope our readers do too.

Nanette: Thank you very much and congratulations, once again!

Read more SCBWI: The Blog interviews with translators of Hans Christian Andersen authors:

Award-winning opera singer Nanette McGuinness is the translator of 60 books and graphic novels for children and adults from French, Italian, German, and Spanish into English, including the well-known Geronimo Stilton Graphic Novels. Two of her recent translations, Luisa: Now and Then and California Dreamin’: Cass Elliot Before the Mamas & the Papas were chosen for YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens; Luisa: Now and Then was also a 2019 Stonewall Honor Book. Her most recent translations are For Justice: The Serge and Beate Klarsfeld Story, The Sisters #7: Lucky Brat, Chloe & Cartoon, Brina the Cat #2: City Cat, and Alter Ego.

Thanks to Nanette and Helen for this wonderful interview!

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Kacen Callender Talks Social Media Expectations... And How It Unfairly Makes Authors Feel Responsible for How Well (or Not Well) Their Book Sells

This recent post by National Book Award Winner (for King and the Dragonflies) Kacen Callender, WIP: Social Media Expectations is important reading.

Just recently at #NY21SCBWI the evaluation of an author's social media presence as a marker of a submission's potential -- something considered in the acquisitions process -- reinforced this industry advice: that we, as creators, have to be on social media, have to drive interest in our titles, for them to succeed.

Kacen describes that pressure in this way:

There’s an unspoken (and sometimes spoken) suggestion from publishing companies and professionals that, if the book doesn’t do as well as the author might’ve hoped, then it’s actually the author’s fault. They should have found a “street” team ("fans" paid to hype the book up online in a way that seems organic and natural), created their own pre-order campaigns (paying for swag, artists to draw their characters, etc.), pitched themselves to different media outlets, learned Photoshop to create graphics, paid someone to create a book trailer, hyped themselves up in a constant competition for attention online… the list goes on and on.

Kacen calls this out as gaslighting:

The gaslighting is this: the publishing companies and industry professionals know that the authors don’t actually control how well their book is going to do. They put that responsibility on the authors, when the responsibility is really meant to be on the publishing companies. That’s why we go with traditional publishing, isn’t it? That’s why so many of us don’t self-publish. We don’t have the necessary marketing skills. (I certainly don’t, anyway.) The marketing/publicity is ultimately publishing’s responsibility. The publishing companies have their budgets, and they spend those limited budgets on the books they expect will earn back a specific amount of money. Authors really don’t need to do anything to find that financial success. Case study A: Suzanne Collins. Where? Nowhere, that’s where. She doesn't do any publicity or marketing, from what I can see. Yet the Hunger Games series is—well, you already know. Clearly there isn’t actually a correlation between authors needing to do marketing and publicity and a book’s financial success.

There's so much more in the piece, and I encourage you to read it. And then, consider your relationship to the social media you do, and how much pressure you're putting on yourself to sell books via your engagement on social media. The math of social media effort to book sales, as Kacen points out, doesn't really move the needle.

I'll note that much of this centers on book sales, which is just one marker of a book's success. Connecting with an individual reader, making them see their own life, and maybe others, in a new way, is a huge part of why many of us create works for kids and teens. And maybe sharing that passion for crafting stories that help kids and teens find themselves and their place in the world is something that social media can help with. Maybe it's not all or nothing.

Everyone will find their own balance with creation and promotion -- and it's worth considering the pressure we put on ourselves and how much leverage our efforts may really have in each realm. Including our presence with and activity on social media.

Applause to Kacen for the courage to stand up and share their take on social media expectations.

What do you think? Share here in comments.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

Thursday, February 25, 2021

The SCBWI Spark Award (for Best Books Published Non-Traditionally in 2020) Goes To...

The Spark Award is an annual award that recognizes excellence in a children’s book published through a non-traditional publishing route.

This year's winners and honorees were announced at #NY21SCBWI. The winner of the SCBWI Spark Award for Picture Books is Mama's Waves by Chandra Ghosh Ippen, illustrated by Erich Ippen Jr.

