Calling Young Writers! Celebration of Writers on Nov. 9th @VCFA, Montpelier

Vermont College of Fine Arts and Young Writers Project announce plans for Celebration of Writing 2013, Nov. 9 at VCFA Montpelier campus

M.T. Anderson, a National Book Award winner, will be the keynote speaker at the Celebration of Writing 2013, co-sponsored by Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA) and Young Writers Project (YWP). The celebration will take place Saturday, Nov. 9, at VCFA’s campus with workshops beginning at 9:30 a.m. and the keynote at 4 p.m.

The day will highlight publication of YWP’s latest anthology, Anthology 5, a collection of the best writing and photographs drawn from 14,000 submissions.

The event, held at VCFA’s main building in Montpelier, features a day of workshops led by prominent writers and artists in digital storytelling, poetry and prose. Each workshop is 75 minutes long and all are free. A special workshop for parents begins at 2:30 p.m.

Workshop leaders include actress Robin Fawcett, poet Reuben Jackson, slam poet Geof Hewitt, digital storytellers Barbara Ganley and Bryan Alexander, poet Kerrin McCadden, and novelists Sarah Stewart Taylor and Jo Knowles. 

At 4 p.m., M.T. Anderson, winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, will talk about how, as an adult, he resurrected a novel written as a teen into a series of novels. VCFA President Thomas Greene will also welcome young writers and their families to the college. Several writers featured in Anthology 5 will read their work as part of YWP’s continuing Millennial Writers On Stage series. A reception, formal release of Anthology 5 and author book signings will follow.

For more information and to register:

About Young Writers Project …

Young Writers Project is a nonprofit dedicated to building a generation of better writers. Each year it publishes 1,000 students’ work in 19 newspapers and on Vermont Public Radio and It operates a civil teen writing community, youngwritersproject.orgworks with 63 schools through its YWP Schools Project; and holds community events and workshops. This year’s anthology was drawn from 12,000 writing submissions and 2,000 pieces of visual art.

Muslim Author’s Book Named Among ‘100 Greatest Children’s Books’ of the Last 100 Years by New York Public Library

I was so happy to see this wonderful news that I want to share it with all of you. Rukhsana Khan’s book BIG RED LOLLIPOP  is on the New York Public Library’s Children’s Books 2012: 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing list. She is the first Muslim author of Pakistani origin to be named on the list. Quoting directly from their press release, NYPL stated that all books on the list have “withstood the test of time at the New York Public Library or are on their way to becoming new classics.”

Ms. Khan receiving the Golden Kite Award. Photo from her website.

Rukhsana Khan is originally Pakistani and learned English as a second language. Her prolific writing and huge success has seen BIG RED LOLLIPOP scoop up a string of coveted awards. The book has been voted America’s ‘best picture book’ twice (The Charlotte Zolotow and the Golden Kite) – now, the New York Public Library has named it as one of the ‘100 greatest children’s books’ in the last 100 years. 


In BIG RED LOLLIPOP, Rubina has been invited to her first birthday party, and her mother, Ami, insists that she bring her little sister along. Rubina is mortified, but she can’t convince Ami that you just don’t bring your younger sister to your friend’s party. So both girls go, and not only does Sana demand to win every game, but after the party she steals Rubina’s prized party favor, a red lollipop. What’s a fed-up big sister to do?
Rukhsana Khan’s clever story and Sophie Blackall’s irresistible illustrations make for a powerful combination in this fresh and surprising picture book.

“…It’s an ending worthy of a novella, and once again signals that Khan is one of the most original voices working in picture books today.”
-Publisher’s Weekly Starred review of BIG RED LOLLIPOP

Learning English as a second language has been no bar to Rukhsana Khan’s success. Khan arrived in North America as a child from Pakistan and now, her writing career sees her visit over eighty schools a year across North America, make countless presentations and shatter cultural barriers through a string of awards.

As the author explains, her book is already beloved by many families around the world.

“It’s wonderful to see it listed alongside other classics such as ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ and ‘Charlotte’s Web’.” says Khan. “At a time when the world is becoming increasingly polarized, stories like ‘Big Red Lollipop’ tap into universal themes and are crucial to forging a smooth path toward the growing diversity of the North American landscape. As a practicing Muslim, the road hasn’t been easy. I have done my best to battle xenophobia and terrorist stereotypes with wit and humor. I have also worked diligently to create inroads to cross cultural dialogue and understanding.”

While this particular children’s book has helped Khan further build her name, she frequently tours the world to discuss her other works ranging from gritty teen novels on suicide, Afghanistan and issues of parental abandonment. 

“It’s not just about writing – but about sharing my work with others and using the stories to open up a series of vital dialogues. I’ve also recently launched a free literary resource for educators as part of my popular YouTube channel,” she adds.

With such a unique bibliography and passion for her work, interested readers are invited to visit Khan’s official website for more information:

I was lucky to see Rukhsana Khan accept her SCBWI 2011 Golden Kite Award at the New York SCBWI Conference for her book BIG RED LOLLIPOP. I’ve never seen an author as ebullient as Ms. Khan.  She told us the true story that inspired the book. Her love and joy were contagious. Congratulations to Ms. Khan and the others on the New York Public Library’s Children’s Books 2012: 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing list.


Brotherhood Give-away for teachers!

Teacher friends! I received the following email from author A.B. Westrick and I hope you’ll pass on the offer to other teachers before the copies are gone. I reviewed the book a few weeks ago but because I’m on my phone I can’t link to it. Maybe someone could add the review link in the. comments. Enjoy the long weekend.

My publisher is giving away 20 copies of BROTHERHOOD to educators who agree to use the book to kick off a writing exercise about bullying. Here’s the post about it:

So far ten teachers from all over the country have responded, and I have ten more to give away…