Thursday, July 29, 2021

The SCBWI 50th Anniversary Summer Conference Begins Online Tomorrow! (With Pre-Conference Intensives Today)

 


Inspiration, information, and expertise will be shared by over 100 conference faculty...

Check out the full schedule, and the list of faculty, here.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

SCBWI Highlights Self-Published Member Titles in July


Each month, SCBWI features books written and illustrated by members. And every month “highlights a new theme that will foster discussions, activities, and enjoyment!” July's focus is self published titles in these categories:

Anthologies
Early/Leveled Readers
Nonfiction
Bilingual/Spanish
Graphic Novels
Picture Books
Chapter Books
Middle Grade
and Young Adult

Check out all the lists here.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Wisdom from Uri Shulevitz

Uri Shulevitz is a Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator and author, and his "Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children's Books" is highly recommended - cited by more than ten authors and illustrators as an "Essential Reference Book on Writing and Illustrating for Children & Teens," an article I pulled together a few years ago for "SCBWI The Book."


Early in the "Writing with Pictures," Uri offers a number of illustrations in sequence to help us understand readability, pacing, progression, and so much more about how we read picture sequences. As he writes on page 29,

When the actor-stage relationship is clear, when the picture code is consistent, when the progression is appropriate to the action, the picture sequence will "speak" to the reader. The more clearly the picture sequence speaks, the more enjoyment the reader will be able to get from it. And giving a feeling of satisfaction is essential in children's books.

There's so much more... "Writing with Pictures" is certainly worth checking out from the library or grabbing a used copy for yourself.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Looking for Inspiration for Instagram? BookBub Spotlights 9 YA Authors "Running Fantastic Book Promotions on Instagram"


As part of Shailee Shah's curated list of "25 Authors Running Fantastic Book Promotions on Instagram," there are spotlights on Elise Bryant, who offers "a behind-the-scenes look at her author life"; Tahereh Mafi who "shares blurb[s] and excerpts from her upcoming releases amidst stunning lifestyle posts"; Kalynn Bayron, who "gives her followers sneak peeks into the publishing process of her books"; and Ransom Riggs, who "regularly shares posts and old photographs surrounding the lore of his series" and uses Instagram Live events; and more...

Check out the full roundup here, and be inspired with what you can do!

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, July 15, 2021

A Creative Prompt

 

It only looks like a blank page now. Give it 12 minutes...

For your writing/illustrating practice, if you're looking for a jump-start, consider:

What would you create if you could go back in time and give the picture book or middle grade or YA title you create to your younger self? What would have made an impact on you, then? What does that inspire you to create, now?

Start with 12 minutes brainstorming, or freewriting, or sketching, and see where it takes you.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Are Enewsletters a New Literary Genre?

Molly Fischer, writing for The Cut, asks us to consider just that in The Sound of My Inbox.


a few highlights:

A newsletter reshapes a writer’s relationship to their readers. The first-person informality that has been present since the earliest days of web writing achieves its business apotheosis in the newsletter: from personal essay to personal brand.

and

Substack, crucially, made it easy to charge subscribers, then attracted further scrutiny by offering a handful of established writers six-figure advances. In late June, Facebook entered the fray with a newsletter service called Bulletin. Consumers of digital media now find themselves in a newsletter deluge.

Check out the full article here.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, July 8, 2021

People of Color in Publishing and Latinx in Publishing Release their "Publishing Racism Survey" (blog post 2 of 2)

If you haven't yet, you can download and read the full survey report from the People of Color in Publishing or Latinx in Publishing websites.



The Racism in Publishing report is packed with statistics and first-person accounts that everyone in the industry should read. It also includes two end sections: the first is "Take Action Now", the intro for which reads, in part:

Our recommendations below can be employed by everyone, but we wrote them specifically with our white colleagues in mind. One of the most frequently recurring comments in our survey was that the additional labor expected of BIPOC employees is not also expected of white employees. That needs to change.

If you are a white employee in publishing, please review the list below for ways to be an anti-racist accomplice. The recommendations in this list were provided by survey participants as well as members of the POC in Pub and Latinx in Pub planning committees.

And then there's a really helpful resource list, covering Organizations and Programs, Statistics, Books, Videos, and Articles. There's even a way to suggest additional resources you know about it they're not listed.

One of the many takeaways is that there's lots of ongoing work to dismantle racism in publishing – and the responsibility of that work is something all of us should take on – it should not be seen as something just BIPOC folks in the industry are responsible for. Happily, this report offers a lot of insight and resources for white folks in the industry “to be an anti-racist accomplice,” and a window into the realities of racism lived by our BIPOC colleagues.

