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1. BLP Public Landing Header

blp-contest-header-winner

 

Book Launch Parties are listed below in alphabetical order by author or illustrator.

Or you may use the search box to the left to find books using other criteria.

 

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2. Congrats to Ezra Jack Keats Winners Don Tate and Phoebe Wahl

The 30th Annual Ezra Jack Keats Book Award winners were announced today, with top honors going to Don Tate for writing and Phoebe Wahl for illustration. Both winners have long-standing relationships with the SCBWI; Wahl won a Student Illustrator Scholarship in 2013, and Tate is a member of our Team Blog. The Jack Ezra Keats Award, named in honor of the author/illustrator of The Snowy Day, is given to new picture books that display an exceptional creative spirit and a dedication to cultural diversity.

Don Tate has embraced these ideals throughout his career as an author/illustrator, founder of the Brown Bookshelf blog, and artist outreach coordinator for the We Need Diverse Books Campaign.  Tate’s winning book Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton of Chapel Hill (Peachtree, 2015), which he both wrote and illustrated, is the true story of a slave whose love of language led him to become the first African American poet published in the Southern United States. The book has already garnered star reviews from Kirkus and the School Library Journal, which called Horton's story “lovely” and “inspirational”. Tate previously won a Jack Ezra Keats Award honor three years ago for his book It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw, and called the experience “one of the proudest moments of my career[…]There has always been a special place in my heart for Ezra Jack Keats. When he chose to picture brown children in his books, he chose to acknowledge me. I wasn’t invisible to him. As a creator of color in a field that sorely lacks diversity, it can be easy to sometimes feel unseen. This award serves as a reminder to me that I am not invisible and that my work matters.”

Phoebe Wahl won the illustration award for Sonya’s Chickens (Tundra Books), a bittersweet story about a farm girl tending chicks under the guidance of her multicultural family. Sonya’s lessons about responsibility and the circle of life are framed by warm, richly-textured art pieces that have earned Wahl a Kirkus star. In an EKJ press release, she spoke about the influence that Ezra Jack Keats had on her own signature style: “I can directly trace the roots of my obsession with pattern, color and my use of collage to my affinity with the lacy baby blanket in Peter’s Chair. Keats inspired me to create stories that are quiet and gentle, yet honor the rich inner lives of children and all of the complexity that allows.” Sonya’s Chickens is her debut book.

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3. February 2016 Featured Illustrator Michael Lauritano

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4. SCBWI ANNOUNCES ON-THE-VERGE EMERGING VOICES AWARD WINNERS

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is pleased to announce the 2015 On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award winners.  The annual award, established by SCBWI and funded by Martin and Sue Schmitt, is given to two writers or illustrators who are from ethnic and/or cultural backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in children’s literature in America and who have a ready-to-submit completed work for children. 

 

Congratulations to Jackie Dorothy for her manuscript Wind Rider, the story of one Arapaho boy’s struggle to protect his family from an evil shaman while the battle between modernization and tradition plague his tribe’s reservation; and to Judy Allen Dodson for Fast Friends, the story of Jesse Owens and Marty Glickman’s inspiring relationship during the race for the gold medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

 

Jackie is an active member of SCBWI’s Wyoming Chapter as well as a member of the Northern Arapaho tribe in central Wyoming and is the sixth generation of her family living on the Wind River Indian Reservation. Jackie blogs at www.ArapahoLegends.com and is currently unrepresented.

 

Judy is an active SCBWI member in the Carolinas Chapter and has been a librarian for several years. She believes strongly in providing authentic and positive images of African Americans in children’s literature. She multiple manuscripts and is currently unrepresented.

 

The winners will each receive a paid trip to the SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles to meet editors, agents, and other industry professionals. The winning manuscripts will also be available to select agents and editors via a secure website.

 

The award is inspired in part by the SCBWI’s increasing efforts to foster underrepresented voices in children’s literature.  According to SCBWI Executive Director Lin Oliver, “every child should have the opportunity to see themselves reflected in the pages of a book. And all authors should have the opportunity to write their truth. SCBWI is proud to contribute to this important effort to bring forth new voices.”  

 

The grant is made possible through the generosity of Sue and Martin Schmitt of the 455 Foundation. Sue wrote: "Diverse writers need to know that not only do their voices and stories matter— but are necessary!  We live in a world where we must strive to understand other points of view and each other for the betterment of humankind."  

