What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(tagged with 'Awards')

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Awards, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 2,622
26. Ask an Editor: Nailing the Story

In this series, Tu Books Publisher Stacy Whitman shares advice for aspiring authors, especially those considering submitting to our New Visions Award

Last week on the blog, I talked about hooking the reader early and ways to write so you have that “zing” that captivates from the very beginning. This week, I wanted to go into more detail about the story and plot itself. When teaching at writing conferences, my first question to the audience is this:

 What is the most important thing about a multicultural book?

I let the audience respond for a little while, and many people have really good answers: getting the culture right, authenticity, understanding the character… these are all important things in diverse books.

But I think that the most important part of a diverse novel is the same thing that’s the most important thing about any novel: a good story. All of the other components of getting diversity right won’t matter if you don’t have a good story! And getting those details wrong affects how good the story is for me and for many readers.

So as we continue our series discussing things to keep in mind as you polish your New Visions Award manuscripts, let’s move the discussion on to how to write a good story, beyond just following the directions and getting a good hook in your first few pages. This week, we’ll focus on refining plot.

Here are a few of the kinds of comments readers might make if your plot isn’t quite there yet:

  • Part of story came out of nowhere (couldn’t see connection)
  • Too confusing
  • Confusing backstory
  • Plot not set up well enough in first 3 chapters
  • Bizarre plot
  • Confusing plot—jumped around too much
  • underdeveloped plot
  • Too complicated
  • Excessive detail/hard to keep track
  • Too hard to follow, not sure what world characters are in

We’ll look at pacing issues too, as they’re often related:

  • Chapters way too long
  • Pacing too slow (so slow hard to see where story is going)
  • Nothing gripped me
  • Too predictable

block quote 1Getting your plot and pacing right is a complicated matter. Just being able to see whether something is dragging too long or getting too convoluted can be hard when you’re talking about anywhere from fifty to a hundred thousand words, all in one long file. Entire books have been written on how to plot a good science fiction and fantasy book. More books have been written on how to plot a good mystery. If you need more in-depth work on this topic, refer to them (see the list at the end of this post).

So we won’t get too in depth here, but let’s cover a few points.

Know your target audience

When you’re writing for children, especially young children (middle grade, chapter books, and below), your plot should be much more linear than a plot for older readers who can hold several threads in their heads at once.

Teens are developmentally ready for more complications—many of them move up to adult novels during this age, after all—but YA as a category is generally simpler on plot structure than adult novels in the same genre. This is not to say the books are simple-minded. Just not as convoluted… usually. (This varies with the book—and how well the author can pull it off. Can you?)

But the difference between middle grade and YA is there for a reason—kids who are 7 or 8 or 9 years old and newly independent readers need plots that challenge them but don’t confuse them. And even adults get confused if so much is going on at once that we can’t keep things straight. Remember what we talked about last time regarding backstory—sometimes we don’t need to know everything all at once. What is the core of your story?

Linear plot

Note that “too complicated” is one of the main complaints of plot-related comments readers had while reading submissions to the last New Visions Award.

Don’t say, “But Writer Smith wrote The Curly-Eared Bunny’s Revenge for middle graders and it had TEN plot threads going at once!” Writer Smith may have done it successfully, but in general, there shouldn’t be more than one main plot and a small handful of subplots happening in a stand-alone novel for middle-grade readers.

If you intend your book to be the first in a series of seven or ten or a hundred books, you might have seeds in mind you’d like to plant for book seventy-two. Unless you’re contracted to write a hundred books, though, the phrase here to remember is stand-alone with series potential. Even Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was pretty straightforward in its plotting—hinting at backstory, but not dumping backstory on readers in book one; setting the stage for potential conflicts down the road but not introducing them beforetime. Book 1 of Harry Potter really could have just stood on its own and never gone on to book 2. It wouldn’t have been nearly as satisfying as having the full 7-book arc, but note how seamlessly details were woven in, not calling attention to themselves even though they’re setting the stage for something later. Everything serves the linear plot of the main arc of book 1’s story. We only realize later that those details were doing double duty.

Thus, when you’re writing for children and young adults, remember that a linear main plot is your priority, and that anything in the story that is not serving the main plot is up on the chopping block, only to be saved if it proves its service to the main plot is true.block quote 2Plotting affects pace

In genre fiction for young readers, pacing is always an issue. Pacing can get bogged down by too many subplots—the reader gets annoyed or bored when it takes forever to get back to the main thrust of the story when you’re wandering in the byways of the world you created.

Fantasy readers love worldbuilding (to be covered in another post), but when writing for young readers, make sure that worldbuilding serves as much to move the plot forward as to simply show off some cool worldbuilding. Keep it moving along.

Character affects plot

This was not a complaint from the last New Visions Award, but another thing to keep in mind when plotting is that as your rising action brings your character into new complications, the character’s personality will affect his or her choices—which will affect which direction the plot moves. We’ll discuss characterization more another day, but just keep in mind that the plot is dependent upon the choices of your characters and the people around them (whether antagonists or otherwise). Even in a plot that revolves around a force of nature (tornado stories, for example), who the character is (or is becoming) will determine whether the plot goes in one direction or another.

Find an organizational method that works for you

This is not a craft recommendation so much as a tool. Plotting a novel can get overwhelming. You need a method of keeping track of who is going where when, and why. There are multiple methods for doing this.

Scrivener doesn’t work for all writers, so it might not be your thing, but I recommend trying out its corkboard feature, which allows you to connect summaries of plot points on a virtual corkboard to chapters in your book. If you need to move a plot point, the chapter travels along for the ride.

An old-fashioned corkboard where you can note plot points and move them around might be just as easy as entering them in Scrivener, if you like the more tactile approach.

Another handy tool is Cheryl Klein’s Plot Checklist, which has a similar purpose: it makes the writer think about the reason each plot point is in the story, and whether those points serve the greater story.

Whether you use a physical corkboard, a white board, Scrivener, or a form of outlining, getting the plot points into a form where you can see everything happening at once can help you to see where things are getting gummed up.

Further resources

This post is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to plotting a book. Here are some books and essays that will be of use to the writer seeking to fix his or her plot problems. (Note that some of these resources will be more useful to some writers than others, and vice versa. Find what works for you.)

  • “Muddles, Morals, and Making It Through: Or Plots and Popularity,” by Cheryl Klein in her book of essays on writing and revising, Second Sight.
  • In the same book by Cheryl Klein, “Quartet: Plot” and her plot checklist.
  • The Plot Whisperer by Martha Alderson
  • I haven’t had experience with this resource, but writer friends suggest the 7-point plot ideas of Larry Brooks, which is covered both in a blog series and in his books

And remember!


keep calm and write on

Further Reading:

New Visions Award: What NOT to Do

Ask an Editor: Hooking the Reader Early

The New Visions Guidelines

Stacy Whitman photoStacy Whitman is Editorial Director and Publisher of Tu Books, an imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS that publishes diverse science fiction and fantasy for middle grade and young adult readers. 

Filed under: Awards, New Voices/New Visions Award, Publishing 101, Tu Books, Writer Resources Tagged: fantasy, fantasy writing, New Visions Award, plotlines, sci-fi writing, science fiction, writing, writing 101, writing award, writing tips, young adult

1 Comments on Ask an Editor: Nailing the Story, last added: 8/11/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
27. Golden Globes Change Their Animation Rules

The Golden Globes, awarded annually by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., has revised its rules for the animated feature category. The winner of the category has gone on to win the Oscar in six of the last seven years.

0 Comments on Golden Globes Change Their Animation Rules as of 8/7/2014 6:30:00 PM
Add a Comment
28. ‘Mr. Piggy Dies in 25 Dimensions’ Selected As Cartoon Brew’s Student Fest Grand Prize Winner

Cartoon Brew's fifth annual Student Animation Festival will launch tomorrow, August 5th, with the grand-prize winning work "Mr. Piggy Dies in 25 Dimensions" by Josh Sehnert.

0 Comments on ‘Mr. Piggy Dies in 25 Dimensions’ Selected As Cartoon Brew’s Student Fest Grand Prize Winner as of 8/4/2014 6:36:00 PM
Add a Comment
29. YALSA NEEDS YOU – for our Award & Selection Committees! Volunteer Form Deadline is October 1st!

Happy Summer! Hope you are all surviving and thriving as your summer reading programs come to an end this year. Don’t forget to look toward autumn, as YALSA’s Fall Appointments season approaches!

As President-Elect, I’ll be making appointments to the following YALSA committees and taskforces:

*Please note that the PPYA Committee is an all-virtual committee for the coming year. YALSA members with book selection and evaluation experience and who are comfortable working in an online environment with tools like ALA Connect, Google Docs, Skype, etc. should put their names forward for consideration.

The Fine Print

  • Eligibility: To be considered for an appointment, you must be a current personal member of YALSA and submit a volunteer form by Oct. 1st. If you are appointed, service will begin on February 1, 2015.
  • For those who want to serve another year: If you are currently serving on a selection or award committee and you are eligible to and interested in serving for another term, you must fill out a volunteer form for this round (this is so I know you’re still interested and want to do serve another term).
  • Qualifications: Serving on a committee or taskforce is a significant commitment. Please review the resources on this web page before you submit a form to make sure that committee work is a good fit for you at this point in time: www.ala.org/yalsa/getinvolved/participate
  • Questions: Please free to contact me with any questions or issues at candice (dot) yalsa at gmail (dot) com

Thanks for all the time and talent you share with YALSA!

Add a Comment
30. Ask an Editor: Hooking the Reader Early

In this series, Tu Books Publisher Stacy Whitman shares advice for aspiring authors, especially those considering submitting to our New Visions Award

Last week on the blog, I talked about the importance of following submission guidelines and basic manuscript format. This week, I wanted to go into more detail about why a reader might stop reading if they’re not hooked right away. Here are some comments I’ve heard our readers make about manuscripts that didn’t hook them:

  • Story does not captivate in first few chapters
  • Boring
  • Writing not strong, or not strong enough to hold a young reader’s (or teen’s) interest
  • Parts of the writing are very strange (not in a good way)
  • Sounded too artificial
  • Reminds me too much of something that’s really popular
  • Too Tolkienesque or reliant upon Western European fantasy tropes
  • Concept cliche

How do you get your writing to have that “zing” that captivates from the very beginning? This is a little tougher than just following the directions—this is much more personal to each reader and each writer.

Is your writing boring readers?

There are a couple different issues in the list above. Some readers lost interest simply because they were bored. If you find yourself telling readers of your book, “Don’t worry! It gets really good in chapter five!” consider whether you’re starting your book at the right moment in time. The phrase “late in, early out” is one to remember—perhaps you don’t need all the information that leads to the “really good” part. Or perhaps you need to revise to make that information more interesting and faster paced.

I don’t recommend simply dumping this information into a prologue. Many young readers skip prologues entirely, and many more readers will lose interest if your prologue is long and boring—it’s the same principle as saying “just wait till chapter five!”

If the information in your first few chapters are crucial, yet readers are getting bored by it, consider spooling that information out little by little over the course of the book. You need to find the balance between giving enough information for the reader to be intrigued and wanting to know more, without overburdening the reader with so much information that they become overwhelmed or bored.

been there done thatFor example, take the first few pages of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone. On page 1, Taylor sets up the scene: it’s an ordinary day in Prague (interesting point number one: how many books are set in Prague?) and Karou is walking down the street toward school, minding her own business. It’s an active scene—something is happening—but it’s more about Karou’s internal mundane thoughts. However, it doesn’t stay mundane for long. By page 2, she’s been attacked.

But it’s not your average “you have to have an action scene in the first scene!” attack. The author plays with expectations, intriguing the reader and making you want to know what happens next. We get some ex-boyfriend banter (also against expectations) and the promise of interesting, embarrassing things to come by the end of the chapter.

It helps that the book is well written. But it’s more than good prose that hooks the reader here—she spools out just enough to let you know that this is a unique book, and that you want to know more. The next two chapters do the same thing, and bit by bit, the reader comes to know Karou’s intriguing magical background.