And, to riff off the famous words of Rudine Sims Bishop, it offers a mirror to BIPOC folks in the industry, to know they're not alone in the racism they've experienced.

There's a vision here as well (maybe that's the sliding glass door) - and perhaps we can all walk through it as we do this important, ongoing work together. As the report advises its readers, 

Dismantling racism in publishing requires your conscious, active involvement for the rest of your career.

Get the full report at People of Color in Publishing or from Latinx in Publishing websites.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

People of Color in Publishing and Latinx in Publishing Release their "Publishing Racism Survey" (blog post 1 of 2)

You can download the full survey report from the People of Color in Publishing or Latinx in Publishing websites.

From the introduction:

People of Color in Publishing and Latinx in Publishing are both grassroots organizations founded with the shared goal of uplifting racially marginalized people in publishing. In July of 2018, we conducted an anonymous survey gauging the extent to which BIPOC book publishing employees experienced racism in the workplace. 

We received over 200 submissions and more than 50,000 words in written responses from professionals who had worked in various departments at indie presses and the Big 5... we found that every single participant shared a specific experience of racism.

Racism is so socially normalized that, in some forms, it is not recognized as racism. Many participants prefaced their statements with a variation of "not sure if this counts" or "not sure if I'm being oversensitive.” A word to our participants and fellow BIPOC colleagues: Your words count. You are not being oversensitive. You are not alone.

To our white colleagues: read these words attentively and share them widely. We ask that you do not approach any of your BIPOC colleagues to discuss this information, but instead call on your white colleagues. We have included an Actionable Takeaways and Resources section and recommend creating your own living list as well...

The entire report is well-worth reading.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Get Your Book Included In SCBWI's Shout Out to Member Titles Published Each Month! (Free for current members!)

Happy Book Birthday is an SCBWI program that invites all members to promote their newly published work (traditionally and independently published) in the same month the book is released. 

The graphic for June 2021 - click here to explore this selection of books published by SCBWI members last month

On the first day of each month, all submitted book covers will be displayed on the Happy Book Birthday page on SCBWI.org and advertised through social media.

It's super easy to participate!

Just gather the following information:

1.) Book release date
2.) Title of book
3.) Name of author and/or illustrator
4.) Chapter Book, Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, Nonfiction, Picture Book, or Young Adult?
5.) Image of book cover – jpg or png ONLY – no PDFs or Word docs
6.) Summary or statement about your book, 25 words or less
7.) Link to your book’s purchase page

And send it by the deadline to bookbirthday@scbwi.org

Congratulations on getting your book published - now you have to let folks know about it, and this is one easy way to start!

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Kyle Lukoff's Speeches Responding to the Controversy over His Easy Reader Series "Max and Friends"

Author Kyle Lukoff, photo by Erin Jones-Le


As Kyle explains:
The thumbnail version of what happened, for those who don’t know, is that first a young trans child in Utah brought a copy of my early reader “Call Me Max” to school and asked his teacher to read it. She did, and it sparked a tremendous controversy in the district about the appropriateness of a book written for first or second graders being read to third graders. Not surprisingly, their fears then targeted something called “Equity Book Bundles” and the idea that their children might learn about race and racism.

About a month later a similar situation developed in Austin, Texas. A fourth-grade teacher read “Call Me Max” aloud, and in the resulting hullabaloo an administrator sent a letter to every parent in the district, apologizing for the incident, assuring them that no other children had been “exposed” to the material, and promising that counselors had been dispatched to help children process the experience of reading an extremely basic and anodyne trans 101 early reader.

 

And from that keynote speech for ALA's Office of Intellectual Freedom Awards 2021 are these words as well:

Children should be allowed to learn about their bodies, and what will happen to their bodies as they get older. Some people are trans, and that is a perfectly fine subject for children to learn about. It is wrong to remove children’s books about LGBTQ people from a children’s library, and it is right to fight back against any attempts to do so.

I also believe that I am correct in my conviction that blithely giving children books where other human beings are depicted as exotic, or extinct subjects of the distant past, or an animalistic dress-up opportunity, is a bad practice! I know that other people might think it’s okay for children to have some unexamined exposure to racism, whether backgrounded or foregrounded, and that there is plenty of time in their development to undo early prejudices or trauma. I think that approach is misguided, and I want to have no part in it. I do not have longitudinal studies to back up my belief, but I don’t know of studies that contradict it. But I wish that I had been given less as a child to unlearn as an adult.

And an earlier speech, given by Kyle and also posted to his blog, My speech at the FAM Rally in Salt Lake City includes this:

...sometimes being trans in America today feels like seeing these blocks rise up all around me, knowing that they are not natural outcroppings or inevitable outgrowths. They are made by people, and organized by people, and put in place by people. Most of them are not easy to avoid.

