April 1, 2019
A Sneak Peek at LA19
LA19 art by Victoria Tentler-Krylov
Summer is approaching and that means SCBWI’s annual Summer Conference will soon be here. We’re excited to report that this year’s event features some of the brightest luminaries in children’s books! There will be keynote presentations from Mem Fox , Meg Medina , MT Anderson , Renee Watson , Christian Robinson , Raul the Third , Yuyi Morales , Darcy Rosenblatt , and Anna Shinoda . The Conference also features mainstage panels dedicated specifically to picture books, alternative publishing options, and creating books that matter, as well as panels of agents and editors who will offer insight direct from the publishing trenches.

When: August 9-12 with optional intensives on Monday, August 12
Where: JW Marriott at LA Live
 
Books For Readers is Back with a New Twist
Our very successful literacy and book access initiative,  Books For Readers , is back for 2019. Generous donations of nearly 3,000 books have reached Florida, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Oregon. We look forward to helping organizations or causes in other parts of the US and the world this year, too. Nominations are now open, and will close April 22 at 11am PT. Fill out a  nomination form  for a chance to give books to kids in need in your region.

Announcing the 2019 Emerging Voices Winners
Art by Alleanna Harris
SCBWI has announced that two winners, Medina and Amira Kunbargi, are the winners of the 2018 On-The-Verge Emerging Voices award. Medina wins for The One Who Loves You The Most , an #ownvoices middle grade novel about a 12-year-old Latinx adoptee who begins exploring their gender and embracing a queer identity. Amira Kunbargi is the author of When A Girl Dreams: The True Story of Fatimah Al-Fihri, Founder of the World’s Oldest University , a nonfiction picture book about a woman who changed the face of education in 9th century Morocco. 

The winning manuscripts will be made available to select agents and editors via a secure website. 
Kunbargi and Medina will also receive an all expense paid trip to the 2019 SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles to meet editors, agents, and other industry professionals.

The On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award is part of the SCBWI’s ongoing effort to foster diverse and underrepresented voices in children’s publishing.This is made possible through the generosity of Sue and Martin Schmitt of the 455 Foundation.

CLICK HERE for more information on the Emerging Voices Award.
The Book Update Available Now
The 2019 version of The Book: Essential Guide to Publishing for Children is now available online, with up-to-the minute directories, market surveys, and content from industry pros. All SCBWI members have access to read the new edition for free online or to order a teal-covered physical copy from the website here . We also have two new supplementary materials for The Book , the 2019 International School Directory and the Guide to International School Visits.

Make sure you log in to your account, then click here to check out the new content. 
Happy Birthday, April Releases!
Happy Book Birthday to over 40 new springtime reads!
This month’s winner of the Happy Book Birthday drawing is Janet McDonnell, illustrator of the picture book  Giraffe Asks for Help . Ten copies of her book will be purchased by SCBWI and donated to Kids Need to Read, and organization whose mission is to “create a culture of reading of children by providing inspiring books to underfunded schools, libraries, and literacy programs across the United States.” To learn more about Kids Need to Read, see their website here .

Submissions for the  May Happy Book Birthday are open from  March 15  until  April 20 . This submission period is only for books released in  May 2019 , but we hold Happy Book Birthday every month: send in information about your book to  bookbirthday@scbwi.org the month before your book’s release to be included in the celebration! To learn more about submitting to Happy Book Birthday, please see the guidelines  here .
Happy reading!
Calling All Student Writers and Illustrators
Summer applications are now open for the Student Writer Scholarship (SWS) and Student Illustrator Scholarship (SIS)
These awards, which are held in conjunction with the LA19 Summer Conference, are for full-time university students (age eighteen and up) who show exceptional promise in writing or illustration. The winners will receive free tuition to the Los Angeles Summer Conference. Student writers will also attend a full-day intensive workshop, while illustrators will receive a portfolio consultation and entrance to the Portfolio Showcase.

Eligible student writers must provide:
  • A short cover letter
  • Five-page sample of a children’s book manuscript
  • Copy of student ID
  • A letter of recommendation sent directly from a university professor

Read the full SWS application instructions here .

Eligible student illustrators should provide:
  • A 250-word statement of why they want to attend the Conference
  • Three samples of children’s book-style illustration
  • Copy of student ID
  • A letter of recommendation sent directly from an illustration faculty member.

Read the full SIS application instructions here .

Please let any students in your life know about this amazing opportunity to boost young talent. 
Did You Know?
How to Become an SCBWI
Featured Illustrator
March Featured Illustrator
Courtney Dawson
SCBWI’s Featured Illustrator spotlights one illustrator member each month on our homepage, the Illustrator Gallery landing page, and on all of our social media. Our site receives over 191K hits each month, our Instagram account has over 10K followers, our Twitter account has 36.5K followers, and our Facebook has 21K followers. That is a lot of eyes on your work! 
 
In order to be chosen as a Featured Illustrator, you must have an up-to-date Illustrator Gallery on the SCBWI site, with at least twelve images. Also, you can greatly increase your chances of being chosen if you have at least one image in your gallery that will fit easily into the SCBWI homepage spot. The dimensions are 940 pixels across and 550 pixels high. Make sure the main character or action is not in the top left portion of the image, otherwise it will get cut off by the diagonal graphic element. 
 