What she doesn’t do is infodump in a prologue or the first few chapters about Karou’s history, the history of the world, and the history of the strange beings who raised her. Save those details for when they matter.

Look at your favorite books and read like a writer. For hooking a reader, look in particular at excellent examples of the first five pages of a wide variety of books. There are many ways to effectively open a book, and you need to find the way that works for your story. Reading other books like a writer will help you to zoom in on ways to perfect your craft.read like a writer

Another great resource for writers trying to figure out how to hook readers is editor Cheryl Klein’s essay “The Rules of Engagement” in her book Second Sight. It’s no longer available online (and I don’t believe the book is in e-book form), but it’s worth the price of the book for her discussion of various ways to hook readers via character, insight, action, and other methods. (Bonus: you also then get access to all her other thoughts on writing and revision.)

Over-reliance on common tropes

Several readers commented that several books relied too much upon Western European fantasy tropes (elves, fairies, etc.). There are ways of hooking readers with familiar story elements, but often most high fantasy tales boil down to “my elves are better than yours.”

The Coldest Girl in ColdtownLook for new inspiration. (We’ll cover worldbuilding more in full in a few weeks.) But especially in the first few chapters of your book, avoid leading with ideas that have been-there-done that.

If your story concept relies on tried-and-true tropes, it’s not the end of the world. Take a look at books coming out now that are successfully changing the mold—books like The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, who has revamped (haha) the vampire genre, for example. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown updates the genre, makes vampires scary again. In what ways can you update and revamp the concepts in your book to hook readers?

The solution to your writing being “not strong enough”: practice 

The number one complaint as to why a reader wasn’t hooked was that the writing wasn’t good. Once you get past obvious grammar and punctuation mistakes, this comes down to a greater need to practice your craft. Write regularly—it doesn’t have to be every day, but do it consistently. If your problem is time, you might find useful this advice from New Voices Award winner Pamela Tuck on how to carve out time to write on a regular basis. She has ELEVEN children, who require a lot of time and attention, especially because she home-schools them.

The more you practice, the better you’ll get. And next week, we’ll begin to drill down on elements that you can work on in the whole book, such as voice.

Stacy Whitman photoStacy Whitman is Editorial Director and Publisher of Tu Books, an imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS that publishes diverse science fiction and fantasy for middle grade and young adult readers. 

Filed under: Awards, New Voices/New Visions Award, Publishing 101, Tu Books, Writer Resources Tagged: ask an editor, how to, Laini Taylor, New Visions Award, Science Fiction/Fantasy, stacy whitman, Tu Books, writing advice

0 Comments on Ask an Editor: Hooking the Reader Early as of 7/31/2014 7:16:00 PM
Add a Comment
31. Barack Obama Finally Honors America’s Greatest Animation Artist

On Monday, Jeffrey Katzenberg became just the second animation figure to receive the National Medal of Arts.

0 Comments on Barack Obama Finally Honors America’s Greatest Animation Artist as of 7/30/2014 5:34:00 AM
Add a Comment
32. Free Samples of 2014 Eisner Award Winning Comics

The winners of the 2014 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards have been announced. Follow the links below for free samples of books by some of the winners.

Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples won the prize for “Best Continuing Series” for Saga. Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew C. Robinson, and Kyle Baker came out on top in the “Best Reality-Based Work” category for The Fifth Beatle. Matthew Inman took home the “Best Digital Comic” award for The Oatmeal.

Here’s more from the press release: “Named for acclaimed comics creator the Will Eisner, the awards are celebrating their 26th year of highlighting the best publications and creators in comics and graphic novels. The 2014 Eisner Awards judging panel consists of comics retailer Kathy Bottarini (Comic Book Box, Rhonert Park, CA), author/educator William H. Foster (Untold Stories of Black Comics), reviewer Christian Lipski (Portland, OR Examiner), Comic-Con International board member Lee Oeth, library curator Jenny Robb (Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum), and Eisner Award-nominated cartoonist/critic James Romberger (Post York, 7 Miles a Second).”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Add a Comment
33. SDCC ’14: Giant Monsters Win the Masquerade

photo (5)Just a few hours after Legendary Pictures’ CEO Thomas Tull announced that Mothra, King Ghidorah and Rodan will appear in the Godzilla sequel, attendees at the 40th annual Comic-Con Masquerade saw the four monsters destroy a city live on stage –

and win the competition’s Best in Show.

Cosplay plays several different roles at Comic Con, from bonding the community together to connecting individuals to creative power within the entertainment they enjoy. In fact, the intrepid Masquerade Coordinator Martin Jaquish opened the event by noting that the Masquerade helps to fulfill San Diego Comic-Con’s nonprofit mission by promoting creative enterprise among the Con’s attendees.

That spirit of creativity is ultimately what appears to have secured the victory for the four women who created the winning costumes in “Giant Monsters All Out Attack” — Lisa Truong, Lynleigh Sato, Wendy Colon, and Cindy Purchase. As should be evident in the admittedly fuzzy picture above,  the costumes were not literal recreations of the four monsters’ film design, and their mode of wreaking havoc was more akin to a chaste burlesque than wanton carnage. However, it is precisely this blend of playfulness and novelty that made their designs stand out.

There were a number of other winners and honorable mentions, both as determined by the judges and as selected by the Masquerade’s sponsors. For example, DC’s winning selection had a Scarecrow-venomed Batman fighting Ray Harryhausen skeletons, and other winners included lifesize (more or less) Game of Thrones dragons, a paean to the transformational power of fandom sung to the tune of “Be a Man,” and, of course, MODOK. Technique mixed with surprise were the core values of the night, and an extra splash of fun seemed only to help.

For those who would like to know more about the Masquerade or see video of the entries, Martin Jaquish along with John Ruff will be hosting the Comic-Con Masquerade Replay starting at 2:30pm today (Sunday) in Room 8.

We’ll be talking more about the Masquerade from various perspectives in days to come, but the jury’s still out on whether I’ll follow the recommendation of several people on line to show up next year as The Governor.

0 Comments on SDCC ’14: Giant Monsters Win the Masquerade as of 7/28/2014 1:16:00 AM
Add a Comment
34. Jeffrey Katzenberg Will Receive National Medal of Arts

President Obama will honor DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg with the 2013 National Medal of Arts.

0 Comments on Jeffrey Katzenberg Will Receive National Medal of Arts as of 7/25/2014 12:44:00 AM
Add a Comment
35. A Dog Called Homeless: celebrating the Schneider Family Book Award 10th anniversary (ages 9-12)

Today, I'd like to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Schneider Family Book Award. Each year, three books are honored for their artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences. If you're interested in a free giveaway and other blogs celebrating this anniversary, make sure to read to the bottom.

One of the reasons I love awards is discovering new books that I might have overlooked. I had ordered A Dog Called Homeless (2013 winner) for my library, but hadn't taken the time to read it yet. So in honor of the tenth anniversary, I chose to read a book I thought would appeal to my students. I'm so glad I did -- this is a very special book that touched my heart in many ways.
A Dog Called Homeless
by Sarah Lean
Harper Collins, 2013
Winner, Schneider Family Book Award
read a sample: HarperCollins
Your local library
ages 9-12
Cally has lost her mother, and her family is struggling to deal with all their grief. Her father doesn't seem to be able to talk about it at all, but that makes Cally feel that her mother is completely gone. A year after her mother's death, Cally starts seeing her mother everywhere. She knows that it isn't really her mother, but she can feel her mother there watching her.

When her school holds a sponsored silence for a day to raise money for a local hospice, Cally reluctantly takes part. But she discovers that the silence is somehow a good reaction for her -- especially as she doesn't feel her father really listens to her anyway.

During this silence, Cally meets a new friend Sam when she moves into a small apartment. As Sam's mother says, Sam is "eleven. He’s blind and mostly deaf, but otherwise he’s just like you and me.” Cally learns to talk with Sam silently, by spelling words in sign language into his hand. This friendship really touched my heart. Sam and Cally understood each other. They listened to each other and shared their feelings and thoughts.

Sam encouraged Cally to talk to her mother, even silently through her thoughts. Here's a passage I found really powerful. The italics show Cally and her mother talking to each other through Cally's thoughts.
They painted the earth in the middle; and the sun went around the outside, and I said—
People get things the wrong way around. I remember.
She smiled. Exactly.
I don’t get it.
Well, what you think is on the outside is in the middle.
Like your name is my middle name.
Just like that.
I felt her in the middle of me. That’s when I noticed my belly didn’t hurt anymore. I’d gotten so used to aching.
I thought you were up in space or something.
Why would I go so far away? Just because you can’t see me it doesn’t mean I’m not here with you.
That’s what Sam said.
Cally was so lucky to have found Sam. Even though Cally insisted on not talking, she was able to connect with Sam. He could understand that just because you can't see someone, doesn't mean they aren't there. Cally discovers the power of watching, observing, noticing.

A Dog Called Homeless, like many of the Schneider Family Book Award winning books, would make a wonderful read aloud in a classroom or at home. It encourages kids to notice the people around you. Listen to them. Feel them. Don't expect everything to be right on the outside -- sometimes you have to look into the middle of something to find out what's really going on.

I'm happy to be participating in the blog tour celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Schneider Family Book Award. Check out all of the links of the Schneider Family Book Award 10th Anniversary Blog Tour & Giveaway:
July 6, 2014 Nerdy Book Club
July 6, 2014 Kid Lit Frenzy
July 7, 2014 Nonfiction Detectives
July 9, 2014 Teach Mentor Texts
July 10, 2014 There’s a Book For That
July 11, 2014 Kathie CommentsJuly 12, 2014 Disability in Kidlit
July 14, 2014 Librarian in Cute Shoes
July 15, 2014 The Late Bloomer’s Book Blog
July 15, 2014 CLCD
July 16, 2014 Read, Write, and Reflect
July 17, 2014 Read Now Sleep Later
July 18, 2014 Unleashing Readers
July 19, 2014 Great Kid Books
July 20, 2014 Maria’s Mélange
In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Schneider Family Book Award, you may enter to win a set of all 3 Schneider Family Book Award Winners from 2014. Participants must be 13 years or older and have a US or Canadian mailing address. Just enter in the Rafflecopter box below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The review copy came from our school library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

0 Comments on A Dog Called Homeless: celebrating the Schneider Family Book Award 10th anniversary (ages 9-12) as of 7/19/2014 2:53:00 PM
Add a Comment
36. 2014 Harvey nominations announced, led by Boom!, Valiant, Marvel and Image


Oh Harveys. Every year some voting block or other seems to make itself known and this time it’s Valiant with some 16 nominations including Best Humor and so on. Boom lef the list with 24 though including many in the young readers categories.

Nothing really screechingly horrific here, but not really the same year in comics I saw, either. But you know, honest work all around so congrats to the nominees.