 

More information can be found in the “Awards and Grants” section at www.scbwi.org.

 

About Martin and Sue Schmitt

Martin and Sue Schmitt are the founders of We Can Build an Orphanage, sponsoring the Kay Angel orphanage in Jacmel, Haiti. The organization was established in 2007 with the mission to provide a home and education for abandoned children infected with or affected by AIDS in Jacmel, Haiti.  The Schmitts’ generous and continuous efforts to support SCBWI’s long-term goals also co-sponsored the 2007 Global Voices Program, which highlighted Mongolian artists and authors. To find out more information about the Kay Angel orphanage please visit www.kayangel.org.

 

About SCBWI

Founded in 1971, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is one of the largest existing writers’ and illustrators’ organizations, with over 22,000 members worldwide. It is the only organization specifically for those working in the fields of children’s literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia. The organization was founded by Stephen Mooser (President) and Lin Oliver (Executive Director), both of whom are well-published children’s book authors and leaders in the world of children’s literature.  For more information about the On-The-Verge Diverse Voices Award, please visit www.scbwi.org, and click “Awards & Grants.”

 

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5. SOCIETY OF CHILDREN’S BOOK WRITERS AND ILLUSTRATORS ADDS KEY POSTIONS

 

February 1, 2016, LOS ANGELES –SCBWI affirms its place as the preeminent organization serving children’s book authors and illustrators by bolstering its team with the expertise of leaders from the publishing and entertainment industries, Tammy Brown and Bonnie Bader.  

 

Executive Director Lin Oliver said, “As the SCBWI expands to provide an ever-growing array of programs that benefit our membership, we are happy to be able to add these key positions that enable us to maintain our leadership in the children’s publishing world.”

 

Tammy Brown, entertainment and digital media industries marketer, joins SCBWI as Director, Community Marketing and Engagement. Brown comes to the organization with marketing expertise from stints in The Walt Disney Company’s Disney and ESPN Media Networks affiliate marketing department, and Technicolor’s entertainment services division. Her focus will be on creating and marketing programs that serve both aspiring and professional authors and illustrators along with defining business partnerships and strategic alliances for the organization. Brown is based in Los Angeles and joins SCBWI starting March 1, 2016.

 

Bonnie Bader will be a consultant to the organization, assuming the title of Publishing Advisor. She will provide leadership in creating new professional initiatives for SCBWI’s published authors and illustrators, managing the prestigious Golden Kite Award and contributing to the formation of SCBWI’s webinar program. Bader is based in New York and joins SCBWI starting immediately.

 

SCBWI President Stephen Mooser added, “We look forward to expanding SCBWI’s outreach with the addition of these two outstanding industry professionals.”

 

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6. Hot Topic

The Creative Promise of a New Year

By Lin Oliver

The dawn of a new year is always full of fear and promise—the promise of setting new goals and the fear that we won't meet them.  While friends and family are resolving to lose those last ten pounds or walk their 10,000 steps a day, we creative types are wrestling with The Big Questions.  What creative work would we like to produce in this new year?  How can we deepen our commitment to our craft?  What do we need to learn to do our very best work?  What kind of author or artist do we hope to become this year?  What steps will we take to achieve that?

 

Although I deeply believe in the process of establishing a creative agenda, the very thought of approaching these questions makes me nauseous with anxiety.  Never one to suffer alone, I asked some SCBWI colleagues, all well-regarded authors and artists, what their creative goals for 2016 are.  I hope that reading their responses will inspire you to mull your own professional goals for this year and inspire you to enjoy the process of achieving them.  Take a deep breath and here we go.
 

 

I've never before set specific goals–meaning, Dates By Which to Get a Piece Done–but I thought I might give it a go for this coming year.  If it's helpful, I'll try this again–but I have to say, I don't think it will be.  I'll probably resent the deadline, and get moody about possible failure, and finally throw the whole business out and let things get done as I've always let them get done:  when they are ready.  In the end, deadlines are not as important as giving a project the space it needs, nor are they more important than being kind enough to the writer.  Maybe the goal should be simply to live well, without guilt and frustration.

 

—Gary Schmidt  

 

I don't believe in setting goals.  I believe in setting moods.  The mood I am trying to set for 2016 is bewilderment.  It is the opposite of certainty, which feels stagnant and perhaps toxic, and more fun than doubt, which feels quietly anxious.  I will let you know how it goes.

