I’m so excited to post the Updated Guidelines for the New Visions and New Voices Awards from Lee & Low/Tu Books. If you are a “writer of color,” click, read and scour your work for the best submission fit. And…
I’m so excited to post the Updated Guidelines for the New Visions and New Voices Awards from Lee & Low/Tu Books. If you are a “writer of color,” click, read and scour your work for the best submission fit. And…
Wowza, wow, wow, wow!
I use TweetDeck to watch hashtags and I can tell you that the #alayma was cruising! Those tweets were coming so quickly I couldn’t even read them. Good thing I had the live webcast going so I could hear all the cheers and gasps from the audience. It would seem librarians wear their hearts (fave books) on their sleeve. This was way better than the Super Bowl and any of those actor award shows. I also had my Goodreads window running and my To Be Read shelf is overflowing (just when I thought I was getting caught up). What a fabulous morning for readers, children’s books, librarians, teachers, writers, illustrators. I’m overwhelmed by awards. Perhaps the phrase “Sticker shock” should be re-coined?!
The biggest take-away was that #weneeddiversebooks scored a huge win today. It was amazing to see so many diverse books and their creators recognized. The awards to individuals for their contributions to the field went to diverse book creators. The following is quoted from the Children’s Book Council website (which has all of today’s categories and winners):
Laura Ingalls Wilder Award honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.
The 2015 winner is Donald Crews, whose award-winning works include “Freight Train,” which was a Caldecott Honor Book in 1979, and “Truck,” a Caldecott Honor Book in 1981. He has been consistently excellent with a wide range of titles, such as “Harbor,” “Parade,” “Shortcut” and “Bigmama’s,” all published by Greenwillow Books.
Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults:
The 2015 winner is Sharon M. Draper, author of more than 20 books, including: “Tears of a Tiger” (1994), “Forged by Fire” (1997), “Darkness Before Dawn” (2001), “Battle of Jericho” (2004), “Copper Sun” (2006), and “November Blues” (2007), all published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.
2016 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award recognizing an author, critic, librarian, historian or teacher of children’s literature, who then presents a lecture at a winning host site.
The 2016 Arbuthnot Lecture will be delivered by Pat Mora. Pioneering author and literacy advocate Pat Mora has written more than three dozen books for young people that represent the Mexican American experience.
The Newbery was a complete sweep of diverse books. EL DEAFO, by Cece Bell, and BROWN GIRL DREAMING by Jacqueline Woodson received Newbery Honors and the Newbery went to THE CROSSOVER by Kwame Alexander.
It wasn’t the only award for BROWN GIRL DREAMING which also took the Sibert Honor and the Coretta Scott King Honor. These in addition to the already prestigious National Book Award in Young People’s Literature. Good thing the cover was designed with plenty of negative space.
— cindy pon (@cindypon) February 2, 2015
Jacqueline Woodson is past VCFA faculty and VCFA was also well represented by current faculty member Kekla Magoon’s HOW IT ALL WENT DOWN, the audio version of alumna Julie Berry’s THE SCANDALOUS SISTERHOOD OF PICKWILLOW PLACE won an Odyssey Honor, and alumna Jandy Nelson took home the Printz and the Stonewall Honor with her amazing I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN.
— Jill Santopolo (@JillSantopolo) February 2, 2015
Despite the sticker shock… it’s time to get back to work, to my own works in progress, to my own dreams and words. Congrats to all the winners!
Hooray! to all of the writers on the short list for the 2014 Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance Maine Literary Award. Below are the Children’s and Young Adult finalists. For more categories, take a look at the original announcement here.
Kelly Ellerbrook The Perfect Christmas Egg
Lynn Plourde You’re Wearing THAT to School?!
Kim Ridley The Secret Pool
Megan Frazer Blakemore The Water Castle
Maria Padian Out of Nowhere
Katie Quirk A Girl Called Problem
A special happy dance for my friends, Megan Frazer Blakemore and Maria Padian. You can read my Sporty Girl Books interview with Maria about her book JERSEY TOMATOES ARE THE BEST here. OUT OF NOWHERE has been a part of the recent Portland Citywide Read program “I’m Your Neighbor.”
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.”
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: http://www.rukhsanakhan.com
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.
Even though I had a week before the big reveal to digest the news that I was one of the winners of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Children’s Discovery award, I was not quite prepared for the outpouring of digital love that came my way. My blog and twitter feed gained followers, I gained friends on Facebook, and I heard from friends who haven’t contacted me in years. My comment boards lit up, and for a moment I thought, “Oh my, everything has changed.” That was until I opened up my WIP, stared at a blank page on Scrivener, and slapped myself upside the head. The hard work, joy, and pain of writing haven’t changed one bit.
What has changed is that I get a moment to celebrate. After a particularly difficult year that often felt hopeless, I find myself with a group of growing businesses serving authors and illustrators. I get to read a manuscript that I love in front of members of a community that have taught and nurtured me. I’m in this situation because the difficult things forced me to expose my writing and myself to the universe in a way that I had not been brave enough to try in the past. (Note to self– no one can see your awesome manuscript if it sits on your desk.) Yes, the universe works in mysterious ways.
I also get a chance to be recognized in my community of writers for my writing. Here’s the thing about our community and SCBWI in particular. There’s no one standing at the door telling new authors or illustrators they can’t come in. You can be in a room full of 1000 people at a national conference and have no idea who can write well and who is new to the craft. This allows people to be welcomed and safe, while they learn and grow. I’m grateful for this, and I’m grateful for the community of writers, illustrators, librarians and teachers who gave me a digital hug this week. Thank you all for your kindness.
pleased thrilled ecstatic to announce that on April 1st I was informed that my YA manuscript about a rower who has a secret romance with her crew coach, CONTROL. CRUSH., won the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award! I’m sure that this was not an April Fools joke because soon after, I began to get wonderful congratulatory notes from other writers in our community whose work I respect and admire.
So what’s the big deal about this award and what is PEN New England anyway? The Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award honors emerging writers and illustrators and is given to a New England resident for an unpublished work. This year, the award was given to TWO emerging writers. I’m so happy to say that I’ll be sharing this award with Katherine Quimby. I’ve known Kathy for many years through SCBWI. Kathy and I share an alma mater, she’s in her third semester at Vermont College of Fine Arts; I graduated in July of 2011 – we’ll share this award!
Kathy and I will read from our manuscripts at the awards ceremony tentatively scheduled for Sunday, May 19th at 6:30 pm at Lesley. If you are in the Boston area, I hope you’ll come. If you’re not able to make it, don’t worry. We’ll both be at the NESCBWI Annual Conference in Springfield. Please stop me and say hello!
As part of the award, our manuscripts will be submitted to a participating publisher. I’m so thankful to the committee for this opportunity to get my work in front of industry professionals. I’ve been on this journey for over ten years – long enough to know that I’d write even if I never got published. Perhaps that’s the moment when things begin to change for a writer. Still, I can tell you that I’ve had plenty of dark and doubting moments when I thought I should just give it all up.
There is something to be said for making your dreams known the universe, for putting yourself out there, for taking a chance. I’d wanted to submit manuscripts for this award for the past three years and missed the deadline. This year, the deadline snuck up on me again. Luckily, through a snafu, I was able to get my work to the committee, and I’m so glad I did! The email about this award came at the perfect time, and I couldn’t be happier.
PEN (poets, playwrights, essayists, editors, and novelists) New England is the most active chapter of PEN American Center which is part of PEN International– a literary community celebrating literature and protecting free expression. “The P.E.N. Club,” founded in London in 1921 by Mrs. C. A. Dawson Scott, a Cornish novelist, and John Galsworthy, a well-known literary figure, was borne out of Mrs. Dawson Scott’s “unshakable conviction that if the writers of the world could learn to stretch out their hands to each other, the nations of the world could learn in time to do the same.”
Two big deadlines are coming up for kidlit authors and illustrators of color.
One, the New Visions Writer’s Award from Lee & Low Publishing.
The NEW VISIONS AWARD will be given for a middle grade or young adult fantasy, science fiction, or mystery novel by a writer of color. The Award winner receives a cash grant of $1000 and our standard publication contract, including our basic advance and royalties for a first time author. An Honor Award winner will receive a cash grant of $500.
Submissions are due October 31st. Click for details.
The second, is the new SCBWI On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award.
The grant was created to foster the emergence of diverse voices in children’s books. The grant will be given to two writers or illustrators who are from an ethnic and/or cultural background that is traditionally under-represented in children’s literature in America.
Two writers or writer/illustrators will each receive an all-expenses paid trip to the SCBWI Winter Conference in New York to meet with editors and agents, a press release to publishers, a year of free membership to SCBWI, and an SCBWI mentor for a year.
Submissions are due November 15th. Click for details.
Please share freely and encourage those who are eligible to submit!
It is very possible that these books will not be new to you. Many of them were published last year or before and have already been nominated and listed. Still, these wonderful books finally made it out of my to-be-read pile and are officially read and returned to the library (and other trusting book-loving souls out there.) I found it interesting that each had a bully character. If you’ve read the books, I’d love to discuss how authors portray bullies and how we can make them multi-faceted. I think that the omniscient narrator in TRUE was especially effective for this.
Jeremy has a problem. A big problem. An I-messed-up-my-dad’s-beloved-boat problem. He’s ready to make it right but is going to need a bunch of cash to do the job. Enter– the Windjammer Whirl. A contest to build and race a model boat with $500 to the winner. New problem? Only Cupcake Cadets (similar to Girl scouts) can enter the race. Jeremy and his good friend Slatter don their skirted uniforms and wigs and hilarity ensues. Eric Luper does a great job making the book light and readable but injects enough heart and growth for the characters so that the story comes off as more than fluff. If your kiddo liked the Fudge books by Judy Blume, they’ll love this novel. This book is a Maine State Student Book Award nominee.
Ella and her best friend Z share a fantasy world of knights, princesses and chivalry. Thing is, Ella knows it’s just pretend, but Z seems to want to stay there all the time. Ella understands this. A fantasy world is often easier than the one that Z inhabits. Ella protects Z at the same time she deals with her own difficulties: the death of her father, being biracial in an all-white school, and a skin condition that leaves her with patches of dark and light skin. When a new kid, another Black kid, comes to school he widens her world. Ella grows through the decisions she makes about friendship, popularity, and responsibility. Kekla Magoon writes beautiful, honest characters. This book is a Maine State Book Award Nominee.
Katherine Hannigan has a knack for pairing wonderful, plucky heroines with quiet small town worlds to end up with more adventure than you may have originally guessed. I don’t want to give too much away with this one. Delly, the main character has been bad, bad, bad news for as long as anyone can remember. With the help of her little brother, and a new friend, Delly turns around the bad so that everyone (not just the reader) can see her inner goodness. Delly is just the kind of friend we all hope to have. The engaging narrative pulled me along, with threads woven from three or four different subplots. I didn’t want to leave the book at the end. While the ending was realistic, it may come across to some readers as didactic. However, there are some problems that kids just can’t solve on their own.
I’m not sure how one book can have so much humor and pain in the same story but Gary D. Schmidt managed it in OKAY FOR NOW. When agents and editors say that they are looking for a unique and honest character voice, this is what they are talking about. With the backdrop of the Vietnam War, Doug moves to a new town with everything working against him and he manages to rise above his circumstances. I know. I haven’t told you much but I don’t want to print any spoilers. For a better synopsis, an excerpt and a reading by the author (don’t listen if you don’t want a spoiler) check out this page: National Book Award Finalist. I did have issues with the father’s and Lil’s plot lines, but who am I to criticize Gary D. Schmidt? I’d recommend this for kids 13 an up, but I feel very strongly that kids will self-select material with which they feel comfortable and put down books for which they aren’t ready.
Next week– angsty YA audiobooks…
Good morning friends!
I’m on a final push with my WIP so I’m keeping today short, and informative with links to other important stuff.
2. If you are a PAL member and have a book launch or release coming up, take a look at the SCBWI Book Launch Award Winners. With the award, fellow SCBWI members Hilary Graham and Sherry Shahan were free to explore creative marketing ideas to help their new books succeed. Need money to help with your launch, take a look at the requirements here.
3. Nominations are now being accepted for the SCBWI/ Jane Yolen Mid-list Author Awards. Any current SCBWI member can nominate another current member who has published at least two PAL books but has not sold anything for at least two years.
4. Are you going to SCBWI LA this year? (I’m not because I’ll be in Florence, Italy
researching a book seeing my husband!) I LOVED when I went in the past though. It is laid back in a California way that New York is not. It is warm. There is a pool. There is dancing. And there are great and helpful workshops. FMI here.
Recently, the name Emmett Till has surfaced quite a bit in relation to the Trayvon Martin case in Florida. Houghton Mifflin’s teacher guide to A WREATH FOR EMMETT TILL gives the following short explanation of Emmet Till’s death.
Emmett Till was a fourteen-year-old African American boy murdered in 1955 in Mississippi for allegedly whistling at or speaking to a white woman. Though two men were tried for the crime, they were acquitted; no one has been convicted for Emmett’s murder. In 2004 the U.S. Justice Department reopened the case based on new evidence brought to light by two documentary films.
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Marilyn Nelson’s A WREATH FOR EMMETT TILL is a heroic crown of sonnets– a sequence of fifteen interlinked sonnets, in which the last one is made up of the first lines of the preceding fourteen. The final poem is also an acrostic that reads RIP Emmett L Till.
The book was published in 2005 and won the 2005 Boston Globe—Horn Book Award, a 2006 Coretta Scott King Honor Book, a 2006 Michael L. Printz Honor Book, and a 2006 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award Honor Book. Nelson is not a stranger to awards and prizes and holds three Coretta Scott King honors for her books EMMETT TILL, FORTUNE’S BONES, and CARVER and the Newbery Honor for CARVER: A LIFE IN POEMS.
With all of these awards, my opinion is unnecessary. Instead, this posting is a way to alert those of you interested in poetry and social justice about this sophisticated, complicated, and emotional book of poems.
I mentioned in a comment last Wednesday that we learn and retain new information when we have a scaffolding of previous learning upon which to hang the new knowledge. To this end, EMMETT TILL came across my desk at just the right time. I happen to be completing my first reading of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. The classic courtroom and coming of age novel transported me to the deep south in 1935. While writing this post I also found out about “Strange Fruit” the 1936 poem about lynching referenced in EMMETT TILL. That poem was published by Abel Merrapol and made popular by Billie Holliday.
It is the season of Easter and martyrs, death and rebirth. Further, it is the season of Passover. I spent this afternoon teaching children about the importance of remembering history so we will not be doomed to repeat our mistakes. Each year, Jews try to put
themselves ourselves in that place of slavery, and deliverance so that they we will not allow slavery and injustice to happen again. But injustice is all around– in far away lands and close to home.
The poems of Marilyn Nelson remind us of this. Below is the fifth stanza, and I’m taken with how it captures my feelings for Trayvon Martin’s parents.
Your only child, a body thrown to bloat,
mother of sorrows, of justice denied.
Surely you must have thought of suicide,
seeing his gray flesh, chains around his throat.
Surely you didn’t know you would devote
the rest of your changed life to dignified
public remembrance of how Emmett died,
innocence slaughtered by the hands of hate.
If sudden loving light proclaimed you blest
would you bow your head in humility,
your healed heart overflow with gratitude?
Would you say yes, like the mother of Christ?
Or would you say no to your destiny,
mother of a boy martyr, if you could?
This book crossed my path at the exact right time.
While researching this post, I found a video of an hour long speech/reading that Ms. Nelson presented at Politics and Prose in Washington, DC. The section of the video on this book starts around 15:00-34:00 and she discusses the heroic crown of sonnets structure and the final acrostic poem. She also reads the entire book in the most melliflulous voice.
If you are interested in more information about Ms. Nelson, please follow the links to some of these other online resources.
There is an NPR interview with Nelson who was the Connecticut Poet Laureate at the time.
More about Marilyn Nelson at the Poetry Foundation here.
And a ton of links at Teaching Books including slide shows, videos, and other websites.