The Harvey Awards, nominated by a small group of usually partisan folks, will be presented at the Baltimore Comic-COn. Voting deadline is August 18, 2014. Voters may vote in as many or as few categories as they like.  Email votes or questions to harveys@baltimorecomiccon.com

1. Best Writer

James Asmus, QUANTUM AND WOODY, Valiant Entertainment

Matt Fraction, HAWKEYE, Marvel Comics

Matt Kindt, MIND MGMT, Dark Horse Comics

Brian K. Vaughn, SAGA, Image Comics

Mark Waid, DAREDEVIL, Marvel Comics

2. Best Artist

David Aja, HAWKEYE, Marvel Comics

Dan Parent, KEVIN KELLER, Archie Comics

Nate Powell, MARCH: BOOK ONE, Top Shelf Production

Chris Samnee, DAREDEVIL, Marvel Comics

Fiona Staples, SAGA, Image Comics

Jeff Stokely, SIX GUN GORILLA, BOOM! Studios

3. Best Cartoonist

Matt Kindt, MIND MGMT, Dark Horse Comics

Comfort Love and Adam Withers, RAINBOW IN THE DARK, uniquescomic.com

Terry Moore, RACHEL RISING, Abstract Studios

Dan Parent, KEVIN KELLER, Archie Comics

David Petersen, MOUSE GUARD: THE BLACK AXE, BOOM! Studios/Archaia

Paul Pope, BATTLING BOY, First Second

4. Best Letterer

Deron Bennett, CYBORG 009, Archaia

Dave Lanphear, QUANTUM AND WOODY, Valiant Entertainment

Terry Moore, RACHEL RISING, Abstract Studio



5. Best Inker

Vanesa R. Del Rey, HIT, BOOM! Studios

Stefano Gaudiano, THE WALKING DEAD, Image Comics

Danny Miki, BATMAN, DC Comics

Brian Stelfreeze, DAY MEN, BOOM! Studios

Wade Von Grawbadger, ALL NEW X-MEN, Marvel Comics

6. Best Colorist

Jordan Bellaire, PRETTY DEADLY, Image Comics

Marte Gracia, ALL NEW X-MEN, Marvel Comics

Matt Hollingsworth, HAWKEYE, Marvel Comics

Brian Reber, UNITY, Valiant Entertainment

Dave Stewart, HELLBOY: THE MIDNIGHT CIRCUS, Dark Horse Comics

7. Best Cover Artist


Andrew Robinson, QUANTUM AND WOODY, Valiant Entertainment

Chris Samnee, DAREDEVIL, Marvel Comics

Fiona Staples, SAGA, Image Comics

Brian Stelfreeze, DAY MEN, BOOM! Studios

8. Most Promising New Talent

James Asmus, QUANTUM AND WOODY, Valiant Entertainment

Pere Perez, ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG, HARBINGER WARS, Valiant Entertainment


Jeff Stokely, SIX GUN GORILLA, BOOM! Studios

Chip Zdarsky, SEX CRIMINALS, Image Comics

9. Best New Series


QUANTUM AND WOODY, Valiant Entertainment




10. Best Continuing or Limited Series

ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG, Valiant Entertainment

DAREDEVIL, Marvel Comics

HAWKEYE, Marvel Comics

HIT, BOOM! Studios


SAGA, Image Comics

11. Best Syndicated Strip or Panel

DICK TRACY, Joe Staton and Mike Curtis, Tribune Media Services

FOX TROT, Bill Amend, Universal Uclick

GET FUZZY, Darby Conley, Universal Uclick

MUTTS, Patrick McDonnell, King Features

THE PHANTOM, Tony DePaul and Paul Ryan, King Features Syndicate

12. Best Anthology




SPERA, VOLUME 3, BOOM! Studios/Archaia


13. Best Graphic Album – Original

BATTLING BOY, First Second

CYBORG 009, Archaia

MARCH: BOOK ONE, Top Shelf Productions



14. Best Graphic Album – Previously Published






15. Best Single Issue or Story


DEMETER, self-published, Becky Cloonan

A Kiss ISN’T Just A Kiss!, KEVIN KELLER #10, Archie Comics

Now and Then, DARK HORSE PRESENTS #30, Dark Horse Comics

Pizza is My Business, HAWKEYE #11, Marvel Comics


UNITY #1, Valiant Entertainment

16. Best Domestic Reprint Project

BARNABY VOLUME 1, Fantagraphics





17. Best American Edition of Foreign Material


THE KILLER, VOLUME 4, BOOM! Studios/Archaia

SHOWA: A HISTORY OF JAPAN 1926-1939, Drawn and Quarterly

SUNNY, Viz Signature


18. Best Online Comics Work

BATTLEPUG, Mike Norton, battlepug.com

THE DREAMER, Lora Innes, thedreamercomic.com

GUNNERKRIGG COURT, Tom Siddell, gunnerkrigg.com

JL8, Yale Stewart, jl8comic.tumblr.com

TABLE TITANS, Scott Kurtz, Steve Hamaker, and Brian Hurtt, tabletitans.com

19. Special Award for Humor in Comics

James Asmus, QUANTUM AND WOODY, Valiant Entertainment


Dan Parent, KEVIN KELLER, Archie Comics

Fred Van Lente, ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG, Valiant Entertainment

Jim Zub, SKULLKICKERS, Image Comics

20. Special Award for Excellence in Presentation


CYBORG 009, Stephen Christy, Archaia

HARBINGER WARS, Josh Johns and Warren Simons, Valiant Entertainment


UNITY, Alejandro Arbona, Josh Johns, and Warren Simons, Valiant Entertainment

21. Best Biographical, Historical, or Journalistic Presentation

AL CAPP: A LIFE TO THE CONTRARY, Denis Kitchen, Bloomsbury


ART OF RUBE GOLDBERG, Jennifer George, Abrams ComicArts


THE FIFTH BEATLE: THE BRIAN EPSTEIN STORY, by Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew C. Robinson, and Kyle Baker, Dark Horse

MARCH: BOOK ONE, John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell, Top Shelf Productions

22. Best Original Graphic Publication for Younger Readers


BATTLING BOY, First Second

G-MAN: COMING HOME, Image Comics

MONSTER ON THE HILL, Top Shelf Productions

ONLY LIVING BOY, Bottled Lightning

1 Comments on 2014 Harvey nominations announced, led by Boom!, Valiant, Marvel and Image, last added: 7/17/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
37. Continuum X post-con report

In June this year I excitedly went off to attend Continuum X, the 10th in a series of Melbourne-based science fiction and pop culture conventions. But this year was special. This year, Continuum doubled as the 53rd Australian National Science Fiction Convention.

International Guest of Honour was Jim C Hines, author of, amongst other books, Goblin Quest, Libriomancer and Codex Born. He is also known for a series of photographs in which he attempted to place himself into the ridiculous poses that female characters are often put in on genre book covers. Check it out. Australian Guest of Honour was Ambelin Kwaymullina, author of the The Tribe series of novels (The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf and The Disappearance of Ember Crow).

Lib     Ashala

Both guests were friendly, eloquent and well worth the price of admission. And they both delivered extraordinary Guest of Honour speeches — you can check out Jim’s here and Ambelin’s here.

But there was lots more to Continuum X. There were panel discussions on an amazing range of topics, from early science fiction cinema to The Big Bang Theory; from technology for writers to religion in science fiction. Perhaps the most extraordinary of these was “We Do This Stuff… Gets Personal”. The programme description was as follows: “Based loosely on the “living library” idea, this is a chance for people to talk about their experiences of being an othered gender, sexuality, race, physical, mental or sensory disability or otherwise other, with questions from the audience. Open to writers who want to write better characters and anyone who just wants a better understanding of what it’s like in someone else’s head.” Not only did this panel provide the opportunity for writers to learn, it promoted understanding, which is a starting point for a more inclusive community.

There were readings and signings from an array of authors including Alan Baxter, Sue Bursztynski, Michael Pryor and Trudi Canavan, to name but a few. There were numerous book launches including:

9780992460129I was particularly excited about Nil By Mouth, which I had the great pleasure of launching myself. I was also honoured to co-host the Continuum X awards night with fellow-author Narrelle M Harris. Awards presented that evening included the Ditmars (for excellence in Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror), the Chronos Awards (for excellence in Victorian science fiction, fantasy and horror), as well as a number of special awards.

Fragments of a Broken Land: Valarl Undead by Robert Hood, picked up the Best Novel Ditmar.

“The Home for Broken Dolls” by Kirstyn McDermott, in Caution: Contains Small Parts, picked up the Ditmar for Best Novella or Novelette.

The Bride Price by Cat Sparks got two Ditmars — one for Best Collected Work and one for Best Short Story for “Scarp”.

9780734410672Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan got both the Ditmar and the Chronos for Best Artwork.

And my own Gamers’ Rebellion got the Chronos for Best Long Fiction. :-)

You can check out a complete list of nominees and winners on the Continuum website.

All up Continuum X was a great experience for genre book fans — so many authors, editors and publishers just wandering around, as well as speaking on panels, reading from their works and taking part in question and answer sessions. I picked up a bunch of books to add to my ever-growing to-be-read mountain, as well as adding to my really, really long list of books I must purchaser in the near future. :-)

A HUGE thank you to the organisers, panellists and attendees for making this such an enjoyable event. I’m already looking forward to next year’s Continuum.

Catch ya later,  George

PS. Follow me on Twitter


mrsmuir01Check out my DVD blog, Viewing Clutter.

Latest Post: DVD Review  — The Ghost & Mrs Muir: Season 1



Add a Comment
38. 2014 ITW Thriller Award Winners Unveiled

The International Thriller Writers (ITW) have unveiled the winners of the 2014 ITW Thriller Awards. Check out the full list of winners below. Follow this link to view photos from the banquet celebration.


New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Add a Comment
39. Illustrator Saturday – Andreja Peklar

andrejapicAndreja Peklar was born in Ljubljana, Slovenija.

After studying Art history and philosophy she graduated in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana.

She devoted herself to illustrating for children and her work can be seen in several picture books, text books, popular science books and magazines.

She also designed and illustrated educational material for children for several museums in Slovenija.

Her work was exhibited at various exhibitions in Slovenija and abroad (Biennial of illustration Bratislava, Golden pen Belgrade, Bibliotheque nationale de France, Paris, Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators, New York).

Andreja Peklar has also received several Slovenian and foreign awards. Some of her books have been included in The White Ravens selection.

Recently she has been focusing on writing and illustrating her own books for children. She lives and works as freelance illustrator in Ljubljana.

Here is Andreja explaining her working process:

The theme of this illustration was POTTER – it was made for partly fiction partly educational book about ancient crafts.

I start with the research. I browse a lot on internet and in different books. In this case I have searched in some historic and archeological books.

andrejapotter1Then I put some different ideas on a paper. I draw rough sketches with the chalk or very soft pencil.


From one idea to another …


… and finally there is a sketch I will use for the illustration.  If the sketch is too small I photocopy it to the final size. I always draw illustration a little larger than it will be printed in a book.

Then I place a scetch (or a photocopy) on a light box and copy it to paper – usually Canson Montval 300gr aquarel paper. If I work out of studio I use “natural” light box – I tape a scetch on a window glass (this “tehnique” works only from dawn to dusk!)


I tape the final drawing on a plexiglass board and begin with colouring. I usually work with Ferrario’s Tiepolo tempera. First I put very bright colours using quite wide brushes.


Then I add some structures with painting knives searching for the right atmosphere…


… finishing some details …


… to the final illustration.


And this is how the illustration has been placed in a book.

andrejaIs this gmajl

How long have you been illustrating?

I have been illustrating for about 20 years now.


How did you decide to attend the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana?

I studied philosophy and art history at first. But I have always wanted to draw. And way back in the primary school a few of us, teenagers have founded an “art group”. We were so keen that the municipality of our town has given us a nice studio in the attic of the town’s gallery (I am exhibiting my illustrations in that same gallery right now – how nostalgic!). I have spent so much of my teenage and student time there – painting, drawing, chatting about art … beautiful time … so switching to Academy of Fine Arts was somehow a logical continuation.


What were you favorite classes in college?

I have studied painting, not illustration and my favourite technique was graphics – engraving, lithography. I intend to incorporate more graphics into my illustration work right now – doing some monotypes already.


Did the School help you get work?

No, not really. We have not received “education” for living in real world. I had to learn it by myself. But on the other hand at the Academy we were taught a lot of different skills and techniques and given a lot of time to experiment. And this was a kind of help to begin living as an artist.


What was the first painting or illustration that you did where someone paid you for your artwork?

My first illustrations were black and white drawings for my friend’s book of poems when I was in high school. They were done in the name of a friendship, of course. But the first artwork I was paid for was the illustration for an old Chinese board game called Jungle.


What type of job did you do right after you graduated?

Right after I graduated I did quite a lot of drawings for stained glass, I also painted glass, taught drawing classes for a while, designed, but quickly I began illustrating.


Do you think the classes you took in college influenced your style?

No, not directly. In my opinion you hold your expression within and the style emerges later while working.


When did you do your first illustration for children?

Very soon after having graduated. It was an illustration for a series “Adventures of Goga The Millipede” for the children’s magazine Ciciban.


How did that come about?

