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,