Here is the big news! If you have recently updated your SCBWI Illustrator Gallery and would like to be considered for Featured Illustrator, you can email Sarahbaker@scbwi.org. Please put “Featured Illustrator” in the subject line and include a link to your SCBWI gallery . Each member can send one email no more than once per month. We will still be considering members who do not reach out via email, but this step will ensure that you are in the running.
Celebrate Children's Day, Book Day on April 30
by Jessica Costello
Children’s Day, Book Day (El día de los niño, el día de los libro), called Día for short, is a celebration of kids, diversity, and the joy of reading. The name Día, meaning "day" in Spanish, serves as a reminder to help children love books every day of the year, but Children’s Day, Book Day is officially celebrated on or around April 30. Typically, Día festivals are at libraries, bookstores, parks, and classrooms with piñatas, crafts, games, food, and—of course—books. Pat Mora , the founder of Día, has a myriad of helpful tips and downloadables on her  website for teachers and librarians to host celebrations that teach, inspire, and excite children of all ages and backgrounds. But what can we do to celebrate Día as writers and illustrators?

Tips for Tackling the Plagiarism Issue
With current high-profile articles about plagiarism in the industry, some members have expressed concern about submitting their work. To address this anxiety-provoking issue, we will be adding a comprehensive feature article in The Book later this year written by an attorney. 

In the meantime, here are tips from two industry professionals to help you stay prepared.

Alex Slater, Agent, Trident Media Group:

“Doing your research” is indeed the best advice for any new writer embarking upon publication. Ask around and, if you can, join critique groups with people you trust. If you’re starting your agent search, research who’s on the agent’s client list; are they writers you’ve heard of, or do they have published work? What deals have the agents done recently, and with what publishers? If they’re new agents, what firm are they attached to, and what kind of support do they have? Trust your instinct – look for names you recognize. If you want to be published, you should be familiar with publishers and agents. Find the agent who sits in a space you see yourself in.
 
"In regards to the fear of plagiarism, it is extremely rare that someone you work and have a relationship with wants to openly plagiarize you. However, keep in mind that you cannot copyright ideas or titles, and that while it’s unusual, sometimes you do run into people mining in the same part of the collective unconscious as you! If you think someone has objectively stolen from you, contact the appropriate party. But remember, sharing your art is the most thrilling, and terrifying, first step in your publication journey; it’s okay to be nervous! It’s an enviable anxiety that doesn’t go away.” 
 
Sara Sargent, Senior Executive Editor for Random House Books for Young Reader:
“Research, research, research. You can find a lot of information online about experiences that other writers have had with a particular agent or editor. Although you will never be able to get an agent or editor to sign paperwork or an NDA before reading your work, you CAN protect yourself by finding out as much as you can about the reputation of agents editors and making sure you only submit to those who have positive reviews from the writing community at large.” 
Three Cheers for Meredith Davis!
Three Cheers is a new  Insight  feature in which we select one SCBWI member a month who has a phenomenal success story to share. If you have realized a dream through your involvement with SCBWI, please send your story to  threecheers@scbwi.org

Meredith Davis explains how her years of dedication paid off:

When people ask how long it took me to get published, I have two answers: either twenty-three years, or one year.

Twenty-three years ago I started the Austin SCBWI chapter and began learning and growing as a writer. I first met my agent when she was an editor, presenting at an SCBWI conference. She welcomed submissions from conference attendees, and our relationship developed over the years as I continued to submit new work. 
Eventually that editor became an agent, and I signed with Alyssa Eisner Henkin at Trident Media. In the spring of 2017, I began working on a new nonfiction narrative project with my co-author Rebeka Uwitonze and one year later, that completed project sold to Scholastic.

HER OWN TWO FEET: A RWANDAN GIRL’S BRAVE FIGHT TO WALK will be published October 1, 2019. Twenty-three years ago I began my relationship with SCBWI. Interacting with industry professionals and other creatives helped me persevere through all those lean years. I would not have my agent without SCBWI. I don’t know if I’d still be writing today if it weren’t for SCBWI. We need to hear each other’s successes to give us hope and help us persevere.
SCBWI Exclusive with...
Danielle Burby, Agent, Nelson Literary Agency
Based in New York City, Danielle became an agent at Nelson Literary Agency (NLA) in January 2017. Previously, she was an agent at a NYC-based firm where she managed foreign rights in addition to building her client roster. She also interned at several top agencies and publishers before graduating from Hamilton College with a dual degree in creative writing and women’s studies. 
Danielle represents all genres of YA and MG along with picture books and select passion projects in women’s fiction. She particularly enjoys complex female characters, quirky adventures, narratives that ask readers to think deeply, girls with swords, and seaside novels. Danielle also looks for a strong narrative voice and characters she wants to spend time with. For more information about her wishlist, check out NLA’s Submission Guidelines page . You can find details about her recent sales on Publishers Marketplace .

Draw This!
Draw This! is our monthly prompt word for illustrators. 

Congratulations to the March winners! The March prompt word was "Muddy"
Click HERE to view the March Gallery
Chamisa Kellogg
Lynnor Bontigao
April's prompt word is: "Bloom"
Click Here for Draw This! guidelines
Faces of SCBWI
Want to see your face in Insight ? Send your photos to  faces@scbwi.org   or post on twitter using the tag #facesofscbwi
Angela H. Dale and Kevin Lewis at SCBWI MD DE WV Steering the Craft event
Gary Alipio, Cheryl Mathis, and Grace Kendall enjoy SCBWI JambaLAya in New Orleans
Freddi Williams Evans teaches at SCBWI JambaLAya (credit: Gary Alipio)
Geiszel Godoy and agent Monica Odom at SCBWI conference
SCBWI members Bill Konisberg and Toni Eubanks at ASU establishment of the Bill Konigsberg Award
Kathryn Evans launches new picture book Beauty Sleep . (credit: Lou Minns)