Well, it was quite funny. My husband’s daughter (she was 7 years at the time) came to me one evening and asked me to draw 6 elephants, 6 giraffes, 6 badgers, 6… and I drew and drew… Next morning she took these drawings to school and showed them to her teacher Majda Koren, who by chance was also the editor at our main children’s magazine (and a very good author too!). And I got the job!


When did you decide you wanted to illustrate a children’s book?

The very first time I thought to be an illustrator was when I was about 10 years old. I admired the Slovenian illustrator Marija Lucija Stupica very much and therefore decided to become one myself. Then I forgot this for a while and wanted to be an archeologist, a psychologist, a chemist … gradually I came back to illustrating. Sometimes things just come to you, you don’t have to interfere much …


How long did it take you to get your first picture book contract?

A few years after I started to illustrate, I suppose.


What was your first book that you illustrated?

It was a book about old Romans.


How did you get the opportunity to exhibit at the Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators, New York?

I saw a call for entry to the 50th Annual Exhibition on internet and sent my illustration. I was very happy that it had been chosen for the Annual!


Have you illustrated any books for the American Market?

No, I have not.


Have you worked with educational publishers?

Yes, quite a lot. I’ve illustrated a lot of educational books about history for schools and museums.


How many children’s books have you illustrated?

All together about 50.


Your bio says you are writing and illustrating your own books. Are any of them finished?

Yes, two of them have already been published. I have some new projects in my mind, they are actually in different stages.


Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines?

Yes, from the very beginning I have been illustrating for different children’s and teenage magazines.


Do you have an Artist Rep. to represent you? If so, who? If not, would you like to find one?

No, I don’t have an Artist Rep. I have been trying to find one from time to time but there are so many! And somehow I never have enough time to search among them to find one who will be just the right one!


What types of things do you do to find illustration work?

At the very beginning of my career I visited some publishing houses to show them my portfolio. After a time they usually searched me when they wanted to engage me. I also sent some submissions and query letters from time to time. And I go to Bologna Book Fair every year. I have to admit – it is more for a pleasure of seeing all these beautiful books than for business.


Do you think living in Slovenia causes you to work harder to find work?

Slovenia has a long tradition of printing way back to the 16th century albeit is a small country, which has a bright side as well as a darker one. Practically everything I do publishers can see and if they are interested they contact me. But on the other hand our market is small so there are not many publishing houses, less editions, less numbers of print runs etc. You have to work on a lot of different projects to survive. Still, I would like to be focused more on a specific kind of illustration work that I prefer.


What is your favorite medium to use?

I love tempera, it is soft and not glossy. I also like black ink for drawing expressive wide strokes with brushes or delicate drawings with fine pen.


Has that changed over time?

Yes, I like to experiment with different mediums to find a technique to go along with a particular atmosphere or feeling of a text I am illustrating.


Do you have a studio in your house?

I have a “room of my own” in our apartment, yes. But I am still dreaming of a laaaaarge studio with a very high ceiling…


What is the one thing in your studio that you could not live without?

Some brushes with specific sizes and shapes and a music background.


Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

Yes I do, but when it comes to deadlines – it is day and night.


Do you take pictures or do any types of research before you start a project?

I do research, for non-fiction or educational books a lot of research: from internet, books, magazines. I also have my “treasure box” in which I keep photographs, cuttings from papers, magazines, ideas, inspirations …


Which illustrated book is your favorite?

If I think about my books it is “The boy with a little red hood”, which I have written and illustrated. If I talk about others there are so many, so different: “Die Nacht” by Wolf Erlbruch, “Stuck” by Oliver Jeffers, “This is not my hat” by Jon Klassen, “If I were a book” by Andre Letria, “I am not a little red riding hood” by Linda Wolfsgruber, “The three golden keys” by Peter Sis and many many more.


Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Yes, definitely. Sometimes I actually don’t understand how we have been working and communicating in those days before!


Do you use Photoshop with your illustrations?

I use Photoshop for my work as well.


Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet in your illustrating?

Yes, I have Intuos 5, love it!


Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

To make more of my own books (good ones, of course!)!


What are you working on now?

I am illustrating for a children’s magazine and preparing to continue working on my own book.


Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

Usually I am working with Canson Montval paper and Ferrario Tiepolo tempera. My favourite place to buy materials is Boesner in Austria. But you have to experiment and search for some new materials all the time!


Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

Work hard, be honest with your work and believe in it! And if you think you can’t find an inspiration, just sit at your working table and begin drawing … the inspiration will soon come …



• The International Golden pen of Belgrade Award, 2007 (for the book Varuh)

• The most original Slovene picture book Award 2006 (for the book Fant z rdečo kapico)

• The most original Slovene picture book nomination 2006 (for the book Mojca Pokrajculja)



Thank you Andreja for taking the time to share your process and journey with us. We look forward to hearing about your future successes.

To see more of Andreja’s illustrations you can visit her at: http://www.andrejapeklar.si/home.html

Please take a minute to leave a comment for Andreja, I know she would love to heard from you and I always appreciate it. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: authors and illustrators, awards, bio, Illustrator's Saturday, inspiration, Interview, picture books Tagged: Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana., Andreja Peklar, Ljubljana, Slovenija

2 Comments on Illustrator Saturday – Andreja Peklar, last added: 7/12/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
40. SDCC 2014: The Eisners are getting a little more showbizzy

I’m sort of a little mixed on this. On the one hand we keep saying that the Eisner Awards should be funner and shorter and getting sponsorship money for the Eisners should be part of what it takes to get a big panel in Hall H.

And so according to the programming, this year’s Eisners will be sponsored by Showtime. Sadly Dexter isn’t around, because we might get to see Michael C Hall singing or kissing Jonathan Ross. OTOH, I hope that vaguely connected nerdlebrities don’t take as presenters ENTIRELY from from comics folks, because it is fun to see comics folks get dressed up for big awards!

Also, bigger party afterwards! Governor’s Ball! I wish I could crash that Grimes concert on the battleship, but I’ll settle for the Eisners, because comics is where it all began and where my heart remains.

Showtime Presents the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards
Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
UPDATED: Fri, Jul 11, 09:59AM
The 26th annual Eisner Awards (the “Oscars” of the comics industry) honor comics creators and works in 30 categories. Presenters will include British talk show host/comics writer Jonathan Ross, actor/screenwriter/comedian Thomas Lennon (Reno 911, Balls of Fury), actor/comedian Orlando Jones(Sleepy Hollow, The MAD Show), actor Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica), nominee Reginald Hudlin (writer,Black Panther; producer, Django Unchained), Belgian graphic novelists Benoît Peeters and François Schuiten(Obscure Cities series), nominees Matt Fraction (Hawkeye, Sex Criminals) and Kelly DeConnick (Pretty Deadly, Captain Marvel), Hall of Fame cartoonist Sergio Aragonés (Groo, MAD), writer/artist Bill Morrison(Bongo Comics), writer/artist nominee Terry Moore (Rachel Rising, Strangers in Paradise) and voice actors Phil LaMarr (Samurai Jack, Justice League Unlimited, MADtv) and Vanessa Marshall (Young Justice, Spectacular Spider-Man), and David Herman (Office Space, Futurama), plus some special surprises! Other prestigious awards to be given out include the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award, the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award, the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comics Writing, and the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award.

6 Comments on SDCC 2014: The Eisners are getting a little more showbizzy, last added: 7/14/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
41. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: July 11

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include authors, awards, book lists, diversity, growing bookworms, kidlitcon, blogging, ebooks, teaching, and summer reading.

Authors and Books

The Rise Of Young Adult Authors On The Celebrity 100 List by @natrobe @forbes http://ow.ly/yVSB6 via @PWKidsBookshelf

Nice tidbits about author James Marshall, “Wicked Angel”, on the Wild Things blog http://ow.ly/yXQ4M @SevenImp @FuseEight

Thank You, @NerdyBookClub says @StudioJJK on dedication of new anthology w/ @jenni @mattholm + others http://ow.ly/yVA3v

Read J.K. Rowling's new short story about grown-up Harry Potter + friends @today http://ow.ly/yVyWK via @bkshelvesofdoom

Ludwig Bemelmans’s Madeline Celebrates a Milestone (happy 75th!) @NYTimes http://ow.ly/yVSGt  via @PWKidsBookshelf

Author Interview: Five questions for @varianjohnson from @HornBook http://ow.ly/yYlDd 

Book Lists and Awards

2014 South Asia Book Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature via @MitaliPerkins http://ow.ly/yIP71

Loved Ed DeCaria's answer to What are the best poems for kids? on Quora. He recommends the #Cybils lists http://ow.ly/yVSnQ @edecaria

Get On Board: SLJ Selects A Bevy of Board Books | @sljournal #kidlit http://ow.ly/yVxfQ

Top Ten Schneider Award Favorites of the 2014 Schneider Award Jury by Peg Glisson @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/yS3cf #kidlit

A Top Ten List: Book that Heal by @MsLReads @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/yOoR3 #kidlit #yalit

Read Me a Bedtime Story, recommended bedtime books from @growingbbb http://ow.ly/yRWgb #kidlit

A Tuesday Ten: Diverse Stories in Speculative Fiction | Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/yN8qy #Diversity

UK Booktrust Best Book Awards announced, @tashrow has the list http://ow.ly/yKP72

3 family-tested read-aloud chapter books @SunlitPages | Mrs. Piggle Wiggle's Magic, Runaway Ralph, Ramona the Pest http://ow.ly/yKQvF

Great selections! 18 Picture Books Guaranteed To Make You Laugh Out Loud Or At Least Smile @Loveofxena @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/z0xjS 


How to Build a Bestseller with Non-White Characters | @chavelaque @sljournal on @varianjohnson + #diveristy http://ow.ly/yKNXn

Sure #WeNeedDiverseBooks but don’t forget #WeNeedMoreWalterDeanMyerses too, suggests @fuseeight http://ow.ly/yKRID

"diversity in fiction is about presenting the world through different viewpoints" Tanita Davis quotes @diversityinya http://ow.ly/yXRq9

Diversity Movement Gains Visibility at ALA Annual, wirtes Wendy Stephens | @sljournal #WeNeedDiverseBooks http://ow.ly/yVx2Z

Growing Bookworms

What do I get if I read this? A call against the use of external prizes in reading programs for kids from @HornBook http://ow.ly/yVxTr

Shanahan on #Literacy: Teaching My Daughters to Read: Part 2, Print Awareness (point at the words at least sometimes) http://ow.ly/yS0uv

How to Read Stories to a Very Active Child, tips from @Booksforchildrn http://ow.ly/yN8KO

Born Reading: An Interview with Jason Boog — @fuseeight http://ow.ly/z0y0Z  #GrowingBookworms #literacy

I liked this post on The #Literacy Benefits of Family Dinners @growingbbb | Some excellent points http://ow.ly/z0wQm 


KidlitCon2014_cube#KidLitCon14 in Sacramento, California, why @semicolonblog wants to hitch a ride i your suitcase to go http://ow.ly/yN8uT

#KidLitCon14 Update: Call for Session Proposals is Up! reports @aquafortis (co-organizer) http://ow.ly/yKPbP

#KidlitCon14 | Call for Session Proposals @book_nut http://ow.ly/yKJPN | Blogging #diversity in YA and children's lit

Wild Things!: Website and Book Launch from @SevenImp + @FuseEight | #kidlit fans will want to check this out! http://ow.ly/yRV91

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

Why digital vs. print reading should not be an either/or conversation, by @frankisibberson http://ow.ly/yS3Zo #eBooks

Insights from @catagator at Stacked: The Three C's of the Changing Book Blogging World, credits, comments, + crit http://ow.ly/yRYJa

Stacked: Reader Advocacy, Speaking Up + Ducking Out: On @catagator Quitting 2015 Printz committee. Go Kelly, I say! http://ow.ly/yKSXG

Schools and Libraries

Why Should Educators Blog? | @ReadByExample shares several reasons: http://ow.ly/yXQom

Should We Be Quantifying Our Students’ Reading Abilities? asks @ReadByExample @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/yKRlX

Too Soon for Technology?: The latest on digital use by preschoolers | @sljournal http://ow.ly/yVwRi #libraries

