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,