 
—Daniel Handler
 

This year (and every year) I challenge myself to take on work that scares me a bit. To write and illustrate stories that I want to tell, but that I’m not sure how, exactly, to go about telling… That feeling of not knowing is a bit scary. But pushing myself to create work that is outside of my comfort zone helps me grow as an artist. 

Molly Idle

 

I'd like to not only push myself to create the best books I'm capable of, but to create books with meaning and purpose.   I think this process makes me think and feel far more deeply about what I'm putting out into the world. 

—Dan Yaccarino

       
In 2016, I am hoping to push my craft by experimenting with different mediums. I will hopefully be able to incorporate this into my published work to keep things fresh. I find it useful to experiment. How else are we to make brilliant discoveries?

—Mike Curato

 

In 2016, I’ve resolved to make “No” my best friend. Or at least become more friendly with the word. There's more to being a children’s book creator than creating books. It's also about visiting and presenting at schools, signing/promoting your books at conferences and festivals, guest blogging, podcasting, interviews, mentoring others, so on and so on.  All of these things are important and necessary and, heck, a whole lot of fun too! But every second I spend away from home are seconds (and minutes and days and weeks) away from creating my next book. This year, I’ve resolved to, as Jane Yolen would say, keep my “butt in chair.”  

—Don Tate

 

My goal for 2016 is this: Take time to daydream, experience nature, nap, let my mind disengage, and generally recharge–not only for my mental health, but to ensure that I discover the wonder in every project. 

—Patricia Newman

 

My resolution is to lose just enough weight so that my man boobs don't jiggle when I drive over railroad tracks. Also, more writing. 

—Drew Daywalt

 

When I’m working, I want to be unreachable by phone, email, text, doorbell, etc –– and here’s the kicker –– not to feel guilty about it. I haven’t succeeded yet.

—Marla Frazee

 

I find if I don’t set creative goals, I tend to cruise on autopilot until I find myself in a rut. (I’m sure this never happens to anyone else.) Last year, I focused on writing more projects that I could illustrate. This year? Because I find it easier to bring the funny than to write about feelings, in 2016 I’ve set my sights on bringing greater emotional depth into my writing. 

—Bruce Hale

 

Due to happy circumstances, I’m back to doing multiple books per year—again.  I can feel the creative juices filling my studio once more.  And my “painting studio” is filled with prepared canvases just waiting for the first brush strokes.  But it’s already February, so I’d better get busy.  On top of this, everyone will be happy to know that I am planning to cut back on my Ethel Merman imitations!  

—Tomie de Paola

 

I struggle a lot with self doubt and second-guessing. The problem happens not when I doubt the work, but my own ability to solve the problem and elevate the story. So I will be paying close attention to these signals and strive to find innovative solutions. Do I need more research? A different approach to the scene? Something utterly unexpected? This way, the hardest part of writing—the fear—becomes an invitation to potential thrills. 

—Martha Brockenbrough

 

My first resolution for 2016 is to make no resolutions. So I've already failed. Which is wonderfully freeing. My next thought is to spend more time playing around. Seriously just playing.

—Jon Scieszka

 

If you had told me a few years ago that I’d be making a resolution to read more, I’d have called you crazy. I used to read all the time! But busy-ness and health issues have intruded on my reading time and I’ve fallen out of the habit, so I’ve resolved to read at least one hour every day, uninterrupted, in a real (i.e., paper) book. Only by filling the well can I draw water from it.

—Tracy Barrett

 

My family has a tradition where we tape a big piece of poster paper to the living room wall on New Year's Eve with "In 2016, I want to…" written at the top. Throughout the night and the next day, everyone adds hopes, goals, & dreams with a marker. This year, one of my creativity-related goals was to start writing earlier in the morning, since that tends to be my most productive time. I'm setting an alarm to cut off my email & social media time by 7:30am so that I can meet that goal more often. I also wrote down that I want to climb ten more Adirondack High Peaks, which is tangentially related to writing because I tend to solve plot problems when I hike!  

—Kate Messner

 

I'm not one to make New Year resolutions.  And I feel so much of what happens in the creation of children's books is out of one's hands.  So my intention for this year is to write each day as though no one will ever read what I'm writing — to take risks and to write with emotional truth, even the funny stuff.  Especially the funny stuff.  And when I'm presenting, my intention is to think of what the audience may need and be wholly present during each and every experience of this wild, wonder-filled ride.