Summer Reading

Better than the title suggests: How to Trick Your Kids Into Reading All Summer Long @TheAtlantic via @librareanne http://ow.ly/yXOCj

Some experiences w/ #SummerReading programs from @SunlitPages + request for feedback from blog readers http://ow.ly/yVARq

Raising Summer Readers Tip #12: Schedule a few social gatherings that celebrate books and #SummerReading | @aliposner http://ow.ly/yKS38

This one very important! #SummerReading Tip #13: Read aloud to your kids, even if they are great readers! @aliposner http://ow.ly/yN8fr

Raising Summer Readers Tip #14: Remember to make reading aloud interactive! | @aliposner #SummerReading http://ow.ly/yOoM1

This sounds like fun! Tip #15 from @aliposner | Pair books with movies to add some fun into #SummerReading | http://ow.ly/yRXGU

#SummerReading Tip #16 @aliposner : TALK about your plans for reading while on vacation BEFORE your travel begins http://ow.ly/yRY0a

#SummerReading Tip #17 from @aliposner | Raise kids who view packing books as a traveling necessity http://ow.ly/yVAxa

#SummerReading Tip#18 @aliposner | For reluctant vacation readers, wrap a book to read aloud for each day of vacation http://ow.ly/yXPKy 

#SummerReading Tip #19 @aliposner | When en route to your vacation destination, take advantage of captive audience! http://ow.ly/z0yzc 

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

Add a Comment
42. Free Fall Friday – Kudos


Here is another fabulous illustration from the NJSCBWI Artist Showcase done by Doris Ettlinger. Doris has illustrated over 25 picture books, you can visit her at: www.dorisettlinger.com, facebook/dorisettlingerstudio, and etsy/DorisEttlingerStudio

Anna Olswanger has opened her own agency. Olswanger Literary LLC. People can visit my page at: http://www.olswanger.com/agent.shtml

Illustrator Hazel Mitchel signed a contract to be represented by Literary Agent, Ginger Knowlton of Curtis Brown Ltd., New York City

Illustrator Michelle Kogan has Two Paintings on Exhibit at the United States Botanic Garden, DC through November 2014. They are Wildlife Comes to Lake Shore Drive and Rogers Park Dunes Restoration and Piping Plover, watercolor and watercolor pencil.

Amalia Hoffman won the 21st century Children’s Nonfiction Conference Illustration Award in June.

If you sent me a success story and I didn’t put it up, please send it again to me. The last month has been extremely busy and I feel like I missed someone.


Remember, Agent Jenny Bent is doing four of our first page critiques this month. Below are the guidelines:

Here are the submission guidelines for submitting a First Page in July:

Please “July First Page Critique” in the subject line. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it is as picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top.

Please attach your first page submission using one inch margins and 12 point font – double spaced, no more than 23 lines to an e-mail and send it to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com. Also cut and paste it into the body of the e-mail and then also attach it in a Word document to the email.

DEADLINE: July 24th.

RESULTS: August 1st.

Use inch margins – double space your text – 12 pt. New Times Roman font – no more than 23 lines – paste into body of the email

You can only send in one first page each month. It can be the same first page each month or a different one, but if you sent it to me last month and it didn’t get chosen, you need to send it again using the July’s directions. Of course, it doesn’t have to be the same submission.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: authors and illustrators, awards, inspiration, Kudos Tagged: Amalia Hoffman, Anna Olswanger, Doris Ettlinger, Hazel Mitchell, Jenny Bent, Michelle Kogan

3 Comments on Free Fall Friday – Kudos, last added: 7/11/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
43. ‘Simpsons’ Denied Animation Emmy Nom For The First Time Ever

The nominations for the 66th annual Primetime Emmy Awards were announced this morning, and the big animation news isn't who was nominated, but who wasn't: "The Simpsons"

0 Comments on ‘Simpsons’ Denied Animation Emmy Nom For The First Time Ever as of 7/10/2014 3:11:00 PM
Add a Comment
44. B: A Profile of Brian Floca

locomotive B: A Profile of Brian FlocaAn editor’s dream — smart authors, smart artists. They save so much time. That is, they’re up to speed without undue heaving or the need for sand on the tracks (see Locomotive for more on the subject). My subject in this tribute is someone who is all three: author, artist, smart.

Given a pencil, Brian Floca doodled young and was still happily at it when, in the spring of 1991, we met in Providence, Rhode Island, in (unaccountably) an empty office in the Department of Egyptology at Brown University. Doodles, by then, had become a comic strip in the campus newspaper. As a junior at Brown, Brian was also studying with David Macaulay at nearby Rhode Island School of Design (what a treat, then, to read in The Horn Book’s review of Locomotive that the back endpaper cutaway illustration of Central Pacific engine Jupiter surely “would make David Macaulay proud”).

It was Avi who arranged our meeting. He was seeking an illustrator for a 400-page gleam in his eye that became City of Light, City of Dark (1993), an early entrant in the recent resurgence of graphic novels. Brian had been recommended. He did some sample pen-and-inks: lots of energy; inventive perspectives; a touch of the sinister, which Avi’s tale required.

Before that first project was published, Avi had dreamt up a second — a fantasy called Poppy (winner of a 1996 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award). The three-inch mouse heroine emerged first in what the illustrator describes as “cartoony pen-and-ink” but then matured magically in velvety pencil. From gargantuan cityscape to atmospheric woodland, this young man could draw anything.

I hadn’t yet read any of Brian’s own story ideas. Turned out he was not only a skilled draftsman, but also a witty writer, sometimes wacky, sometimes tender. The first text Brian brought me was a goofball romp about a boy in a natural history museum, The Frightful Story of Harry Walfish (1997), though not till he’d finished, for Orchard, Helen Ketteman’s Luck with Potatoes (1995). Years later, I mean years, he admitted that before Helen’s book he’d never done any watercolor illustrations requiring book-length focus. But focus he did…on a departure, and also in watercolor: Five Trucks (1999), which Booklist starred and which prompted the reviewer to ask: “If picture books about trucks are so easy to do, why do we see so many poor ones and so few as good as this?”

A stylistic throwback followed, Dinosaurs at the Ends of the Earth (2000) about explorer/naturalist Roy Chapman Andrews. Not quite nonfiction (Brian imagines some dialogue), the book spreads as wide as the Gobi Desert; the text, mostly arrayed horizontally, is lengthy and looks it. Great rectangles of words. But the writing is alive, a throwback only in its long-lined form.

As a kid I loved poring over Holling C. Holling (but oh, those long texts) and the informational books by Edwin Tunis (dry as tinder, yet the drawings captivated). Fifty years later, here was Brian Floca of Temple, Texas, an artist who could bring to life gizmos, vehicles, feats, and all manner of things that go and do and make noises. And not go on and on for paragraphs. Here was an artist to channel that one-time kid who liked “process” and long-looking. I hope it’s clear that we’d hit it off as friends from the beginning, but now the making of books about the workings of things had become a connecting passion.

The Racecar Alphabet (2003) was the first brainchild: rambunctious, even raucous, with an alliterative text only 205 words long. One NASCAR driver we heard from via e-mail reads the book to his son regularly and praised Brian for the accuracy of art, car info — and sound effects. For a further example of those, see Lightship (2007).

“A committee member” asked for a lunch-break look at our copy of Lightship in the Atheneum ALA booth.
She’d heard that the text was “strong.” It was Lightship that alerted the world that this young man could not only illustrate and pace a book beautifully, he could also write. Brian’s texts thereafter arrayed themselves vertically; visually spare, like ribbons floating to allow room for art, they often read like poetry (think of the glorious Moonshot in 2009, and now Locomotive). The words brim with emotion even when it is facts he’s presenting.

Since his beginnings, Brian has been a working illustrator. His website makes clear that his range is impressive —
animal, vegetable, mechanical. I have a most personal collection of hand-drawn postcards and notes the Society of Illustrators could make a show of; a recent highlight is a pen-and-ink Jupiter, puffing a great blast of thank-you flowers.

Locomotive began life in 2008 as an homage to a wondrous big chugger such as Jupiter, when Brian’s flight of Apollo 11 was still on the drawing board. It soon became clear that locomotives, especially those engines destined for transcontinental travel, bore on their wheels the great weight of nineteenth-century America. Homage
became paean. Had to. Thirty-two pages became, progressively, 40, 48, 56, 64. Research led him this way and that — into many an account of the heroism, ingenuity, venality, and even crime behind the country’s westward expansion. These elements, outside the immediate focus of Locomotive, make appearances in the narrative in supporting roles, which, it is hoped, will lead readers to other books, other stories. But the stars of Locomotive had to remain the locomotives themselves (several were required to make the Omaha-to-Sacramento trek); sometimes even pieces of their stories fell to the cutting room floor.

Nearly a victim of the streamlining ax was the KA-BOOM! explosion picture. (Brian said: “Boys will like it; I hate to lose it, but…”) Lots of the book hit the floor at one time or another, great puddles of remarkable art, often without room for itself in the narrative, offshoots of story for which there was no space or time. The nights of the journey had to be documented with rhythmically placed dark pages; lighting for existing scenes had to be changed from midnight to sunlight — perspectives had to be juxtaposed. Locomotive was pulled apart and reassembled many a time. Like a machine itself, this book was built.

And as with the pictures, the text too was an assemblage. I must have read it a hundred times and yet I am always impressed with how the skein of language supports the visual story. For by now, after a long, evolutionary, and iterative process, a story had emerged — of one family traveling westward, propelled by a sequence of Union Pacific and Central Pacific locomotives. Listen to the book read aloud. Through its words, it presents the experiences of one boy (a stand-in, surely, for the artist himself) lucky enough to see and see more and hear and hear more — a whole world opening up to him.

At the touching end, the simplicity of the family’s reunion seems to me just right — no bustling background, just feeling. Full but spare, the text here through the arrival in San Francisco was sifted and shifted well into final proofing stage. The book ends with the art/text version of a hug. And extends to the back of the jacket, which shows six grown boys loving a machine — just as three grown boys, Brian principally, but also the designer, Michael McCartney, and I, have loved the tinkering, the polishing, the priming of this book for its journey from the nineteenth century to the twenty-first.

Brian Floca has opened a world to me.

And now, what’s next? Back to the man who put this crew together: Avi and his Old Wolf. Brian has illustrated in rich pencil the fable-like tale of an aged wolf-pack leader determined to feed his hungry pups (does he or doesn’t he have one more kill in him?), a boy with a birthday bow-and-arrows who knows about killing only from video games, and a raven who knows about everything.

After that, there’s a picture book starring a cat behind the wheel—a vehicle-sized cat or a cat-sized vehicle? Only the artist knows for sure…

I am grateful that there’s to be a future for us. Thank you, young sir, for the ride so far. I have learned much.

Your pal, D

Brian Floca is the 2014 Caldecott Medal winner for Locomotive. From the July/August 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

share save 171 16 B: A Profile of Brian Floca

The post B: A Profile of Brian Floca appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on B: A Profile of Brian Floca as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
45. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: July 3

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. I am posting a day early this week because of the July 4th holiday. Topics this week include: authors, awards, book lists, common core, growing bookworms, events, kidlitcon, publishing, teaching, libraries, and summer reading.


