Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Have You Checked Out the 52 Grants and Awards SCBWI Offers Members?

Check out the SCBWI Awards and Grants page on the SCBWI website, with all the current opportunities organized into seven categories: 



PAL Published

Independently Published


Community Grants 

SCBWI Partnered Grants & Awards

Just one of the opportunities listed at the SCBWI Awards and Grants page

Each grant listing also includes information letting you know if is is currently taking submissions. SCBWI Awards and Grants is a great page to bookmark as you pursue your career in children's and teen literature!

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Laura Davis Weighs the Hard Choices of Writing Memoir

In this Publishers Weekly opinion soapbox piece, Writers Who Make Hard Choices, Laura shares the “agonizing soul-searching” that went into deciding to tell her truth while at the same time knowing it will hurt people she loves.

Laura considers how her first book launched the incest survivor empowerment movement, and the importance, with her new book about to publish, of “offering this story to the unknown readers with whom my journey may deeply resonate.”

If you're working on a memoir, Writers Who Make Hard Choices is well-worth reading.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

The Authors Guild Answers: When Should Authors Create an LLC or S Corp?

Check out this FORMING AN ENTITY webinar recording on the Authors Guild site.

Here's the description:

Your writing career is a business, but is it beneficial to incorporate? Many authors are best served by operating as sole proprietorships, yet there are many circumstances that can make it advantageous to form an LLC or S corp. Entertainment lawyer Daniel Sheerin will join us to discuss the legal requirements and ramifications of forming an entity as an author, and we’ll hear about the potential tax benefits of doing so from accountant Robert Pesce, treasurer of the Authors Guild Foundation. Moderated by Erin Lowry. 

This webinar addresses questions such as:  

•At what income threshold is it worth it to form an entity?  

•How much more complicated will my taxes be?  

•Does incorporating protect me personally in the event of a lawsuit?  

•When is an LLC or S corp better for an author? 

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Are Your Characters Dealing With Trauma?

In this article in Electric Lit, “Shadow and Bone” Helped Me Combat My Imposter Syndrome, Meera Vijayann poses the question/opportunity:

“The tendency of writers to focus on the future of their characters without examining their present is a missed opportunity; because it is well-documented that children do not merely outgrow their trauma. Their personalities are shaped by it, and usually, their futures are ruined by the effect it has on their minds.”

Meera considers how 

“Time and time again, throughout the Grishaverse trilogy, Alina peels away her trauma layer by layer, until all that’s left is the person she was truly meant to be.”

and writes, 

“I’m hopeful that Bardugo’s audacity to redefine feminine strength will shape young adult fiction. In refusing to write around trauma, instead writing directly through it, she allows Alina Starkov to become consumed and haunted by it and eventually, develop the strength to fight back and overcome it. It is healing through confrontation. It is a different kind of pain, and a necessary one that we need more of our literary heroines to go through.”

The characters we create model so much for young readers... and Meera's analysis is fascinating to consider. Read the full article here.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Where Are The Fat Children In Picture Books? - Ashlie Swicker Asks Over at BookRiot

6 year olds giggling - in a laughing at others way - when Ashlie read them the word "fat" in Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar sparked the piece in BookRiot. 

Where are the Fat Children in Picture Books? is important reading - Ashlie shares not just the impact of fat-shaming culture, but also the need for joyful inclusion. Here's an excerpt:

“Many people honestly do not believe fat children deserve representation. They believe fat kids need to be FIXED. We live in a time where there is a War on Childhood Obesity. And for all the shaming and warnings about how large children are unhealthy, nothing is changing in the data. It’s almost as if humiliation and mockery will not change outcomes. To anyone who wants to fight that fat kids can’t be in books because they need to be healthy, I am here to tell you that thin does not equal healthy. We could get into the ickier questions about our national obsession with health as an inherent moral value, but this isn’t even the moment. If we want to teach kids to treat their bodies well, we must first teach them to love and appreciate their bodies, no matter how they look.” 


“There need to be more fat children in picture books. There need to be fat children celebrated in picture books. There need to be fat children dancing, eating, running, and playing, and they need to be prominently and warmly featured in picture books.”

As creators of children's literature, we should pay attention - the full article is well-worth reading.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Laura Shovan on Creating a Mock Cover to Focus on Your Writing Project

 Over on Instagram, Laura shared:

“A few years ago, I started doodling a book cover for each work in progress. There's one for The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, one for Takedown. I remember showing @saadiafaruqi my sketches for A Place at the Table.

These are nothing like the actual covers of my books, created by professional designers and illustrators. I'm amazed at how well a good book cover can capture the feel of a story.

These doodle covers are for fun. They're a way to focus on whatever it is I'm working on. Does anyone else create mock covers for their writing projects?”

I followed up to ask Laura if there was an example she could share of a doodle along with a completed professional book cover for one of her titles that was out in the world...

Laura shared both the cover and the spine(!) doodles for Takedown, side-by-side with the published book's cover and spine. The published book's cover illustration is by Kevin Whipple.

Laura commented, "so funny that both versions have the blue and red striping."

This seems like an excellent left-side/right-side of the brain exercise to focus on what a project is really about...

Thanks, Laura!

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Censorship on the Rise Worldwide - Ed Nawotka Updates International Censorship for Publishers Weekly

SCBWI member Lawrence Schimel – and the censorship his children's books showing families with two moms and two dads has faced in Hungary – is featured in the article Censorship on the Rise Worldwide.

Some quotes from the article:

Schimel, an American living in Madrid, has published dozens of LGBTQ-themed works for children and adults. “It’s important for all families, not just those who are LGBTQ, to see and read these books which show just how normal these families are,” he said. What a Family! is now sold in Hungary with a sticker, warning readers that it depicts families “outside the norm.” It was originally published as two books in Spanish, and Orca Book Publishers is releasing it as two books in the U.S. in September.


in July, the government of Belarus moved to dissolve the local branch of PEN after the freedom of speech organization released a report showing 621 instances of human rights violations, including arrests and imprisonments, against culture workers in the first six months of 2021.


It has long been known that the Chinese government keeps a close eye on which books are distributed there and maintains control of the issuing of ISBNs. Officially, censorship is not a state policy. Publishers have long held that if a book does not become too popular or influential in China, it will be tolerated. But unofficial policy is flexible, and recent trends have shifted toward a narrowing of what is considered acceptable.

Read the full piece here

Thanks to SCBWI member translator Avery Udagawa for sharing with me, so I can share with you. 

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

Thursday, August 5, 2021

The History of Book Blurbs - Nikki DeMarco Walks Us Back on the Practice over at BookRiot

What’s in a Blurb?: the History of Book Blurbing takes us back to Walt Whitman who gets the credit of being the first to use a quote from a review on the cover of the second edition of Leaves of Grass:

“I greet you at the beginning of a great career.” 

Leaves of Grass, now going into its second printing in 1856, had that line from [Ralph Waldo] Emerson’s letter written in gold on the spine of the book alongside the title and author’s name. 

Pretty fascinating - especially as how it's such a common practice of publishing today.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,