Because we know that there are more imposing blocks than the ones that would keep my books from finding readers. Higher ones. Removing books about trans kids from a school is followed by telling trans kids that they can go to school but they can’t use the right bathroom, or play on teams with their peers. Denying trans kids a reflection of themselves in books is a lower block, and denying us access to healthcare that allows us to see ourselves reflected in a mirror puts us square in the middle of the highest columns, hemmed in from all sides with no way out.
Read both speeches here.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, June 24, 2021

What's Up With Your Subsidiary Rights?

The Harry Potter Wizarding World store in New York opened this month.


While not all of our work will end up as inspiration for amusement parks, movie franchises, and manhattan retail experiences, it does offer us the opportunity to consider some questions:

How deep and fascinating are the worlds we create? The characters we bring to life? How big can we dream?

How can what we create mean so much to readers that they want to be part of it beyond reading our words, our translations, our pictures?

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee


Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Lesléa Newman Reframes the "Submission" Process as an "Offer"

What if we thought of sending our work to an editor or agent as an offer? 

An offer that can be accepted or declined.

Rather than a submission that can result in an offer or be rejected?

Even the language of submission has a power differential attached to it that implies we creators have very little agency in the matter.

But if we think of it like Lesléa does, as an offer, then we keep our power. An offer can be declined, an offer can be accepted, but it is our offer of a work we've written, or translated, or illustrated.

(Frankly, this is a much healthier framework for many of the creative arts. Offering our work rather than submitting it.)

Lesléa Newman


I heard Lesléa speak about this in an excellent Highlights Foundation course taught by Lesléa Newman and Rob Sanders, "Writing the Rainbow", all about LGBTQ picture books. Learn more about Lesléa at her website here.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, June 17, 2021

A Public Typewriter Goes Hybrid - "The World's Smallest Publishing House Is Still Accepting Submissions"

The Literati bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan has a public typewriter on the floor. An old fashioned one, with clacking keys and ringing carriage returns. It's there for anyone to type on.

And then, it was retired in the pandemic.

Now the typewriter is back(!)


On the plus side, in the meantime the nice folks at Literati Bookstore created an online version where any and all of us can leave our own missives to the world.

(It's pretty confounding and oddly liberating to NOT be able to delete, or go back. It's all forwards!)

Take the virtual public typewriter for a spin...

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

P.S. You can also check out what folks have written/published on the Public Typewriter on Instagram here.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

And the Winners of the SCBWI Crystal Kite Member Choice Awards Are...

Presented annually, the SCBWI Crystal Kite is a peer-given award which recognizes great books from 15 SCBWI regional divisions around the world. We would like to congratulate our wonderful 2021 winners for books published in 2020, listed here by division. Atlantic (Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Wash DC, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland)

EVELYN DEL RAY IS MOVING AWAY
Meg Medina (Sonia Sánchez, illustrator)


 

Australia, New Zealand

HOW TO MAKE A BIRD
Meg McKinlay (Matt Ottley, author)



California, Hawaii

EFRÉN DIVIDED
Ernesto Cisneros





Canada

NIGHT WALK
Ellie Arscott (Sara O’Leary, author)




Europe, Latin America, Africa

THE HUNGRY GHOST
Helle Norup





Mid South Division (Kansas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana)

THE OLDEST STUDENT: How Mary Walker Learned to Read
Rita Hubbard (Oge Mora, illustrator)





Middle East, India, Asia

THE LAST GARDEN
Rachel Ip (Anneli Bray, illustrator)





Mid West Division (Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio)

OLD ROCK (is not boring!)
Deb Pilutti





New England (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island)

LET’S DANCE!
Valerie Bolling (Maine Diaz, illustrator)






New York

THE BOY AND THE GORILLA
Jackie Azúa Kramer (Cindy Derby, illustrator)





South East Division (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama)

THE LITTLE BLUE COTTAGE
Kelly Jordan (Jessica Courtney-Tickle, illustrator)





South West Division (Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Southern Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico)

MIDNIGHT AT THE BARCLAY HOTEL
Fleur Bradley (Xavier Bonet, illustrator)





Texas, Oklahoma

DUSK EXPLORERS
Lindsay Leslie (Ellen Rooney, illustrator)





United Kingdom, Ireland

BOY, EVERYWHERE
A.M. Dassu





Western Division (Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Northern Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota)

THE STARKEEPER
Faith Pray




Check out 14 of the winning books at the SCBWI Bookshop.org page here. (And more about the Last Garden is here.)

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, June 10, 2021

We Need Diverse Books Announces They Will No Longer Use The Hashtag or Term #OwnVoices

 It's a fascinating development. In their post, "Why We Need Diverse Books Is No Longer Using the Term #OwnVoices" they acknowledge that while the term started out as a way to raise the voices of under-represented creators of children's and teen literature, its use has shifted in ways that have become problematic. 



On June 6, 2021, We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) wrote:

"#OwnVoices was created as a hashtag by author Corinne Duyvis in September 2015. It was originally intended as a shorthand book recommendation tool in a Twitter thread, for readers to recommend books by authors who openly shared the diverse identity of their main characters. The hashtag was never intended to be used in a broader capacity, but it has since expanded in its use to become a “catch all” marketing term by the publishing industry. Using #OwnVoices in this capacity raises issues due to the vagueness of the term, which has then been used to place diverse creators in uncomfortable and potentially unsafe situations. It is important to use the language that authors want to celebrate about themselves and their characters."

This concern over the term's evolution to, at times: a marketing gimmick; a way to police who can tell what story; a determinant of which stories get marketing/publicity attention; and forcing some creators into unsafe situations with being outed for parts of their identities (usually the LGBGTQIA2+ parts) has been growing. Author Rin Chupeco tweeted back on March 2, 2021

"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."

 

The efforts to amplify and support under-represented illustrators, translators, and writers are important - equally so is keeping up with how tools and terms are used so we help make things better.

WNDB wrote that they

"...will no longer use the term #OwnVoices to refer to children’s literature or its authors and we have removed mentions of #OwnVoices from previously published blog posts. Moving forward, WNDB will use specific descriptions that authors use for themselves and their characters whenever possible (for example, 'Korean American author,' or 'autistic protagonist')."

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee


Tuesday, June 8, 2021

SCBWI Reading Lists Celebrate LGBTQIA+ Pride

With completely charming art by Vincent X. Kirsch (starring characters from his picture book From Archie to Zack), SCBWI has compiled a list of recently published books for kids and teens that include LGBTQIA+ characters and themes


Celebrate Pride (LGBTQIA+)
This month we celebrate books that honor the affirmation, dignity, equality, and achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or LGBTQIA+ people. On this list you will find OwnVoices books, biographies, historical events, memoirs, fiction, and more. So grab a great book and celebrate Pride Month!

These are SCBWI member books, from PAL publishers, and there are six lists in all: anthologies (1 title); Graphic novels (2 titles); middle grade (5 titles); nonfiction* (7 titles); picture books (19 titles); and Young Adult books (17 titles).

Each month, SCBWI features books written and illustrated by our members. And every month highlights a new theme that will foster discussions, activities, and enjoyment! Storytelling done right.

Check them all out, and support your fellow SCBWI members!

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee


*Full disclosure: my own nonfiction for readers age 11 and up, No Way, They Were Gay? Hidden Lives and Secret Loves is included in the nonfiction list. Hurray!

Thursday, June 3, 2021

SCBWI is on Bookshop!

If you've been to an in-person SCBWI event, you know that one of the highlights is browsing the bookstore with books from all the faculty. For local events, often a local indie bookseller has organized things, and at the international conferences in New York and Los Angeles, the conference bookstore becomes for that weekend one of the biggest sellers of children's and teen books in the country!

Even with SCBWI events having gone digital, there's still a way to browse the faculty books for different events – on Bookshop (which supports independent booksellers.)



The url is: https://bookshop.org/shop/SCBWI and you can browse books in these categories:

Digital Workshops 4.0 Faculty

Equity + Inclusion Book Club Selections

Crystal Kite Award Winners

Titles from SCBWI Advisory Board Members

Golden Kite Award Winners

Reference Books

Golden Kite Award Finalists

Sid Fleischman Award for Humor Finalists

and

NY21SCBWI Conference Faculty.

Have fun checking out all the books* - and know that buying them supports those authors, translators, illustrators, their publishers, and independent bookstores.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

*Worth noting is that for now, bookshop.org can only list books available through Ingram Wholesale. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Have You Been Attending These Free-For-Members Digital Workshops? Next Up: "Creating a Cast of Characters in Your Middle Grade Novel" with Meg Medina

Registration is open now for "Creating a Cast of Characters in Your Middle Grade Novel" with Meg Medina.



The workshop will take place this Thursday June 3, 2021 at 1pm Pacific/4pm Eastern. Here's the description:

Kids have busy lives - with their families, at school, and with their friends. How do you recreate those relationships authentically without confusing your readers with too many characters? Meg Medina, author of the3 Newbery award-winning novel Merci Suarez Changes Gears and its newly released follow-up Merci Suarez Can't Dance, leads a worskhop on how we build and manage memorable characters in service to the story we're trying to tell. Be prepared to work on exercises pertaining to your own work-in-progress.

Like all the SCBWI digital workshops, the video recording will remain up on the SCBWI Digital Workshops Archive page for four weeks... which means you can still see

Digital Workshop One: Transforming a Picture Book Manuscript Into a Visual Narrative
with Jacqueline Alcántara

Digital Workshop Two: SCBWI #OWNVOICES Celebrating Asian Voices
with Julie Abe, Samira Ahmed, Mike Jung, Emily X.R. Pan, Dow Phumiruk, Paula Yoo; moderated by Alvina Ling

and

Digital Workshop Three: Maximizing Your Social Media Presence and Effectiveness
with Greg Pincus

by logging into the archive.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On!
Lee

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Appropriate Cultural Appropriation - A Thoughtful Article by Nisi Shawl

Listed at the Children's Book Council's Diversity Resources for Writers page, this article by Nisi Shawl, Appropriate Cultural Appropriation is well-worth reading.


A highlight:

"Rather than looking at a binary choice between (mis)appropriating a culture and avoiding its mention, we can consider a spectrum of roles it’s possible for transcultural writers and readers to play.

We can examine works in which authors have attempted to write about, or extrapolate from, another person’s culture for ways in which they succeed or fail.

We can question and reground our desire to write about other cultures."

Among those important questions:

Are we approaching another culture as an invader? A tourist? A guest?

What's "the best point of view from which to recount a transcultural tale"?

Are we honoring the value of things like "ideas, beliefs, customs, paradigms, and other non-physical artifacts"?

There's so much to consider. Read the full article here.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

kiBooka - A Resource Celebrating Books for Kids and Teens by Korean Americans (and Korean Diaspora)

A celebration of children's literature by Korean Americans and Koreans living outside Korea, the kiBooka website was created by Newbery Medalist Linda Sue Park. The idea is to list books traditionally published in English by Korean American and Korean diaspora creators, grouped under "Picture Books," "Middle Grade", and "Young Adult."

As of writing this, the kiBooka site lists 33 picture books:

A screenshot of the picture book page on the kiBooka website


12 middle grade titles:

A screenshot of the middle grade page on the kiBooka website


And 17 young adult books:

A screenshot of the young adult page on the kiBooka website


And those lists will keep growing! As Linda Sue wrote on the website's About page, 

"This kiBooka website is a source of great happiness for me. When my career began more than 20 years ago, there were very few creators of Korean ancestry publishing in the US—it would have been a forlorn site indeed! I’m excited about the talented writers and artists whose books are now available, and hope you will enjoy learning about them and their work." — Linda Sue Park

In this interview by Stephani Martinell Eaton on Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations blog, Linda Sue Park speaks with six creators (Janet Wong, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, Paula Yoo, Aram Kim, Helena Ku Rhee, and Chris Soentpiet) about what kiBooka "means for them professionally and personally." 

They speak of how more than a list, kiBooka represents a gathering of community.

If you'd like your upcoming book featured on the kiBooka website, you'll find details on submitting here.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Are You Ready for the BIG FIVE-OH? The SCBWI Summer Conference Celebrates SCBWI's 50th Anniversary! (Registration Opens May 19 at 10am Pacific)

 


July 29-August 2, 2021, Live on Zoom

It's going to be a party, a conference, a connection with community, and so much more! Registration opens TOMORROW May 19, 2021 at 10am Pacific - click here: https://www.scbwi.org/event-summer-conference-2021/

Here's the scoop:

The three main days are July 30, 31 and August 1, with optional events on the day before and the day after, as well as a free bonus peer critique day on August 7. Featuring a super-star faculty of over 50 industry leaders speaking on over 50 topics, the 50th promises to be memorable for all SCBWI members.

We are breaking the mold this year and providing an all-new format. Gone are the hour-long conversations, replaced with over 50 fifteen or thirty-minute keynotes offering concrete and specific advice on all aspects of creating children’s books. Whether you want to learn how to create a graphic novel script or promote your illustrations on social media, how to outline your novel in three easy steps or write a rhyming picture book, there is meaty information for your specific interest. In addition, every session will provide a handout of take-away points and tips, and all sessions will be available to attendees online for a month following the conference. It’s a buffet of fifty plus topics and speakers for you to gorge on, both live and at your leisure.

Each day will also feature a themed mingle so you can get to know some of your fellow attendees. And a series of nightly socials will provide opportunities to connect with like-minded writers and illustrators.

The pre-opening day, July 29, will feature two optional intensives, one called LAUNCHPAD with sessions aimed at new-to-the-field creators who are launching their careers. The second intensive on that day is called PRO DAY, featuring a multitude of practical insider sessions for published authors and illustrators. The final day, August 2, will bring you an intensive for illustrators, which is free to all those who have enrolled in the full conference. Also on that day, we will also have PITCH ROUNDTABLES, where you select an agent or editor and participate in their hour-long pitch session. Each attendee who registers for this day will get seven minutes to pitch their book and get a response from the agent or editor roundtable leader. There is a limit of 900 places in the pitch roundtable day, so if you plan to take advantage of it, please mark the registration date in your calendar and don’t delay signing up.

By the way, the registration date is May 19, opening at 10 a.m. PACIFIC time. (That’s 1 p.m. EASTERN time, and all kinds of other times in other time zones.) Tuition for the main conference is $150. Tuition for the July 29 intensive is $100. (You must pick one and be signed up for the whole conference.). Fee for the Roundtable pitch day is $75. Fee for the portfolio showcase is $75. The Illustrator Intensive is included in your conference registration.

In addition, there is the career-altering Portfolio Showcase with two grand prizes, the opportunity to sell your books in our online conference bookstore, the bonus Peer Critique day (free to all registrants on Saturday, August 7), and a full set of handouts to remind you of all you’ve learned from this once-in-a-lifetime collection of masters in the field.

Over 30 scholarships are available, including many for underrepresented creators.

Here is an alphabetical list of conference speakers, so far:

Kwame Alexander
Elana K. Arnold
Sarah Aronson
Darcie Little Badger
Jessixa Bagley
Claudia Bedrick
Jenny Bent
Sophie Blackall
Valerie Bolling
Alex Borbolla
Regina Brooks
Mahogany Browne
Cozbi A. Cabrera
Kacen Callender
Nancy Carpenter
Nancy Castaldo
Antonio Gonzalez-Cerna
Ruth Chan
Nidhi Chanani
Jenny Choy
Ernesto Cisneros
Lesa Cline-Ransome
Brandy Colbert
Matthew Cordell
Kandace Coston
Mary Claire Cruz
Pat Cummings
Mike Curato
Adriana Dominguez
Elizabeth Dulemba
Kait Feldmann
Feather Flores
Marla Frazee
Saho Fujii
Nikki Giovanni
Nikki Grimes
Shannon Hale
Kirsten Hall
Deborah Halverson
Vashti Harrison
Leah Henderson
Saritza Hernandez
Zara Gonzalez Hoang
Tiffany D. Jackson
Milena Jahier
Allyn Johnston
Cecile Kaiser
Naz Kutub
Tricia Lawrence
Minh Le
Arthur Levine
Tiff Liao
Malinda Lo
Melissa Manlove
Barbara Marcus
Janae Marks
Alice McGinty
Torrey Maldonado
Heather Montgomery
Yuyi Moralesv Erin Murphy
Michelle Nagler
Daniel Nayeri
Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Lin Oliver
Linda Sue Park
Hallie Patterson
Darcy Pattison
Ann Whitford Paul
Erica Perl
Beth Phelan
Tanusri Prasanna
James Ransome
John Rocco
Nadia Salomon
Dan Santat
Tammi Sauer
Gary Schmidt
Heather E. Schwartz
Karol Ruth Silverstein
Ronald L. Smith
Christina Soontornvat
Traci Sorell
Nova Ren Suma
Jennifer Swanson
Shaun Tan
Brent Taylor
Aiden Thomas
Brittany J. Thurman
Jennifer Vassel
Padma Venkatraman
Lisa Yee
Phoebe Yeh
Paula Yoo

We hope you'll join us for this online happening!

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On!
Lee

Monday, May 17, 2021

Register Now For "Celebrating Asian Voices" - Free for SCBWI Members

This is going to be awesome! SCBWI #OwnVoices: Celebrating Asian Voices will take place on Thursday May 20, from 1pm-2pm Pacific.



Six children's book creators will discuss the role their Asian or Pacific Islander identity plays in the writing and art they create as well as the importance of overcoming stereotypes and providing positive representation.

The amazing panelists will be:

Julie Abe

Julie writes middle grade fantasy and YA romance, with the most recent book out being book two in the series, Eva Evergreen and the Cursed Witch

Eva Evergreen has fulfilled her dream of earning the rank of Novice Witch, and discovered the chilling truth behind the mysterious Culling -- the violent magical storm wreaking havoc across Rivelle Realm.

Revealing the truth, however, proves to be a difficult task and soon the culprit is at large. To make matters worse Eva learns what might be the horrible truth behind her pinch of magic and her mother's own mysterious connection to the Culling and rogue magic.

With her spirits at an all-time low, Eva must muster up the courage to prove her mother's innocence and learn to believe in her own magic, if she wishes to put a stop to the Culling once and for all.

Samira Ahmed

Samira's latest book is Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know

It’s August in Paris and 17-year-old Khayyam Maquet—American, French, Indian, Muslim—is at a crossroads. This holiday with her parents should be a dream trip for the budding art historian. But her maybe-ex-boyfriend is probably ghosting her, she might have just blown her chance at getting into her dream college, and now all she really wants is to be back home in Chicago figuring out her messy life instead of brooding in the City of Light.

Two hundred years before Khayyam’s summer of discontent, Leila is struggling to survive and keep her true love hidden from the Pasha who has “gifted” her with favored status in his harem. In the present day—and with the company of a descendant of Alexandre Dumas—Khayyam begins to connect allusions to an enigmatic 19th-century Muslim woman whose path may have intersected with Alexandre Dumas, Eugène Delacroix, and Lord Byron.

Echoing across centuries, Leila and Khayyam’s lives intertwine, and as one woman’s long-forgotten life is uncovered, another’s is transformed.

Mike Jung

Mike's most recent book is The Boys in the Back Row

Best friends Matt and Eric are hatching a plan for one big final adventure together before Eric moves away: during the marching band competition at a Giant Amusement Park, they will sneak away to a nearby comics convention and meet their idol-a famous comic creator. Without cell phones. Or transportation. Or permission. Of course, their final adventure together is more than just that-really, it’s a way for the boys to celebrate their friendship, and their honest love and support for one another.

Emily X.R. Pan

Author of the New York Times bestseller, The Astonishing Color of After

Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.

Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.

Alternating between reality and magic, past and present, hope and despair, THE ASTONISHING COLOR OF AFTER is a novel about finding oneself through family history, art, bravery, and love.

Dow Phumiruk

Dow has illustrated picture books including "Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13" and "Maya Lin, Artist-Architect of Light and Lines." Check out illustrator's Dow's website for some amazing art. 

Paula Yoo

Paula's latest book is the nonfiction YA "From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry" 

A groundbreaking portrait of Vincent Chin’s life and death and the civil rights case that took America’s Asian American community to the streets in protest of injustice. Vincent Chin’s legacy inspires today’s generation to continue speaking out and fighting back in solidarity against hatred and racism. Because our history, our stories, our contributions – and our voices – matter.

and the session will be moderated by Alvina Ling, VP and Editor in Chief, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Some details: Any current SCBWI member can register for a workshop. The first 5,000 people to sign up will receive a confirmation email with a Zoom link and instructions on how to attend the webinar live. Once registration has reached the 5,000-person limit, the workshop will be closed. Members who cannot attend live will be able to watch a video recording of the webinar on the SCBWI website twenty-four hours after the conclusion of the event.

Get all the details, and register for the workshop here.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, May 13, 2021

SCBWI Translation Hub and Resources

Make sure to bookmark translation.scbwi.org/

A screen shot of the new translation hub at scbwi.org, showing "translator" as one of the professional roles SCBWI members can choose when they self-identify.


It's a new home base for everything translations for kids and teens - there's a list of events, resources, a list-serve, even a critique connection!

There's also a nifty list of interviews with SCBWI Translator members!

Check it all out at: translation.scbwi.org/

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On!
Lee

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

SCBWI Switzerland Interviews Lawrence Schimel About His Picture Books That Have Been Translated and Published in 23 Different Editions Around The World

Lawrence with translated copies of his picture books featuring kids and their pets from LGBTQ families.


In this excellent interview, SCBWI Switzerland Regional Advisor Elisabeth Norton spoke to Lawrence Schimel about the journey of two of his picture books, Bedtime, Not Playtime! and Early One Morning, translation, book rights, and much more.

One highlight, discussing the four language release in Switzerland (German, French, Italian, and, Rätoromanisch, sometimes also called Romansh or Romansch):

Lawrence: The publisher for these titles in Switzerland is an NGO, Dachverband Regenbogenfamilien, which doesn't normally publish books but knows that books like these were lacking in Switzerland. They had seen on social media as I posted about the 8 previous languages the books had been published in (Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Flemish, Galician, Latvian, Slovenian, and Spanish) and asked if the rights were still available for the Swiss languages, in order to publish them in time for IFED (International Family Equality Day) which is celebrated each year on the first Sunday of May. As a Swiss NGO, they were very aware of the importance of publishing in ALL of the Swiss languages, including Rätoromanisch. I don't know if these are the first LGBTQ books published in Rätoromanisch, but I do believe they're the first LBGTQ kidzbooks published in this language, which is quite an honor!

Go read the full interview here!

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, May 6, 2021

A Mr. Darcy Rant About Alliterative Names: A Guest Post by Ann Whitford Paul

Picture Book Author Ann Whitford Paul has a great newsletter, where she writes from the point of view of her cat, Mr. Darcy, on issues of craft. In the most recent, Mr. Darcy chases after the all-too-common practice of alliterative names in picture book manuscripts. With Ann's kind permission, here's that essay:



Why do so many picture book manuscripts use alliterative names? Sitting on my writer’s lap, we read them together and whenever she comes across Danny the Donkey, Tony the Tractor, or Zelda the Zebra, she groans so loud I leap away. Imagine an editor’s reaction! Worse than a groan, they will toss the manuscript into the rejection pile.

Why?

Too many people think of children as cute and therefore their characters should be cute. I think children are cute until they tie a bonnet on my head or, even worse, pull my tail. OUCH!

Being young may look fantastic to adults. What’s not to love having your food prepared for you, playing all day, and never having to hold down a job! That doesn’t mean childhood is all ice cream cones, giggles and kisses. There are falls and tears and temper tantrums. Recognize this when considering an alliterative name.

It’s okay to call Donkey, Donkey and Lion, Lion. It’s also okay to name animals. Writers have been doing it forever. Think of Babar, Ferdinand, and Curious George.

Remember in picture books, every word counts. If you name a character Annie Ant, that’s one extra word; two extra words, if you call her Annie the Ant. Those extra words repeated through the manuscript could go to much better use forwarding the action, expressing emotion, and writing lyrically. We lucky authors of picture books have illustrators to let the reader know what creatures our characters are.

I shiver at the thought my writer might have named me Curt the Cat, instead of Mr. Darcy, but she knew better. When you’re naming your charters, I hope you’ll know better, too.

For more of Ann's wisdom on crafting picture books, you might check out her website's resources for writers page and her book, WRITING PICTURE BOOKS: A Hands-On Guide From Story Creation to Publication.


Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

A Pep Talk from Author Libba Bray



The remarkable and hysterical Libba Bray recently posted this video pep talk over on Instagram.

I was laughing, and then nodding along at Libba's wisdom:

"As writers, we're always kind of struggling with art versus commerce."

"For me, someone could give me the most commercial idea in the world, and I would run that sucker into a ditch of weird. Without even trying."

"We have to be the writers we are."

and what really, as writers, is a victory. 

Go watch it. Six minutes 12 seconds of awesome.

And then, we should all, like Libba encourages us to:

"Go make that awesome thing you're making. And make it as only you can."

Thanks, Libba!

Illustrate and Translate and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Illustrators - Do you know you can be a SCBWI Featured Illustrator of the Month?

Yes, SCBWI features one illustrator member each month. 

Here's the scoop: 

The Featured Illustrator’s art is highlighted prominently on the homepage and the Illustrator Gallery landing page, as well as all SCBWI social media. Our site receives over 191K hits each month, our Instagram account has over 22K followers, our Twitter account has 44K followers, and our Facebook has 5K followers. That is a lot of eyes on your work!

The April 2021 Featured Illustrator is Sophie Diao - here is Sophie's work featured on the "Featured Illustrator" information page:
And on the SCBWI home page:


And more images by Sophie as well as her bio and agent information at the Illustrator Gallery landing page:




There's even a listing of all the past SCBWI Featured Illustrators of the Month on the Illustrator Gallery landing page.

Congratulations to Sophie, and all the other previously featured illustrators!

Find out how you can be considered for the SCBWI Featured Illustrator honor here.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Do you have a writing schedule? Inspiration (and quite the example) from Ines Johnson on the BookBub Partners Blog

 The article is about the steps Ines took to figure out "How I Make Six Figures as a Self-Published Author." 

What I found most fascinating in the description of lessons earned and learned was Ines discussing how she assigns herself a certain amount of writing on a daily basis. While Inez was doing this for her own publishing schedule, it's something all of us writers - however we're published - face. 

When's that next book going to be ready to give to your agent, or your editor? What are your readers' expectations?

“The next place I failed was in setting reader expectations. Sometimes I put out a book a month for three months. Other times, I only put out three books a year. I lost readers and then gained new ones only to lose them again. I had to learn it wasn’t about speed. It was about showing up on time and when you were expected.” —Ines Johnson

Ines writes by chapters. And shares that, "When I finish a chapter, I reward myself with stickers or a doodle."

“Once you know how many words (or chapters) you can write in an hour, day, or month, then you will have a gauge of your publishing schedule for the year, set reader expectations, and then meet them.” –Ines Johnson


Illustrate, and Translate, and Write On,
Lee