Rest in Peace, Walter Dean Myers. Here's an appreciation from Tanita Davis at Finding Wonderland http://ow.ly/yIbNs

Just Walk Away: Authors and Illustrators Who Do — @fuseeight http://ow.ly/yIBxa #kidlit

Book Lists and Awards

Roger Sutton makes some excellent points in this @HornBook editorial about new ALSC policy on communication by judges http://ow.ly/yFSbj

RT @CynLeitichSmith: Growing Int'l #Latino Book Awards Reflect Booming Market http://nbcnews.to/1nPPLbF via @NBCNews

2014 Guardian Children’s Prize Longlist | @tashrow has the list http://ow.ly/yFrdp

Children's Literature at SSHEL | #kidlit recommendations for Independence Day: Remembering the Revolution http://ow.ly/yFJcy

Stacked: Get (sub)Genrefied: Alternate History @catagator http://ow.ly/yIBXO #BookList

A few Seek and Find Picture Books, recommended by @greenbeanblog http://ow.ly/yIBq5 #kidlit

Very nice list! 14 Children's Books that Challenge Gender Stereotypes | @momandkiddo #BookList http://ow.ly/yCaBW

Top Ten Books for Young Readers about Encountering Obstacles by @MrazKristine @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/yCcaz

2014 Mind the Gap Awards (books ignored by ALA awards) from @HornBook http://ow.ly/ywTV1 via @tashrow

Common Core / Literacy

#CommonCore IRL: In Real Libraries -- 2014 ALA Presentation from @MaryAnnScheuer + friends http://ow.ly/yFrql

Higher Ed Administrators Seek To Stem States’ Rush Away From #CommonCore @LibraryJournal via @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/yv1kk

Spreading the Good Word about Visual #Literacy @SevenImp chats with Francoise Mouly @KirkusReviews http://ow.ly/yubPV

Events, Programs and Research

RIF_Primary_Vertical"children spend nearly 3 times as many hours weekly watching TV or playing video games as they do reading" | @RIFWEB http://ow.ly/yIALH

Sad! The World Book Night project has been suspended, reports @bkshelvesofdoom http://ow.ly/yIAzA

Book drive for unaccompanied immigrant children kicks off July 10 reports @latimes via @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/yFSo6

Growing Bookworms

One of many reasons to read aloud | Children’s Picture Books Use More Sophisticated Words Than You | Michaels Read http://ow.ly/yIBgc

Why dialogue is important to kids' comprehension development from @TrevorHCairney http://ow.ly/yudra #literacy

RT @PapaJFunk: @JensBookPage This story inspired me more than anything http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/21/fashion/21GenB.html … I'll read every night to my kids while they're in my house...


KidlitCon2014_cubeCall for session proposals @charlotteslib -- #Kidlitcon 2014: Blogging #Diversity in Young Adult and Children’s Lit http://ow.ly/yIAlO

The call for session proposals for #KidLitCon14 is live! Deadline for submissions is 8/1. Theme: blogging #diversity http://ow.ly/yIbCJ

Celebrating @MrSchuReads with a Donation to @ReadingVillage, from @MaryLeeHahn + @frankisibberson http://ow.ly/yFrhx


Interesting thoughts @haleshannon on the segregation of ideas (choosing to only hear from people w/ similar ideas) http://ow.ly/yIArf

Interesting article on the cost to our productivity of distractions from Facebook push updates, etc. @WSJ (login req) http://ow.ly/yC8Td

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

Bertelsmann Getting Out of Book Retailing, reports @wsj (login req) http://ow.ly/yC9Ks #Publishing

Powerful post on books as Lifelines by Heather Preusser @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/ywV9c

Schools and Libraries

Teachers should cry in class when reading poignant stories ... Michael Morpurgo says @TelegraphBooks @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/yFSxJ

Interesting! Pew Research Center – 7 Surprises About Libraries | reported by @tashrow http://ow.ly/yC9TN @PewInternet

Save libraries by putting them in the pub says man tasked by Government to save them The Independent via @bookpatrol http://ow.ly/yx0FW

Summer Reading

Fizz, Boom, Read: Library #SummerReading Programs Blend Learning with Fun and Prizes | @sljournal http://ow.ly/yFICh

Jumpstart your summer adventure – Dig into reading, suggests @wendy_lawrence http://ow.ly/yCbNR #SummerReading

Fun idea! @aliposner Tip-a-Day #5: Designate a place outside your home specifically for #SummerReading outings http://ow.ly/yucI1

#SummerReading Tip-a-Day #6: Take your kids on a “summer is here” new book-getting mission! | @aliposner http://ow.ly/ywVze

#SummerReading Tip#7 @aliposner | Make sure your kids have reading STARs – Space, Time, Access to books, and Rituals http://ow.ly/yzTvR

#SummerReading Tip #8 @aliposner | Create an open-faced book display somewhere in your house http://ow.ly/yzTAI

The Ultimate #SummerReading List for Teachers from @Scholastic via @mattbgomez http://ow.ly/ywSXv 

I love this one! #SummerReading Tip #9 from @aliposner | Create an outside reading spot at your home | http://ow.ly/yCbkU

#SummerReading Tip #10 @aliposner : Make sure kids have easy access to tools for written response to books http://ow.ly/yFrJw

#SummerReading Tip #11: Stock up on “Barebooks” materials for fun and authentic summer writing | @aliposner http://ow.ly/yIBDa

Five Tips for Summer-Long Learning - Tina Chovanec from @ReadingRockets @FirstBook http://ow.ly/yFrbS #SummerReading

Macy’s and @RIFWEB Aim to Boost Summer Reading (hint: only 17% of parents think it’s a priority!), says @StorySnoops http://ow.ly/yCbw3

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

Add a Comment
46. SIGGRAPH Announces 2014 Computer Animation Festival Winners

SIGGRAPH has announced the winners of its 41st annual Computer Animation Festival. These projects will be shown amongst more than 100 pieces at the 2014 conference that will take place August 10-14 in Vancouver, Canada.

0 Comments on SIGGRAPH Announces 2014 Computer Animation Festival Winners as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
47. Illustrator Saturday – Connie Steiner


conniePic240Born in Philadelphia, Connie Colker Steiner graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the University of Pennsylvania. For many years she lived in Winnipeg where she contributed verse and artwork to Canadian Sesame Street. The words were set to music and the pictures shown sequentially. These vignettes were aired across the U.S. and Canada and around the world. She is the author and/or illustrator of several children’s picture books, including On Eagles’ Wings and Other Things, Paul’s New Ears, In Other Words and the award-winning Shoes for Amelie. Connie and her husband, Mark, now reside in southern New Jersey.

Here is Connie explaining her process:


This was for a magazine. I started out with a sketch and block were the text will be.


Then I used color pencils to try out the colors.


Here is the final illustration done in watercolor.


This is the cover of Shoes for Amelie. You will read more about this during the interview.


The cover of In Other Words. More about this book in the interview.


Sketch of “On Eagle Wings” book cover.


Final Cover of On Eagle Wings. Below is the cover of Paul’s New Ears.


When did you first know you wanted to create art?

I don’t remember a time when mark-making, drawing, a little later painting, wasn’t a big part of life. The other children and the adults around me kind of assumed that that’s what I was going to do, and I didn’t disagree.


How long have you been illustrating?

People in action fascinated me. The people that filled the sheets of shelf paper my mother       provided were usually children. I also liked drawing mothers and babies. The mothers were tall with alarming bumps on the fronts of their chests, high heels on their feet and stockings held up by garters. (I wish I could find these.) The children were usually whatever age I was when I was drawing them. They got older as I got older, and were often involved in ongoing narratives. Some stories came from books or other outside sources. Others I was concocting as I went along – little private soap operas populated by juveniles. You could call this proto- illustration and it was in full swing by kindergarten.


What was the first thing you did where someone paid you for your artwork?

Canadian Sesame Street was the first place that paid me for artwork. I was thirty-one.

Fancy Goldfish

I see that you attended Tyler Art College in Philadelphia, PA, but then left for the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and then the University of Pennsylvania. What made you attend three schools?

Tyler, Temple University’s art school had a design orientation. I needed the atmosphere of an atelier and found it in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. As for the University of Pennsylvania, I didn’t decide to go to a third school. The Academy awarded diplomas but not college degrees. They set up a program with Penn for those of their students who wanted, and were willing to work for, a BFA.

BucketcroppedWhat types of classes did you like the most?

After the first year, students could choose whether their major would be painting, sculpture or printmaking. If you were a painting major, as I was, you painted every day for half the day, in oil or acrylics, portrait, nude or still life. The other half of the day was spent drawing the nude in charcoal. (Everyone, no matter what the major was, drew for half the day.) I had two very inspiring drawing teachers. One was Marshall Glazier, who could start with a big toe, and by getting the relationships – the angles, the spaces between, just right – would wind up with a completely convincing figure, done entirely in line, with no shading. The other was George Sklar. His marvelous, swift, Zen-like drawings of animals at the Philadelphia Zoo can still be found in books that collect great drawings. Mr. Glazier emphasized line. Mr. Sklar had us trying to capture the solidity of the forms through tones of charcoal that were darkest on the frontal planes and got lighter going back. Neither was an “academic” sort of teacher. Their classrooms produced a fusion of freedom, intensity and varieties of expression. At graduation I won the George Sklar Prize for Life Drawing, named in honor of his memory.


Did the School help you get work?

No. A few mature and advanced students were mentored with an eye to the galleries. But it wasn’t part of the program to offer career advice, and most of the young, naïve student body didn’t presume to ask. A few were wise and committed enough to go on for their MFAs, or to New York for the support and stimulation of a critical mass of artists.


7. Do you feel that the classes you took in college have influenced you style?

Individual teachers, such as the painter Hobson Pittman, encouraged the painterliness that was natural to me, and also my sympathetic feeling for subject matter. I learned to look longer and see better and developed a conscious appreciation of abstract qualities. Not least important, there was an atmosphere of connection to the great art of the past. So yes, I hope these experiences influenced my illustration style, although I’m aware that illustration can have quite different goals from non-illustrative painting. But as for the figures of children in my storybook pictures, they have roots that precede art school and are only partly affected by my education.


How did you find your first art related job?

My first art related job, at seventeen, was teaching the children of my parents’ friends in our finished basement. That took a little nerve, now that I think about it. It was my mother’s idea. Maybe she wanted to make sure I knew how to do something. During art school I sold art supplies at Gimbels department store and was an art counselor at summer camp.

Lady Bugs


What made you decide that you wanted to illustrate for children?

Somehow I always thought of doing it.


What was the first illustration work you did for children? How did that come about?

My first professional illustration work was with Sesame Street.  As for how that came about look ahead to (See four answers down).


What was your first picture book published?

My first picture book, “On Eagles’ Wings and Other Things”, was published in 1987. (The Dark Ages!)

Umbrella 1

How did that come about?  What made you decide to write and illustrate that book?

I had taken my portfolio to NYC two years before. David Adler, author of the Cam Jensen series, was Children’s Book editor of the Jewish Publication Society at that time. This was my very first appointment with anyone in publishing and he wanted to get me started on a picture book. Talk about beginner’s luck. He suggested that I look at picture books of general interest and model my efforts on something that could be adapted to the needs of his company. I chose “The Philharmonic Gets Dressed” by Karla Kuskin. It followed the members of the NY Philharmonic as they washed, dressed, and transported themselves and their instruments from all points in the city to converge on the concert stage. I thought about the Jewish children who had travelled from widely dispersed places throughout the world to the new State of Israel soon after its rebirth. Instead of coming together on a stage like the musicians, they would find themselves together at last in a Jerusalem playground. Influenced by the many characters in the Kuskin story, I imagined a dozen children. David Adler swiftly pared it down to six, then four. The story of each child was complicated compared to performers getting dressed and taking the subway or the taxi. In the end , “Eagles’ Wings” was a very different book from the one that inspired it.


How did you end up working for Canadian Sesame Street?

Having moved to Winnipeg with my family in 1980, I learned that Sesame Street maintained an office downtown in the CBC building. This was a show my children and I watched together. Was it possible that I might contribute to it? I phoned, they agreed to look at my work, and seemed to like what they saw. However, they were only looking for a writer. Would I be willing to come up with a few lines and some sketches their animators could develop? Sure, why not. Several weeks later I handed in a French verse about dancing, along with pencil sketches of a little girl in tights and leotard. Eventually it was on TV – my words set to music, accompanied by my own watercolor illustrations shown as stills. This was the first of seventeen vignettes I would do for them over a fifteen year period.

Dog walk

What made you move to Canada?

My husband, Mark, accepted a job as a Reading Clinician with the Child Guidance Clinic in Winnipeg. In those years they hadn’t enough homegrown specialists. For us it was an adventure. I’d never been to Canada, or west of Pittsburgh.