The winner of the SCBWI Spark Award for Books for Older Readers is Sometimes Brave by Trista Wilson.

Two honor winners were announced as well, for Picture Books, "My Friend" written and illustrated by Estrela Lourenco, and for Books for Older Readers, "I Wish My Words Tasted Better" by Kris Abel-Helwig.

Congratulations to the winners and honorees!

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

P.S. If you're interested in submitting your 2021 published book to the SCBWI Spark Award, you can find out all the details here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Social Media Highlights of #NY21SCBWI

 If you search #NY21SCBWI, you'll be able to sift through some of the posts of the past weekend. There's a lot of great stuff to discover, remember, and enjoy, including...

Thanks to everyone who contributed their moments on Twitter, Instagram, etc...

What will you discover with #NY21SCBWI?

Here's hoping it inspires you to Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

Thursday, February 18, 2021

The SCBWI Winter 2021 Conference Starts Tomorrow (Friday February 19, 2021)

With over 4,000 attendees, the all-virtual #NY21SCBWI conference is more accessible than ever! 

Use the hashtag #NY21SCBWI to follow and share moments that resonate for you, and follow the Official SCBWI Conference Blog at for live blogging from the team, including Debbie Ohi, Lakita Wilson, Jolie Stekly, Jamie Temairik, Don Tate, and myself (Lee Wind.)

Here's to an incredible conference ahead!

Illustrate and Write and Translate On,

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

It's the Golden Kite Award Finalists!

There will be one winner per category and one honor book chosen. The Golden Kites serve as the kickoff event to SCBWI’s virtual conference on Friday, February 19 at 7:30pm ET/4:30pm PT. The awards are open to the public via Facebook at The 2021 SCBWI Winter conference is an all virtual event that will run from February 19-21. You can find out more about the conference here.

Each winner will receive a $2,500 award along with $1,000 to contribute to a nonprofit of their choice. Each honor winner will receive a $500 award along with $250 to a nonprofit of their choice. The finalists for this year’s awards are:

Middle Grade/Young Reader Fiction
Phil Bildner: A High Five for Glen Burke, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers
Kimberly Brubaker Bradley: Fighting Words, published by Dial Books for Young Readers
Leah Henderson: The Magic in Changing Your Stars, published by Sterling Children’s Books
Pam Muñoz Ryan: Mañanaland, published by Scholastic Press
Renée Watson: Ways to Make Sunshine, published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Picture Book Text
Marsha Diane Arnold: Lights Out, illustrated by Susan Reagan, published by Creative Editions
Derrick Barnes: I Am Every Good Thing, illustrated by Gordon C. James, published by Nancy Paulsen Books
Tami Charles: All Because You Matter, illustrated by Bryan Collier, published by Orchard Books
Carole Lindstrom: We Are Water Protectors, illustrated by Michaela Goade, published by Roaring Brook Press
Phoebe Wahl: The Blue House, published by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Nonfiction Text for Younger Readers
Gary Golio: Dark Was the Night: Blind Willie Johnson’s Journey to the Stars, illustrated by E.B. Lewis, published by Nancy Paulsen Books
Mary Beth Leatherdale: Terry Fox and Me, illustrated by Milan Pavlovic, published by Lee & Low" Sandra Nickel: Nacho’s Nachos: The Story Behind the World’s Favorite Snack, illustrated by Oliver Dominguez, published by Tundra Books
Meeg Pincus: Winged Wonders: Solving the Monarch Migration Mystery, illustrated by Yas Imamura, published by Sleeping Bear Press
Don Tate: William Still and His Freedom Stories: The Father of the Underground Railroad, published by Peachtree Publishing

Picture Book Illustration
Catia Chien: The Bear and the Moon, published by Chronicle Books
Cindy Derby: Outside In, written by Deborah Underwood, published by Abrams Books for Young Readers
Susan Gal: Welcoming Elijah: A Passover Tale with a Tail written by Leslea Newman, published by Charlesbridge
Vincent X. Kirsch: From Archie to Zack, published by Abrams Books for Young Readers
Jennifer K. Mann: The Camping Trip, published by Candlewick Press

Nonfiction Text for Older Readers
Paul Fleischman: Alphamaniacs: Builders of 26 Wonders of the Word, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, published by Candlewick Studio
Candace Fleming: The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindberg, published by Schwartz & Wade
Cindy L. Otis: True or False: A CIA Analyst’s Guide to Spotting Fake News, published by Feiwel & Friends
Christina Soontornvat: All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team published by Candlewick Press
Christine Virnig: Dung for Dinner published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers

Illustrated Book for Older Readers
Lauren Castillo: Our Friend Hedgehog published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Mike Curato: Flamer, published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
John Rocco: How We Got to the Moon, published by Crown Books for Young Readers
Uri Shulevitz: Chance: Escape from the Holocaust: Memories of a Refugee Childhood, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers
Peter Van Den Ende: The Wanderer, published by Levine Querido

Young Adult Fiction
Margarita Engle: With a Star in My Hand, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Darcie Little Badger: Elatsoe, published by Levine Querido
Kelly McWilliams: Agnes at the End of the World, published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Sherri L. Smith: The Blossom and the Firefly, published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Nic Stone: Dear Justyce, published by Crown Books for Young Readers

Sid Fleischman Award
Donna Barba Higuera: Lupe Wong Won’t Dance published by Levine Querido
Remy Lai: Fly on the Wall, published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Amy Timberlake: Skunk and Badger illustrated by Jon Klassen, published by Algonquin Young Readers
Kristin O’Donnell Tubb: Zeus, Dog of Chaos, published by Katherine Tegen Books
Renée Watson: Ways to Make Sunshine, published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Good luck to all the finalists (and that's a pretty awesome reading list for the rest of us!)
Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Kekla Magoon Interviews Carole Boston Weatherford About the Need to Write “Untold” Stories - On the Cynsations Blog

Cynthia Leitich-Smith's amazing Cynsations blog hosts this wonderful interview between Kekla Magoon and Carole Boston Weatherford.

A few highlights:

"I mine the past for family stories, fading traditions and forgotten struggles. Like Harlem Renaissance bibliophile Arturo Schomburg to document the history of African descendants, I aim to construct a truer, more complete history. That is affirming for me and for our children." —Carole Boston Weatherford

On Carole's picture book about the Tulsa Race Massacre, Unspeakable:

Kekla: It must have been a challenge to tell this difficult and painful story about Tulsa in a style that works for young readers, and you do an amazing job of making the information relatable. How did you approach that challenge, and why did you feel it was important to share this story with even the very youngest children?

Carole: I told this story for the same reason that I wrote the elegy Birmingham, 1963 (WordSong, 2007) about the bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Past sacrifices should not be forgotten. But they will be unless we pass our history down to our children.

I do not believe that children are too tender for tough topics. Children deserve and demand the truth—a complete history that had not been whitewashed or candy-coated. Children were victimized by slavery and segregation and suffer under systemic racism. Given the adultification of Black children and the criminalization and police and vigilante murders of Black people, we cannot afford to condescend to children.

Read the full interview here!

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

'The Unbearable Whiteness of Publishing' Revisited - Two POC Industry Professionals Take Stock of the Progress Made in the Past 25 Years and How Far We Still Have To Go

Shelly Romero is a children’s book editor and writes Ghoul Gal, a horror pop-culture newsletter on Substack. Adriana M. Martínez Figueroa is a Puerto Rican writer, editor, and sensitivity reader. Together they unpack a 1995 Village Voice feature by James Ledbetter titled “The Unbearable Whiteness of Publishing,” looking at the numbers, barriers to entry, and the extra burdens that fall on the few people of color who are inside traditional publishing. They discuss progress made, and the systemic nature of the ongoing issues.

The article is 'The Unbearable Whiteness of Publishing' Revisited, and it ran in the Feb 1, 2021 issue of Publishers Weekly.

It's well worth reading. 

Illustrate and Write On,

Friday, February 5, 2021

Graphic Novel Manuscript Formatting

Graphic novels are seeing increased readership, recognition, and editorial interest - which is wonderful! Check out all the graphic novels honored in the 2021 ALA Youth Media Awards.

For author/illustrators who are writing and drawing their own works, they have the opportunity to craft as they go, using whatever format suits their style best.

But for authors who want to submit a manuscript for someone else to illustrate, formatting the manuscript still seems to be a question with no definitive answer. Having said that, these resources for formatting a graphic novel manuscript might be helpful:

1) Dark Horse Comics offers a free "script guide" PDF here.

A screen shot of the first page of Dark Horse Comics' script guide

2) Check out this post from author/illustrator Matthew Holm (who with his sister Jenni does the Baby Mouse graphic novels), Graphic novel manuscript formatting

3) Scrivener has a "comic script format" - developed by Anthony Johnston, who writes about it here. Thanks to Maria for the heads-up on this one!

Do you have a graphic novel manuscript format resource to share? Add in in comments. 


Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

25 Essential Notes on Craft - LitHub/Catapult publishes an excerpt from Matthew Salesses's "Craft in the Real World"

This piece was brought up in the recent #DVcon2021 panel on "Finding Your Voice" with Amy Bishop, Jemiscoe Chambers-Black, Alvina Ling, Norma Perez-Hernandez, and Angeline Rodriguez.

25 Essential Notes on Craft from Matthew Salesses: Rethinking Popular Assumptions of Fiction Writing compares non-western and non-dominant culture storytelling to what we've come to believe (and have been taught) is "good" writing and "good" craft. The piece covers so much - even the perils of translating from other cultures - and is both fascinating and thought-provoking. 

A few points that resonated for me:

9. Expectations belong to an audience. To use craft is to engage with an audience’s bias. Like freedom, craft is always craft for someone. Whose expectations does a writer prioritize? Craft says something about who deserves their story told. Who has agency and who does not. What is worthy of action and what description. Whose bodies are on display. Who changes and who stays the same. Who controls time. Whose world it is. Who holds meaning and who gives it.
11. We have come to teach plot as a string of causation in which the protagonist’s desires move the action forward. ... In contrast, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese stories have developed from a four-act, rather than a three- or five-act structure: in Japanese it is called kishotenketsu (ki: introduction; sho: development; ten: twist; ketsu: reconciliation). Western fiction can often be boiled down to A wants B and C gets in the way of it....In East Asian fiction, the twist (ten) is not confrontation but surprise, something that reconfigures what its audience thinks the story is “about.” For example, a man puts up a flyer of a missing dog, he hands out flyers to everyone on the street, a woman appears and asks whether her dog has been found, they look for the dog together. The change in this kind of story is in the audience’s understanding or attention rather than what happens. Like African storytellers, Asian storytellers are often criticized for what basically amounts to addressing a different audience’s different expectations—Asian fiction gets labeled “undramatic” or “plotless” by Western critics.
18. There are many crafts, and one way the teaching of craft fails is to teach craft as if it is one.
Go read the whole piece. It's well worth it. I
llustrate, and Translate, and Write On,

Thursday, January 28, 2021

The SCBWI 2021 Winter Conference Manuscript Gallery Offers Writers An Opportunity To Be Discovered!


Illustrators have the Portfolio Showcase, putting their illustrations in front of the top publishing professionals working today. And the winners of that portfolio showcase have gone on to have significant careers as illustrators!

Now, on a scale the SCBWI hasn't done before, there's a parallel opportunity for writers:

Registered Winter 2021 conference attendees who are SCBWI members can post up to 500 words of ONE children’s book manuscript, PB text, PB dummy or manuscript synopsis to our online manuscript gallery. Over a hundred editors and agents will be invited to peruse the gallery starting on February 19, 2021. These agents and editors will then reach out to authors whose work is a good fit for their lists. This is a fantastic opportunity to get your work in front of industry professionals!

The deadline to submit your manuscript is February 12, 2021. Find out all the details here.

The full conference information is here - it's going to amazing!

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Nonfiction Writers Dig Deep: An Exclusive Interview with editor and project creator Melissa Stewart

Here's the brand-new book trailer:

And here's the interview...

Lee: Hi Melissa, thanks for talking about this new nonfiction book you've conceptualized, edited, and championed!

Let's jump into the first question. Nonfiction Writers Dig Deep: 50 Award-Winning Children's Book Authors Share the Secret of Engaging Writing seems all about breaking down the myths about nonfiction, and what it takes to write it well. Is that where the inspiration came from?

Melissa: Yes, many people seem to think that writing nonfiction is simple and straightforward—just do some research and then cobbling together a bunch of facts. But nothing could be further from the truth.

To craft high-quality prose, nonfiction writers have to dig deep. We have to be personally invested. We have to get in touch with our passions and our vulnerabilities and use them to fuel our work.

The topics we choose, the approaches we take, and the concepts and themes we explore are closely linked to who we are as people—our personalities, our beliefs, and our experiences in the world.

As far as we’re concerned, putting the information we collect through our own personal filters and making our own meaning is the secret to creating engaging nonfiction.

We wanted to bring this message to teachers and students—and also aspiring children’s book authors. It’s a critical part of our writing process that often goes unseen and unappreciated.

Lee: I'll just say now that I'm completely honored to be one of the contributing nonfiction writers! But 50 contributors is a lot of coordinating - and selecting! Tell us about the process of putting this all together.

Melissa: Thank you for contributing, Lee. Your essay is SO powerful!

The idea for the book traces back to a panel I did with authors Candace Fleming and Deborah Heiligman at the 2017 NCTE conference.

During our discussion, we dove deeply into what fuels our work and why we routinely dedicate years of our lives to a single manuscript.

As we compared our thoughts and experiences, we came to realize that each of our books has a piece of us at its heart. And that personal connection is what drives us to keep working despite the inevitable obstacles and setbacks.

Several other nonfiction authors were in the audience, and afterward, they praised our insights. That conversation helped us all understand our creative process in a new and exciting way.

I wanted to explore this idea further, so during the 2018-2019 school year, I invited 38 colleagues to write essays for my blog. After the first few appeared, teachers began asking if all the essays could be compiled in one place. That’s when I began thinking about a book.

Once a publisher accepted my proposal (and there were a lot of rejections), I thought carefully about creating a sense of balance.

I wanted to include contributions from roughly equal numbers of science writers, history writers, and biographers. I thought a lot about equity and inclusion, and about balancing picture books and long-form nonfiction. Before I knew it, I was so close to fifty contributors that I decided to go for that nice round number.

Plenty of people warned me that editing an anthology with 50 contributors was an act of insanity, but my colleagues never let me down. Despite their busy schedules, they met all their deadlines. The nonfiction community is a tight-knit, supportive group, and everyone was committed to making this a great book.

Lee: It seems there are multiple audiences for the book - teachers, students, adult writers of nonfiction... How do you see the book impacting each of those audiences? (And, if I've missed one, let me know!)

Melissa:I’d add librarians too. School librarians play an important role in helping students with the nonfiction writing process.

While the essays in Nonfiction Writers Dig Deep can be used by educators in many ways, from serving as mentor texts for writing personal narratives to enriching author studies, our fondest hope is that this book will transform the way nonfiction writing is taught in schools.

The best nonfiction writing happens when students (or adults) choose a topic they’re excited about and then spend time synthesizing their research and viewing the information through their own personal lens. But right now, most students jump straight from research to writing.

Because every instructional minute is precious, teachers may be reluctant for students to take more time at the beginning of the process. But it’s time well spent because it will reduce time spent revising later on.

For adult writers, we hope that reading the essays will be like sitting down to have a cup of coffee with a good friend. As each author opens up about their process, their craft, their truth, readers will develop the ability to identify their own truth and their own voice. They will feel empowered to craft the book that only they can write.

Lee: The book also includes "a wide range of tips, tools, teaching strategies, and activity ideas from editor Melissa Stewart to help students (1) choose a topic, (2) focus that topic by identifying a core idea, theme, or concept, and (3) analyze their research to find a personal connection. By adding a piece of themselves to their drafts, students will learn to craft rich, unique prose." Tell us more about those, and how they're integrated with the rest.

Melissa: The book is divided into three chapters—Choosing a Topic, Finding a Focus, and Making It Personal. These are the three steps nonfiction writers struggle with most as they conceptualize a piece.

Each chapter begins with an overview that introduces key ideas and provides tips and tools for navigating the author essays. Following 16 or 17 essays, each chapter concludes with an In the Classroom section. It provides strategies and writing activities that help student writers as well as adult writers apply the ideas in the essays to their own writing.

Lee: Proceeds from sales of the book will be split between SCBWI, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and We Need Diverse Books. That's amazing, and generous, and very cool. Can you tell us what's behind that decision?

Melissa: Financing a book like this was tricky. Educational publishers like NCTE Books don’t pay an advance, just royalties. But it’s not possible to split a royalty among fifty people.

Because I feel strongly that writers should always be compensated for their work, I paid each contributing author $200 out of my own pocket. After I’ve earned back that money through royalties, I’ll donate the rest of the proceeds to non-profit organizations that support all children’s book authors and the young readers we serve. For me, this book is a labor of love, and I want it to help as many people as possible.

Lee: Is there anything else about the book you'd like to share with the SCBWI audience?

Melissa: It’s worth mentioning that SCBWI played an important role in the creation of this book. The money I paid the contributing authors came from an unexpected special sale that occurred because one of my books was on display at the SCBWI booth at the Bologna Book Fair a few years ago. Without SCBWI, this anthology probably wouldn’t exist.

This organization has made my writing life richer in so many ways. I really can’t thank Lin Oliver, Sarah Baker, Tammy Brown, Kim Turrisi, and the whole SCBWI team enough.

Thanks, Melissa!

You can learn more about Melissa Stewart and her nonfiction books for kids at her website here and about Nonfiction Writers Dig Deep: 50 Award-Winning Children's Book Authors Share the Secret of Engaging Writing here.

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Have You Registered Yet For SCBWI's Winter 2021 Conference?

Check out the SCBWI Winter 2021 Conference schedule, offerings, and opportunities - it's hosted on Zoom February 19-21, and video recordings will be available through March 31, 2021. And SCBWI has lowered the cost to attend to $150 for members - making it more accessible for more children's book writers, illustrators, and translators!

The SCBWI Winter Conference: Inside Children's Publishing will include:

the Golden Kite Awards Gala,

a State-of-the-Industry In-Depth Interview with Jean Feiwel

Keynote Conversations with: 

Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Matt De La Peña and Christian Robinson

Jerry Craft and Victoria Jamieson, hosted by Weslie Turner

Patricia Maclachlan interviewed by Lin Oliver

a Keynote with Tami Charles

There will also be a behind the scenes tour of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing with Katrina Groover (Managing Editor), Laurent Linn (Art Director), Chava Wolin (Senior Production Manager), and Paula Wiseman (Vice President and Publisher)

Genre Breakout Sessions with editors, including

Picture Books: Andrea Welch, Joanna Cardenas, Elizabeth Bicknell

Middle Grade: Tricia Lin, Krista Vitola

Young Adult: Stacey Barney, Alexandra Cooper

Nonfiction: Alyssa Mito Pusey, Shelby Lees

We'll get to attend a Fly-on-the-Wall Acquisitions meeting with Wendy Loggia and a team from Delacorte Press

and a Mock Book Production meeting with Yaffa Jaskoll and a team from Scholastic Books

There's an Agents Panel, with Kirby Kim, Kevin Lewis, Erica Rand Silverman, and Saba Sulaiman, and so much more!

Illustrators - make sure to check out the portfolio showcase opportunity, as well as the Monday Feb 22 Illustrators' Intensive.

We hope you'll join us – Get all the details here

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

"Celebrating Queer Voices" Highlights from SCBWI Celebrates #OwnVoices January 2021 Workshop

SCBWI's "Celebrating Queer Voices" Workshop on January 14, 2021 was the first in a new, free series of #OwnVoices discussions that will be happening quarterly!

The Queer Voices Panelists with their books!


top row: Sign language interpreter Jennye Kamin; moderator Phil Bildner with a copy of Phil's middle grade novel A High Five For Glenn Burke; Mike Curato with a copy of Mike's YA graphic novel, Flamer.

middle row: Alex Gino with a copy of Alex's George and Rick; Abdi Nazemian with a copy of Abdi's Like a Love Story.

lower row: J Yang with a copy of J's Spirit Day; and Kaylynn Bayron with a copy of Kaylynn's Cinderella is Dead.

Some highlights:

Kaylynn speaking of her Cinderella is Dead: "Black girls team up to overthrow the patriarchy." And on unlearning while centering Queer black girls in her writing.

J speaking of the impact of the secondary Trans character in Tamora Pierce's Bloodhound, and how "every single person I draw is Queer."

Bill on the four different decisions he played out (of his two main characters who meet at the top of The Bridge intending to jump to their deaths) and how he ultimately wants readers to know that "they are not alone." And wanting to see "more LGBTQ joy."

Abdi saying "Let's study history to repeat the best of it, not just avoid the worst of it." And how "even in the darkest moment, there is light." Also Abdi's describing reaching out to his Iranian community as an out Gay man to change hearts and minds.

Alex on the impact of Kate Bornstein's Gender Outlaw where they learned the term Gender Queer and how powerful that "access to language" was. And how there is no age too young to learn to be kind, compassionate, know yourself and others.

Mike on how the mouse in the Little Elliot books is nonbinary, how Mike's hope is for readers to know "there is light in you even if you can't see it yourself," and how having a Queer imprint at a major publisher would be a game-changer.

...and Phil speaking of how essential a thread of hope is in books for young people, and on the motivation for A High Five for Glenn Burke – to get the message out that "Queer kids play sports, too."

The whole panel was recorded and you can watch the video here at the SCBWI website.

The next SCBWI Celebrates #OwnVoices workshop will be "Celebrating Asian Voices" and will take place in Spring 2021. Following that will be "Celebrating Voices of Disabled Book Creators" in Summer 2021 and then "Celebrating Voices of Faith" in December 2021. You can learn more about the SCBWI Celebrates #OwnVoices Workshops here.

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, January 14, 2021

CASE Act Becomes Law - Creating Small Claims Tribunal in the Copyright Office

Advocated for by members of the Authors Guild, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), and an entire "copyright alliance" coalition, on December 27, 2020 the CASE Act was signed into law. 

 “this new legislation will create a forum called the Copyright Claims Board within the U.S. Copyright Office to hear copyright claims of up to $15,000 per claim and an aggregate of $30,000. The cost of bringing a claim will range between a minimum of $100 and a maximum of the filing cost of an action in federal district court (currently $350), and the claims will be heard by a panel of three Copyright Claims Officers appointed by the Librarian of Congress, at least two of whom must have experience representing both owners and users of copyrighted works. The legislation ultimately ensures that individual content creators and other copyright owners who depend on copyright for their livelihoods but can’t afford the costs of protracted litigation gain access to justice.” 

 The Copyright Alliance explains further:

Why is the small claims process important?

Because federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over copyright, and federal litigation is so expensive, many professional creators and small businesses simply cannot afford to defend their rights when someone infringes their copyrighted works. Visual artists, authors and songwriters are hurt the most by the high cost of federal litigation because the individual value of their works or transactions is often too low to warrant the expense of litigation and most attorneys won’t even consider taking these small cases. As a result, these infringements regularly go unchallenged, leading many creators to feel disenfranchised by the copyright system. In effect, these creators have rights but no remedies.

Until now!

In the words of Authors Guild CEO Mary Rasenberger,

“Copyright law should protect all creators, but the unfortunate fact is that it only protects those who can afford the high costs of federal court and legal representation. With the average cost of federal litigation at $400,000, pursuing a remedy for their rights is impossible for most authors—even the best-selling ones. The CASE Act changes this by providing authors with a voluntary, inexpensive and streamlined alternative that they can use to protect their rights, their creativity and their livelihoods.”

You can learn more about the CASE Act here at the Copyright Alliance's Q&A.

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

SCBWI Celebrates Queer Voices - Thursday January 14, 1pm Pacific (with a 2:30pm Pacific social) on Zoom

SCBWI is launching a new series of FREE digital workshops, "SCBWI Celebrates #OwnVoices," and the first one will be this Thursday January 14, from 1pm-2:30pm Pacific, on Celebrating Queer Voices.

With authors Kalynn Bayron, Mike Curato, Alex Gino, Bill Konigsberg, Abdi Nazemian, and J Yang, and moderated by Phil Bildner, the discussion will cover:

"the joys and challenges of bringing queer representation into their work and the importance of telling the stories they wish they had as a kid."

The session will be held live on Zoom, and will be followed with a safe space social (hosted by me, Lee Wind) for those who identify as part of the Queer community. (That link will be provided during the live workshop.) If you're not able to attend live, the workshop will be recorded and made available by 1pm Friday January 15, 2021.

Here's more on the workshop faculty:

Phil Bildner (moderator) is the award-winning author of numerous books for kids including the 2021 Charlotte Huck Award Honor-winning, A High Five for Glenn Burke and the Margaret Wise Brown Prize-winning picture book, Marvelous Cornelius. He is also the author of the highly acclaimed Rip & Red middle grade series. Phil taught middle school in the New York City Public School system for eleven years and is the founder of The Author Village, an author booking business.

Kalynn Bayron is the bestselling author of the award-winning YA fantasy Cinderella is Dead. She is a classically trained vocalist and when she’s not writing you can find her listening to Ella Fitzgerald on loop, attending the theater, watching scary movies, and spending time with her kids.

Mike Curato is the author and illustrator of everyone’s favorite polka-dotted elephant, Little Elliot. His debut title, Little Elliot, Big City, released in 2014 to critical acclaim, has won several awards, and has been translated into over ten languages. There are now five books in the Little Elliot series, including Little Elliot, Big Family; Little Elliot, Big Fun; Little Elliot, Fall Friends; and Merry Christmas, Little Elliot. Mike had the pleasure of illustrating What If… by Samantha Berger, All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle, Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian, and contributed to What’s Your Favorite Color? by Eric Carle and Friends and Sunny Day: A Celebration of the Sesame Street Theme Song. His latest books, released in 2020, are The Power of One written by Trudy Ludwig, and his first YA graphic novel, Flamer! Publishers Weekly named Mike a “Fall 2014 Flying Start.” In the same year he won the Society of Illustrators Original Art Show Founder’s Award.

Alex Gino is the author of the middle grade novels Rick, You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P! and the Stonewall Award-winning George. They love glitter, ice cream, gardening, awe-ful puns, and stories that reflect the diversity and complexity of being alive. For more information, visit

Bill Konigsberg is the award-winning author of six young adult novels, including Openly Straight and The Music of What Happens. His latest novel, The Bridge, is in development as a limited series at Amazon. In 2018, The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)’s Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN) established the Bill Konigsberg Award for Acts and Activism for Equity and Inclusion through Young Adult Literature. Prior to turning his attention to writing books for teens, Bill was a sportswriter and editor for The Associated Press and

Abdi Nazemian is the author of three novels. His first, The Walk-In Closet, won the Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Debut Fiction. His most recent, Like a Love Story, an Indie Next Pick, Walden Award finalist and Junior Library Guild Selection, was awarded a Stonewall Honor, and was chosen as one of the best books of the year by Entertainment Weekly, Audible, Buzzfeed, the New York Public Library, and more. His screenwriting credits include the films The Artist’s Wife, The Quiet, and Menendez: Blood Brothers, and the television series The Village and Almost Family. He has been an executive producer and associate producer on numerous films, including Call Me By Your Name, Little Woods, and Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood. He lives in Los Angeles with his husband and two children.

J Yang is a New York-based illustrator who happens to be a Chinese-American trans man. During quarantine, he has acquired a cherry shrimp hobby, learned a couple of new recipes, and has become a square-shaped grandma in a D&D campaign. You can find his work in Portrait of a Tyrant, Our Rainbow, Spirit Day, and upcoming The Good Hair Day and If You’re A Kid Like Gavin. J is currently at large.

Hope to see you there! (No registration required - just click here for the zoom link.)
Illustrate and Write On,