—Donna Gephart

 

My goals are to be BOLD, BRAVE, and to SHINE in 2016, and I encourage others to do the same! 

—Salina Yoon

 

My main goals are to make reading for pleasure more of a priority, create more visual art this year than last, and to complete my last novel under contract by summer in order to tackle my memoir.  My original goal was to slow down, but one week into the new year, I was already moving too fast to remember the day of the week, so I suppose that goal didn't take! 

—Nikki Grimes

 

Sleep coaches give the advice that we should try to fall asleep in the same position that we wake up in.  The idea is that we insomniacs often hinder our ability to fall asleep by choosing positions which are unnatural—they are positions we think are right for us, but our bodies, knowing better than we do, naturally find their most comfortable position during the night.  My goal for 2016 is to apply this technique to the totality of my waking life. 

—Theo Baker

 

Since I work on a dozen different things in any one year, I make lists and lists of what needs to be done when.  I always try to beat those deadlines by days, weeks, even months. But I am also very aware that Life happens, even to writers and illustrators: babies are born, parents die, divorces intrude, flu arrives on your doorstep and runs through the family not once but twice. And so teaching yourself humility and forgiveness are a part of any creative year. Humility when your talent, taste, and timing don't match up to your idea or your ideal. And forgiving yourself when the sentence wobbles, the plot doesn't jell, or the characters run amok and do—well—uncharacteristic things. Surpisingly, that can often be when the actual magic happens. 

—Jane Yolen

 

 I’ve decided to approach 2016 as if it’s a party I’m getting ready to throw. All of you are invited! My goal is to relax and remember to enjoy the process—to approach my computer each day not as if I am going through labor, pushing my new baby out into the world through a process of excruciatingly hard labor. But, instead, to think of it as the act of conception. Which, as we all know, is way more fun. 

—Sonya Sones

 

A mentor of mine once told me that “a goal is a dream with a deadline.”  In other words, goals are steps you accomplish on the way to your dream.  I love that.  It helps me focus more on the process and less on the final accomplishment.  So how about you?  What will you attempt in 2016 that will propel you on the path to your dreams?  As for me, I want to get that critical voice out of my ear, rip out her tongue and banish her to Mongolia, so I can spend more writing time in the Zone and less answering to that bitch.  Oh yeah, and I’m also going to lose ten pounds and walk 10,000 steps a day.

 

 

 

 

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7. BLP Public Landing Header

BLP Landing Page

 

Book Launch Parties are listed below in alphabetical order by author or illustrator.

Or you may use the search box to the left to find books using other criteria.

 

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8. On the Shelves Once Upon A Time

 
Kris Vreeland of Once Upon A Time in Los Angeles, California, tells us what's on the shelves.
 
 

 

 

What trends do you notice in children’s book sales? What are the current hot reads?
Trends in children's books sales vary with the ages.  For babies and toddlers, board books are doing well and we've had a lot of interest recently in books with photographs of babies.  Classics like  Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathman always do well.  I love Marla Frazee's Boss Baby in the board book format.

In picture books for young readers, super heroes, transportation and animals do well.  The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt, Night Animals by Gianna Marino and Full Moon at the Napping House by Don and Audrey Wood are all doing well.  Humor and unexpected endings are always popular. Picture books can also do well for older readers, especially nonfiction that reads like a story, as well as beautiful wordless picture books.

In middle grade fiction, fantasy is still doing well, but not as strongly as a couple of years ago.  We are seeing more interest in mysteries, though not as much with long series.  Up to about three or four titles in a series works.  Humor is popular, especially with the boys and adventure does well.  There has been a slight increase in interest in historical fiction.  We're also getting more requests for scary books and realistic fiction.  One of my favorite fall recommendations in this age bracket is Katherine Applegate's Crenshaw.
 
YA seems to be a little more in flux.  There is still interest in dystopian and fantasy, but it seems to be dropping off a little.  John Green's books continue to do well.  We're getting in more teens right now looking for recommendations and who are willing to try books/genres with which they aren't as familiar, but it is crucial the books be well-written, and have strong characters and difficult conflicts.  Adventure, suspense and horror are also requested.  Some of our favorites include All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo and The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. I'm also really looking forward to Julie Berry's newest book The Passion of Dolssa and Tim Federle's The Great American Whatever, both of which are coming out this spring.      
 
How do you choose what books to order? Do you use a publishing rep?
We work primarily with the publishing reps from each house and read as many galleys and f&gs as we can.  Occasionally customers or friends make strong recommendations or we find a title from a blog or other resource, though that is rare.
 
What would you like to see more of from authors/illustrators in terms of community involvement?
We love putting authors and illustrators in schools and with community organizations as well as doing store events and the occasional offsite public event.  The more an author or illustrator reaches out, the more awareness there is of their works.  For older readers, a strong online presence can also be helpful. Certainly any outreach an author or illustrator does before an event helps because they often reach their audience more directly than we can.
 
How do you handle author/illustrator visits? Can authors/illustrators contact you directly?
Many of our author/illustrator visits come through the publicist during a tour.  This applies to both school and store events.   We do work with some authors directly when they have contacted us either about setting up an event or providing books for an event they have arranged.  Generally the more lead time we have for an event, the better, although we have pulled off last minute events occasionally.  We're a small store with a small staff and we do as many events as we can, but can't always take advantage of every opportunity we're given.
 
When we are contacted about school events, we send out notices to area schools with which we work that we feel could be a good match.  Sometimes there are conflicts with scheduling, such as testing, breaks and other events that prevent us from being able to find a school, though most of the time we can make it work.  After we have confirmed schools for events, we send out an order form for books to be sent home with the students.  When time permits both with our schedule and the school's schedule, we send someone in advance to booktalk and do a short presentation about the author or illustrator.  We always have a staff member present at the school at the time of the event to interface with the school and author/illustrator, handle book sales and deal with anything that might come up unexpectedly. We do fewer store events than school events during the school year.  Sometimes the author or illustrator will do a store event after a day of schools and sometimes they will do just schools or the store, depending on their preferences and our schedule.  We publicize store events with in-store flyers and displays, and through our email newsletter.
 
What is your favorite part of being a bookseller/manager/librarian?
When I find the perfect book for the reader.  I love when kids (or adults) come back to tell me a book is their new favorite or they want another recommendation that is as much fun.  I also love to read. 
 
Personal book recommendation? 

 

 

One personal book recommendation is really hard.  There are so many I love and I'd love to help you find the one that's best for you…come see me :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9. SCBWI Exclusive with Lisa Yaskowitz, Executive Editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

 
Lisa Yaskowitz is an Executive Editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, where she acquires and edits middle grade and YA fiction and narrative nonfiction, including Bad Luck by Pseudonymous Bosch and Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse. Before Little, Brown BYFR, she worked on children's books across genres and age ranges at Dutton and Disney-Hyperion, with authors including Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Cinda Williams Chima, Michael Fry, Tamara Ireland Stone, and Elizabeth Wein. Drawn to voice and character-driven stories, Lisa has a soft spot for misfit, maverick, and mischief-making characters.
 
What in a query encourages you to ask to read the entire manuscript? 
In addition to an interesting-sounding project that I think will appeal to the intended audience, I look for clarity of message, indications of what makes the manuscript exciting and different, and a sense of the author’s style and personality. The very best query letters accomplish a lot in a short space, reflect the writer's voice and tone, and make me want to dive into the manuscript immediately!  
 
When you read the first pages of a submission, what makes you keep turning the pages?
Voice and tension. It’s often clear from page one whether a writer knows his or her characters well and has a command of their voices. Seeing that skill and confidence on the page with a clear, appealing, authentic narrative voice that instills a belief that the scene I’m reading could truly take place (even if it’s the most outlandish fantasy world!) will always get me excited and make me turn the page. And then tension comes into play by making me want to find out what happens next, by using the space between the lines to ask questions (not literally!) that readers will want to see answered. Inherent suspense and solid pacing are really important parts of creating a page turner.
 

What is your process when you are working on a book with an author?

The editorial process is one of conversation and back-and-forth, and the fine points vary based on the needs of an individual project and the author’s style. I always like to talk to an author even before we agree to work together, so that each of us has the chance to get to know the other a bit and to make sure we’re on the same editorial page. Once we have a signed contract and move forward, my first step is almost always writing a comprehensive editorial letter informed by that initial conversation and any follow-up, covering “big picture” points and offering suggestions for how to strengthen the manuscript. I’ll read a manuscript a number of times and organize my thoughts based on its needs, generally breaking my notes down under headings of characters, plot, world-building, pacing, voice, etc. From there, the author and I will usually speak to brainstorm and strategize further, then he or she will work on revising. Once I have their revision in hand, the process starts again, but getting to finer and finer points at each stage until the manuscript is ready to be marked “final!” That’s always a rewarding, exciting moment for all involved.    
 
What advice do you have for first time authors? Published authors who are switching genres?
Whether you’re working to have your words published for the first time or turning to a new topic or genre, it's always a good idea to do your research. Depending on your goal, that might mean reading other recently published books in your genre (the fun kind of research!), or it might mean spending hours scouring books and the internet to come up with your ideal gent submission list. It might mean attending an SCBWI conference or workshop to learn about the industry and how to get your query letter into shape, or it might mean spending hours reviewing microfiche to learn everything there is to know about the subject you’re writing about or all/none of the above. Think about where you want your manuscript to be in a week, month, or year, and then put the legwork into discovering how to give yourself the very best shot at succeeding! 
Follow her on Twitter @LisaYoskowitz
 
Members can send queries for the month of February to Lisa at LBYRQuery.Generic@hbgusa.com, with “Query for Lisa Yoskowitz” as the subject line. 
 

 

 

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10. 4 Questions for…Heather Daugherty

 
Heather Daugherty, Senior Designer at HarperCollins Publishers in New York, designs middle grade and teen titles. Designing children's books for almost ten years now, she has worked with many talented illustrators including Henry Cole, Kelly Murphy, David McClellan, Marla Moore, Julie McLaughlin, and Rita Williams-Garcia, who recently won the Coretta Scott King Award for Gone Crazy in Alabama! She is always on the lookout for new illustrators that bring something different to the table, whether that be with their creative style or something unique in their artwork that sets them apart. 
 
What is the role of a senior designer? How is it different from an art director? 
A senior designer in my department at HarperCollins designs approximately eight to ten books a season, close to thirty books a year! I design middle grade and teen books, and come up with the jacket design as well as the interior book and text design. I also try to assist our junior design staff if they need advice, and try to help my amazing art director (Amy Ryan) out whenever possible. A senior designer's role, like any designer role, is different from an art director because I'm not managing a staff of designers. Otherwise, they are somewhat similar. The designer is part of a team, and the art director is like the coach!  
 

What are the key elements that you consider when you lay out a book? 

I consider many things when I go to design any part of a book, those being what age the intended reader might be, the feel of the story, where and when the story is set and what I can do to enhance it all so when a reader sees it in the store or online, it catches their eye and they feel like they must pick it up or read this book!

 

What do you consider when selecting the typefaces? What are you trying to convey? 

When I'm choosing type, whether it be for the book jacket or for the text of the book interior, I'm again trying to enhance the whole book, and bring it all together for the reader as one dynamic experience. I'm trying to paint visuals to go with the author's story so it all comes to life for the reader. And I'm always trying to push myself to do something inventive and creative with type so the book jumps off the shelf!

 

What do you need to see when you are selecting an illustrator? 

I personally love to see many different styles, if an illustrator has them, all in one place so I can see their range. I may need a particular style for a new project and could pass someone by if I don't see it right there in their samples. It's also hard to convince others on the team that an illustrator can do a certain style, if we don't have the art samples from them to back it up. Illustration samples and range are everything!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11. Top Five Reasons Reading Prepares you for a Richer Conference Experience

 

If you’re planning to attend a local event, regional gathering, or even the yearly international conference, I strongly urge you to read the faculty members’ books prior to the event—you’ll get more bang for your buck. It’s a great way to connect with keynote speeches, breakout sessions and fellow attendees. Read as much as possible—this means the books you read should not be limited to those written by the authors on the faculty. Add to your reading list books written by authors who are represented by agents at the conference—especially if you think you would like a certain agent to represent you. This is a smart way to vet an agent, and evaluate if they are the right fit for your work. Furthermore, read books the editors on the faculty have worked on; then when you land in an elevator or at the cocktail party with said editor, you have an authentic conversation opener.

 

I’ve been to three regional conferences, two Big Sur events, and five international conferences. Every year, I’m thankful I did my self-imposed homework—it's worth the effort. 

 

Here are the top five reasons reading books written/edited/or agented by conference faculty will give you a RICHER, MORE TEXTURED conference experience:

 

1.      You enjoy keynotes on a deeper level, because you’ve already crawled inside the author’s head. Instead of looking at a stranger at the podium, you’ll feel like you’re listening to a friend. When a speaker refers to their book in a keynote or break-out session, you’ll be connected and understand the “inside” jokes and references. Do you have to read books before coming—No. Do the speeches feel more engaging and meaningful if you do—Absolutely, Yes.

 

2.      You have conversation starters and a better opportunity to connect with the faculty, not to mention connecting with fellow attendees. I can't tell you how many times I've turned a stranger into a friend, sharing the mutual excitement of discussing who’s speaking next and his/her amazing book or illustrations.

 

3.      You look like a professional. Reading the work of relevant speakers shows that you care about what’s happening in the publishing industry. Furthermore, it’s a great way to vet which publishing professionals are a good fit for you.

 

4.      You get exposed to books and genres you may not have considered—this helps rev-up the creative juices, and perhaps your own work will benefit.

 

5.      And finally, great writers are great readers first.

 

Kim Tomsic is a reader and writer of children’s literature. She practices what she preaches—prior to landing her fabulous agent, Jen Rofé of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, she first read books by Jen’s clients: Crystal Allen, Kathryn Fitzmaurice and Meg Medina to name a few. Kim’s debut book The Elephants Came comes out with Chronicle Books (editor Melissa Manlove) in spring 2017. Her next book Guitar Hero (Chronicle Books) releases in spring 2019.

 

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12. Book Launch Testimonials

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13. Elizabeth Rose Stanton Winter Bulletin

I like to joke that I could be a “poster child” for a SCBWI success story . . .

In January of 2012, I attended my first SCBWI International Conference in New York. I wasn’t sure I was ready, but a fellow illustrator friend said, “I’ll go if you go.” So off we went, flying across the country— portfolios in hand. I kept my expectations low, hoping for a little exposure and, at best, a few kind words about my work. As it turned out, one of my cards was picked up at the portfolio show and the next thing I knew I had an agent! A few weeks later, my head still happily spinning, I signed up for our local SCBWI conference here in Western Washington. It was a weekend packed with information and networking, and I started to feel buoyed at the prospect of entering this exciting industry as an author/illustrator. At the very end of the last day of the conference, in what I consider a quintessential SCBWI moment, I had the opportunity to show my story about my quirky little chicken to one of the faculty art directors. Within a few days, and to my utter amazement, my agent informed me I had an offer for my picture book, HENNY! Was this really happening? I felt like the proverbial ingénue on the barstool—suddenly discovered—ready to take the world by storm! 

But here’s the punch line—I’m definitely not the ingénue. I have, in fact, both feet firmly planted in my sixth decade of life, and I definitely did not feel ready. What was I thinking, starting a new career now? I felt an odd mix of euphoria and sheer terror.  How could I compete with all that young, fresh talent? How could I ever measure up to all those seasoned writers and illustrators? How did I get myself into this? But, contract in hand, I had no choice but to sit down and get the job done.  

As I worked, my fears subsided as it became clear to me I really was prepared:  I’ve been to college and graduate school. I’ve been an architect, designer, portrait artist, fine artist, and scientific illustrator.  I’ve had paid jobs and unpaid jobs, and I’ve raised three kids (the ultimate unpaid job). I realized I’ve been on the path to this moment—albeit a long and somewhat circuitous one—all along. 

I also have come to believe that my story could be anyone’s story. We are the sum totals of our experiences and most of us, regardless of whom we are or at what point in our lives we are at, are far more “ready” than we could ever imagine.

Maybe I would have become a published author/illustrator in time, but one thing I am certain of— SCBWI got me in front of the right people, at the right place, at the right time and I will forever be grateful to this wonderful kidlit organization for expediting my trajectory!

So… back to the story:  Cue the author/illustrator…dragging her life’s baggage behind her, nest empty, and rarin’ to go. Contracts have been signed, artwork has been delivered, and I’m ready for the happy ending, er… I mean, beginning!  Thank you, SCBWI.

                                                                                                                                   

 

Elizabeth is represented by Joanna Volpe of New Leaf Literary & Media in New York. Her first picture book, Henny (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books), was released last year. Her next book, Peddles (also with Simon & Schuster), released January 2016.   She lives in Seattle with her husband, and three Scottish Fold cats. Find her online at www.penspaperstudio.com.

 

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14. ALA Announces 2016 Youth Media Award Winners

A list of all the 2016 award winners follows as posted on the American Library Association's website:

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature:

"Last Stop on Market Street," written by Matt de la Pena, is the 2016 Newbery Medal winner. The book is illustrated by Christian Robinson and published by G. P. Putnam's Sons, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.

Three Newbery Honor Books also were named: "The War that Saved My Life," written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC; "Roller Girl," written and illustrated by Victoria Jamieson and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC; and "Echo," written by Pam Munoz Ryan and published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:

"Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear," illustrated by Sophie Blackall, is the 2016 Caldecott Medal winner. The book was written by Lindsay Mattick and published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Four Caldecott Honor Books also were named: "Trombone Shorty," illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Troy Andrews and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS; "Waiting," illustrated and written by Kevin Henkes, published by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; "Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement," illustrated by Ekua Holmes, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and published by Candlewick Press; and "Last Stop on Market Street," illustrated by Christian Robinson, written by Matt de le Pena and published by G. P. Putnam's Sons, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award, recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults:

"Gone Crazy in Alabama," written by Rita Williams-Garcia, is the King Author Book winner. The book is published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Three King Author Honor Books were selected: "All American Boys," by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division; "The Boy in the Black Suit," by Jason Reynolds and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division, and "X: A Novel," by Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon and published by Candlewick Press.

Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award:

"Trombone Shorty," illustrated by Bryan Collier, is the King Illustrator Book winner. The book was written by Troy Andrews and Bill Taylor and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS.

Two King Illustrator Honor Books were selected: "The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem's Greatest Bookstore," illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and published by Carolrhoda Books, a division of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc. and "Last Stop on Market Street," illustrated by Christian Robinson, written by Matt de la Pena and published by G. P. Putnam's Sons, an imprint of Penguin Group USA.

Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award:

"Hoodoo," written by Ronald L. Smith, is the Steptoe author award winner. The book is published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award:

"Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement," illustrated by Ekua Holmes, is the Steptoe illustrator award winner. The book is written by Carole Boston Weatherford and published by Candlewick Press.

Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement:

Jerry Pinkney is the winner of the Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement. The award pays tribute to the quality and magnitude of beloved children's author Virginia Hamilton.

Jerry Pinkney's illustrations detail a world that resonates with readers long after the pages of a book have been turned. His five decades of work offer compelling artistic insights into the legacy of African American storytelling and experience. Beyond Pinkney's technical brilliance, his support of differentiated learning through art and of young illustrators sets him apart as both artist and educator. His powerful illustrations have redefined the scope of the sophisticated picture book and its use with multiple levels of learners.

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:

"Bone Gap," written by Laura Ruby, is the 2016 Printz Award winner. The book is published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Two Printz Honor Books also were named: "Out of Darkness," by Ashley Hope Perez and published by Carolrhoda Lab™, an imprint of Carolrhoda Books, a division of Lerner Publishing Group, and "The Ghosts of Heaven," by Marcus Sedgwick and published by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group.

To read the full post: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/american-library-association-announces-2016-youth-media-award-winners-300202055.html

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15. Comment on We’re Getting a Pet! by Diane Casenta Galutia

Your book sounds wonderful! I love that you mention that the family is getting their pet from animal rescue!!! Congratulations!

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16. Comment on The Secret of the Greater Mountain by Diane Casenta Galutia

Your book sounds exciting and intriguing! Congratulations!

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17. Comment on Bear and Squirrel are Friends…Yes, Really! by Diane Casenta Galutia

Your book sounds adorable! Congratulations

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18. Comment on The Peddler’s Bed by Diane Casenta Galutia

Your book sounds so sweet! Congratulations!

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19. Tomie dePaola Award Winners

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20. Comment on The Gu-Glee-Goos of Christmas by Tyler

Instant Site Creator One of the best software to create an unlimited number of websites. Easy to use and very professional. Read More >> http://www.websiteinstantcreator.com

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21. Comment on Toys Meet Snow by Colleen Post

Looks like a great book – beautifully illustrated!

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22. Comment on Your Alien by Colleen Post

Cute book – we enjoyed it! The ending is so sweet. Good luck with the book launch!

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23. Comment on If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, DON’T! by Colleen Post

Great video! This looks like a fun book!

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24. Comment on Very Christmas by Colleen Post

Best wishes with the launch – love the cover!

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25. Comment on DEAR YETI by Colleen Post

My 3 boys love this book so much! Wonderful job, James Kwan!

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