Umbrella 2cropped

When and why did you move back to the States?

Paradoxically, living in Canada increased my awareness of America, my interest in the culture and history of my original country. From above I could see it whole and put myself in the shoes of observers who were almost totally indistinguishable from Americans but weren’t Americans. There’s a saying – to see ourselves as others see us. Even after becoming dual citizens in 1995, I felt myself to be an American in Canada. Never mind that in summer our cousins called our family “the Canadians”. And we did come home to New Jersey every summer so our children could go on the beach and watch the Fourth of July fireworks with their grandparents. I didn’t expect to be away forever.

In 1990 my father died. Twelve years later, my mother could not be left alone. Her short term memory was becoming dangerously unreliable. For a year and a half she stayed with us up north. In 2005 we did what seemed the most right thing and brought her back to Margate. The three of us managed together in the family home for the next two years – the rest of her life.

Mark and I had lived in Canada for two and a half decades. We were used to the cold winters and ice that put dents in everyone’s cars, the bundling up, the boots that came off in the “mud rooms” of every home, the good natured, down to earth people, English and French, Ukrainian, Filipino, Native Canadian and more, well mannered in every walk of life. Not to mention parks and ice skating on the river, affordable housing, affordable education, affordable high culture, and universal health care that was better than affordable. Necessary appointments and procedures required no out-of-pocket payments. Winnipeg, its prairie sky and the friends we made there, will stay a part of us.


What was your illustrating first success?

That would have to be Sesame Street. The atmosphere at the Winnipeg office was easy and informal. (Although headquarters were in Montreal and Toronto, branches were set up in cities across Canada. I noticed that there was an interest, generally – not just with Sesame Street – in having artists develop in their regions as well as in the greater centers.) I was encouraged by Dave Strang, the art director, the music director who literally made my words sing, I wish I could remember his name, and my wonderful producers, Pat Kent and later Ernie Zuk.


It looks like you wrote and illustrate another picture book, PAULS NEW EARS. Can you tell us how you came up with the story and how you found a publisher?

I wrote a poem for the CBC about my son who, as a first grader, was upset by a haircut that revealed his previously camouflaged ears. His ears weren’t unusual. He just wasn’t used to seeing them. Later I added to the story and moved it away from verse. I sent a dummy and the manuscript, called “Paul’s New Ears”, to Peguis, a local publisher, who accepted it. Not long after, at a writers’ convention in Winnipeg, I met the editor of a Winnipeg French publishing house, “Les Editions du Ble”. His company decided to co-publish a French version of the story, “Droles d’oreilles”. Literally that means “funny ears” but is a colloquial expression meaning something like “how odd”. As critics pointed out, the story isn’t so much about ears, but about accepting inevitable change, accepting yourself.


Where you working with Canada Sesame Street while creating these books?



How many picture books have you illustrated?

I illustrated three picture books, two of which I wrote. I wrote a fourth book which I didn’t illustrate.

1 (2)

How did the publisher find you to illustrate IN OTHER WORDS?

I sent copies of my work to Annick Press in Toronto. Rick Wilks, the publisher, thought I might illustrate a manuscript then under discussion called “A Herd of Wild Bikes”. I’d already developed my first drawings when the publisher and author fell out of harmony. A few months later, I think, Rick Wilks sent me the manuscript, “In Other Words” by John C. Walker. It is a fantasy involving visitors from outer space and telepathic communication. A boy and girl with profound disabilities find a special connection in each other, and somehow attract the interest of well-meaning voyagers from another planet. It’s a story about friendship, finding meaning and delight in the world when much is closed off, and deciding what really matters.



Then you wrote a chapter book titled, SHOES FOR AMELIE. What inspired that story? 

By chance I read a book, “Lest Innocent Blood be Shed”, by Philip Hallie. It was a true and truly amazing account of a mostly Protestant region in France that became a safe haven for Jews during the Second World War. Approximately five thousand refugees, not only from within France but coming from across Europe, were sheltered there. No one, even now, knows exactly why the Germans didn’t crush it. They knew about it. There were several raids, one with fatal effects. Toward the end of the war, a convalescent house for wounded German soldiers operated directly across the street from a nest of Resistance fighters. But the inspiration behind the villagers’ and farmers’ courage came not from armed resistance but from the leadership of their pacifist minister. Andre Trocme guided his congregants from the pulpit, never spelling out instructions, to individually do the right thing. It helped that the area was remote, high, forested, and severe in winter. And the people, who throughout their history had suffered oppression and aided others in need, knew how to be quiet. None of the locals ever turned informer.

After seeing the documentary, “Weapons of the Spirit”, by Pierre Sauvage, I sensed a children’s book could be coaxed from these events. What would it be like, I wondered, to be a child, a boy about nine, whose mother brings a young guest into their tiny farmhouse – a girl perhaps eleven years old. You know she is being hidden, though no one told you and questions aren’t encouraged. How would you make sense of it? Through this wondering I came to write about Lucien and Amelie.


Have you ever won any awards? 

“Shoes for Amelie” won the McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award, and was chosen as a Notable Children’s Book of Jewish Content by the American Jewish Library Association. It was shortlisted for the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People, and also shortlisted for the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children. It was an Our Choice Book of the Canadian Children’s Book Centre in Toronto. “On Eagles’ Wings and Other Things” was also an Our Choice Book.


It looks like you write poems, too. Have any of those been published?

“The Little Artist”, along with my illustration, was published by Spider Magazine. “Night You Have Strict Orders” was in Cricket. The lyrics I wrote for Sesame Street began as poems on a page. I’m not sure if using them – there were fourteen – on TV counts as being published.


Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines? 

Only the one thing for Spider. So far.


What is your favorite medium to use? 

I usually work in transparent watercolor, often combined with ink, watercolor pencil, crayon. Sometimes I use gouache, meaning opaque watercolor, over the transparent paint. For Sesame Street I created cut-out collages in gouache.


Has that changed over time?

I’m working with the same basic materials. But for each new project I bring a different emphasis, change the proportions, or introduce a new product or technique. For example, in “Song of an Inuit Child” (Sesame St.), I combined colored pencils (not soluble) with permanent felt-tip markers. Before that I had only used that kind of pencil for texture. I also incised the paper in places with the tip of a brush handle, leaving white line on the page when the pencil moves across the depression. Recently I discovered brush pens. They are permanent but have absolutely no odor, show up well under and over watercolor, and since there’s no dipping and dripping, can go anywhere.


What is the one thing in your studio that you could not live without?

A medium to soft pencil. Without it I couldn’t begin.


Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

I’m forever seeking to establish a predictable schedule, with variable results. But when I’m working on a book, either writing or illustrating, I’ll be at my table most weekdays for two stretches a day, each two to three hours. It might be mornings and late afternoons, or after lunch to about four and then again after dinner. Or some days I’m back and forth with the work all day. I take short breaks while working and try to get outside, so I don’t get stiff, either in my body or my work. At some time each day, a long walk is important, not only for exercise but to allow the mind to relax and appreciate sights, sounds, smells. This is also a time when creative work gets done in an effortless way, when solutions are found or ideas show up without my being aware I’m looking for them. Or they don’t. But as Leonard Cohen says, everybody knows….(in this case, that these are the things artists do when they’re working.)


Are you open to illustrating a book that you haven’t written?

If it’s a book that I’m writing and hope to illustrate I would look for the kind of publisher that pays the author rather than the other way around. Even if it’s a long wait. Even if the publisher turns out to want another illustrator. Even if nothing happens for the book. I understand many people feel differently, especially now, with e-books and books issued inexpensively in very small editions. I value the editing, the distribution, especially to libraries, the opportunity to be reviewed and considered for awards, that regular publishing houses provide. Things are changing, I know, and I might not feel this way in the future. Even now, I remember you said self-publishing an e-book might make sense for an out-of-print book. It might.

But you were actually asking whether I would illustrate a self-publishing author’s book, not my own. It would depend…on my reactions to the manuscript, my rapport with the author, the terms under which I would be working. At any rate, I would be honored to be asked.


Do you take pictures or do any types of research before you start a project? 

I love beginning an illustration project because of the research. It allows me to dream and draw my way into the characters, the place and the story. I go to libraries and talk to librarians. They are usually eager to help and have the competence to offer great suggestions. Today, images online are easily available. I’ll use the internet in addition to, not instead of, tangible books and flesh and blood librarians. And if possible, I like to observe real people, real animals, walk down actual streets and enjoy the challenge of translating a three dimensional world onto flat paper.

Most of the time you can do both. For “Eagles’ Wings”, my neighbors’ children playacted some of the scenes. My husband took photos as they held their positions, and I made sketches. Later I drew from the photos. I drew from photos in books and traveled to New York to draw from archives that couldn’t be moved from the museum that housed them. ( Nothing beat studying the real kids.) Then, I put it all aside. The pictures that appeared in my book were quick and spontaneous, the results of months of preparation.

For writing, which always comes first with me, it’s a similar process, except I’m reading and taking notes instead of drawing. Sometimes I’m talking with people, asking questions. I might be doing this after beginning the book, or long before I start, or both. A book like “Paul’s New Ears”, rooted in experiences with my family, required no research to write. Or you could say the research happened by itself, without my being aware of it. On the other hand, “Shoes for Amelie” took a great deal of research. I felt it was important to travel to Le Chambon in France where the story was set. Fortunately, I received grants from the Canada Council, the Manitoba Arts Council and the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba. The money took the sting out of travel expenses, but even more appreciated was the sense that my benefactors endorsed the project and had confidence I could follow through.


Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

The internet makes possible all the websites we enjoy, including the new one you developed for me. As for doors opening, we’ll have to see. It must also depend on how well artists adapt and make themselves available to opportunity.


Do you use Photoshop with your illustrations?



Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?



What are you working on now?

Two books are nearing the point of presentation. One is a middle grade chapter book featuring two cat detectives. The other is a picture book about the same Paul as in “Paul’s New Ears”. A third book is in the early stages. It takes one of the cat characters from the detective story and places her in an up-scale boarding school for gifted feline girls. Well, some of the girls go home after school but lots of them live there.



Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

I like to try different ways of using watercolor and combining it with other media, as I mentioned in Questions 26 and 27. Derwent makes a watercolor pencil of unusual intensity, almost like ink. It’s called, not surprisingly, Inktense. Neocolor 1 is a color-rich, water resistant crayon that glides onto paper like butter. Neocolor 2 is the water soluble version. Both are products of Caran d’Ache, the company that makes the brush pens I love. Another fun way to draw is to use wide tongue depressors, split vertically in half. Dipped in India ink, they become expressive, economical pens. They draw lines of great variety in width, texture and value. If you teach children or adults, it’s a very freeing experience for them.

Here’s a how-to tip. A way to get confidence about drawing a figure when you can’t be looking at it, especially action figures, is to feel the motion in your own body. Convince yourself you can do it and draw with that conviction. Even if the figure looks strange, it will be interesting and carry the authority of coming from you. I know this sounds like Professor Harold Hill from “ The Music Man” teaching kids to play band instruments with the “think” system. Yes, he was a fraud, but didn’t they all play “Seventy-six Trombones” at the end?

Hobson Pittman, who was a great teacher, often said, “Exactness isn’t always the truth.” That is so even when you’re struggling to capture the figure in a Life Drawing class. And signing up for one of those classes is never a bad idea, as long as you’re in sync with the teacher’s ideas, or can learn to be. There are also groups that meet without a teacher.


Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator? 

Find books on artists, children’s book artists but others, too, for whom you feel kinship, and immerse yourself in their work. See which artists inspired them. The same goes for writers if you’re a writer. And read, especially if you’re a writer. A critic once remarked of a certain Canadian prime minister’s wife who authored a memoir, that it appeared she’d written more books than she’d read. (She had written one book.) Read enough and, say what they will, they won’t say that.

Make sure you have wise, astute and supportive people in your corner, because there is usually lots of rejection, which can cause dejection. Dr. Seuss’s first book almost never saw the light of day, it had been turned down so many times. He picked up the manuscript at one of those publishers’ places and was walking away when, on the street, he bumped into a friend who worked in publishing. The friend took the manuscript from him, showed it to his employer, and that’s how the book came to be published. I don’t remember the details.

Try to carve out time and space to work regularly. But remember that some people can get a lot done on the wing, in fragmented bits of time, on a daily commute (though I hope not while driving), or in the midst of an active family.

Refresh yourself with nature and music. Take a challenging class with an inspiring teacher. Join SCBWI. Go to a SCBWI conference.


Thank you Connie for sharing your process, journey, and expertise with us. We look forward to hearing about your future successes.

To see more of Connie’s illustrations you can visit her at: http://www.conniesteiner.com/

Please take a minute to leave a comment for Connie, I know she would love to heard from you and I always appreciate it. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: Advice, authors and illustrators, awards, Illustrator's Saturday, inspiration, Interview, picture books, Process Tagged: Canadian Sesame Street, Connie Steiner, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Shoes for Amelie, University of Pennsylvania.

2 Comments on Illustrator Saturday – Connie Steiner, last added: 7/5/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
48. Dungeon Fun sweeps Scottish Independent Comic Book Alliance Awards — and read the winner for free!

The 2014 SICBA Awards were handed out on Saturday at the Glasgow Comic Con. The awards honor the best in Scottish comics, and Dungeon Fun by Neil Slorance and Colin Bell swept all four categories. To celebrate the win, the creators have made the first issue free to read making it a win for everyone.

Dungeon Fun is a classic fantasy about a girl named Fun Mudlifter who is living a tedious life among the trolls who raised her before she gets a magic sword that sends her off on the road to adventure.

Here’s the complete list of SICBA nominees, winners in bold.

Best Comic Book or Graphic Novel (supported by CCA: Glasgow)
Beginners Guide to Being Outside (Avery Hill Publishing Ltd)
Crawl Hole (Craig Collins)
Crossing Borders (Rocket Puppy Press)
Dungeon Fun: Book One (Dogooder Comics)
The Standard #5 (ComixTribe)

Best Artist (supported by Homecoming Scotland)
Iain Laurie – And Then Emily Was Gone #3
Morag Kewell – Crossing Borders
Neil Slorance – Dungeon Fun: Book One

Best Writer (supported by Black Hearted Press)
Gill Hatcher – Beginners Guide to Being Outside
Colin Bell – Dungeon Fun: Book One
John Lees – The Standard #5

Best Cover (supported by Williams Bros Brewing Co)
Craig Collins, Iain Laurie and Derek Dow – Crawl Hole
Neil Slorance – Dungeon Fun: Book One
Jimmy Devlin – Saltire: Invasion

0 Comments on Dungeon Fun sweeps Scottish Independent Comic Book Alliance Awards — and read the winner for free! as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
49. Book Give-a-Way & Interview With Shannon Wiersbitzky: What Flowers Remember

Shannon_Wiersbitzky_Author_Photo_2012Shannon Wiersbitzky is a middle-grade author, a hopeless optimist, and a lover of the outdoors. The Summer of Hammers and Angels, nominated for the William Allen White award, was her first novel.

Born in North Dakota, Shannon has called West Virginia, Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Michigan “home” at some point in her life.She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two sons, one rather dull fish and her always entertaining dog Benson.

I interviewed Shannon about her new book WHAT FLOWERS REMEMBER, and asked her if she would do a give-a-way of the book for anyone who leaves a comment. If you tweet or post something about the book on facebook or your blog, you will receive an extra entry to increase your chances to win.

Book Notes: What Flowers Remember

shannonflowersMost folks probably think gardens only get tended when they’re blooming. But most folks would be wrong. According to the almanac, a proper gardener does something every single month. Old Red Clancy was definitely a proper gardener. That’s why I enrolled myself in the Clancy School of Gardening. If I was going to learn about flowers, I wanted to learn from the best.

Delia and Old Red Clancy make quite a pair. He has the know-how and she has the get-up-and-go. When they dream up a seed- and flower-selling business, well, look out, Tucker’s Ferry, because here they come.

But something is happening to Old Red. And the doctors say he
can’t be cured. He’s forgetting places and names and getting cranky for
no reason. As his condition worsens, Delia takes it upon herself to save
as many memories as she can. Her mission is to gather Old Red’s stories so that no one will forget, and she corrals everybody in town to help her.

What Flowers Remember is a story of love and loss, of a young girl coming to understand that even when people die, they live on in our minds, our hearts, and our stories.

*Note: A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book are donated to the Alzheimer’s Association.

In addition to win and read a good book, I think you will find Shannon’s answers to my interview questions below interesting.

I see you have published two middle grade books with namelos. Did you sign a two book deal when you sold  THE SUMMER OF HAMMERS AND ANGELS?

No. My initial contract with Namelos only included my first book. I didn’t even know there would be a sequel!

Can you tell us the story behind how you sold your first book and the journey you took to get there?

Writing IS a journey isn’t it! I’ll say that it was a ten year path of discovering my voice and what kind of narrative suits me best. When I began writing books for children, I focused first on picture books. Then I began to dabble in novels. I met my editor, Stephen Roxburgh, at a picture book workshop at Highlights in 2009. He had just started Namelos earlier that year. We hit it off and after the workshop I sent him the manuscript for THE SUMMER OF HAMMERS AND ANGELS. We’ve been working together ever since.

Was that your debut book?

Yes. While I’ve had a variety of picture books garner significant interest over the years, HAMMERS was the first book I had published. It was a real thrill to see it in print. I’ve got a copy hanging on the wall in my writing studio. My husband had it framed.

How well did the book sell?

The book has sold well. I don’t know an exact number of copies. It always helps when a novel gets noticed by organizations and award committees, and THE SUMMER OF HAMMERS AND ANGELS did. It was nominated for the William Allen White award, and was a recommended title by the Kansas NEA Reading Circle. Scholastic bought copies for its book club too. Anytime a story is recognized, it’s an honor.

Has the publishing of WHAT FLOWERS REMEMBER, increased the sales of THE SUMMER OF HAMMERS AND ANGELS?

Yes, I think the benefit of having multiple books out is that people naturally see or seek out your other titles. At least they do if they like what they read!

Had you written WHAT FLOWERS REMEMBER when you sold the first book?

No, I hadn’t. In fact, after HAMMERS came out, when asked if there might be a sequel, I confidently said that Delia’s story was finished. Ha! That just shows you that characters are really in charge, not the writers.

How did the idea of the book come to you?

In terms of the actual time and place when I realized Delia had another story to tell, I was literally on a flight from PA to CA. I’d written a novel dealing with Alzheimer’s several years earlier (it was terrible and I never tried to publish it) and all of a sudden, I realized that I’d given the story to the wrong character. It was Delia’s story to tell. I plotted out the entire novel on the back of a single sheet of paper and about six months later I started writing it.

The inspiration to write about Alzheimer’s came from my own life. My grandfather had the disease and ultimately he forgot me. He and I were very close and it broke my heart to realize I had been erased. I wanted to capture the truth of that in a story.

Sadly, dementia is so common, and we have a real lack of stories that deal with it in an honest way. For some reason, we don’t talk about Alzheimer’s as openly as we do other diseases. Kids (and adults) need to be able to have everyday conversations about what they might be experiencing with their own grandparents or others in their life. My hope is that books like FLOWERS can help.

Do you have an agent? If so, who? If not, would you like to find one?

I don’t have an agent. I’ve worked directly with Stephen and his Namelos team for both books. I would like to find an agent, but it hasn’t been my focus lately. It’s so difficult to find someone that exactly fits your personality and writing style!

I have some picture book and early reader manuscripts I’d love to see published, and down the road, there may be other novels that aren’t right for Namelos, but are right for another publisher. Reviewers have compared my writing to Chicken Soup for the Soul and Patricia MacLachlan. If you know of any agents that might lean that way, let me know!

What type of things have you been doing to promote your books?

I have a full-time job that is fairly demanding, so I try to pick and choose things I can tackle in odd hours or that don’t require a full day. I regularly do web interviews with bloggers or write guest posts. I’ve visited local schools and done Skype visits with classrooms. There have been radio interviews. I’ve done a few book signings too.

Did namelos help market your book and get reviews?

Absolutely! They work the official reviewers and send copies out to various awards committees and all that usual stuff that publishers do. Stephen Roxburgh is highly regarded in the industry, so books he publishes typically do get picked up for review by folks like Kirkus. That’s a big plus.

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m working on a few things. I’m editing a new novel which is totally different from my first two. High action, high comedy, high levels of exaggeration. I think I needed a break from the realistic fiction. I’m working on a few picture books as well. I’d love for them to find a good home. And I’m jotting notes for a novel that I haven’t started yet, but that I’ve been thinking about for two years. As soon as I can get the action manuscript out the door, this one is next in line. I like to have a host of projects in the hopper. My brain seems to work best that way. 

Review Excerpts

“There are echoes of Patricia MacLachlan in the book’s period flavor (the story seems to be set thirty years or so in the past), the tenderness, and the deft writing that keeps a heart-tugging plot lovely as well as brimming with sentiment. Delia’s move from grief for what she’s losing to a deeper understanding of her old friend is smoothly depicted…. The story will bring new perspective for readers struggling with their own beloved elders, and the liquid joy of a serious tearjerker to anybody who likes a poignant human drama.”

–The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Recommended

“Wiersbitzky organizes the book gracefully by naming the chapters after months of the year. …The ebb and flow of life is shown, grief is addressed, and the power of what one person can do is celebrated. Teachers may wish to consider this book for reading lists in middle school.”

–Children’s Literature

“What do flowers remember? The stories of the people who cared for them, of course, as Wiersbitzky’s sensitive novel compassionately conveys.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Fans of wholesome, uplifting stories similar to Canfield’s Chicken Soup for the Soul collections, will best enjoy this gentle reminder of the goodness of life and people.” — Voice of Youth Advocates

Shannon Wiersbitzky Links:

Website: www.shannonwiersbitzky.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ShannonWiersbitzky

Twitter: @SWiersbitzky

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/ShannonWiersbitzky

Shannon thank you for sharing your journey with us and introducing us to your book.

Talk tomorrow,



Filed under: Author, awards, Book, children writing, Contest, inspiration, Kudos, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity Tagged: book give-a-way, Leave Comment, Shannon Wiersbitzky

14 Comments on Book Give-a-Way & Interview With Shannon Wiersbitzky: What Flowers Remember, last added: 7/10/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
50. The New Vision Award – Get Published

AiWS final

Another great illustration from the Artist Showcase at the NJSCBWI Conference. It was created by Lynnor Bontigao and is titled, “Alice’s Adventure in WonderShore”. You can visit Lynoor at: www.lynnorbontigao.com

Tu Books is accepting submissions for their second New Visions Second Annual New Vision Awards. The New Visions Award, established in 2012 by the Tu Books imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS, is given to a middle grade or young adult fantasy, science fiction, or mystery novel by a writer of color. It’s a fantastic chance for new authors of color to break into the world of publishing for young readers.

Eligibility and Contest Submission

The New Visions contest is open to writers of color who are residents of the United States and who have not previously had a middle grade or young adult novel published.

The Award winner receives a cash prize 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 prize of $500.

Manuscripts will be accepted through October 31st, 2014. See the full submissions guidelines here.

Spread the Word

Did you know that last year, books written by authors of color made up less than seven percent of the total number of books published (see these CCBC stats)?

Change requires more than just goodwill; it requires concrete action. We were heartened by First Book’s recent commitment to purchasing 10,000 copies of select books from “new and underrepresented voices” and the success of the passionate #weneeddiversebooks movement.

Likewise, the New Visions Award is a concrete step toward evening the playing field by seeking out talented new authors of color who might otherwise remain under the radar of mainstream publishing.

We hope you’ll help us spread the word by forwarding on this email; sharing the contest on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr; and of course, letting people know through good old word-of-mouth.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: authors and illustrators, awards, Competition, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishers and Agencies, Young Adult Novel Tagged: New Vision Award, Tor Books

3 Comments on The New Vision Award – Get Published, last added: 7/10/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts